ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
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lybrary
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 7th, 2018, 9:31 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:For example, take a look at figure 77. The card is presented straight on (i.e. no appreciable tilting or skew). However, it's clearly too wide (relative to it height). If Smith's illustrations were accurate, that would be impossible. How do you explain that?
You do not know if the card isn't bent somewhat, nor do you know if it is planar to the camera. But assuming it is planar and not bent, and factoring in we do not know where exactly he traced the edge considering drawn line thickness, I get a length to width ratio only 2% off from a poker-sized card. These 2% can easily be caused by a slight non-planar position. I say this is damn good if it would be really drawn from life. If Smith is that good then it doesn't matter if they were traced from photos or not, the proportions will be spot on.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 7th, 2018, 9:43 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:
lybrary wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:We know the length of the playing card, and from that you extrapolated "facts." You're guessing on the anatomical accuracy of Smith's illustrations. Nobody can tell a man's height from those drawings.
These were traced from photos and thus they are very accurate.


Smith doesn't appear to have been very accurate in his depictions.

For example, take a look at figure 77. The card is presented straight on (i.e. no appreciable tilting or skew). However, it's clearly too wide (relative to it height). If Smith's illustrations were accurate, that would be impossible. How do you explain that?


Illustration #77 is not of the same quality as many of the others. The hand is badly drawn and extremely distorted. I would guess that this is one of the drawings that Smith didn't recognise as his own.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 7th, 2018, 9:53 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:
lybrary wrote:These were traced from photos and thus they are very accurate.


Smith doesn't appear to have been very accurate in his depictions.

For example, take a look at figure 77. The card is presented straight on (i.e. no appreciable tilting or skew). However, it's clearly too wide (relative to it height). If Smith's illustrations were accurate, that would be impossible. How do you explain that?


Illustration #77 is not of the same quality as many of the others. The hand is badly drawn and extremely distorted. I would guess that this is one of the drawings that Smith didn't recognise as his own.


It's in the same grouping of three (showing back palming) as Fig #79 that Chris said was used to make the card/hand measurements.

Sounds like a lot of dubious assumptions and special pleading.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 7th, 2018, 10:18 pm

Richard Hatch wrote:To the best of my knowledge, the only convention appearance by Marshall Smith was the 1947 SAM Convention in Chicago that May. The program includes a photo of Smith circa 1902, one of his paintings, and an article by Martin Gardner, The Mystery of Erdnase (reprinted in Darwin Ortiz's THE ANNOTATED ERDNASE). At this convention he signed copies of Erdnase and several photos of him at the convention, with Vernon, Gardner, and Paul Rosini (looking very hung over), have been published. In the Gardner-Smith correspondence, his attendance at one other Chicago magic event is mentioned.


In the August 2011 Erdnase issue of Magicol, there is a photo of Smith on the far left standing next to Paul Rosini and Martin Gardner. Smith is slightly taller than both of the other two gentlemen. Does anyone know how tall Martin Gardner or Rosini were?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 7th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Alright. I've gone through all the drawings and come to the conclusion that the following are by the "better" artist, whom I suppose to be Smith:

Figs. 1, 5, 9, 14, 17, 22? 26, 27? 28? 34, 36? 37? 38? 39, 40, 42, 49, 55, 56, 61? 65, 69, 75, 76? 83? 89? 93, 94, 98

These are characterized by relatively natural hand postures and surer, stronger delineations.

I don't think that Smith drew any of the back palming set (75, 76, 77).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Jackpot » April 7th, 2018, 11:14 pm

lybrary wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:Nobody can tell me by looking at these two photographs of David Ben's hands how tall he is. I rode in an elevator with him and know how tall he is. Anyone unfamiliar with him cannot tell me his height from these two photographs. This is just more bunk from Chris.
If you have a photo of his outstretched hand together with a regular size poker playing card I am more than happy to do the same analysis for David.


To actually perform the same analysis you describe shouldn't you use drawing of Mr. Ben's hand?
Not the one who created the Potter Index.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 7th, 2018, 11:20 pm

Correction of previous post: According to my notes, I think figs, 75 and possibly 76 were done by Smith, but 77 looks like it was rendered by the other artist.

Note that the number of drawings that I guess to be Smith's Is twenty-nine. Didn't he say he remembered doing "about thirty"?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 9:10 am

Jackpot wrote:To actually perform the same analysis you describe shouldn't you use drawing of Mr. Ben's hand?
Ideally it would be traced from a photo. Tracing can introduce small variations but those would be in the ~1% range for length ratios of the size and magnitude we are talking about. It wouldn't turn a hand belonging to a ~5'4" man into a hand belonging to a 5'9" man. [Note: I am sure Bill Mullins will now show us that there was a tall man who had tiny hands. I am sure those folks do exist. But Smith would have described him as 'he was tall but had these incredibly small hands'. But instead he said: "very small man", and he drew small hands.]
jkeyes1000 wrote:Correction of previous post: According to my notes, I think figs, 75 and possibly 76 were done by Smith, but 77 looks like it was rendered by the other artist.

