Big Secrets: The Uncensored Truth about All Sorts of Stuff You Are Never Supposed to Know

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Are there really secret backward messages in rock music, or is somebody nuts? We tested suspect tunes at a recording studio to find out.

What goes on at Freemason initiations? Here's the whole story, including — yes! — the electric carpet.

Colonel Sanders boasted that Kentucky Fried Chicken's eleven secret herbs and spices "stand on everybody's shelf." We got a sample of the seasoning mix and sent it to a food...

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Overview

Are there really secret backward messages in rock music, or is somebody nuts? We tested suspect tunes at a recording studio to find out.

What goes on at Freemason initiations? Here's the whole story, including — yes! — the electric carpet.

Colonel Sanders boasted that Kentucky Fried Chicken's eleven secret herbs and spices "stand on everybody's shelf." We got a sample of the seasoning mix and sent it to a food chemist for analysis.

Feverish rumor has it that Walt Disney's body was frozen and now lies in a secret cryonic vault somewhere beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit at Disneyland. Read the certified stranger-than-fiction truth.

Don't bother trying to figure out how Doug Henning, David Copperfield, and Harry Blackstone, Jr., perform their illusions. Big Secrets has complete explanations and diagrams, nothing left to the imagination.

What's really in Coca-Cola? American institutions love to keep secrets and Big Secrets spills the beans with wit and humor.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688022198
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1983
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 22
  • Pages: 256

Read an Excerpt

Playing Cards

It is not easy to design cheat-proof playing cards, if possible at all. Most card manufacturers do not even try. Cheaters, however, are aware of the back design as a security device. With certain back designs, it is more difficult to bottom- or second-deal unde-tected than with other designs. Some backs are easier to mark than others.

For bottom — or second-dealing, the ideal deck would be one with a solid-color back. With such a deck it would be hard for the other players to tell whether the top card is sliding forward and off the deck (as it should in a legal deal) or staying on top (as in a bottom — or second-deal).

None of the readily available brands of cards has a solid-color back. In practice, bottom-dealers favor brands with small, regular patterns — patterns that are just a blur of color in a brisk deal. Diamond-pattern Bee (back no.67) and Club Reno are examples.

A white margin ruins a deck for bottom-dealing. As the bottom (or second) card is drawn out, the other players see its white mar-gin, then part of its back pattern, then the top card's white mar-gin, and then the top card's back pattern. This is different from what they see when the top card is drawn off fairly. So decks such as Aviator and Bicycle are relatively cheat-proof as far as bottom-dealing is concerned.

Likewise, any conspicuous, localized design works against bottom-dealing. A prominent design acts as a landmark to help players judge whether the top card is removed. It's best if the de-sign is a different color, such as the logos on some airline and pro-motional decks. Many Las Vegas casinos use custom Bee decks overprinted with thehotel logos.

Gambling lore favors a United Airlines giveaway deck as the most cheat-proof. Flight attendants offer the deck (in first class) or supply it if you know enough to ask for it (in coach). Although manufactured by the U.S. Playing Card Company, the deck is in some ways more secure than that company's popular retail decks. The back design is a solid color except for two United Airlines logos. The white logos make it relatively easy to spot bottom-dealing. The simplicity of the back design makes it nearly impos-sible to mark the deck. Many other airline decks are equally good.

Copyright © 1983 by William Poundstone

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