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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Memorizing 2nd deck (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Harry Lorayne
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Steve: Thanks for your opinion. Now the nitty-gritty - I think I mentioned this, but don't want to go over the whole thread to check. IN MY VERY FIRST BOOK (1956) - I taught how to make up TWO SEPARATE LISTS - so that you could do EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THAT YOU, AND OTHERS, RE ASKING ABOUT HERE. (Caps are for stress, not anger.) So, I guess just a bit of research on your part and you might just find the "specific" answer to your "specific" question. And, I'm so pleased that you see nothing "rude or disrespectful" - good to be able to overlook such obviousness; I envy you. But on the other hand, that rudeness and disrespect was not aimed at you, was it?
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Harry Lorayne
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Oh, and if you're really interested in how far back memory-training techniques go, you'll something about that if you go to:
memoryimprovement.org . HL.
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TerrorInt
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Quote:
On Dec 20, 2013, JanForster wrote:
There is no need to memorize two stacks. Instead do this: Use Si Stebbins: (e. g. knowing the Aronson stack) replace each card in the stack with that card that precedes the original card, e. g. #1 JS is replaced by the 8H because in Si Stebbins the JS would follow the 8H (CHaSeD order) a. s. o. Jan


Try using a different method so you never mix up the two decks.
Harry Lorayne
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Tha.t's exactly what I meant by "two separate lists" in my post above
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Jay Elf
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Quote:
On Apr 6, 2014, TerrorInt wrote:
Try using a different method so you never mix up the two decks.

Which specifically is the different method? A concrete example will be appreciated.

@Jay@
JanForster
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Read my post and you have the answer Smile. Jan
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Nick Pudar
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Much earlier in the thread, there was a question raised about why would a second memorized deck be needed at all. I have an obscure, but important reason for when you get into cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. (Notice I say "when", not "if" -- but that is for another debate.) There is a concept of "brainwallets" which require a truly random passphrase with more than 140 bits of entropy. A truly randomly shuffled deck of cards has 8 x 10^67 possible combinations, which is more than 225 bits of entropy -- that is plenty for a highly secure passphrase. So, shuffle a deck of cards thoroughly, and memorize it with your favorite technique. Never write it down or divulge it to anyone, and you will have a highly secure passphrase. I did just that. I use the Aronson Stack for my magic, and my second memorized deck as a passhprase (which has never been recorded anywhere except in my mind).

Extreme? Yes. Secure? Absolutely. I keep the second deck fresh in my mind by mentally reciting it when I exercise. Also, (and this was key for me) I visualize my Aronson Stack as having blue backs, and my second memorized deck as having red backs. For some reason that keeps it absolutely clean and separate in my magic.
Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
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Atom3339
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Excellent post, Nick!
TH

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ddyment
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Memorizing a 52-card stack in order to obtain a good passphrase is not a very practical approach to the problem.

The number of combinations of 52 cards is approximately 8 * 10^67, a large number when counting objects, but not all that large from a mathematical perspective.

A simple string of 45 letters from the standard English alphabet (including a space and only three punctuation characters) yields a larger number. And 45+ character line of meaningful text (poetry/prose/whatever) is much easier to remember than a card stack!

If you employ upper- and lower-case letters (making 52, interestingly), and throw in the 10 digits (but still no special characters, you only need 38 characters to exceed the possibilities of a shuffled deck. This sentence uses just 38 characters. And it's easier to commit to memory than a shuffled deck. And faster to type.

Of course, it's just as easy to find easily-recalled sentences of 50 characters or more (which is what I use), yielding 10^90+ possibilities.
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vindar
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Good point Doug !

This reminds me of http://xkcd.com/936/ ...
J-L Sparrow
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Quote:
On Apr 17, 2014, vindar wrote:
This reminds me of http://xkcd.com/936/ ...

That's a good cartoon. It certainly changed my way of thinking when it comes to creating new passwords.
Nick Pudar
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Sorry for not staying current on the forum... too much business travel.

This topic of passwords took me a while to truly wrap my head around. The xkcd.com cartoon is a very good one, but unfortunately it misses a couple extremely important points. One is that is the words MUST be random. And second, humans are REALLY bad at generating random things from their mind.

Here are some important points:

1) The important thing about a password is how many bits of entropy it has. That is calculated by taking the base 2 log of the number of possibilities a password format could have. Lets take a simple example of an 8-character password of only lower case English alphabet letters. the number of possibilities is 26^8 or 208,827,064,576. That's a big number; 208.8 billion possible passwords seems like a lot, but that only represents a little over 37 bits of entropy. A computer can tear through all those combinations very quickly. Shuffling a deck of cards has log2(52!) or 225 bits of entropy. And as Doug Dyment pointed out, 38 characters of upper, lower, and numeric characters has log2(62^38) or 227 bits of entropy. The nature of the structure of the entropy is irrelevant, but it is very important that the password is generated randomly. More on this later.

