Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kluge Cites Derren Brown

Today's Telegraph reviews the book Kluge by Gary Marcus (which was released several months ago), and provides the following note relating to Derren Brown:

Marcus brings a schoolboyish brio to the table, exulting in rude spoonerisms and littering the footnotes with links to Derren Brown on YouTube - indeed, the whole thing might have been pitched at a teenage readership.

I pulled the book Kluge and found that it is not exactly "littered" with footnotes about Derren Brown. But there is one footnote to a Derren Brown YouTube clip -- the "person swap" episode.

"Person swap" is the one in which Derren is on a sidewalk asking a random person for directions, and while the person is busy explaining directions, someone else carrying a large object passes between the person and Derren. DB walks off behind the object and is replaced by a completely different person.

In most cases, the person giving directions does not notice that he/she is no longer speaking to Derren. The mind is so caught up in the task at hand that it is oblivious to a rather obvious change.

If you want to check Kluge yourself, the Derren Brown footnote is on page 20. Author Marcus uses DB to demonstrate that the human mind is not constructed perfectly, which is part of the larger argument that evolution creates usable -- but not perfect -- solutions to problems. These imperfect solutions are called kluges.

No comments: