The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘optical illusion’

Solving the Mystery Behind “Mystery Houses”

Posted by mattusmaximus on October 28, 2012

Years ago I performed an impromptu investigation of the Montana Vortex, a roadside attraction whose proprieters claim that there is actually some kind of weird adjustment to the laws of physics in order to account for the strange goings on there.  Like many such attractions, the folks who run the Montana Vortex have a “mystery house” where the effect of gravity seems to be lop-sided.  But while this is obviously an illusion, it certainly feels real…

Thanks to a follower of this blog (@denatureSD on Twitter), I saw this recent Science Friday video from YouTube which nicely explains this phenomenon.  Enjoy! 🙂

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Posted in ghosts & paranormal, psychology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Martian Madness

Posted by mattusmaximus on May 4, 2009

Recently, while I was hanging around on the JREF Forum – an awesome place to go chat about science, skepticism, and critical thinking – someone posted the following image, taken by the NASA Spirit rover, from the surface of Mars…

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What, if anything, do you see?  If you’re like me, you see a rocky surface with a particularly big rock (relatively speaking) right in the middle of the photograph.

Well, it seems that some in the UFO-alien woo crowd has decided that this image constitutes “evidence” of past or present alien intelligence on Mars, because – here it comes – the “rock” in the middle of the picture is actually an alien skull.

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Posted in aliens & UFOs, space | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Hand of God?

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 7, 2009

There is an image from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory which is all over the Internet these days. Here it is…

What do you see? Most people, when asked, say they see what looks like a large ghostly hand reaching towards the nebula to the upper right of the photo. In actuality, according to NASA, the picture is an x-ray photograph of a young pulsar, or rotating neutron star

A small, dense object only 12 miles in diameter is responsible for this beautiful X-ray nebula that spans 150 light years. At the center of this image, made by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, is a very young and powerful pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58, or B1509 for short. The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand.

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Posted in psychology, space | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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