After hearing several "experts" on tv say stupid things like "Its all in your perception"  which is not an explanation at all, the former science teacher in me felt obligated to find the actual scientific explanation.  From Wired Magazine:


An optical illusion, that's what. The explanation behind it boils down to the neuroscience of perception, and it's a problem researchers have wrestled with before. Behold, the checkerboard illusion:


Squares A and B are, in fact, the same color – but our brains perceive them as different. Back in 2010, Alasdair

Willkins explained why, here on io9:

So how does it work? A lot of it has to do with the shadows cast by the big green cylinder. As Adelson [creator of the illusion] explains, the brain has to assess how much light is coming off the surface of each square on the board. This is known as the luminance of each square, and the brain also has to figure out how much of the luminance (or lack thereof) is caused by the color of the square and how much is created by the shadows. So the brain has to figure out where the shadows are and then compensate for them, and that's where we start running into trouble.

Adelson explains some of these processes:

"The first trick is based on local contrast. In shadow or not, a check that is lighter than its neighboring checks is probably lighter than average, and vice versa. In the figure, the light check in shadow is surrounded by darker checks. Thus, even though the check is physically dark, it is light when compared to its neighbors. The dark checks outside the shadow, conversely, are surrounded by lighter checks, so they look dark by comparison.

A second trick is based on the fact that shadows often have soft edges, while paint boundaries (like the checks) often have sharp edges. The visual system tends to ignore gradual changes in light level, so that it can determine the color of the surfaces without being misled by shadows. In this figure, the shadow looks like a shadow, both because it is fuzzy and because the shadow casting object is visible."

Part of the problem is where the squares are located. Most people know enough about checker or chessboards to know that a square will be the opposite color of all the adjacent squares. That means two squares that are next to each other, or separated by an even number of squares, should be different colors. Since squares A and B are two squares away, they logically should be different colors, and our brains really seem to want to think that as well.

But don't worry, says Professor Adelson. All this really means is that your brain is functioning the way it's supposed to:

"As with many so-called illusions, this effect really demonstrates the success rather than the failure of the visual system. The visual system is not very good at being a physical light meter, but that is not its purpose. The important task is to break the image information down into meaningful components, and thereby perceive the nature of the objects in view."
How this works in relation to the dress photo was best described by Wired:

Light enters the eye through the lens—different wavelengths corresponding to different colors. The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image. Critically, though, that first burst of light is made of whatever wavelengths are illuminating the world, reflecting off whatever you're looking at. Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at, and essentially subtracts that color from the "real" color of the object. "Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance," says Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington. "But I've studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I've ever seen." (Neitz sees white-and-gold.)

Usually that system works just fine. This image, though, hits some kind of perceptual boundary. That might be because of how people are wired. Human beings evolved to see in daylight, but daylight changes color. That chromatic axis varies from the pinkish red of dawn, up through the blue-white of noontime, and then back down to reddish twilight. "What's happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you're trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis," says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. "So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black." (Conway sees blue and orange, somehow.)
Context is screwing with us pretty hard with this dress. Our eyes are getting scrambled trying to decode reflection data and lens flare. But what if we try looking at just a segment without context, to give our eyes a break? From Wired again:

The point is, your brain tries to interpolate a kind of color context for the image, and then spits out an answer for the color of the dress. Even Neitz, with his weird white-and-gold thing, admits that the dress is probably blue. "I actually printed the picture out," he says. "Then I cut a little piece out and looked at it, and completely out of context it's about halfway in between, not this dark blue color. My brain attributes the blue to the illuminant. Other people attribute it to the dress."

[...] So when context varies, so will people's visual perception. "Most people will see the blue on the white background as blue," Conway says. "But on the black background some might see it as white." He even speculated, perhaps jokingly, that the white-gold prejudice favors the idea of seeing the dress under strong daylight. "I bet night owls are more likely to see it as blue-black," Conway says.
The upshot? When you look at this photo, your brain works to make sense of what it's seeing. When perceived luminance and color are weighed against eachother, different brains will assign more weight to one than the other, resulting in a marked difference in perception. The dress may be blue and black in person, but, in this photo at least, its color is in the brain of the beholder.

Additional reporting by Mika McKinnon




Yes you heard me, you've been doing it all wrong.
The Crazy Russian Hacker will set you straight.

Flashback Post: Stain guide | For more tips go to | For a few laughs go to:

Its midwinter but still a good time to clean out the old cloths that are taking up valuable space.  Here is an article from "I dream of Clean":  How to declutter..

declutter your closet love your clothes

Flashback post:  With all this cooking you are doing check out Parchment Paper is Your Friend| For more tips go to | For a few laughs go to:

I have covered the site Quirky in a earlier post. It's a site that allows you to post your best inventions or ideas, and have the Quirky community vote on if it should be created.  If you get enough votes the Quirky staff creates the product and markets it for you.

