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August 3, 2008

Mindreading
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 08:35 AM * 117 comments

Think of any number from one to 10.

When you have it, multiply it by 9.

If it’s a two-digit number, add the digits together. For example, if your number is 24, 2+4=6

Now, subtract 5 from the number in your head.

Now, think of the letter in the alphabet that corresponds with the number you are thinking about. For instance, if you are thinking of the number “1”, it would be “A”. Number “2” would be “B”. “3” is “C”, and so on.

Do you have the letter in your head? Good.

Now, think of a country that starts with the letter you’re thinking of. Good. Spell the country in your head.

Fine… think about the second letter in that country’s name. Now, quickly think of an animal whose name begins with that letter.

Now, think of the animal’s color.

Click Here….


That’s odd — there are very few grey elephants in Denmark.
An old trick, from here.
Comments on Mindreading:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 08:56 AM:

Works great, as long as no one thinks of a black ostrich from the Dominican Republic or a white unicorn from Dubai.

Technically, Dubai is one of the United Arab Emirates, so I don't know if that counts as a country.

Dhekelia is a sovereign base area on Cyprus that belongs to the UK. A palomino horse from Dhekelia?

How about black jaguar from Djibouti?

#2 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:00 AM:

When I got to "D" I thought Deutschland, but I knew that the letter D was forced, so I was being deliberately difficult.

#4 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:02 AM:

Or brown aardvarks from Dacia.

(You didn't specify currently existing countries, after all.)

#5 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:07 AM:

The first time I ran into this trick, not only did I think of the Dominican Republic, I thought of it in its military abbreviation: the DOMREP.

Dominica isn't the same country as the Dominican Republic, BTW.

#6 ::: Jason B ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:07 AM:

I'll blame it on "not enough coffee yet," but when I subtracted 5 from 9 I was left with 5. From there I went with "Egypt" and "giraffe."

When I got to the end I said, "Ha! Didn't work on me . . . wait."

I put the "mental" in mentalism.

#7 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:10 AM:

And, hey, Djibouti is a country as well as a city. (Trying to think of D countries other than Denmark and the Dominican Republic, which doesn't have black otters either).

#8 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:12 AM:

Are there white egrets in Denmark?

#9 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:27 AM:

I got as far as Denmark, but also chose egrets, which are white.

#10 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:30 AM:

I failed, because I couldn't think of what the hell color an ermine was supposed to be.

#11 ::: Total ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Brown jackal from Djibouti

#12 ::: Dave Lartigue ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:34 AM:

What color is an echidna?

#13 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:37 AM:

Calton Bolick @10 - If we believe heraldry* ermines are white with a black tail tip.

* And it you can't trust heralds, who can you trust?

#14 ::: Sam C ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Brown otter from the Dominican Republic...

#15 ::: Anne KG Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:03 AM:

John, I thought Deutschland as well, but the letter e comes through anyway. However, I went from there to ewe to light brown... Which admittedly isn't the animal name in the same way as many of these...

#16 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:07 AM:

Gray ichthyosaur from Finland. Well, the color was right.

#17 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:10 AM:

Oops, I just realized I did one step wrong. I thought I was supposed to pick the letter that started the number when it was spelled out. Ah well!

#18 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:27 AM:

There are no alpacas in Danmark - and what colour is an alpaca anyway?

#19 ::: Martin G. ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:28 AM:

I'm from Denmark - so I spelled Denmark in Danish:
Danmark
From there, I got "Ape" - and then I wondered what ape to choose, and got stuck there.

Anyway,here's another one which should preferably be done live and under pressure, and preferably on a 10-year-old.

Answer these questions successively:

What colour is snow?
What colour was Christian IV's white horse?
What does vanilla ice-cream look like?

Now - imagine in your mind :
first, a polar bear blinking in a snowstorm.

Good, now imagine a blank sheet of paper and you with a pen in hand sitting staring at it.

Good. Now, quickly, on that blank piece of paper on your mind, write down what cows drink. What did you write?

* * *

(And obviously _everyone_ says "milk".)

