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Magicians as victims

Remember those salad days when we thought we could all be Houdini or, well, Dorothy Dietrich? (there just aren't that many noted female magicians from which to choose; even the ones on display in Vegas seem pressured to veer burlesque). Kid magicians are a dime a dozen. I know I certainly thought I was one--always filching hardboiled eggs and begging my mother to buy me dramatic kerchiefs. The easiest tricks to learn were always thanks to some bullet-pointed recipe, and usually came out with variegated results.

If any of us ever advanced beyond the parlor (and please, please out yourselves if so!), we'd jealously guard our secrets, and anyone who blabbed would be blacklisted. As a recent Slate article revealed, it's not quite the chummy, collaborative world of haute cuisine...

Magic journals images-16.jpgare not available at newsstands, and even Prince Charles had to perform an examination before being accepted as a member of the Magic Circle. A magician who steals from another, or reveals secrets not widely known by nonmagicians, will not be entrusted with new ideas or recommended by other magicians.

Further spurring the IP-rights-for-magicians movement:

In one notorious episode, a series of 1990s television shows with the self-explanatory title Breaking the Magician's Code won big audiences by revealing the secrets behind classic illusions. One magician complained that the shows were "peeing in everybody's cornflakes"; another compared them to destroying Santa Claus. But the magicians' social sanctions were powerless to prevent television executives from exposing their secrets, and legal challenges to the program did not succeed.

I'd never tell a magician's secret; it'd be like refusing to call someone by her stage name. It's just cruel. Have any of you ever culled enough legerdemain to be thusly ripped off? Or, more likely, if you were a kid magician, what was your signature act?

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Tips For Baking Perfect Cookies
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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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