Why you might see flying boats

A Fata Morgana is a spectacular optical illusion in which you may see boats floating above the sea or city skylines in the clouds. (The term is named after the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay as her castle was said to hover above the coast of Sicily.) In the video below, Seeker explains the science behind the magic.

(via Daily Grail)

Read the rest

Harry Anderson, TV's 'Night Court' star, has died at 65 in Asheville, N.C.

Actor Harry Anderson, best known for presiding over NBC's 'Night Court,' has died. He was 65. Read the rest

Macabre and creepy, I like the Karnival Dose deck of playing cards

This elegant, yet faux-distressed set of playing cards is just lovely.

A bit more shocking, while every bit as lovely as the Arch Angels or Skulls I have been using, these offer a bit more a gonzo element. Perfect for magic, this is a deck of US Playing Cards with the Bicycle Airflow finish.

Red provides a nice change from the black and white I've been so focused on.

Karnival RED Dose Deck Playing Cards -Redux Edition (Ltd Ed) via Amazon

Images via Amazon Read the rest

Limited edition Bicycle Karnival Midnight deck of playing cards

This purple and black deck of cards is absolutely lovely.

I like to tell myself that decks with lovely and unexpected art work distract people from mistakes as I'm performing sleight of hand. Mostly, I just like fancy decks of cards.

Limited Edition Karnival Midnight Purple Deck Playing Cards by Bicycle via Amazon

Image courtesy Amazon.com Read the rest

Watch this Rubik's Cube magician baffle Ellen

In this clip, magician Paul Vu spends a few minutes blowing Ellen's mind with his Rubik's Cube tricks. Though, I kind of got the feeling that she didn't like being duped by Vu, even in fun. Did you notice that too?

(Likecool) Read the rest

Bicycle Skull-themed playing cards

Be the dangerous bad boy with a deck of Skull cards!

My second favorite deck of cards is this Skull deck by the US Playing Card Company.

I flip back and forth between carrying a deck of Arch Angels, and these Skulls. The Skulls backs are just lovely, with mostly standard Bicycle 808 poker faces.

The black and white cards look fantastic in flourishes and are made with the usual USPCC stock and finish, so they fan and glide beautifully.

Bicycle Skull Playing Cards via Amazon Read the rest

Watch this high school cheerleader levitate

Ariel Olivar, a junior at Manvel High School in Texas, has powers. More on Olivar's magic at the Houston Chronicle.

Read the rest

Watch Ricky Jay's wonderful "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" TV special from 1989

Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women is a compendium of curiosities by magician and historian of wonders Ricky Jay. In 1989, CBS aired a TV special inspired by the book and featuring a "human calculator," wine glass musician, ballet dancer automaton, Steve Martin (!), and other delightful characters. (Special bonus is the classic "SPECIAL" motion graphic preceding the program.)

Read the rest

TastyFloats levitates food morsels to your mouth

TastyFloats is a "contactless food delivery system" that uses ultrasound to raise bits of food and droplets of drink to your mouth without any utensils at all. While this method to levitate small objects is well known, what's fascinating is that a small scientific study shows that the levitated food apparently tastes better. Researchers from the University of Sussex describe TastyFloats and their sensory experiment in a scientific paper they'll present at this month's ACM Interactive Surfaces and Spaces conference. From IEEE Spectrum:

The researchers experimented with three of the five basic tastes: sweet (a positive taste), bitter (a negative taste), and umami, which is a savory taste that can also enhance other flavors. The researchers asked a group of volunteers to test TastyFloats with the three basic tastes, delivered in three different volumes (5 microliters, 10µL, and 20µL), with tongue delivery via pipette as a non-levitating control. Participants were asked to identify each droplet, and then rated each on intensity, pleasantness, and satisfaction.

The most significant difference between levitated tastes and tastes delivered via pipette was in intensity: sweet tastes were more intense and recognizable, while bitter tastes were harder to distinguish. The researchers suggest that this might make TastyFloats more suitable for dessert delivery, although it could also be used to make bitter but healthy foods (like broccoli) more palatable to people who wouldn't otherwise enjoy them.

Read the rest

Sheet, a spreadsheet program in 217 bytes of javascript

The code for Sheet fits in one of those newfangled 280-character tweets with room to spare: at 218 bytes, it's the most amazingly compact spreadsheet app committed to screen.