Another one, which probably everyone knows:
What's 20 + 25?
What's 15 + 12?
What's 12 x 9?

Allright - now that we've got the mandatory obfuscating questions out of the way - think of a colour and a tool.

* * *

So, yeah, almost everyone said red hammer, right? Why is that? Anyone here who can explain it?

#20 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:31 AM:

The colors of alpacas (and breeding for same).

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Because when asked to name a tool, almost everyone does say "hammer."


Think of a flower. Got it?

Lbh'er guvaxvat bs n ebfr.

#22 ::: Martin G. ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Roy @18 - I'm pretty certain I've seen Alpacas in the Danish zoo. Also grey elephants, come to think of it.

Btw - trivia: the highest order of Denmark is called the elephant order. It was instituted by Christian V. We do not know whether he had any white horses, but odds are he did. White elephants, on the other hand, not so much.

#23 ::: Reesa ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Add me to the "Dominican Republic and brown otters" group. And, from the comments, black pliers rather than a red hammer.

#24 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:36 AM:

I thought of a brown echidna from Denmark! (high fives Dave Lartigue @12)

#25 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:46 AM:

I'm getting an impression ....

Two different commenters in this very thread share the same birthday. (Mine's Feburary the twenty-second.)

Wonderful!

Now go get a deck of cards. I'll wait.

Got 'em?

Say two different values--Jack and Four, for example--suits don't matter. Said the values? Great! Now shuffle the cards. Shuffle 'em again.

Go through the deck, repeating the values of the cards you've chosen. Those two cards are lying side by side!

Amazing, isn't it?


#26 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:54 AM:

@25 -- the first time I tried it, it worked just as you said. The second time (Q + A), it didn't. BUT there were two aces on either side of the queen, with one card intervening. The third time it worked. *cue Twilight Zone theme*

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Self-working Mental Magic

Unfortunately, self-working mental magic shares the same problem as other self-working magic: the showmanship requirement to make it entertaining becomes immense.

Moving on to an allied field, cold reading, may I recommend Ian Rowland's book?

#28 ::: wintermute ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:08 AM:

I thought of a yellow jaguar from Djibouti.

It was honestly the first D country that occurred to me.

#29 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:27 AM:

Brown elks from Denmark...

#30 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:32 AM:

James @ 21:

As a matter of fact, I thought of a daisy.

#31 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:45 AM:

My imaginary elephant was green. Camouflage, maybe?

#32 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:55 AM:

I wonder if these tricks are generally less effective with a culturally heterogeneous audience? (I'd guess some are but not others.)

#33 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 11:55 AM:

James @ 21: Dandelion. I've been doing yardwork lately.

#34 ::: Laramie Sasseville ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Are elephants that much more common than eagles? (Mine was golden, not bald).

#35 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:08 PM:

I automatically thought "Denmark" and "elephant" even though, at the very same moment, I suspected these were exactly the thoughts I was expected to have.

I am somewhat proud that I managed to imagine a pink elephant.

#36 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:09 PM:

A white unicorn from Dubai. Hey, if it's an imaginary animal, it can be a mythical one, too.

#37 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:17 PM:

"It was instituted by Christian V. We do not know whether he had any white horses, but odds are he did"

Odds are he had grey horses; white horses are much less likely. If it's got black skin on its face under the white coat, it's grey. The white horse in "Animal House", as far as I could tell the last time I saw it, had pink skin and was therefore likely to be authentically white.

#38 ::: Tristan ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:19 PM:

I also went with Deutschland (having completely failed to remember the existence of Denmark) but that still yielded an elephant. And, as further testimony to the power of the elephant (or perhaps just the frequency of the letter e), my friend went with a grey elephant as well, although his was reached via the so-called country Delaware. (My sister managed to get through all the math to Denmark, but forgot how to spell and was then stuck trying to think of an animal whose name started with the letter n.

In retrospect, I really wish I'd picked Djelibeybi.

Sadly, this is the most fun I've had all week.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:22 PM:

In retrospect, I really wish I'd picked Djelibeybi.

