My husband and my father-in-law optical illusion

This ambiguous figure showing both a 
young man and an old man was created by 
the neurology professor Dr. Jack Botwinick.

Stupid prank leads to stupid counterattack

"Let's take up two parking spaces!"

This is why you want to think a bit more before you pull a prank.

The senior class at Mattawan High School in Michigan was going on an early morning field trip, so before their trip they parked their cars in the school parking lot to take up more than one space to block underclassmen from being able to park.

Some of the students who weren't able to park responded by vandalizing the cars.

Cars were scratched with keys or smeared with honey, syrup, or Vaseline topped with talcum powder or flour. Feminine hygiene maxi-pads were glued to one car.

Of course, some kids were identified via comments posted on Facebook, parents have filed criminal complaints, and police are investigating 18 students.

A few thoughts. If you're going to prank others, take some time beyond telling everyone: "Hey, I've got an idea - let's park incorrectly!" That kind of prank will only get you into the lame prank hall of fame.

Don't pull a prank with your own property, and then leave your property sitting vulnerable. ("Hey, I've got an idea for a prank! We can all leave the doors of our lockers open, which will inconvenience the people in the lockers next to us!")

For the counter-pranksters: if the first prank is lame, don't make the second prank criminal.

And remember, kids, if you pull a prank, don't brag about it and leave an online confession. It only makes the police lazy.

- Mattawan High School students could face charges for reaction to senior prank, Kalamazzo Gazette, Mlive.com>>
- Mattawan school officials say they're waiting for results of police investigation on vandalism incident, Kalamazzo Gazette, Mlive.com>>

Young nude New Yorkers playing games

It's a viral video. See the product in there?

This fake viral video will gets lots of views. It shows attractive young men and women in New York playing video games naked at a "Nude Gaming Party." But what exactly is this viral video ad trying to sell? (Yes, there's a product being hawked in there. Look for the older marketing guy to explain it to you.)


Nude Gaming Party Video

A serpentine loop of fire on the beach

Running and swinging with fire
(Click to enlarge)

When time is altered, you see many things at once. In this case, we see a long time when we see with a long exposure. Though we don't usually label it as such, isn't this photo an optical illusion?

- Found this photo at Kuriositas>>
- Kuriositas found it at Flickr; it was taken by Alexander Kesselaar>>

Was she deceptive to meet celebrities, or did they help her forget her deceptions?

She had her photo taken with Susan Boyle 
(and she also saw Westlife, JLS, The Wanted on tour, 
Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately from Boyzone, 
Alexandra Burke, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent...)

Jayne McKnight, a 45-year old woman in the UK, had one daughter who was disabled with epilepsy, which entitled her to claim £3,900 a year in child tax credits. Then, over seven years, she falsely claimed her other three children and her husband were also disabled with various ailments, including epilepsy, severe learning difficulties and gout, and she was reimbursed for child-care and after-school costs. She fraudulently claimed a total of £112,000 in tax credits.

She attended UK talent shows and auditions and saw dozens of concerts.

She said she was ‘happiest when at a gig.’

She was sentenced to two years in jail.

- Wolverhampton woman's disability credits fraud, BBC>>
- The groupie benefits cheat: Mother's £112,000 fraud funded her celebrity obsession, Mail Online, UK>>

3 playing cards assembled in a deceptive way

An intriguing puzzle created 
by George Miller.


It looks just as impossible when 
the cards are facing out.

George Miller creates puzzles and makes prototypes of puzzles for other puzzle-makers. His design called "Three Card Burr" from 2002 is made of three playing cards that have been cut to allow them to be locked together and displayed in a plastic stand.

 
 Typical burr puzzle

A burr puzzle is a puzzle with at least three pieces intersecting each other at right angles. Burr puzzles are usually made of six pieces of notched wood and locked together to create a shape.

In Mr. Miller's puzzle, the cards can be assembled without tearing or creasing them, and once they're put together they cannot be taken apart without destroying them.