A 218b spreadsheet app in HTML/JS

Inspired by aem1k.com/sheet Golfed by xem, subzey, p01, rlauck, aemkei, odensc, corruptio Related AMA answer

See also my new favorite subreddit, r/TinyCode Read the rest

Mat Ricardo's next juggling show will feature a trick you think he can't do

Mat Ricardo (previously) writes, "After 30 years of being the undisputed go-to guy for performing feats of dexterity live on stage, I've got a problem - I think I've done all the tricks I can think of. So, in what could be the dumbest move of my career, or the most fun, I'm issuing an open challenge for my next one man show." Read the rest

Watch this great magic trick using a card deck and a smartphone

Chris Ramsay does a lot of fun street magic, and this clever trick that employs a deck of cards and a phone is an update of a classic. Read the rest

Anti-heckler judo for the amateur magician

Andy at The Jerx (previously) describes a surprisingly effective tactic for putting a heckler in his place during the performance of a magic trick. Read the rest

Goop and Infowars sell the same wellness stuff

You'd think Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's "lifestyle brand" for clean-freak whippies, and Infowars, Alex Jones' conspiracy compendium for seething fascists, wouldn't share much in common. But they both have exactly the same business model: selling wellness to people skeptical and fearful of mainstream medicine and healthcare. Nikhil Sonnad took a look at the ingredients on each site and found that it's all the same stuff.

We at Quartz have created a compendium, from Ashwagandha to zizyphus, of the magical healing ingredients both sides of the political spectrum are buying, and how they are presented to each. We looked at the ingredients used in products sold on the Infowars store, and compared them to products on the wellness shops Moon Juice and Goop. All make similar claims about the health benefits of these ingredients, but what gets called “Super Male Vitality” by Infowars is branded as “Sex Dust” by Moon Juice.

Call it horseshit theory: opposite extremes of lifestyle branding converging on a hidden axis of shared appreciation for their audiences.

[h/t Agies] Read the rest

Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap Is Moving To Hollywood!

For those of you who don’t know, my pancake juggling friend Scot Nery has been putting on a circus & variety show in L.A. for last 111 weeks. Rain or shine, he has introduced a ridiculous amount of energy and the best talent from around the world.

The show is called Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap and there is nothing else like it. Really! You’ve got to see this show!

The format is unique in that it features fifteen 4-minute acts that are peppered with Scot’s frenzied hosting personality and his awesome house band Fire Leopard.  

The show is eccentric and the entertainers rotate every week so you never know what you’re going to get. In the past we’ve seen:

Guinness-Record-holding hula-hoopers World champion knife throwers Cirque de Soleil aerialists Amazing Ventriloquists Standup comedians Sword swallowers Contortionists Magicians Musicians Jugglers

And now, each and every Wednesday, Scott and his talented army have a brand new home at 6555 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $25 at the door and $17 if you buy them in advance.

Read the rest

The Conjuring Arts Research Center: Manhattan's hidden library of magic

Atlas Obscura discloses a secret library, The Conjuring Arts Research Center, established to preserve the secrets of magic!

The not-for-profit organization was established in 2003, “dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of magic and its allied arts.” It was started by William Kalush, who developed a love of magic from the card tricks shown to him by his father, a Marine wounded in World War II. This love of card magic turned to a love of collecting magic books, which now form a wondrous collection of over 15,000 books—some dating to over 600 years old—housed in this hidden location.

“I like early books that no one else has ever seen”, Kalush says, sitting in a high-backed, ornately carved wooden chair that wouldn’t look out of place with a wizard sitting on it. “Books of performances pieces, card secrets, many that are unique.”

Browsing through the shelves stacked with all things conjuring, you will find obscure books on sleight-of-hand techniques, mentalism, deceptive gambling, the history of magic, and the mysterious secrets of card tricks. One book is the seminal The Expert At the Card Table, which appeared in 1902, written by an S. W. Erdnase. It’s one of the most detailed collections of sleight-of-hand techniques and card sharping, a book so iconic and well-studied within magic circles it is known as “the Bible.” Appropriately enough, S. W. Erdnase was a pseudonym. The real identity of the writer has remained a century-old mystery.

Read the rest

A "Maker Magician" does tricks with an open source hardware version of the Pixar lamp

Katie sez, "Mario 'the Maker Magician' Marchese has made a name for himself with his DIY robotic props. This is Mr. Lamp, a full animated lamp that combines elements of 3d printing, DIY electronics, Arduino, and found/repurposed objects. Mr. Lamp has a style all his own." Read the rest

More posts