Apophenia, patternicity and pointy sideburns. A cycling conspiracy revealed. Kind of.

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Coined in 1958 by German neurologist and psychiatrist Klaus Conrad, the term apophenia (not to be confused with Apollonia, or Aquafina) describes a person's ability or tendency to see meaningful patterns, shapes or images in random or meaningless data. Later, science historian and academic Michael Shermer would speak of patternicity, which he described as some people's tendency to see patterns where none exist, thus making them prone believing in conspiracies, and seeing the face of the Virgin Mary in a stained window. Random events or images gain meaning where none exists, as our minds connect random dots. Commonly explained as an error in cognition, apophenia and patternicity would be best qualified as a type I error (which in turn can be explained through a term that is well known by cycling fans: a false positive).

Having said all this, one must admit that patterns do exist sometimes, and that perhaps they do have a greater meaning. A conspiracy? A dark hand at work? I'm not sure. I was hoping that all of you would help me figure that out... so I offer the following exhibits free of commentary, thus allowing you to make your own decisions. There are patterns out there, and not everything is a coincidence.




Exhibit A:
Spanish riders and directors all have really thin, long, and unusually manicured sideburns.





Exhibit B:
The 2009 Slipstream hair gel/hair dryer incident






Exhibit C:
Thor Hushovd looks surprisingly like the judge in the music video of the Yes song Owner Of Lonely Heart. Have you ever seen the judge from the Owner Of A Lonely Heart video and Thor Hushovd in the same place, at the same time? I haven't. Coincidence?






Exhibit D:
Though I hadn't really noticed before, I guess my cycling shoes are a tiny bit big on me, and the tip is starting to curl ever so slightly, thus making me look even more like a latino leprechaun. As soon as I realized this, the video above (about pointy Mexican boots) appeared online. Hmmmmm.


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