Posts Tagged: Wizards
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Next Election To Be Decided By Wizards

Nearly half of all voters are so dumb they'll completely change their strongly held political beliefs if you give them a piece of paper with opposite beliefs, researchers have discovered. Even the youngest wizards and witches can perform such simple magic, meaning that all future elections will be decided by our oldest and still most believable religious system: magic.

To get people to reverse their opinions, crafty researchers had the test subjects fill out a survey about an upcoming election. After the dummies finished their forms, the researchers used "sleight of hand" to return a form with the opposite answers selected. "92% of the study participants accepted the manipulated summary [...]

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How To Give Birth To A Rabbit

Mary Toft was 23 when she gave birth to her first rabbit. Other rabbits—six, seven, eight of them—followed. It was 1726. Toft lived in Godalming, a small rural town in Surrey; news of the births skipped its way to London, and the king's anatomist was dispatched to investigate. He was unimpressed with Mary, describing her as "of a very stupid and sullen Temper." Nevertheless, after witnessing a rabbit birth himself—the 15th!—he returned to London convinced of the extraordinary, preternatural nature of the births. (And why not, amazing things happen to stupid country people all the time: they're sold magic beans, they haul talking fish out of the water, they give [...]

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Reviewing "The Hobbit" With An Unexpected Guest Blogger

Ken Layne: Mere days ago, Carrie, we were toiling side by side on the second floor of Mordor, very near to Macy's. But now I am back in the desert and you are back at the Shire, and we have each gone to see The Hobbit in our respective villages. Was it worth all the trouble, this nearly-three-hour movie about regular-sized humans pretending to be Halflings and Dwarfs?

Carrie Frye: Maybe do you just want to write the review on your own, a la Choire? I am sorry to abandon you—I was excited to go, but now am back and a little crazy with getting things battened down for the [...]

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And The Winner Of The Awl 2012 Electoral College Pool Is…

In order to become a wizard, you must first apprentice to a wizard, and the acolytes who followed Nate Silver's lead did very well in The Awl's first quadrennial electoral college pool. Out of 160 entries received, 9 of you predicted the map exactly. (That's right: we're calling Florida for Obama. I mean, it's Friday.) This means that 5.6% of this website's readers have documented psychic powers. You can't argue with that. It's math.

Of the people who predicted the map exactly, 78% overestimated Obama's popular vote total by several million votes, reflecting a wildly inflated expectation for voter turnout. The remaining 22% didn't guess Obama's popular vote at [...]

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Magic Shape-Shifting Jesus Supposedly Arrested On Wrong Night

"Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus' crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus—because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text—and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline." —The shape-shifting Jesus and Pilate offering up his son for substitute crucifixion, that we can handle. But Jesus arrested on Tuesday evening instead of Thursday evening?

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The Theology Of "Angel" In The City Of Demons

The first in a series about our favorite TV shows past.

There are some things I know to be true that cannot be objectively or scientifically proven, what theologians call articles of faith. Corporate lawyers, for instance, are not simply bad people who made poor life choices. They actually work for demons, a kind of lesser god-monster from a parallel dimension porously paired with our own. Professional politics, a career nearly all attorneys aspire to, is itself a realm of slightly higher demons—higher in influence and power, not intellect or evolution. These professions, like those of talent agents and film producers and record-label executives and school principals, are natural [...]

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How To Lie To Kids About Santa

Now, I don’t think I ever actually believed in Santa. The closest I came was a slow-burning conviction that his name was Santa Sauce because he was, in some sense, actually a marinara-ladled meatball given life and laugh and beard. I don’t think that counts, really—certainly a meatball could never hold a sleigh’s reins, or operate a multinational corporation—so I'll claim that I knew from day zero that Santa was, strictly speaking, a kind of lie.

But he's a useful lie. One that parents can deploy to effectively trick children into not behaving like tiny sociopaths who are too short to drive themselves to school. (Imagine attempting to get full [...]

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Real As Hell: A Conversation With George Saunders

While interviewing author George Saunders last week on the release of the audiobook of his new story collection, Tenth of December, my Skype connection cut out maybe four times. Such a miserable and embarrassing development on so many levels—maybe the worst being that Saunders is one of the best talkers I've ever met, and in the middle of this incredible riff his voice would just float and burble off, culminating in that awful, plopping Skype disconnection sound. Indescribable, like getting a long letter from Oscar Wilde and someone sets fire to it as you're reading, or you've just been poured a delectable glass of Château d'Yquem and suddenly there [...]

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Is San Francisco The Brooklyn To Silicon Valley's Unbuilt Manhattan?

Like many people who moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s, I did it because San Francisco was cheap. It didn't have the lowest rents—in the California of three recessions ago, a Silver Lake bungalow or blocks-from-the-beach Santa Monica apartment were even more affordable than the chilly city by the bay—but it was the only West Coast town you could survive in without a car. With a $35 Fast Pass, all the smelly buses and dinky Muni trains and even the cable cars were there for the riding to and from work, whether you were a bartender or a waiter or (like me) a very fast typist irregularly [...]

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Other Famous People Who Were (Or Planned To Be) In Other Hobbit Movies

Were there other famous people attached at one point or another to adaptations of the J.R.R. Tolkien stories? There were! In fact, several non-Peter Jackson hobbit movies have already been made. You may have even seen some of them, when you were a little child, or when you were smoking marijuana "hobbit weed" and looking at videos on the Internet this very afternoon!

If you have kids and/or once enjoyed the indoor sport of Dungeons & Dragons, then you will probably go see The Hobbit next weekend. But what if Magneto and that guy from The Office weren't in the movie, then what? Other people would [...]