Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This grid illusion is a sure gateway to madness

Illustration: Will Kerslake

Even in an age of increasingly lavish, CGI-enhanced blockbuster films and video games, it takes surprisingly little to entertain people in 2016. All one really needs are some gray lines—horizontal, vertical, and diagonal—and a few black dots in white circles. Consider the case of San Francisco game developer Will Kerslake. His day job is working on high profile titles like Rise Of The Tomb Raider and The Urbz, but his passion seems to be grid-based optical illusions. On Sunday, he shared a truly vexing image with his Twitter followers, along with a little taunt about how crappy people’s brains are:

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Whoa. Is that a mind blower or what? Those crazy dots really do seem to appear and disappear as one’s eyes move around the image. Damn those dots. They’re more elusive than Robert Denby. It’s impossible to bring them all into focus simultaneously, even after staring at the original tweet for three consecutive hours. And the headaches. Dear lord, the headaches.

As Stan Schroeder noted over at Mashable, this fun little tweet quickly took the internet by storm. It’s been retweeted over 20,000 times already, and made Reddit its bitch as well. Optical illusion nerds—and, yes, such people exist—say that Kerslake’s image is a variation on something called a Hermann grid, created by German physiologist Ludmar Hermann in 1870, possibly in an effort to make small children cry and grown men take leave of their good senses. Over the years, people have tried to explain in precise scientific terms why these types of illusions work. It basically boils down to the eyes being complete dumbasses, capable of being conned into anything. Instead of trying to figure it all out, why not just crank up some music and enjoy the show?

[via Mashable]

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