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Do You Believe in Magic...The Gathering?

For three days, the world's best 'Magic' players battle it out in Seattle Three weeks ago, Seattle hosted the Magic: The Gathering Players Championship. Noah Davis writes about one of the most prestigious M:TG tournaments from an outsider's perspective. It turns out, Magic is still around, and it's a big deal.
posted by explosion on Sep 20, 2012 - 104 comments

Magic the Gathering is Turing complete

The collectible card game Magic: The Gathering is Turing complete. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Sep 11, 2012 - 58 comments

NO SALE

The following items are also being added to the prohibited items list: advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions; work from home businesses & information; wholesale lists, and drop shop lists.
With their new 2012 Fall Seller Update, ebay has banned the sale of magic services. A discussion has commenced on the impact of these new rules on the magic-practicing community.
posted by griphus on Aug 16, 2012 - 129 comments

Sharron Kraus - Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes

Sharron Kraus - Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes
posted by y2karl on Jul 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Neverending stories

Four Micro-Essays on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 2009 (contains spoilers), a look at the concluding part of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's 3 part LoEG: Century series in which the league face off against a headline grabbing villain (extreme spoiler warning) and which spookily presaged some of last nights Olympic opening. Previous Moore and O'Neill. Obligatory annotations from Jess Nevins.
posted by Artw on Jul 28, 2012 - 37 comments

What Clarke said

Fall, Mortality, and the Machine: Tolkien and Technology From the beginnings of modern fantasy, in the work of Tolkien, technology has always been the enemy of the good life. But does it have to be that way?
posted by infini on Jul 28, 2012 - 82 comments

The Ju-Ju Magic of the Miners of Afosu

The Ju-Ju Magic of the Miners of Afosu. Photos and paintings from Ghana by Ben Zawalich.
posted by homunculus on Jul 26, 2012 - 2 comments

A spurious system of natural law as well as a fallacious guide of conduct

A critique of Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough by Colin Dickey. "For all its erudition and analysis, The Golden Bough has for more than a century helped cement the idea that magic is inappropriate, wrongheaded thought. Yet what separates magic from religion or science is not its methodology—Frazer himself notes that it 'is therefore a truism, almost a tautology, to say that all magic is necessarily false and barren; for were it ever to become true and fruitful, it would no longer be magic but science'—it’s that ordinary people can do it, transforming their lives with the ambitious power of everyday thought." Via Lapham's Quarterly's Magic Shows issue.
posted by Kitty Stardust on Jul 26, 2012 - 62 comments

Teller Reveals His Secrets

Teller Reveals His Secrets
posted by Meatbomb on Feb 25, 2012 - 57 comments

Pick an icon, any icon

The Laberinto of Andrea Ghisi is a 17th-century magic trick in book form. Pick an image from the 60 arrayed in front of you, and tell the magician only which quadrant it appears in. Repeat the process twice on different pages, and he can tell you what image you chose. You can see the trick performed at around 2:20 in this video, play a simulation, or see the book digitized in its entirety.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Feb 9, 2012 - 13 comments

The Heliotropic Sounds of Sun Araw

Let's take a brief detour into the strange sonic labyrinth of Sun Araw. [more inside]
posted by SomaSoda on Jan 21, 2012 - 16 comments

A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The End

The Rules of Magic. Every fantasy saga has its own rules for magic, and its own explanations for how the magical arts work. Where does magic come from? Who can use magic, and how? io9 has compiled a list of the rules of magic in 50 fantasy sagas. (jpg)
posted by zarq on Dec 9, 2011 - 63 comments

Magic Johnson remains a living symbol of hope

Magic Johnson still beating HIV 20 years later 2 decades after being diagnosed with HIV - the virus that causes AIDS, Magic Johnson is still going strong. His foundation is helping others, giving them hope while educating people about the disease.
posted by 2manyusernames on Nov 8, 2011 - 39 comments

GOOGLIZE

Magic cards with googly eyes. Also, Pokemon cards with googly eyes. Other things with googly eyes. More other things with googly eyes. (Via Ask Surprise [warning: PONY].)
posted by JHarris on Oct 29, 2011 - 41 comments

I am not signing a release

David Blaine is a Demon From Space Part 4 Since the first video in 2006 there have been a Part 2 and Part 3. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 28, 2011 - 17 comments

Makes me want to go hunting for secret art.

A fore-edge painting (previously, but it's been a while) is a painting on the edges of the pages of a book that can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. Marist College has a nice history and introduction and the Boston Public Library has an impressive gallery.
posted by Vibrissa on Oct 25, 2011 - 8 comments

Boom Bip: from abstract hip-hop to spooky sounds of black magic from the turn of the 19th century

Bryan Hollon, better known by his musical handle Boom Bip, is probably recognized for two drastically different sounds: abstract hip-hop from his early Mush Records days, and his Mercury Prize-nominated Neon Neon collaboration with Gruff Rhys. Add to that a new inspiration: black magic from the turn of the 19th century. What does that sound like? Let Boom Bip walk you through his new album, Zig Zaj. Step behind the deep red velvet curtains for a peek at the history of Boom Bip. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 24, 2011 - 12 comments

One guy, three cups.

