Hand over the keys: How to (possibly) lose your license

And, in another dog-bites-man story from The Associated Press (emphasis mine):

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Police say an elderly couple, aged 100 and 99, who drove the wrong way along a highway for more than a mile in New Zealand before crashing will probably be asked to surrender their driver’s licenses.

OK, where to begin? Granted, there were consequences involved, but I can relate to being a little confused at times on the road. I don’t know how many times I’ve lectured my kids on the importance of wisely choosing who they hang out with; now I have a concrete example. Not only does the driver in this case face losing his license, but so does the passenger.

It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt (or crashes the car). The story continues:

Calder said Tuesday the pair are unlikely to face charges and that police are still trying to determine who was driving the car at the time of the incident and how they ended up going the wrong way.

OK, here are a few guesses: The man was driving. He was lost and his wife was asking if he knew where he was going. He couldn’t hear her. Despite the onslaught of oncoming traffic and the pleas of his panicked wife, he plowed ahead. Chaos ensues.

In my previous post, I linked to research about how our eye sees things a split second ahead of our brains and then our brains, predicting the future, act accordingly. I think I’ve just seem my future about 60 years ahead. Unless my wife takes the keys.

Spider-Man? How about every man?

\According to new research, humans can see into the future ever so briefly, which explains why we are tricked by optical illusions.

Researcher Mark Changizi of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York says it starts with a neural lag that most everyone experiences while awake. When light hits your retina, about one-tenth of a second goes by before the brain translates the signal into a visual perception of the world.

Scientists already knew about the lag, yet they have debated over exactly how we compensate, with one school of thought proposing our motor system somehow modifies our movements to offset the delay.

Changizi now says it’s our visual system that has evolved to compensate for neural delays, generating images of what will occur one-tenth of a second into the future. That foresight keeps our view of the world in the present. It gives you enough heads up to catch a fly ball (instead of getting socked in the face) and maneuver smoothly through a crowd. His research on this topic is detailed in the May/June issue of the journal Cognitive Science.

The article goes on to explain that illusions occur because our brains try to perceive the future but reality doesn’t match our perceptions. The question that comes to my mind: Is this something that has evolved or is it one more way we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” ?


HT: Centurion