“Art is the most beautiful deception of all..."

"... And although people try to incorporate the everyday events of life in it, we must hope that it will remain a deception lest it become a utilitarian thing, sad as a factory.”

- Claude Debussy

"She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake."

- Margot Asquith

What's black and white and dots all over?

Illusion Diffusion by Guilherme Oliveira
(Click image to enlarge)
See more of his photography at Flickr>>

"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusion of hope..."

"We are apt to shut our eyes against the painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts." - Patrick Henry

How to transform a real woman into a painting. Paint her.

A photograph taken at the Ala Moana Shopping Center by Professor Peter Kun Frary from the University of Hawaii.

Yes, she's real. Take a look at this photo, and another>>

Also, see Hyper-Realistic Acrylic Body Painting at Mighty Optical Illusions. Work by Alexa Meade (pictured)

"If you’re sufficiently preoccupied with the power of a lie, a falsehood, an illusion, you remain interested in magic tricks."

"Magic is the art of entertaining with tricks that are in apparent violation of natural law. The principles of deception that the Magicians use are psychological; the methods are manipulative and mechanical. The psychological principles are misdirection, suggestion, imitation, and concealment. The spectators do not see everything that happens, and they believe they see things that do not happen. Such faulty perception leads to false assumptions, fallacious logic, and, in the end, to the conclusion that the performer has achieved an impossible result."

- Funk and Wagnall's New Encyclopedia

"There’s a moment in your life when you realize the difference between illusion and reality and that you’re being lied to….Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny. After my mother told me that there was no Santa Claus, I made up an entirely fictitious girl in my classroom and told my mother stories about her….If you’re sufficiently preoccupied with the power of a lie, a falsehood, an illusion, you remain interested in magic tricks."

- Teller (the mute half of Penn and Teller) on illusion

Actually, most who say they are dogs on Facebook... actually are dogs on Facebook

"College-age users of Facebook in the United States and a similar social networking site in Germany typically present accurate versions of their personalities in online profiles... People use online social networking sites to express who they really are rather than idealized versions of themselves..."

Read article at Science News>> 

See also this post on spotting online liars>>

"The modern Little Red Riding Hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf."

- Marshall McLuhan

"FRIENDLESS, adj. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense."

- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

How do crooks steal billions and get away with it for so long?

It's easy: nobody listens to the whistle-blowers who know what's going on. Harry Markopolos tried to get someone at the SEC to listen to him. Why didn't they?
"The SEC was nonfunctional and still is nonfunctional. They'd have to improve several-hundred-fold to become functional. It is run by lawyers without any industry experience. They've never sat at a trading desk, never managed money. What chance do they have against Wall Street sharks?"
How would he reform the SEC?
"...Anybody who doesn't have a working knowledge of finance, they need to eliminate. There are plenty of qualified people that were laid off of Wall Street that would take those jobs. You give them a base of $150,000 to $200,000, and you turn it into an eat-when-you-kill type of compensation scheme like Wall Street has. You bring in a $100 million case. They give (you) a $10 or $15 million bonus."
His book, No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller, comes out in March 2010.

Read Fortune Magazine interview>>
Read the New York Times blog>>

Here's a way to squeeze more space inside your Nintendo DSi screen

Take a look and read about it (if you read Japanese) at Nintendo>>

(Found via Joystiq)

Do you need a table especially made for your next blood drive?

See more at John Nouanesing's Product Design page>>

Also cool is his lamp design:

What everyone should know about Chinese antiques - most are frauds

"Forgery is hardly new in the art world, but China is considered a leader in the field. Bogus pieces constitute as much as 80 percent of the value of goods for sale in Hong Kong, and are even showing up in museums, auction houses, and high-end galleries. Most of those pieces probably originate in China. ''You find copying everywhere people collect art, but, when it comes to art fraud, China is probably the world capital," says one Beijing art consultant." 
- From the article by Ron Gluckman

The story of a fraud by Thesaurus Fine Arts in Seattle>>

Reporting from Ron Gluckman in China>>

Read this and know Shakespeare's definition of hypocrisy

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul, producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
- Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1596

There's an iPhone app for cheating spouses... but it's really for private business deals

TigerText erases the text you send.

