CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Web's new question: Is this cat going up or down the stairs?

Technically Incorrect: An image of a perfectly innocent cat is fascinating, tormenting and generally exciting those who seek entertainment with a cerebral pinch.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


catstairs.jpg
Please decide. Please have the right answer. Up or down? 9Gag.com screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Four people sent me this yesterday.

This is an indication that it's not only extremely important, but that the Web is entering into one of its spirited and characteristically painful debates.

Here we have an image of a cat going downstairs. Or, perhaps, upstairs. Which is it? Please look. Please stare. Please dedicate your finest deductive skills. Focus.

There can only be one right answer. And the Web's most intellectual cats adore it when there is only one right answer and the answer is theirs.

The image first appeared on 9Gag.com, where it's already enjoyed thousands of comments. It achieved full promulgation when the Daily Mail challenged its deep-minded readers to state and opine.

Now, my friends who are professors, doctors and louche engineers are pontificating with such verve that they begin each pronouncement with "Obviously."

A strong light seems to be behind the cat. Does it represent the outside world and the floor? Or, instead, is it the washed-out higher floor from which it's descending? Oh, don't ask me.

YouTube has naturally spawned a few knowing videos. In this one, the poster insists that stairs cannot have an edge when you look from up to down, so the cat is clearly descending.

On Facebook, there are some fascinating deductions. Hillman Leung insists the cat is going up and down because it's Schrodinger's cat. Another poster, Shjnrzktrk Zkstrkjsd, insists: "If a cat walks down, it's tail always stands up, if a cat walks up, it's tail always stay down. Biologic Rulz."

I am exhausted. I am going upstairs for lunch. Or is it downstairs?