Six (Bad) Optical Illusions

1.  Lets start off with a classic. Is the green line longer in figure A or in figure B?

2.  This one technically isn’t an optical illusion, it’s similar to the test used to check for red/green colour blindness. Can you see the number ‘3’ in the image below? If not you may be black/jet-black colour blind.

3. The image below appears to be made up of randomly placed lines and curves. However if you stare at the white dot for thirty minutes and then look at a blank surface, a word will emerge.

4. This is my take on the famous old/young woman illusion. In that illusion the image can either be seen as a young woman or an old woman. Though it isn’t obvious at first, the image below can also be seen in two different ways. Try for yourself! If you can’t, scroll down to see the explanation.

At first this appears to only be a sun. However it can also become a face if the sun spots are seen as a pair of eyes, a nose and a mouth. Once it’s explained it’s almost hard NOT to see them that way!

5. Again, this one isn’t quite an optical illusion, but it’s such a cool effect that I had to include it! Certain colours facilitate to linguistic processing while others inhibit it.  One example of a facilitative colour is green; an example of an inhibitory colour is red. Said another way: green words are easier to read than red words.  See for yourself in the following example!

6. We’ll also end off with a classic. I’m sure you’ve seen this clip of the spinning girl on the internet before. The cool thing is that you can see her rotating both ways. If you stare long enough she will appear to switch directions again and again.


What Your Flatulate Aggregate Says About You

Physiognomy is the practice of inferring personality characteristics from someone’s external appearance. For example, the criminologist Cesare Lombroso believed that criminals had certain physical characteristics that differentiated them from non-criminals. Phrenology and hand-writing analysis are two most familiar offshoots from this school of thought.  A lesser known, but far more respected and valid technique is to use someone’s FA (i.e. flatulate aggregate) to learn about their personality.

The technique of using flatulate as an indicator of personality characteristics dates back at least to Ancient Egypt. Priests at the time believed that it was actually part of a person’s soul trying to escape their body. Under that assumption it was logical to assume that studying it would reveal certain characteristics of that soul. (1) We once again see examples of this science in Greek civilization with the advent of Humorism. This philosophy held that a person’s disposition was caused by the balance of four homors in the body; a balance revealed in part by one’s flatulate. As with many things, this science went somewhat underground during the middle ages but was once again revived during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. In the early 20th century Psychoanalysts believed flatulate to emanate from the unconscious, and to be an undistorted expression of the id. The last few decades have seen a resurgence of interest in the field. Scientists are begining to look the underlying mechanisms linking a persons flatulate with their personality.  So far this research has focused on things like eating habits and muscle tension.

Businesses are beginning to implement this technique in job interviews, and some dating websites are using it check for compatibility.  To see what your FA says about you, take the test below!

FA Test:

Select your “Aggregate Flatulate” from the five options below. This should be what your flatulate sounds like ‘on average’. (2)

FA Types

1. *frreeeeeeeeeaoooooooooooooooooooooaiii* (like a trumpet raising in pitch until it fades out)
2. *PROOP!* (a loud, resounding burst)
3. *fffffffff* (inaudible)
4. *fraaaach – plop* (a gurgling emission with a surprise ending)
5. *Prap Prap Prap* (short and controlled bursts)

FA Profiles

1. *frreeeeeeeeeaoooooooooooooooooooooaiii*

Your parents rarely displayed affection and therefore you think that to do so is embarrassing. You try to maintain a calm exterior and any displays of emotion are extremely restricted or suppressed.

2. *fffffffff*

You likely had extremely controlling parents, leading you to develop passive-aggressive tendencies. You have trouble expressing anger directly and hide it under a veneer of manufactured kindness and generosity.

3. *fraaaach – plop*

You tend to engage in dangerous, risk taking behaviour without considering the consequences. You likely abuse drugs or alcohol regularly while engaging in sexual promiscuity.

