Uber-geek David Pogue has completed a Casual-Friday-worthy study of the human perceptual system. He wanted to test the “megapixel myth” — the idea that buying a higher megapixel camera doesn’t necessarily mean that you will take better pictures. He made poster-size prints of the same photo at different pixel resolutions: 5, 8, and 13 megapixels, then asked passersby to judge which was which. Ninety-five percent didn’t even try, and only one of those who attempted was able to correctly identify the photos.
But doesn’t the human eye have a full 576 megapixels of resolution? Something must be wrong with either Pogue’s design or Clarkvision’s computation. One possibility: The limiting factor wasn’t the resolution of the human eye, but the printer Pogue used to make the posters.
A related but different topic: What sound is most irritating? Now you can participate in an experiment to find out, and compare your results to others. Study designer Trevor Cox describes the project:
The idea behind the project is to get people thinking about the complex way we listen to and interpret sounds. For instance, you can find out why we find the sound of retching horrible.
By examining people’s voting patterns we will learn more about people’s perception of horrible sounds. We hope to learn about what is the worst sound in the world, and maybe why it is the worst sound.
It has been a lot of fun putting together the website, but I’m glad I no longer have to edit horrible things like the sound of my snotty nose!
In other news:
- Face transplant update: The surgery was a success, and the patient is now able to walk around town unrecognized.
- Humpbacks, humans share neurons
- Watching masterful professional athletes impairs motor skills