Note that the number of drawings that I guess to be Smith's Is twenty-nine. Didn't he say he remembered doing "about thirty"?
It would be great to hear from more illustrators and artists what their opinion is on the drawings in Expert. Do they agree that they are incredibly well proportioned? Do they think they were done by one, two, or multiple artists? Do they think they were traced from photos or drawn from life? Just as we study the words in Expert, we should also study the illustrations more carefully.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 8th, 2018, 11:07 am

lybrary wrote:
Jackpot wrote:To actually perform the same analysis you describe shouldn't you use drawing of Mr. Ben's hand?
Ideally it would be traced from a photo. Tracing can introduce small variations but those would be in the ~1% range for length ratios of the size and magnitude we are talking about. It wouldn't turn a hand belonging to a ~5'4" man into a hand belonging to a 5'9" man. [Note: I am sure Bill Mullins will now show us that there was a tall man who had tiny hands. I am sure those folks do exist. But Smith would have described him as 'he was tall but had these incredibly small hands'. But instead he said: "very small man", and he drew small hands.]
jkeyes1000 wrote:Correction of previous post: According to my notes, I think figs, 75 and possibly 76 were done by Smith, but 77 looks like it was rendered by the other artist.

Note that the number of drawings that I guess to be Smith's Is twenty-nine. Didn't he say he remembered doing "about thirty"?
It would be great to hear from more illustrators and artists what their opinion is on the drawings in Expert. Do they agree that they are incredibly well proportioned? Do they think they were done by one, two, or multiple artists? Do they think they were traced from photos or drawn from life? Just as we study the words in Expert, we should also study the illustrations more carefully.


Though I would not call myself an artist, I have studied to be one--and I have years of experience in distinguishing one artist from another in order to identify them. And much of my work is related to cartoonists and comic book artists, which Smith might technically be considered.

I think the "better" drawings, such as figs. 1, 5, and 9 are Smith's, and may very well have been traced.

The others, like figs. 2, 3 and 4 are vastly inferior, and do not show accurate proportions. Observe the irregular length of the fingers, the distended joints, and the unlikely size of the cards. These illustrations might have been modeled in the same way (based on photographs) but I do not believe they were traced.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 11:28 am

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:For example, take a look at figure 77. The card is presented straight on (i.e. no appreciable tilting or skew). However, it's clearly too wide (relative to it height). If Smith's illustrations were accurate, that would be impossible. How do you explain that?
You do not know if the card isn't bent somewhat, nor do you know if it is planar to the camera. But assuming it is planar and not bent, and factoring in we do not know where exactly he traced the edge considering drawn line thickness, I get a length to width ratio only 2% off from a poker-sized card. These 2% can easily be caused by a slight non-planar position. I say this is damn good if it would be really drawn from life. If Smith is that good then it doesn't matter if they were traced from photos or not, the proportions will be spot on.


I measured it and get a length-to-width ratio that's 1.3 vs the 1.4 it should be. So, that's much more than 2%. If it was 2% it wouldn't be noticeable, and it's very noticeable. So I think there's something amiss with your measurements.

So this points to another source of error in your analysis -- in just measuring these things on the page.

In addition, you mention that its unclear if the outline of the card should be counted or not. Well, for the hand it's much more difficult. While you can roughly pinpoint where a fingertip ends (though that'll have somewhat more built-in error than a card, since it's curved and 3 dimensional), his wrist is a lot more subjective. Even for a real hand in front of you it's difficult to know where to define the exact position of the wrist. And in the illustrations, it's basically impossible.

You say the card could be bent or tilted. As I originally said, it looks to be presented straight on, and it doesn't look bent (no visible curvature on the edges). So with no other information, that's the best assumption. But if it were tilted or bent, it could be in either direction, in which case the proportions could be even off by more.

So it looks like we have multiple sources of error.
1) Smith didn't draw in proportion.
2) Measuring the page introduces error, even if you know the boundaries.
3) The wrist can't be seen and only guessed at. This makes it impossible to measure the length of the hand with any certainty.
4) Human hand sizes vary widely. So you get a wide range of heights even if you know the exact hand size.