" allows users to set a time limit on how long a text that they send will hang around after it has been read. When that lifespan has been exceeded, the message will disappear, say the developers, from the recipient's phone, the sender's phone and any servers."

Shoplifting from the grocery store? Odds are you'll steal meat

"I grow it."
"I process it."
"I sell it."
You steal it.

Stealing meat:
"Carts brimming with groceries, they'll stealthily slide a single tenderloin or T-bone into a coat pocket, then hit the checkout line alongside their nonlarcenous peers. In this way, millions of pounds of beef, pork, and veal disappear from supermarket shelves each year."
Read the news at Slate>> 

An example from CandGnews where shoplifters flee, but leave one suspect's 79-year old mother behind>>

"Yes, I have tricks in my pockets, things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician..."

"...He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion."

- Tom the narrator in Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie

Did CNN know - or not care - that discovery of 140-year-old hot dog was a prank?

Maybe CNN didn't care if it was true because it made for interesting "news" when a 140-year old petrified hot dog was discovered frozen in ice under the soon-to-be-demolished Feltmans Restaurant in Coney Island.

Favorite line from the New York Post article: "Someone should tell CNN that the fire-eaters at Coney Island don’t really eat the fire either."
Read at the New York Post>>

“...the internal geometry of nature...”

Victor Vasarely, Vega-Nor (1969)

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

"The Shadow knows!"

Debuting in 1930, the radio show was originally called Detective Story, and later renamed The Shadow. In 1931, magician and writer Walter Gibson began writing The Shadow pulp magazine. From 1937-8, a young Orson Welles voiced the Shadow.

Who was The Shadow? He was Lamont Cranston (sometimes), . “...a man of mystery who strikes terror in the very souls of sharpsters, lawbreakers and criminals.”

Aspartame is now Aminosweet

"AminoSweet is a low calorie sweetener that tastes exactly like sugar. It is made from two building blocks of protein just like those found naturally in many everyday foods such as meat, fish, cheese, eggs and milk. AminoSweet is digested by the body in exactly the same way as these other protein foods and so does not bring anything new to the diet."

The quote is from the Aminosweet Information Service, created by the company Ajinomoto, one of the makers of aspartame. Aspartame made by The NutraSweet Company is known as Nutrasweet.

"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity."

- André Gide, Counterfeiters (1925)

Who pretends to be Christian?

"We are agnostics living deep in the heart of Texas and our family fakes Christianity for social reasons. It’s not so much for the sake of my husband or myself but for our young children. We found by experience that if we were truthful about not being regular church attenders, the play dates suddenly ended."

Read the many comments, too, about people who fake being conservatives or liberals or Catholic or...

From the New York Times Freakonomics blog>>

Ouroborus, a sculpture that does not behave

A sculpture by Karl Lautman, made in 2001.

The Big Ben Illusion

The two photos above are identical.

From Richard Wiseman's blog>>

See also these buildings in Italy>>

"No pleasure is comparable..."

"It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene) and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below."

- Francis Bacon

Whether you believe in the facts depends on what you already believe

Take climate change:

"It's a hoax, because clearly anyone that says that they know what the temperature of the Earth is going to be in 2020 or 2030 needs to be put in an asylum because they don't."

"Ninety-eight percent of the research climatologists in the world say that global warming is real, that its impacts are going to be catastrophic. There are 2 percent who disagree with that. I have a choice of believing the 98 percent or the 2 percent."

"Basically the reason that people react in a close-minded way to information is that the implications of it threaten their values," says Dan Kahan, a law professor at Yale University and a member of The Cultural Cognition Project.

(Pictured: Robert Kennedy Jr. and Don Blankenship)

Read the article or listen to the All Things Considered story at National Public Radio>>

Read more at The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School>>

How to commit business fraud with tiny little numbers

Many companies perform a subtle fraud when they report their earnings. They slightly increase a number that's an 0.4 to an 0.5. Why? Well, then they can round that 0.5 up to a 1.0, and skew their numbers higher, so the original .04 becomes a one.

This fraud was discovered by a study which analyzed the occurrence of the number 4 in company earning reports. The number 4 occurred much less often than it would if it appeared by chance.

What did the authors call this effect?

"Quadrophobia - the fear of fours."

