Abstract. The human eye and brain are powerful pattern detection instruments. Coupled with the clear human need to perceive the world as deterministic and understandable, and the often counter-intuitive results of probability theory, it is easy to go astray in making inferences. In particular, many examples exist where attention was called to apparent extreme behavior, whether in time or space series, or in the appearance of unusual patterns, that are just happenstance. Used carefully, and with a residual open-mindedness, it is possible to employ some simple statistical tests to avoid the outcomes of inferring unusual behavior where none is present, nor in rejecting a major finding as being insignificant
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