Two Optical Illusions: One Smart, One Stupid-Scary

The Dragon Illusion (video) is one super-smart illusion. It uses the way eyes and brain are wired to take advantage of mistaken assumptions:

When we see a solid object rotating, there are all sorts of clues that tell us what is going on, which way it is rotating, etc. The dragon gives us the wrong clues, because we mis-interpret what its shape is. The nose of the dragon appears to be pointing out towards the viewer, but in fact the dragon's head is concave.

The Bush plan to create deficit-cutting bragging rights also tries to take advantage of mistaken assumptions, primarily the one that our goverment wouldn't lie quite this brazenly:

To make Mr. Bush's goal easier to reach, administration officials have decided to measure their progress against a $521 billion deficit they predicted last February rather than last year's actual shortfall of $413 billion.

By starting with the outdated projection, Mr. Bush can say he has already reduced the shortfall by about $100 billion and claim victory if the deficit falls to just $260 billion.

But White House budget planners are not stopping there. Administration officials are also invoking optimistic assumptions about rising tax revenue while excluding costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as trillions of dollars in costs that lie just outside Mr. Bush's five-year budget window. …

“I've been watching this more than 30 years, and I have never seen anything quite this egregious,” said Stanley Collender, a longtime author on budget issues and a senior vice president at Financial Dynamics, a communications firm in Washington. …

Administration officials are omitting a second big group of costs for goals Mr. Bush has identified but not formally proposed.

By far the biggest of these is his plan to privatize Social Security in part and let people divert some of their payroll taxes to private accounts.

In otherwords, a complete tissue of lies.

Trickery makes for cute toys, but not cute budgets.

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3 Responses to Two Optical Illusions: One Smart, One Stupid-Scary

  1. pgl says:

    The Bush budget forecasters have given a good idea. Over the past year – the wife has been strict with my diet causing to me to lose 15 pounds (I should lose about 25 more). Maybe I’ll promise the wife that on 1/1/2006 that I will weigh less than I did on 1/1/2004. Of course, my doctor will not be amused.

  2. thomas says:

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The Dragon illusion, the Bush news, and the analogy.
    Nice call.

  3. This appears to be the same illusion that produces the busts that watch you as you walk past in Disneyland’s “Haunted Mansion.”

    Wait … is there an analogy there too?

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