See sculpture run. Run, sculpture, run.

A huge running man sculpture called "Dromeas" 
("Runner" in English) was created by 
artist Costas Varotsos in 1994.

A sculpture called "Pedestrian" was created by 
artist Ryan Johnson in 2007. 

An ad agency "created" this UPS 
advertising concept in 2010. They denied 
knowing anything about the other artists.

UPS and Ogilvy on Apparent Rip-Off: No Similarities Here! Who's Ryan Johnson? Fast Company>>
Costas Varotsos>>
- Rebecca Jarvest, Twitter>>

Find the weapons in these optical illusions

Indian - Find his tomahawk

These three images are from a set of vintage optical illusion cigarette cards used for advertising by Major Drapkin & Co., part of the United Kingdom Tobacco Co.

Sailor - Find his cutlass

Gladiator - Find his sword

Major Drapkin Gallery, Optical Spy>>

The story of Trickster and the Pointing Man

A man was pointing across a lake.

Trickster was walking along when he saw a lake. As he approached the edge of the lake, he saw a man standing there. The man was wearing a black shirt and pointing across the lake.

Trickster went up to him and asked him what he was pointing at. 

The man didn't answer him. He kept on pointing. 

Trickster asking him repeatedly, but the man was silent.

Trickster said that the man was not the only one who could point. Trickster could point, too. He took out his own black shirt, stepped next to the man and also began pointing across the lake.

All day long, Trickster stood next to the man in the black shirt and pointed with him across the lake.

Eventually, Trickster's arm got tired. He asked the man when they would stop.

No answer.

Trickster said he was hungry.

No answer.

Trickster said he would find food for both of them to eat. What food did he like?

No answer.

Trickster was tired and hungry. He asked himself: Why am I standing here pointing where this other man is pointing?

Trickster put down his arm and walked away.

When he looked back at the pointing man, Trickster saw him in a different light.

The pointing man was not a man at all, but the stump of a tree, with one dead branch extending towards the water.

"I should have looked more carefully before I stood here all day", said Trickster.

"I guess this is why people call me a fool."

The Pointing Man, The Encyclopedia of Hočąk (Winnebago) Mythology>>

The fake real estate of Suzdal, Russia

Look closely and you might 
see more than they intended.

From the BBC:
A Russian city has wrapped its dilapidated buildings in fake facades ahead of a planned visit by President Vladimir Putin, it's emerged.

Local authorities in the historic city of Suzdal draped unkempt traditional wooden houses in banners camouflaged to look like well-tended facades, complete with carved window frames and flowerpots in the windows, according to a blog post by a local journalist. The sprucing-up operation earlier in November came ahead of a national conference of local government leaders that Putin was scheduled to attend.

Media websites - such as Moskovsky Komsomolets - were quick to liken the result to fake villages said to have been erected by Catherine the Great's favourite, Grigory Potemkin, in war-ravaged regions of southern Ukraine in the 18th Century. This was allegedly done in an effort to impress the visiting empress and foreign ambassadors. The window-dressing habit apparently continued in Soviet Russia. Stories abound of regional authorities giving blocks of flats quick licks of paint and stacking fresh goods in usually barren shops ahead of visits by party bigwigs.

In Suzdal's case, the effort seems to have been in vain. Putin never got around to putting in an appearance after all.

In real estate, it's always important 
to see a complete view of a building.

In politics, it's always important 
to let them see what you want them to see.

Russia: Fake facades on unkempt homes 'to impress Putin', BBC>>

Do lies hurt or help a president?

Americans say they want honesty,
 but they also admire a ruthless leader.

After I wrote a post about a woman who lied about sexual violence against women, with me asking whether lies hurt or help, I found an article about presidents who lie.

John Blake from CNN said that, in many situations, we want leaders who lie.
"I cannot tell a lie." 
That's the signature line from a classic American story. When the nation's first president was asked as a boy if he had chopped down his father's cherry tree, he didn't say "I can neither confirm nor deny those reports," or "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." 
George Washington told the truth even if it got him in trouble. The moral of the story -- Washington was a great leader because he would not lie, and all presidents should be as honest as our founding father. 
Well, guess what? That story about Washington and the cherry tree is a lie. Never happened. And the notion that a good president doesn't lie to the American people -- that's an illusion as well. Historians say many of our greatest presidents were the biggest liars -- and duplicity was part of their greatness. 
"Every president has not only lied at some time, but needs to lie to be effective," says Ed Uravic, a former Washington lobbyist, congressional chief of staff and author of "Lying Cheating Scum."
It's a good read, and will also explain why we don't consider honest Jimmy Carter a great president: Of course presidents lie, CNN>>

Chimp or woman? An optical illusion

Sometimes, the truth is ambiguous. 
And slightly simian.

