Pareidolia

Pareidolia. Sounds like an exotic island and a dreaded disease at the same time. But it’s neither!

According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary, Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as clear and distinct. In other words it’s the phenomenon whereby your brain tries to make sense of things by recognizing patterns. Or more simply, “that familiar thing you’re seeing ain’t real.”

However the best way to explain it is by way of example. Here is the photograph of the Face on Mars from the Cydonia region, taken during the Viking missions to the red planet.

The “Face on Mars” was one of the most strikin...But there are many examples with a religious theme, this one being the funniest by far:

dogbuttjesusAnd off course the more mundane:

English: Example of Pareidolia in clouds. The ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally this one, strictly speaking is not an example of Pareidolia, but a head banging song about it.

So the next time you see something on your toast that looks like a deity or Pope WhatsHisFace, don’t go telling everyone you’ve experienced a miracle. It will only be a miracle if nobody laughs.

I’m hopeless as a human, pathetic as an alien, but it seems I’m cut out to be a predator

I’m on a mission. To learn to play. Computer games that is.

The activity that has taken the world by storm, ensnared the minds of both young and old, even the very young and the very old, has somehow passed me by. Until now that is. Since purchasing my gaming notebook [this thing is a behemoth and should more correctly be referred to as a desktop replacement], I’ve been intrigued to find out what it can do.

It boots up superfast because of the one solid state drive and renders high-definition video superbly with the aid of the high-end graphics card and quad-Core CPU. It does exactly what I purchased it for; editing video amazingly well. I’ve watched Blu-ray movies on the full high-definition display monitor. Stunning! Connected to a set of external speakers, the THX audio system is mind-blowing.

It came time to see why the manufacturer Asus, labelled it a gaming notebook. So I purchased a few PC games about a month ago, which I was led to believe would really test my systems performance and graphics capabilities. It was a frustrating month of starting up the games and then being able to do nothing else, because I’m video-game challenged, practically illiterate. Sure, I’ve played pinball before, but that didn’t require the almost superhuman finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination that modern electronic games demand. And you could kick the pinball machine in frustration, quite safely without doing any damage, when it went into TILT mode. Try that on your modern games console or computer.

Over the last month, I managed to create a SIM, which looks nothing like me, no matter how much I fiddle with the options. I also managed to buy a house and a couch. And that’s where my attempt at playing SIMS 3 came to an end, not knowing how to proceed any further. Yeah, I’ll try reading the instructions some time, if someone could tell me where it is. Next came CIVILIZATION 5. The opening introductory sequence was great. Superb, realistic graphics. I managed to choose a historical figure and establish a city. Alas, that’s where my great adventure ended, not knowing how to proceed further.

After these failures, I turned to Aliens vs Predator. I’d heard about first-person-shooter (FPS) games at some point; I think it was at that gaming Expo I attended, RAGE. The game had a cool opening sequence, stunning graphics, great sound. It looked promising. First I tried the single-player Marine missions. Ugh! I sucked at being a Marine. I did figure out how to use the mouse and keyboard, and actually got to move around – albeit in constant circles. I also managed to get a few shots off. Okay, I killed some drums that were lying around, and I think I killed that dead guy lying in a heap on the floor…again. After giving up, I tried the Alien Mission. It was easy walking around in circles, but after killing the guy in the lab-coat (after considerable effort I must add), I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do next. Yep, I’m no Alien either.

Then yesterday I made a concerted effort to get somewhere. The only thing left to try was the single-player Predator Mission. And finally, I actually made some progress. I completed two missions, by following the instructions on-screen more attentively and with more patience. Off course, I got killed almost immediately on my third mission, but I was coming to grips with the whole gaming thing. And I was starting to understand why this is so addictive.

So now, I need to get Call of Duty – Black Ops…

Will I ever complete playing any game in its entirety? Who knows? Is that even possible? I do know that I need more help though, and I’m not about to ask some 8-year old kid!