Yet Again Still More Quick Snippets

Published on Thursday, March 20, 2008 in , , , , , , ,

LinksSometimes the snippets just builld up so fast, you have to post two in one month! That being the case, each of the following snippets will be two-for-one, as well.

* We'll start with some math-based magic tricks. Perennial Grey Matters favorite Werner Miller has posted a new effect entitled Sey On. 11 random cards are chosen by the spectator, and from these, one is chosen and lost. After mixing the cards, you then ask them a yes-or-no question, and you repeatedly spell out their answer to eliminate the cards one by one. The last remaining card is their card!

Richard Robinson has posted Diemento, a trick involving 3 dice where you divine their randomly generated totals without looking. If you've been practicing your memory techniques (especially the ones for numbers), you might like to try George G. Kaplan's 3-2-1 variation (PDF), which allows you to perform this feat for several people at the same time.

Even though this mathematical section is already two-for-one, how about a dice routine two-for-one? Over at Magiczine, Andrew Mayne posted a simple and classic dice routine he's dubbed Easy Dice It. In this routine, an audience member stacks two dice (or more) behind your back, any way they like, and you're instantly able to determine the total of all the hidden spots. If, like the previous trick, you want to take this to the next level, check out Bob Stull's The Problem of the Stacked Dice (PDF).

* Those of you who run Mac OS X 10.4 or greater may remember my earlier post announcing my Date Quiz widget. If you enjoyed that, I have a few more widgets you may enjoy. If you don't want to learn the Day of the Week For Any Date feat, but still want to try out the Date Quiz widget, you can cheat like heck with the Day of the Week widget. Actually, this widget could be very handy if you have learned the feat, because you can use it to verify your answers. Those who've purchased Dr. Thomas Harrington's The Magic of Memory and learned how to tell how far into the year a given day is (i.e., March 20th, 2008, is 80th day of 2008), could use this widget to verify that information, too.

Dashboard widget users who enjoy the Knight's Tour will be glad to see Petri Kallberg's Knight's Tour widget. You can even use this to practice all 3 levels of my Knight's Tour. As is, you can very simply try hitting all 64 squares (level 1), or finishing one knight's move from where you started (level 2). Level 3, where a random start and end are chosen is a little trickier. First, to choose two random spots, you can simply have hit Cmd-R twice to restart the widget and have two random spots chosen (the first one would be the ending point, and the 2nd would be the starting point). Second, since all the squares start black, you do have to double-check against a regular checkerboard to make sure those two squares are of opposite colors. If they aren't of opposite colors, there will be no way to solve the 3rd-level challenge.

* Wowio is a site that performs various surveys. This doesn't sound fun, but just for signing up, you can download ebooks for free! You're only allowed to download 3 per day, and no more than 30 per month, but it's still a great deal. Grey Matters readers interested in math will be especially interested in The Book of Numbers and The Story of Mathematics. They'll both take into aspects of math you may have never considered before.

* The iTunes Store (iTunes available here) has two recent additions that will be of interest to Grey Matters readers. If I piqued your interest in 21: The Movie, you might enjoy the audiobook version of 21: Bringing Down The House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions.

Those who are working on memorizing the US Presidents will probably want to download The Presidents, from the History Channel. While this documentary isn't the most in-depth about the presidents, the 10-minute span spent on each president, mostly concerning the high and low points of each administration, is enough to help add some interest when presenting your knowledge of the US Presidents.

* More and more tools are popping up on the web to help various aspects of memory training. Rune Carlsen has posted a wonderful article on memorizing a deck of cards (also available in Norwegian), including several great on- and off-line tools to help.

If you're practicing the phonetic alphabet (part of the Major/Peg System), and are having trouble coming up with words for various numbers, you can use the Phonetic Mnemonic Keyword Database. If you use FireFox as your browser, you can even add this database as a plug-in!

* Magic square routines are becoming more popular, and a wider variety are becoming available commercially. Luke Jermay's Magic Square routine is available as a downloadable video (US$12.95 at this writing), and a performance video is available for free at that link. Jack Kent Tillar, inventor of the much-ripped-off Blister Trick, has released his presentation and method as an ebook called Hollwood Magic Squares. While I have no direct experience with either of these, my favorite version for close-up or walk-around would have to be Doug Dyment's well-thought out Flash Squared from his book Mindsights.

* If you're trying to remember a particular set of facts, you can, of course, use any of the numerous flashcard programs I've mentioned (here, here, here, here, here, and here), but there are other options. If you have an iPod, you can get iQuiz for 99 cents, and then create your own multiple-choice quizzes with the free tool iQuiz Maker (available for OS X and Windows). They even have free quizzes and themes available on the site!

To quiz yourself online, instead of your iPod, you can create your own quizzes with PurposeGames.com. There are numerous games already on this site, but the real power is the ability to create your own original multiple-choice and identification quizzes (identification quizzes are things like Where is this state? or Which photograph is of this president?). It's easy to create your own quizzes, and you can keep them private or share them with others to challenge them.

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