You can learn more about the process here.  Quirky

Anyway they are celebrating the 5th year birthday of the site by having a sale.  You can check it out here:  Birthday sale.

Dishwasher safe

Flashback Post: Save money with your Freezer  | For more tips go to: | For a few laughs go to:

The Keurig Coffee maker is all the rage.  Seems like everyone I know has one.  They work great, but do have a couple of downsides.  Lets take a look.

One thing I don't like about the Keurig machine is the waste that results from each cup of coffee.  Each K-Cop is small on its own but you know what happens when you start doing the math and adding up all those used plastic K-Cups in the garbage.  Also the cost per cup is much higher than buying coffee in bulk.

Enter the Ekobrew Elite K-Cup.

The new stainless steel version features a silicone O-ring seal, heat-resistant grips, a w...

This product allows you to use regular ground coffee in your Keurig.   These devices have been around for a while but most I have seen, are made very cheaply.  This one uses solid construction and has gotten great reviews.  Cost is $17 on Amazon.

Check it out here:  GizMag

Flashback post:  With all this cooking you are doing check out Parchment Paper is Your Friend| For more tips go to | For a few laughs go to:

It's very cold out in many parts of the country right now.  How would you fare if your car went off the road and ended up in a ditch or ravine with no help in sight for hours, or worse overnight?  Today's tip will help you be prepared.

Being prepared in this situation is mostly common sense; have a full charge on your phone, have a car charger, blanket, water.  But do you even have those things with you?  Here are a few lists and there are some interesting things on them.  A few stood out:  A syphon for getting gas from another car.  Never thought of that one.  Considering all the junk most of us have in our trunks, this small item could be a life saver, even in good weather.  I am getting one asap.

Here are the lists:

The Weather Channel


And you can even buy a kit:  Amazon

Flashback Post: Waterproof wireless speakers | For more tips go to | For a few laughs go to:

Do you have a small child or grandchild that likes to grab your phone and play?  Santa Google has given you an early Christmas Present.  It's a game you can play but its kind of hidden.

Cover art


To find the app you just open Google maps on your phone and open the menu.  As long as you have the latest update, you will see it on the bottom of the menu list.  Its called Santa's Village.  It's actually a website and the app just takes you to the site.  You can also access it on your computer at

There are simple games to play, one for each day of the month, just scroll left and right and click on the bubble icons that bounce up and down.  Or click on the circle with Santa in it in the upper left.  This brings up the calendar for the month with different games for each day.

There is also an app for android that works similarly.  Download it here.

Have fun.

Props to me


Still have some Turkey and stuffing in the fridge.  Better do something with it quick.  Here are some ideas to help you use of the leftovers, and have something new and different.

Great Balls of Stuffing

Great Balls of Stuffing
This one sounds really great.  It combines two of my favorite things, stuffing and deep-frying.  Basically you make balls of stuffing, squeeze a piece of fresh mozzarella into it, coat with panko, and deep fry.  Yes that sounds very good.
Here is the full recipe, thanks to Rachel: balls of stuffing

Turkey Soup
Not very original but if you have never tried it, it really is a good soup.
Here is my personal recipe:

Left over turkey  The carcass makes a great broth if you have it, throw it in along with what ever leftover turkey you have.  If you do not feel you have enough, head to the store and buy a thigh or Two.
1 C chopped onion
1 C chopped Celery
2 C chopped Carrots
6 cloves of garlic diced
chicken broth to cover everything ( 2 or 3 boxes)
Salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 C chopped fresh Cilantro
1 chopped banana pepper

If you bought some extra raw turkey, brown it in the bottom of the soup pot with some olive oil.  Put everything else in the pot, cove with the broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.

Open Faced Turkey Sandwiches
What is says.  Get the recipe here from Thekitchn

Thanks to Me, Rachel Ray, and Thekitchn

Flashback Post: Passwords you can remember  |  For more tips go to  |  For a few laughs go to:

It's just about that time.  Watch this short video from thekitchn.  Only 1:17 long.

...continue reading

Clutter around the house is very stressful.  You look around and know you need to clean up, but the task can be daunting.  You need a plan!!  Today tip will help you de-clutter your home.

The site "I Dream of Clean" gives us several ideas for gifts to help our family and friends get organized.  Here are a couple of highlights:

  • Velvet hangers.  What a great idea, cloths do not slip off and end up on the floor.
  • Freedom Filer. This is an out of the box filing system.  It comes with pre-made tab labels and an instruction manual.  If you are not ready to get rid of the paper and scan everything, (another tip in the list), this is a great way to get the paper in order.

To see the rest of the tips head over to: Idreamofclean

props to me

Flashback Post: Stain guide | For more tips go to | For a few laughs go to: