Diaconis inventions?

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Postby Guest » 10/08/03 06:34 AM

Greetings,

I am in the search for anything published by Persi Diaconis - no specific time period. I am just interested in what he might have written up.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Diaconis may have published under a pseudonym. I don't remember where, and I don't even know if it's true! but it would be good if someone could verify it, and actually get a name out for me!

thanks,
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Postby Guest » 10/08/03 07:52 AM

Harry Lorayne wrote up two of Persi's routines utilizing the down-and-under deal in Best of Friends, Volume I. The anagrammatic pseudonym of Sid R. Spocane II was used.

Persi himeself wrote the introduction to Dai Vernon's Revelations, in which he discusses some card handling techniques/approaches...
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Postby Matthew Field » 10/08/03 08:16 AM

The pseudonym is "Sid R. Spocaine" and you'll find his tricks in Karl Fulves' "Pallbearers Review."

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Postby Pete Biro » 10/08/03 09:05 AM

Not sure of the spelling, but Persi used the pseudonym of Hofzinser's student "George Heubreck" (SP?)

He also invented much, if not most, of Himber's magic, most notably the linking finger rings. He came up with the prop in concert with magician/manufacturing jeweler Willie Schneider.

Inspiration came from a letter he got from Faucett Ross describing a routine of a magician in an ice show in Europe doing the linking rings, and borrowing a ring from a spectator and adding it to the chain of linked rings.

Persi also was instrumental in the method of the card in balloon I use to close my club act. He was hired by NASA to "tail" Uri Geller to find out if he was REAL.

Of course there is the White Paper he did for the U.S. Fedf. Govt. on the probable order of a deck of cards after shuffling.

He was a recipient of a cash award from the MacArther Foundation.

He "may have" been help to Thorpe on his book on card counting...

He was also involved in the Malini Egg bag, working out some moves with Charlie Miller and Harry Riser on it's creation.

I believe he played violin at Carnegie Hall before he reached teenage status.

You know, of course, that he lived and travelled with Dai Vernon for a number of years and also took care of Frances Carlysle for some time.

He is also a really nice guy.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/08/03 09:29 AM

HERE is a not quite current list of Diaconis' academic publications. A little dryer than how to cut to the aces, but there they are.

There are some of his papers on the randomness of shuffling cards in the list.

Some of his papers can be found online at CITESEER
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 10/08/03 12:53 PM

Don't forget "Les Cartes Diaconis" in Dai Vernon's Ultimate Secrets of Card Magic.

Pallbearers Review uses the spelling "Spokane" in one place, but obviously that messes up the anagram.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 10/08/03 01:10 PM

Also Royal Lovers in Harry Lorayne's "Decksterity".
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/08/03 04:51 PM

Also, Diaconis is responsible for creating the basic version of The Hotel Mystery as we know it. His version has never been published (though Diaconis had at one time given it to Howard Lyons for either Ibidem or AZIZ).
The handling published by Lou Gallo is VERY similar to the Diaconis handling.
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/08/03 07:32 PM

So, Richard (and others) where do you place P.D. in the heirarchy of card handlers? Anywhere (like I do) near the all-time top?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/09/03 08:10 AM

I have seen Persi do very little and so am really not qualified to rate his ability.
20 years ago David Roth told me that many years prior to that he had seen Persi execute the Doc Daley sleight from Expert Card Technique where you have two cards peeked, then Side Steal one into your right hand and perform the Diagonal Palm Shift with the second to get it into your left hand.
I have never seen anyone do this, and from playing with it myself it seems extremely difficult to do. If Persi could do this at one time, then at one time he was very good.
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/09/03 08:54 AM

In all my years of watching and sessioning... I have never seen anyone close. Not only in the sleight-of-hand, but the psychological and mathematics thrown in.

Ricky Jay and I watched him do a show at Stanford for a number of the world's leading math experts. The presentation (show) was on the order of cards after various shuffles (which he wrote the famous paper on).

Neither Ricky or I had seen most of the premises of the card effects.

Funny aside, during a break a professor from Japan commented to him, saying, "Professor Diaconis, it seems to me that on trick number seven you were somehow able to UNSHUFFLE the cards." !!!!

Another time I sat with him and Jack MacMillan (their first ever meeting, which I set up) and he did things MacMillan had never seen and could not explain.

Then there is the early gambling stuff. Coolers I couln't detect, seconds, bottoms, etc. with heat. No clues.

Sure wish we could get him to lecture somewhere, some day. :genii:
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/09/03 10:59 AM

Does anybody know where I can get a copy of Diaconis' early articles on the number of shuffles required to "randomize" a deck? Even a copy of the original New York Times article would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Guest » 10/09/03 05:33 PM

I've never SEEN Persi do a slieght...

