A Magician Explains Quantum Mechanics

Ever since I first watched Richard Feynman's Messenger lecture where he gave an introduction to the famous "double-slit" experiment, I've been fascinated by quantum physics. (Actually, my earliest exposure was in the Michael Crichton novel Timeline, but his explanation was misleading, invented in order to service the plot and allow time travel to medieval France.) It is a topic which seems to actively resist being understood, where many of the experiments designed to tease out what was actually going on, produced surprising counter-intuitive results. And yet, despite all its mystery, if you just knuckle down and do that math by brute force, the theory works. The magic of the universe, I suppose...

Anyway, a handsome young magician from Vancouver, and a handsome female assistant hiding behind a screen attempt to explain quantum mechanics... sort of. As modern TV teaches us, the essential ingredient in teaching anything on the internet is getting a woman to take her clothes off. And, as Bill Nye teaches us, the essential ingredients necessary for explaining science are suspenders and a bow tie!

Note, for those who think it's exploitative and sexist for him to make a woman get undressed for magic, here's a clip of him in a speedo for magic. 

Questioning Assumptions or... proof that math teachers are evil

Magic teaches us to be constantly be looking at the world around us with a critical eye and to always be giving a second thought to things which appear, on the surface, to be completely obvious. Rushing through a problem trying to get to the solution as quickly as possible carries the risk of missing something important; something you believed to be true without realizing it. (And because you weren't consciously aware of believing it, you never gave yourself the opportunity to question it!)

For some, this exercise will be a delightful exercise in testing and challenging assumptions. For others, it will simply be the long-awaited proof that all math and science teachers are inherently pure evil. 

Photos from Magic & Martini in Oakville

Last night was a terrific kick off to a long weekend (with more performances and a family feast ahead!)

Thank you to everyone who attended last night's Magic & Martini at O'Finn's in Oakville, taking time out their Thanksgiving Holiday. Here are some photos from the event courtesy of Tyler Sol Williams

Our next performance in Oakville is on Friday, November 10. We also have several upcoming dates in Toronto. Readers can use the code olive for a discounted price on tickets when purchasing online

Win a Date with Mahdi Gilbert

Or so the contest says. 

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Toronto magician Mahdi Gilbert just to chat. We were at the Madison Avenue Pub, outdoors on a beautiful day, a place which has a richer magic history than many people will ever know.

Flattering still clearly chosen by Mahdi

You may have come across video of Mahdi online as he has been the feature of several articles and was also featured on Penn & Teller Fool Us on the CW Network two years ago. What makes Mahdi special — and possibly unique — is that he performs sleight of hand, despite not having any hands. (And if you could have seen a guy with no hands set up the tripod and camera to record this discussion, you would have been mightily impressed as well!)

Of course the most exciting part is Mahdi is offering to take one lucky viewer to see my show — Magic & Martini — in Toronto. He's calling it a date, but I'm not sure what your obligations would be. You'll have to watch the video to find out how to win. 

Better Learning

Whatever you want to accomplish in life, you need to learn how to do it. In my career (so far) I've had three major endeavours. I was a martial arts instructor for many years. (see below) I studied math intensely at the University of Toronto (not a fast track to popularity), and now my life revolves around creating and performing magic. Those are vastly different disciplines that cross over between the physical, intellectual and artistic, but it's clear that are good and bad ways to learn.

Suffering for your art... literally.

Suffering for your art... literally.

We all have skills which are required to get done those things we want to get done. Being able to acquire new skills faster means you have more time for accomplishing those goals. This provided some interesting advice.

(I'm a little partial to these films as they're made here in Toronto.)

The second thought, about repeating practice with variation was new to me in particular.