David Blaine, the magician and "endurance artist" is training to break the human breath-holding record April 30 on Oprah. He's already done it 16 minutes, 9 seconds in a test run, John Tierney reports in his New York Times science blog. New techniques have made it possible for the untrained to hold their breath longer than thought possible in the past.
“The empiric results have consistently exceeded theoretical predictions,” says a scientist studying humans' ability for holding their breath—a reflex shared with other mammals, including dolphins. “David seems to have a phenomenal ability, like Buddhist monks, to control his body,” he adds of the 35-year-old Blaine, who's aiming to surpass 16:14 in his live-TV attempt. (Read more David Blaine stories.)