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Michael Bach
Personal interests: Life. Professional interests: All things vision.
Personal interests: Life. Professional interests: All things vision.

Michael Bach's posts

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On our way to being an outcast when not facebooking
This excellent article is a concrete example what will happen if we don't be really careful. Also consider following the link to "ExtensionData Selfie".
I'm already a partial outcast in one of my bands because I don't use WhatsApp (where FB has openly lied to us with respect to data sharing).

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Red Strawberrries
Amazing how things make the rounds on our asocial networks – now it's Kitaokas non-red strawberries, a strong colour-constancy demonstration. On my site on visual phenomena & optical #illusions I present the underlying colour distributions and debunk one possible explanation

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Life with USB-C is good
Ok, the weird part first: I have these 10-year-old LaCie FireWire speakers – They are really nice when watching moovies, but 10 years ago it was FireWire 400. Then came FireWire 800 – the black adapter dealt with that. Then came Thunderbolt – that white adapter covered that – and the final white box now converts to the USB-C encased Thunderbolt. Through all these adaptors it works; who wo'd a thunk it?

Now the interesting parts: how to deal with loads of equipment using the USB A connector (at whatever speed) etc.

• Image 3 shows Apple's “reduced price” adaptor, which works fine. But that black one might interest you more: it costs 6€ for a pair, and does just as well. I found normal speeds for 5" external drives built for USB 3. The latter is so inexpensive, that one can just stick to all USB-A equipment such an adaptor and be done with it.

• Image 4 is Apple's Thunderbolt↔︎USB-C connector. Works well, but NOT FOR video! This will cause many problems: The Mini Display Port has exactly the same shape as Thunderbolt, but here it does not carry the same signals! More on that below. But it serves me well with Thunderbolt disks, and connecting in target-disk mode to another mac.

• Image 5 is a neat memory stick. It has a slider, letting you pushe out either USB-A or USB-C, so it fits just about everywhere.

• Image 6 is for connecting to video projectors. I do many presentations (715 and counting), and you never know what they have at that venue. The depicted device covers VGA and HDMI, and using and additional adaptor (image 7) I even can access DVI – so I'm covered for all eventualities.
7 Photos - View album

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Opposite Rotation in Kitaoka's “Rotating Snakes Illusion”

Typically I would not advertise my scientific publications here, but I'm particulary proud of this paper “Rotating Snakes #Illusion—Quantitative Analysis Reveals a Region in Luminance Space With Opposite Illusory Rotation” (Lea Atala-Gérard & Michael Bach, 2017):

The standard rule of thumb is: the disk rotates from the black part over the darker grey towards the white part, as seen in the right disk (clockwise). The left one, although having the same black–dark grey–white–light grey order, rotates ever so slightly the other way. This is only a wee bit of rotation, but was totally unexpected. The luminance effect can be interactively explored here
One needs to do eye movement beneath the figures to perceive the effect – steady fixation leads to steady disks. For me the rotation of the right disk is so strong that I need to cover it to see the occasional counter-clockwise rotation of the left disk.

We also, in the spirit of open data, have published our full data set on figshare. The data demonstrates that there is variability between observers. By using a nulling task (physical counter-rotation to make it seem stationary), quantification of effect strength was highly reproducible.

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President Trump: The Inauguration (new Twilight episode)
2017-01-20, 4pm, BBC One/ STV
TV review by Damien Love in

“After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories – among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting – but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present. The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.”

To be on the safe side (I'm not distributing fake news): This a satire, and a hilarious (or horrible?) one at that! Picked up and made popular on twitter.

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Seasonal Illusion – “White Xmas”
In my collection of #illusion I added a variant of White's Illusion appropriate for this time of the year

Enjoy – whatever sad events currently dominate the world…

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Ferien in Lanzarote
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Open Access for viewing
Scientific publishers Springer and Nature have fused recently. The results are absurd & ridiculous new author disclaimer notes (another topic) and an interesting "content sharing" model. An example here
The above link gives you full free reading access to the paper. While you cannot download it, it's a major boon IMHO, even if not really Open Access. [Probably major data harvesting behind it too.] Here
you can enter the DOI of your paper (if published by Springer-Nature), and if you're lucky get such a sharing link. Currently the choice appears limited, possibly they'll extend this to earlier publications. So far I've found only 3 of my papers from this year there.

Sprinter-Nature write “There are no restrictions on the number of people you may share this link with, how many times they can view the linked article or where you can post the link online.” Wow, nice!

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I couldn't agree more…

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Freiburg Vision Test “FrACT“ updated
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