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The TOP 10 Illusions of the Year Have Been Announced

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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The Best Illusion of the Year Contest is happy to announce the TOP TEN illusions of 2013!

The 2013 Contest Gala will be on Monday, May 13th, in the Philharmonic Center of Arts (Naples Fl). The TOP TEN illusions will be shown for the first time at the Gala, and posted on the Best Illusion of the Year Contest’s website immediately afterwards. Who will the TOP THREE winners be? That’s up to you! The live audience will choose them from the current TOP TEN list.

2013 TOP TEN ILLUSION CONTESTANTS (alphabetical order):

Through the Eyes of Giants, by Arash Afraz and Ken Nakayama (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, USA)

Dynamic Size Contrast Illusion- or the incredibly shrinking/growing shape!, by Gideon Caplovitz (University of Nevada Reno, USA)

Rotation or Deformation? A Surprising Consequence of the Kinetic Depth Effect, by Attila Frakas and Alen Hajnal (University of Southern Mississippi, USA)

Non-trackable Moving Dots Look faster, by Alan Ho and Stuart Anstis (Ambrose University College, Canada, and UC San Diego, USA)

Rotation Generated by Translation, by Jun Ono, Akiyasu Tomoeda and Kokichi Sugihara (Meiji University and CREST, Japan)

Dancing Diamond, by Michael Pickard and Alessandro Soranzo (University of Sunderland and Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom)

The Disappearing Smoke – Disappearing Pleasure!, by Sidney Pratt, Martha Sanchez and Karla Rovira (Sin Humo, Costa Rica)

Tusi or not Tusi, by Arthur Shapiro and Alex Rose-Henig (American University, USA)

The Knobby Sphere Illusion, by Peter Tse (Dartmouth College, USA)

Three-fold cubes: Objects whose form can be interpreted in three different ways, by Guy Wallis and David Lloyd (University of Queensland, Australia)


Susana Martinez-Conde About the Author: Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik are laboratory directors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Follow on Twitter @illusionchasers.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Tatum 9:59 am 04/19/2013

    Check out this Illusion of the year!

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  2. 2. rwormus 12:56 am 04/20/2013

    How’s this for an illusion?
    ‘An Anthropic Paradox’ Nature’s stubs her T.O.E’
    By Robert Castleton Wormus

