The world’s first mind reading tee shirt is back!

A few years ago we created the world’s first mind reading tee shirt. They were only available for a very limited period of time.  Well, the good news is that they have just relaunched and are available for the next 4 days.  Here is a video about it and the links. Enjoy!

and the video showing this ground-breaking invention in action is here:

How to keep your New Years Resolutions

new-year-s-resolutionsIt’s that time of the year again. Right now millions of people will be making their New Years Resolutions in the hope of creating a new and improved version of themselves.  I am all for it. However, my work shows that only about 1 in 10 people will make their dreams a reality. Why? Because we often don’t know how to change our habits.

In 59 Seconds  I describe a large-scale study that I carried out into the techniques used by people who managed to make change stick.  Here are my 10 top tips, and a little video….

1) Make only one resolution, your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.

2) Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead take some time out a few days before and reflect upon what you really want to achieve.

3) Avoid previous resolutions; deciding to re-visit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.

4) Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions.  Instead think about what you really want out of life.

5) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based.

6) Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support.

7) Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.

8) Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.

9) Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.

10) Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary set-back rather than a reason to give up altogether.

Oh, and if you want to utilise the power of visualisation….

 

10 Quick Puzzles!

questionHere are 10 of my favourite puzzles. The answers are below – see how many you can solve and post your score below (be honest!).  Good luck….

1) A rope ladder is hanging over the side of a ship, with the bottom rung just touching the water. The rungs are 25com apart. How many rungs will be under the water when the tide has risen 1 metre?

2) How many calendar months have 28 days?

3) If you are running in a marathon and you overtake the person in second position, what position are you in?

4) I have many keys but few locks. I have space but no room. You can enter, but you cannot come in. What am I?

5) You enter a dark house in the middle of the night. Inside is an oil lamp, a gas fire and a stove full of wood. You only have one match. What do you light first?

6) What gets wetter as it dries?

7) What is as light as a feather, but even the strongest man cannot hold it for more than a few minutes.

8) What sport begins with a ‘T’ and has 4 letters?

9) What occurs once in every minute, twice in every moment, yet never in a thousand years?

10) The maker does not need it, the buyer does not want to use it, and the user doesn’t see it. What is it?

ukcoverwebAnd just before we get to the answers, here is a picture of my new book, 101 Bets You Will Always Win, which has lots more puzzles. Just thought I would mention it. Anyway, here are the answers….

ANSWERS

  1. None. The ship will rise with the tide!
  2. They all do.
  3. Second position.
  4. A keyboard.
  5. The match
  6. A towel
  7. His breath
  8. Golf
  9. The letter M
  10. A coffinAnd remember to post your score!

The Transparent Man: A new Quirkology video

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Magician Robert Harbin performing his Zig Zag illusion

The lovely folks at Google Making & Science recently asked me whether there was a science-based project that I would love to make happen.

A few weeks before, magic consultant David Britland had drawn my attention to a little-known optical illusion from the 1920s called ‘The Transparent Man’.

The illusion was described in a book written by magician Robert Harbin, and involved just a few sheets of glass and a light. According to Harbin, if everything was arranged in a certain way, a person would appear transparent. It’s an amazing idea, yet no-one had actually built the illusion to see if it worked.

When I looked at the plans, I realised that Harbin’s illusion used the same general idea that’s currently employed by physicists trying to make objects invisible! I contacted the world’s leading expert on invisibility – Professor Ulf Leonhardt – and asked if he would like to be involved in the project.

Ulf was amazingly generous and recorded an interview about this little-known optical illusion, his research into invisibility, and how Harbin’s illusion was years ahead of its time. In addition, magician Scott Penrose (President of The Magic Circle and a huge fan of Harbin) kindly agreed to be interviewed about Harbin’s most famous creation – the Zig Zag Lady.

The illusion took a long time to get right because it is a bit of an optical nightmare, but eventually the Quirkology Ninja and I managed to pull it off.

Here is the short documentary showing the illusion……

And here are the related interviews by Ulf and Scott….

Loads of people were kind enough to help with the project, and so my thanks go to…Professor Caroline Watt, David Britland, Professor Ulf Leonhardt, Joe Pavlo (I still have no idea how you did that), Mat White, Scott Penrose, Darren Martin, The Magic Circle, Jim Steinmeyer, Cameron Watt, Peter Lamont, Helen Keen, Simon Gage, and Sarah Angliss.

We have just launched a Quirkology Mind Games set!

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For the past year I have been working with the good folks at Marvin’s Magic to create a Quirkology box of goodies. The exciting news is that today we are launching Mind Games at the QED conference and online everywhere.

The set is crammed full of jaw-dropping illusions, surprising science stunts, and bets that you will always win. And all with a quirky twist. Within a few moments of opening the box you will appear to move objects with the power of your mind, transform anyone into a zombie, defy gravity and lots lots more. The box contains everything you need to astound your friends and family, and even has a specially filmed Quirkology DVD. Have fun!

Available at Amazon UK UK here.
Available in the UK, US, Europe and Canada here.

With huge thanks to Marvin’s Magic, Water Closet Press and QED.