George Miller

- Photo from Puzzle Palace>>
- George Miller's Puzzle Palace>>
- Photo from Puzzlein>>
- Photo of George Miller at MagicPuzzles>>
- Research site on burr puzzles from IBM>>
- History of burr puzzles (and photo) The Encyclopedia of Science, David Darling>>


What to do if you get life in prison

There's a reason Mr. Fears loves the IRS.

Troy Fears, age 54, serving a life sentence in prison, decided he had nothing to lose. He submitted 117 fake tax returns to the IRS, using information from other prisoners. The refund checks were electronically deposited into Mr. Fears' accounts. After his scheme was uncovered, authorities discovered that Mr. Fears had stolen $119,000. He pleaded guilty to fraud and received four more years in prison.

- Lifer gets four more years for tax fraud, Kennebec Journal>>
- I love tax hat, CafePress>>

What is true reverse perspective?

A world where the expected rules of perspective 
act unexpectedly, yet still follow rules

It makes sense for humans to see things getting larger as they get closer, but what if that weren't true? Could we have evolved a different way of seeing, where objects looked smaller to us as they got farther away? Jeremy Mooney-Somers, the creator of the video below, explains the rules:
"In Reverse Perspective the expected visual rules are inverted, so close objects are small and far objects are big. This is not only true for whole objects, but their structure as well. So the near points of an object are closer together, relative to its far points, which gives the flared-out look of the buildings, and the scene as a whole.

Essentially, the positions of the vanishing-point and the focal-point are swapped. So now we are at the vanishing-point, where geometry shrinks to nothingness, and the focal-point lies some distance ahead, beyond which objects scale to infinity."

True Reverse Perspective

True Reverse Perspective from JMS on Vimeo.

A whirligig from Martin Wattenberg>>
Weird reverse perspective, animated. A discussion at Boing Boing>> 

25% of your seafood could be a fraud

Can you name that fish - Is it swordfish or mako shark?

There are many ways you can be cheated when you buy seafood:
  • There might be less actual seafood in the package (think overbreaded shrimp.)
  • Your seafood could be packaged in large amounts of ice to increase its weight (sometimes up to 40% is ice.)
  • It might have traveled a creative journey through various countries, disguising its origins (and 84% of U.S. fish is imported.)
Now, scientists using genetic testing have discovered that 25% of your seafood might be mislabeled, meaning one fish has been substituted for another.

Experts can identify fish more easily identified by its scales, fins or head, but most fish in your supermarket lacks both. But just as DNA catches sex offenders, DNA bar coding can catch fish cheats.

Said Dr. Michael Hirshfield, chief scientist of the nonprofit group Oceana:
“If you’re ordering steak, you would never be served horse meat... But you can easily be ordering snapper and get tilapia or Vietnamese catfish.”
- Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish, The New York Times>>
- Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health, Oceana>>
- Opens PDF file directly from Oceana: Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health>>

14 tips to find your next investment scam victim

A gold Rolex helps (Read tip #9)