Read more at The Big Picture>>

Lillian Virginia Mountweazel never existed, so why is she in my encyclopedia?

“It was an old tradition in encyclopedias to put in a fake entry to protect your copyright,” said Richard Steins, an encyclopedia editor. “If someone copied Lillian, then we’d know they’d stolen from us.”

So what entry in the New Oxford American Dictionary was made-up?

Read The New Yorker article>>

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (unpublished papers, or Nachlass)

Celebrities Upside Down. Thanks, Photoshop!

Our brain can identify faces very well. But not so much if they're upside down. Take a look at upside down faces in these Photoshopped examples of celebrities and politicians upside down while their face stays right-side up.From Freaking News and their News Photoshop Contests.

See 100s more at>>

For sale at DarkMarket: bank account logins, credit card blanks and more

"To the casual observer, there was little to distinguish the Java Bean internet cafe in Wembley from the hundreds of others dotted around the capital. But to surveillance officers staking it out month after month, this unremarkable venue was the key to busting a remarkable and sophisticated network of cyber criminals.

From the bank of computers inside, a former pizza bar worker ran an international cyber "supermarket" selling stolen credit card and account details costing the banking industry tens of millions."

Graphic: a screen shot of DarkMarket. Click for large view.

Read the complete story at the Guardian>>

Magic book Hocus Pocus Junior (1634) steals from The Discovery of Witchcraft (1584)

"Hocus Pocus Junior is, by and large, hocus pocus itself: if you bought a copy, you had bought chapters 22 to 34 of Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft. Here are the tricks with cup and balls, coins (“the best piece for conveyance is a Tester, but with practice all will be alike,” this practice-minded redactor tells us, as Scot did before him), pieces of lace, along with instructions on how to construct trick boxes and other props. 
Just how word-for-word the two texts can be is shown in two passages describing the same trick of palming a coin."
Read more from Roy Booth at Early Modern Whale>>

Red is Coming (an optical illusion)

A 2007 artwork by Krištof Kintera, from Prague.

Click photo for larger view.

Kintera's work is not the same as this nail polish illusion (thanks to Mighty Optical Illusions.) Click photo for closer look.


"A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

- Mark Twain

"Menu designers have found... many ways of getting you to order what the restaurant wants you to order."

Francis Lam talks about William Poundstone's book Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value and How to Take Advantage of It.

"As he spoke, I recalled the lessons I learned on menu layout in culinary school, most of which revolved around the Prime Objective: make people forget about money."

Read article at Salon>>

"The truth has never been of any real value to any human being..."

" ... it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths."

- Graham Greene

Pictured: the Sigillum Dei Aemeth

Enforcing false (and forced) perspective: Make yourself an Ames Room

A clip from the documentary The Computer That Ate Hollywood.

An Ames Room is a room that's distorted to create the optical illusion that things in that room are different sizes by using the principle of forced perspective. It is named after its inventor, American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr.

Instructions from Make Magazine
More info on the Ames Room illusion at Illusion Works>>

"Different brain systems are used when one produces lies in different ways..."

"Different brain systems are used when one produces lies in different ways, such as by fabricating lies spontaneously "on the fly" versus fabricating them on the basis of a previously memorized story. This discovery indicates that there is no single "lie center" in the brain, and makes it unlikely that a single neural pattern of activation can distinguish deception from telling the truth."

- Professor Stephen M. Kosslyn, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital

Read more from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University>>

Site also includes an audio file and a PDF paper: Neural Correlates of Different Types of Deception: An fMRI Investigation (PDF file)>>

The shocking dog of a film that doesn't mean anything

Un chien Andalou (1928)

What is deceptive about this film?

It's a film that tries to do two things: to shock you, and to have no meaning whatsoever. Most films have a narrative, or at least a relationship between individual shots. Buñuel said the only rule he and Salvador Dalí followed when they were writing the script was that "no idea or image that might lend itself to a rational explanation of any kind would be accepted."

He also said that nothing in the film symbolizes anything.

"... there's plenty of subterfuge and deception when teams talks about injuries, especially to key players... "

"NFL teams are downright cloak-and-dagger when it comes to injuries, giving medical reports a significance roughly akin to state secrets. Everyone else tries to figure out what's really going on inside the human body, looking for the slightest hints."

