We all know that Arthur C. Clarke said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Indeed, this statement has buttressed many shaky science fiction stories. It is true, of course.

Can we doubt that a citizen of ancient Egypt, if magically (no, not magically, but through the use of advanced technology) transported to the present, would marvel at airplanes and iPods, and think us all magicians? But he would wonder about the snakes. The state of snake magic would trouble him. He would probably say something like, "How come these men and women are all such great magicians, but nobody can turn a stick into a snake? It's the easiest magic feat. Everybody knows someone who has seen it it performed, and it's got to be easy because snakes and sticks are so similar!"