Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Hand vs. Eye

Magician turned mathematician Persi Diaconis is giving a talk in Berkeley tomorrow. I saw him give a talk in Chicago a couple years ago, where he discussed how many times one needs to shuffle a deck of cards to make it random. He’s also created experiments to test whether a coin toss is ever fair. As a magician, Diaconis can pretend to shuffle a deck of cards or get a coin to land the way he wants and convince you he had nothing up his sleeve. Sometimes even an amateur can trick your eyes into believing something false.

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2 responses

  1. Igor

    The hand may be quicker than the eye, but your webcam is certainly quicker than your fancy trick card. I can see the ace of diamonds develop about as fast as a polaroid photo.

    September 7, 2006 at 5:34 am

  2. Krish

    It’s not a trick card.

    September 7, 2006 at 6:25 am

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