This illustration was created by C. Allan Gilbert, who also created the world's most famous optical illusion>>


Do lies help or hurt your cause?

Meghan spoke at a rally
 to combat 
violence against women.

Whatever side we're on, we want to confirm that the other side's wrong and is full of lying stinking weasels.

The reality is that anyone can be a weasel.

Meghan Lanker-Simons, who recently graduated from the University of Wyoming, received a nasty Facebook message while she was in school:
“I want to hatef*** Meg Lanker Simons so hard. That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican bitch.”
The university community was understandable outraged. Ms. Lanker-Simons spoke at a university rally that addressed sexual violence against women.

Now it's a laudable goal to try to combat sexual violence against women. However, whenever taking on a cause, it might be useful to tell the truth about it, because if you lie and are discovered to have lied, others might not take you - or your cause - seriously.

When police investigated who might have sent the comment, they discovered it was sent from a computer owned by Ms. Lanker-Simons, and it was sent from her personal account.

It seems she'd sent the message herself.

She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and had to pay court costs and a fine.

Here's the question: She rallied people to protest against a real problem by posting a lie. 

So did she ultimately hurt or harm the cause?

People who believe in the cause can say:
"Yes, she lied, but it's still a good cause and she did bring attention to it."
People who don't believe in the cause can say:
"I knew it! It's not a true cause at all and it only gets attention because of liars like her."
Everyone chooses the sides they already believe in, but what about the people in the middle, who are undecided?

What do they think about the cause?

Wyoming grad fined in threatening Facebook hoax, Miami Herald>>

Read more here:
UW Police: Facebook post was a hoax -- UPDATED, Laramie Boomerang>>

A couple of boob shots - two optical illusions

This one was banned on Facebook, probably 
due to an algorithm searching for nasty pixels.

Where does your mind go when it sees an ambiguous image? We know where some people's minds go.

Probably shouldn't send this photo to grandma.

To be inoculated against your dirty thoughts, use this:

One image: Facebook Took Down This Picture Because It Thinks Elbows Are Boobs, Gizmodo>>
The other, source unknown.

5 pranks using an IKEA store

"We are big enough to absorb all your pranks."

Norwegian comedians Bård Ylvisåker and Vegard Ylvisåke, who perform as Ylvis, trap people inside an IKEA showroom.

Trapped in IKEA, courtesy of Ylvis

And for anyone who's ever been lost in an IKEA store and has seen the movie or trailer for the movie Gravity, you might appreciate...

Alfonso Cuarón's "IKEA" - Official Trailer

 Wardrobe malfunction

Too quiet?

Actually, IKEA has a sense of humor. Here's a product recall ad they ran in 2012 where they offered to exchange left-handed allen keys with right-handed allen keys. You just dropped the incorrect tool into a swap box at their store and immediately the correct tool came out of a slot.

Of course, the in box was connected directly to the out box.

IKEA product recall

For more fun by Ylvis which is not IKEA related, see It's the Norwegian electric car foghorn prank, Deceptology>>

9 celebrities missing some essential items

"Mark it thumbs up!" shouted Walter.

In a world where movie actors need their props, there is another world where movie actors have their props erased. In a world where guns and bicycles no longer exist, this is what you would see.


"This is the same thumbs up 
I gave to your old man, McFly."

"I thought I stopped doing these sorts of activities."

"Yep, it's still red."

"You get my lucky thumbs up today."

 "Yes, it's the ultimate in air resistance machines."

 "I confer on you my casual yet logical thumbs up."

"I'm the Terminator, and I approve this post."

See more celebrities with guns replaced by thumbs at Thumbs and Ammo>>
See more celebrities and others without bicycles at Invisible Bicycles>>

The Harvard vs. Yale game - and it's not football

Harvard and Yale have been rivals since 1875.

Every year, the Ivy league universities of Harvard and Yale face off in a football game.

Sometimes the students meet in other ways, such as in this prank, where Harvard students in the comedy group On Harvard Time decided to crash the Yale campus suited up in Yale garb and gave unsanctioned school tours to prospective students and their parents.

Subtle tour-guide hilarity ensues.

