Mystery of the Day: Tumblr Dress Sparks Massive Online Debate

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It may not be Kim Kardashian’s butt or a couple of runaway llamas, but a single dress seemingly broken the Internet Thursday night.

The image above was originally uploaded on February 15 to Tumblr with the following caption:

Guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f**k out.

Simple enough question right? It’s obviously blue and gold. Mystery solved.

But wait, when you turn the photo sideways it’s actually more blue and black. The more you really think about it, maybe it’s white and gold after all.

Then your mind explodes, and the evil dress has won.

One commenter thought we needed to elevate this to a higher authority.

SPREAD THIS UNTIL IT REACHES NASA WE MUST FIND ANSWERS

The dress was trending on Twitter and Facebook by Friday morning, with people of both camps (#whiteandgold and #blackandblue) arguing their case.

Buzzfeed eventually contacted the original uploader, a woman named Caitlin McNeill. She confirmed that it was in fact the blue and black dress seen below.

It’s called the Royal-Blue Lace Detail Bodycon Dress and sells for $77.

022715blueblackdress

Although the more interesting question is, why do we all see different colors?

Wired has a good explanation of why this is happening.

Human beings evolved to see in daylight, but daylight changes color. That chromatic axis varies from the pinkish red of dawn, up through the blue-white of noontime, and then back down to reddish twilight. “What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.”

Distractions

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