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October 14, 2007

Comments

I think there's an implicit depth cue in the reflection of her feet on the floor. Whether it's an accurate depth cue or not, the fact that her one foot pops into frame for a moment implies to the brain that that she is rotating counter-clockwise.

I don't think it's a reliable test. A spinning cube would be much moreso, I suspect.

And Hilzoy, I'd bet good money that you see the dancer switch to clockwise only after that reflected foot goes out of frame.

That's odd: I see her turning clockwise, and there's no way I can perceive her any other way.

Hm, how strange. I initially saw it move counter-clockwise, then it shifted to clockwise and I couldn't shift it again for a while. I can now reliably shift it by turning my head so I only see it out of the corner of my eye and sort of "willing" it or "pushing" it to go the other way. Very bizarre.

Clockwise and I can’t make it change or conceive that it could be other than clockwise. Heh. You and me Jes. ;)

I took the test at the link you provided and came up left-brained. I took the same I think test (the text with it differs in format) at http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22556281-661,00.html and came up right brained. Both tests were clear. No doubt or hesitation. I have been called brainless in the past in response to some of my actions. I doubted that, but maybe I was wrong and I am brainless. Why else would I live in south Florida and spend so much time in front of my Mac.

My entire family all marveled at this today, like six of us around the monitor. It's interesting because someone would say, Oh! there she goes the other way! and I said that the figure didn't change, just your perception..

I don't think of it as a "test" as much as an interesting optical/brain illusion.. fun.

Clockwise and I can’t make it change or conceive that it could be other than clockwise. Heh. You and me Jes. ;)

Clearly we are the only people on this blog reliably in our right minds. ;-)

Are you ambidextrous at all? I am, slightly, though my right hand is definitely the dominant/skilled hand.

Gromit: the thing is, I always saw it clockwise, from the very begining. It's only by looking only at the feet that I can make it switch, and then only temporarily.

And, for Jes: I was ambidextrous. Being trained out of throwing left-handed left me unable to throw at all -- since the pitiful attempts that are all my right hand has ever been able to produce scarcely count as 'throwing' at all.

(When we played softball in high school, I was always put in that part of the outfield that no one ever hits to, and when someone did, they always had to use two relays to get the ball from me back to the infield. I am not exaggerating about how badly I throw. And, as I said, I put it down to having been made to switch throwing arms in school.)

IT SWITCHES! I saw the shift. It shifted on me, going from counter-clockwise to clockwise and then back. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but I don't think this is as brilliant as advertised. Or maybe I really am crazy.

I can perceive her going either way, though clockwise predominates. A way to do it is to switch which leg you think she's spinning on, right or left.

Jes: ambidextrous?

My left hand is totally dumb. It knows how to work the shift key on a keyboard and that is about it.

I also see only clockwise. I tried for a while to get her to switch after seeing this on Balloon Juice, but no luck. I've never been able to do "magic eye" pictures either. And I'm not ambidextrous at all, just right-handed.

I can make it switch fairly regularly by staring at the feet and blinking rapidly. It is fun. I agree with Gromit about the importance of the shadow; it seems easier to induce switching if you cover the shadow with your hand or if you just focus intently on the shadow.

Does anyone know if this actually has any connection to left/right brain issues? Given that I couldn't find a link to anything an actual neuroscientist wrote, I'm skeptical. My hunch is that the image is ambiguous and your initial choice is based on random brain state which is then continually reinforced...

KCinDC,

FWIW, I've never been able to get the magic eye stereograms to work either, but this image is fairly easy for me.


An off topic note for other people around DC: the solar housing exhibit on the national mall is really fun if you like houses or technology.

Counter-clockwise.

If this is an open thread then may I ask: Is the question, "Is So-and-so a true Christian (Jew, Muslim, Buddhist)?" legitimate? Is it illegitimate?

I am reading Lawrence Wright's 'The Looming Tower.' This:

Foremost among [Sayyid] Qutb's critics was Hasan Hudaybi, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brothers, who published his own prison book, Preachers Not Judges, to counter Qutb's seductive call to chaos. In Hudaybi's far more orthodox theology, no Muslim could deny the belief of another so long as he made the simple profession of faith: "There is no God but God, and Mohammed is His messenger."

reminded me of the vexation I experienced when first presented with the proposition, "Well, Pat Robertson isn't a true Christian."

