Breaking News         Latest US News              New York News              Fx Tribune

What Unai Emery is doing differently at Arsenal
Brian KlutchOut of shapeHint: Water and air have different densities.Place a straw in a glass of water, and behold: It looks broken. What’s tricking your brain?Similar to this illusion, the light that reflects off the straw allows your visual system to...

Why does this straw look like it's broken?

Brian KlutchOut of shapeHint: Water and air have different densities.Place a straw in a glass of water, and behold: It looks broken. What’s tricking your brain?Similar to this illusion, the light that reflects off the straw allows your visual system to...

Why does this straw look like it's broken?

Brian Klutch

Out of shape

Hint: Water and air have different densities.

Place a straw in a glass of water, and behold: It looks broken. What’s tricking your brain?

Similar to this illusion, the light that reflects off the straw allows your visual system to process and identify its shape as it travels through mediums of varying densities. But as light passes from air into water, which is denser, it changes direction, or refracts.

Your brain can’t correct for these visual effects, so it decides on the location of the object (the straw) based solely on where the reflecting light is coming from. Above the water, the light reflects from the straw through the air and glass to your eyes. But below, when the light also travels through water, the refraction causes the image of the straw to be in a slightly different location. The water also acts as a type of magnifying lens, making the size of the straw seem larger than it actually is. To the brain, the straw appears broken (and bloated).

That’s why spearfishing is so hard to master. From far away, the fish you are eyeing always looks nearer to the surface of the water than it actually is. The key is to get as close to the fish as possible, without it seeing you. ­Otherwise, you go home empty-handed.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2017 issue of Popular Science.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

Breaking News Headlines

Home Heating Oil to Jump 20% This Winter – Here's How to Cut Back
Home Heating Oil to Jump 20% This Winter – Here's How to Cut Back
Cloud Storage for Your Business: Is It Worth It?
Cloud Storage for Your Business: Is It Worth It?
Your Next Car May Be 3D Printed
Your Next Car May Be 3D Printed
10 Ways To Help Overcome Driving Anxiety
10 Ways To Help Overcome Driving Anxiety
Tips For Those People About To Launch Their First Startup
Tips For Those People About To Launch Their First Startup
Comparing Deployment Methods of Cloud Computing
Comparing Deployment Methods of Cloud Computing
What You Need to Know to Prevent Flood Damage to Your Home
What You Need to Know to Prevent Flood Damage to Your Home
Reasons Why Millennials Prefer Luxury Apartments for Holidays
Reasons Why Millennials Prefer Luxury Apartments for Holidays
Shohei Ohtani - A New MLB Star in the Making
Shohei Ohtani - A New MLB Star in the Making
The US Stock Market after the Earnings Season
The US Stock Market after the Earnings Season
3 Common Video Editing Mistakes to Avoid
  3 Common Video Editing Mistakes to Avoid
Invest in Kotak Mutual Funds Online
Invest in Kotak Mutual Funds Online
POLLS Results ALL
Who is the most powerful actor in Syria

Front Pages
  • The Sun
NEWS ARCHIVES