Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reflections teasing eyes and brain

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Water is the most amazing element I know. Glass can reflect and to a degree can also distort, but there's nothing else in nature for twisting your perceptions of the second, third and fourth dimensions than water. Consider this: water offers a pseudo 2D surface. You think it's flat, but even when it's at its most calm, it's not perfectly flat. It's curved into the third dimension however fractionally. Now, true 3D objects are reflected in it, and their reflections drop a dimension. A 2D reflection of a 3D object (ie., an image) cannot be the same as the object -- there are massive sacrifices to be made for the conversion from 3D to 2D. Now, take the 2D reflecting surface and warp it into the third dimension -- the way water ripples. Weirdness results ... but our human eyes are so accustomed to reflection, they "tune it out." But here's what will really challenge your brain: try to imagine a 4D object reflected in the "surface" of the third dimension ... and then allow for ripples in the third dimension caused by gravity wells and tides... good gods! We could be looking right at (or through) 4D creatures, and not knowing what they are. Anybody want to run with this and extrapolate it as the ultimate rational explanation for paranormal apparitions ... ghosts, demons, sprites, angels ... even alien encounters?! Photo by Mel, 2009. (This is a surface shot of the Amazonian lily pool in the incredible new Amazon exhibit at Adelaide's Botanic Gardens.)

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