Feodor 2's Comments

Don't know anything about the photo, but I can tell you the studio was located in Bra?ov (in the region of Transylvania): http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Bra%C5%9Fov
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@Seban: according to the dictionary, an illusion is "something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality". In my watering can example, reality is the real color of the watering can. And since the real color of the watering can is blue, there would be no illusion -- there's no deceiving going on when something blue is being perceived as blue.

An optical illusion is when you're deceived into thinking that two lines have different lengths when in fact they have the same length; or when you're deceived into thinking something is moving when in reality it's static -- but when you're being "deceived" into thinking that something is blue when in reality it actually is blue... not much of an illusion.

Also, the eye is indeed a bit greenish, which is indicative of the fact that whoever created this image probably did exactly what I described in my watering can example above: I guess they actually painted the eye blue, and then fiddled with a red filter until they reached the point where the filter approximated grey for the eye. If the "illusion" had been constructed cleanly then there would've been no color spill (as proper, geometrical illusions are constructed, like the other three in the gallery mentioned in the post).
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This is not an optical illusion, her left eye actually is blue. Or to be more rigorous, the image depicts exactly the same pixels that would be depicted if the left eye would actually be blue and the red filter in the left half of the image would cover the entire left half of the image, as implied by the image itself.

Or to put it another way, if I shot an actual image of an actual house with an aggressive red filter and I found some random blue object (say, a watering can) to be rendered as gray in the final image, could I legitimately claim that I produced an amazing optical illusion because the watering can appears blue but is in fact gray? No, I could not, because my "grey" watering can was in fact blue, and my photo was not an optical illusion. Therefore this is not an optical illusion either, because the left eye is actually blue.
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@Dagonet, Ray, Craig: I think you're missing on the big picture here. Had he received the full salary, he would've owed more taxes indeed -- but he would've payed them from the salary, and, by definition, he would've still had something left. And he would've also payed the taxes for the car, driver, meals and whatever else from said salary -- and he would've still had something left (this isn't necessarily always true, but in his case it is). So the state would've payed for all of the benefits PLUS the salary, only to receive a fraction as taxes.

Now, when he DOESN'T get the salary (thus reducing the burden on the budget, as shown above), you'd expect the state to at least cancel the taxes for fringe benefits, given that it would've still ended up in the black.

Or to put it another way, when your friend helps you move do you charge them for the beer?
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Actually, the guy had the right idea, more often than not. Even the motorized roller skates, which seems such a ridiculous idea when you put it like that, are very much available today under the brand name Segway (yes, they're not rollerblades, but they perform the exact same function). Aerial rescue is very much available at sea, we do have several models of "Aeronats with the long course", e.g. the Airbus A380, we do use quite a lot of power tools and cranes when building, the "phono-telegraphique" is available in a multitude of forms, and so forth.

It would've been quite impossible for Mr. Villemard to foresee the actual shape and working principles for the devices we're using these days, but he correctly identified several of the needs people had back then, needs people cared enough about that entire industries were built on top of them. Such as humankind's oldest dream: the motorized roller skate.
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The motorcycle guy doesn't look like he's really trying at all. Good effort with the rollerblade costume thingie, but the comparison looks rather embarrassing; I can't help feeling he's racing a senior citizen.
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I have been there. If you are into crystal, this is the Holy Grail trip -- true. But if you're not, and especially if you don't happen to be nearby, don't waste your time and money on this (my wife and I still make fun of any Swarovski shop we come by, even years after visiting).

Of course, you can blame us for visiting something we have no real interest in, but all of the brochures are so pretentious that we genuinely thought we were going to see something interesting -- unfortunately, that's not the case if you're not already into it.
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That's fine as far as abstract theory goes, but how does it explain entire countries which are mostly atheistic? (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism#Geographic_distribution -- this is only related to the first column of data, since the second is about New Age mumbo-jumbo, not religion).
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"Nobody has figured out why we can't go straight." Well, to me that has a very simple answer: because it's so damn hard to go straight, that's why! Name one object or animal in this universe can go straight without rails or constraints (in the case of objects) or without external references (in the case of animals). I sure don't know of any.

There are a lot of forces at work, between muscles and tendons and joints and your footwear and the ground -- and many types of friction opposing those forces at various points, in asymmetrical ways. I suspect even your joints provide different friction, depending on wear and tear. On top of that, there is certainly a physiological factor related to handedness; for instance, cars with manual gearboxes have notoriously asymmetrical settings for the clutch pedal (intended to be operated with the left foot) compared to the brake and acceleration pedals (intended to be operated with the right foot), specifically in order to compensate for this asymmetry in our behavior. And that's without even touching hemisphere dominance or other more subtle factors.

Given all of the above, it would be quite remarkable if we WERE able to walk in a straight line without external assistance.
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Miss Cellania, my bad, I was thinking about the concept rather than the phrase. The phrase does seem to have been originated from the 1939 film. I was wrong.

Ben, thank you for the sarcasm, somehow I always find it refreshing when people use this oft neglected means of conveying ideas on the Internet.
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What does Judy Garland have to do with anything? That line is used in movies (and not only) because everybody knows the story, not specifically because of the 1939 movie. The novel was published in 1900; by 1938 it had already been sold in over a million copies (that's before the movie, mind you).
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