Watching Our Water Ways

Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Amusing Monday: Smiling faces sometimes

July 1st, 2013 by cdunagan

Who knew that plumbing fixtures could show such emotions?

sink1

Apparently, the human brain is hard-wired to see faces with minimal clues. Isn’t it remarkable how a circle with a couple dots for eyes — simple geometric figures — can be viewed as a human face?

The ability to recognizes faces within a split second may have developed as an evolutionary advantage. The ability to distinguish friend from foe by a facial expression could have meant the difference between life or death. At least that was the hypothesis advanced by Carl Sagan and others, according to Wikipedia.

The same article goes on to talk about studies on this effect, called pareidolia. Brain waves were measured as human subjects were shown various objects. When they perceived a face in an object, researchers found activity taking place in a primitive part of the brain.

toilet1

I hope this explanation doesn’t take away from the amusement of seeing faces in all kinds of things. I’ve collected a few water-related objects for you to consider — faucets, fire hydrants and such — followed by three websites that specialize in showing photographs of all kinds of objects that look like faces.

It’s probably part of that human brain thing, but it is hard to look at any of the face-related objects and not assign an emotion to the face that’s looking back.

Fire hydrant: “He went that way.”

Dryer: “Leo!”

Sink: “Those are some nice eyebrows.”

sink2

Fire hydrant: “Oh, noooo!, Mr. Bill!”

Faucet: “What’s that you say?”

Bathtub faucet: “Don’t mind me; just brushing my gums.”

Farmyard sink: “You’ve said a mouthful!”

Hospital sink: It takes a special kind.

Drain: Fu Manchu

Old faucet: “Don’t look at me like that.”

Sprinkler: “That looks more like a **** than a face.”

Here are the websites that specialize in objects that have faces:

binoculars

By the way, while I was writing this, the song “Smiling Faces Sometimes” kept going through my head. The title for this blog entry was taken from a 1971 hit by the Undisputed Truth. Called “Smiling Faces Sometimes,” It talks about the potential emotional dangers that may be hidden by a smile.

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist

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