Wednesday Word of the Week: pareidolia

Madhubanitutor:

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Originally posted on Nat Geo Education Blog:

pareidolia(pair-i-DOH-lee-uh)
noun. optical illusion involving the perception of a familiar pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist.

Pareidolia can be seeing a bunny in the clouds, Hitler in a teapot, Jesus in a chapatti, or whatever you want in an inkblot.

Landscape, however, provides some beautiful examples of pareidolia. And now, thanks to the geniuses at Google, NASA, and the makers of some facial-recognition software, they’re fun to find.

There's the Face on Mars, of course, although it doesn't look as familiar in higher resolution. Photographs by NASA/JPL

There’s the Face on Mars, of course, although it doesn’t look as familiar in higher resolution.
Photographs by NASA/JPL

This smiley face was the first image to greet the stellar cartographers of the Mars Orbiter Camera in 1999. Photograph by NASA/JPL/MSSS

This smiley face was the first image to greet the stellar cartographers of the Mars Orbiter Camera in 1999.
Photograph by NASA/JPL/MSSS

New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain was so familiar it appeared on their state quarter, but the rock formation collapsed in 2003. Photograph by Jeffrey Joseph, courtesy Wikimedia. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Jeffrey Joseph at the wikipedia project. This applies worldwide. New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain was so familiar it appeared on the state’s official quarter, but the rock formation collapsed in 2003.
Photograph by Jeffrey Joseph, courtesy Wikimedia. This work has been…

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