4. *Prap Prap Prap*

You have an obsessive need for order and neatness. It bothers you when you, or others around you aren’t perfect and you spend an excessive amount of time trying to be sure this doesn’t happen. You feel very anxious when you aren’t in control.

5. *PROOP!*

You probably had parents that withheld praise, never telling you that you did a ‘good job’. Because of this you have a need to be the center of attention, and to constantly outperform others around you.


1 – In fact the Egyptian symbol for ‘flatulate’ was also used to represent ‘soul’.

2 – This is based on the Platonic approach taken in Classical Antiquity, where it was believed that everyone had an ideal flatulate form. Each specific instance of flatulate was an imperfect reflection of this ideal form.

Good Inventions (Part 1)

The word inventions comes from the words invent and ions. ‘Invent’ means to create or design; and ‘ions’ means an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons. In other words inventors create electrically charged, or ‘exciting’, new things.

The following are some of my latest inventions. Most of them just came to me out of the blue, or in other words ‘out of the blueprint’, which I’ve included for each.

The Ankle Sock

Lets face it, nobody likes to wear socks. What’s the first thing people do when they get home? Take their socks off and put them aside so that they can wear them again tomorrow. The only reason we have to wear socks is because we don’t feel like shaving out ankles everyday (other people do that right?). Voila – the ankle sock. A regular sock with the part covering your foot removed, just leaving the bit that goes around your ankles. Now you can go around sock-less all day and no one will know the difference!

(I’m working on something similar for sandals. A piece of fabric that looks, feels and is shaped like a sock but is actually called a ‘germouth’. It lets you go sock-less even in sandals and no one will know the difference!)

Disposable Bedsheets

(Note the two arrows in the diagram. Whenever you have two arrows you know that you are recycling.)

A tip for want-to-be-inventors is to think about something you hate doing in your daily lives and then come up with an invention that will make it easier. I hate making my bed. A normal person might think “there’s no other option, I guess I’ll make my bed”. Not me though, I look at my unmade bed in the morning and think “disposable bedsheets”. With them you can have a good night’s sleep and then instead of having to make your bed in the morning just throw the sheets away! I know what you’re thinking: this is terrible for the environment! That’s why I propose that these bedsheets be made of recycled garbage from landfills. How’s that for living green?

Universal Key

It’s very annoying to have to carry around keys for everything. your front door, your car, your diary etc. We have universal remotes, why not a universal key? It would work the same way as remotes. You’d put it into a keyhole and it would read the shape needed to open it and create it. Then you’d label that ‘home’ for example and could summon it (reference for the really cool people reading???) anytime you needed. Everyone would have one. I know what you’ve thinking: it would be unsafe! What if you lost your universal key and someone picked it up and had all of your presets. Well you would be able to deactivate remotely it the same way you deactivate a cell phone.

Numbered 4, 34, 51, 23, 6, 33, 245, 0 Cover

(Note the single arrow, indicating that this unfortunately isn’t made of recycled products.)

How offen are you tiping along only to fynd out that you don’t know how to spell a word. Well it never happens to me, but I’m sure it’s a common problem. If only there were some sort of database to help you. That got me brainstorming; I played around with a few ideas. Reducing the number of words in the English language+ (there isn’t any punctuation for when you extend the last two syllables of a word like this, so I’m coining the the ‘+’ as the appropriate puncuation in that case), some kind of telepathic device+ and so on. But like Occam said in that Gillette commercial: the right solution is usually the simplest one. This was also a computer problem so it required a solution specific to that medium. Then it hit me. A numbered keyboard cover that replaces each letter with a number, and an accompanying book that gives you the numerical code for any word you want to spell! That book will contain every word every invented along with the accompanying number code required to type it in (called a direct in consulation topographic interface on new alphabetic required yoking).

