Audio illusion: understanding gibberish

WHYY's The Pulse radio show visited The Franklin Institute's new exhibition "Your Brain" where chief bioscientist Jayatri Das demonstrated an incredible audio illusion.

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Phase-shifted torsos and impossibly acrobatic legs: the black-and-white tights dance

By Crom, what sorcery is this? These women with their motley tights have backdoored my brain's habitual human-recognition heuristics and keep fooling my eye into seeing impossible acrobatic half-humans with phase-shifted torsos!

Black and White Tights Dance (with "Tanz" lyrics) (via IO9)

Video of recursive hand illusions

"Screengrab" by Willie Witte. "None of the visuals are computer generated. All the trickery took place literally in front of the camera."

The Exploratorium's Sound Uncovered: A science museum in your hand (for free)

This review also appears on Download the Universe, a group blog reviewing the best (and worst, and just "meh") in science-related ebooks and apps.

When I go to science museums, I like to press the buttons. I'm convinced this is a special joy that you just do not grow out of. Hit the button. See something cool happen. Feel the little reward centers of your brain dance the watusi.

But, as a curmudgeonly grown-up, I also often feel like there is something missing from this experience. There have definitely been times when I've had my button-pushing fun and gotten a few yards away from the exhibit before I've had to stop and think, "Wait, did I just learn anything?"

Science museums are chaotic. They're loud. They're usually full of small children. Your brain is pulled in multiple directions by sights, sounds, and the knowledge that there are about 15 people behind you, all waiting for their turn to press the button, too. In fact, research has shown that adults often avoid science museums (and assume those places aren't "for them") precisely because of those factors. Sound Uncovered is an interactive ebook published by The Exploratorium, the granddaddy of modern science museums. Really more of an app, it's a series of 12 modules that allow you to play with auditory illusions and unfamiliar sounds as you learn about how the human brain interprets what it hears, and how those ear-brain interactions are used for everything from selling cars to making music.

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Mug appears to be stuck in table

Treasuremmm The Treasure Mug is a delightful illusion cup available directly from Japan via Plywood or Amazon JP. (via Spoon & Tamago)

The illusory cow

Richard Wiseman found a cow that may have a vase on its face. Or ... maybe ... it has two faces on its face. Is your mind blown yet?

Via Dimitrios Diamantaras