Hi-Tech Magic Teaser

At the end of the Siftables session, I met Seth Raphael (also here), who was sitting two seats over from me.  We also happen to be sharing a stage together tonight at the LateTech event – I’ll be doing science comedy and Seth presents “a new technological magic show.”

In the three or four minutes we spoke, Seth gave me an absolutely amazing demonstration of his abilities.

He told me that when top hats and handkerchiefs were in style magicians developed presentations making use of them.  But they are no longer in style.  So, as a modern magician, he draws from more modern materials.

His demonstration involved a Google search that I defined.

He asked me to type two random words into the search field but not to hit Enter yet.  I typed “turtle opinion.”  He suggested I add a third word because my two words were going to generate too many hits.  I added “candy.”

He jotted something down on a piece of scratch paper that I provided.

Then he asked me to hit Enter on my Google search and, as I did, he quickly put his paper facedown.   He estimated that it took him about a third of a second to do so.  The Google search took slightly less time.

Now here’s the amazing part:

Seth had written down on the piece of paper the number 2,510,001.

Google returned 2,510,000 results.

Then, apparently off the top of his head, he typed in a url at About.com that he claimed is the one result/page that Google missed.

And, as a bonus, there was another number that he’d first written and then scratched out…  it was 3,540,000.  And, when we removed “candy” from the search, so that it was simply on “turtle opinion,” that was exactly how many results the search returned.

How did he do it?

I can’t wait to see what else he has up his virtual sleeve.


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