Lancelot sent me this gif…..awrzwe8_460sa
Can you figure out why the square never gets any smaller?


  1. As each corner moves away, it is reinstated just as soon as there is room to do so without overlap. This occurs too fast for our vision to perceive it and our brain interprets the scene as a square with corners that are continuously detaching and moving away.

    1. The effect may well be unchanged by starting each corner image slightly away from the ‘square’. This would mean that the ‘square’ never really exists as a complete square. Our brain can often be fooled when confronted by a pattern that is only slightly different from a very familiar/ ubiquitous image. It is inclined to assume the more usual shape and this is what we perceive.

  2. Oooh this is sweet. This is exactly the way I eat a French Toast. Now I’m really sorry my French Toasts don’t grow the same way that square does…

  3. “can you figure out why the square never gets any smaller?” – false premise; the object is only a square after all four corners have been removed, it is otherwise a pentagon. furthermore, the formed square is in fact smaller, its sides subtly lengthened as the next set of corners are removed.

  4. What’s to work out? Cut off the corners of the square along a lines joining the centre of two adjacent sides whilst rotating and you get another, smaller square which you expand and “throw” the cut off corners away along the diagonals of the gif frame. Of course, some careful timing to make it looks smooth and run it just fast enough the eye can’t directly perceive what’s going on. Slow the animation down, and it would be obvious what’s happening.

  5. Perhaps this is actually some sort of quantum thing? Or maybe a 3-D construct of which we’re only permitted to see the top level as layers peel off? Ooooookay, then again, maybe neither… 😀

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