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truly a site unseen

Archive for November 2006

The blindness issue

H. G. Wells himself knew about it, which is why when Griffin vanished, there remained behind an “attenuated pigment … behind the retina of my eyes, fainter than mist.”

The chap from Invisible for a Year (previously mentioned here) proposes a solution:

The light-reflective coating, that I will be using externally, deflects light around an object from the LIGHT side, much like a one-way mirror. If I make my eyelids see-through from the BACK, then I will be able to see directly through them and out of the back of the one-way mirror. My sight would be clear, but the external appearance of my eyes would be masked.

There remains the question of whether this would do permanent damage, inasmuch as it’s going to remain in place for a year, but points scored for ingenuity.

Update: He’s now going to use scleral shells over the eyes, rather than modify the eyelids themselves, as a safety precaution.

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No flying cars, either

Seventy years ago, this was the pitch:

Suppose that out onto a stage come eight chorus girls performing an intricate dance. Gradually something seems to happen, the heads, faces, and upper parts of the bodies of the girls seem to be disappearing. In fact, little by little they do become invisible to the audience until at last only eight pairs of legs are seen gracefully skipping about on the stage in perfect rhythm. You rub your eyes and begin to think you’d better see an oculist right away, but while you are worrying about it, back into your vision come the eight girls, wholly there and dancing gaily as though they had not just given you the shock of a lifetime. Or suppose again that a girl is sitting atop a piano, singing. The piano begins to fade from sight; finally the girl is left sitting in midair, nonchalantly swinging her feet and blithely singing, as though her perch was perfectly substantial.

If you did not think that you were just “seeing things,” right off you’d say, “Some invisible wires, or anyway, a cleverly arranged set of mirrors.” But you would be wrong in your guess. At least so says Mr. Adam Gosztonyi, the inventor of a machine which he claims can accomplish just such disappearing acts as have been described.

It wasn’t just Gosztonyi, either:

Another Hungarian by the name of Stephen Pribil, a professor of optics, has invented a machine producing “invisible rays.” This machine has the effect of making parts of an object apparently fade away, leaving the insides exposed.

More about Mr Pribil:

His system utilized special heterodyned light beams to render objects transparent and even invisible. Under the beams produced by his special lamps, opaque objects gradually became transparent. The effect could be controlled, optical transparencies sustained at specific “intensities”. Radio cabinets, exposed to his lamps, faded from view. Astounded witnesses saw through the cabinets, while the interiors stood out with amazing clarity. Metal parts, tubes, and chassis could be seen darkly shining through the wooden enclosures.

Allowed to thoroughly handle each part of his apparatus as well as the objects made transparent, it was also obvious that the system actually worked. He rendered transparent any object they wished by his extraordinary method. What became of Mr. Pribil, his device, and his theories remains a mystery.

I’m inclined to agree with the Modern Mechanix blogger: “Something tells me Modern Mechanix got scammed on this one. My guess is the two Hungarian guys got some investment funding and then vanished into thin air along with the cash.”

Still, if any of our special-effects wizards want to blank out the Rockettes from here up, I thank them in advance.

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The resemblance is amazing

A third-party developer working in the IMVU chatspace universe has come up with an Invisible Girl Avatar, a pair of empty black shorts with matching T-shirt. (As you might expect from a third-party product, it comes with a “use at your own risk” warning.) This avatar costs 1650 credits.

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Temporarily out of sight

Even if this is just a Gedankenexperiment, it’s going to be fun to watch as it unfolds. Here’s the premise:

This introduction may seem a little unconventional for a weblog, but it’s not really ME that this weblog will be about. It’s about what happens if someone, in general, were to be invisible.

For a full year.

I plan on putting my entire life on hold for 12 months and become invisible, and going to tell everyone about what happens.

As far as I know, no-one has done this before, so I can only guess what fun it might end up being.

I will document what happens to me, how I cope with things, and any surprises that occur during this time, plus any of the downsides of being invisible. I’ll be as honest, open and transparent as possible. (Yes, pun intended!)

I’ll put him on the blogroll and check in on a regular basis, just to see, as it were, how things are going. (And no, nowhere does he say he’s a he, but Technorati lists the author as “InvisiMan,” which is probably a clue.)

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Czech it out

I don’t speak a word of Czech, so I have no idea what this is all about, though I recognize the photos — they’ve been circulating through Yahoo! Groups — and I suspect that there’s a distinct “WTF?” air to it. (Or whatever the appropriate letters might be in beautiful downtown Prague.)

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