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I think this would be a great thing to not do.

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So you think you're a psychic?

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(+5, -1)
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This is a game show concentrating on people's supernatural, paranormal or other- worldly abilities.

Each week has a theme - for example, precognition. Each of three contestants (who all claim to be precognitive) starts at one end of their own path, made up of a series of squares. To advance to the next square, they must correctly predict the roll of a die. Four failures in a row send them back one square. There are also various precognition challenges along the way, which can earn them additional points.

Obviously, each contestant will be right about one time in six, but there will be wide statistical fluctuation.

To add to the excitement (oh yes) there is a fourth player - the show's host - on an identical track. The three contestants collectively pick the die-number which they agree will _not_ come up; if it does come up, the host advances by one square. If the host reaches the end of the path before any of the contestants, the prize money offered to the winning contestant is reduced by half.

The next week's theme might be (and apologies to [2fries] here) dowsing: the contestants have to decide which of six opaque bottles contains water. Next week: mind-reading, with the contestants having to guess which of six cards an audience volunteer is looking at. Et cetera.

There should be just enough flukes to make winning possible. Carol Vorderman could commentate and debunk these flukes, and of course a gullible audience will be free to disagree with her.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 27 2016

Dice game results https://docs.google...SSB8gXBc/edit#gid=0
[ytk, Jun 27 2016]

Which witch is which? http://www.ncbi.nlm...ed/?term=%23+754193
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 27 2016]

Talent... https://www.youtube...watch?v=n6UdC31UswQ
Here's a lady who seems quite talented... [Vernon, Jun 28 2016]

Which Witch? https://en.wikipedi...ch_Witch%3F_(novel)
Book I read when I was younger [notexactly, Jul 18 2016]

For [Max] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub
As a scientist, why do you not use this yet? [notexactly, Jul 18 2016]


       Hmm. For the dowsing, I think that pipes should be constructed from compressed earth, then buried a few metres underground. A field could contain five pipes going across it, but only one of them would be pumped with flowing water, and the contestant has to decide which one.   

       This could actually, scientifically verify whether it works or not.
mitxela, Jun 27 2016

       It does not.   

       As I am currently corralling teenaged Canadian geese in the northeast meadow, I am unable to take the time to explain why not. Read the entry for dowsing in James Randi's clever, slyly-written, immensely entertaining 'An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural'.
Sgt Teacup, Jun 27 2016

       No need to explain, [Sgt]. After writing that anno I googled it and it's been done a few times. For [2fries], the results do not look good.
mitxela, Jun 27 2016

       You're going to get a pretty wide swing in terms of results with these rules. I coded up a simulation of the dice game and ran it 1,000 times, with the game played to 10 points. The results ranged from 16 iterations before a winner (which obviously demonstrates proof of psychic abilities) all the way up to 1,539 iterations (final score was -4, -28, 10, and the host had a whopping 276 points).   

       Results are linked if anyone is interested.
ytk, Jun 27 2016

       There could be an episode where skeptics would be hypnotized into believing they had psychic powers, and could play guitar.
bungston, Jun 27 2016

       without reading any further than the title (I'll do that later), I once had this conversation (after a fashion) with a young mum at a check out queue   

       for some reason she was uttering the words to her youngster that "there's no such thing as a psychic"   

       I confidently informed her that actually in point of fact I was psychic which elicited much the response I was hoping for (a stunned silence & mildly panicked expression as she wondered just what kind of nutter she was dealing with)   

       gave it a short pause to let her savour those emotions then followed up with the line that "of course I did have to completely redefine the word psychic before I could come to that conclusion"   

       cruel I know but the emotions that spun across her face (from hassled & a little cross (with sprog) to confusion, panic, relief & amusement) in such a short span of time was too good to pass up
Skewed, Jun 27 2016


       you knew I was going to say that...   

       Probably a better idea than the gameshow which combined philosophical puzzles with witty banter about Descartianism, the short-lived "So you think you're thinking?"
hippo, Jun 28 2016

       Vernon's link seems like an audience insider setup job to me. Heidi happened to be the only one there who had her handbag?
RayfordSteele, Jun 28 2016

       [2fries], I looked at the abstract in your link, but I have not been able to get the paper. I presume you have, and I would be genuinely interested to see it.   

       However, the abstract says only that he (Harvalik) evoked "[p]ositive responses (dowsing signals) from 14 male "dowsers" (his quotes) using "exposure to artificial electromagnetic (ac) fields".   

       What that means is that he exposed his "dowsers" to AC electromagnetic fields, and they reported that they could feel them. He also says that shielding the kidney area (presumably with an earthed plate) abolished this sensitivity. Well, I don't have a problem with that. Put someone in a strong enough alternating field and I expect they would feel it; and for all I know they might feel it most in their kidneys, where there are all kinds of electrolytes kicking around.   