From the sports site Fanhouse>>

The man your Old Spice man would be if this was real

Leo Laporte of the the TWiT Netcast Network interviews Craig Allen and Eric Kallman of Wieden + Kennedy to discover how they made the Old Spice commercial "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like."

Watch the Old Spice Commercial FIRST >>

Thanks to a tweet from Teller.

Movement Optical Illusion

Click on the image for a larger view. For some people the inner square moves, and for others there's no movement.

If it moves for you, there is no trick. The image is completely static.

From Richard Wiseman's blog>>

Medical studies faked by doctor paid by Pfizer pharmaceutical company

A former chief of acute pain, the anesthesiologist Scott S. Reuben, faked 21 medical studies by falsifying data used in the studies, which were published in journals between 1996 and 2008. The studies claimed to show benefits from using drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex.

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer paid Dr. Reuben as a speaker and for some of his research.

Pfizer responded: "It is very disappointing to learn about Dr. Scott Reuben's alleged actions. When we decided to support Dr. Reuben's research, he worked for a credible academic medical center and appeared to be a reputable investigator."

Read complete article at The Wall Street Journal>> 

Doctor pleads guilty, "will have to repay $361,932 in research grants and forfeit assets worth at least $50,000 as penalty for his conduct" Read more>>

"Poirot did not answer me for a moment, but at last he said..."

"Poirot, you old villain," I said, "I've half a mind to strangle you! What do you mean by deceiving me as you have done?"

We were sitting in the library. Several hectic days lay behind us. In the room below, John and Mary were together once more, while Alfred Inglethorp and Miss Howard were in custody. Now at last, I had Poirot to myself, and could relieve my still burning curiosity.

Poirot did not answer me for a moment, but at last he said: "I did not deceive you, mon ami. At most, I permitted you to deceive yourself."

"Yes, but why?"

"Well, it is difficult to explain. You see, my friend, you have a nature so honest, and a countenance so transparent, that - enfin, to conceal your feelings is impossible! If I had told you my ideas, the very first time you saw Mr. Alfred Inglethorp that astute gentleman would have - in your so expressive idiom - 'smelt a rat'! And then, bon jour to our chances of catching him!"
 The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie

Family court fight - they want their mother's head

A Colorado family and an Arizona nonprofit, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, are fighting in court over who gets the head of a dead 71-year old woman. The cryonics foundation Alcor insists she left her head to be frozen, while the family says that mother changed her mind in her last days.

There is also the matter of the $50,000 annual fee she agreed to give the nonprofit foundation.

"Sociologists... academic accountants who think that truth can be shaken from an abacus."

 - Peter S. Prescott

"Jury: a group of twelve men who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health and business engagements, have failed to fool him."

- H. L. Mencken

No lock is safe: How to open a lock with a Chinese foil impression kit

More information from Boing Boing>>
Originally posted by security expert Bruce Schneier>>

"Because of their appearance, both ... were saddled with low expectations..."

What are the curious similarities between singer Susan Boyle, who's about 62 inches tall, and the talented Mathew Buchinger (pictured here), who was 29 inches tall?

Read magician & actor Ricky Jay in the New York Times>>

Do the New York police know your tattoo?

The NYPD keeps a tattoo database in its techno hub, the Real Time Crime Center. Do you have some unique ink or a special birthmark? If you've ever been arrested or filed an accident report, you might be databased.

Read Gothamist article>>

Hoaxbuster Sharon Sergeant exposes fraudulent memoirs of the Holocaust

Sharon Sergeant of Boston University is a forensic genealogist who exposed fake Holocaust memoir books by Misha Defonseca and Herman Rosenblat.

The fake reality of TV street scenes

From Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel 2009>>

Was this the clock in Rod Serling's office?


" The "big lie" technique is immoral and subversive..."

"...It is not a weapon which democratic society can afford to use. It violates the rules of the political game which underlie our constitutional form of government. It violates them in just the same way that riot and revolution violate them." - Harry S Truman

Read at The American Thinker>>

Do not pants your roommate if he owns a shotgun

A man got mad when his roommate pulled down his pants as a joke, so he pulled a shotgun and a knife on him.

They had been drinking beer.

Read slightly more>>

And the crime continues...>>