Also, what's the formula you're using to calculate height from hand size? How well is that known to be true? You say it goes back to DaVinci. That makes it likely it's just an approximation itself. Also, any formula will have built-in assumptions. Are the ratios between the sizes of the different fingers accounted for? How about wide vs narrow hands? The formula could easily be different for different hand and finger aspect ratios. Has all that been accounted for. If not, there's more uncertainty and error in any conclusions you draw.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 11:32 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:Though I would not call myself an artist, I have studied to be one--and I have years of experience in distinguishing one artist from another in order to identify them. And much of my work is related to cartoonists and comic book artists, which Smith might technically be considered.

I think the "better" drawings, such as figs. 1, 5, and 9 are Smith's, and may very well have been traced.

The others, like figs. 2, 3 and 4 are vastly inferior, and do not show accurate proportions. Observe the irregular length of the fingers, the distended joints, and the unlikely size of the cards. These illustrations might have been modeled in the same way (based on photographs) but I do not believe they were traced.
Those are interesting observations. I have also noted that in Fig 2, which apparently shows a 4 of hearts, the two visible pips are way too far into the corners and the index is missing. There is only one other illustration where an index was left out. Can you post your list of illustrations which you think are the ones by Smith and the illustrations which you think are not his? Do these in any way correlate with the copyright statements under some of the illustrations?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 11:41 am

Bob Coyne wrote:I measured it and get a length-to-width ratio that's 1.3 vs the 1.4 it should be. So, that's much more than 2%. If it was 2% it wouldn't be noticeable, and it's very noticeable. So I think there's something amiss with your measurements.
What you are not taking into account is line width. For example he could have traced the top and bottom edges of the card with the line width inside the card, and the side edges with the line width just outside the card. Simple variations like these can result from tracing. When you include these you get to 2%.

Bob Coyne wrote:You say the card could be bent or tilted. As I originally said, it looks to be presented straight on, and it doesn't look bent (no visible curvature on the edges).
You would not be able to notice a slight tilt or bend in the drawing, but you would see it in the length measurements. This is the most likely cause for what looks like a somewhat wider card.

Bob Coyne wrote:Also, what's the formula you're using to calculate height from hand size? How well is that known to be true?
I am using 1/10. In other words I take the length of the hand and multiply it by ten to get the height of the person. Reviewing more recent studies on this ratio shows that I am actually overestimating the height. More recent studies resulted in factors smaller than 10, which would make Erdnase's height estimate even lower than 5'4".
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 11:54 am

Bob Coyne wrote:You say the card could be bent or tilted. As I originally said, it looks to be presented straight on, and it doesn't look bent (no visible curvature on the edges).
If you measure precisely you will see that the top of the card is slightly closer to the camera than the bottom. Measuring from the very outside edge of the line to the very outside edge of the line on the other edge I get a 1.5% larger width on the top than I get on the bottom. This means that the card is slightly tilted with the top towards the camera. This would reduce the length of the card as measured in the illustration.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 12:07 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:I measured it and get a length-to-width ratio that's 1.3 vs the 1.4 it should be. So, that's much more than 2%. If it was 2% it wouldn't be noticeable, and it's very noticeable. So I think there's something amiss with your measurements.
What you are not taking into account is line width. For example he could have traced the top and bottom edges of the card with the line width inside the card, and the side edges with the line width just outside the card. Simple variations like these can result from tracing. When you include these you get to 2%.


So your 2% is based on including the line width in the height measurement but not in the width?!!! I can't imagine how you justified doing that in presenting a supposedly unbiased measurement. Makes me wonder even more how you measured the hands in the other illustration.

Anyway, including the line width doesn't get anyone from 10% to 2%. The line width can't appreciably change the ratios. It's a very small constant relative to the overall width and height, and hence will have a minimal effect on the ratio either way. Plus I measured it both ways and get essentially the same results. 1.29 vs 1.3. So including the line width actually makes the proportions slightly more wrong.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » April 8th, 2018, 12:13 pm

lybrary wrote:Note: I am sure Bill Mullins will now show us that there was a tall man who had tiny hands.


Since you asked . . .

Trump's hands are 7.25" = 159 mm. By your methods, he should be 159 cm tall = 5' 2-1/2". He's 6'3".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 12:19 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:Anyway, including the line width doesn't get anyone from 10% to 2%.
You seem to be a bit math challenged. Your own numbers 1.4 and 1.3 is a 7.7% difference not 10%. Line thickness and variation in tracing can easily introduce 2-3%. Add to this another 2% from non-planarity. 1% from a slight bend. You also need to account for possible small distortions during the reproduction process. Another thing you will not be familiar with is that paper shrinks and expands non-uniformly. Paper has a grain direction which is typically orientated parallel to the binding edge. This means you can get another 1-2% from paper distortions. The width to height ratio as shown in Fig 77 does not necessarily mean this was drawn badly from life.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 8th, 2018, 12:34 pm

lybrary wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:Though I would not call myself an artist, I have studied to be one--and I have years of experience in distinguishing one artist from another in order to identify them. And much of my work is related to cartoonists and comic book artists, which Smith might technically be considered.

