optical illusion

3D Schröder Staircase

Schröder stairs is an optical illusion of a set of stairs which may be perceived either as leading from left to right downwards or the same staircase only turned upside down.

Schroeder stairs

Mathematician Kokichi Sugihara took the Schröder staircase concept, figured out how to make it in 3D, and won the Neural Correlate Society’s Illusion of the Year Award for 2020.

(via Coolhunting)

bad review revue

The Bad Review Review

Shortcut: “One shortcut not worth taking.” — Nate Adams, The Only Critic

The Midnight Sky: “A pretty dismal Sad Dad Space Movie.” — Adam Woodward, Little White Lies

Stardust: “As Bowie takes everything in – the dingy motel rooms, the unappreciative audience – his expressions convey the obvious: he wishes this was better. It is hard not to have the same reaction to ‘Stardust.'” — Gary M. Kramer,

Fatman: “Just like the bad gift that [one of the movie’s characters] gets in Fatman, the movie is like a Christmas present that looks enticing on the outside, but once you unwrap it, you find out it’s really just a disappointing and useless piece of coal.” – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters: “The title gives fair warning.” — Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

The Stand In: “Drew Barrymore plays two roles in ‘The Stand In’ and it’s tough to decide which is more intolerable.” — Chris Hewitt, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Apple design

Apple’s New Map, Expansion #10 Canada

I’ve been loving the level of detail in the new Apple Maps rollout and have been waiting for THIS particular update since I first learned that Apple was making these updates. Justin O’Beirne has been documenting the changes from old to new and I particularly love that street view (or as Apple calls it Look Around) has come to Lethbridge.

If you haven’t tried Apple Maps lately because you had a bad taste in your mouth when Google Maps used to be far superior, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s got so much better and with the new maps rolling out, it’s now visually so much nicer to look at too.

If you’re a maps person, don’t miss Justin’s other documentation of Apple Maps updates.

(via Daring Fireball)


Let’s Crack Zodiac

I didn’t know much about the Zodiac killer before hearing that one of his ciphers has been solved this week (some 51 years later) so after watching the video below I did a little research via Wikipedia’s entry on the killer which provides a succinct primer:

The Zodiac Killer (or simply Zodiac or the Zodiac) is the pseudonym of an American serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. His identity remains unknown. The killer originated the name in a series of taunting letters and cards sent to the San Francisco Bay Area press. These letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers).

The Zodiac murdered five known victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Napa County, and San Francisco, respectively, between December 1968 and October 1969. He targeted young couples, with two of the men surviving attempted murder. He also murdered a male cab driver. The Zodiac himself once claimed to have murdered 37 victims.

Famous for sending taunting letters to California newspapers — one of the messages consisted of a series of letters and symbols in a code that no one could decipher. Now a team of amateur code breakers operating in three different countries have finally solved the letter known as cipher Z340.

You don’t want to miss this:

Further interesting details at

Also, the FBI thinks the word “sooher” at the end of the message is actually “sooner”. Misspellings make for an extra hard code to break perfectly.

(via Miss Cellania, Waxy, and Metafilter)


Iginla Likes the Cold

Apparently nobody recognized the former NHL superstar during this “every man” weather report from Fox 25 asking what folks thought of the crazy amount of snow that had fallen.

“I like the snow, I like the winter, but not necessarily this,” said Jarome Iginla. “May be a little too much.”

“Pretty tough, we’re from Canada, so it’s not too crazy,” Iginla said. “I mean we got some winter tires. Used to this growing up so, it’s not great, I’ll tell you, you get some tough stretches, but if you don’t go too fast it’s doable.”

Jerome Iginla talking to news reporter about the weather.

Yep, it was that Jerome Iginla. If you don’t recognize him, Iginla is a well-known superstar hockey player. He played many years for the Calgary Flames and even played a season for the Boston Bruins. He was recently elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

(via One Foot Tsunami)


Covid-19 Cases in Horizon

My school division has been hit with a lot of COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks. From what I’ve heard there are cases all over the district with about 1 or 2 new cases every day. There was a confirmed case at my school and the person was there last Monday. I had close contact with them that day and now have to self-isolate for 10-14 days (the time away depends on getting a negative result back). This will be my third COVID test.

Update: My test came back negative.

In other COVID-19 related news it was announced today that the Pfizer vaccine was approved for use in Canada. It’s supposed to roll out sometime next week.


The McGurk Effect

Recently a Tik-tok video has been making the rounds that highlights a phenomena called the McGurk effect.

From Wikipedia:

“The McGurk effect is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception. The illusion occurs when the auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leading to the perception of a third sound.”

It stands to reason that this is what is happening when one is primed to listen to the backwards “backmasking lyrics” like the ones on my backmasking page.

How many of these can you hear?

  • 94
  • 49
  • iPhone
  • fortnight
  • nice one
  • night fall
  • throw a knife
  • eye for an eye

And here’s the explainer video put out by the BBC.

(via ATP)


One More Thing…

Yesterday, Apple held their third major event this fall and it’s the one I’ve been waiting for to FINALLY upgrade Andrea’s eight year old computer. If you haven’t been paying attention, the biggest thing about these new MacBooks is that they are running on Apple Silicon, which reports indicate are both faster and more power efficient than almost every other chip on the market by a huge margin. The M1 chip announced at this event outperforms every Mac ever made in single-core performance.1

The M1 appears to be a reworking of the A14 Bionic and is included in the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13″, and Mac Mini. We decided to go with the MacBook Air because the drawbacks appear to be slim compared with the MacBook Pro. Sure there is no fan which might mean some thermal throttling if things get too hot and no Touch Bar but for the price difference, I think it’s worth it. It ships in 1 to 2 weeks and I think it’s safe to say I’m even more excited than she is. I’m holding out for the MacBook Pro 16″ with Apple Silicon which, Apple says, will arrive within the next two years.

1. Not including truly industry level performance from discrete GPUs on Mac Pros.

Politics religion

Religious Vote Share

It turns out American Mormons voted for Trump at a much higher rate than other religions. As someone that grew up LDS, I don’t understand how they can stomach such a monster. Here are the statistics:

From NPR’s VoteCast:

(Look at me, haunted by my past… I wrote this right after the election but never posted it until December 25 and just backdated it to be less conspicuous. Is there anything in this post that I should feel bad about posting? Obviously not, but then why did I feel sheepish?)

Art entertainment

Just One More Thing…

Joe Dator’s short, sweet comic in The New Yorker shines light on Columbo’s renewed popularity and what made the show so special.

(via MetaFilter)