Archives for March 2007

Card Stacking

Brian Bergs TowerWho’s ever heard of card stacking? If you try to google it you’ll only find discussion based on propaganda. Anyways, I’m sure we’ve all tried once or twice to build a little pyramid, but they usually always end the same way. Just a big pile of cards, but check out what Bryan Berg of CardStacker can do. 😯

Brian holds 2 world records for stacking cards. His first Guinness World record is for the Tallest House of Free-Standing Playing Cards. That’s right. No glue! No Bends! No Folds! Just regular plain old poker playing cards.

How many cards you ask? 78,000. That’s nearly 250 pounds of playing cards in this 25ft card tower. It took him nearly 2 and a half weeks to build this tower which is no longer the tallest tower he’s ever built. He also insists that an even larger tower could be built with enough time and patience.

The natural question everyone asks is “How does he do that?” The basics to all his building is the same. It’s structures he refers to as grids. If you want all the gory details in his book available on amazon.

Bryan’s second Guinness World Record is equally impressive. He spent over a month recreating Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando FL. He used an astonishing 152,000 cards, nearly twice as many cards as the 25 ft tower. The structure is 14 feet square and 14′ tall.

Bryan’s not just a card stacker. In 2004 he earned his Master of Design Studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Not to mention his undergraduate studies in the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University.

With that said take a look at Bryan standing in front of Cinderella’s castle. The next time you’re playing poker try to stand a couple cards on end and build a little pyramid. As for me, I’m seriously considering purchasing Bryan’s book to build myself a little fortress.

Cinderella’s Castle

Hobby How-To: Juggling

Juggling is like riding a bike. Once you learn how to do you’ll be able to do it the rest of your life. There’s not a lot of skill involved, but you will have to practice a couple of days to get good. I learned how to juggle about 3 years ago, and haven’t lost a bit of skill since. Your kids will love that their dad can juggle, your wife will love it that you can entertain the kids, and your buddies will think it’s great you can juggle half a six pack 😆

So why juggle?

  • It’s cool – People will stand in amazement at your perfected skills wondering how someone could dedicate their lives to such a meaningless activity.
  • It’s good for your brain – Not getting enough hand eye coordination from the Wii, PS3, or Xbox 360? Juggling is sure to hone your hand eye coordination and help reduce your chances of dealing with Alzheimers.
  • It’s good exercise – Okay, so it shouldn’t replace your daily workout routine, but it certainly will make you much more dexterous.

What do I need to juggle?
Beginners should start with three balls that are equal size and weight. Covering the balls with balloons will help your grip and make them look all fancy. When you’ve adapted your ninja skills you can move to random objects or scary objects like knives or flaming torches.

Before you watch the pro teach you how to juggle remember one thing. You’re probably not going to get it right away. You’ll be walking all around trying to catch the balls. Don’t try 3 balls until you can throw 1 and 2 balls straight up in the air. Honing your throwing skills will make juggling second nature. Once you do get to three balls its mind over matter. Concentrate on getting the three balls in the air even if you can’t catch them. Watch the movie. You’ll get the idea.

Watch the video a couple times and practice, practice, practice. I practiced for a couple weeks trying to juggle four balls and finally gave up. Three balls is a piece of cake for anyone willing to practice for a day or two.

Mixed-Up Words

Did you konw you’re a guiens? Jsut the fcat taht you can atllacuy raed tihs psot porves taht fcat. The huamn mnid is so pufowerl it can dcodee tihs txet eevn tguohh eervy sglnie wrod is slepled iocenrtclry. The one cavaet is taht the frist and lsat lertets are pervresed in erevy wrod. Cidrgbame Uitesirnvy cetoudncd a sduty and fnuod taht the biarn deos not raed eevry snlige lteetr, but wodrs as a wohle.

Reading mixed up words is quite as magical as it may seem. After doing a bit of research I found that the Cambridge study wasn’t totally accurate. There are many factors that allow you to be able to read the above paragraph. 27 of 74 words above have not been scrambled because they are 1, 2, or 3 letter words. This helps to maintain the grammatical structure of the sentence. 20 of the 74 words are four letter which means that only two letters have been transposed. Its very simple for a person to decode a 4 letter words. Basically this means that 63% of this sentence is not even scrambled. 15 of the words are 5-6 letters long which are only moderately difficult to decode. This leaves 20% of the words in the above paragraph which are difficult to unscramble. Also when words are in context they’re much easier to figure out what word goes there based on the letters available.

There are several words that have permutations that are much more difficult to decode. For instance if you group all the consonants together and leaving the vowels grouped together makes it much more difficult. I have to admit it’s pretty impressive that you can read mixed up words or scrambled letters even if only 20% of the words are hard to decode but not quite as impressive as I first thought. If you’re interested in scrambling up your own words visit the Word Scrambler.