I think the "better" drawings, such as figs. 1, 5, and 9 are Smith's, and may very well have been traced.

The others, like figs. 2, 3 and 4 are vastly inferior, and do not show accurate proportions. Observe the irregular length of the fingers, the distended joints, and the unlikely size of the cards. These illustrations might have been modeled in the same way (based on photographs) but I do not believe they were traced.
Those are interesting observations. I have also noted that in Fig 2, which apparently shows a 4 of hearts, the two visible pips are way too far into the corners and the index is missing. There is only one other illustration where an index was left out. Can you post your list of illustrations which you think are the ones by Smith and the illustrations which you think are not his? Do these in any way correlate with the copyright statements under some of the illustrations?


You can find my notes on which drawings I think we're done by Smith on this page. I believe it is the fifth post from the top.

I do not know which illustrations have the copyright notice. I see none in the online edition that I am reading.

Some of the pictures were obviously done by an amateur, while others are possibly by Smith, but not amongst his best

It seems like "the amateur" resorted, whenever he could, to the better sketches, using the hand depictions as templates. He apparently re-traced Smith's original drawings and added his own crude rendering of the cards.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 1:46 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:In the August 2011 Erdnase issue of Magicol, there is a photo of Smith on the far left standing next to Paul Rosini and Martin Gardner. Smith is slightly taller than both of the other two gentlemen. Does anyone know how tall Martin Gardner or Rosini were?
Even if Smith was 5'10" or 5'11" he would not describe a 5'9" Sanders as 'a very small man'.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 2:07 pm

Including the border in one direction and not another is really bogus unless you can justify it. And that very odd assumption should have been stated along with your "off by 2%" statement, as opposed to only being revealed after the fact when I challenged you on your measurements. Or were you saying that could have been done, in which case, it just shows how the measurements themselves are laced with assumptions. This also casts doubt about your measurements and calculations on Figure 79. What hidden assumptions and measuring technique was used there? In particular, how can you know where to measure his wrist.?

Let's make it really simple: what aspect ratio do you measure the card to be? And under what measuring assumptions? I get W/L is either 1.29 or 1.3 depending on whether the border is uniformly included or not. The aspect ratio should be 1.4.

The bottom line is that Smith (or whoever) drew a card that has an obviously incorrect aspect ratio on the page. So any metrics based on the illustrations need to account for this big discrepency. So this, in addition to the other sources of error I pointed out, casts much doubt on any inferences about his exact height.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 2:16 pm

lybrary wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:In the August 2011 Erdnase issue of Magicol, there is a photo of Smith on the far left standing next to Paul Rosini and Martin Gardner. Smith is slightly taller than both of the other two gentlemen. Does anyone know how tall Martin Gardner or Rosini were?
Even if Smith was 5'10" or 5'11" he would not describe a 5'9" Sanders as 'a very small man'.


How about a 5' 11" or 6' Smith and a 5' 8' or even 5' 7' Sanders? There could be quite a difference in height.

Gardner apparently got Smith to say that Erdnase could have been 5' 7".

Also, how about 45 years fogging up memory? Maybe Smith was wearing boots that day and Sanders seemed even shorter. There are many variables and unknowns. The fact that Sanders (like Erdnase) is shorter than Smith is the key point. The rest is guesswork and trying to be overly precise and ignoring sources of error.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 2:32 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:You say the card could be bent or tilted. As I originally said, it looks to be presented straight on, and it doesn't look bent (no visible curvature on the edges).
If you measure precisely you will see that the top of the card is slightly closer to the camera than the bottom. Measuring from the very outside edge of the line to the very outside edge of the line on the other edge I get a 1.5% larger width on the top than I get on the bottom. This means that the card is slightly tilted with the top towards the camera. This would reduce the length of the card as measured in the illustration.


Certainly, tilting can affect the aspect ratios (I mentioned that when I initially brought up this example). However, it doesn't look tilted, and I don't see that effect to any appreciable amount when I measure it. So even if there is some tilting effect, it's quite minor compared to the overall discrepency in the aspect ratio.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Marco Pusterla » April 8th, 2018, 2:34 pm

Just my two cents as I was probably the first to try to determine Erdnase's height from the size of his hand... (here... but please do not consider this as a commercial plug...)