On the one hand, that seemed obviously true, although my point of view suffered from the fact that I myself am not a Christian either. Still, it seemed unremarkable on the grounds that Robertson didn't appear to uphold the values I associated with Christianity. But it kind of begs the question, who decides who is and who isn't a member of the club?

And the question itself, upon further consideration, seems inexorably to lead to violence of one sort or another.

KCinDC, could you try focusing on the legs and telling yourself she's spinning on her right leg? Maybe imagine yourself doing that?

That's pretty sweet, though I imagine it's more like a puzzle than any reliable indicator of brain function. I've always heard that the whole left-brain right-brain stuff has been wildly exaggerated in importance in pop psychology.

I don't see it as clockwise or counter-clockwise. It's just a two dimensional image changing shape over time.

yeah, i don't think this tells you squat about right-brain/left-brain stuff.

but i'll report my experience any way:
clockwise is the strong, almost insurmountable default. only once, for a while, could i get ccw, during which period i could not force it back to cw.

my two kids, by contrast, found that it was flipping back and forth all the time--every 15 seconds or more. more flexible brains, i guess.

I tried focusing on the feet and covering the bottom shadow. No luck.

Turbulence, I'd forgotten about the Solar Decathlon. Should have gone down to the Mall this afternoon. Maybe I can make it Saturday for the last day.

also freaky how deeply kinaesthetic it is for me.

when i'm stuck on cw, i can feel my left foot bouncing on the floor. when i switch to ccw, it's my right foot.

(i am getting more adept at switching, by scrolling everything but the foot-shadow off screen, getting that to spin the desired direction, then scrolling the rest back down. still a strong tendency to default to cw, though.)

I think it's a test of your "footedness". Were I to try dancing like that, I would feel much more comfortable jumping off my left foot and thus I see the dancer twirling clockwise. I'm only able to switch it by imagining myself doing the reverse for a while. Does this correlate to anyone else's experience?

I'm also only able to switch it from my preferred direction if I'm not looking directly at any part of the dancer whereas the switch to my preferred direction happens spontaneously.

If I look at the bottom corner of the screen I can make her change directions. She will than go in that direction till I look at the corner again.

So switching no problem and pretty consistent till I try to change her direction again.

I am very righthanded.

started out CCW, until i looked at the feet, and now i can only see CW, and can't see how she could possibly go CCW.

Clockwise.

I can make it switch, but I have no idea what I'm doing to make it switch, which is kind of weird. I just stare at it and move my head ccw, and sooner or later it changes.

I'm righty but I have a fairly high level of limb independence from drumming. Don't know if that's relevant or not.

A spinning cube would be much moreso, I suspect.

No thanks, the dancing lady works just fine for me!! :)

If this is an open thread then may I ask: Is the question, "Is So-and-so a true Christian (Jew, Muslim, Buddhist)?" legitimate? Is it illegitimate?

Yikes. I'm staying out of this one.

Although the cite of Hudaybi looks very interesting. Thanks for that.

Thanks!!

The first time I saw this, via a link from Marginal Revolution, it was 100% clockwise, unswitchable. This time it started out cw, switched briefly for unknown reasons, and is now back to unswitchable cw.

I'm right-handed, left-eyed, and I think pretty much a left-brain sort. (BTW, hilzoy, I thought spatial perception was a left-brain skill).

Started out cc--I couldn't imagine how anyone could see it otherwise. Then I looked at it out of the corner of an eye (the right one, if this matters, but I haven't figured this out yet) and it switched. It switches back and forth for me now.

I'm with the people who suspect this is meaningless.

I'm pretty much like you, Bernard: right- handed, left-eyed, with a default view of the dancer as CW, although she will switch to CCW if I glance away, using my peripheral vision.

As I said at Balloon Juice, I am damn good at mental rotation tasks, but get lost in shopping malls. Many of my personality traits seem to line up with the right brain lost at that page, but that just may be because I'm an Aquarian, y'all. I don't think these perceptual tendencies to seeing a CW or CCW dancer map well to personality at all.

However, there is some evidence that both eye and hand dominance do show come correlation with spatial ability, although left-eye dominance typically serves men better than women.

