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Thought you might be interested in the following:

Persi Diaconis delivered a "talk" at Harvey Mudd College on November 1. If you go to the link at the bottom of the page mentioned above there is also an article on shuffling that may be of interest to you.


Paul Green
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Now something tells me that perfect shuffle isn't actually a riffle shuffle... (By the way: never thought of a shuffle giving you publicity.)

Diaconis is respected in the world of mathematics. I attended that lecture by him (but many years ago), and he had one nice thought experiment that I think can be used in magic. Let me explain:

The title of the lecture was, "In Search of Randomness," and he had us imagine that we were holding a dart and that the wall was split up vertically into half black and half white. Now, if we threw the dart, we would probably agree that it wasn't really random or coincidence if we hit, say, black.

So, now, the number of areas was doubled, i.e two black fields intervened by two white ones. Still, much too easy to aim for the black.

So, the question was— when did it actually become random?

(In computer programming this is also a problem because everything is controlled and so how can you get a good random number?)

Anyhow, I felt it was an interesting question, and just maybe it could be used in some magic presentation...somehow...
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