I stumbled across an example (shown below) of how marvelous a pattern-recognition engine the human mind is... and came to realize that it shed light on one of the classic tiffs between left and right, the "Phonics vs Whole Language" controversey.
Whole language mavens dominated in teaching schools for decades, pushing the bizarre theory that children never need to sound out or spell out words in order to learn to read. They did have some research to back up a more moderate notion, that a lot of reading consists of scanning and learning whole words by association with a semantic meaning. Sure enough (as the example below demonstrates well.) But this was extrapolated into a lefty idiocy - that teachers should just read stories aloud to kids, who will thereupon automatically WANT to read them, and thereupon voila, read them!
Conservatives were right to consider the more radical version of Whole Language to be utter claptrap -- and ideologically-driven as well. An excuse to extend Story Time through the day with lots of politically correct fables and never any student accountability.
But their alternative, pure Phonics, was another monstrous piece of ideological oversimplification that is now doing just as much harm now that it (and absurd overtesting) has taken over the pendulum swing.
Just take a look at the following (no attribution from my source; anybody out there have it?):
"i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty
uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid.
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde
Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the
ltteers in a wrod a re, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is
taht the frist and Isat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.
The rset can be a taotl mses and you can
sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed
ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?
yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt"
.,, oh, now that CA and Oh voters roundly rejected anti-gerrymandering measures that had no balance, shall we let the pols get away with taking the wrong lesson? or fight for BALANCED redistricting across all party lines?