iCut Magic Revew

icut head

iCut is a package of videos by a renowned Australian magician which shows you how to easily perform mind blowing street magic. iCut will give you the skills and confidence to approach strangers in the street and perform magic using their headphones. The videos take you by the hand and show you everything you need to know to get started. The main trick is iCut and the bonus includes 3 additional tricks.

> CLICK HERE to go to iCut <

Videos

  1. Live Performances
  2. Explanation
  3. Alternate Handling
  4. Extra Tips
  5. Bonus Phases

Live Performances

icut-live-performanceMagician Josh takes to the street in a shopping arcade to demonstrate iCut. The video is of 3 groups we see in the promotional material. The difference is here we see him perform the trick start to finish so we can see exactly how he does it. Once you know the trick the demos become very useful as you can copy the subtleties of his performance to give you confidence to perform it.

Explanation

Josh explains the idea for iCut came from wanting to take strong magic effects and update them. He then goes on to show you his favourite method for performing iCut. He shows you how to make an inexpensive gimmick and how to present the trick, giving a detailed description of the method so you can really understand it. Why get someone else to cut the headphones? Why say ‘on the count of 3′? He gives instructions about misdirection, explains the importance of each component and the images you want to create in people’s minds’ to make a lasting impression.

Alternate Handling

alternate-handlingsNot every situation will be the same so Josh shows a further 3 ways of performing the trick. One uses the gimmick from the main explanation, another is done through the use of a thumb tip and one can even be done off the cuff with no props or gimmicks. Knowing all 4 methods will allow you to perform iCut no matter the situation. If you are at a party and someone says ‘do that trick!’ you’ll be able to pull it off.

Extra Tips

You can pick up extra tips by watching the 3 live performances. However Josh also uses this vid to go into a few frequently asked questions. He covers performing the trick from different angles, dealing with different coloured headphones and noise issues.

Bonus Phases

torn-restored-earbudThe bonus phases contain 3 additional headphone tricks. He shows you how to pull the headphones through your thumb, through your neck and how to pull off an earbud and put it back on again. Each of these tricks are explained so you can see exactly how to do them. It would have been nice to have some videos of live performances to get some of the subtleties however you will be left in no doubt as to how to perform them after the explanation and demonstrations.

iCut Deluxe Lite

One of the deluxe options, Deluxe Lite gives you a further 6 different tricks. All the tricks involve a set of headphones and some involve the use of rings and further spectator participation. Josh shows you how to thread headphones through a ring then pull the headphones through the ring, take the ring off the headphones and throw it back on again, pull a ring from through your back pocket with the headphones and more.

iCut Deluxe

Explanation-screen-shotiCut plus 10 additional tricks. Everything from Deluxe Lite plus 4 more tricks. Turn 1 ring into another on the headphones by shaking it, a second method to pull a ring through the headphones, throw a ring onto the headphones and pull the headphones through your hand and a ring at the same time.

Review

The product is called iCut however its much more than a single trick. The iCut package contains 4 separate tricks giving you the basis of a short routine which can be performed anywhere. All 4 tricks are suitable for beginners and the methods are quick to learn. iCut is a great set of tricks to get started with street magic or add headphone tricks to your routine.

With the Deluxe package you have just about every conceivable trick that can be performed with a set of headphones. There are tricks for beginners and more advanced tricks, plenty to choose from to build a complete street magic headphone routine.

From David Blaine to Dynamo all street magicians had to start somewhere. iCut provides a great jumping off point for beginners and for an extra $20 iCut Deluxe is the complete street magic headphones package.

> CLICK HERE to go to iCut <

The Drunkard’s Walk Review

The Drunkard’s walk is a massively insightful book about… luck!

Think you are on a streak of extreme bad luck and failure even though you have the talent to be a star?  You could be right.

Put your successful life down to your immense ability and good looks? You could just have been in the right place at the right time.

History of Randomness

The Greeks did not believe in randomness and thought things worked according to the will of the Gods.

In fact the Greeks didn’t even have a number 0, it wasn’t until the 9th century that the concept of 0 was introduced by an Indian mathematician.

The Romans made some progress but it wasn’t until the 16th century that the first book on uncertainty was published, written by an Italian gambler!

