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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday February 28 2015, @07:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the Do-mine-eyes-deceive-me? dept.

Color scientists already have a word for it: Dressgate. Now the Washington Post reports that a puzzling thing happened on Thursday night consuming millions — perhaps tens of millions — across the planet and trending on Twitter ahead of even Jihadi John’s identification. The problem was this: Roughly three-fourths of people swore that this dress was white and gold, according to BuzzFeed polling but everyone else said it's dress was blue. Others said the dress could actually change colors. So what's going on? According to the NYT our eyes are able to assign fixed colors to objects under widely different lighting conditions. This ability is called color constancy. But the photograph doesn’t give many clues about the ambient light in the room. Is the background bright and the dress in shadow? Or is the whole room bright and all the colors are washed out? If you think the dress is in shadow, your brain may remove the blue cast and perceive the dress as being white and gold. If you think the dress is being washed out by bright light, your brain may perceive the dress as a darker blue and black.

According to Beau Lotto, the brain is doing something remarkable and that's why people are so fascinated by this dress. “It’s entertaining two realities that are mutually exclusive. It’s seeing one reality, but knowing there’s another reality. So you’re becoming an observer of yourself. You’re having tremendous insight into what it is to be human. And that’s the basis of imagination.” As usual xkcd has the final word.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 28 2015, @09:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 28 2015, @09:12PM (#151214)

    The thing is that mass attention span is nearly always directed at trivia. The fact that much of it happens to occasionally coalesce on one specific item of trivia is not meaningful. Whether it is a thousand different cat pictures, or just one cat picture doesn't just change the fact that it is all going to cat pictures. That reasoning might have a wag-the-dog logic back when there were only 3 television networks and a handful of national newspapers. But not any more.

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  • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:28AM

    by pnkwarhall (4558) on Sunday March 01 2015, @02:28AM (#151374)

    I mod'd your response up, but I can't leave it at that, as to me it was much more insightful than my own post. The Internet is the greatest distraction mechanism that's been invented/re-purposed yet--definitely more than tv, and maybe even more so than drugs. it doesn't matter what we're distracted with, as long as we're too distracted to think and act **together** on non-trivial matters.


    Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven