Thursday, September 6, 2012

MassMedia: Curiosity, Magic and Theory (U1-P2) [VIDS]

In the previous MassMedia post, I discussed the Critical Thinker's Creed.

Which one of the traits given in the creed are most important?  Open-mindedness? Creativity? Curiosity? Being knowledgeable?

After some careful thought, I'd have to say the key trait in the creed is curiosity.  Without curiosity, the rest don't matter. If we are not curious about how things work, then what place is there for the others?

So, let's explore curiosity a little more by way of magic. Ever watched a magic trick and became curious.  "How'd they do that?"  When you ask yourself this question you are seeking a theory to explain the trick.

Let's define a theory as an explanation of how something works.  How does that trick work?  Why do people do what they do (what's the process)? Why, if you drop a book, it falls to the floor (how exactly does that work)?  Got theory?

Back to the magic show:
To practice your curiosity muscle, check out this Lance Burton magic trick.  Ask yourself, how'd he do that?

Seriously, stop and think about how he did what he did?  What's your theory/explanation? Figure out some detail.  Write down your explanation.  Draw a diagram.

Did you think it through very carefully?  Go back, if not, and theorize.

And, only once you've carefully thought about a possible explanation, then check out the next video. This is a video that I put together to explain the trick. Or maybe it was real magic?  That's a theory, too.

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  1. Dr. Hart,

    I liked your theory about the disappearing elephants, but it does not explain how the woman and the car remained in the shot. I thought that maybe the elephants might have been moved, but that would have taken considerably more time than the 5 seconds that elapsed between the closing and re-opening of the curtain. The background remained the same, except that is assistant was in a different position (toward the front of the car) when the curtain reopened.

    I'm stumped on this one.

    1. I'm going to wait to reply.
      Let's see some other comments first.

    2. There are 2 blue blocks (representing the cars) in the theory video. The blue block(s) "remain(s)" in the shot. Since the 2 blue blocks are identical we assume they are the same. The same would apply to they "remain" in the shot.

      Further thoughts?

      What are the possible theories/explanations and which one is the best explanation/theory? How do we determine what theory is the best?

  2. Dr. Hart,

    That was a cool video. I don't understand how he was able to do that in the short period of time. I'm with Terry,"I'm stumped on this one".

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  5. When I ask my students in my undergraduate research course about this and they'll come back with many ideas and theories.
    Come on my grad students. :) Flex that curiosity muscle.

  6. Dr. Hart,

    After watching this video several more times, I've come to the conclusion that the disappearing elephants could have been accomplished in one of two ways.

    1. I did not see either the magician or his assistant interact with the elephants in any manner, which leads me to belive that they could possibly be a hologram of some sort, or

    2. There could be a screen projecting the elephants positioned behind the curtain as the magician steps onto the podium, which is removed when the curtain is dropped (obviously showing that the elephants have "disappeared").

    I actually like the idea of the hologram because is is rooted in technology instead of trickery.


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