What professional scammers tell up-and-coming con artists who want to clean up in the investment fraud business:
  1. Look for older men, from ages 55-65. They're set in their ways, and they've got enough money to steal to make it worth your time.
  2. Make sure your victim thinks he's smarter than he really is. Find a guy who always thinks he knows what he's doing, and never wants to look stupid by asking too many questions.
  3. Your victim should have a history of making risky investments. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer.
  4. He should be emotional, and not think very carefully about what he's doing. Of course he doesn't think he's emotional. Find one that acts like a tough guy but reacts like a teen girl.
  5. Better if he's one of those "do-it-yourself" kind of guys who does his own online stock trading.
  6. Find the guy who never does enough due diligence. He might read the materials you give him (and of course he'll barely skim those), but he'll never go online and actually research anything. He'll just read whatever agrees with his own view.
  7. The best strategy is to scam your guy, and then use him to scam others, because these types of guys believe "A man's word is his word." Try to find a guy who's well-connected and in some sort of club or a big church, because when you're introduced to others, you'll be his "friend" and not some random stranger. Then reel in your suckers.
  8. Dangle pretty baubles in front of his eyes. Tell him he'll get a huge rate of return - a guaranteed return - with high rewards and no risk.
  9. Look the part by dressing well. Wear an expensive suit and accessorize with a Rolex watch. (Note: gold is better than other metals.) The watch can be fake, and so can any certificates or diplomas on your office wall. He'll be impressed, and he won't check.
  10. At first, throw your money around. Buy him dinner and drinks at a fancy place. It's a small investment on your part, but it will pay big later on when your guy reciprocates. Hey, you did something for him, and he'll definitely feel the need to do something for you.
  11. Don't forget to mention your deal is a limited time offer, or there aren't too many spots available. You want your victim to act now and be afraid his buddies will get in and he won't. Translate all of his suspicions into fear.
  12. If your victim asks too many questions, just move on to the next guy. Don't waste your time with a guy who might actually verify what you're saying. 
  13. Ignore the skeptics and critics. Even if somebody does question you, and they've got good sources of information on you, and hell, they're even right, just blow then off and don't bother to fight them. Maintain your focus on the ones who believe, rip them off, and keep smiling.
  14. And remember, even if your most gullible victim finds this list, he'll say: "Thank God I'm not that guy!"
Thanks to MarketWatch: Why men are easy prey for investment scams. Know if you’re vulnerable to fraud and protect yourself>>

Kit Kat candy bar bench advertising illusion

This Nestle's Kit Kat candy bar deceptively functions as a bench. 

Photo by Noah Dylan Goldblatt>>

The ATM repairman who needed a little break

How Samuel Kioskli found the funds 
to take a little vacation

Mr. Kioskli, age 64, had obviously had enough. An employee of Diebold, he maintained ATMs for the Bank of America.

He had access to lots of cash in those ATM machines, but could he just take it without anyone noticing?

He decided to counterfeit a stash of fake $20 bills. He used his key card to access ATMs in seven locations, where he switched the real money with his fake bills.

Altogether, he stole $200,000.

The next day, his wife called police to report her husband had disappeared, and the bank soon heard from customers wondering why their ATMs were spitting out counterfeits.

Ten months later, Mr. Kioskli, who was from San Francisco, was discovered during a routine traffic stop in Phoenix, Arizona.

He's pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary, embezzlement, forgery and possession of counterfeiting apparatus.

ATM repairman accused of loading fake money, San Francisco Chronicle>>

The smashed keyboard illusion office prank

For the cubicle dweller, this prank is less annoying than 
an office full of packing peanuts and more likely 
to provoke a "That's so cool!" response.

(I like to attribute - anyone know where this is from?)

The fake sex pill that works

The herbal sex drug ExtenZe claims to be a 
potent male enhancement product.

The maker of ExtenZe, Biotab Nutraceuticals, has been sued for deceptive marketing because there's no scientific evidence that the herbal supplement ExtenZe works as claimed. But if you need an effective male enhancement product, you might be in luck if you can find a counterfeit version of ExtenZe.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers that fraudulent versions of ExtenZe have appeared. These fake sex pills are sold as herbal ExtenZe but actually contain some of the same ingredients (tadalafil and sildenafil) as prescription-only medications such as Viagra and Cialis.

So to find effective (yet dangerous) male sex pills, look for the counterfeit versions of the ineffective herbal pills that contain real medication.

Counterfeit herbal sex pills contain prescription-only erectile dysfunction meds, FDA warns, The Washington Post>>

Cat bodies make a face

How many cats make up this 
Halloween mask optical illusion? 
What are the eyes made of?
And the mouth?

"We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality..."




Four portraits of Dame Iris Murdoch as 
each of the four elements - Earth, Air, 
Water, and Fire - by artist Tom Phillips.

"We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality... But given the state of the world, is it wise?"
- Iris Murdoch, philosopher and writer>>

The final commissioned portrait by Tom Phillips>>

A handbook for pool hustlers

"In a strange room, by far the best way to stir up 
some action is to spend a day losing money 
while the local boys are watching..."

