Originally posted on TED Blog:

David Blaine is the master of the endurance stunt.  In 1999, he was buried alive in a clear box underneath three tons of water. Over the course of seven days, about 75,000 people stopped by to watch him in his self-made tomb. [ted_talkteaser id=741]In 2008, Blaine attempted to set the Guinness World Record for holding his breath underwater in front of a packed crowd — and had to be pulled out of the tank when he started convulsing. He attempted the trick again, this time successfully, as Oprah‘s cameras rolled — holding his breath for an incredible 17 minutes and 4.5 seconds. Just last year, Blaine performed a new 72-hour stunt in which one million volts of electricity were sent through his body, the whole thing livestreamed over YouTube.

Blaine found these challenges — and their very public nature — both manageable and exciting. But there was one challenge that…

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