There are numerous studies worldwide to try to determine the height of people when the person cannot be measured standing up: mainly because of medical problems or for pathological science. There is a well determined rule that the length of a hand (from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist) can be used to determine the length of somebody's arm (from wrist to elbow). Studies around the world (generally, on a young audience) have determined that 82 to 85% of the population shares this trait.

Since antiquity it was known that the height of a man (or a woman) is equal to their wingspan. Again, there are numerous studies, on different racial groups and generally on a younger sample of the population, proving this being so. True, it's not always a 1:1 but the difference between height and wingspan is generally in the order of a couple of centimetres (about one inch). And also, there are people who don't adhere to this standard, but they are generally the exception (and indeed Mahdi is a very special case).

The theory is that by progressively applying these formulas, given the measurement of a hand from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist, one should be able to determine with good accuracy the height of a person... if the maths is correct. Chris indicates that the length of the hand is about 1/10th of the height of a person: my hand is 17cm long and I'm 170cm tall (give or take a few millimetres). Of course this exact measurement is easy to prove with a tape measure and the person standing there: it would be interesting if a few readers could share their measurements.

From my analysis (with some mistakes), figure 79 (the only one where Erdnase is shown with a straight hand, doing a technique that requires a straight hand...) points to a person on the short side, rather than a taller individual. Certainly not anybody more than 6 foot tall (MFA). It is true that we are working from pictures and don't know if the hand was an accurate representation, or if it was slightly bent (which may have been, as the little finger may need to be pushed up to properly hold the card if the performer - like me - has a short little finger), but one has to start somewhere.

I'm sure that with sufficient time and an understanding of geometry, somebody could come out with a possible height of Erdnase that will satisfy 85% of the people with a hand the size as drawn in figure 79. The fact is that by knowing how tall "Erdnase" was, will never tell us who Erdnase was (MFA, Gallaway, Sanders, Andrews, Joe Bloggs, etc...).

My 2 cents...
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:How about a 5' 11" or 6' Smith and a 5' 8' or even 5' 7' Sanders? There could be quite a difference in height.
You are bending the numbers. We have two numbers for Sander's height as adult. One is 5'9" in 1911 and one was 5'8 1/2" in 1918. When you get to be older you do start to shrink a bit. So going from 5'9" to 5'8 1/2" is simply a matter of aging. The 5'8" value is from the beginning of his University, at an age where growing has not yet fully ended for most men. This means the most likely height for Sanders when he would have met Smith is 5'9".

Bob Coyne wrote:Gardner apparently got Smith to say that Erdnase could have been 5' 7".
This was after he repeatedly asked him about the height and tried to push him higher and higher. This is not a credible way to close the gap. His initial statement was 'no taller than 5'6"'. This was already an upper bound making Erdnase likely smaller, more like 5'5" or 5'4". There is no way the 5'9" Sanders could be Erdnase.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 3:21 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:How about a 5' 11" or 6' Smith and a 5' 8' or even 5' 7' Sanders? There could be quite a difference in height.
You are bending the numbers. We have two numbers for Sander's height as adult. One is 5'9" in 1911 and one was 5'8 1/2" in 1918. When you get to be older you do start to shrink a bit. So going from 5'9" to 5'8 1/2" is simply a matter of aging. The 5'8" value is from the beginning of his University, at an age where growing has not yet fully ended for most men. This means the most likely height for Sanders when he would have met Smith is 5'9".


Most men stop growing by between the ages of 17 and 20. Sanders was born August 1861. In Oct of 1882, the date of that article, he was in his sophmore year and 20 years old. Hence his stated height of 5' 8" (if accurate) was probably be the max height he reached.

Of course we don't know if that height, either, was accurate, but it's a reasonable assumption, at least within an inch. The 5' 9" in the yearbook sounds likely to be inflated since he's reporting it rather than someone else (the rowing team). People do this all the time.

https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/ ... p-growing/

After the age of 16 the increase in height is more gradual and boys usually stop growing between the ages of 17-20. So the majority of guys will reach their final height and stop growing when they are around 20 years old.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 8th, 2018, 3:32 pm

I think figure 98 is one of the more accurate drawings. It doesn't show the hand fully extended, but the thumb is virtually straight.

My crude calculations (I am not a mathematician) indicate that the face card of the deck is approximately half as tall as the flat hand would be, somewhere between 176 and 180mm. Which converts the final result to about 5'8 or 5'9.