Here's one way to test your eye dominnce, adapted from Wikipedia:

The “Miles test”. The observer extends both arms, brings both hands together to create a small opening (for me, a triangle with overlapping thumbs as the base and slanted index fingers as the other two sides). With both eyes open, look at a distant object through the opening.

If you close your right eye and the item stays in the frame, your open left eye is dominant. If it disappears, your closed right eye is dominant. Repeat the test, this time closing and opening the left eye.

The image mostly goes clockwise for me, but it varies. Briefly closing my eyes sometimes triggers the change, but it also happens spontaneously.

I do not see a depth cue in the reflection of the foot. I was looking for aerial perspective, a change in brightness that suggests greater distance. Here is a captured static image. Can you tell me what to look for in this image?

[The test pigeonholes me backwards. I am both-handed but not ambidextrous. A few things (like writing) only left-handed. Most things (including tool use & sports) right-handed, confounding the quantitative geek stereotype.]

The test declares me to be right-brained. I looked at the list of traits associated with its results and counted 11 left-brained traits and 4 right-brained traits. So apparently the test doesn't work well on me. Maybe I'm just kinda mush-brained.

It seemed predominantly counter-clockwise from my initial point of view, considering an axis of rotation passing longitudinally through the body with the head off-axis, tracing a counter-clockwise circle in space. This assumes a top-down, polar perspective.

If I shift my relative point-of-view to a bottom-up rather than a top-down polar orientation then it shifts to a clockwise rotation.

First of all, I don't buy that this has a thing to do with "left brain" or "right brain" dominance.

Second of all, I can only see clockwise, and I'm bewildered as to how anyone would see it otherwise. I think what's triggering it is the height of the outer foot & the pivot foot when they cross: At one point in the cycle, there's a smaller height differential. At another, it's larger. I interpret the smaller height differential as meaning that her outer foot closer to me than the center foot, so she's facing toward me. The larger gap scans to me as the outer foot being further from me, so she's facing away from me. Do other people see the opposite?

I see her switch each time her legs' merge into each other (which is a pretty cool disorienting discontinuous shift). When her foot swings out to the right of my screen, clockwise. When swinging to the left, counterclockwise.

I actually have to focus to make her movements seem stable.

What on earth does is this supposed to say about me??

I'm left-handed, as is my father and grandfather. We're a pretty uncreative group of lefties. My lowest grade in college was in a drawing class.

I must be an engineer, my first thought was, "Is the clock supposed to be facing up, or down?" ;)

On the former assumption, I see her going around clockwise.

There may be some latency issues involved, so that as the figure is getting loaded on various computers, it may act in a particular way so as to bias it towards one rotation or the other, which may be why some people are getting the results they are.

To give an example of how these sorts of cues can affect perception, one of my grad school profs had an interesting experiment where two animated fish moved towards each other, and just before one ate the other, one of the fish was, at random, flashed at a rate too high for conscious recognition, but high enough to for subconscious attention. After one fish ate the other, he asked them to describe what happened, and he found that when the flashed fish ate, an active sentence was used and when the eaten fish had been flashed, a passive was used, even though the person being tested was completely unaware of the flashing.

I must be an engineer, my first thought was, "Is the clock supposed to be facing up, or down?"

This mathematician had exactly the same thought. I eventually managed to get it to reverse, but never brought it fully under conscious control.

There may be some latency issues involved, so that as the figure is getting loaded on various computers, it may act in a particular way so as to bias it towards one rotation or the other, which may be why some people are getting the results they are.

Its a 37k animated gif, so loading shouldn't be too much of a factor here. I couldn't get her to rotate at all because I had image animations turned off. Once I solved that she would go both ways but usually the right way. Still I only needed to look away for her to get all turned around.

Brett - hilarious; that was my first thought as well. I'm a computer programmer, so I guess that kind of counts as an engineer.

Every time I take a question-based test, I come out almost dead even. Sometimes I think my right and left brain are battling for dominance.

I seem to "naturally" see the dancer going clockwise (from the overhead perspective), but she'll switch if I look away and back, or if I close one eye. She usually switches as her leg crosses in front of (or behind) her.

When I practiced long enough, I could get her upper body going one way and her lower body going the other. It is seriously creepy.

