Tricks and Books

The Library of Alexandria contained 40,000 scrolls; The Browser newsletter contains just five excellent recommendations every day. 40,000 is too many scrolls; subscribe to The Browser.

An Odd Card Trick

Michael Wendl | Chalkdust | 22nd November 2021

An introduction to "self-working" card tricks — tricks which exploit mathematical logic without any need for sleight of hand. The basic trick described here is the "magic separation", a simple but pleasingly counterintuitive way of shuffling and sorting 20 cards. You need a bit of maths to see how it works, but just knowing that it works seems like a skill exploitable for fun and profit (2,300 words)

?: Burning the Books, by Richard Ovenden

via Five Books | Best History Books 2021

From the tablets in the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal in the 7th century BCE to the digital deluge of today. Warnings for the present abound, not least in the disappearance of the great Library of Alexandria, which was not a tale of "barbaric ignorance triumphing over civilised truth" but rather "a cautionary tale of the danger of creeping decline through underfunding, low prioritisation and general disregard" (238 pages)


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