Two Internet phenomenoms that could only have gotten so popular due to a perfect storm of online social pathways.

1. A Dress with differently interpreted colors.

“The term “colorblind” is not accurate. A more accurate term is color vision deficiency (CVD.) Colorblind implies that those of us who have it are seeing the world like a Humphrey Bogart film. Black and white. Shades of gray. In truth, very, very few people have that severe of a deficiency.”

“The dress was just another passing internet meme. But it was also an opportunity for everyone to realize that we all see color differently.”

Many people in the world were introduced to the concept of colors as a variable property, open, and in fact highly subjected, to interpretation by the eyes and brain of the viewer.

Even I learnt some things from this incident: Human color interpretation varies really widely. I thought everyone had the same reaction to optical illusions, I was wrong.

Having had a fair exposure to photography, the concept of shifting colors did not shock me as much. white balance and exposure are common settings that photographers grapple with from photo to photo. Trying to preserve the original white balance is notably tricky, and sometimes not ideal if you want a “perfect” or “idealised”-looking photograph. How much should I edit? In-camera or darkroom, etc. Things look different under different lighting – warm light, cool light, light temperatures, Kelvins… settings settings settings.

Welcome to the world of light and colors, and perhaps even monochrome. (and then colors/temperature within monochrome! what a headache.)

It was remarkable to observe other’s reaction to the dress, to the shock, the awe, the mind-blown realization that different people would see it differently, that the same color RGB can LOOK different under different lights, different exposures, different surroundings.

Optical illusions aren’t new. We’ve seen at least some of them in the past. But what makes them so fun is that they are so unexpected, so fresh, always so tricky. You can try to control your brain once you know the trick, but it’s still a challenge, and not always instinctive. It’s even more amazing to people who have not seem much of optical illusions before. =) How some people take so long to get past the mind-blown stage and start to analyse the photo objectively is just such a testament that some-people-just-dont-get-things. Le sigh.

2. Uber and pirate cars.

Despite the overwhelming amount of press that Uber and other taxi hailing apps, ride sharing apps are getting…despite that I am oh-so-tired of hearing of another Uber-like service, I guess there are still people out there who do not comprehend what it is, how it works, and how to use it.

If you had known – you wouldn’t have been scammed so easily, you wouldn’t be afraid of using it, and you would be much safer than hopping into random unmarked cars that stop by the side of the road for you. It’s ridiculous that in this modern day and age where we are taught to be careful out there, that people will just randomly trust strangers to do things like that. Perhaps the safety of Singapore lulls people into a false sense of security, or perhaps they aren’t exposed to the raw danger and mistrust in many other societies. For example – not leaving your bags unattended, not leaving valuables on the table, not taking rides with strangers, not trusting anything the salesman says (for goodness sake. misalignment of interests much.).

Perhaps Uber and modern day apps are just so foreign a concept – putting your credit card details into an app and calling a car that you just hop in and out? wow tough for the older generation who might like to see physical cash transacting hands. All I can say is, please consult your kids if you need to.

One would think that with the Internet being so pervasive – everyone would know everything already. But no! I guess a smarthuman or smartsociety still has some way to go.

Then again, you see how willy-nilly people make impulse purchases, throw their cash around, and make lots of bad decisions. I guess it’s just in their DNA, (or more accurately, it’s just their phenotype or their character. It’s quite far from the truth to ascribe it to DNA, too much of environmental factors involved.)


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