Saturday, June 10, 2006

REAL Magic Part 1: Thermos

This is the first of at least four articles that I want to share on the real magic in the world.

Even though, for almost four years I've written a regular monthly column for The Linking Ring (which is a trade journal for professional magicians and members of The International Brotherhood of Magicians), there are some things that I find even more magical than floating ladies, vanishing cars, or birds that magically appear from paper streamers and then turn into live rabbits. I do educational school assembly programs during the school year and summer reading programs during the summer. I use a lot of magic in my shows, but here I'm tipping "the real work".

I'm going to share with you what I think REAL magic looks like:

Quite possibly the most amazing thing I've ever really experienced is a Thermos (tm). Most of you are probably thinking, "He needs to get out more".

For a point of reference, I should mention that for two years I lived on a 27 foot sailboat. Click the link if you want to read more about the boat, but be cautioned, there is a picture of me without a shirt on. You've been warned.

I mention this because when you are at sea, it can be very rough. Even mundane things become difficult. Cooking on a stove top falls somewhere between a very risky juggling performance, and a Kevorkian act of desperate hunger. So, when you find the time to heat things up, it is nice to heat everything up all at once. So my boat was filled with Themoses. I used them for EVERYTHING.

You can heat water and 12 hours later it will still scald you. 24 hours later it is still too warm to drink fast. Coffee in a Thermos made 24 hours before has to be sipped. That is pretty amazing, to me.

We would boil water and then pour it on ingredients in a wide-mouth Thermos. It would keep at about the boiling point for a few hours afterwards, cooking the ingredients with no additional fuel. Conservation at it's best.

You can boil water, pour it in a Thermos, put it in your freezer, and take it out 12 hours later freezing your fingers on the outside of the Thermos and then burn your tongue on the still hot water inside. That is amazing.

That is magic!

--Julian Franklin

P.S. Okay, it's not really magic. It's really just science. There is a vacuum between the inner shell and the outer shell of the Thermos bottle. There is nothing in a vacuum (that's the definition of "vacuum" as opposed to "a thing that sucks dirt out of your carpet" which is what my mom always told me). So, there are no atoms to transfer the heat from inside the Thermos to the outside.

Still, pretty cool, huh?

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