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Memorize United States of America Facts

Published on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 in , , ,

Presidents of the United States of America

Can you name all of the US Presidents? With practice, you'll be able to do so quicker than you may have thought.

We'll start off with a technique that's a wonderful example of the Link System, including the use of substitution phrases for hard to remember words. Here's “Uncle Dave's” approach for memorizing the presidents:



Practicing the above will easily allow you to name the Presidents in order, but what about out of order? Think-a-Link has some easy and effective ways to link the US Presidents with their order.

A great way to remember both the President's names and a little about them is via the now-classic Animaniacs Presidents song:



Note that this video was recorded so long ago that it fails to mention George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Quiz Time: Click here to test yourself on the U.S. Presidents.

YouTube: You can learn about the U.S. Presidents in more detail from this series of documentaries.

Challenge: If you run into someone like yourself who has memorized all the U.S. Presidents, bet them that they can't name 44 different U.S. Presidents. Nobody can, since only 43 people have been U.S. President. Yes, Barack Obama is the 44th President, but Grover Cleveland ruined a nice, easy count by being the 22nd and 24th U.S. President.

States & Capitals of the United States of America

It's called the United States of America, so the states and their capitals are very important to learn.

Here are some sites with great mnemonics for the states and capitals available for free online:
50 States of Mind
B. Galloway's Memorize States and Capitals
Learn the State Capitals
Think-a-link's American state capital links

The Animaniacs sing the U.S. states and capitals in this skit, to the tune of Turkey In The Straw:



If you want to challenge yourself by learning the U.S. states in alphabetical order, check out the 50 State Rhyme and the Fifty Nifty United States.

Before they became the United States of America, they started out as just 13 British colonies. Here's Larry Nickell's mnemonic approach to memorizing the 13 original colonies, in order of admission to the Union.

Quiz Time: Click here to test yourself on the U.S. States, and here to test yourself on the U.S. Capitals.

Challenge: Ask someone to name the only letter of the alphabet that doesn't appear in the name of any of the U.S. states. It's “Q”. Even harder, ask someone if they can name the only state whose name doesn't have any letters in common with its capital. The answer is Pierre, South Dakota.

State Flags of the United States of America

There are many people who know all the U.S. Presidents and/or all the states and capitals, but far fewer know all the U.S. state flags.

It's so unusual, in fact, that I couldn't find a ready-made resource for U.S. state flag mnemonics anywhere on the internet. I decided I had to create this resource myself. The result is a series of videos covering the flags of all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C..

The videos break the states up into 7 small groups, covering less than 10 states each, that have some common theme. In each video, easy mnemonics are taught for each flag in that group. Working through one video at a time, you can learn all the flags at your own pace.

Quiz Time: Click here to test yourself on the U.S. State flags. Challenge: Ask your friends which state existed for almost 75 years without a state flag. It's Iowa, which became a state in 1846, but didn't adopt a flag until 1921.

Constitution of the United States of America

Memorizing aspects of the U.S. Constitution is often considered to be the hardest aspect out of all the things taught on this page, despite the fact that there are fewer amendments than there are Presidents, states, or capitals! The first part of the Constitution is called the preamble, and is taught in this song from Schoolhouse Rock:



Don Knotts, performing in character as Barney Fife, once performed a masterful comedy bit involving his inability to remember the Preamble.

The other aspect of the U.S. Constitution that's challenging to remember are the amendments. On my blog, I wrote a series of posts detailing mnemonics for the individual amendments:
Amendments 1 through 9
Amendments 10 through 18
Amendments 19 through 27

In the 1993 remake of the movie Born Yesterday, there's a great scene where Billie Dawn (Melanie Griffith) demonstrates how she remembers the order and meaning of the amendments, using the music from 12 Days of Christmas:



Unfortunately, due to editing and time constraints, you never get to hear the full song. Did you notice they kept skipping the 3rd amendment? Thankfully, Amy Anderson and Jennifer Mantlo of Warren East High School (Bowling Green, KY), were inspired enough by Douglas McGrath's original song (written specifically for the movie) to flesh out the lyrics for all 27 amendments:
1. The first amendment to the Constitution says....freedom of religion, speech, and press. The second part of the first amendment says....peaceful assembly and just say any crazy thing you like (Assemble and be nice, and just say any crazy think you like!)
2. The second amendment to the Constitution says....right to bear arms (Here is my gun freeze!)
3. The third amendment to the Constitution says....soldiers get out, please. (Soldiers get out, please)
4. The fourth amendment to the Constitution says....where's your warrant, please? (Where's your warrant, please?)
5. The fifth amendment to the Constitution says....don't rat on yourself? (Don't rat on yourself)
6. The sixth amendment to the Constitution says....right to a quick trial (Right to a quick trial)
7. The seventh amendment to the Constitution says....jury trial in civil cases (Jury trial in civil cases)
8. The eighth amendment to the Constitution says....don't lock me in dark places (Don't lock me in dark places!)
9. The ninth amendment to the Constitution says....powers of the people (Powers of the people)
10. The tenth amendment to the Constitution says....the states have rights too (States have rights too)
11. The eleventh amendment to the Constitution says....suits against states (Suits against states)
12. The twelfth amendment to the Constitution says....election of the Pres. (Election of the Pres.)
13. The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution says....slavery is invalid (Slavery is invalid)
14. The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution says....equal rights for all (Equal rights for all)
15. The fifteenth amendment to the Constitution says....all races get the ballot (All races get the ballot)
16. The sixteenth amendment to the Constitution says....Congress can take taxes (Congress can take taxes)
17. The seventeenth amendment to the Constitution says....we elect Senators too (We elect Senators too)
18. The eighteenth amendment to the Constitution says....alcohol will kill you (Alcohol will kill you)
19. The nineteenth amendment to the Constitution says....women vote like men do (Women vote like men do)
20. The twentieth amendment to the Constitution says ....terms of office, Pres. and Congress (Terms of office, Pres. and Congress)
21. The twenty-first amendment to the Constitution says....we can drink now, WOW! (We can drink now, WOW!)
22. The twenty-second amendment to the Constitution says....only 2 terms now (Only two terms now)
23. The twenty-third amendment to the Constitution says....DC's got the vote (DC's got the vote)
24. The twenty-fourth amendment to the Constitution says....pay to vote no more (Pay to vote no more)
25. The twenty-fifth amendment to the Constitution says....if Prez dies, we've got Vice. (If Prez dies, we've got Vice)
26. The twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution says....we can die, we can vote (We can die, we can vote)
27. The twenty-seventh amendment to the Constitution says...Congress wants more money (Congress wants more money)
Quiz Time: Click here to test yourself on the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and here to test yourself on the Constitutional amendments.

Challenge: Ask someone if they can tell you which amendment took the longest time to ratify. It was the 27th amendment, which was first proposed in 1789, but not ratified until 1992.

Learn more about the United States of America



Once you've got all these basics down, use them as a jumping off point to get interested and learn more about the USA. The more you understand, the less you have to memorize. Here are some great resources, in rough order of growing complexity, to help you start the process:

Schoolhouse Rock's America Rock videos

How to Memorize the Presidents in Order, X-Men Style

Yo Learnalot: Books and apps with American History Mnemonics.

Sample video: Yo, Millard Fillmore! - The First Ten Presidents

Today in American History

The N States of America: American flag design with more or fewer stars

Draw the USA America's Memory

Slideshow: Memorizing the Presidents

History.Net's American History column

American Treasures of the Library of Congress (Online exhibit)

Docuwatch's American history videos

ushistory.org

From the History Channel:
The States (documentary series):
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Idaho
Illinois
Kentucky
Minnesota
• Nevada: Part 1, Part 2
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Oklahoma
Oregon

US States page

Don't forget a simple search for those specific aspects that spark your interest!