And to go with it, a white-and-black Jack Russell Terrier.

#40 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:36 PM:

I first thought of a white elephant, and then immediately thereafter thought of a pink elephant and had a good laugh at the joke even before reading the "punch line" after the cut.

#41 ::: Suzanne M ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Translucent jellyfish from Djibouti. I wasn't trying to be a smartass or anything. I see I have company, too. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, but I had a devil of a time coming up with animals whose names start with J.

#42 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:39 PM:

More alpaca colors. (Not affiliated yada yada, though when I was a stitcher I adored their threads.)

#43 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Ermines are indigenous to Denmark. I don't think it gets cold enough there for them to go into their white color phase, though.

Why I thought of ermines before elephants remains a mystery.

#44 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:48 PM:

Now see, I got as far as 'd' and 'Darfur' and then was trying to figure out how to get 'elephant' out of that.


I think I read too much internetz.

#45 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Jim (21), I can read that without a ROT-13 parser -- and no, I wasn't. When I hit the button for "random flower", what I got was Meconopsis betonicifolia. For me, ebfrf aren't random.

#46 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 01:14 PM:

James D. Macdonald (21): Wrong! I was thinking of a daisy.

#47 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 01:33 PM:

I got a blue ocelot from Dominica.

#48 ::: Karen Williams ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 01:34 PM:

I didn't know what color an ocelot from the Dominican Republic would be.

#49 ::: Sidra Vitale ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 01:42 PM:

I got hung up figuring out what colors emus (from Denmark) are. Beige? Greyish? Multiple colors? So I had to go find an emu trivia test (they have dark green eggs!).

Martin @19 - That red hammer trick is interesting. I was scanning the whole thread and saw your instruction to think of a color and tool, and the image popped in my mind of a yellow-handled screwdriver, but when I actually read through your comment and did the math, etc., I got the words popping out "blue hammer", and no image at all.

Wacky.

#50 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Wintermute and I both had jaguars from Djibouti, and like Mary Aileen, I had a daisy.

#51 ::: Renee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 01:54 PM:

I got a yellow ocelot from Morocco.

Um...

#52 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:14 PM:

I knew everyone would be ending up on "D" because I've known for ages about things adding up to 9 that are multiples of 9 (also, multiples of 3 add up to 3, 6, or 9)--but I don't know what color an emu is!

#53 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:25 PM:

I'd say emus are kind of black-brown.

Did I ever tell my second-hand emu story here? Background: there are a few emu farms out in the country around here (NC); there's a mini-push to raise them for meat.

So one of the guys I knew in high school lived out on the edge of suburbia, starting to fade into farms. He came home from school one day, and was fixing himself a snack in the kitchen when he glanced out the window in the back door.

There was an emu in his back yard. Looking at him.

Emus are pretty big birds, and he was scared to go out and confront it. So he called Animal Control. "There's an emu in my back yard," he said.

"What's an emu?" came the response.

"It's a bird!" he said. "It's a really big bird!"

"Well, we'll send someone out as soon as we can, sir," said the woman on the phone.

Half an hour later, an Animal Control truck rolls up. The guy knocks on the door. He is carrying a squirrel trap.

Luckily, by this time the emu was long gone.

Moral: If you ever have an escaped emu in your back yard, use the word "ostrich" in explaining to Animal Control what one is.

#54 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:26 PM:

Liza @ #52, Yay! Another emu selector! Damned if I know what color they are -- black?

I agree they're probably not found in Denmark, though.

#55 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:30 PM:

I got a green alligator from Darfur. And I didn't even bother picking a digit to start with, because I'm another one of those people who noticed years ago that everything added up to nine.

#56 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Dammit, that will teach me (again) to read all comments. There are more emu fans than I initially thought.

#57 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:37 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ #39, I'll bite (being on page 296 of Pyramids as I am): why a Jack Russell terrier?

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:38 PM:

Caroline @ 53... My favorite bird story is from 10 years ago, when I was living in San Francisco's East Bay. One day in suburbia, specifically in front of our house, I saw a peacock and his peahens ambling along our street. On the sidewalk of course. A peacock isn't a jaywalker.