Danny McGoorty was a pool hustler whose heyday was in the 1920s and 30s. He told his stories in 1970 to Robert Byrne, who wrote McGoorty: A Pool Room Hustler. The following excerpts are from chapter five, called “Handbook for Hustlers.” McGoorty died of cancer in November 1970 at the age of sixty-seven.
When you are hustling, naturally; you never make a long run. You never show what you can really do. I got to be a good hustler, and if I had been a little smarter about broads and booze I could have made a decent living at it. As it was I was usually broke and was always having to take some goddam job for a few weeks to bail myself out. Pool hustling is a very tough line of work. If you expect to make anything you not only have to be a good player, you have to be a psychologist, an actor, and a thief as well…

There were quite a few of us hustling at the same time, so we had to split up, spread out, make different moves. One would go southeast, another south, another north, even though north meant going all the way to Wilson and Sheridan. You couldn’t just hang around on street corners or the cops would vag you. You had to keep on the go, carrying a newspaper with a few classified ads circled so you could say you were looking for a job. Standing on a street corner you better have a bus transfer in your hand.

So we kept moving on our routes, going from room to room. In case a mark wandered into a place when we weren’t there, one of our bird dogs would phone us. I had a bird dog in almost every “action” room who would tip me off for small change. If a couple of us were sitting in a room when a mark walked in we would sometimes draw straws to see who got first crack at him. There is one thing I want to throw in here. In all the hustling I’ve done I’ve never seen what you would call a code of ethics. Unless they are teamed up in some kind of swindle, hustlers are usually strictly out for themselves. I’ve had them come right up to my table when l am playing and say to my mark, “You gonna keep playing him? You got no chance in the world.” Trying to spoil my action, trying to get the guy for themselves.

Dude, that's intentionally false advertising!

The outdoor sign for beer, sex and lies

This was also found as a joke on the Reader's Digest laugh site:
A bar in our neighborhood got lots of interesting traffic. Cars swerved into the parking lot, and the drivers would run inside only to reappear minutes later looking confused. One reason might have been the sign outside: "Free Beer, Topless Bartenders, and False Advertising."
Here's a fool's errand. Do an internet search and discover:
  1. Where this sign is located
  2. Who took the photo
  3. Whether it's even a real sign
I'm a fool, and I couldn't find it.

Actually, according to one wag (I've always wanted to use the word "wag") the sign is 100% true: "Free Beer" is the name of the band, the male bartenders aren't wearing shirts, and "False" refers to Mr. False, who owns the advertising sign business.

The incredibly warped optical illusion table

A circular "café wall" optical illusion table


It's even more obvious from overhead

This table is made of four concentric circles that are actual, true circles, even though our brain processes them as spirals.  It was handmade by Mike Guetta from ExoticTiles in Montreal, Canada. This visual effect is based on the café wall optical illusion.


The café wall illusion


The actual café

The illusion was first observed on an actual café wall in Bristol, England, and explained in a paper by Richard L. Gregory and Priscilla Heard in Perception magazine.

Buy a homemade table for your own illusionistic café: Café Wall Illusion Table, Etsy>>

- See a moving version of the illusion at Café Wall Illusion, Michael Bach>>
- An interactive version, at IllusionWorks>>
- From the Exploratorium>>
- Technical explanation of the illusion at Dr. Gregory's site>>

A woman defends her adultery

"For me, it was all physical. 
I was not looking for a new life, just an escape."

In a letter from "Secretly Cheating" written to columnist Harlen Cohen, a woman explains why she cheats:
You asked why some women cheat. I've been married for more than 20 years. I got married very young. I am a woman who NEVER thought I would consider cheating. I always thought if you aren't happy, you get out -- period.