    (It was first Posted January 29, 2008 by Robert Wormus, on the internet in as ‘Blogs’, ‘comments’, and essays; but to my knowledge never peer reviewed
    The Human mind, with its highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, aural language communication, introspection, self-awareness and problem solving, has been purported to be the most complex fete of the Evolutionary Process.
    Four years ago I published ‘An Anthropic Paradox: Nature stubs her T.O.E.’, a gloom and doom, highly prophetic, Paradox about Nature’s Adaptive, Probabilistic Evolutionary Process going terribly awry, leading to the high probability of the Human Species Extinction Event.
    At first, it was meant to be taken tongue and cheek; not literally, just food for thought. Over the last six years, however, factoring in recent developments in the areas of quantum mechanics, neuroscience, experimental psychology, and evolutionary biology my research has indicated a Fatal Design Flaw in Nature’s Adaptive, Probabilistic, and Evolutionary Process.
    This theory explains the inexplicable, man’s blatant disregard for his environment, his gluttonous misuse of natural resources, his failure to properly identify universal survival threats, and the global-wide apathy that impedes man’s progress toward a Class One Civilization.
    His incapacity to fully accept the great counter intuitive scientific discoveries of last century, namely, quantum mechanics, special relativity, and general relativity; and further, even with their immense prognostic implications, why, they were only minimally applauded, insufficiently funded, and delegated to the obscure realm of ‘Modern Theoretical Physics’; the equivalence of ‘It’s only a Theory’ apathy.
    And finally, the budget cuts affecting our nation’s science programs, the alarming decline in math and science scores, our exit from the active space program, .and, the total cancellation of the Web telescope and fusion research
    The Bard himself could not have imagined a ‘Tragedy’ the epic proportion of the one bestowed on Man by Nature. Sound a little melodramatic? Sort of like ‘the sky is falling’, or another conspiracy Theory? It’s not a conspiracy theory; it’s a paradox, a fatal design flaw in Nature’s Adaptive, Probabilistic Evolutionary Process.
    Nature’s ill-conceived plan of human evolution has gone terribly awry; ironically, in a subconscious attempt to thwart off all threats against our intuitively-based concept of reality, our minds evolved coercive defense mechanisms, hard-wired and strategically embedded in the Mind’s Psyche.
    Man’s probabilistic ‘Evolutionary Process’ has evolved an aggressive, highly intelligent, humanoid animal, capable of fabricating an acceptable, experienced-based, intuitively synthesized, ‘internal’ Illusion of Reality’; while simultaneously blocking all acceptance of the real counter-intuitive Universe endorsed by modern physics..
    The conserved parity between humans of Native universalities is explained by modern quantum mechanics’ holographic theory; a 2 dimensional encryption of a 3 dimensional reality on ethereal space-time…
    And if that weren’t diabolical enough, the human mind protects it’s ‘illusion’ of reality by deploying an armory, the Human Psyche’s insurmountably powerful defense mechanisms; first, and most formidable, denial and then, as necessary, rationalization, repression, regression, and dissociation, affectively closing off Man’s mind to the external input of alternate counter-intuitive realities, concepts, or change.
    Adaptive Probabilistic Evolution (APE) is one of the great wonders of Cosmic complexity. The dawn of man, began approximately 200,000 million years ago, with man’s brain mass reaching 400 grams. But, “In the last 1.5 million years ‘modern man’s brain’ has developed into the most complex phenomena in the known Universe at a mass of greater that 1600 grams.” 1
    Evolutionary biologists attribute “Much of the expansion to the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, especially the frontal lobes, which are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the cerebral cortex devoted to vision is also greatly enlarged in humans.”
    According to the Journal of the Human brain, “this unprecedented spurt in evolution increased modern man to 100 billion neurons, and an equal or slightly greater number of glial cells which serve to support and protect the neurons. Each neuron may be connected to up to 10,000 other neurons, passing signals to each other via as many as 1,000 trillion synaptic connections, equivalent to a computer with a 1 trillion bit per second processor. Estimates of this modern brain’s capacity vary wildly, but can approach 1,000 terabytes. (As a comparison, the U.S. Library of Congress’ with its 19 million volumes is estimated at 10 terabytes.)”
    So how did the human brain become so complex in what amounts to about a second in astronomical time? Neuroscientists are perplexed by how we learned to communicate. How we became so intelligent. Why are we the only animals that are self-aware? Quantum scientists are not as naïve; humans de-crypt the two dimensional encrypted quantum data of ethereal space. I think we need to retrace our linage? Modern humans evolved from stardust, just like all life forms, but who’s to say our direct linage didn’t visit earth 1.5 million years ago, and decide to stay?

    Recent research in neuroscience has irrefutably proven that the mind actually augments crude two-dimensional, blurred afferent images, sounds, smells, and context clues into the sharp, clear, crisp ‘illusion’ of the intuitive external reality mankind takes for granted.

    Mankind’s fate, in light of our Central Nervous System’s ruse, barring intervention from the scientific community, may be the eminent and unelectable human ‘Extinction Event’.

    I’ve been involved in science for over 50 years, as a Board Certified, licensed professional in Audiology and Speech Pathology, (The doctoral fields responsible for the assessment, evaluation and habilitation of human auditory, speech, language and voice disorders)

    My educational background in Audiology and Speech Pathology, with its concentration on acoustics, audiology, speech, language, and voice sciences, as well as neuropathology neuroscience, anatomy, and psychophysiology of human consciousness and perception has uniquely positioned me for my ongoing postdoctoral research in the counter-intuitive psychophysiological dichotomies of human consciousness and perception

    Robert Castleton Wormus
    Palos Verdes Shores
    2275 W 25 St., San Pedro, CA. 90732
    310 953-5939

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  3. 3. N a g n o s t i c 3:08 pm 04/21/2013

    You’d think NASA’s stated goal of exploring an asteroid would’ve made the list.

    Link to this
  4. 4. Etzkorn 12:12 pm 04/27/2013

    ancient andean color knowledge of more than mere illusions up to 5000 years in the past.

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