Good morning. Happy to see so many fine folks out here and so many smiling faces. I have a very peculiar background, attitude and approach to the real world because I am a conjurer. Now, I prefer that term over magician,
because if I were a magician, that would mean that I use spells and incantations and weird gesturesorder to accomplish real magic. No, I don't do that; I'm a conjurer, who is someone who pretends to be a real magician. (Laughter) Now, how do we go about that sort of thingé
We depend on the fact that audiences, such as yourselves, will make assumptions. For example, when I walked up here and I took the microphone from the stand and switched it on, you assumed this was a microphone, which it is not. (Laughter)
As a matter of fact, this is something that about half of you, more than half of you will not be familiar with. It's a beard trimmer, you seeé And it makes a very bad microphone; I've tried it many times. (Laughter) The other assumption that you made and this little lesson is to show you that you will make assumptions.
Not only that you can, but that you will when they are properly suggested to you. You believe I'm looking at you. Wrong. I'm not looking at you. I can't see you. I know you're out there, they told me backstage, it's a full house and such. I know you're there because I can hear you, but I can't see you because I normally wear glasses. These are not glasses, these are empty frames. (Laughter)
Quite empty frames. Now why would a grown man appear before you wearing empty frames on his faceé To fool you, ladies and gentlemen, to deceive you, to show that you, too, can make assumptions. Don't you ever forget that. Now, I have to do something first of all, switch to real glasses
How to stay calm when you know youll be stressed Daniel Levitin
A few years ago,I broke into my own house. I had just iven home, it was around midnightin the dead of Montreal winter, I had been visiting my friend,Jeff, across town, and the thermometer on the front porchread minus 40 degrees and don't bother askingif that's Celsius or Fahrenheit, minus 40 is where the two scales meet it was very cold.
And as I stood on the front porchfumblingmy pockets, I found I didn't have my keys. In fact, I could see themthrough the window, lying on the dining room tablewhere I had left them. So I quickly ran aroundand tried all the other doors and windows, and they were locked tight. I thought about calling a locksmith at least I had my cellphone, but at midnight, it could take a whilefor a locksmith to show up,
and it was cold. I couldn't go back to my friendJeff's house for the night because I had an early flightto Europe the next morning, and I needed to getmy passport and my suitcase. So, desperate and freezing cold, I found a large rock and I brokethrough the basement window, cleared out the shards of glass, I crawled through,
I found a piece of cardboardand taped it up over the opening, figuring thatthe morning,on the way to the airport, I could call my contractorand ask him to fix it. This was going to be expensive, but probably no more expensivethan a middleofthenight locksmith, so I figured, under the circumstances,I was coming out even. Now, I'm a neuroscientist by training and I know a little bitabout how the brain performs under stress.
It releases cortisolthat raises your heart rate, it modulates aenaline levels and it clouds your thinking. So the next morning, when I woke up on too little sleep, worrying about the holethe window, and a mental notethat I had to call my contractor, and the freezing temperatures,
and the meetings I had upcomingEurope, and, you know, with allthe cortisolmy brain, my thinking was cloudy, but I didn't know it was cloudybecause my thinking was cloudy. (Laughter) And it wasn't until I gotto the airport checkin counter, that I realized I didn't have my passport. (Laughter)