Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lenna

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~chuck/lennapg/lenna_visit.html
and
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~chuck/lennapg/

I was told by someone, not sure who, but I think that person told me they were told by someone who "manned the scanners", that the full nude image of lenna was a fake.

Now, for a person who knows photoshop quite well, I was very prepared to take this as fact, and that was fine until I stumbled across this article because a work-mate showed me the "fake" that wasn't. Photoshop is powerful, and there's no reason why I wouldn't beleive it was a fake if told it was. In the same way we all believed that people eat spiders in their sleep.

The full nude image, the one that was in playboy, the one that was scanned and used for years as one of the main continuous tone, face artefact, compression technology test images. Was the one I knew to be a fake. How come? Information, bad information, flows just as free as good.

I'm reminded of a quote from a film I recently watched:

"A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you cut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!'" - from "Doubt"

And yet we still tell lies. Lies for absolutely no reason at all (in the case of Lenna, I can see no reason at all). The feathers travel for miles and years. I'm glad that Google is here today to find the truth. All I need now is to start mistrusting everything that I've been told, and wear a citation needed hat.
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