Cups and Balls. Andrew Musgrave at Ye Olde Magick Blogge gathers videos of, and comments on, 28 versions of the oldest trick in the book. [more inside]
posted by googly on Oct 19, 2011 - 31 comments

Your garlic-related life will be forever changed

How to easily peel a whole bulb of garlic in ten seconds [single-link vimeo]
posted by DoctorFedora on Sep 28, 2011 - 216 comments

Jerry Andrus: messing with your wonderful brain

"A wonderful brain interprets something differently from what it actually is, but it doesn't mean it's made a mistake. It took the information it had and did it's best job." Those are but two tricks from Jerry Andrus (1918-2007), self-taught magician and illusionist, and one of great renown amongst other magicians. But he was more than a slight-of-hand man: he was also a poet, philosopher, inventor, humanist, agnostic, and skeptic. There are an impressive number of videos of him online, these are but a few to get you started down the rabbit hole: Jerry Andrus is visual poetry (Google video / YT, 28 minutes) :: Jerry Andrus at the Magic Castle (G.vid, 49 min), Jerry Andrus at 83 his Optical Illusions (G.vid, 41 min) :: Jerry Andrus and Ray Hyman on Uri Geller (YT, 26 min) :: James Randi on Jerry Andrus (YT, 5 min) :: James Randi - who was Jerry Andrus? :: James Randi describes Jerry Andrus. The last two clips are from Rex Young, a young illusionist who has recreated many of Andrus' illusions on his YouTube channel, and made some of his own.
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 12, 2011 - 25 comments

Tony Star presents iSight

Illusion or blockhead act? You be the judge. Caution: this performance is not for the squeamish. Tony Star presents iSight. (SLYT)
posted by PeterMcDermott on Aug 22, 2011 - 39 comments

Pick a card. Any card.

The Berglas Effect aka The Holy Grail of Card Magic or Any Card at Any Number (ACAAN) and named after its inventor David Berglas is a very simple magic card trick that Berglas claims only two people know. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on Aug 20, 2011 - 107 comments

An Honest Magician

The Magic of Truth and Lies - SLYT TED by Marco Tempest [more inside]
posted by hypersloth on Aug 17, 2011 - 17 comments

Teller speaks! At length!

Teller speaks! About the psychology of how magic works. Absolutely fascinating. [slyt]
posted by DoctorFedora on Jul 9, 2011 - 54 comments

Fool me once...

Penn & Teller are fooled not by the performance of Ali Cook, but by mistaking his trick for being original.
posted by MrChowWow on Jul 7, 2011 - 70 comments

Flottille - amazing water-powered origami

Flottille by Etienne Cliquet. Exquisite moving origami powered by the capillary action of the paper.
posted by Plutor on May 16, 2011 - 17 comments

I Scheme with Genie

Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits). Increasingly, there is a rift between the President and his Supreme Leader.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 7, 2011 - 142 comments

Fantastic Version of the Cups and Balls

Tommy Wonder Performs the Cups and Balls I ran across this performance of one of magic's oldest tricks. It's probably the best version I've seen so far. In my opinion it's even better than Dai Vernon's.
posted by wackyvorlon on Apr 19, 2011 - 35 comments

CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP

Pony Polka!
posted by furiousxgeorge on Apr 18, 2011 - 24 comments

fountain pens, brass buckles, nail files, cigarettes, a “gold zecchino issued by Pope Alexander VI”, barley sugar, hypodermic needles and drugs

Kenneth Grant, who has died aged 86, was probably the last living link to the voluptuary, occultist and megalomaniac Aleister Crowley; after Crowley’s death Grant co-edited and published many of the self-styled mystic’s writings, but he also became involved in a protracted wrangle over his own claim to be Crowley’s heir. Via.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Apr 5, 2011 - 34 comments

George Tooker: August 5, 1920 – March 27, 2011

Master painter of the anxious, alienated, mysterious and sublime, George Tooker : August 5, 1920March 27, 2011
posted by y2karl on Mar 30, 2011 - 27 comments

Make Believe

It's like band camp, only with magic nerds.
posted by JPowers on Mar 29, 2011 - 20 comments

INSCRIBED ON HER HORN IS THE FORMULA FOR "ULTIMATE FRIENDSHIP!!" HER AIM - KNOWLEDGE! HER NAME - "TWILIGHT SPARKLE!"

EVERYPONY MUST STAND -- OR EVERYPONY WILL PERISH IN THE THUNDER OF COSMIC HOOVES! - Great Comics That Never Happened presents Jack Kirby's My Little Pony.
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2011 - 27 comments

These fish... they vibrate?