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Serial Number Feat Quiz

Published on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 in ,

Learn to perform the serial number feat here.


Practice the serial number feat

Quiz will appear below:

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Serial Number Feat

Published on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 in ,

Introduction

In the serial number feat, you ask someone to take out a bill with a serial number on it, and hold it so that you cannot see the serial number. You then ask for the total of the 1st and 2nd digits in the serial number (ignoring any letters that may be present). After this, you ask for the total of the 2nd and 3rd digits, followed by the total of the 3rd and 4th digits, and so on, finishing with the total of the 7th and 8th digits. You then ask for the total of the 2nd and 8th digits, as well. Once you have all this information, you're able to give the exact serial number on their bill!

This feat was originated by Royal V. Heath. He simply wrote the totals down as they were given, and worked the serial number out on paper. He was nonetheless able to give the serial number quicker than most people would think possible.

Click here to learn the serial number feat.

Method

For this feat, you require only a notepad and a pen or pencil. In what follows, I'm assuming a USA bill with an 8-digit serial number is being used. This routine is easily adapted for other bills, as long as they contain an even number of digits.

When they give you the total of the 1st and 2nd digits of the serial number, write them down on a notepad. To the right of that, write the total they give you for the 2nd and 3rd digits of the notepad, and so on. Once you've reached the point where you've asked for the total of the 7th and 8th digits, you should have 7 totals written on your notepad. Finally, ask for the total of the 2nd and 8th digits, and write that to the right of the other numbers.

As an example, let's say the serial number is 37036914, but you don't know this yet. The total you're given for the 1st and 2nd digits would be 10 in this case. When given the totals, including the total of the 2nd and 8th digits, your notepad would read: 10-7-3-9-15-10-5-11

The first step to figuring out the original serial number is to add the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th totals together. In our example, this would be 7+9+10+11, which gives us 37. Write this down on the notepad, beneath the original list of totals you made.

The second step is to add the 3rd, 5th and 7th totals together (notice that the 1st total isn't included), and write these beneath the calculation you just made. In our example, you would total 3+15+5=23. You would write 23, just below the 37.

With the results of the two calculations you've just made, subtract the first from the second. Continuing with our example, we perform 37-23=14. Note that, regardless of the serial number, this answer will always be an even number.

What ever answer you received from this calculation, divide this number by 2. This result is the 2nd digit of the serial number! Since 14/2=7, we now know that the second digit of our example serial number is a 7!

Using the knowledge we have of the 2nd digit, it is now a relatively simple matter to work out the full serial number by referring to the totals given earlier by the spectator. Looking at the 7 in the example, and referring back to our 10-7-3-9-15-10-5-11 list of totals, we note that the totals of the 1st and 2nd digits is 10. Obviously, the first digit must be a 3 (10-7=3). So the serial number begins with a 3, followed by 7. Using similar logic, we can work out that the serial number is 37036914!


To practice the serial number feat, click here.

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Root Extractions Quiz

Published on Monday, October 11, 2010 in , , ,

Learn to perform the root extraction feat here.


What's the cube root of this number?

What's the fifth root of this number?

Squaring numbers ending in 5

What's the square root of this number?

Quiz will appear below:

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Root Extractions

Published on Monday, October 11, 2010 in , , ,

Introduction

The idea of finding cube roots (or any roots of any power) can strike fear into any high school math student. The traditional process for extracting roots is long and arduous. The method taught here will make it so simple, it can be done in your head!

Cube Roots

Hand a calculator to someone in your audience, and ask them to put in any two-digit number (this doesn't work with numbers above 100). Either have them multiply that number times itself, and itself once again or, if it's a scientific calculator, have them hit the "Y to the Xth power" button, and then hit 3.

Have them show you the resulting total. You will now proceed to extract the root of this number.

