June 23, 2004

A Neat Trick

It's late and I'm too tired to have an opinion. It happens.

In the meantime, check this out. Dean Esmay pointed me to this neat little automated mind-reading trick. I know the secret and will reveal it later in the comments. See if you can figure it out how it works.

Your regularly scheduled opinionated blather will resume shortly.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2004 12:40 AM

Heh. Not too hard to work out. There are only a certain series of numbers that can possibly be the result of that process (all multiples of 9, I think). Each of those gets the same symbol every time in the chart, which is the symbol that comes up in the crystal ball. But it throws you off the scent because each time you click "try again", it juggles the symbols in the chart, so although all the possible correct answers still have the same symbol to each other, it is a different symbol than previously.

Do I win a prize?

Posted by: Mork at June 23, 2004 02:18 AM

Mork, your prize is enthusiastic praise and admiration.

Posted by: steve at June 23, 2004 04:21 AM

Its pretty cool. Thanks Michael.

Posted by: Rob at June 23, 2004 04:42 AM

Didn't work everytime, but it did work pretty often.

I'll analyze after I've had my caffiene thank you....


Posted by: joekm at June 23, 2004 05:57 AM

First two tries surprised me. Then I got it. Not too bad.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 23, 2004 06:57 AM

Holy glavin! I'm agreeing with Mork! (Of course it's difficult to politicize mathmatics. Except for statistics...)

Posted by: Cybrludite at June 23, 2004 06:57 AM

An easier way to see the trick is to try it with, say, 10. together = 1; 10-1 = 9. Then the next one, 11. 1+1= 2; 11-2 = 9. 12, 13 ... 20; 20-2 = 18...

I'm so LATE (Mork wins! wins! where's Mindy?)
I do like examples.

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 23, 2004 07:03 AM

Ya know, the fact that it doesn't work everytime kinda makes it look better.

Try it with 58 [58 - 13 = 45]. won't work....

Posted by: joekm at June 23, 2004 07:21 AM

Ummm, 45 is a multiple of 9. 5*9=45

Posted by: Court at June 23, 2004 07:25 AM

z = (10x + y) - (x + y)
z = 10x + y - x - y
z = 10x - x
z = 9x

The answer is always 9 times whatever the first digit of your number is.

Posted by: Marc at June 23, 2004 07:31 AM

Can't we work Orwell into this comment thread somehow?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 23, 2004 08:04 AM

My thoughts were the same as Mork's. he second time I did it I checked to see if 81 and 36 (my first two results) had the same symbol, and they didn't. That threw me off. Very clever.

Posted by: Kurt at June 23, 2004 08:51 AM

Here's another tricky one.

Posted by: dorkafork at June 23, 2004 09:01 AM

If you want to have fun with showing someone else this site, have them open the page, read the instructions, then turn with them for a moment to look at the symbols... see that all the multiples of nine have the same symbol... then look away. With your back to them, tell them to silently pick their number, do the math, and click... When you hear the click tell them which symbol is about to appear. Adds to the laugh value.

Posted by: Bleeding heart conservative at June 23, 2004 09:43 AM

dorkafork: please, please tell me how the heck they do that. I am stymied.

Posted by: Bleeding heart conservative at June 23, 2004 09:54 AM

Dork: never mind. Got it. Very subtle.

Posted by: Bleeding heart conservative at June 23, 2004 09:55 AM

Well, Mork got it so I guess I won't be revealing the secret. Congratulations, Mork. I'd give you a cookie for a prize, but you're far away.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 23, 2004 10:15 AM

Subtle...but still a cheap trick.

Posted by: Nathan at June 23, 2004 10:33 AM

This is a neat trick, and I figured it out over a year ago, but I'm too lazy to try to re-figure it out.

Posted by: David at June 23, 2004 11:53 AM

Well the first two numbers I chose, the algorithm didn't work. Didn't have time for more than that.

Posted by: Miles at June 23, 2004 02:37 PM

The one with the cards is even easier. None of the initial five cards are shown when 'your' card is supposedly removed....

Posted by: Al Superczynski at June 24, 2004 12:14 AM

He he...

See what happens when I post before having my morning coffee?

Earlier I said that 58 didn't work....I was looking at the symbol at the wrong side....

yup....multiples of nine...seen the card trick before.

Posted by: joekm at June 24, 2004 06:20 AM

"Here's another tricky one."

The card trick one is pretty easy to figure out. You're shown two possible suits from each of the king, queen and jack. When the screen changes, none of the original cards are there because the suits have all been changed to the two that weren't shown on the original cards - if the king of diamonds and spades were there originally, they will show up as the king of hearts and clubs, etc.. Makes it harder to figure out because you can't go back to check, but just write down the suit of each card before you start and you'll see how the trick is done.

Posted by: Ben at June 24, 2004 07:44 AM
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