Knee Bender

It’s poetry in motion
She turned her tender eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Mmm – but she blinded me with science
“She blinded me with science!”
And failed me in biology

Thomas Dolby

She Blinded Me With Science

Scientific research has vastly improved our lives.  From medicine to technology, very smart and innovative people give us longer and easier lives.  All of that is fantatic, but what I really want to know is why does a fastball appear to break sharply?  Thankfully there are people using their grant money to sort out pressing questions like this. The team of Arthur Shapiro (American Museum), Zhong-Lin Lu (University of Southern California), Emily Knight (Dartmouth) and Rob Ennis (SUNY Optometry) study this visual illusion. Shapiro’s blog outlines the study along with a great visual representation of the effect. The site is filled with neat visual tricks. The point of all this research is to reach a deeper understanding of how we see the world.  I find it amazing that our view of the world is almost completely dictated by what we see.  The work of visual researchers expands our knowledge of how we perceive the world.  This allows us to go beyond the illusions.  A curveball doesn’t really break, but we see it that way.  Maybe that’s why so many players swing and miss.

The Thomas Dolby song I’ve referenced is a clasic 80’s tune.  If you haven’t seen the video for it, you really should. The craziness will blow your mind. It’s really a Sci-Fi B-Movie disguised as a music video. Here it is:

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