Yuri Geller or Flimsy Construction? #bendgate

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that some of the people who stood in line for hours to be the first to get an iPhone 6 Plus pulled those phones out of their pockets a day or two later to find them bent. If you haven’t, I suggest you go to Twitter and search #bendgate. Or Google “bendghazi”.

When it became clear that this was no hoax (a video surfaced showing that the phone can indeed be bent using bare hands; you can watch it below), a Facebook friend made a joke about this not being a case of Uri Geller resuscitating his career.

Then, this morning, I found this post on a site called Telepolis, claiming an exclusive interview with Geller on the topic.

TELEPOLIS: Mr Geller, shortly after the release of the new iPhone6 you started bending them. What’s the reason?

Uri Geller: I had a secret deal with a competitor of Apple.

Which is cute, but is it satire?

TELEPOLIS: The skeptics dispute the use of your special powers. Some people managed to bend the iPhone6 by using their hands. There is a video on YouTube … There is a video on YouTube …

Uri Geller: My answer to the skeptics is this: I don’t need to use the power of my fingers to bend metal because I only use the power of my mind, and I am doing very well with that. As a matter of fact please go to my website urigeller.com and please see how I can also bend footballs! And by the way, while you are on my website, please also watch the documentary by the BBC called The Secret Life of Uri Geller there you can see how I also bent the CIA!

Oh, yes, clearly satire. And not really all that funny, although I laughed at the original joke.

But then this afternoon a friend sent me a link to a MarketWatch post claiming to have talked to Geller.

“There are two possible explanations,” Uri Geller, the psychic illusionist famous for bending spoons with his mind, told MarketWatch. “Either the phone is so seriously thin and flimsy that it is bendable with mere physical force, which I cannot believe given the extensive tests Apple would have done. Or — and this is far more plausible — somehow the energy and excitement of the 10 million people who purchased iPhones has awakened their mind powers and caused the phones to bend.”

He even urged Apple to hire him, saying that he could explain that the problem is not Apple’s fault. He also said:

I don’t own an iPhone 6 — I’m loyal to my BlackBerry BBRY, +0.10% and would never change — but if I did I have no doubt I could bend it with my mind.

Well, pardon me for being skeptical.

Oh, I’m not skeptical that he could bend it. I do think it’s a bit unreasonable to expect a phone to be both light AND indestructible, although iPhone users have become accustomed to reasonably durable devices. But with his mind? Notsomuch.

James Randi, Banacheck, and many others have done a great job of showing that bending spoons, keys, and other things can appear to be magic when it’s really nothing more than a magician’s trick. Still, I’d like to see Geller try under controlled conditions.

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