It was at this time in Italy that the scientific revolution was taking place and there were other advancements in the study of chance for example Galileo’s work.

Pascal’s triangle, Pascal’s wager, Principia by Newton, the Bernoulli principle, Bayesian theory, the Laplace distribution and String theory have all helped advance our understanding of probability.

Randomness Rules

Our ability matters but so does randomness…

A stock speculator predicted the outcome of the US stock exchange for 12 years using nothing but the Superbowl to make his predictions…

Bruce Willis would not have got his breakthrough if he hadn’t gone to see his girlfriend in LA and chanced upon an audition for Moonlighting.

Bill Gates happened on a lucky series of events and went on to be the richest man in the world.

An average type of baseball player called Merris beat Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1961.

Understanding Randomness

First impressions count big time!

All of our perceptions are based on the initial information we receive about something and we don’t even realise we are doing it. This shortcut means we are prone to making mistakes and not looking at information objectively.

Many famous authors and moviemakers like George Lucas, JK Rowling and John Grisham had their work rejected countless times before they got a breakthrough.

If a sequence is long enough we will observe many unusual sequences. A sequence of good luck can be viewed as being influenced by skill, a phenomenon called the hot hand fallacy.

Derren Brown uses this principle in The System

A lack of control leads to anxiety so there is a fundamental clash between human nature and the true nature of things.

Conclusions

Do you think rich and successful people are the most gifted and hardest working? They may just have had all the lucky breaks. And take it easy on the beggar in the street, he might have had a serious streak of bad luck that could have happened to anyone.

In your own life remember that the more times you roll the dice the more chance you have of making it – so don’t give up and try lots of things!

Spend more time reflecting on the possibility that you might be wrong about something instead of presuming you are right…

If you really want to get into the spirit of things read Dice Man by Luke Rheinhart and get rolling that dice 😉

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Sway, The Irresistible Pull Of Irrational Behaviour – Review

People are irrational. Every day there are unseen psychological forces at work controlling your actions and you are not even aware of them… until you’ve read this book! (unless you’re a psychologist).

Loss Aversion

We don’t want to lose and we’ll do anything to avoid it. Whether its capital tied up in stocks and shares, paying extra for food, or if its our reputation on the line, we avoid loss like the plague. We want to gain but we don’t want to lose more because loss is painful.

If a loss is more meaningful we’ll avoid it even more and even the word loss has a powerful effect on us.

We see a regular $20 being sold for $200 at an auction, people giving up buying eggs and investors losing everything when they refused to cut their losses.

Value Attribution

Our brains have a useful shortcut as to whether we should pay attention to something, we give it an instant value. This shortcut can trip us up though because things aren’t always what they seem. What about that priceless antique at the jumble sale or a world class violinist…

Diagnostic Bias

Beware diagnostic bias. You are constantly labelling things then ignoring or ‘refining’ all future information about it. But what if you were wrong in the first instance?

And its not just you who is affected by your grossly innacurate view of things. People react to the labels placed on them (The Cameleon Effect) and this can have profound effects on a persons ability, confidence and health.

Fairness

Fairness is irrational. People have an acute sense of fairness however it is vastly affected by cultural factors so your idea of whats fair will be different to someone in another part of the world.

Commitment

Committing to a course of action can undoubtedly help us achieve our goals but the examples in the book show catastrophic plane crashes and people losing everything when they commit to a course of action then don’t rationally evaluate things along the way.

Selfish or Altruistic?

When performing tasks we are either being driven by a selfish part of our brain or the altruistic part. Both can’t operate at the same time and the selfish brain will hijack the altruistic brain given half a chance.

For this reason we should be careful to offer a reward for tasks which may be done better for altruistic reasons. Such behaviour has seen great teachers become poor ones and rewarded children perform worse on tests.

Group Dynamics

In groups we see 4 types of people – initiators, blockers, supporters, observers and they are all important in helping the group reach correct decisions. People are reluctant to voice opinions which differ from those of a group, unless someone else has voiced an alternative opinion.

Key Learnings

Irrational sways are everywhere an affecting our lives. Being aware of them can help us to avoid the pitfalls of irrational behaviour.

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Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind Extracts. Audiobook Review

This audiobook is taken from the fantastic book Tricks of the Mind and teaches the basics of hypnosis, a couple of magic tricks and some powerful memory techniques.

