By now, you’ve either wondered just what color the dress is or you’re living under a rock in the middle of a deserted island with no internet and the first thing you chose to read when you were back online is my blog. Weird, but awesome. The last few days have seen a flurry of education about our visual system and I won’t duplicate too many efforts here. But I would like to talk a bit about the illusion and the way the internet exploded with pseudoexplanations and other BS as a result. I’m going to spend a little more time on what this illusion does NOT mean. First, the dress… When the ugly white and gold dress first appeared in my feed last Thursday, I had the same […]
You Probably Do NOT Have 4 Cones, What Else Is Wrong (or right) About the Goddamn Dress, and Some Fun Illusions
So this Good Morning America piece showed up in my Facebook feed the other day touting the sensational headline “Odd-Defying Babies Born 10:11 12/13/14″. Now, I think it would be adorable to have a baby born on 10:11 12/13/14 (in America, of course. In Europe, that would be 10:11 13/12/14, which just doesn’t hold the same cuteness). Human beings love the symbolism that comes from conventions such as labeling and ordering. My good friend and fellow Skeptic, Ani Aharonian (Insight blogger and guest blogger here) was married on 5/8/13 for a reason (can you guess?). But “odds-defying”? No. These babies defied no odds. Odds are a property of something that is yet to be. They are really only valuable as a means of predicting something and have […]
Is that a fallacy in your pocket or can you cite some sources? A response to Women and Feminism at TAM8
In my mini-review of The Amazing Meeting 8 I mentioned that there were two very dark spots in an otherwise amazing (sometimes the word just fits) weekend. I was not ready to discuss these in detail, but when I stumbled over this blog post by Blag Hag Jen McCreight, I felt that at least one should be discussed and I would like to do so through the filter of one of the best talks of the weekend, given by Massimo Pigliucci. McCreight addresses the question of sexism, saying: The one annoying thing I saw was the perpetuation of the Sexy vs. Smart binary in talks. I saw none of this in talks. She gives two examples: Michael Shermer’s talk included a Los Angeles County Fair commercial from […]
Cross-posted at Woo Fighters A couple of days ago I read something that I found very disturbing and I was reminded of it today. It illustrates the challenge we have in educating the public about science and, perhaps, why it is so challenging. There must be an idiom which fits. Perhaps you have some suggestions. So, first I will tell you what I read, then I will tell you why it was more disturbing than what I commonly encounter. If you want to skim, I cannot stop you, but please scroll down to the bottom for the shocker.