Future Projects

-portable doorbells
-page a minute calendars
-pencil with an eraser tip and eraser made of graphite, for writing on graphite paper
-finding more places in clothing to put pockets

A Guide to Body Language Part 1

When it comes to body language most people believe they’re experts, but in fact know very little.  I was no different when I began studying this topic, but after ten years I’ve come to understand clusters like ‘the frown’ (1) or ‘the slap’ and can spot them immediately.

I studied this field at a university in the birthplace of psychology, along the Australian-German border.  We would do field research in subways at rush hour, to gain access to a large number of people.  When we saw some body language that we found interesting we would approach the person, attach EEG monitors to their temples and ask them to write a page or two on exactly what they were feeling a moment ago.  This also led to the discovery that people are on average more likely to be in a negative mood than a positive one.

Information on body language is especially useful because it is something that you can use in your day to day life.  Once I realized that an outstretched hand wasn’t a threatening gesture, but instead one that simply offered a handshake, people stopped pointing at me.  The following is some useful *R L R* information that I hope you find helpful!

Hand and Arm Gestures

Arms Crossed: When someone makes this gesture they are unconsciously mimicking a smile with their arms.  The motivation to do that is that the arms are much more visible and more likely to convey their mood.  People showing this gesture are more than likely in a good mood and feeling relaxed.

Middle Finger Raised: The roots of this gesture extend back in time to when were animals.  Observing animals today such as cats will show you that when a cat is happy or excited to see someone they will raise their tail and keep it vertical.  Our simian ancestors probably used a similar gesture.  Since we no longer have tails we now raise a sole finger vertically (usually our middle one, the longest and most visible) to convey that feeling or happiness to see someone.


Since the right side of the brain controls the left eye, and vice versa for the right eye, and different information is stored in each hemisphere (2), we can tell a lot about what a person is thinking based on the pattern of winking.

  • If you are playing poker, you can usually tell what colour the cards in a person’s hand are after they look at them based on their pattern of winking/blinking.  Since the right side of the brain codes for red and the left side black, if the person winks with the left eye they have two black cards, and vice versa for red cards.  If they blink they are using both sides of their brain and have one card of each colour.  Knowing what colour cards your opponent has can possible be the most important piece of information you can learn at the poker table.
  • There is an easy way to tell if someone is lying based on their winking when dealing with numbers.  Psychologists and mathematicians have discovered that even numbers are coded on the right side of the brain while odds ones are coded on the left.  So if you ask someone how many drinks they’ve had, and they wink with the left eye and say “two”, you know they’re telling the truth.
  • However there is an ever more powerful way to tell if someone is lying based on their winking.  Lying requires the use of memory, creativity and speech, in that order.  The parts of the brain that house these functions are the left, right and left hemispheres very respectively (one must respect the brain, it is a fantastic piece of matter).  So if a person responds to your question after winking: *right, left, right*, you know they are lying.

Leg Gestures

Crossed Legs: Using a similar logic as we used with winking we can discover a lot about a person’s mood based on how they cross their legs (again because the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body etc.).  If a person crosses their right leg over the left, it means that more likely than not they are in a good mood, since the left side of the brain houses the good mood cortex.  This combined with crossed arms is one of the most inviting and positive clusters you can come across!

Facial Gestures

Tongue Out: In males a protruding tongue usually indicates that he is trying to attract a female.  Even though we don’t think of it as such the tongue is a muscle, one of the largest in the human body.  Without being aware of it males will let their tongues hang out around females they find attractive as an unconscious way of “putting their muscles on display”.

Women seem to respond to this.  Fossilologists have discovered fossilized tongues from our distant ancestors, and they were quite a bit smaller.  This seems to suggest that over time larger tongues have been sexually selected for by the evolutionary process.

That should give you some good information to chew on, I’ll be back with more helpful advice in part *L* two at some point.


1 – The psychological term for an upside down smile.

2 – The psychological term for side.

(just joking about everything except: cats raising their tails, the right hemisphere controlling much of the left side of the body and vice versa, some mechanisms being housed only on one side of the brain and the outstretched hand not being a threatening gesture)