Let's say you're given 185,193. To work from here, you'll need to know the cubes of all the numbers from 0 through 9:
13 =   1
23 =   8
33 =  27
43 =  64
53 = 125
63 = 216
73 = 343
83 = 512
93 = 729
With practice, these are easily recalled. Notice that when 0, 1, 4, 5, 6 and 9 are cubed, the end in 0, 1, 4, 5, 6 and 9 respectively! There's another pattern for 2, 3, 7 and 8. Note that 2 cubed ends in 8, and 8 cubed ends in 2. The same holds true for 7 cubed (it ends in 3), and 3 cubed (it ends in 7). This not only makes them easier to remember, but since each digit, when cubed, doesn't end in the same digit as any other number, this will make it easy to extract the root.

To find the cube root of our example number, 185,193, we start by breaking it into two smaller numbers, right at the comma: 185 & 193. Starting with the left half of the number (185), we look for the nearest single digit cube that isn't larger than it. Let's see...the closest cube from our chart is 125, the cube of 5. 5, then, must be the left half of the number. Therefore, we already know the cube root is 50-something!

Next, let's look at the right half of the number (193). This is even easier! Note that it ends in 3. Which digit, when cubed, gives a number ending in 3? 7! Since we know the leftmost digit is 5, and the rightmost digit is 7, we've got the cube root - 57! Check on your calculator, and you'll see 57 cubed is indeed 185,193!


To quiz yourself on cube roots, click here. To learn how to do fifth roots, click here.

Fifth Roots

Fifth roots are not much tougher than cube roots, thankfully. Once again, you need to know the 5th powers of the numbers from 1-9 by heart:
1^5 =      1
2^5 =     32
3^5 =    243
4^5 =  1,024
5^5 =  3,125
6^5 =  7,776
7^5 = 16,807
8^5 = 32,768
9^5 = 59,049
Look closely at the 1s digit of each number (in bold), and you'll see that each digit, 1-9, when taken to the fifth power, always ends in itself! 9 to the 5th power ends in 9, 8 to the 8th power ends in 8, and so on, all the way down to 1. This is what makes 5th roots so easy.

The first steps are similar to those of cube roots. As an example, we'll try and find the fifth root of 4,182,119,424.

First we need to break the number into groups of five digits, so we get 41,821 and 19,424. If you've properly associated each of the earlier numbers, you should quickly realize that 41,821 is larger than 32,000 (the 8th finger), but not larger than 57,000 (the 9th finger). So we know that the leftmost digit is 8 (Hmmm...80-something).

Now, for the easy part. Look at the rightmost digit of the right half of the number (the 4 in 19,424 in this case). That's the last digit! The fifth root is 84. Check on your calculator, and you'll see that 84 to the 5th power is indeed 4,182,119,424!


To quiz yourself on cube or fifth roots, click here. To start learning how to do square roots, click here.

Squaring 2-Digit Numbers Ending in 5

Before you learn how to do square roots, you'll need to learn a quick, simple trick for squaring two-digit numbers ending in a 5.

As long as you know your multiplication tables up to 10 times 10, you'll pick up on this trick instantly.

When given a number ending in 5, simply take the 10s digit, and multiply by a number one higher than itself. Take that answer, take a "25" on the end, and you've got the answer!

For example, let's say you're asked what 35 squared is. Take the 3 (the 10s digit), and multply it by 4 (which is one higher than 3), and you get 12. Tack a 25 on the end, giving you 1225. Simple, isn't it?

Let's try a higher number, like 75 squared. 7 times 8? 56. Tacking on the 25, gives us 5625!


To quiz yourself on cube roots, fifth roots or numbers ending in 5, click here. To see how to use this trick to determine square roots, click here.

