I am very enamoured by illusions.

Whenever I find a new one, I am intensely interested in it.

My most recent find was mime.  This video is quite incredible.

Tug of War from Karen Montanaro on Vimeo.

I ended up buying the dvd set because everything he is talking about is utterly related to animation.  It arrived today and I already learned a lot from the first hour.

But back to illusions.  I've been interested in animation, the illusion of movement, optical illusions, magic eye 3d illusions, magic tricks, card tricks, video games, computer graphics, binaural sound recording, motion tracking, stop motion, photosynths, high realism drawing and painting, virtual reality,  and probably a number of other things.

I'm pretty sure that I don't just like fake things, it's that I like knowing how to directly communicate to our perceptual systems.  This fantastic mime has stripped away everything but the bare essentials parts of what he is trying to communicate, which is a tug of war.

Every illusion is actually the result of a deep understanding.


Inside Job

I just watched the Inside Job, a film that explains the root causes of the financial meltdown in the last few years.

Out of that comes a discussion of money and wealth.  There are all sorts of people getting millions dollar bonus, moving billions of dollars around.  And a lot of the time, it feels like people are saying that if a banker got 150 million dollar bonus that money should be going directly to some average working class people.  It should just be divided up and given around.  In the film, a number like 150 million dollars was compared to 18 000 dollars that elderly were being paid from a pension fund.

And this type of math makes everything feel insane.

But I think there is something weird going on.  I don't really think that one banker having 150 million dollars is the same thing as 150 people having a million dollars each, or 1500 people having 100 000 dollars.

The question I am asking is where did the bankers 150 million dollars come from?  Did it actually come from hard working people, or was it simply withdrawn from other mysterious investments inside the bank?  And what did the banker do with 150 million dollars.  I have a feeling it went right back into some sort of investment.

And the thing with investments is that you can't really take all of you money out of them.  Suppose all of the bankers with 150 million dollars suddenly wanted to spend all of that money.  They would need to sell all of there investments, the market would be flooded and the end value of what they actually had would be dramatically reduced.

So in fact while all sorts of bank statements and computers might say that there are millions and billions of dollars moving around in the bank accounts of a minor top percentage of the world,  I have a feeling that that money is tied up, and simply could not be let forth into the world.  And money that can't be used doesn't really have much value.

The bankers did do something wrong with how they were practicing economics, but I don't believe that the numbers that they are telling us have anything to do with the actual amount of value which they stole from the world, though they did a really good job of mucking up how everything and everyone else in the world thinks about value.

I guess value is the real mystery.  I will have to think more about what is money and what is value and what they mean.