Sunday, 3 March 2013

Oh Internet, I think you're pulling my leg

Here I will discuss my journey through discovery, wonder, belief, further research and resultant disillusionment and enlightenment, occurring through the internet image magpie mania that is Pinterest.

Things can really take off through this medium, and I imagine it would be very hard to keep track of where an image or video has spread to. Unknown people across the world can pin an image from a website or upload it themselves, another total stranger will repin it - and you end up with multitudes of spontaneously dividing threads.

This, paired with gradual information loss and distortion along the way.... who knows where an image comes from?

Sometimes it's difficult to tell if an image is for real, however incredible it looks, or if it is just a Photoshop jobbie.....

From yellow_reporter
This was a favourite architectural image of mine, until by new best friend - the Tin Eye reverse image search - enabled me to find where else the same image appears on the web, eventually leading me to its source: a clever photographic manipulation by Dutch artist Jan Oliehoek.

Tin Eye doesn't even have to lead you to the original source for it to be useful - it is valuable for just finding out the name of an object, structure or place, which enables you to conduct a more informed search from there....

This example also shows the deterioration of information through the web - when I first came across this pic on Pinterest, the comment said it was in Ireland, but the rock and background scenery is in Thailand - an understandable mistake when you sound out the words, but the two places could almost not be further apart! 
From wikipedia

More specifically, the rock is James Bond Island in Ao Phang Nga National ParkThailand, and the castle is Lichtenstein Castle in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

I know, the castle still looks fake! 
But it truly 
does exist - from my experience Germany 
and Austria really are the best places 
to find fairy tale picture perfect castles

It was almost believable while I was browsing these other pretty amazing (and completely real) constructions that to the laypersons' eye, seem to be gravity-defying or at least testing the limits..... 
From myyellowbells. This is the Capital Gate skyscraper in
Abu Dhabi. It has an 18-degree incline, which is over four
 times more than the tower of Pisa's unintentional tilt, which
itself is beaten by 1.22 degrees by the lesser known church
steeple 'Leaning Tower' of Suurhusen, Germany.
The “South Heavenly Gate” which has a 
narrow walkway of planks skirting the 

mountain rock face while people hold on

 to a big chain attached to the walls. 

Located in the Yellow Mountains of 

Huangshan, China.
'Horizons', a welded-steel sculpture with a carton-like
quality, created by Neil Dawson and located on
“The Farm,” a large private art park in New Zealand.
Le Grand van Gogh by Bruno Catalano,
in Saint-Paul de Vence, France

Tin Eye revealed to me another person who seems to have been taken in by Oliehoek's trickery/artistry... poor fool...

Does he not notice that the castle is JUST NOT THERE in the panoramic picture?

I also wanted to blow the whistle on another hoax taking the Pinterest world by storm:

Creating 'Water Marbles' aka Water Beans, Jelly Marbles...

There are step-by-step images and videos going around that claim to show you how you can make these transparent jelly-like marbles from a few simple kitchen ingredients, by various heating/cooling/mixing stages.

From latterdaylearning
From cometogetherkids
Pretty, aren't they? They really seem to have the power to make people go 'oooh'

One characteristic of the water marbles produced by the DIY hoax that produces amazement in viewers is when the marbles supposedly form when you bring them into contact with air - in actual fact, the marbles were there all along in the water, but because clear colourless ones have been used in the kitchen 'experiment', it is very hard to detect the edges while they're in the water.

Anyone who has some general knowledge and didn't completely miss their school chemistry classes by falling asleep might be able to guess that using baking soda, vinegar, calcium bicarbonate and iodized salt will not create such neatly spherical objects.

Also I would question the wisdom of putting your hands into this mixture, it doesn't sound too skin-friendly!

The blogger to whom I owe my enlightenment on this hoax explains all on ChemSpider.

I'll leave you with some more of my favourite Jan Oliehoek photo manipulation creations, featuring both the cute and the shocking:

And one more to calm your nerves and reduce adrenaline after those last two:

Don't forget to think critically about what you find on the internet!

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