Square Roots

You might think it's strange that you learned how to extract 3rd and 5th roots before square roots. However, square roots have a quality that makes them trickier than cube roots or fifth roots. You should, of course, know the squares for the numbers 1-9, but here is something you may not have noticed before:
1^2 =  1
2^2 =  4
3^2 =  9
4^2 = 16
5^2 = 25
6^2 = 36
7^2 = 49
8^2 = 64
9^2 = 81
Notice that both 9 squared and 1 squares end in a 1. Both 2 and 8 squared end in 4, 3 and 7 squared both end in 9 and 4 and 6 squared both end in 6, as well! If we try and determine the ones digit of the square root as we did before, we're going to run into trouble.

So how do we determine the square root?

The process starts out the same way, by breaking the number up. With squares, we'll break the number up into 2-digit numbers. For example, we'll use 6889 as an example. This would break up into 68 and 89.

68 is greater than 8 squared (64), but less than 9 squared (81), so we know that the square root is somewhere in the 80s.

The other half of the number, 89, ends in 9. Here's where the tricky part comes in. The fact that the number ends in a 9 means that it could either end in a 3 or a 7. So, how do we determine whether the square root is 83 or 87?

This is where that squaring trick ends in 5 comes in handy. Regardless of the problem, you will narrow the 1s place down to one number that is greater than 5, and another that is less than 5. Here, we're asking whether the root is 83 or 87.

Obviously, if 6889 is greater than 85 squared, it can only be 87. If 6889 is less than 85 squared, it can only be 83. So which is it? Do the trick you learned on the previous page to determine that 85 squared is 7225. 6889 is quite obviously less than 7225, so the square root must be 83.

This is the same with how all square roots will proceed. Look at the thousands (if any) and hundreds digit, and determine what the nearest square root is without going over. That gives you the 10s digit of the square root. Next, narrow the ones digit down to two possibilities by looking at the 1s digit of the square. One of these numbers will be greater than 5, and the other less than 5, so use the 5-squaring trick to determine which of your two answers is correct!

As a final example, let's take 4356. 43 is greater than 6 squared, but less than 7 squared, so we know right away that the root is in the 60s. It ends in 6, so the square root is either 64 or 66. Since we can quickly determine that 65 squared is 4225, and that 4356 is greater, then the square root can only be 66.

Obviously, when a number end in 25, you know right away that the ones digit is 5, so these are even simpler. 9025? 90 is greater than 81 (9 squared), so we know the 10s digit is 9. The 25 tells us that the 1s digit is 5, so the square root of 9025 must be 95!


To quiz yourself on cube roots, fifth roots, numbers ending in 5 or square roots click here.

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Playing Card Memorization Quiz

Published on Sunday, October 10, 2010 in , ,

Learn to perform the Playing Card Memorization feat here.
Preparing to load playing card images...

Card Mnemonics
Club Mnemonics

Heart Mnemonics

Spade Mnemonics

Diamond Mnemonics


Card Pairs
10 Pairs

15 Pairs

20 Pairs

26 Pairs


Card pairs and quiz will appear below:

View next pair of cards
(Users of touch-based devices may also swipe to the left to see the next cards.)

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Playing Card Memorization

Published on Sunday, October 10, 2010 in , ,

Playing Card Memorization

Playing cards are an impressive tool with which to demonstrate a trained memory. Their random nature is well known, and playing card memory demonstrations (when properly performed) can evoke fantasies such as breaking the bank at Las Vegas card tables.

Playing cards, like numbers, are difficult to visualize because, like numbers, they're abstract. The mnemonic alphabet shows how even numbers can be visualized. In what ways can playing cards be made into visual images? There are many methods. There's versions using the Major System, the shapes of the numbers themselves, and even one using celebrities!

These methods can and do work (especially the last one, used by 7-time World Memory Champion Dominic O'Brien), but all require several mental steps to go from the images to the cards.
For ease of learning and quicker recall, I prefer a system in which there are as few mental steps between the card and the image as possible. I even put off learning to memorize playing cards until I could find a system that met those requirements.