Best, PSC
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 10/09/03 05:56 PM

All that talent.... wasted on academia!!! :D

Is he involved in magic at all these days??
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/09/03 06:00 PM

Though it is his choice, has he ever spoken on why he chooses to remain reclusive in the magic world and not publish? It seems a waste that so much wonderful thinking will be lost some day.
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/09/03 09:49 PM

Chosse... you dog... you really nailed it! :whack:

Remember when he did the "toss out double" and the hot guys thought he failed, and showed there were TWO DOUBLES... :D

I saw him do the double that flips up, lands on the table on one edge, bounces and stays two as one. :cool:

And how about his holding two as one and rotating the cards around and as the face comes around it is changed and then he's clean. :p
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/09/03 09:50 PM

Chosse... do you recall was it Persi or Riser that could do 8 faros in a row fastest? :confused:

I really had some treats. When Alex Elmsley first came to the West Coast, I was the designated driver and he and Persi were knocking each other dead with great stuff and I, sans chops, was ALLOWED to be the fly on the wall. :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/09/03 09:52 PM

Gerdes: Yes, I just saw something in a newspaper where he performed for some heavy college folks at Stanford.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/09/03 11:07 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Does anybody know where I can get a copy of Diaconis' early articles on the number of shuffles required to "randomize" a deck? Even a copy of the original New York Times article would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.
NY TIMES article

HERE
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Postby Richard Hatch » 10/09/03 11:33 PM

Professor Diaconis has been quoted as saying in response to a question about why he did not publish his methods:
"Why give tools to the animals?"
A somewhat different version of this quotation, in the context of Diaconis' dismay at Vernon publishing material, may be found in the New Yorker profile on Ricky Jay by Mark Singer, which is currently available on line at www.rickyjay.com
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/10/03 09:59 AM

Thanks again, Bill.

But... the original article had a table showing probabilities across different numbers of shuffles. This table didn't make it into the online copy of the article. Unfortunately, this table is the key thing I'm looking for.

So if anybody knows where I can get this table (which I'm sure is in the original article) I'd still love to see it.
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/10/03 10:05 AM

Why not write Persi? He's at the department of statistics at Stanford Uninversity, Palo Alto, California.

Also, since it was a "paper" written for the U.S. Fed. Govt., perhaps a search on Google might find it.
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 10/10/03 10:22 AM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:

...So if anybody knows where I can get this table (which I'm sure is in the original article) I'd still love to see it.
Pete: I was able to find a pdf file from a mathematics journal that I have access to through my university. I'm not sure if it has what you want.... but I can email it to you if you like. (it's a 1.7M file)

Let me know.

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Postby Pete Biro » 10/10/03 11:08 AM

Persi Diaconis was born into a family of professional musicians. At 14 he had finished high school and was enrolled in the City College of New York when Dai Vernon, "the greatest magician in the US," invited Diaconis to go on tour with him. Diaconis dropped out of school, quit his violin lessons at Julliard after 9 years of study, and left home without telling his parents, who were understandably upset. At 16 he struck out on his own as a magician and did well doing magic, inventing tricks, giving lessons and living a "very colorful" life. This might have lasted more than the 8 years that it did if Diaconis had not happened to visit a book store with a friend who recommended a probability book by Feller as the best and most interesting on the subject. Diaconis bought it and then found that he couldn't read it. So he enrolled in N.Y. City College at night -- "They wouldn't take me during the day because I was something of a strange person." Two and a half years later, in 1971, he graduated with a degree in mathematics and was accepted into the statistics program at Harvard. By 1974 he had earned a Ph.D. and joined the faculty of the Statistics Department at Stanford. He has been at Stanford ever since except for sabbatical leaves or a year off -- "I go on sabbatical leave or take a year off every three years."

Diaconis' strong background in magic has proved useful in another area -- catching "psychics" cheating. If a person, even a well-trained scientist, has not had experience with human subjects and with cueing (subtle, body-language hints), then it is extremely difficult to spot what is wrong. Diaconis, however, is an expert at deception and has found cheating, or failure to perform, with every psychic he has been allowed to observe. Statistics is useful for spotting the errors and fallacies in the more 'scientific' parapsychology studies: "I have read very thoroughly for ten years all of the refereed, serious parapsychology literature. There is not a single, repeatable experiment in that literature. Most people don't seem to know that. I guess it is useful to go on record and to say that loud and clear." (For information about organizations and publications that try to document this kind of work click The Skeptics Society or The Skeptical Inquirer.)

In 1982, Diaconis was awarded $40,000 a year, tax free, for 5 years. The award goes to individuals the MacArthur Foundation thinks have the potential to make "substantial contributions" in some area, and the recipients can do whatever they want with the money. It will probably not change Diaconis' life very much. "I work from seven A.M. to midnight each day. I'm always doing mathematics."
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/10/03 11:11 AM

OK, you go to Google and you will find a huge list of things on the man... here's one...

http://www-brims.hpl.hp.com/hplms/diaconis_abstract.htm
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Postby Guest » 10/10/03 11:22 AM

He did a show recently at a fund raiser for a library in San Francisco. If you want to mail him at Stanford you'll have to use snail mail. A co-worker of mine has her masters in statistics from Stanford and she checked the departments web site and he is the only person not listing an email. Good luck in getting a response.
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Postby Sean Piper » 10/10/03 01:25 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Persi execute the Doc Daley sleight from Expert Card Technique where you have two cards peeked, then Side Steal one into your right hand and perform the Diagonal Palm Shift with the second to get it into your left hand.
Can't find this??? In which section of ECT is this move?
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Postby Guest » 10/10/03 01:52 PM

3rd edition
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 10/11/03 05:44 AM

I think you can get an ebook version of this edition from lybrary.com.
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