#59 ::: Morgan MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 02:53 PM:

A brown aardvark from Dahomey.

A yellow screwdriver.

A tulip.

#60 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Hmm ... I thought of Denmark, spelled it the native way (Danmark), thought of an ass and so assumed that is was gray. A bit scary.

#61 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 03:32 PM:

I got an ocelot from Dominican Republic. Colour kind of stumped me. Mottled brown? I figured I wasn't doing it right, but it was what I had.

Then blue hammer and camellias. There's a bush outside my door.

#62 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 04:03 PM:

#57 why a Jack Russell terrier?

What else would you expect from Djibouti? A javelina?

#63 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 04:08 PM:

James @ #62, Ah! I was desperately trying to find a reference to Jack Russell terriers in Pratchett's book. (See Djelibeybi, which I just said out loud for the first time, causing a loud snort.)

#64 ::: Robin ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Well, I suppose some otters (my first thought was Dominican Republic) are greyish.

#65 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Jörg Raddatz @60 -- all roads lead to Rome. Or Copenhagen.

(Me: boring ol' grey elephant, Denmark. My daughter: brown eagle. Wish you all could have seen her face when I said the punch line. "Whoa!! How'd you know DENMARK?" Quite gratifying.)

#66 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 04:40 PM:

Echidna. They're brown.

"Tool" comes up with too many examples simultaneously. Filing. Thesaurus. Slow loris. Wrong thread.

#67 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 04:45 PM:

I came up with the off-white Denmarkian emu, but when I read "think of a tool", my very first thought was my brother-in-law. And isn't Darfur a section of Sudan like Texas is a section of the US? (Not good at geography, however.)

#68 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 05:01 PM:

jim, on the flower question,

i thought of an iris. cause they're my favourite flowers. if i liked the english pronunciation of "iris", i'd even want to name a hypothetical daughter that (in hebrew, it's pronounced like ih-reese, with the accent on the short i. much nicer in my opinion).

i think maybe that question only works with people who don't garden, or think of flowers very often.

#69 ::: DCGelfling ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 05:30 PM:

Count me in the black jaguars from Djibouti camp, every time.

It was honest the first time around, because I was in 8th grade and we'd just recently discovered its existence in social studies (while giggling like 8th-grade ninnies, of course).

#70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 05:48 PM:

TNH @66:
Wrong thread.

Never!

Predictably, my Danish elephant
Was grey. Perhaps fatigue from its diversion
Through Delaware created some aversion:
I try to picture it again and can't.
The tool conundrum, though, completely fails.
It's yellow striped with black; no trace of red,
And if they're shaped by what's inside my head,
My problems all are screws instead of nails.*
The flowers? Saw a daisy but said "rose".
I plead distraction, since I'm also searching
For missing elephants, who must be perching
Atop a pile of screws that hurt their toes.
The final couplet looms! I must be terse!
I'm off to bed before I make things verse worse.

-----
* Screwdriver, damn it, is a dactyl and doesn't fit.

#71 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 06:00 PM:

"If at first you don't succeed,
Get a bigger hammer."
But all I ever seem to need
Is more and better grammar.


...I think I've just unvented my new .sig file.

#72 ::: Judd Hallas ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Long time reader, first time commenter. Hi all!

Here's one that I learned a long time ago -

Ask "Pick a number between one and four" - you'll get about 49% choose three and 49% choose two (and 2% that choose one, or four, or 2.5 - this subgroup is likely over-represented in this forum!)

However, if you phrase the question "Pick a number from one to four" - you'll get 98% choose three.

Reason?

In asking the question you vocalise the numbers 1, 2 and 4 ("One", "to", "Four"). The brain immediately goes for the 'missing' selection - three.

You can go on from there to use this "randomly selected" three in any way you choose.

Do the alphabet thing, and ask them to pick a vegetable starting with the letter that corresponds. You know they have 'C', so you are 98% sure they'll pick carrot. (Bonus points - what other options could they have chosen?)

