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placeholder bullshit conversation March 27, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.

>James says:how would you prove photography to a blind man?

>Candice says:uh.

>stab him until he says “oh, i see!”

>James says:haha.. nice. :)

>Candice says:um

>James says:wow that works for so many things. :)


>Candice says:so he’s totally blind?

>i know.:)

>James says:yeah.

>Candice says:not as good as your throwing someone against a wall until they die though.:)

>James says:haha.. apparently judo’s a fun thing to take

>Candice says:why the blind man thing?

>the way i see it … i can’t imagine an 8th colour


>James says:oh it was some article explaining how to do it. and I was wondering whether most people’d come to that conclusion right away anyway

>Candice says:oh so what do they suggest?

>well i have no idea what it’s like to be blind

>or how your imagination works when you are

>James says:http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/03/how_do_you_prov.html

>Give the blind man a camera, a tripod and a remote shutter release. (Ideally the camera is a Polaroid, or a digital with an instant picture facility.) Everyone leaves the room but the blind man. He takes a picture of himself, and holds up a number of fingers (1 to 5) at random. The sighted person comes back into the room, looks at the picture and says “you were holding up X fingers”.

>Candice says:hrm

>but the problem is

>he doesn’t know if he’s been watched from a window

>or if everyone really did leave the room


>James says:haha yeah I was thinking stuff like that’d screw it over. but it’s possible to get around those too I think.

>Candice says:how would he know if the walls are glass?:)

>James says:like locking him in a tiny box should be enough to convince him that no one else is there

>Candice says:yeah but he doesn’t know if the box is transparent!

>there’s absolutely no way for him to know

>James says:yeah. :) there’s gotta be another solution to that. hrm .

>Candice says:i like my stabbing hypothesis

>James says:oh I guess he could.. cover his hand with his body somehow.  :)

>haha yeah same.

>that’s clearly the ideal solution. :)

>Candice says:alright, but how does he know he’s not transparent? :)


>James says:haha I think I’d consider the experiment a success if I could prove either cameras exist or everyone in the world is transparent. :)

>Candice says:haha

>James says:man that’d kick ass if he came to that conclusion instead

>Candice says:well either way you can’t prove it to him really

>James says:haha

>Candice says:if we’re talking a REALLY cynical blind man.:)

>James says:yeah, I can’t think of any way around the transparency thing if anything including himself could be transparent. :)

>Candice says:right.. if he really is totally blind he has no concept of sight at all


>if he’s super cynical then he doesn’t believe anything anyone tells him.

>and probably doesn’t bother wearing clothes in summer. :)

>James says: hrm. I was gonna consider that a victory too. but that’d probably be bad for everyone else, actually.

>Candice says:well that’s not my problem.:)

>you see how violence is the solution to everything?

>James says:oh okay the transparency thing IS mentioned in the comments. >with exactly the same thoughts.

>But… Technically, how does the blind person know that he himself isn’t transparent. OK, so everyone he ever met would tell him that he wasn’t transparent, and he could have independent people testify that the walls aren’t transparent. BUT if elaborately executed it would be possible to fool the blind man.

>Candice says: >is there an answer to that?

>James says:not any good ones. one proposed answer was to get a camera without a flash. >and he could hold up a series of fingers and only take pictures of some of them. so the problem’s shifted to proving that the camera has no identifiable signals that it’s taking a picture. which is even harder to prove.

>Candice says:

>er. >he can’t see the flash anyway.

>James says: >oh so that a viewer can’t see the flash

>Candice says: >this still goes back to the transparency thing

>James says:naw it beats the transparency thing but in a really stupid way. like if you can manage to convince the blind man that the camera has no flash.. then when he takes pictures of specific fingers being held up, any viewers in plain sight won’t know when he’s taking pictures >oh wait.. even that’s not true. pushing the button is still pretty easily visible.

>Candice says:


>James says:so the camera’d have to be controlled by.. his mind

>haha.. hrm

>yeah the camera thing is stupid to begin with.

>cuz.. how would you even convince him it has no flash

>Candice says:right! >he doesn’t even KNOW what a flash is

>or light!

>i have a better solution though

>instead of stabbing some innocent blind guy

>you just stab a random ‘psychic’

>i mean, he should have seen it coming

>James says: >haha yeah it’s true.

>that’d kick ass if it held up in court

>lateral thinking puzzles are so stupid



1. Rob - April 8, 2007

My god, I can’t believe I read all of that.

However, on a related note, I recently read a (non-fiction)book about a man who had been blind from very, very early childhood. When he was in his 50’s he had pioneering eye surgery that restored his sight.
But, he couldn’t identify his family without hearing their voices, he didn’t understand what facial expressions meant. He also, had no concept of perspective, he would duck when a plane flew overhead because he thought it might hit him.
Sadly he became depressed because the world was drab, compared what he had imagined it to be when he ‘saw’ with his other senses. He died 2 years after the operation which he felt took away more than it gave.
I believe his story was made into a movie starring acting powerhouse Val Kilmer.

2. eatnorthamerica - May 1, 2007

whoa, that’s crazy. what’s the book called??? that is so so weird.

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