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Cancer Research Group

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Watch Stone10


Watch Stone10

Lynn Vartan [00:00:46] OK. Well, welcome in, everyone. It's Halloween 2019 here on campus. It's been really fun to watch everyone walking around in their costumes and for A.P.E.X, we're sort of celebrating Halloween in that we are celebrating the world of magic. I have magician and author Alex Stone here in the studio with me today. And he did his talk today based off of his book Fooling Houdini. So welcome into the studio, Alex.

[00:21:07] And one of the things that you mentioned when you talk in the book about this is about, you know, how we're we're not really that great at our our focus or I'm not great about multitasking. I was curious what because I don't know that this is something that you've got to too much. What if somebody wanted to improve their receptiveness Because I've been watching you interact with people all day. And I noticed that you look at everything you see. I feel like you see everything I've been watching. You observe everyone and watch everything and notice everything in the room. So that's something I think you probably worked on because you develop. If somebody wanted to develop that, what could they do

[00:21:48] So, yeah, there are practiced ways of seeing, you know, any time you get better at something, you look you develop sensors that you didn't already have and you can improve your powers of observation. And there are experiments that people have done even on show showing that you can like improve at sort of attending to more than one thing at a time. I haven't think about it like if you're watching a basketball game, it's really easy to pay attention to the person with the ball, try paying attention to other people, you know, at the same time or I mentioned this in my books because I'm more of a classical music nerd like I like a lot of listen to a lot of Bach and you know, you of counterpoint. You have all these different voices and sometimes it's your ears. You want to listen to the sort of main voice, the melody, the melody. If you try to, like, listen to the bass, for instance, and you try to focus on that because it's harder to focus, there's a way in which you kind of hear everything simultaneously. Yeah, but the truth is, it's really hard to get very good at these things because it's so in our blueprint. And it's one of the reasons why even when you know how a magic trick is done, it can kind of still fool you a lot of times, even if it doesn't, even if you intellectually know how it done, how it's done, or even if you understand the principles of magic, you can still be fooled. And that's because it's it it really does take advantage of these fundamental things that have evolved over millions of years. And they're hardwired into our neural circuitry. How we're like we're very good at we're very good at focusing on one thing that's sort of one of our great achievements as a species is that we can focus on one task. But in order to be able to do that, you have to be able to suppress your awareness of other things. Right. And that's what makes us bad at multitasking and makes us easy in some cases to fool. But it's ultimately an asset. And I think that's one thing that's important to stress in a lot of the things that magicians exploit are kind of the flip side of these powerful human attributes.

[00:27:03] But he, you know. So talking to him got me thinking a lot about the underworld of magic. And I also spent like a lot of time watching the three card Monte guys on the streets of New York who were- you see it less and less each year. But when I was doing my research, they were still around on Canal Street. And I mean, I saw people lose five hundred thousand dollars at a time. Oh, my God. All cash, you know, a hundred bucks a pop. And it got me thinking about just how well how good these guys were at their job. I had a hard thing to do to convince someone to pay, to play a scam. And the sort of thing I I kind of came up with or what I realized is it's not that th


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