Now, the illustrations that Chris based his calculation on looks different. The fingers appear relatively short and stout. I am wondering whether these two drawings were modeled by the same hand. And who knows which (if either) was the author's?
Last edited by jkeyes1000 on April 8th, 2018, 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » April 8th, 2018, 3:39 pm

lybrary wrote:And regarding what is written on the title page: "drawings from life". A photo is obviously "from life". It is a snapshot of life. Tracing a photo doesn't change that. Therefore tracing photos are "drawings from life".


Said no one ever who has studied art.

For example, this 1904 book gives instruction on drawing from life; only live models are subjects.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » April 8th, 2018, 6:29 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:
Richard Hatch wrote:To the best of my knowledge, the only convention appearance by Marshall Smith was the 1947 SAM Convention in Chicago that May. The program includes a photo of Smith circa 1902, one of his paintings, and an article by Martin Gardner, The Mystery of Erdnase (reprinted in Darwin Ortiz's THE ANNOTATED ERDNASE). At this convention he signed copies of Erdnase and several photos of him at the convention, with Vernon, Gardner, and Paul Rosini (looking very hung over), have been published. In the Gardner-Smith correspondence, his attendance at one other Chicago magic event is mentioned.


In the August 2011 Erdnase issue of Magicol, there is a photo of Smith on the far left standing next to Paul Rosini and Martin Gardner. Smith is slightly taller than both of the other two gentlemen. Does anyone know how tall Martin Gardner or Rosini were?


Rosini's WW2 Draft Registration shows him at 5'11". Smith looks to be at least an inch taller, maybe more, in the picture. When you factor in that he's in his seventies, I can easily believe he's shrunk an inch since 1901. So he was certainly 6'+, maybe 6'1" or 6'2" when he met the author.

A man 5'9" would have been 4 or more inches shorter than he was.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » April 8th, 2018, 7:07 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Rosini's WW2 Draft Registration shows him at 5'11". Smith looks to be at least an inch taller, maybe more, in the picture. When you factor in that he's in his seventies, I can easily believe he's shrunk an inch since 1901. So he was certainly 6'+, maybe 6'1" or 6'2" when he met the author.

A man 5'9" would have been 4 or more inches shorter than he was.


But Smith wrote (of Milton Franklin Andrews) - "Height 6ft 1½ inches. Can’t reconcile that height. That towering thin bean pole would have been his greatest characteristic and I believe I would never forget it. I would have had to look up to him and I’m certain I looked down. I think this fellow was about 5'6", at most 5'7". Could be he was 5’5"."

If Smith was 6'1" or 6'2" he wouldn't have been looking up at a man of "6ft 1½ inches" and referring to him as "towering". An inch taller than Rosini's 5'11" is probably more like it. ;)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 7:18 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:I think figure 98 is one of the more accurate drawings. It doesn't show the hand fully extended, but the thumb is virtually straight.

My crude calculations (I am not a mathematician) indicate that the face card of the deck is approximately half as tall as the flat hand would be, somewhere between 176 and 180mm. Which converts the final result to about 5'8 or 5'9.
Figure 98 does not allow you to measure the length of the hand. You can measure the length of the thumb, but that is about it.

Bill Mullins wrote:
lybrary wrote:And regarding what is written on the title page: "drawings from life". A photo is obviously "from life". It is a snapshot of life. Tracing a photo doesn't change that. Therefore tracing photos are "drawings from life".


Said no one ever who has studied art.

For example, this 1904 book gives instruction on drawing from life; only live models are subjects.
Do you think Erdnase studied art? Do you think Erdnase would shy away from a bit of marketing hype, or verbal sleight-of-hand? Do you think he might be willing to bend the truth on that point? He was a cheat after all.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 7:34 pm

Zenner wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:Rosini's WW2 Draft Registration shows him at 5'11". Smith looks to be at least an inch taller, maybe more, in the picture. When you factor in that he's in his seventies, I can easily believe he's shrunk an inch since 1901. So he was certainly 6'+, maybe 6'1" or 6'2" when he met the author.

A man 5'9" would have been 4 or more inches shorter than he was.


But Smith wrote (of Milton Franklin Andrews) - "Height 6ft 1½ inches. Can’t reconcile that height. That towering thin bean pole would have been his greatest characteristic and I believe I would never forget it. I would have had to look up to him and I’m certain I looked down. I think this fellow was about 5'6", at most 5'7". Could be he was 5’5"."

If Smith was 6'1" or 6'2" he wouldn't have been looking up at a man of "6ft 1½ inches" and referring to him as "towering". An inch taller than Rosini's 5'11" is probably more like it. ;)


Either way, it's plausible (and seems most likely) that Smith was roughly 6' and Sanders was roughly 5' 8". The exact differential is unknowable, and Smith's recollections were subject to 45 years of memory drift. In addition, different shoes/boots on the two men would add additional uncertainty to any estimations/differences. I frequently am surprised how the same person sometimes seems taller or shorter based on footwear being worn at the moment.