Thankfully, there is now such a system available. Bob Farmer, author of MAGIC magazine's "Flim-Flam" column, created and published just such a system in his January 1999 column!

I will be teaching this system, followed by a feat that will help you show off your new-found mastery of playing cards.

Click here to learn the playing card system.

Bob Farmer's Playing Card Mnemonic System

In most systems of card mnemonics, there are a few simple rules for generating an image from a given suit and value. In the Farmer system, there are no hard and fast rules. The basic idea, though, is to find words that use similar sounds to the name of the card. For example, the four of clubs in the Farmer system is represented by the word "FORK" - the "FOR" sound INSTANTLY suggests "4" and the strong "K" at the end could only suggest "clubs"! When you think of "NOSE", you can only be thinking of the nine of spades!

Below is a chart containing an image for each playing card. You'll note that not every card easily generated a word. Unlike the mnemonic alphabet, extra consonants and vowels often have to be thrown in to make a legitimate word. The three of clubs keyword, for example, does employ the "THR" sound to suggest 3, and does use a hard "K" for clubs, but it still comes out as "THRowbaCK". It may not seem simple, but every word is chosen for uniqueness of image and proximity to the sound of the card name. Also notice that "ACe" doesn't use a hard"K" sound, but still easily suggests the ace of clubs. Due to the similar initial sounds of 6 and 7 (both use an "S" sound), all the sevens are given a word beginning with "SEA" in order to separate them from the other "S" words used for 6.

Once you learn the keywords, and get used to the system, you'll see how easily the images suggest the card names by their sound.

 ClubsHeartsSpadesDiamonds
AACeAHabAStrologerADam
2TOUCanTOgetHerTOmbStoneTUEsDay
3THRowbaCKTHougHtTHURStonTHURsDay
4FORKFOREHeadFORCEFORD
5FIXFIgHtFIStFIenD
6SIXSIgHtSISSID
7SEACoastSEAHorseSEAShellSEADog
8EChoEIGHTEInSteinEDDy
9NarCNIgHtNoSeNeD
10TENtaCLeTENderHEARTTENNiSTENDon
JJACKJAyHawkJAZZJADe
QQUaKerQUEEN of HalloweenQUaSarQuaD
KKeyCardKeyHoleKoSmoKoDak

To quiz yourself on the keywords, click here. To learn a feat using the Farmer mnemonics, click here.

Card Pairs

There are a many different ways to use these card mnemonics. I'm going to teach one here that is simple in execution, powerful in appearance, and will actually help you use the card mnemonics under fire.

Here's the idea: You spread the deck face-up, and have several people (10, 15 or more!) each take a pair of cards. As the pairs are taken out, you memorize them. After several pairs are taken, you ask each person to hold up one card of their pair, and you instantly recall the other one in the pair! This is very impressive, especially once you work your way up to all 26 pairs! Audiences find this feat spectacular because it's a live demonstration - you are remembering new random information very quickly and recalling it with total accuracy!

The best way to learn this feat is to start with 10 pairs (20 cards). As the cards are selected, you link the keyword names with each other in a funny way. If one of your audience members selected, say, the 8 of spades and the 4 of clubs, you'd link EINSTEIN to FORK - perhaps picturing Einstein as being stuck on the end of your fork. It's important, as always, to make the mental link memorable by using action and exaggeration. Once you've made a strong mental link between the two cards, just go on to the next pair. Once you've made the strong link, don't think about it anymore and move on to the next pair, until all the pairs have been remembered.

On the following page is a quiz that will help you learn all of this. One button will quiz on the card mnemonics themselves. To help learn the card pair stunt, select either 10 pairs, 15 pairs, 20 pairs or 26 pairs. Once you've chosen how many pairs you'll attempt to remember, your browser will bring up an alert box displaying a pair of cards. Make your link with these two cards as quickly as you can, and then click "OK". Your browser will then continue to bring as many card pairs up as you've chosen, one by one. After the last pair is brought up, you will be quizzed. The computer will name one card from each pair, and ask you to name the other one.

