David Pescovitz and I just

David Pescovitz and I just got back from an evening at the Getty Center where Lawrence Weschler interviewed magician and magic historian Ricky Jay. Jay told a lot of great stories about old magicians despite the lousy questions and cues thrown his way by Weschler (author of Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders, a book about The Museum of Jurassic Technology). The highlight of the evening was a demonstration of the chess playing automaton, a hand-cranked robot that played chess against a volunteer from the audience (David was selected to go on stage as a "referee.") Here's a description of the automaton from James Randi's site. The one we saw didn't have a human stuffed inside the cabinet. Either it was remotely controlled or a confederate was called up to play against the automaton. If anyone else was at the show, I'd love to hear your theory of how it worked. Link Discuss