Disk 1: Hypnosis

Derren says he thinks hypnosis is very safe but gives 7 rules to bear in mind just to be extra cautious:

  1. Don’t try to hypnotise someone who is clearly disturbed or has epilepsy
  2. Don’t attempt any therapeutic change unless you are suitably qualified
  3. Treat hypnosis as a gentle tool
  4. Everything you do contributes to the hypnosis. Don’t get flustered
  5. At end make sure person is completely out of belief that they are hypnotised
  6. Take it slowly and only try in a controlled environment
  7. Treat it first as a relaxation tool and move slowly into administering suggestions

What you learn:

  • In its simplest form hypnosis is pacing someone’s experience then leading them to behaviours you want.
  • Use presupposition. This means you presuppose something to be true eg. as your eyes get heavier/ you can wonder how deeply you are going into trance
  • Use double binds where the only options are 2 you have suggested.
  • Tone of voice – gentle and relaxed
  • Use imagery to involve all the senses
  • Don’t contradict yourself and don’t be specific

Framework:

  1. Prepare subject and induce light stages of trance, this may include eye closure
  2. Deepen the trance through a metaphor such as going down the stairs
  3. Carry out your hypnotic work
  4. Fully awaken the subject

Disk 2: Magic

Coin Trick – A Coin Slide

The trick involves sliding a coin off a table, pretending to pick it up and pulling it into your lap.

The trick is enhanced by using another coin for misdirection and placing the coins on the table in advance.

Card trick – A Sucker Trick

  1. Get someone to shuffle cards (need someone with basic overhand shuffle)
  2. Look at cardface then immediately turn away and spread the deck in your hands, showing everyone faces of deck
  3. Turn face down and place squared up on table
  4. Bottom card is key card
  5. Get person to cut deck in 2 and place top half to your right
  6. Turn away and remove card he cut to (top card of bottom half) and look at it
  7. Pick up bottom half
  8. Tell him to replace card
  9. Get person to shuffle cards again
  10. Say you will put cards face up on table and he is not to react if you see his card
  11. Turn over 1 at a time, card after key card is his card. Carry on after chosen card appears but make sure index of chosen card remains visible to you
  12. Stop then ask to bet that next card turned over will be the card
  13. Then reach for the card in pie and turn over

Magic tips:

  • Most of the magic is created after the trick
  • A state of amazement leaves spectators more open to suggestion
  • To make them look less foolish people will trick themselves eg. Think they definitely saw card in magicians hand
  • Magic is helped by people watching closely and using the off beat when both you and they relax
  • Conjurer creates false trail of events
  • Best to be simple and direct

Disk 3: Memory

No such thing as photographic memory. A few people have an idetic memory and can hold the image of a scene in their minds but it typically can’t be held for long and is prone to distortions. Individuals with great memories use rich mnemonic strategies.

Memory is a set of processes. We can remember 7 or so units after which point we instinctively want to break it down into smaller chunks.

Linking System:

  1. Use vivid images and attach strong emotions
  2. Elements should interact
  3. Picture should be unusual

Uses of linking system – shopping lists, tasks, speeches and for actors

Drawback – if stuck on 1 word system breaks down

Loci System:

  1. Use a route you know with locations on the way.
  2. Take a list of things and relate an item to each location.
  3. Place a strong visual representation at each location.
  • Memory palaces – Expand number of loci eg. In your house
  • Its better to have action take place inside something
  • You need to go through things in fixed order eg. Clockwise
  • You can use for permanent memory.
  • Expand loci – have a door from your house lead to another familiar building. Use places from real life eg. museums you have visited

Remembering Names

  1. When you meet with someone immediately think of someone you already know with the same name
  2. Imagine person in front of you has been made up to look at bit like the person you know

or

  1. Connect name with another image eg. Mike becomes a microphone stand, bill becomes an invoice
  2. Find something memorable about the person’s appearance. Better to be a physical feature
  3. Link the 2 together
  • Its best to make image as efficient as possible
  • Can put other info into scene
  • Importance of reviewing

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Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin – Review

Your Inner Fish is all about human evolution.

By looking at fossil records, genes and life on earth today we can work out where we came from and its fascinating.

