More magic than magic – CNET

When I was a kid, I always kept something in my pocket. A few coins, or a pack of cards. And sometimes a Ball and Tube, or a Hot Rod.

If you’ve never seen the Hot Rod, I’ll explain: There are six colored gems on a clear plastic stick. Someone picks a color, and the gems on the rod magically change to become entirely that color.

I loved the Hot Rod because I could take it everywhere, and do something impossible. I learned magic for this reason, and over the last 30 years I’ve kept returning to it and my accumulated collection of coins, cards, books, balls and silks. I thought magic would lose its power as I got older, or that others would get more jaded. Instead, I’m amazed that magic seems to be even more effective. Its core results are timeless because they work off limits of perception and attention. And maybe the reason why these little illusions still work points to places technology still dreams of going.


Jonathan Bayme, founder of Theory11, practicing cardistry.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Eternal ideas

The more astounding part of magic is that it works.