Then reality hit. I changed, and he did not. We completely grew apart, plus our sex life tanked (I want it; he does not! I'm in great shape, he is not anymore). But by then, we were wrapped up in our life, our children, both our families and our social life as a married couple. He refused to go to marriage counseling. I thought, "There is no way I can lose all this and turn my kids' lives upside down, but I am way too young to live without sex!" Over time, I was occasionally propositioned by married men, and thought it was terrible -- at first. Then after becoming "just friends" with one of them, I learned that many people have a sex issue in their marriage, but are happy with everything else. I hooked up with him and with three more men in the next three years. We always were discreet and protected, and it was always with men who did not want to leave their wives.

For me, it was all physical. I was not looking for a new life, just an escape. Honey, you have no idea how many there are out there like us, mostly over 30 and not wanting to change their lives, just their sex lives. All of us in this situation feel used and rejected in the most basic way by our spouses, who then assume we won't wander because we have everything else going for us, so they don't have to bother giving us the physical intimacy. In a sense, they broke the vow first with that total disregard for us. My advice? If you have a good relationship, do not take it for granted. And you don't always have to be in the mood to have sex. Do it as a gift, and if your partner is halfway decent, you will end up having fun. You never know who will wander -- you would have no idea by looking at me -- no one in my life knows what I have done, and that is perfect.

- Secretly Cheating
HARLAN: Cheating wife loves married life, but looks elsewhere for a sex life, Kennebec Journal>>

Do you need a fake person?

Even though they're all three-dimensional,
none of these people are real.

A company called 25 kids makes custom life-sized photo standups. Besides being made for advertising, one innovative way they've been used is to create flat versions of military men and women, so even though they've been deployed they can still remain at home and be included in family events.

I believe the beads may not be standard issue.

Another use is to create a traffic control standup such as a deputy with a radar gun, which might - at least the first time a speeding driver sees it - be more effective than a parked police car.

Flat deputy as a speed trap

25 kids>>

Mentalist Al Koran fools Ed Sullivan

He seemed to know what you would do.

Born Edward Doe in Britain, Al Koran (1914-1972) worked as a hairdresser until his magic hobby turned professional. He created audacious and innovative methods - still used by magicians today - to accomplish his miracles. In this clip, he appears on the Ed Sullivan variety show in the 1960s.

The real photo that looks fake

 The background is a sand dune 
"tinted orange by the morning sun."

This photograph, called Camel Thorn Trees, was taken at the Namib-Naukluft park in Namibia by Frans Lanting for National Geographic Magazine. The composition, intense colors and a foreshortening effect that flattens the image makes it look more fake than real. (I'm also fooled by the light orange spots in the background - what are those?)

Similar trees and background, shown in a less abstract way.

The above photo looks more "real." It was taken in Dead Vlei, Namibia and submitted to National Geographic by Fedorico Vettorato.

Photo of the Day - Camel Thorn Trees, Namibia, National Geographic>>
The story the photo illustrated is from June 2011: "Africa's Super Park."

The very subtle road sign prank

Some signs are obviously a prank, while others...

Were pranksters in Wyke, England upset that the speed limit was changed on a street, lowering it from 40 mph to 30 mph? They removed the existing 30 mph sign and replaced it with a stolen 40 mph sign. The sign was located next to a traffic speed camera.

The result? Said a local resident:
“Some evenings it’s been like a strobe disco light. There have obviously been a lot of people who have been caught by it."
Motorists caught speeding might get a break on their tickets by contacting authorities.

Motorists caught by road sign switch ‘prank’ Yorkshire Post>>

The deceptions of the Great Zucchini

His secrets will be revealed.

Read about Eric Knaus, a Washington D.C. performer who goes by the name The Great Zuchini:
The Great Zucchini actually does magic tricks, but they are mostly dime-store novelty gags -- false thumbs to hide a handkerchief, magic dust that turns water to gel -- accompanied by sleight of hand so primitive your average 8-year-old would suss it out in an instant. That's one reason he has fashioned himself a specialist in ages 2 to 6. He behaves like no adult in these preschoolers' world, making himself the dimwitted victim of every gag. He thinks a banana is a telephone, and answers it. He can't find the birthday boy when the birthday boy is standing right behind him. Every kid in the room is smarter than the Great Zucchini; he gives them that power over their anxieties.
READ The Peekaboo Paradox, The Washington Post>> 

- The Great Zuchini's website>>

Were guys attracted by an online spy in a bikini?