Also note that if you ask for a vegetable to be selected just off the cuff, you will get a majority response of 'carrot' anyway. I don't know the reason for that one.

Thanks for keeping me interested with awesome content and conversations. Looking forward to contributing again when I have something more worthwhile!

#73 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 06:45 PM:

I got a brown eagle from Denmark.

It's really interesting though, and I love these sort of forces and mind games.

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 06:47 PM:

TexAnne @ 71... You just reminded me of the original saying being quoted in Enemy Mine. You meanie.

"You know something, Jerry? Your great Shismar ain't sh*t!"
"Earthman, your Mickey Mouse is one big stupid dope!"

#75 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 07:37 PM:

My husband got an armadillo from Darfur, no color specified.

#76 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 07:46 PM:

Morgan MacLeod at 59: Aha, another Dahomeyan! I don't think I got as far as thinking of an animal, though, since I got distracted by clicking through to verify that what was under there was the grey Danish elephant I expected.

My flower, however, is a chrysanthemum. I'm not entirely sure why mums are a default flower for me - I don't even like them very much. I think it's specifically Anne Drysdale's chrysanthemums -
So, notwithstanding what Kung Fu Tse said
Buy two chrysanthemums, and bugger the bread.

#77 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 07:58 PM:

I got an ourebi from the Dominican Republic and seriously thought that the link would take me to something brown - perhaps betting that most animals are brown....

#78 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Standard responses (elephant, rose) except my tool was a gray axe.

Following up Jim@25, shared birthdays, mine is Dec. 6

#79 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 08:10 PM:

One more for the jaguar from Djibouti.

#80 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Yeah, well, I guess I'm conditioned to look out for cheap tricks because by Step 2, I was doing a quick check and saw that yep, all numbers between 1 and 10 would yield exactly the same checksum.

What colour is an Emu anyway?

#81 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 08:15 PM:

And from my wife, a jerboa from Djibouti.

#82 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 08:56 PM:

Daniel @ #80, brown or gray, looks like.

#83 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 09:49 PM:

I already knew all of these, plus the tricks in the last thread. That doesn't mean I come up with the expected answer, though: sweetpea, red pliers, cucumber. (If it'd been fruit, probably cherries, because I have a pound to eat tonight.)

People are also trying to grow emus and ostriches for meat here in NoVA, and a batch of them got loose a while back and the police were trying to catch the emus for days. The ostriches apparently weren't that interested in leaving.

#84 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Looks like I had the only eland. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what color an eland is (for future reference, if you don't know what color an animal is, bet on brown) and I thought it was striped (I had the poor beast confused with a gnu), so I retreated to elephant.

#85 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:18 PM:

Laramie Sasseville @ #34: Are elephants that much more common than eagles?

I suspect that for many people, when instructed to quickly think of an animal, there's a bias toward mammals.

#86 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:24 PM:

The grey elephant from Denmark again, but I am tired. Also, as soon as I recognized the math problem, I skipped ahead to counting letters.

Interesting math tidbit: you can actually start with any integer for this trick. Keep summing the digits until you end up with a single digit, and your result will still be 9.

Tool was a black hammer, although I think the color is coming from motor oil stains.

Flower was lily-of-the-valley (my favorite since I was a kid).

Generic vegetable is rutabaga, because it's just such a cool word.

Vegetable starting with C: carrot, celery, chard, at which point I realize I've been reading The Joy of Cooking too much recently (and skipping the section on cabbage).

#87 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:25 PM:

White ermine from Denmark. Gladiolus, because I just finished cutting some cream-and-orange glads to brighten the kitchen table -- and I like the name, and, oh yes, they're gorgeous.

And green-handled screwdriver.

Cabbage, corn, celery, cress, cucumber... just off the top of my head.

#88 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:26 PM:

And as further proof I should go to bed now...

My usual number between 1 and 4 is pi, unless I am in a large group of geeks equally likely to pick it. Then I pick e.

#89 ::: cherish ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Funny, I had a grey-brown aardvark in Darfur.

