In the article 'More sense, less travel' on virtual cocoons (News
, 7 April) the old one about the video of a gorilla in a basketball game was used to illustrate a point about perceptual trade-offs.
recently it was mentioned on the radio and I later described the experiment to my wife. (For those who don't know, students were asked to count the number of times a ball was passed, and 70 per cent didn't notice a man in a gorilla suit on the court.)
I was surprised at how unimpressed she was and more surprised when she told me that team mascots (a man in a gorilla suit obviously fitting that description) often go on court during a game.
On the subject of things not being what they seem, a story is told about NASA developing an expensive pressurised space pen while the Russians used a pencil. Have you ever tried sharpening a graphite pencil in zero gravity surrounded by electronics? The Americans did and that's why they invented the pen.