Harvard Tours Yale

Harvard Pranks Yale With Hilarious Fake Admissions Tour, Forbes>>

A trickster game: traffic cones on statue heads

The Duke of Wellington was assured of victory in battle 
whenever he wore his special headgear.

I enjoy the understatement in this BBC news magazine explanation of this phenomena:
"The placing of traffic cones on historic statues can be blamed on two factors - alcohol and the prevalence of roadworks of some kind in city centres."
It's a funny and relatively harmless prank - unless the prankster falls off while attempting to hat the statue.

 Queen Victoria wishes to thank her milliner.

Pure dignity.

Actually, pranksters may not be responsible. It could be this guy:

"I say traffic cone on statue head is 
religious ritual! What say you?"

(And in a side-note, the artist prankster responsible for creating the above monster in North Carolina was charged with "misdemeanor larceny" for repurposing the barrels from a construction site. I wish him a long and successful monster-creating career.)

The crowd said: "You're fatter than you think"

An economist discovers that a group will call 
him out on his own lies, even if they're inadvertent. 

Economist Lars Christensen was giving a presentation to investment advisors when he discovered a real life example of the "wisdom of crowds", the idea that a group gives a better answer than any individual expert.

He claims his experience is an illustration of the "efficient market hypothesis", where an individual investor cannot beat the market because a crowd will discover the true value of an investment. Others dispute this principle and say it is possible to consistently find investments that will rise in price. I don't know which economic theory is true, but Mr. Christensen does share a good anecdote:
I ask the audience to guess my weight. They all wrote their guesses on a piece of paper. All the guesses was collected and an average guess – the “consensus forecast” – was calculated, while I continued my presentation.

I started my presentation and I naturally started telling why all of my forecasts would be useless – or at least that they should not expect that I would be able to beat the market. I of course wanted to demonstrate exactly that with my little stunt. It was a matter of demonstrating the wisdom of the crowds – or a simple party-version of the Efficient Market Hypothesis.

I am certainly not weighing myself on a daily basis so I was“guestimating” my own weight then I told the audience that my weight is 81 kilograms (fully dressed). I usually think of my own weight as being just below 80 kg, but I was trying to correct it for the fact I was fully dressed – and I added a bit extra because my wife has been teasing me that I gained weight recently.

As always I was completely confident that the “survey” result would come in close to the “right” number. So I was bit surprised when the ”consensus forecast” for my weight came in at 84.6 kg

It was close enough for me to claim that the “market” – or the crowd – was good at “forecasting”, but I must say that I thought the “verdict” was wrong – nearly 85 kg. That is fat. I am not fat…or am I?

So once I came back home I immediately jumped on the scale – for once I hoped to show that the Efficient Market Hypothesis was wrong. But the verdict was even more cruel. 84 kg!

So the “consensus forecast” was only half a kilo wrong and way better than my own guestimate. So not only am I fat, but I was also beaten by the “market” in guessing my own weight.
Via: Wise Crowds Tell No Lies, Marginal Revolution>>

The optical illusion wall clock of J.P. Meulendijks

It creates the illusion that time 
depends on how you're looking at it.

Is time an illusion? Wall Clock

He designs other cool things, too: J. P Meulendijks Design Studio>>
Via Book of Joe>>

How many naked cherubs? An optical illusion

There are three heads, yet there are seven boys.

Brain say tell truth? Blame your cingulate cortex

Well, are you saying the truth?

It's better to confess - neuroscientists say so. From Forbes Magazine:
Neuroscientists now believe it’s biologically better for us to confess our secrets, or better, just to refuse to be party to someone else’s. The reason: holding on to them puts the brain in an awkward, compromised position. The cingulate cortex, essential to our emotional responses, is wired to tell the truth. This “logical lobe” signals other regions of the brain to share information so it can move on to more important functions, like learning. But when you keep a secret locked inside, you don’t allow the cingulate to perform its natural functions. Instead, the cortex becomes stressed.
This must be why I always try to tell the truth. It's not that I have good morals, it's just that my awkward brain is too stressed to lie.

3 women camouflaged, with clothing

There's something childlike and innocent about the images of photographer Wilma Hurskainen.

Although they illustrate illusions, they do not seem contrived.

I like how they seem simple on the surface, yet hint at something deeper underneath.

Wilma Hurskainen>>

The fake delivery man replacement scam

"Don't worry, we will gladly exchange them for you..."

A charity in the UK received a charitable donation from a foundation to buy new computers and other equipment to help those with mental health and learning disabilities.