The important part is that the 4" size differential was enough to cause Smith to notice/remember Erdnase as being short relative to himself. People are better at estimating heights close to their own. They're less accurate when there's a bigger height difference, where they tend to put people into buckets. And clearly the certainty of any estimate would atrophy over time.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby jkeyes1000 » April 8th, 2018, 7:57 pm

lybrary wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:I think figure 98 is one of the more accurate drawings. It doesn't show the hand fully extended, but the thumb is virtually straight.

My crude calculations (I am not a mathematician) indicate that the face card of the deck is approximately half as tall as the flat hand would be, somewhere between 176 and 180mm. Which converts the final result to about 5'8 or 5'9.
Figure 98 does not allow you to measure the length of the hand. You can measure the length of the thumb, but that is about it.

Bill Mullins wrote:
lybrary wrote:And regarding what is written on the title page: "drawings from life". A photo is obviously "from life". It is a snapshot of life. Tracing a photo doesn't change that. Therefore tracing photos are "drawings from life".


Said no one ever who has studied art.

For example, this 1904 book gives instruction on drawing from life; only live models are subjects.
Do you think Erdnase studied art? Do you think Erdnase would shy away from a bit of marketing hype, or verbal sleight-of-hand? Do you think he might be willing to bend the truth on that point? He was a cheat after all.


I based my admittedly "crude calculation" on the assumption that the length of the thumb (from the wrist to the tip) is about two-thirds of the length of the entire hand (from wrist to tip of middle finger).

A more precise measurement than mine might yield a different result. It was merely an approximation.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 8:04 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:They're less accurate when there's a bigger height difference, where they tend to put people into buckets. And clearly the certainty of any estimate would atrophy over time.
Smith put Erdnase into the 'very small man' bucket. 5'9" is not a very small man by any measure, even if you are 6'1", particularly since Smith gives us his measure not more than 5'6".
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Zenner » April 8th, 2018, 8:12 pm

lybrary wrote: Do you think Erdnase studied art? Do you think Erdnase would shy away from a bit of marketing hype, or verbal sleight-of-hand? Do you think he might be willing to bend the truth on that point? He was a cheat after all.


His mother was an artist who taught art and music at the college he attended. Maybe he learned or inherited the talent from her. That could explain the extra drawings in Expert.

As a salesman he would have been used to using "marketing hype".

He wasn't a cheat; he was a magician who had researched his subject and put out a book aimed at anyone with an interest in manipulating cards for whatever reason. The "hype" was to insinuate that you could learn how to cheat at cards.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 8:14 pm

lybrary wrote:Figure 98 does not allow you to measure the length of the hand. You can measure the length of the thumb, but that is about it.


It's still unclear how you measured the hand in figure 79. There's no way to know where the wrist is located. So my questions are:
1) how are you estimating it?
2) how much additional error do you think that introduces?

A related issue is how the hand length is measured in real life. The wrist is a pretty large and amorphous area, and it's unclear exactly where on the wrist a measurement would be made. This kind of thing makes the process (illustration method/skill -> measuring the printed illustration -> inferring hand size from card to hand ratios -> computing body height given wide human variation and dubious formulas) frought with error.

Another observation: given that the sleeves are drawn in a stylized/uniform manner in every illustration, it seems likely that those are just additions and not drawn from life (assuming the hands in fact were). That probably carries over to the wrist/arm end of the hand too.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 8th, 2018, 8:18 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:They're less accurate when there's a bigger height difference, where they tend to put people into buckets. And clearly the certainty of any estimate would atrophy over time.
Smith put Erdnase into the 'very small man' bucket. 5'9" is not a very small man by any measure, even if you are 6'1", particularly since Smith gives us his measure not more than 5'6".


That was a great find on Rosini! Thanks Bill! From that photo and Rosini's height, we can now say with certainty that Smith was about 6'1 to 6'2 in 1901. The "very small man" observation by Smith could very well have meant more slight in build as well as height. Sanders appears to have been thinned boned from his 1890 photo, not stout or thick.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 8:26 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:It's still unclear how you measured the hand in figure 79. There's no way to know where the wrist is located. So my questions are:
1) how are you estimating it?
2) how much additional error do you think that introduces?
In my ebook I have an illustration which clearly shows where I start my wrist measurement from. But as I pointed out, the 10x factor is actually higher than most empirical data I have seen published. I am therefore overestimating his height. Even if you add another 2-3 mm to the length of his hand then the estimate would be 5'5" not 5'4". You can't even reach 5'6" with all your bending of the truth. You might have a stronger argument if you can show a photo of Sanders where his hands are visible. If they turn out to be tiny, then at least you can counter the illustration argument. But I don't see how you can chop off all those inches from Sanders height. Poor guy is getting chopped down by Bob.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 8:27 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:They're less accurate when there's a bigger height difference, where they tend to put people into buckets. And clearly the certainty of any estimate would atrophy over time.
Smith put Erdnase into the 'very small man' bucket. 5'9" is not a very small man by any measure, even if you are 6'1", particularly since Smith gives us his measure not more than 5'6".


