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The Number Illusion You Won't Believe

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Channel: Vsauce2
Categories: Magic Tricks   |   Just for Fun   |   Math  
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Sometimes math is so beautifully tricky, and presented in such a subtle way, that its virtually indistinguishable from magic. Welcome to The Kruskal Count.

David Copperfield is probably the most famous living magician/illusionist, and hes made use of the Kruskal Count to convince millions of people worldwide that he harbors amazing predictive powers. Does he? Well yes and no.

At the core of his mathematical mind reading is physicist Martin Kruskals discovery that certain counting games are really a sequence of chains that can intersect and eventually become one single chain. Using that knowledge of well-concealed probability, its easy to perform a mind-blowing demonstration that appears to be pure magic.

But it doesnt *always* work, because thats the way probability goes. Sometimes its perfect, sometimes it isnt. By examining the Kruskal Count as a magic trick and also through its original card-based format, well see that magic can be math and math can be magic.

Play The Kruskal Count Card Trick simulator by Alex Frieden and Ravi Montenegro:

*** SOURCES ***

David Copperfield Vacation Destination Trick:

The Kruskal Count, Lavarius, Rains, Vanderbei, October 2001.

Mathematical Card Tricks: Its probably magic, American Mathematical Society:

How Long Does It Take To Catch A Wild Kangaroo? by Ravi Montenegro and Prasad Tetali:

Monte Carlo Methods for Index Computation, by J.M. Pollard:

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Research And Writing by Matthew Tabor

Editing by John Swan

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