Flashed Face Distortion Effect Makes Ordinary Portraits Look Hideous

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If you ever create a slideshow of portraits, you might want to avoid showing them aligned side-by-side with a gap in between. The video above shows a crazy optical illusion that researchers have dubbed the “Flashed Face Distortion Effect”. By flashing ordinary portraits aligned at the eyes, the human brain begins to compare and exaggerate the differences, causing the faces to seem hideous and ogre-like. Researcher Matthew Thompson writes,

Like many interesting scientific discoveries, this one was an accident. Sean Murphy, an undergraduate student, was working alone in the lab on a set of faces for one of his experiments. He aligned a set of faces at the eyes and started to skim through them. After a few seconds, he noticed that some of the faces began to appear highly deformed and grotesque. He looked at the especially ugly faces individually, but each of them appeared normal or even attractive.

Here’s a second video showing the same thing:

(via Matthew Thompson via HuffPo)

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Make sure you stare at the cross so that the faces are in your peripheral vision. I noticed them becoming two-dimensional, almost cartoonish, as well as being distorted.

This was my yesterday

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No meeting though, that’s today.

Poor Planning

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I pity the fool who decides to relax at that table, study materials out and laptop plugged in.

Imagine, Sharing a Day with Your Hero

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Additional notes from the author:
  • If you want to learn more about Tesla, I highly recommend reading Tesla: Man Out of Time
  • Also, this Badass of the week by Ben Thompson is what originally inspired me to write a comic about Tesla. Ben’s also got a book out which is packed full of awesome.
  • There’s an old movie from the 80s on Netflix Instant Queue right now about Tesla: The Secret of Nikola Tesla. It’s corny and full of bad acting, but it paints a fairly accurate depiction of his life.
  • The drunk history of Tesla is quite awesome, too.
  • X-rays: just to clarify, Tesla did not discover x-rays, but he was one of the early pioneers in its research.
  • Cryogenic engineering: I’m referring to the cryogenic engineering that has to do with using liquified air to cool a coil and reduce its electrical resistance (Patent No. 11,865), not freezing people and waking them up in the future so they can fight Wesley Snipes.
  • Transistor: Tesla’s influence on the modern transistor can be found in patents 723,188 and 725,605. (a better explanation here)
  • Radio: Tesla was the nicest geek ever until he decided to sue Marconi a few years later. 8 months after Tesla died, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Marconi’s patents on the invention of radio. So Tesla eventually won that battle, although he was dead by then.
  • Tesla VS Edison: I could write a novel on the differences between Tesla and Edison, but seeing as how this comic is already huge I decided to leave many things out. For instance, Edison killed cats and dogs, but Tesla loved animals and had a cat as a child. Originally Tesla wanted to be a poet, but after getting zapped by static electricity from his kitty he was inspired to study the effects of electricity. One could vaguely construe that Tesla’s cat was responsible for the second industrial revolution, which arguably makes it the most awesome cat who ever lived.
    Edison believed that fossil fuels were the future and that there were enough resources in South America to provide for the next 50,000 years. Tesla believed that renewable energy sources like hydroelectric, solar, and wind power were the future. This is remarkable because in the 1890s there was no such thing as “going green,” so Tesla’s ideas on conservation were very forward-thinking at the time.
  • Lastly, a big thank you to Jane C. Daugherty for proofreading this article for me. If you want to learn things from the most awesome librarian this side of the North American tectonic plate, follow her on Twitter.

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Instead, there is a constant effort by conservatives to eradicate from the world that which they decry. To me, this suggests a fear that the belief system itself is insufficiently convincing and thus needs outside help to be implemented. If it was so desirable in actuality, people would be motivated to follow it, and the Very Bad Thing would eliminate itself.

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Chart: The illustrated history of you being screwed by people like Mitt Romney
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