Over on MSN, there’s a neat little piece about David Blaine.
American illusionist David Blaine has spent more than two decades stunning audiences and amassing a notable fortune with his extreme — and even unearthly — endurance feats.
But when it comes to managing his career, he follows one very down-to-earth technique.
“Whenever I make a decision, I always try to decide: Would I do this for $1?” Blaine said Tuesday during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
A good policy if you can afford to work that way!
About 650 magicians gathered in Columbus Ohio this past weekend, amid sub-zero temperatures, to watch magic and learn from one another. Even David Blaine showed up!
Random moments from around the convention.
Read all about it in The Columbus Dispatch and watch the video.
Every week a fellow named Duncan Trillo publishes an update on all the latest magic around Great Britain on his website www.magicweek.co.uk. If you’re in the U.K., or planning to visit, there’s lots of great magic to see both live and on the telly.
Actor, singer, magician, past-president of the Academy of Magical Arts Neil Patrick Harris is a swell guy. Win this contest and you’ll get flown to New York to hang around with him at the zoo for the day! Only six days left to try your luck, ending on January 17.
By Richard Kaufman
The multi-talented (particularly for a reptile) Piff the Magic Dragon will be appearing on America’s Got Talent Champions on Monday January 14th at 8 pm on the NBC television network.
AGT Champions is a spin-off of the normal AGT shows, and you can learn more about it and see a list of all the acts here.
There are quite a few magicians, mentalists, and specialty acts competing including Piff, Colin Cloud, Cosentino, Darcy Oake, Issy Simpson, Jon Dorenbos, Stevie Starr, Shin Lim, and The Clairvoyants.
By Richard Kaufman
Taking place in Las Vegas from August 4th through 7th, MAGIC Live is the largest magic convention in the United States, attracting 1400 attendees from around the world.
For those of you who’ve hesitated, you’re in luck: it’s not sold out!
Widely acclaimed, and always trying something different, convention organizer Stan Allen (that’s him, and me, at the top), spends many months devising unusual ways to use the talent he hires.
Unlike most other conventions, he never tells you who’s going to be performing. So far that has worked out well for everyone.
You can learn more and register here.
Seeing is believing, right? Well it shouldn’t be, because we see with our eyes, and our eyes, as science continues to prove, are about as reliable as an inflatable dartboard. Indeed, the two squishy organic cameras and accompanying gray matter whose evidence we use to do pretty much everything are prone to all kinds of fallacies, shortcuts, mistakes, and even outright laziness. The downside to this is that you can never be sure what’s real and what’s a convenient lie fed to you by the sticky, semi-functional computer that actually makes all of the decisions in your life. On the upside, magic tricks!
There’s a great article up on All About Psychology right now, talking about the many ways in which our brains can be tricked into seeing thing that aren’t there. The core argument being, of course, that our eyes are crap and our brains are lazy. To wit:
Processing large amounts of information is computationally expensive: if you want to process lots of visual information, you need large brains. But large brains come at a cost, since they require large heads and lots of food to support them. So instead of evolving into creatures with humongous brains, we developed extremely efficient strategies that allow us to prioritise aspects of the environment that are of importance, while ignoring things that are less relevant.
As we’ve discussed before, a great many magic tricks rely on the idiosyncrasies of human perception to achieve their effects. Some of these tricks exploit the rough-and-ready way our brains process information. Our brains seem to prefer translating visual information into a rough and ready 3D map over providing an accurate view of the world. That’s why illusions like the one below don’t just look weird, they interfere with our balance in a much more fundamental way.
A perfectly flat floor, designed to stop children from running in the hallway. pic.twitter.com/gLcw6874ad
— Antonio Corrales (@antoniocorrales) July 1, 2018
Our eyes are even worse, rather than truly follow an object in motion, they’ll let the brain make a quick estimation of direction and velocity, then call it a day, only really registering the object again if it changes direction or speed. Our brains are so good at truncating this information, it’ll sometimes fill in the blanks for us. If we’ve seen a ball thrown once and are then shown the motion again, more than 50% of us will actually “see” the ball in flight, even though it hasn’t been thrown. Ergo: magic.
The article also has some interesting titbits of info about how our brains measure time (spoiler: they’re bad at it) and how we’re all constantly trying to see the future (again, bad). It’s a very interesting piece.