I think I have watched this video literally two dozen times because I can’t figure it out. I know there is a scientific explanation for it, which I will get to in a moment, but that just doesn’t matter to my brain when I watch it. It just doesn’t compute.
This video posted to Twitter by journalist Marc Settle is so weird that it was re-tweeted over 1,000 times in the first 12 hours after he posted it. It’s pretty easy to see why.
“I was tidying up my son’s train track… again, as I do every evening,” Settle told Mashable by email.
“But this time, I stacked one piece on another (rather than just flinging them all in a box) and lined them up exactly. I then (for some reason, no idea why) took the top one off again and placed it on the table below the other one and *blam* — then I saw it.
“I did it again and again, for my own curiosity; but each time the piece was placed on top of the other one, it was the same size *precisely* but bigger when it was placed underneath the other one… which fried my brain.”
Take a look and see if it too doesn’t fry your brain. (No way you can watch just once either, trust me, I know.)
What kind of sorcery is this?!
Turns out, as is always the case, there is a logical explanation (that I still don’t believe), which Settle eventually shared on Twitter.
It’s called a “Jastrow illusion.”
I still don’t get it, but here’s how Mashable explained it…
Basically, as the Jastrow Illusion explains, the whole thing has to do with perspective. The two pieces of track are indeed the same size, but because of the shape (the tracks curve, so the top arch of each segment is longer than the bottom arch) and the angle of their placement the top segment of track appears bigger when it’s lined up in a certain way with the bottom segment.
I still don’t get it.
Confused man image by Shutterstock