Again, start with 10 pairs to get comfortable with the stunt. Once you can get 100% on a regular basis, move on to 15 pairs. Eventually, you should work your way up to all 26 pairs, getting 100% everytime. You may be surprised how quickly this happens.

Grey Matters reader Michael Frink has a nice blackjack presentation for this feat, which is detailed in my Quick Snippets post from February 2009. Anyone who watches you perform this will probably believe you possess unbelievable skill at blackjack!

To go to the quiz page, click here.

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Doug Canning's Mental Shopper Quiz

Published on Saturday, October 09, 2010 in , ,

Learn to perform Doug Canning's Mental Shopper feat here.


Note: Enter amounts inculding decimal point (.), and without the dollar sign ($).

What's the total of the bill?

Quiz will appear below:

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Doug Canning's Mental Shopper

Published on Saturday, October 09, 2010 in , ,

Mental Shopper

This is a great effect by Doug Canning, and is presented here with his permission. Practicing and performing it will help you to learn the basics of the Major System so that you know it cold. In the original write-up of this effect (May 1993 Linking Ring), Doug mentions that many people say he just memorized all the prices, but are amazed how he could add them so fast. He doesn't mind, because they're still giving him more credit than he deserves for the work in this effect!

Effect

You hand the spectator 5 cards with 6 grocery item and their 3-digit prices on each one. The spectator calls out one item from each card, but not the price. Thanks to your powerful mind, you are able to not only recall the prices of the items, but add them up quickly in your head, as fast as a calculator!

To learn how to do this effect, click here.

Method

Here's how you achieve this amazing feat of memory and math.

Prerequisite:

Major System

Set-up

On a separate page, I have included a PDF File (opens in a new window) for you to download, which lists the items and their prices. If you print this file, and use pre-perforated business card (10 to a sheet) stock, you can simply pop out each card individually. Otherwise, just cut up the paper so that you have 10 individual cards. You should now have two complete sets of cards, with cards labeled A through E in each set. One you'll use in the effect, and the other can be a back-up set.

Method

You are going to have your spectator(s) give you one item off of each card, from which you will determine the answer.

There are two methods here, one mathematical and the other mnemonic. First I'll explain the mathematical method. Instead of adding five 3-digit numbers, you're simply going to add five 1-digit numbers. If the spectator were to choose, say, Maalox, Crackers, Bacon, Slimfast, and Tupperware (see PDF File, which opens in a new window), you would simply add the last digit in each price. In this example, you would add 3 plus 7 (which makes 10), plus 9 (making 19), plus 0 (which keep the total at 19), plus 1 (for a final total of 20). This “20” will be the total number of cents in the price.

To find out the number of dollars in the price, simply subtract the number of cents from 50. In the example above, this would mean that the final total is 30 dollars and 20 cents ($30.20). If the final total of the single digits had been, say, 22 cents, the final total would have been $28.22 (because 50-22=28). You'll get prices ranging from $11.39, up to $45.05 in this effect.

Since you're only given the product names, though, how do you know what numbers to add? This is where the basics of the Peg system are going to be put to use. Look carefully at the PDF file (opens in a new window). The phonetic sound that represents the last digit in each price in the peg system (the only number you need to know) is the first sound in the name of the product! For example, the “mmm” sound represents 3 in the phonetic Peg system, so you should instantly know that when the spectator says “Maalox” (which begins with the “mmm” sound) you know to add 3 to your running total. Quick, without looking, can you tell me how much “Vitamins” equals?

To practice this effect, click here.

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400 Digits of Pi Quiz

Published on Friday, October 08, 2010 in , ,

Learn to perform the 400 digits of Pi feat here.


What's the number?

What are the coordinates?

What is the Nth digit of Pi?

Complete a 40 digit row

Complete a 40 digit column

Quiz will appear below: