backmasking psychology


The Best of Wikipedia is a continually updated collection of some of the most interesting Wikipedia articles. Here’s one from yesterday:

Pareidolia – Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse. There have been many instances of perceptions of religious imagery and themes—in 1978, a New Mexican woman found that the burn marks on a tortilla she had made appeared similar to the traditional western depiction of Jesus Christ’s face. Thousands of people came to see the framed tortilla. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.

(via Best of Wikipedia)


Wikipedia’s List of Common Misconceptions

I enjoyed reading through Wikipedia’s list of common misconceptions.


Frank Ahearn Can Help You Disappear

Frank Ahearn helps people to disappear. After 20 years as a “skip tracer” he’s reversed engineered his career and now helps people run away from their old lives.

There are three key steps to disappearing. First, destroy old information about yourself. Call your video store or electricity company and replace your old, correct phone number with a new, invented one. Introduce spelling mistakes into your utility bills. Create a PO Box for your mail. Don’t use your credit cards and the like.

Then, create bogus information to fool private investigators who might be looking for you. Go to one city and apply for an apartment. Rent a car in another one.

The next, final step is the most important one. Move from point A to point B. Create a dummy company to pay your bills. Only use prepaid mobile phones and change them every month. It is nearly impossible to find out where you are unless you make a mistake.

I don’t think I’d make a very good client, I have too many connections to people that I wouldn’t want to give up.

documentary psychology

Married to the Eiffel Tower

Married to the Eiffel tower is a BBC documentary about objectophilia, a pronounced sexual desire toward particular inanimate objects.

Erika La Tour Eiffel, like Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer – the woman who married the Berlin Wall, is an “objectum sexual”, people who fall literally in love with buildings and objects. They have sex and relationships with them; their passion as ardent as any human relationship.

The documentary subjects discuss sexual fantasy with objects throughout the documentary so use your discretion. This is part 1 of 7.

Hit play or watch Married to the Eiffel Tower on Youtube.

Part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7.


Dave Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous

If you’ve got an hour to spend, this Google Tech Talk by David Weinberger is worth a listen. In it he explains how the breakdown of categorization designed for physical objects when applied to digital or abstract objects (such as thoughts) can be overcome through new kinds of categorization—ie. tagging.


Trapped for 41 Hours

Can you imagine being trapped in an elevator for 41 hours? The New Yorker just published a brilliant article, Up and then Down: the lives of elevators which features the story of Nick White, a man trapped for 41 hours in a New York City elevator. Their site includes a must-see time-lapse security cam video of the ordeal that changed Nick forever.


Elephant Self Portrait

This elephant is simply incredible! I wonder if he came up with the design himself or if he was taught it and that’s all he does. Either way, WOW.

[Elephant Painting – YouTube]

This particular “artist” appears to be an elephant called Hong who lives at the Maetaman Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand. An article about Hong published on The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) website notes:

Two years ago, Hong began painting with her mahout, Noi Rakchang, and has steadily developed her skills. After learning how to paint flowers, she moved on to more advanced paintings. She now has two specialties. One is an elephant holding flowers with her trunk, and the other is the Thai flag. An elephant with so much control and dexterity is capable of amazing work. Just for clarification, with these realistic figural works, the elephant is still the only one making the marks on the paper but the paintings are learned series of brushstrokes not Hong painting a still life on her own.

We are sure that as Hong continues to investigate her artistic side, her paintings will become even more beautiful.


Early Easter

According to an email that has been floating around, Easter is coming particularly early this year, and won’t be this early again for another 220 years.

Do you realize how early Easter is this year? As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Found out a couple of things you might be interested in! Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare.

Here’s the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here’s the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you’re 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

I took a look at the dates Easter has fallen on over the last few years:

  • Sunday 23rd April 2000
  • Sunday 15th April 2001
  • Sunday 31st March 2002
  • Sunday 20th April 2003
  • Sunday 11th April 2004
  • Sunday 27th March 2005
  • Sunday 16th April 2006
  • Sunday 8th April 2007

So, it’s not insanely early, just a week or so than the earliest Easters we are accustomed.

Remember, even though the holiday is early, there is still time to buy your chocolates, eat them and get more in time for Easter. Happy hunting.


Photography Science

Advanced Photography Research at Stanford

Last fall Robert Scoble and Thomas Hawk interviewed Marc Levoy, Stanford University Professor of both computer science and electrical engineering.

Levoy shows them leading edge research about automatically stitching images together, digitizing real world three dimensial objects like statues, and among others, camera technology that allows you to refocus the image AFTER you shoot it!

Multi-array image

You can view the interview here.

See also: CNet’s article about the multi-dimensional focusing technology.