The rule of thirds pertains to the purpose of the photographer. When a photographer desires to compose a shot so that the eye of the viewer is drawn to a specific spot in the photograph, the rule of thirds is one of the tools of composition.
Regrettably, like the anecdote of chopping off the end of the roast, when the person who is using the rule of thirds does not grasp the purpose behind the rule, it leads to poor composition or amateurish critiquing.
In both the Einstein and the Jobs portrait, there is no need to draw the eye to a specific location because the whole photograph grabs the eye.
In the haunting photograph from the NG cover, the color of the eyes is in great contrast to the reds which surround it and therefore the eye is drawn to the eyes. (Incidentally, in the L.A.B. colorspace, Red and Green are at opposite ends of the alpha channel.)
I hope that this helps answer the question behind the question.