Was she a spy, or were men merely
goggled-eyed by her fake sexy images?
A photo of the real Shawna Gorman 
(if it's really her)

It's not much of a story when someone misrepresents herself on the internet. But it is a story if it involves the intelligence community:
It started out with a leggy, bikini-clad avatar. She said she was a missile expert — the “1st Lady of Missiles,” in fact — but sometimes suggested she worked with the CIA. With multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, she earned a following of social media-crazed security wonks. Then came the accusations of using sex appeal for espionage.

Now everyone involved in this weird network is adjusting their story in one way or another, demonstrating that even people in the national security world have trouble remembering one of the basic rules of the internet: Not everyone is who they say they are.
Unfollowed: How a (Possible) Social Network Spy Came Undone, Danger Room, Wired>>

Pranking a secretary in 1963

A Candid Camera prank with Woody Allen

A very young Woody Allen, one of the show's writers, appears on a Camera Camera TV show prank in 1963. Here, he has his secretary take dictation as he composes a love letter to his girlfriend:
"You are everything to me... three explanation points..."
Woody Allen Candid Camera Must See 

Are White House "re-enacted" photos deceptive?

Photographers are allowed to stand in the same spot 
as the video camera after President Obama's speech.

It has long been the practice of the White House to re-enact photos of a president giving a speech.

The White House considers it distracting for photographers to take photos during the speech, and news organizations don't want to be limited to the official photos taken by White House photographers, or use the lower-quality screen grabs from television.

After a televised speech, a president will sometimes walk up to the podium again, and read a few lines from his speech so photographers can take photos.

Says journalist Jason Reed:
"As President Obama continued his nine-minute address in front of just one main network camera, the photographers were held outside the room by staff and asked to remain completely silent. Once Obama was off the air, we were escorted in front of that teleprompter and the President then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us."
After President Obama's live address announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, questions were raised about whether the photos taken after the speech could be considered "staged," so the White House is ending the practice and hopes another less deceptive solution can be found.

- White House: No More Photo Re-Enactments, ABC>>
- Ready to record history, Jason Reed, Reuters>>

You have to stand in the right spot to face it

An optical illusion inside a store window - 
"Anamorphosis" by Jason Puccinelli

Hair -  
Jason Puccinelli's Installation for STart On Broadway

Hair from Jason Puccinelli on Vimeo.


One of Jason's sculptures. 
I think he might be a bit of a trickster.

For trickster confirmation, see his work In Your Face (NSFW)>>

Jason Puccinelli>>

A dangerous bet with a cigarette lighter - Roald Dahl's story "The Man from the South"

“Listen to me. Now we have some fun. We make a bet. 
Den we go up to my room here in de hotel where iss no 
wind and I bet you you cannot light dis famous lighter 
of yours ten times running without missing once.”

Roald Dahl, the author of classic kid's stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also wrote many macabre stories for adults. This story was originally called The Menace, then The Slasher, and then was published as a $1,000 featured story in a 1948 Collier's Magazine, where it was called Collector's Item. In later anthologies, it's called The Man from the South.

It's one of the greatest gambling stories ever written. Versions have been filmed by both Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino. It's four thousand words.

Roald Dahl at Wikipedia>>
TV, radio and film adaptations of "Man From the South">>


The Man from the South by Roald Dahl

It was getting on toward six o’clock so I thought I’d buy myself a beer and go out and sit in a deck chair by the swimming pool and have a little evening sun.

I went to the bar and got the beer and carried it outside and wandered down the garden toward the pool.

It was a fine garden with lawns and beds of azaleas and tall coconut palms, and the wind was blowing strongly through the tops of the palm trees making the leaves hiss and crackle as though they were on fire. I could see the clusters of big brown nuts hanging down underneath the leaves.