#90 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 12:28 AM:

One brown anteater from Dahomey. Okay, technically, that country name no longer exists, but still...

I love tricks with the number 9!

#91 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 02:15 AM:

cauliflower

#92 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 02:40 AM:

Brown Aardvark from Dalmatia.

You know, maybe I do play Napoleonics too much...

#93 ::: G D Townshende ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 04:29 AM:

I came up with a brown eagle from Denmark (although I originally thought of Düsseldorf, and then Deutschland... probably because of an old penpal of mine from Düsseldorf).

An observation:

1) Any number, no matter how large or small, multiplied by 9 will give a result which, when added together, will always bring you back to 9...

1 x 9 = 9
2 x 9 = 18 = 1 + 8 = 9
3 x 9 = 27 = 2 + 7 = 9
(...)
14 x 9 = 126 = 1 + 2 + 6 = 9
etc

Subtract 5, and everyone is at 4, which brings us all to D, and then E, which then conjure up the most common answers that people will give.

Each number has its own pattern. For example, sequential numbers multiplied by 3, result in the pattern: 3, 6, 9, 3, 6, 9, etc., provided that the same rule is applied: to add together all the digits in any results with more than one digit:

1 x 3 = 3
2 x 3 = 6
3 x 3 = 9
4 x 3 = 12 = 1 + 2 = 3
5 x 3 = 15 = 1 + 5 = 6
6 x 3 = 18 = 1 + 9 = 9
etc.

#94 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 04:30 AM:

Weirdly, sleepily, I read the end line wrong and thought it was "think of an animal the color of that letter."

I'd gotten Denmark by then, and e is pale yellow to my slight synaesthesia, so I came up with a chicken.

#95 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 05:14 AM:

#94 - A.J.

That's a great misreading of the instruction :D In my case if I'd read it like that I'd have come up with an amazon parrot, since they tend to be the bright green that e is to my slight synaesthesia.

Doubt you'd get as unified answers that way though.

#96 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 05:58 AM:

I have a recollection of a method for a mindreading act which was described, almost a century ago, by J. Hickory Wood.

The assistant would be placed on a chair and blindforded. The Mentalist would explain to the audience that if one of the audience members would give him some small object--obviously no collusion--he would project an image of that object into his assistant's mind.

The Mentalist would then ask a series of questions, essentially of the form "Is it an X", which the assistant would attempt to answer correctly.

Since the "X" would be such things as a railway locomotive, the Forth Bridge (there was only one in those days), and an automotive torpedo, the assistant could unerringly identify the object by going for the first plausible object.

Since I first read this when "The Good Old Days" was still on TV, I had some idea of the style of Music Hall act which was being spoofed.

"J. Hickory Wood" sounds like a penname, but he was apparently, amongst other things, responsible for the canonical "Mother Goose" pantomime script, written for Dan Leno.

I indirectly bring in the method in a story of mine which has been put up on the Spontoon Islands website, today.

#97 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 09:26 AM:

Judd Hallas @72: Welcome!

You get different answers if you ask people to pick a number between one and fifty, and to pick a random number between one and fifty. The latter will yield a higher incidence of 17 and 37.

Do the alphabet thing, and ask them to pick a vegetable starting with the letter that corresponds. You know they have 'C', so you are 98% sure they'll pick carrot. (Bonus points - what other options could they have chosen?)
Corn, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, celeriac, cherry tomatoes, chiles, collards, cress, chard, cardoon, chickpeas, cowpeas, or cranberry beans. Chives, capers, and carob, unless you class them with the herbs. Chayote. Cassava. Cynara. Carciofini. Cebollas. Chenopodium. I'll stop now.
Also note that if you ask for a vegetable to be selected just off the cuff, you will get a majority response of 'carrot' anyway. I don't know the reason for that one.
Carrots are the default vegetable? Huh. I would have guessed corn or peas. Or tomatoes. Or lima beans. Or ... I never know what the defaults are. If you ask me off the cuff for a vegetable, what comes to mind first is the entire class, inclusive.

