Alice in Neuroland: Mad Hatter vs. March Hare

alice in wonderland, Eyewire, citizen science, Lina, Nurro, March Hare, Mad Hatter, Sebastian Seung

“All right, I’ve answered your last question, but none of my answers sounded like anything to do with the White Rabbit,” you confess to the Cheshire Cat, realizing a whole two days have gone by. “Now I’m a little hungry.”

“Well.” The Cheshire Cat looks a bit smug. “Maybe you should go have a spot of tea, and some biscuits.”

You roll your eyes. “That’s not helpful at all! What an odd cat you are.”

Odder still, in fact, because just like that, the cat seems to fade out of existence, starting at its tail and finishing with its manic grin. However, now you do smell some tea, and as you follow that appealing scent, it leads you all the way to the brain’s visual cortex, in the occipital lobe. Or at least you’re fairly sure that’s where it is. The neurons all around you keep flickering with something like holographic images.

And right in the middle of your path, there are some curious characters. They seem quite real, but one is a man with a giant head in an even bigger hat, the other is some sort of talking hare, and the last is a dormouse snoring in slumber. Sitting at a table loaded with tea cups, sandwiches, and sweets, the man and the hare are having a vociferous disagreement, until they notice you.

“You! Come sit here,” demands the hare. “The Mad Hatter is insisting that the world is right side up, but our eyes see it upside down! And he is quite wrong. Do tell him so!”

“Do nothing of the sort!” objects the Mad Hatter. “The March Hare absurdly believes the world is upside down, but our eyes see it right side up! The Dormouse here was adjudicating this matter, but he’s fallen asleep again and shan’t be woken. If you do sort this out for us… you can join us for tea?”

It looks like this argument is now in your hands to resolve. This Mad Tea Party kicks off at 11:00 AM EDT on 4/24 and goes for 24 hours!

Swag (generously sponsored by @susi): 1 shirt, 1 mug, and 3 sticker sheets will be raffled among the top 50% of players on the winning team!


Earn 5,000 points – 2,500 bonus
Earn 15,000 points – 5,000 bonus
Earn 25,000 points – 10,000 bonus
For every 25,000 points above 25,000 – 5,000 bonus
Member of winning team (if you’ve scored at least 2,500 points) – 10,000 bonus
Highest scorer on each team – 5,000 bonus
Player with #1 overall score – 10,000 bonus
Player with #2 overall score – 5,000 bonus
Player with #3 overall score – 2,500 bonus

Artwork by Daniela Gamba

neuroland, alice, alice in wonderland, mad hatter, tea party, citizen science, animation, cortex, LGN, neurons, synapses