Saturday, October 4, 2008

This week may be termed as the week of optical illusions. And here I am coming with yet another optical illusion.

How many colors do you see?

There are only 3 colors: White, green, and pink.
There seem to be two different shades of pink and green, but there is only one pink and one green.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Here is another illusion. I have seen it presented as a puzzle or math problem but commonsense tells us that this must be an illusion. The only thing we have to do is try and explain the illusion.


The area of a right triangle is computed by multiplying the base times the height and dividing by two. The pieces of the puzzle have an area of 32 square units. Although they can be assembled to form what appears to be a 13×5 right triangle, they actually form quadrilaterals that are slightly smaller or slightly bigger than a 13×5 right triangle.

The top figure has an area of 32 square units. The bottom figure, including the empty square, has an area of 33 square units. A real 13×5 right triangle would have an area of 32.5 square units. The distortion is difficult to see because one square of the picture is approximately 3% of the area.

The distortion can be seen more clearly when the empty square constitutes a larger percentage of the area, as in the figure below where 1 square represents 13% of the area.

This is an optical illusion that caught my attention!
I was surprised to know that we humans too have blind spots!

Wasn't that funny?

This picture is an ambigram, an image which can be viewed in more than one way depending on how you perceive it. The thing about this sort of image, in particular, is that it manages to convince you visually that you're looking at two completely contradictory views at the exact same time. What does this tell you about perception, and the way our brain processes conflicting stimuli? Can you see it as both images simultaneously, or merely as one, then the other, alternating based on how you squint or tip your head?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Today is the birthday of Mahathma Gandhiji, on this day I would like to recall the partition of India and Pakistan.

Millions left for their promised new homeland with smiles on their faces as trains left both India and Pakistan.

The massive exchange of population that took place in the summer of 1947 was unprecedented.

This is a train to Pakistan being given a warm send-off.
In 1947, the border between India and its new neighbour Pakistan became a river of blood, as the exodus erupted into rioting.

These pictures are by Margaret Bourke-White from Khushwant Singh's book Train to Pakistan, Roli Books.Over 10 million people were uprooted from their homeland and travelled on foot, bullock carts and trains to their promised new home.

An aged and abandoned Muslim couple and their grand children sitting by the the roadside on this arduous journey. "The old man is dying of exhaustion. The caravan has gone on," wrote Bourke-White.

It left behind a trail of death and destruction. The Indian map was slashed to make way for a new country - Pakistan.

In a couple of months in the summer of 1947, a million people were slaughtered on both sides in the religious rioting.

The street was short and narrow. Lying like the garbage across the street and in its open gutters were bodies of the dead. Here, bodies of the victims of rioting are picked up from a city street.

With the tragic legacy of an uncertain future, a young refugee sits on the walls of Purana Qila, transformed into a vast refugee camp in Delhi.

Men, women and children who died in the rioting were cremated on a mass scale.
Villagers even used oil and kerosene when wood was scarce.

The migration

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

This is an expression that is normally used to caution someone. When you say that one swallow does not make a summer, what you mean is that just because something good has happened, it doesn't mean good things will continue to happen. Chances are things may go bad, instead of improving. You are requesting the individual to err on the side of caution, and not to carried away.

Just because you've won the first round doesn't mean you are going to win the championship. Remember one swallow does not make a summer.

The expression comes from the world of Aesop's Fairy tales. In the story, a young man sees a swallow on a warm winter day. As you know, a swallow is a bird which usually appears in the spring. Thinking that the winter season is over, the young man sells off his woollen coat, and with the money he has made, he goes to the bar and drinks. unfortunately, in the days that follow, the temperature drops. The young man, shivering in the cold realises that one swallow does not make a summer.

Article idea: The Hindu dated on September 30, 2008