Look what a pretty clickbaity title I made! *squee*
The beauty of this blog… is that it is oh so quiet. Unlike other places I post on the internet.
On social networks it’s so easy for anyone to have an opinion on just about anything you say, do or share. My growing questioning of social networks as a psychological burden is not lessened by the onslaught of former tech developers calling for a change in the algorithms that have us so hooked to scrolling and surfing.
Social networks are not the best for concentration, memory capacity or mental health. I’ve heard Nicholas Carr writes about it at length in his book “The Shallows”. I’ve not yet read it, perhaps due to my attention span getting shorter. (On a “bad” day I’ll still read research to cheer myself up).
Here’s a collection of bookmarks I’ve been meaning to get to. Does anyone bookmark anymore? I feel like most use Pinterest instead of bookmarks. Anyway, this is the most procrastinating thing you can do, to save bookmarks and (pretending?) intending to get to them eventually.
How do you learn a language? by Richard Simcott (who co-organizes the Polyglot Conference!). I have been asked this question so many times I’ve lost track and I always intend to answer with this post. Only problem is, it’s in English and most people who ask me how to learn a language are usually wondering how to learn English. Bit of a catch 22 there, innit?
Sense8. A netflix original show that I both love and hate. Reasons I don’t like it can be summed up here and here. Main reason I dislike it is that it’s progressive and antiracist to the point of becoming regressive and racist, something I also intend to write about… And I love it because, the show is in the end about love and connection.
An intro into memory. I wrote a book this past summer, introducing people to memory techniques, unforgettable and fascinating stories about memory. This page helped a lot in leading me into more research.
5 Neuroscience books. I want to get my ph.D. and do neuroscience afterward, like so many of my friends seem to be doing. We’ll see how the academia side of life goes though.
Press kits. Journalists and other media people ask for pictures and facts and since I’m only one person it gets hard to keep up. This is why making a bomb af press kit would be great, but I still haven’t gotten around to that. This is what I’ve made so far. But I should probably look into the tips here and here.
Gifted. Chris Evans is a single man raising a child prodigy and the movie plays with the very real issue of our inability to understand what the better ways to raise “brilliant” children are. I watched this movie on a plane and something about flying makes movies better, so that might’ve affected my love for it. It was smarter than Will Hunting and had a more realistic depiction of what life is like for a child “genius” than most depictions in culture. Before I got on the flight, I had just read this thought on existential depression in gifted children, so it felt like an obvious choice when I saw it was available to watch on the flight.
September song arrangement. In one of the most satisfying season finales and shows of all time, Big Little Lies featured this song in its last episode. I want to make something similar soon using this song and also get a piano. Playing the piano makes me happy, it’s weird how adulthood sometimes has you forget that you’re a person with hopes and dreams and hobbies, not just some productivity bunny who does endless chores and tasks for capitalist purposes.
Aphantasia – What it’s like be blind in your mind. A couple of years ago I realized someone I spent literally every day with was completely and utterly unable to imagine things. Since then I’ve had so many questions about it. “How would these people who can’t visualize do at a memory competition?” being one of the less important ones. Most of my answers were found in this long post. A big part (90%?) of memory sports is visualizing, which sometimes makes it frustrating when I read sports psychology books that are all about visualizing your progress. How do you visualize success when the entire sport is about visualizing? Do you visualize yourself visualizing? Visualizeption.
Coaches are key. The hard thing about memory sports is that a) it’s new and b) the few people who are better than you at certain things are not very willing to share their tips, have retired or are the kind of people you should avoid interacting with when at all possible. It’s a competition after all, so I get that. But sometimes, like my last competition in Singapore when I was feeling low, I wish I had a coach. Being semi-self-taught ain’t all fun and games.
Things that aren’t progress. In a short amount of time I’ve been given awards, decrees (?), titles and other things that I’m beginning to question the purpose of… This post is about what looks like progress (and work) but isn’t. Life can’t all be cutting ribbons, kissing babies and being invited to “exclusive” events. But it’s easy to forget that when you’re in the momentum of a fast-paced life that looks prestigious on the outside, but is so energy-consuming that you have none left to look within and see how you’d actually like to spend your time.
The Psychometrics center at the University of Cambridge. First of all, can all my friends who’ve attended Cambridge within the last 15 years not mention that within the first hour of meeting someone new? It puts me in friend shame when I see you do that to another friend I’m introducing you too. I don’t see a lot of other Oxford-Harvard type friends do this, what is it about Cambridge that has people so hype™ on themselves? Just stahp. People can tell you’re smart already, no need to mention what school you attended.
Anyway, researchers at the uni there have gathered a series of tests for you to understand yourself better, but also for them to gather more data and understand humans more – so share your data at your own risk. I did applymagicsauce.com where all of my Facebook posts where analyzed and got accurate results.
They’ve got other tests to, but take those results with a grain of salt… My music taste got me pegged as a conservative republican and my taste in brands labeled me a liberal democrat.
Avoiding internet surveillance – The complete guide. People say I’m paranoid, but I believe I just have a healthy (heavy) dose of skepticism (the previous list item proves my skepticism is healthy!). Especially toward old dudes in suits and what they could be capable of doing with data and technology and therefore will do with data and technology. I also have some acquaintances/friends in various places who’ve explained these types of things, data collecting and metadata at length and even shown me irl (but not afk) proving the scary strange things that one could do in terms of intrusion of privacy and potential data leak risks. (The most WTF moment was when one of them demonstrated how they could see me through my webcam without getting the green light on my computer to turn on, while they were God-knows-where and I was in Hong Kong watching Citizenfour. Coincidence? I think, yes, but it still freaked me out). Put black tape on your webcam. On another note, wouldn’t it make sense that the next world war would be one of information and data? I had also bookmarked the “Motherboard guide to avoiding the NSA”, but it just leads you to a 404 now.
Qwant – a search engine that respects your privacy. This bookmark is just always there so I can browse without feeling compromised.
The potential end of the internet. Which feels unlikely, but then again Trump as president of the US seemed unlikely just a year ago, so I wouldn’t discount it completely. We live in strange times, anything can happen.
Let’s end this post on that positive note! I should probably start packing for next week’s trip to Jakarta for the World Memory Championships now. My flight is on Monday, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare ahead of time. I read this post on the Onion thinking it wasn’t the Onion, Dad Suggest Arriving at Airport 14 Hours Early.