2) In an online account where you have to enter a password that will be checked by a server, small passwords (like the xkcd.com Tr0ub4dor&3) are fine because there are limitations on account access attempts. And more common these days, 2-factor authentications are required. The main point is that you should not use something that an attacker would easily guess (like "password123" or "p@ssword").

3) In situations where attackers can use brute-force techniques, you want to have a sufficient number of bits of entropy so that it takes a very long time to search through all the possible combinations. Current thinking is that a secure passphrase should have more than 140 bits of entropy. Anything less than that can be brute-forced. Computers will keep getting stronger and faster, so that is why I went with the very high level as capable with a deck of cards (225 bits of entropy).

4) Humans are VERY BAD at generating random data. That is why hackers use something called Rainbow Tables to process through in their attacks. Rainbow Tables contain massive dictionaries of passwords that people use. (Recall the hacked Target Company recently, where the attackers only learned the passwords form the customer accounts? Those passwords were added to the Rainbow Tables for other exploits.) No matter how clever you think you are, someone from the other billions of people on earth has likely thought of it. Even obfuscation techniques (like with Tr0ub4dor&3) are generally worthless because those techniques are also in the Rainbow Tables. The recommendation to memorize from some text or poem is not safe, no matter how long. There are password-ripping robots continuously processing known texts. For example, the very long-looking password of "tworoadsdivergedinayellowwoodandsorryicouldnottravelbothandbeonetravellerlongistoodandlookeddownoneasfarasicouldtowhereitbentintheundergrowth" is very weak since all Robert Frost poems in various chunk sizes are already part of the Rainbow searches. Anything that is available online can be checked as use for a password/passphrase. (In fact, the xkcd.com "correct horse battery staple" is one of the first checked passphrases these days because people seem to think it is secure.)

For applications such as crypocurrencies like Bitcoin, where an attacker can continuously apply Rainbow Tables towards Brainwallet creation, it is really important to only use randomly generated passphrases with high degrees of entropy. For me, a memorized random deck of cards is perfect because it has high entropy, and knowing a second stack makes me smile!

Here is one site for secure random password generation: http://world.std.com/~reinhold/diceware.html
Here is another great source for having multiple random passwords at your fingertips: http://www.passwordcard.org/en
Here is some good background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength

Nick
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Nick Pudar
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I ran across a nice blog post about passwords. It's a good read.
https://medium.com/editors-picks/3a72ab8b17f4

Nick
Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
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lcwright1964
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Memorizing Aronson was easier than I thought. I just went by brute force and rote memory, foregoing the recommended phonetic-mnemonic associations. Mnemonica's next. With regularly refreshing I don't see any problem keeping the two straight--I will have two position numbers for each card not one. In time 4C will be known to me a A45-M1, AS will be A6-M7, 9D will be A52-M52, etc. I find that even when I am not using a structured mnemonic system I impose idiosyncratic memory "hooks" onto the list, anyway. I really don't think that memorizing and using two different stacks needs to be as onerous as the doubters fear it is.
lcwright1964
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I took a few hours last evening to memorize Mnemonica and now have gone back to refresh my memory of Aronson and am more prone to befuddlement, to my great surprise and chagrin. Maybe there is some merit to the suggesting of picking and sticking to one? The alternative is to learn Mnemonica and Aronson stone cold and also review them in parallel and find ways to remember their differences. I obviously have too much time on my hands...
pnielan
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On the Vernon Revelation tapes, Vernon talks about his interactions with David M Roth, who wrote an excellent mnemonic book in 1918 (but lived into the 1970s), and with Harry Lorayne. He is very complimentary to both men and talks about how he and Mr. Lorayne used to cleverly code selected cards back and forth. They used the phonetic alphabet and improvised words on the fly, rather than relying on fixed code words for each card. Great stories. Especially when some wise guy picked a joker.

More to the point of this thread, Vernon cautions (informed by his discussions with Roth), that if you *ever* change your mnemonic word for a card (say going from SEAL for the 5S to SAIL), there will always be some hesitation when dealing with that card going forward. I think the same thing will be true for memorizing multiple stacks----your number to card and card to number associations will be slightly hindered if there are more than one---at least at the speed of performance.. I am on my second stack (it's been 5 years since I made the switch) and that hesitation does happen to me still, but not often. However, I am not trying to maintain both stacks (in fact, trying to forget the first). So, in my opinion, there is a tradeoff to be made here with valid arguments on both sides.

Note that the recall we are talking about here is not about the learning mechanism, but the actual card to number and number to card associations and maintaining multiple sets.
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