The challenge: You know the drill. Waldo appears in different places in different scenes. There are 68 locations, therefore 68 places.
The simulation: Let’s pretend Waldo is not a guy in a crowd but a dot on a page.
The problem: There are 68 dots representing possible Waldo locations. You must find the right dot as quickly as possible.
The solution: Look at all the dots. As quickly as possible.
The science: TL;DR The shortest distance between two dots is a straight line. Get a computer to figure out the shortest distance between all 68 dots for you.
The application: You, the user, must memorize all the dots and lines in order to remember the sequence in which to move your eyes in order to find Waldo in a given scene. Here it is:
The snag: Er, that’s impossible.
The news coverage: To hell with ‘impossible’. It’s Waldo, for goodness sake!
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.