There were plenty of deck chairs around the swimming pool and there were white tables and huge brightly colored umbrellas and sunburned men and women sitting around in bathing suits. In the pool itself there were three or four girls and about a dozen boys, all splashing about and making a lot of noise and throwing a large rubber ball at one another.

I stood watching them. The girls were English girls from the hotel. The boys I didn’t know about, but they sounded American and I thought they were probably naval cadets who’d come ashore from the U.S. naval training vessel which had arrived in the harbor that morning.

I went over and sat down under a yellow umbrella where there were four empty seats, and I poured my beer and settled back comfortably with a cigarette.

It was very pleasant sitting there in the sunshine with beer and a cigarette. It was pleasant to sit and watch the bathers splashing about in the green water.

The American sailors were getting on nicely with the English girls. They’d reached the stage where they were diving under the water and tipping them up by their legs.

Just then I noticed a small, oldish man walking briskly around the edge of the pool. He was immaculately dressed in a white suit and he walked very quickly with little bouncing strides, pushing himself high up onto his toes with each step. He had on a large creamy Panama hat, and he came bouncing along the side of the pool, looking at the people and the chairs.

What to do after you've told the truth

Porcelain legs with golden shoes

“Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.” - Slovenian proverb

The Japanese TV ghost in the mirror prank

A slightly illusionistic poster close-up from 
the horror film One Missed Call

Here's a prank from a Japanese TV show. What's even funnier than the initial scare is how they pushed one scary startle into the realm of the ridiculous.

 Japanese TV Ghost in the Mirror Prank

A detective uncovers a rapist's deception

Private investigator Ken Brennan (foreground) 
and retired Miami-Dade police detective Allen Foote

A story in Vanity Fair magazine details the work required to solve The Case of the Vanishing Blonde:
"After a woman living in a hotel in Florida was raped, viciously beaten, and left for dead near the Everglades in 2005, the police investigation quickly went cold. But when the victim sued the Airport Regency, the hotel’s private detective, Ken Brennan, became obsessed with the case: how had the 21-year-old blonde disappeared from her room, unseen by security cameras?

...The job in this case was straightforward. Find out who raped and beat this young woman and dumped her in the weeds. Had the attack even happened at the hotel, or had she slipped out and met her assailant or assailants someplace else? Was she just a simple victim, or was she being used by some kind of Eastern European syndicate? Was she a prostitute? Was she somehow implicated? There were many questions and few answers."
The Case of the Vanishing Blonde, Vanity Fair>>

The Mask of Love optical illusion

Like many illusions of love, it's obvious once you see it.

The face in the Venetian mask above is not actually one face.

This optical illusion was one of the winners of the Neural Correlate Society's 2011 Illusion of the Year contest. When you look at it, you probably see a face, and don't notice that the blurry photograph is actually that of a man and a woman about to kiss.

When you see two faces, your perception of the photo will flip between two faces and a single face, in what's called a "bistable illusion."

Top 10 finalists in the 2011 Contest, Best Illusion of the Year>>

How to pour coffee into a camera lens

You must find the right type of lens. 


It's not useful for actual photography, but 
these fake lens mugs can administer caffeine. 

Available in Canon or Nikon versions, they have lens cap lids, focus and zoom rings, and an auto-focus switch that can actually switch. The Nikon mug even "zooms" when you twist its grip.

The Camera Lens Mug is available from Photojojo>>

Nerdy shirts supplied with fake pens

Fake pens silk-screened on a shirt
Etsy>>


Fake leaky pen t-shirt 
(For when you don't need a functional pen, 
and want the illusion of sloppiness)
 Cafe Press>>


Multiple fake pens in a t-shirt pocket
(For when you're so cool, you
really really don't need a pen)


Multiple fake pens in a fake pocket protector
(For when you need fake protection 
from all your fake pens)
Illusionwear>>


- Large long sleeve mens dress shirt with fake pen print (pale lavender), Social Studies, Etsy>>
- Fake Pen Pocket - Optical Illusion T Shirt, Illusionwear>>
- Leaky Pen in Pocket Shirt, Cafe Press>>
- Nerd fake pens shirt, Zazzle>>