Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bunk

I recently read the following on the means that illusionist Deren Brown used to predict lottery numbers:

Sat 12 Sep 7:25 AM. By Press Association Press Association Illusionist Derren Brown claimed he was able to predict the lottery numbers just by combining the random guesses of a panel of members of the public. On Wednesday 2.7 million viewers tuned in to Channel 4 to see Brown perform his latest trick. Broadcasting from a secret studio location, Brown told viewers he had written his predictions on a line of balls, which he then revealed after watching the draw live on BBC1. He said "that's a year of my life right there. I can't believe it", as he turned over the balls to reveal they were an exact match for the winning numbers: 2, 11, 23, 28, 35, 39. On Friday night he told viewers that he used "a powerful beautiful secret that can only be achieved when we all put our heads together". He gathered a panel of 24 people who wrote down their predictions after studying the last year's worth of numbers. Then they added up all the guesses for each ball and divided it by 24 to get the average guess. On the first go they only got one number right, on the second attempt they managed three and on the third they guessed four. By the time of last week's draw they had honed their technique to get six correct guesses. Brown claims that the predictions were correct because of the "wisdom of the crowd" theory which suggests that a large group of people making average guesses will come up with the correct figure as an average of all their attempts.


The above is, of course, all part of the act of obfuscation. The things one has to say (and do) to be an illusionist.

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