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Steve Wozniak's math trick (as told to my son)

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• Tonight I was out to dinner with my dad, my step mom, and my son Patrick. We were waiting for a table at San Jose's Fishmarket when Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer walked in. I'll write more on my blog about the dinner, but here's a cool math trick he taught my son and I thought I'd share it with you. I'll ink most of it, so watch for future posts.

But, he started out this way, he drew a square on a piece of paper. He then drew a grid so that there'd be 16 squares. I'll show you the grid in the next message. Then he asked my son to pick a number between 1-100.

• So the grid looked like this

• After my son said "53" he quickly filled it in like this: NE 8 11 32 33, in } 35 9 6 5 4 34 n a

• Now add up any row, you'll get 53 Add up any column, you'll get 53 Add up the diagonals, you will get 53 Add the four Numbers in each corner and you'll get 53

• How did he do it?

• scobelizer,

i remember learning  this in elementary school, they're called magic squares.

• Yup, it's a fun little trick, though, and very impressive when he does it fast.

He also showed us how to break a pencil with a \$2 bill.

• He said the key is knowing which numbers to change. The only ones that change are the 33, 32, 35, and 34. The rest of the numbers, he told me, are always the same (for numbers 50-100). He memorized those. That way he can do the trick very quickly and leave you thinking he's a math genious (if you don't know the trick).

• I love programmers. Thanks Beer!

• When I was in elementary school I was horrible at math and hated it to boot. My mom bought these videos that I watched and there was a lot of patterns about if you imagine numbers in two rows vertically the next number up with the next number down is your result (Personally I thought the videos were a scam) or something like that.

Point being...Scoble watch introducing your kid to stuff like that...he'll learn patterns in mathematical life than actual math itself. I still suck at math.

• He memorized this square:

 8 11 14 1 13 2 7 12 3 16 9 6 10 5 4 15

The columns, rows, and diagonals add to 34.

Then he added enough to each of the bolded numbers to change the total from 34 to 53.  Note there is one bold number on each row, column, and diagonal.

EDIT: Note in this square any 2x2 sub-square adds up to 34 as well.  But if you add to the bolded numbers, then this breaks.

13 + 2 + 3 + 16 is equal to 34 in this square
but
32 + 2 + 3 + 35 is not equal to 53.

• scobleizer wrote:
I love programmers.

You know, I guess I must not be hard-core enough, or something, because, I'm sitting here thinking, there's going to be 97 posts dissecting "magic squares," including at least one implementation, and then the thread's going to go off on a huge tangent about how sloppy the code is, how much the implementor's language of choice sucks, etc...

...and I'm the only one wondering, uh, so how is Wozniak?  LOL

What is he up to these days? Did you guys get a chance to chat?

• Karim wrote:

...and I'm the only one wondering, uh, so how is Wozniak?  LOL

See the scobleizer blog post about Wozniak.  And don't hijack the thread, dang it

set topic=Magic Squares