Miscellany, April 22

  • For those who liked the earlier item on pareidolia (the tendency of observers to see religious or other significant images in random patterns) here’s a photo gallery with more such apparitions, including a “hand of God” in an image of a star’s energy field, a crimson flower resembling the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, and many sightings of the Virgin Mary, including one in a crispy snack of the onion-flavored sort known as Funyuns, for which $609 was offered on eBay.
  • Authorité: Hillary launches intimidating new fragrance line [The Onion] In all seriousness, evidence has been piling up that women’s ability to detect scent is different from and probably more discerning than men’s.
  • A cell of Iraqi children allegedly trained by al Qaeda as suicide bombers were given the name “birds of paradise”, said to be derived “from the Islamic belief that when children die they become birds of paradise”.
  • The “Durban II” U.N. anti-racism, anti-U.S. conference is the perfect arena in which to push those noxious resolutions encouraging countries to criminalize the “defamation of religion” (earlier here, here, and here). More: Jonathan Turley.
  • “Couldn’t possibly be a coincidence!” Or maybe it could; this video explains why seemingly uncanny events can in fact be probable.

About Walter Olson

Fellow at a think tank in the Northeast specializing in law. Websites include overlawyered.com. Former columnist for Reason and Times Online (U.K.), contributor to National Review, etc.
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4 Responses to Miscellany, April 22

  1. Mr. F. Le Mur says:

    “Couldn’t possibly be a coincidence!”
    When faced with a seemingly odd coincidence, I think “What’s the chances of something like that NEVER happening?”

  2. Caledonian says:

    Image #17 is the only interesting one. The others merely reaffirm the gullibility and emotional neediness of the average human being.

  3. Curious reader says:

    I had a cousin who had a summer job as a sniffer. She literally sniffed fragrance samples for quality control purposes. They snuck in the occasional blank to check for slackers. This was in the mid 90’s, and the firm only hired women. Apparently the superior female sense of smell was already known in that industry.

  4. TrueNorth says:

    I think a lot of the “couldn’t possibly be a coincidence” stuff is caused by assigning probabilities after the fact. If I draw a circle on the ground and say “what is the probability that an an asteroid will land in that circle?” and then one actually does it would be extremely surprising. On the other hand, if I discover an asteroid impact and then draw a circle around it and ask “what were the odds of that happening?” the answer changes a bit…

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