Katherine - her raised foot does appear to be lower when it's on the left. But the cue is the same regardless of her direction. When you see her going counterclockwise, her left foot is raised. When she's going clockwise, her right foot is raised.

Check out these two images:

http://sevenless.org/dancer.html

Which leg does she have raised in the two pictures?

I am left-handed and have always had trouble distinguishing left and right. Apparently this is somewhat common among left-handed people. (In other words, if you say to me, "Turn left", I have to think about it, and if I am giving you driving directions I have to think about it and I still might get it wrong.) Anyway, in the context of this dancer, WHICH way is clockwise and which is counterclockwise? I can only distinguish these directions if I can visualize the motion as if looking perpendicularly at something (like a clock face). Her movement is not obviously clockwise or counterclockwise to me, although I see it change. Would I visualize this as if I were looking at her from above?

Hm, how strange. I initially saw it move counter-clockwise, then it shifted to clockwise and I couldn't shift it again for a while. I can now reliably shift it by turning my head so I only see it out of the corner of my eye and sort of "willing" it or "pushing" it to go the other way. Very bizarre.

Same. I managed to make it flip by swirling my mouse pointer around in the right direction.

My paranoia is telling me that it's a trick - it *is* actually going either clockwise or anticlockwise and they're fooling us by pretending it's an optical illusion.

Damn - no, it's running your eye up and down off the foot that does it...

I had the same thought about the clock, and I'm not an engineer at all...

dkilmer--that's not what I mean. I mean the points in the cycle when she is either facing towards you, or away from you.

(to put it another way: you link to pictures of 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock, but I'm talking about the height differential at 6 o'clock and 12 o'clock)

An older test is to watch a person’s eyes when you ask him/her a question requiring thought. The person can’t know what you’re up to.

If the person, while thinking of the answer, looks to the right, he is left-brained. If he looks to the left, he is right-brained (our wiring crosses in the brain). Most people are extremely consistent with their eye movements.

I like the spinning naked female though. Her rotation checks with the eye-check in my case (clockwise).

At first, she switched equally between clockwise and CCW and this continued for the first few minutes.

Then, she remained spinning clockwise.

Wait, now she's stopped altogether and she's pointing at me and is doubled over in either laughter or with abdominal pain.

There she goes, she ran to the rear of the frame, becoming smaller and ... she's gone ... she disappeared!

What the heck?!


She switched for me when I least expected it, about at random, back and forth from cw to ccw. I don't know what that means: maybe I have an ambidextrous mind?

BTW, has anyone here seen the latest anti-drug ad by, I think, Partnership for a Drug-Free America? A teenage girl comes home from partying, and her dog starts talking to her, telling her what a bad idea it is to smoke weed.

That's got to be about the wrongest, most counter-productive anti-drug ad ever. I mean, so very very wrong I started giggling immediately and was laughing my ass off by the end of the ad.

If I came home stoned on weed, and my dog started talking to me, I'd figure someone laced the pot with an hallucinogen. If I came home tripping on acid, and my dog started talking to me, I'd just assume it was the acid talking.

In neither case would I take the anti-drug message seriously. I'd probably think it was the coolest thing ever, and try to get the dog to talk some more.

I'm right-handed and right-eyed (a bad combination if you aspire to play golf well, by the way). Sometimes she spins CW, sometimes CCW. Unless I close my eyes, she keeps spinning the same way. When I reopen my eyes, which direction she will be spinning seems to be fairly random. At least part of the reason that I can't get her to change direction without closing my eyes seems to be that once I "believe" which way she is spinning, I am anticipating where the extended leg will appear when the image jerks to the next position.

Much of my career success has been based on the ability to both see the big picture and, when necessary, to drill down to the extreme details. What kind of brain does that indicate?

Katherine - I misunderstood. But it's the same basic idea. Here are some 12 and 6 o'clock captures:

http://sevenless.org/dancer2.html

The question is whether she's facing you or turned away.

I'm still staring at the breasts.

Yes, those look similar but the capture that throws me is the one where one leg looks drastically shorter than the other (about 1 cm on my screen). I interpret the shorter leg as the one that's father from me & I cannot convince myself otherwise.

Though actually those stills show it two: I can see the one on the left either way, but if she's facing us on the picture on the right, where's the rest of her calf?