It is no exaggeration to say this book will change the way you look at the world.

Chapter 1: Finding Your Inner Fish

375 million years ago a fish called Tiktaalik appears in the fossil records in Greenland.

With its flat head and primitive limb-like fins the Tiktaalik fossil is a sea dwelling fish evolving to being a land living animal.

It was cleverly discovered by Shubin and his colleagues after studying the geology of the area and making precise predictions about the fossil record.

Chapter 2: Getting a Grip

By looking at animals with limbs scientists noticed animals as diverse as bats, horses and frogs all have a common design for their limbs, the only thing that changes is the shape and size of the bones.

Humans can rotate our hands relative to our elbows,using a pivot point. This lineage can be traced back to Tiktaalik who could also bend its elbow.

Life in and out of water is not that clearcut with some ancient and modern day fish having lungs.

It appears that fish began growing limbs to escape the water and the fierce predators that lived there.

Chapter 3: Handy Genes

Each cell in our body contains the genetic code to make the whole body.

Different genes are active in the different cell types and genetic switches help assemble us. Interestingly the gene responsible for limb and fin development is the same.

This points to the fact that the evolution of limbs from fins did not require any new genes.

Chapter 4: Teeth Everywhere

Looking at teeth gives us lots of clues about our genetic heritage.

Mammals have a single jaw bone and top and bottom teeth which match up. Reptiles have jaws with many bones and replace teeth continually. Primitive fish like Lampreys have no jaws and feed by attaching themselves to other fish and feeding on their body fluids.

Human teeth reveal that we are all purpose eaters, having incisors specialised to cut food, canines in the back and molars in extreme back to shear or mash food.

Our teeth are the hardest parts of our bodies, Hydroxyapatite giving them their hardness.

The primary purpose of teeth is to allow us to eat things that are bigger than our mouths.

Chapter 5: Getting Ahead

In this chapter we learn that the essence of our heads goes right back to worms.

The muscles in the head are attached to the brain and organs. The nerves in the head look very much like the wiring in an old building, not making logical sense. They have evolved that way to accommodate other features eg. giraffes neck.

Chapter 6: The Best Laid (Body) Plans

The plans for our bodies goes back to fish and if you think about it that’s quite logical. Their bodies are lined up like ours, they have heads and spines.

Animals in other lineages such as sponges and jellyfish have fundamentally different body plans.

Chapter 7: Adventures in Bodybuilding

In experiments using bacteria, predation has been shown to produce multi cellular organisms from single celled ones over a number of generations.

Around 1 bn years ago bacteria began eating each other and at the same time oxygen levels increased in the atmosphere which allowed for multi cellular organisms to survive.

We evolved from these multi cellular organisms, with cells specialising and eventually leading to skeletons and limbs.

Chapter 8: Making Scents

Our sense of smell goes back to being a fish.

Lampreys and Hagfish have single nostril and extract odours from water. Lungfish have 2 kinds of nostrils, external and internal which is similar to the structure we have.

Mammals developed a much greater sense of smell and in fact a whole 3% of the human genome is devoted to smell.

Humans though, like other primates with colour vision, have a diminished sense of smell. Apparently there was an evolutionary trade off between the 2.

Dolphins have no sense of smell and use what was their noses as blow holes to blow out water.

Chapter 9: Vision

The eyes capture light and transmit it to the brain where it is processed.

An amazing 70% of our sensory cells are used for vision.

Fascinatingly, the origin of the eye can be traced right back to bacteria!

There is a single gene which triggers the formation of the eye called pac 6 and this is the same in many creatures with eyes.

Chapter 10: Ears

The history of the inner ear can be traced to ancient fish and the neurons even further.

Mammals’ middle ears are different to other species, having 3 bones.

Interestingly one jelly fish, the Box Jelly fish has 20 eyes, though no other type of jellyfish has eyes.

Chapter 11: The Meaning Of It All

Looking at a human is like looking back in time through our evolutionary heritage. Some of our features started with bacteria, some with fish, others as mammals.

If we look at other animals it becomes apparent which parts are similar. We have many similarities to a Polar Bear, fewer with a Turtle and fewer still with a regular fish.

