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Teller Reveals His Secrets

The neuroscience of magic:

2. Make the secret a lot more trouble than the trick seems worth. You will be fooled by a trick if it involves more time, money and practice than you (or any other sane onlooker) would be willing to invest. My partner, Penn, and I once produced 500 live cockroaches from a top hat on the desk of talk-show host David Letterman. To prepare this took weeks. We hired an entomologist who provided slow-moving, camera-friendly cockroaches (the kind from under your stove don’t hang around for close-ups) and taught us to pick the bugs up without screaming like preadolescent girls. Then we built a secret compartment out of foam-core (one of the few materials cockroaches can’t cling to) and worked out a devious routine for sneaking the compartment into the hat. More trouble than the trick was worth? To you, probably. But not to magicians.

You know, like nobody would really go to all that trouble to conceal college transcripts, would they?  I wouldn’t drag politics into it, except Teller already does:

You think you’ve made a choice, just as when you choose between two candidates preselected by entrenched political parties (No. 7—Choice is not freedom).

Posted in Culture.