What's the reason to believe intuitions about this relates to anything significant about the nature of our individual brains?

Since this is an open thread: I was very moved by < href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fhWX2F6G7Y">this speech from Suheir Hammad (youtube).

right-handed and left-eyed and only seeing it rotating clockwise.
But the given list for characteristics makes me an almost pure left-brainer.
Maybe I'll try harder to get a switch later ;-)

The dancer was resolutely spinning clockwise until I (at the advice of others) looked at her feet and willed her to go the other way. Interestingly, the counterclockwise motion is, to me, incredibly jerky and unnatural, while the clockwise motion is smooth and uninterrupted.

[And I too will wager this hasn't got anything to do with "left-brain" or "right-brain" since my left-brain has been dominant on every other test I've taken.]

Random: In case you hadn't seen it, hilzoy, here's the Onion on the Third Amendment.

Sorry, my right brain is dominant. Apparently the left brain temporarily seized control, but fortunately the perpetrators have been shot.

Mostly clockwise for me; but I found it truly freaky to be able (with a little time and concentration) to be able to get her to change directions - if not quite "at will", at least fairly frequently.

What this says about my brain functions, I don't know: particularly as most of the LB/RB "typical charcteristics" don't mesh with my own personality.

Fun test, though.

The responses here convince me that people looking at this mostly tend to see it one way or another, and have a greater or lesser ability to make the direction "switch" in their perception.

So take that much as a given and riddle me this: What is the connection between seeing the image go one way or the other and right- or left-brainedness?

The 12:00 and 6:00 captures demonstrate this for me - they look (to me) like she's facing toward me or away. What does it have to do with which side of my brain is dominant?


Well, DIG, there really is no such thing as being right brained or left brained, if you're talking about the shopping lists of personality traits and cognitive strengths found with this test and in many other places (Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the brain book as well, as mentioned above). It's a fun concept to play with, but there's little science behind it. People's concepts of RB versus LB can also vary, with many people thinking engineers should be "logical", and thus left brained, while other would argue that the spatial skills needed in many types of engineering would make them more right brained. It's like reading horoscopes: it's easy to cherry pick what seems to match your expectations.

Handedness, eye dominance and gender, assessed alone and in various combinations, have been correlated with greater or lesser skills in spatial reasoning. But even these effects are seen as averages among groups. For example, left eyed men, as a group, generally get higher scores in tests of spatial reasoning than right eyed men and women, while left eyed women typically do less well than right eyed women. But individual scores among all women and men can vary a lot, and some left eyed women can still do very well in tasks such as mental rotation.

I'm right-handed and right-eyed (a bad combination if you aspire to play golf well, by the way).

Or baseball. IIRC most major leaguers are "cross-dominant." (Not what you're thinking: it means left-eyed and right-handed or vice-versa). having the dominant eye in front helps when batting, or swinging a golf club I guess. Wonder why my career never progressed beyond summer camp softball?

I'm shocked that Martin is the only one, at least that I noticed while skimming the comments, to mention something regarding the hotness of the sillouette. (I hope I spelled that correctly.)

I was almost unchangeably seeing her going clockwise. None of the tricks anyone else mentioned to make here switch direction worked for me. The thing that finally worked after a lot of effort was looking at the higher, further-out arm and telling myself "It's pointing at you. It's pointing away from you. It's pointing at you. It's pointing away from you."

I'm an electrical engineer, for whatever it's worth.

Thanks Mary. I think what I was looking for was more of an intuitive reason "right-brained" people should see clockwise. That is, it is easy (using the test mentioned above) to figure out eye dominance, and handedness is easy to discern as well.

If you say people who are mostly right dominant are mostly left brained, well that makes sense (given what we know about how the brain works). If you say there are general characteristics associated with left-brainedness, I can believe that too, in the sense you describe. What I'm looking for is: Why doesn't clockwise mean left-brained and ccw mean right branined?

(FWIW, I am right handed and right eyed, but see only clockwise unless I concentrate on ccw while not looking directly at the animation)

It appears to be fairly evident that the dancer is shifting direction. But the question is, clockwise or counter-clockwise from what perspective? A clockwise direction if viewed from above would be a counter-clockwise direction if viewed from below?

Balconies are more common than glass floors.