Many human illnesses are a result of our sedentary lifestyle when our bodies are built for an active one.

Epilogue

We should embrace scientific study without fear.

Maybe it will give us a deeper understanding of human nature and help us cure illnesses

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What Every Body Is Saying, Joe Navarro – Review

What Every Body is Saying is a detailed book on body language by one of the world’s leading experts.

Joe Navarro has dedicated his life to studying body language, a passion which began aged 8 and led him to a 25 year career in the FBI.

A mix of theory, scientific facts and careful observations fill the book with revealing insights.

Chapter 1: Mastering the Secrets of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication constitutes 65% of all interpersonal communication and if your not already you should start paying attention because our body language tells the truth!

Joe has 10 commandments of body language which include conscious and continuous observation, establishing baselines, looking out for changes, discomfort and not staring at people 😉

Chapter 2: Living Our Limbic Legacy

Think you’re clever – well you should be, you have 3 brains!

Your mammalian ‘limbic’ brain controls your body language and works on a freeze, fight then flight basis.

This survival mechanism evolved millenia ago and is still useful in our survival today. When we are comfortable we demonstrate high confidence and when not comfortable we show low confidence behaviours.

If we are uncomfortable we use pacifying behaviours to stimulate our brains into feeling better. There are differences between men and women but in general these behaviours take the form of  touching our necks, our faces, whistling, yawning, touching our legs and hugging ourselves.

Chapter 3: Getting a Leg Up on Body Language

Forget eye contact and hugs, if you want to know what someone is feeling take a closer look at their legs!

Peoples’ legs give away uncensored information about their inner most thoughts.

Look out for happy feet, which way feet are pointing, the knee clasp and leg splay to gauge what someone is thinking.

If we are comfortable we will cross our legs, and lovers will mirror each others legs. Significant changes in leg movement, foot freeze and the foot lock and leave indicate a lack of comfort.

If you want to know if someone likes you when you meet them when you have shaken their hand see if they stay still or move towards or away from you.

People walk in 40 different ways!

Chapter 4: Torso Tips

People turn towards things they like and away from things they don’t. If we can’t turn away from something we dislike we use our arms as a shield.

When trying to assert dominance people may puff up their chests or splay their torso.

Like the legs, the torso is honest, partly because it contains all our organs!

Chapter 5: Knowledge Within Reach

Arms are used to display dominance for example arms akimbo and the hooding effect, we throw our arms in the air when we are happy and hug people we like. Touching someone’s arm is one of the best ways to instantly gain rapport.

We also put jewellery on our arms to demonstrate wealth.

Chapter 6: Getting a Grip

Our human hands are unique amongst the animals and by using them correctly we can become more persuasive, likeable and credible :)

You can offend people with your hands by pointing, snapping your fingers or flipping the ‘bird’.

Look out for steepling, thumb displays, genital framing, frozen hands, hand wringing, neck touching, microexpressions as all give away our subconscious thouhts.

When shaking hands, don’t try to assert dominance it doesn’t work, giving a good firm handshake is the best bet!

Chapter 7: The Minds’s Canvas

Our facial expressions are a universal language. Humans are capable of more than 10,000 different facial expressions.

Because we can control our facial expressions we can mask emotions but faces are still useful for gauging emotion.

Look out for eye blocking behaviours like squinting and pupil constriction. People do this when they don’t like what they see. Likewise, if what they say is agreeable we see pupil dilation, eyebrow arching and flashbulb eyes.

Contempt is shown by the rolling of the eyes and sneering. The lips, nose, forehead, cheeks all give information away and If the face is sending mixed signals, the negative emotion is more honest.

Interestingly eye contact does not indicate honesty and is often used by psychopaths!

Chapter 8: Detecting Deception

Despite the inherent honesty of our body language, when the body lies, its still hard to tell. Even the most gifted body language readers can only detect deception 60% of the time. Polygraphs are only 60-80% accurate. That’s because lying is a survival tool.

When trying to detect deception make sure you know the base level of body language when comfortable. Look out for blocking using objects, pacifying behaviour, clusters of behaviours, synchrony and emphasis.

Pay attention and get a good view!

Chapter 9: Final Thouhts

We are taught to listen to what people say, see what peoples bodies are telling you and a whole new world of communication will open up!

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