Seeing death skulls in hurricane #Matthew

I couldn’t help but notice this headline on the Drudge Report today:

scary-skull-matthew-drudge

Here is the actual satellite image of Hurricane #Matthew, as Tweeted by The Weather Channel’s Stu Ostro:

hurricane-matthew-skull

This is a classic case of the human propensity to see faces in things where there aren’t any. For example, the famous “face on Mars”

face-on-mars

Above: A 1976 Viking 1 photograph of the Face on Mars. Click here for a 2001 photo from Mars Global Surveyor that reveals the true appearance of the Face.

It has long since been explained as little more than light and shadow: http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast24may_1/

It is called Pareidolia

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists. Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the man in the moon, the moon rabbit, and hidden messages within recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds. – Wikipedia

 

This is akin to the need for humans to find patterns in data to support beliefs where there aren’t any, it is called Apophenia

Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data. -Wikipedia

This is something we see often in the climate debate. For example, while a nearly 4000 day long major hurricane drought is in progress, eco-activist newspapers are already trying to blame Hurricane Matthew on global warming/climate change.

guardian-hurricanes-worse-matthew

Color me about as impressed as I am about the face on Mars.

 

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60 thoughts on “Seeing death skulls in hurricane #Matthew

    • The famous “face on Mars” example of humans seeing things where they are not is an example. The mars rovers pics show clearly that the face on mars is not an enormous construction that is meant to resemble a human face. The “face on Mars” is actually a skull.

      Sorry about that.

  1. We will see t=his on the cover of the National Enquirer at the supermarket. … beside, Batboy!

  2. Looking at the latest forecast for the path of Matthew and Nicole it appears that they could collide or merge. Does anyone know what would happen if this occurs?

    • ” Does anyone know what would happen if this occurs?”

      Um … more Hillary emails found?

      Or … O’Bugger talks about himself and his awesome wonderfulness?

      • Nibiru
        It is the planet that doesn’t exist
        so why do all those fools persist
        some people started quoting it not knowing what it was
        and they’ll just keep on quoting it forever just because
        it is the planet that doesn’t exist

    • “Looking at the latest forecast for the path of Matthew and Nicole it appears that they could collide or merge. Does anyone know what would happen if this occurs?”

      If they get close enough to each other, their winds fields should interfere with each other, which I suspect will reduce the power of the hurricanes.

      Looks to me like Matthew is trying to go more north than northwest. Maybe the other hurricane is pulling on it a little.

      • I agree with TA. If they hit head odd, it will probably rip the two storms apart, resulting in a large, discombobulated series of minor storms. If it happens over land, the region below will get drowned, but the winds should be down to just strong-thunderstom levels. The idea of them somehow merging to form a stronger storm somehow without ripping each other apart first just doesn’t seem plausible.

  3. I don’t know I think things like that are kind of cool – as long as special meaning isn’t attached to it.

    I mean it kind of looks like Eddie. That’s gotta be fun for Iron Maiden fans.

  4. The BBC has today been referring to Matthew as the strongest hurricane to hit the Caribbean in a decade. While probably true, it does put a very different slant on things to saying that there haven’t been any strong hurricanes there for a decade.

  5. If there is one perfect example of finding patterns where there are none, how about those seeing a CO2-caused change in the weather over the past 30 years?

  6. I saw that earlier today, and thought somebody added the “teeth.” Since apparently they’re part of the original image, does anybody know that those white squares are? Some kind of artifact from the image-capture?

  7. I’ve been wondering when someone is going to tag a superlative alliteration for the storm. Mega Matthew or something. It’s fun to joke but I’m afraid it’s not going to be very funny to the people of Hati.

      • I like mad Matthew. I was thinking about mega-death… when the joke stopped being funny. I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up as kilo-death anyway. Our church had a missionary group there during the earthquake. It took a huge effort and support of the D.R. military to get them evacuated. Kids loved it; they got a helicopter ride…

  8. Aughh. I just wasted an hour at the Guardian site trying to be factual. At least I learned that (not kidding) “there are more earthquakes because of global warming because of more water weight.”

  9. HOW DARE YOU!!!! The face on Mars is real and it’s Elvis with a shower cap. Stop talking about things you don’t understand! !!

    Lol.

  10. It is called Pareidolia


    Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists. Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the man in the moon, the moon rabbit, and hidden messages within recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds. – Wikipedia

    This is akin to the need for humans to find patterns in data to support beliefs where there aren’t any, it is called Apophenia


    Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data. -Wikipedia

    This is something we see often in the climate debate. For example, while a nearly 4000 day long major hurricane drought is in progress, eco-activist newspapers are already trying to blame Hurricane Matthew on global warming/climate change.

    Lets not forget Karlophonia
    Karlophonia is the need to make constant adjustments to the recorded data in order to create the needed graphics to prove your point is correct

  11. “Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.”

    Apophenic Global Warming comes to mind…

  12. It looks more like an ape to me, maybe its payback for not inviting our ancestors to dinner.

    H/T Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

    Really though it’s a big storm, if I was anywhere near it’s path I’d be preparing… Good luck, get those nuke power plants stoked up and see you in a week after it’s passed, hope your entire state grid doesn’t go down
    ..

  13. I miss our Old Man of the Mountain

    “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

    -Daniel Webster

  14. The sad thing is that some people might actually believe this is a sign of the end times. (Yeah, I know, too much Youseless Tubes but some of them are fun to watch and there are, sometimes, actually tidbits of real science behind the outrageous claims. ;-)

  15. This human tendency to see patterns even where there isn’t any almost certainly has an evolutionary explanation. The evolutionary cost of seeing a lion/leopard/snake etc in the underbrush where there isn’t one is very low, while the cost of not seeing it when it is actually there can be very high. So our pattern-recognition software tends to be somewhat over-enthusiastic.

    As a matter of fact the human eye is extremely good at discerning patterns in noisy data, usually much better than computers. This is the basis for using captchas to separate humans from computers.

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