I'm late to this thread, but for what it's worth, I see her spinning counter-clockwise by default, but I can switch to clockwise if I concentrate. Weird.

From the room I sit in I can see two circle shaped rotating (clockwise) "roof-ads" (The Mercedes star and the BAYER cross). If the sun does not shine, I can force myself to see them moving counterclockwise (otherwise the reflection gives it away) but seemingly slightly tilted.

I tried it again. Two times I got her to turn counterclockwise. This PC is very low performance and the animation is quite erratic. The moment the animation stopped for a second or so due to this, the figure changed direction again to clockwise. The interesting thing is that it looked to me like an actual "change of mind" with a smooth "natural" transition from the one to the other.

I can close my eyes and think about which way she goes. When my eyes open, that is what the figure is doing. Strange.

Don N

I think the switch happens when you start to look at the figure - if you catch her foot on the right side, she spins cw, if you first see her with her foot on the left side, you see ccw. I can watch her out of the corner of my eye, then pay full attention when her foot is either full left or full right and the pic will spin appropriately.

All that being said, at least the description of cw (right brain) fits better than the description of left brain, even though there was some overlap.

Jake

I went back to this again (after actually doing some work), was able again to switch to counter clockwise, then had a very hard time getting back to clockwise, wich originally was the only way I could see it. That, I think, makes me a complete moron, a visionary genius or a raving madman.

When I first look, she's spinning to her right (clockwise?). Then if I cover my right eye for a time, she switches to left -- and won't go back to right.

Wow, now I can make her go both directions. Focus on the bottom foot is the easiest for me: when the foot appears to be about to turn toward me, I tell myself to see it turning back the other way. I succeed about one time in five and then she's spinning the other way again.

New Scientist says the left brain/right brain thing is not true

The only even arguable basis I can figure with the left brained/right brained thing is:
--the shadow/reflection indicates counterclockwise rotation & a scientist type should be more attuned to this.
--the foreshortening/perspective on her legs indicates clockwise motion & a visual artist type should be more attuned to this.


Totally right-handed, but I can make it switch almost at will by 'reasoning' about the path being traced by the transient shadow foot. For a time I had it not doing a full rotation in either direction, but half one then half the other, back and forth. Also by focussing on the center of the image with a 'middle distance' stare I can see the foot tracing ccw and the dancer cw, but it's hard to keep it from 'degrading' into one or the other. This all makes me think it's not much to do with brain function in general.

Started out CW, couldn't comprehend how she could move CCW.

Now I can see it both ways. The key to switching for me was looking away briefing just as her out-stretched foot is either at the extreme left or right and mentally visualizing that when I look back the out-stretched foot is moving forward. Doing this, her "front" always faces me.

Huh. I see it clockwise, and so far can't see it counter-clockwise.

I'm left-handed but somewhat ambidextrous.

I have a static image which is definitely moving CCW (although it could be facing towards me or away). I'll post it to Photobucket tonight and see if I can get the animated gif from home.

For those of you who can't imagine her spinning the other way:

http://ofb.net/~whuang/imgs/spin/

Counterclockwise. I was able to switch directions only by using my right eye's peripheral vision. I consider myself a pretty emotional, intuitive person, so go figure.

Lynne Cheney is on the Diane Rehm Show this morning, and between bouts of Cheney-induced nausea I heard her say that the name is pronounced to rhyme with "meanie", not "brainy" (though she didn't use those words).

Ok, because I experienced the sudden switching of directions too, I thought it was a hoax with some trickery going on behind the scenes, i.e. automatically refreshing with a different animated gif ever so often. So I downloaded the gif and had a look - still switching. Just to be sure I exported all the frames as individual files and flicked through them in a picture viewer, both manually and as a slideshow with different speeds - still switching. If you analyze the indivdual frames you can see that it's just very, very cleverly done. (I used Adobe Image Ready, but I believe you can do the same with freeware e.g. Irfanview)

I can see it both ways, but I'm inclined to think it's actually a hoax and that it randomly switches direction. Fwiw, it seems to consistently go counterclockwise for me when I switch to the page from another tab in Firefox.

Now they're having a pledge break, so Diane Rehm is specifically asking listeners to put aside their feelings about the vice president and president and call in a donation.

