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Archive for September 2006

Making a disappearance

LensCrafters thumbnailLensCrafters, the folks who promise you glasses in about an hour, have been running this “Make an appearance” ad campaign for much of this year. Usually this appears on two succeeding right-side pages of a magazine: page 99, for instance, will have a shot like this, tagged with “When you’re wearing the wrong glasses, that’s all people see.” Then page 101 will have a shot with the young lady actually visible and wearing the “right” glasses. (I’ve also seen one version with a male, but so far I’m [not] seeing mostly women in these ads.) I had no idea that poor choices of spectacles would have such an effect; if nothing else, it justifies the fact that I’ve kept one pair of glasses, scarred and scratched, for the last thirty years, despite the fact that I can’t see anything out of them that’s closer than arm’s length. (I know, I know: bifocals. Please. I feel bad enough already.) If there’s any demand, I’ll bring up further items in this series.

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Trust the Romulans to mess this up

Found at The Arkanssouri Blog:

What would the inside of an invisibility cloak look like? Answer: Sorry, Trekkies: The show gets it wrong. It would be dark, unless there’s a light source inside. And if that’s the case, who knows? Maybe a better question would be, what would the outside of a cloaked object in a dark room look like if there IS a light source inside?

The mind boggles. Or something.

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Please don’t look at me

This might hurt a bit:

As a kid, you always wished you could become invisible, but as you got older, you started to wish you were invisible in the eyes of the one you love. You begin to wonder why God never made the power of invisibility possible for us, when he knew we’d get hurt.

Too easy, maybe?

I wrote a very short story once about an unlikely couple: everybody could see her but him, and no, he wasn’t blind or anything like that. I don’t know quite how this would have worked out, but apparently this was foretold by one of those soothsaying types, and presumably everyone lived happily ever after.

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Possible approaches

RG has three suggestions:

Spinvisibility – Invisibility induced due to spinning motion

Invisibility through bypass

Invisibility through alternate camera-projection set up

You can try the first with a box fan: can you see the blades? How you’re supposed to move that fast, of course, is another matter.

“Bypass” describes routing light waves around that which is not to be seen, so that you see what’s behind it instead. Diffraction effects make this problematic — unless, of course, you’re Sue Storm.

And if you project an image to replace another, well, let’s hope nobody moves.

The charm of these methods, I think, is that they have some grounding in physics, which makes them a tad more plausible than, say, the Shadow’s ability to cloud men’s minds.

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I guess you can write your own joke

At another site, I run something called The Femmes Invisible Database, and tonight it got ten hits in about twelve minutes from an IP in Saudi Arabia.

Visions of empty burqas dancing in their heads? The mind boggles.

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Or would you rather fly?

This question has been kicking around for years, but it really didn’t come down to an A or B choice until Ira Glass devoted a segment of This American Life to it.

Tonya asked her guests one evening, and then made her own preferences known:

I choose invisibility. And I do so for all the wrong reasons. I want to sneak into places that I don’t belong. I want to hear what people say about me when I’m not around. I want to watch people when they don’t know anyone is watching them. And, yes, I’d watch people having sex. Who could resist? I even tell my friends that maybe I’d watch them having sex.

Lyra Alluse was asked The Question in English class, and this was the result:

A great majority of the girls choose invisibility; whereas a great majority of the guys choose flight.

And Meg doesn’t want any part of it:

I’m not sure anything good would come from invisibility. I think it’s sort of deceptive in a way, and an excellent means to find out all kinds of stuff that you really would rather not know…. Besides that, what else would one want to do with invisibility? Listen in on conversations? Molest objects of desire? I couldn’t think of anything invisibility would offer that wasn’t deceptive in some way.

Does eluding perception constitute deception? I’ll have to ponder that for a moment or three.

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That empty-clothing look

Suggestions from a pretty fair Photoshopper:

[H]ere are some suggestions for clothing: wedding/prom/party dresses, halters, tube or bandeau tops, jumpsuits, shorts, bodysuits, leotards, evening gowns and other formal wear, business suits, minidresses, jeans, any kind of cropped top… I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Paintings and illustrations are OK, too, if they’re lifelike.

For any photo to work, it should have a lot of contrast between the clothing and the background. If the woman in the photo is wearing a red outfit and standing in front of a red background, it will be more difficult to work with than the same outfit in front of a white or light-colored background. Black backgrounds can be tough, too, unless the subject is well lit from the front.

An actual potion you can stir into a glass of Crystal Light remains undiscovered, alas.

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