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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: 2) by NotSanguine on Sunday March 01 2015, @12:27AM

    You can have 1,000 people argue and analyze this crappy photo for years, but it all means nothing. That's the only thing that "news" stations are doing. Asking "what do you see?" is not news. Having PhotoShop "experts" pick single pixels is just hand-waving to try and make corrupt data make sense.

    If you put this "quandary" into the context of the rest of the world, it's really not newsworthy at all. Put it under a metaphorical microscope [xkcd.com] and it takes on huge proportions.

    The way to settle the issue is to find the original dress and have a photographer who knows what they're doing take a new photo. That's how you settle it.

    I'd only add that as Lord Balfour pointed out

    Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.

    Take from that what you will.

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
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