Come on, people, let's having some opening of this open thread. How many reports of spin switching can we read through?

dkilmer: thank you!

I'm still right about the foreshortening on the legs though.

For what it is worth:

I am a software/electrical engineer who identifies with far more of the "left-brained" traits.

At first I could only see Counter-Clockwise rotation. I was just about to write it off as bogus when I finally saw her go Clockwise.

Astonishingly, I got it to first go Clockwise after reading the "right brain" words in the list.

I was still skeptical that it wasn't a trick of the animation. So I got another person to view it with me and we definitely had different perceptions. I could get her to switch directions, but the other guy only saw her rotating Clockwise.

I could get it to go back to Counter-Clockwise by reading some software code.

Although it could just be the act of looking away that triggers the switch.

????,
Alan

"I'm still right about the foreshortening on the legs though."

Perhaps. But it seems a little unlikely, considering that the artist rendered the animation counterclockwise.

I think it's possible that, if you were to eliminate the up-and-down motion of the image, there is a line about which any point on the sillouette follows a completely symetrical path back and forth. What this (possibly) means is, regardless of the intent of the original rendering, that the animation is totally ambiguous as to the direction of rotation. If that is the case, there is no perspective and the image only approximates a two-dimensional representation of a rotating, three-dimensional object's sillouette. It simply does so closely enough not to interfere with either 3-D perception of rotational direction. Or not.

Hmm, I think it's time to bring back some sort of antispam measures, since the place is being overrun. Is the horrible captcha really the only thing available?

I just got back from a screening of Rendition. It's about what I expected: Hollywoodized but pretty well done. If only more terrorist suspects could be married to a pregnant Reese Witherspoon. They did leave out the part where Malkin, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly release the flying monkeys, as well as the effects on the nation of years of outrage fatigue.

Hmm, I think it's time to bring back some sort of antispam measures

I'm with KC. It's not even that funky dadaist spam they use to defeat the Bayseian filters.

"My duodenum malfeasance is the inscrutable squirrel."

I could live with that.

Instead, it's "Not much on my mind right now." No kidding.

The captcha thing never bugged me all that much, even the blurry one. If I squinted a bit, I could read it.

My two cents.

Thanks -

dkilmer: You are a saint. Thank you.

Trying to see it spin ccw was actually driving me to the brink of tears. (I'm having an emotional day.) There's nothing remotely right-brained about me (except maybe getting emotional over silly computer tricks) and yet I couldn't see the thing spin the left-brained way. It was maddening.

dkilmer: You are a saint. Thank you.

Trying to see it spin ccw was actually driving me to the brink of tears. (I'm having an emotional day.) There's nothing remotely right-brained about me (except maybe getting emotional over silly computer tricks) and yet I couldn't see the thing spin the left-brained way. It was maddening.

dkilmer: You are a saint. Thank you.

Trying to see it spin ccw was actually driving me to the brink of tears. (I'm having an emotional day.) There's nothing remotely right-brained about me (except maybe getting emotional over silly computer tricks) and yet I couldn't see the thing spin the left-brained way. It was maddening.

I'm going to risk typepad posting my comment three times to let you guys know about a Radio Lab episode that talks about sound, music and neuroscience. If you like the spinning lady, you'll love this show.

"There's nothing remotely right-brained about me (except maybe getting emotional over silly computer tricks) and yet I couldn't see the thing spin the left-brained way."

Um, perhaps because, as has been repeatedly pointed out here, the thing has nothing whatever to do with "left-brained" and "right-brained"?

One might as well trying to see it with one's left foot and right foot, and get worked up that one can't.

"(I'm having an emotional day.)"

Very sorry to hear that, though, of course. Best wishes for it improving!

Huh, that's interesting: the captcha just came up (I backed up to add this), and it was clear and readable in a way that Typepad's captcha has never remotely been before! (Typically I have to make 4-8 attempts each time, which is why the switch the other day to requiring me to make over 30 attempts before success was so crippling. We don't all have the 20-20 vision of 22-year-old programmers.)

May this not be a fluke!

(Blogger's captcha, in contrast, has always been perfectly readable to me, 19 out of 20 times. Having to take over a minute just to attempt to post -- not write, post -- every comment to ObWi has always been an immense frustration.)

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