Monday, January 16, 2006

'That Checkerboard Pattern'

` I've been much too busy to make any 'CliffsNotes', though I thought I'd indulge you with something book-related nonetheless.
` See, I used to have this book called Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin. It was pretty funny, and I remember that he had said something like this:

` When you rub your eyes real hard, do you see that checkerboard pattern? Why is that?

` You mean, like this?

` I see that one myself, sometimes: It's called a pressure phosphene.
` As far as I am aware, a phosphene is a visual qualia occuring without the presence of light, caused by magnetic, electric, or mechanical stimulation - or possibly the random firing of neurons.
` Pressing on the eyes tends to stimulate random cells in the retinas via interocular fluid, hence the term 'pressure phosphene'.
` In fact, I pressed on my eyes just now and saw what appeared to be moving liquid, as well as a very clear wire-frame model of a complex, symmetrical, and many-moduled space station that revolved in various directions.

` I have no idea what that was all about - must be my exhaustion. Unfortunately, I eventually had to stop watching because my eyes were becoming sore.

` Anyway, 'phosphene' is a word for this, though so is 'entoptic phenomenon', which means 'something which happens within vision'.

` Personally, my favorite such occurence is when I simply close my eyes when I am very tired: Typically, a drawing of something appears and begins rotating and mutating into different forms.
` This is a type of hypnagogic reverie, which - as far as I know - is a type of hallucination (usually visual), induced by falling asleep. I usually don't fall asleep, however: I tend to stay half-asleep so that I can keep focusing on it.... It's just so fascinating, you know?


Galtron said...

Not really...
But I do see kaleidoscope thingies when I'm too tired to appreciate them.

heather said...

That looks like something out of one of those 3D books where you put your face close to the pic & then slowly move the pic away from your face and an image pops out. I never was good at those...oh well!

S E E Quine said...

` No, no, those are Single Image Random Dot Stereograms!

Galtron said...

Of course! Everyone knows that!!

cassie d said...

THAT'S what those 'Magic Eye' pictures are really called?


Remember when they were really big, and people were buying the crap out of them and FRAMING them on their walls? I remember this kid from high school's parents had was an eagle with an american flag waving behind it!


Hey, i heart america and all, but BLECH!!!!!

S E E Quine said...

` Indeed. A dreadful time is a time when 'Magic Eye' pictures are all the rage.
` ...It's also a time when my transgenic raccoons escape, though profuse 'Magic Eye' pictures come pretty close.

Galtron said...

What about when albino lab mice take over the world? You gotta admit, that's pretty dreadful.

S E E Quine said...

` Not as dreadful as if a small, pathetic green Urkin invader managed this feat....

dm said...

According to my sources, "ectopic" means "occurring or located in an abnormal position". You're sure that's the word?

S E E Quine said...

` !! You got me again, Dark M. - and I fixed that oversight!
` This time it was truly a mistake: I had been talking with someone about things ectopic while writing this post and didn't notice that I'd misspelled 'entoptic'!
` Without you, I probably wouldn't have noticed! Thanks.

dm said...

Any time.