I’m know I haven’t been keeping up on my blogging – shame on me.
Yesterday Corrie and I passed by Lincoln Center and saw David Blaine in his fishbowl. In case you haven’t heard, David Blaine is submerging himself underwater for a week, at the end of which he will attempt to break out of 150 lbs of chains while holding his breath for 9 minutes.
Let me answer the most frequently asked questions I get about this stunt:
1) Is this dangerous?
Yes, it is. He could die of hypothermia – if the water is too cold and his core temperature drops below 12 degrees C, then we’ll be in for some entertaining antics as he loses his mind (mental slowing, confusion, and amnesia – “What the hell am I doing in here?”), and some not so entertaining antics as his organs fail and he dies.
Of course, it’s hot as hell for May, and another danger to Mr. Blaine is (hee hee) dehydration and heat stroke. The water is being heated to prevent hypothermia, but the glass in the tank amplifies the sun’s rays, heating the water even further. Being that he’s enveloped in water, sweating isn’t going to do Mr. Blaine much good, since sweat can’t evaporate in water! His core temperature could rise and, well, you know.
2) Are his hands all wrinkly?
I don’t know. He was wearing gloves. But they very well could be.
3) How do they keep the water so clear?
They pass David a tube to “pass” into.
4) What happened to all the fish?
They had to go. It was either them or David. The water temps would have killed the fish; to keep the fish alive would have killed David.
5) Is this magic?
No. It’s an amazing feat. It’s testament to the power of human will and the remarkable progress of science. But it’s not magic.
6) Can a person really hold their breath for 9 minutes?
Why, yes. A person can hold their breath for much longer than that, especially if they don’t mind being a little bit brain damaged afterwards.
By the way, I’m a little perturbed at the sloppy reporting that this whole breath-holding thing is getting. The actual record is 13 minutes and 42 seconds, set by Robert Foster. I think – I haven’t bought the Guinness Book of World Records since 2005.
Come to think of it, I think Tom Sietas did 14 minutes and 15 seconds back in January. I’ll have to check that.
But anyway, couldn’t these reporters have looked it up?
7) Is David Blaine better than Harry Houdini?
That’s like asking if Eddie Van Halen is better than Jimi Hendrix – there would be no Eddie Van Halen without Jimi Hendrix coming along first to play guitar the way he did.
…and Harry Houdini was better. 🙂