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The Sciences

Mapeidolia

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJanuary 23, 2009 12:00 AM

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A few days ago I asked why people always claim to see the Virgin Mary in random shapes, because it's such an easy shape to get naturally. But a good scientist always looks to the contrapositive: what about other familiar shapes that are not easy to make? How common are they?

america_naan.jpg

Turns out, pretty common. The fun website Strange Maps has some good examples of countries and continents appearing in bread, rocks, and clouds. My favorite is Australia in a puddle. What are the odds? I'd say pretty good. It's what our brains do. We should use those very same brains to understand that the brain tricks us sometimes. Tip o' the naan to BABloggee Lunar Mark.

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