I see you're sticking with 5' 9" for sanders. 5' 8" seems more likely given that that's what he was listed for in the rowing team and is presumably an objective 3rd party measurement, not subject to him inflating the numbers.

6' is significantly bigger that 5' 8" and puts Sanders in a "short" bucket. Whether that's "very small" relative to 6' is debatable and subject to both the bucketing effect and 45 years of memory drift. Especially since it's unlikely Smith spent much time thinking about Erdnase until Gardner appeared on the scene. In addtion, the fact that Smith agreed it could be 5' 7", shows that even in his own memory it wasn't much different than 5' 6".

I think we can say pretty surely that Erdnase was shorter than Smith, and probably by a decent amount. But beyond that is trying to extract too much precision from what is very uncertain data.

Also, as I've mentioned several times, different footwear can substantially change the perceived size differences. I notice this myself all the time. This adds additional uncertainty since it's unlikely the two men were barefoot in the middle of the winter on a chilly Chicago day. :-)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 8:33 pm

Zenner wrote:
lybrary wrote: Do you think Erdnase studied art? Do you think Erdnase would shy away from a bit of marketing hype, or verbal sleight-of-hand? Do you think he might be willing to bend the truth on that point? He was a cheat after all.


His mother was an artist who taught art and music at the college he attended. Maybe he learned or inherited the talent from her. That could explain the extra drawings in Expert.

As a salesman he would have been used to using "marketing hype".

He wasn't a cheat; he was a magician who had researched his subject and put out a book aimed at anyone with an interest in manipulating cards for whatever reason. The "hype" was to insinuate that you could learn how to cheat at cards.
Since we are at it, how tall was Benedict?
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » April 8th, 2018, 8:40 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:Also, as I've mentioned several times, different footwear can substantially change the perceived size differences. I notice this myself all the time. This adds additional uncertainty since it's unlikely the two men were barefoot in the middle of the winter on a chilly Chicago day. :-)
I am sure Bob you are with Bill that Sanders was able to modify his spine to lower his height from 5'9" to 5'4" on will while the 6'2" Smith walked on stilts into the hotel room and wondered why Erdnase is that damn small.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bob Coyne » April 8th, 2018, 8:49 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bob Coyne wrote:It's still unclear how you measured the hand in figure 79. There's no way to know where the wrist is located. So my questions are:
1) how are you estimating it?
2) how much additional error do you think that introduces?
In my ebook I have an illustration which clearly shows where I start my wrist measurement from. But as I pointed out, the 10x factor is actually higher than most empirical data I have seen published. I am therefore overestimating his height. Even if you add another 2-3 mm to the length of his hand then the estimate would be 5'5" not 5'4". You can't even reach 5'6" with all your bending of the truth. You might have a stronger argument if you can show a photo of Sanders where his hands are visible. If they turn out to be tiny, then at least you can counter the illustration argument. But I don't see how you can chop off all those inches from Sanders height. Poor guy is getting chopped down by Bob.


You're assuming too many things. None of which you've substantiated (here at least).

And even the tail end of your procedure doesn't align with reality. As Bill pointed out, your formula implies that Trump's height (from his hand measurements) is 5' 2 1/2" vs his actual 6' 3". This should set off alarm bells and alert you to the fact that this kind of calculation is loaded with HUGE error. Maybe the hands were measured wrong. Maybe the formula is wrong. Maybe both. And with Erdnase, the set of uncertainties is much larger.

For example, you still haven't addressed the problem with the illustration in fig 79 where the card is not in the proper aspect ratio (1.3 vs 1.4) and casts doubt on all the illustrations. And that's just one of several weak links in the chain.

I think it's an interesting idea to try to deduce his height from the illustrations, but you're trying to do too much with too little. To be convincing there should be propagating error bars. Each stage and assumption introduces error and that should be explicitly stated and part of your calculation if you're trying to be quantitative about this. Ultimately I think all one can do is just look at the illustrations and say that Erdnase had relatively small hands (though not tiny) and conclude that he *probably* wasn't a very large man. I don't think you can get much further than that.


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