The equipment was delivered to the charity, the Clarence Gardens Association, yet the next day a man arrived from the shipping company and said there had been a mix-up at the online retailer. He said that the company had mistakenly sent desktop computers instead of laptops. The man picked up the desktops and gave the charity return labels and tracking ID numbers. He said that their five laptops would arrive the next day.

The laptops never arrived.

When the charity contacted both the shipping company and the retailer, they knew nothing about any replacements.

Said a spokesperson from the charity:
“Given the amount of information this man had on the order, the right amount of returns labels and tracking IDs and that he was wearing what appeared to be the same uniform as worn by the previous day’s delivery man, there was no suspicion of anything untoward." 
Unfortunately, untoward was exactly what happened, and the computers disappeared.

Clarence Gardens Association's new laptops stolen in ‘delivery’ scam, York Press>>

Yep, it could be true - "I'm my own grandpaw"

"I'm my own grandpaw", baby

The cover of this sheet music for the 1947 novelty song "I'm my own grandpaw", written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe, contains an old man / baby reversible optical illusion.

"I'm my own grandpaw", old man

The song explains the riddle of how a man can be his own grandfather. It's an old puzzle:
A proof that a man may be his own Grandfather.—There was a widow and her daughter-in-law, and a man and his son. The widow married the son, and the daughter the old man; the widow was, therefore, mother to her husband's father, consequently grandmother to her own husband. They had a son, to whom she was great-grandmother; now, as the son of a great-grandmother must be either a grandfather or great-uncle, this boy was therefore his own grandfather.
I gather that it all makes some sort of logical sense... though not to me. I'm the one who's always nodding knowingly at family gatherings when unknown relatives are introduced, because I get confused with any relations beyond my immediate family.

The Muppets sang about this, which makes it funnier, though not any clearer to me.

I'm my own grandpa

How to cheat using a robot

No, not that kind of cheating.

Researchers at the Ishikawa Oku Laboratory at the University of Tokyo developed a robot that can cheat at the children's game rock-paper-scissors. The robot uses high-speed vision to recognize (in one millisecond) the shape that a human hand is starting to make, and then configures its own hand into a shape that will beat the human 100% of the time.

The lesson here, kids? If you see a robot hanging around the schoolyard offering to play a nice "friendly" game of rock-paper-scissors, maybe for a little bit of money, you should politely decline.

Naked butt on a log - an optical illusion

Thank you for participating!

"Mars Needs Women!" and
"Deceptology Needs Advertisers!"

A while back, I asked if some loyal readers would fill out a quick survey so I'd know who you are so I could tell advertisers who would then buy ads for this blog.

Many loyal readers complied, and again, I thank you.

So what exactly does the other arrow mean?

From that aggregated data, I created an advertising rate card that contains a profile of the "average" Deceptology reader.

(The entire report is available on Google Docs as a PDF: Deceptology 2013 Ad Rate Card>>)

Here's what I discovered about you:
  • Four times more males than females read Deceptology. 
  • A majority of Deceptology readers are older than 40. 
  • About the same number are in relationships as the number who are not in relationships. 
  • Deceptology readers are very smart - over 80% of you have either graduated from college or are currently in college. And about a quarter of you are super-duper-extra-smart - you've either completed graduate school or have earned multiple graduate degrees. 
  • Most of you are currently working. Some of you are retired, or disabled, or are enduring the damn exhausting living hell of looking for work. (You might be able to figure out which category I currently inhabit.) 
  • Finally, your income is all over the map - about as many of you are earning under $10,000 as are earning over $100,000. The median income (where half earn more and half earn less) is between $40,000 and $50,000.
What does all this mean?

Well, for me, as far as what I write about, pretty much nothing at all. I'll still continue writing about deception in all its forms. (Maybe, now that I know how many men are reading, I'll include more gratuitous shots of boobs.)

Some gratuitous boobs, of course, 

I'm looking for advertisers who will say:
"Wow! These are exactly the people I need to reach!"
So if you know of any advertisers who might say:
"Wow! I want to advertise on Deceptology!"
Please let me know via email:
bobdomeros AT (replace AT with @)

Photo from Paul Downey, Flickr>>

3 odd photos of a Chicago infected with alien tech

Click to enlarge
and understand why.

These photos of an alternative world require a more sustained glance to glean meaning.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Justin Benzel is a photo-illustrator and author from Chicago. He's raising funds for a project using words and images to create an imagined world where aliens - and their technology - appears in 1950s Chicago. The 5th Dimension>>