Saturday, August 14, 2004

Re: FW: Mind Game (fwd)

I got this chain letter in my mailbox a while back, and I took the time to deconstruct the "trick" involved. As I write this, a quick Google search turns up one other "debunking" and three other sites propagating the silliness as-is. There are more than that, probably, but those are what I hit first.

Think of a number from 1 to 10

This can be random, but lots of people think of three for some reason. It doesn't matter what you pick because of the steps that come next.

Multiply that number by 9

Nine is special.

If the number is a 2-digit number, add the digits together

When you multiply by nine, the digits of the result always add up to nine (or a multiple of nine). Yo, check it:
1 x  9 = 09   0 + 9 = 9

2 x 9 = 18 1 + 8 = 9
3 x 9 = 27 2 + 7 = 9
4 x 9 = 36 3 + 6 = 9
5 x 9 = 45 4 + 5 = 9
6 x 9 = 54 5 + 4 = 9
7 x 9 = 63 6 + 3 = 9
8 x 9 = 72 7 + 2 = 9
9 x 9 = 81 8 + 1 = 9
9 x 10 = 90 9 + 0 = 9
This simple rule helped me learn my multiplication tables. Any time I had to multiply by nine, I had a way to check the result. Is the sum of the digits a multiple of nine?

Now subtract 5

9 - 5 = 4

Determine which letter in the alphabet corresponds to the number you ended up with (example: 1=a, 2=b, 3=c, etc.)

Always get D.

Think of a country that starts with that letter.

Here's a list of countries that I got in a few seconds with the Big Bad Internet. Four of them begin with the letter D:
  1. Denmark
  2. Djibouti
  3. Dominica
  4. Dominican Republic
I'd heard of two of them, and Denmark is probably the best known. This is the first time the 2% has an opportunity to "stray from the path," and it's not much of one. I picked Denmark myself.

Remember the last letter of the name of that country.

Nearly always K.

Think of the name of an animal that starts with that letter.

I picked Koala. Yahoo! sheds some light on this again. Dig the list:
  1. Kakapo
  2. Kangaroos
  3. Kermode Bear
  4. Kestrels
  5. Killdeer
  6. Killer Whales (Orcas)
  7. Killifish
  8. King Penguins
  9. Kingfishers
  10. Kiwis
  11. Koalas
  12. Koi
  13. Komodo Dragons
  14. Krill
Again, the list of animals that might "come to mind" is pretty short. I think I've heard of nine of those, and maybe three are ones I think might come to me quickly. Koala, Kangaroo, and Killer Whale are the most common, IMO, and the Kangaroo is the most common of those.

Remember the last letter in the name of that animal.

A, O, or E.

Think of the name of a fruit that starts with that letter.

I got apple. If you picked the Kangaroo, you're stuck with orange because that's the only fruit that begins with O (unless you want to think that the inedible "osage orange" is different).

Are you thinking of a Kangaroo in Denmark eating an Orange?

I got: Denmark, Koala, Apple. Your only chance of getting anything other than "Denmark, Kangaroo, Orange" is to (1) pick one of the three (obscure) countries available other than Denmark, or (2) pick a K animal other than the Kangaroo. If you failed to do either of those, you're stuck with the Orange, and there's no way to follow the steps and get any different choices. Remember also that the instructions tell you to go "as quickly as you can" (twice!). If you do that, there's hardly any chance of picking something obscure.

I told you this was FREAKY!! If not, you're among the 2% of the population whose minds are different enough to think of something else.. 98% of people will answer with kangaroos in Denmark when given this exercise. Keep this message going This one is actually worth sending on to others. Forward it to people you know so they can find out if they are usual or unusual.

When it says "keep this message going" or "forward this to people you know", it's a chain letter. This might be a good time to talk about geometric progression. Basically as the copies of a chain letter propagate through the network, they take up a huge amount of space. That's why AOL hates these things.
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