This is a pretty amazing video of a Chinese magician doing magic tricks with goldfish on the BBC spanish website. Extended video and discussion (along with possible spoilers) can be found on youtube. It's been picked up by some English-language sites (here and here). Real controversy, or just hype to drum up publicity? Either way, the magician is refusing to divulge his secrets (but insists that no fish were harmed in the trick).
posted by math on Feb 18, 2011 - 59 comments

I don't watch this show but someone told me you might like it.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. A toy shilling re-imagining of an 80's cartoon show for little girls. It is sexist, racist, and homophobic. Or maybe not. It seems to be finding an audience among a periphery demographic, which some people seem to find a bit odd. [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Jan 23, 2011 - 88 comments

The other side of the curtain

The Magician and the Crossword Puzzle [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 9, 2010 - 13 comments

Pepsi Blue Custom Playing Cards

Most cards in North America are made by United States Playing Card Company (USPC) which owns Bicycle, Bee, Tally-Ho (favored by Penn and Teller), Hoyle, and KEM(notably 100% plastic). USPC helped the WWII war effort with its production of playing cards with hidden maps. [more inside]
posted by el io on Dec 4, 2010 - 26 comments

Harry Potter and the Incredibly Conservative Aristocratic Children's Club

Harry Potter and the Incredibly Conservative Aristocratic Children's Club
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 28, 2010 - 161 comments

Fossil Angels

Fossil Angels - written by Alan Moore in December 2002 to appear in KAOS #15, which never appeared. Published here for the first time.
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 24, 2010 - 22 comments

Yantra Tattoos

Yantra tattooing is a traditional Thai, Khmer, Lao and Burmese practice using beautiful and intricately designed yantras for good luck, fortune, strength and protection. [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Oct 20, 2010 - 11 comments

"The Led Zeppelin show depends heavily on volume, repetition and drums. It bears some resemblance to the trance music found in Morocco"

I told Jimmy he was lucky too have that house with a monster in the front yard. What about the Loch Ness monster? Jimmy Page thinks it exists. I wondered if it could find enough to eat, and thought this unlikely–it’s not the improbability but the upkeep on monsters that worries me. Did Aleister Crowley have opinions on the subject? He apparently had not expressed himself. - William Burroughs attends a Led Zeppelin concert and has a chat with Jimmy Page (via Bruce Sterling)
posted by Artw on Sep 13, 2010 - 61 comments

Advancing the Art of Magic

Theory 11 is your source for the latest and greatest magic tricks, instructional magic videos, and playing cards. [more inside]
posted by ColdChef on Aug 13, 2010 - 27 comments

Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women

Ricky Jay had a TV special in 1989 - Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women - based on the book of the same name, which featured magic, juggling, amazing feats, stunts, and performances, including a musical performance on wine glasses, a human calculator who could determine cube-routes of numbers in her head, and an antique acrobatic clockwork doll. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). (Previously and previously and previouslier)
posted by twoleftfeet on Jul 29, 2010 - 18 comments

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang on Writing (and other things) (Previously)
posted by Artw on Jul 26, 2010 - 49 comments

Old School Color Cycling with HTML5

Old School Color Cycling with HTML5
This was a technology often used in 8-bit video games of the era, to achieve interesting visual effects by cycling (shifting) the color palette. Back then video cards could only render 256 colors at a time, so a palette of selected colors was used. But the programmer could change this palette at will, and all the onscreen colors would instantly change to match. It was fast, and took virtually no memory. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Jul 26, 2010 - 40 comments

What If Assassins Are Chasing You And All You Have Is A Deck Of Cards?

Ricky Jay's legendary book, "Cards As Weapons," is out of print. Used copies are expensive. Luckily, you can read it here. (The book contains some NSFW content.) I've you're new to Ricky Jay, start here.
posted by grumblebee on Jun 17, 2010 - 39 comments

How not to get scammed

Last week the playwright Alan Bennett was "relieved" of £1,500 by one of the simplest scams about - the distraction scam. The BBC provides a helpful guide to how not to get scammed while MSN outlines the 13 scams of the summer. For a more in-depth examination of the world of scams, The Real Hustle is an invaluable resource. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Jun 16, 2010 - 91 comments

Ephemera Magica

Ephemera Magica: A Daily Offering of Vintage Magic: "I found some great and mysterious things in some old boxes my Mom passed on to me from my Father and Grandfather. I am scanning and posting a page, trick, letter, or booklet from a huge collection of vintage magic articles every day." Click on each of the pictures for larger versions, or check out the Ephemera Magica Flickr Feed. [via mefi projects]
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2010 - 13 comments

iPod Don't Touch

A touch screen you don't touch. From Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, a gesture-controlled handheld device that responds thereminically to the motion of a finger held above the screen. Watch to the end for the remarkable 3-d painting app. From the people who brought you the pitching, batting, and dribbling robots. Previous Ishikawa awesomeness on Metafilter.
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2010 - 22 comments

color-changing card trick

A color-changing card trick. (Related to this old favorite.)
posted by Upton O'Good on Apr 22, 2010 - 25 comments

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