#98 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 10:02 AM:

ARSENAL!

and now for the mind reading magic: if you laughed at that in this thread, you are probably British and over thirty-five.

#99 ::: mary ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 10:34 AM:

Denmark yes but emu, tan. Sorry.

#100 ::: G D Townshende ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 10:51 AM:

Arsenal? No way! Liverpool! :P

I am over 35, but I'm half-Brit. Me mum's from London. I'm an Air Force brat, and I spent me high school days in England, near Oxford. Upper Heyford, to be precise. Go Hadites!

#101 ::: G D Townshende ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 10:56 AM:

I pulled this on my girlfriend, and she came up with a green iguana, from Dinamarca (Denmark). She's Portuguese.

Obviously, it depends on the language, too. LOL

#102 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 01:43 PM:

Of course, I thought of a carmine (l)user.

Please note, my license plate starts PFY...

#103 ::: Pierre Liebenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 04:13 PM:

Yup. I got the black jaguar from Djibouti.

#104 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 05:53 PM:

Teresa @ 97:

Carob is disallowed on the grounds that it's been impersonating chocolate all this time and is therefore Not To Be Trusted.

#105 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 06:13 PM:

Lisa #52 et al.:
Nine's an important number in numerology partly because of that quality.

#106 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 07:48 PM:

#16: How do you know you got the color right? Most people have never seen the color of an ichthyosaur.

#107 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Ah, but the question says: "Fine… think about the second letter in that country’s name. Now, quickly think of an animal whose name begins with that letter.

Now, think of the animal’s color."

If it's an imaginary animal, it can be any color you'd like.
Hence my green elephant, which makes me wonder...what do most people say if you ask them to name a color? I'd guess red, even though I said green.

#108 ::: melissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2008, 01:16 PM:

I had a black ermine from Denmark (mine is evidently a summer ermine.)

And, tool for me? Crescent Wrench.

#109 ::: Ellen Seebacher ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2008, 11:57 PM:

@62: I got as far as "Djibouti", but under pressure, went for the first 'j' critter which was personally meaningful ... a jackalope.

Which was, I admit, grey.

#110 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2008, 02:25 AM:

TNH @ 97: Carrots are the default vegetable? Huh. I would have guessed corn or peas. Or tomatoes. Or lima beans. Or ... I never know what the defaults are. If you ask me off the cuff for a vegetable, what comes to mind first is the entire class, inclusive.

Looking at your list of veggies, I can only conclude one reason for carrots: some great portion of us may be predisposed to think in alphabetical order. (There are a couple in that list that would precede carr-, but all of them are less commonplace.)

#111 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2008, 09:15 AM:

I know that trick with using the last letters of country and animal, which leads to orange Danish kangaroos. Or sometimes someone comes up with koalas and stalls on a color beginning with A.

(And obviously _everyone_ says "milk".)

Cows do drink milk, just not as adults. Otherwise there would be very little point in them being mammals.

#112 ::: Runeblade ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2009, 03:40 AM:

The letter is always "D". You see, any number multiplied by 9 and the sum of those digits is always 9. Look at the multiplication table of 9, 90,81,72,63,54,45,36,27,18,09. The sum of the digits of all the products are always 9. therefore, when you subtract it by 5, the answer is always 4. therefore the letter is always "D".

#113 ::: Runeblade ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2009, 03:52 AM:

BTW, i know that they already predicted it as denmark. i chose denmark first but i cheated. i changed my mind and used djibouti instead. i manage to have a brown jackal.

#114 ::: Sammy ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2010, 12:45 AM:

I picked a Chocolate brown orangutan from Dominica, (Not Dominican Republic) Dominica...and then silver wrench. Haha. Kind of a funny mind game.

#115 ::: Serge thinks there's SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2010, 12:59 AM:

orangutan + wrench = monkeywrench

#116 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2010, 01:02 AM:

Nah, Serge, just some guy posting. People do that.

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2010, 01:29 AM:

abi... OK. Wasn't sure so I thought I'd ask.

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