Just For Fun

Sleight of Hand Without Hands

Toronto-born Mahdi Gilbert is, as far as I know, unique in the world of magic. He was born without hands and feet but created his own system to perform the kind of magic which would, under ordinary circumstances, be called "sleight-of-hand". 

He recently appeared at the EG Conference and you can watch is performance followed by an interview with another celebrated magician, Eric Mead. As far as I know, Eric is the first interviewer who's dared to ask about the specifics of his physical condition. (Heck, I've known Mahdi for about eight years and I've never asked.)

The trick you can see performed is a modern classic known as "Oil and Water" 

Mahdi's work is, in part, inspired by another differently abled magician from Argentina, René Lavand. Lavand lost his right arm in an accident at an early age.

He also worked primarily with cards. Most of his performances revolved around storytelling and even the occasional poetry reading. He described his own work as "Lentidigitation" which was the opposite of "Prestidigitation", roughly translated as "Fast Finger Action". 

If you watch it below, you'll repeatedly hear him say "No Se Pueder Hacer Más Lento" which translates to "It can't be done any slower."

British mathematicians teach more magic

The UK-based recreational math channel Numberphile is still on a magic spree. Here they explain a card trick made popular by the Scientific American columnist (and pretty much hero to nerds everywhere) Martin Gardner. 

Again, it's one of those tricks that young aspiring magicians often show me, albeit with different phrases. It's nice for kids because it doesn't require any manual dexterity, but rather remembering a sequence and when to use it. It also provides some immediately feedback. (Either the cards match or they don't and you know right away.)

All about the Bayes

Bayes' Theorem, discovered by the Reverend Thomas Bayes in the eighteenth century. When you have something you're not sure of, it's the calculation you perform to update your belief when you encounter new evidence. It's essentially the mathematical underpinning of the scientific method and it's an incredibly valuable thing to understand.

All that coolness aside, this is still the most badass titles for a statistics lesson!