noTED Talks: My Pending Proposals


The Spleen: Our Overlooked Center of Empathy

Saving the Planet, One Beer Can Pull-tab at a Time

Data Collection Data Metadata: Existential Threat, or Hope for a One World Utopia?

Profound Truths: Hidden Meanings in the Ad Lib Mumblings of Michael Cera

From Blacked Out to Clued In: Life Changing Insights from My Near-Fatal Alcoholic Binge

Happy Human Puppies: How Maternal Licking Can End Juvenile Crime

Workshop: How to Upcycle an ICBM Missile into Toothbrushes for the Undeveloped World

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from My Wise and Kind Robot

What If We Created a Global Ponzi Scheme of Love and Niceness?

Urine Luck: You Are What You Micturate

The New Credulity: If It’s Too Good to Be True, It’s Probably Worth Sharing


Pickpocket Apollo Robbins steals an entire audience's attention

I’ve really been interested in Apollo Robbins (website:—really) since reading this New Yorker profile. Robbins is an entertainer whose act is picking the pockets of his audience members, who are aware that he is trying to pick their pockets, yet are fooled all the same. 

In the several videos I’ve seen, Robbins always does pretty much the exact same routine. And so it is with the video below, from a recent TED Talk in Edinburgh, Scotland. But since every TED talk must have a high-falutin theme, Robbins first does a gloss about the transitive nature of human attention, on which he is, no doubt, an expert. Unfortunately, the camera work and editing of this video is terrible during some of the close-up sequence. Don’t TED directors block these things?

But aside from that, in this trick Robbins pulls off a pretty neat trick on the entire audience. He definitely got me. Watch to the end and see. (And for a better view of Robbins’s close up work, including some of the moves the TED cameras missed, watch this.)