There are two types of smart cards: contact and contactless. Both have an embedded microprocessor and memory. The smart card differs from the proximity card in that the microchip in the proximity card has only one function: to provide the reader with the card's identification number. The processor on the smart card has an embedded operating system and can handle multiple applications such as a cash card, a pre-paid membership card, or an access control card.
A series of mediumistic séances known as the Scole Experiment took place between 1993 and 1998 in the presence of the researchers David Fontana, Arthur Ellison and Montague Keen. This has produced photographs, audio recordings and physical objects which appeared in the dark séance room (known as apports). A criticism of the experiment was that it was flawed because it did not rule out the possibility of fraud. The skeptical investigator Brian Dunning wrote the Scole experiments fail in many ways. The séances were held in the basement of two of the mediums, only total darkness was allowed with no night vision apparatus as it might "frighten the spirits away". The box containing the film was not examined and could easily have been accessible to fraud. And finally, even though many years have passed, there has been no follow-up, no further research by any credible agency or published accounts.
Not that I believe in this psychic stuff, but at one point in my life I was spending so much money having my tarot cards read at occult bookstores that I decided to do it myself. I bought a deck and discovered I had the gift. Each time I posed a question about my life, the cards so unerringly forecast frustration and disappointment that I finally stuck them in the bottom of a trunk.
The company that hired me boasted they only hire two out of 100 potential psychics. I felt excited, nervous, and mostly terrified I'd be exposed as a fraud. I was confident enough dealing with strangers at parties whom I'd probably never see again, but now I had an entire corporation to report to. They let me pick my psychic name and I did my best to choose something less stripper, more gypsy (which I'd love to reveal but cannot due to an ironclad NDA).
So I applied to the phone psychic job, more curious than optimistic about landing the gig. For my first "interview," I received a phone call from an older woman. I was supposed to tell this complete stranger about the life she was currently living and where it would take her. I shuffled my cards while she concentrated, wondering how the hell such a connection could occur over my iPhone. I told her what I'd told my friends and party guests: "Imagine I'm winding a music box. When it feels ready to play, tell me to stop."
I dug them out again this spring for a foray into a career as a phone psychic—the latest installment of “Human Guinea Pig,” a column in which I am supposed to explore intriguing corners of life, but in which, so far, I mostly humiliate myself. (Like here, for example.) Locating openings for my extrasensory services was easy. I went to an online job site and typed “psychic” into the search engine. I sent e-mails to the three companies listed, and two—I’ll call them ESP Net and Chakra Con—sent me back contracts to fill out.