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Mountain or valley? Concave or convex? Why is it so difficult to tell the difference when you’re viewing a surface from directly overhead? This short animation from MinutePhysics details how this perceptual illusion is explained by our natural conditioning to the Earth’s most powerful light source – the Sun – which has trained us to perceive light as always being on top and shadows as always being on the bottom.
Video by MinutePhysics
On the run from COVID-19, an Indigenous family treks deep into the Amazon rainforest
Love evolves and death isn’t worth your worry – life lessons from an 88-year-old
Film and visual culture
A series of animated illusions illustrates how we project depth on to flat surfaces
Building ‘bigger and better’ has pushed cosmology forward. Can it take it any further?
Watch the elegant flow of a sheep herd, seen from the sky above Israel
How would a piano sound on Mars? Embark on an interplanetary sonic journey
When two punk bands came to a psychiatric hospital, beautiful chaos ensued
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
An ode to the humble rotifer – one of nature’s simplest and strangest creatures