       From the abstract, he does not appear to have tested the ability of these people to dowse. So, the paper is saying that people can feel alternating electromagnetic fields, and that shielding their lower abdomen reduces this sensation. All fine and dandy, but nothing to do with dowsing.   

       It would be interesting to see the actual paper (for instance, how strong were the fields he applied; did he double-blind; did he try mock-shielding with a non-conducting shield that looked like a metal shield; did he also test people who didn't claim to be dowsers to see if they were as sensitive; etc).   

       But, if he's saying that people can feel strong enough EM fields, that's fine by me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2016

       I assumed that;   

       "Discrimination among magnetic patterns (signatures) is hypothesized to account for the apparent ability of dowsers to find specific underground substances, notably water. Such discrimination would require functional association of the sensory apparatus with a signature processor. Data are presented suggesting that this sensor-processor complex does indeed exist and may be located in the vicinity of the pineal gland."   

       means that the subjects were already confirmed to have the ability to dowse and that the tests were to try and figure out 'how' they were able to do it.
Otherwise, why would dowsing even be mentioned at all if they were only testing EM field sensitivity of human beings in general?

       //the subjects were already confirmed to have the ability to dowse//   

       I would expect that to be mentioned in the abstract. My guess (until we get a copy of the paper) is that he had a bunch of guys who said they could dowse, and he started from there. Harvalik himself presumably takes this for granted, since he's president (or VP or something - you can find him on Google) of the American Dowsing Society, which presumably has something of an opinion on this stuff.   

       If so, it would be like me taking a bunch of people who claim to be able to see fairies, then testing to see if they could detect bright near-infrared light and finding that they could. (Most people can, incidentally.)   

       The abstract itself does not inspire a lot of confidence, but hey.   

       The other thing I don't get about dowsing is why it only appears in about 1500, and has variously been claimed to be able to detect minerals, water, oil - in fact anything that people would pay to try to find.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2016

       {shrugs} Multiple discovery? Evolution?   

       If we are becoming more paedomorphic as a species, and if the pineal gland controls the onset of puberty then maybe that has something to do with it.   

MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2016

       This just in: water found to be wet by chief promoter of the wet water society...
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2016

       I didn't think an unauthenticated abstract would stay in a publication as trusted as PubMed without peer review. Someone should probably tell them that they are misinforming us.   

       Which medical publications on the internet aren't full of shit then?
I'll go look there for answers.

       //I didn't think an unauthenticated abstract would stay in a publication as trusted as PubMed without peer review//   

       PubMed isn't a publication as such; it is a database for publications. Some journals are peer- reviewed, some have only editorial review, and some are not peer reviewed.   

       I don't know if the journal Harvalik published in is peer-reviewed or not - it probably is. And, to be included in PubMed, a journal has to have some level of authenticity (I don't know their exact criteria).   

       That said, with **any** publication, you should (a) read the actual publication and (b) examine it critically. Even if it's in Science or Nature.   

       Yes, I know what you're going to say - we can't see the full paper because that journal is not open- access. I agree - it is a terrible situation which frustrates me as much as it does you. Now that I have my own company, I no longer have journal access paid for by an institution, and it is a real pain. I can buy an annual blanket access fee, covering most journals, but that's several thousand pounds which I'm not prepared to spend at present.   

       I have tried to contact the author (authors will always send PDFs of their papers if you ask them), but so far with no luck.   

       As to //Which medical publications on the internet aren't full of shit then?// that's a tricky one. As I mentioned, even good journals can publish stuff which is wrong in one way or another. If in doubt, go for journals that have a peer-review policy and have a reasonable impact factor (you can get impact factors easily - just google "[journal name] impact factor" and it will usually appear). But even then, you need to be as critical of publications that support your view as you would be of those that refute it. It's not easy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 03 2016

       I knew you were going to post this.
RayfordSteele, Jul 03 2016

       //Which medical publications on the internet aren't full of shit then?//   

       Well, The International Journal of Colonoscopy is almost certainly one to steer clear of, then ....   

       Shouldn't this idea properly be titled "So, you have a premonition that you're going to be a psychic ?"
8th of 7, Jul 18 2016

       In the mid ’90s when I had been working in magazine publishing for quite some time, I was musing on the idea of starting a magazine called “Weird Shit”, which contained a regular supply of (pre internet in those days) pseudoscience. It would have been unbiased, i.e., neither for nor against the premise that any of it was complete bollocks. You can’t be too fussy on that front otherwise there’ll be nothing to put in for subsequent months. It would sufficiently differ from Fortean times in some significant way or other.
Ian Tindale, Jul 19 2016


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