33 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. You may find this book in the “self-improvement” category, but in adeeper sense it is the opposite of self-improvement. It is aboutoptimizing a system outside yourself, a system not subject to you

      imitations and constraints, leaving you happily unoptimized and free to roam, to wonder, to wander toward whatever makes you feel alive here and now in each moment.

      Some may categorize handbooks on note taking within the productivity space as "self-help" or "self-improvement", but still view it as something that happens outside of ones' self. Doesn't improving one's environment as a means of improving things for oneself count as self-improvement?

      Marie Kondo's minimalism techniques are all external to the body, but are wholly geared towards creating internal happiness.

      Because your external circumstances are important to your internal mental state, external environment and decoration can be considered self-improvement.


      Could note taking be considered exbodied cognition? Vannevar Bush framed the Memex as a means of showing associative trails. (Let's be honest, As We May Think used the word trail far too much.)

      How does this relate to orality vs. literacy?

      Orality requires the immediate mental work for storage while literacy removes some of the work by making the effort external and potentially giving it additional longevity.

  2. Apr 2022
    1. One of the most effective ways of enhancing memories is to provide them with a link to your personal life.

      Personalizing ideas using existing memories is a method of brining new knowledge into one's own personal context and making them easier to remember.

      link this to: - the pedagogical idea of context shifting as a means of learning - cards about reframing ideas into one's own words when taking notes

      There is a solid group of cards around these areas of learning.


      Random thought: Personal learning networks put one into a regular milieu of people who are talking and thinking about topics of interest to the learner. Regular discussions with these people helps one's associative memory by tying the ideas into this context of people with relation to the same topic. Humans are exceedingly good at knowing and responding to social relationships and within a personal learning network, these ties help to create context on an interpersonal level, but also provide scaffolding for the ideas and learning that one hopes to do. These features will tend to reinforce each other over time.

      On the flip side of the coin there is anecdotal evidence of friends taking courses together because of their personal relationships rather than their interest in the particular topics.

    2. Referring to other memories can place your item in a better context, simplify wording, and reduce interference.

      Referring to other memories when studying can help to place things in context and reduce potential interference of memories.

    3. The reason for this has been discussed earlier in the context of the minimum information principle: you should always try to make sure your brain works in the exactly same way at each repetition.

      There is research that one's first guess or intuition is often correct. In a similar mode, one's first associative thought will likely be the strongest and easiest to remember. It's also more likely that the thought path will occur again and thereby make that association easier to remember in the future.

      What does this research indicate? Has anyone tested for this effect? Does it have a name? the TK effect? (And if it doesn't the TK Effect is actually quite an apt one.)


      This doesn't seem to be the same definition of the minimum information principle as before.

  3. Mar 2022
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkjf0hCKOCE

      The sky is a textbook. The sky is a lawbook. The sky is a science book. —Duane Hamacher, (1:24)

      Hamacher uses the Western description "method of loci" rather than an Indigenous word or translated word.


      The words "myth", "legend", "magic", "ritual", and "religion" in both colloquial English and even anthropology are highly loaded terms.

      Words like "narrative" and "story" are better used instead for describing portions of the Indigenous cultures which we have long ignored and written off for their seeming simplicity.

    1. The idea that ‘everything onEarth is reflected in the sky’ and of ‘reading the stars’ to understandyour environment are two of the most common and widespreadthemes in Indigenous astronomy.

      Hidden in the phrase that "everything on Earth is reflected in the sky" or the idea of "reading the stars to understand one's environment" is the idea of associative memory. If you know one thing, you necessarily know another. Don't let this subtle idea of the words 'reflect' or 'read' hide what is going on.

    2. Indigenous sciences are highly interconnected, while Westernscience tends to be divided into different categories by discipline, witheach diverging into ever smaller focus areas.

      Indigenous sciences are highly interconnected while Western sciences tend to be highly sub-divided into ever smaller specializations.


      Are Indigenous sciences naturally interconnected or do they form that way because of the associative memory underlying the cultural orality by which they are formed and transmitted? (I would suspect so, but don't yet have the experience to say definitively. Evidence for this should be collected.)

    3. Wanta JampijinpaPatrick, a Warlpiri Elder, teaches that north corresponds to ‘Law’,south to ‘ceremony’, west to ‘language’ and east to ‘skin’. ‘Country’lies at the intersection of these directions, at the centre of thecompass: Westerners conceptualise it as ‘here’.

      In Warlpiri, the cardinal directions of north, south, east and west associatively correspond with the ideas of "Law", "ceremony", "skin", and "language" respectively. The idea of "Country" lies at the center of these directions in a space that Westerners would describe as "here".

      This directional set up underlines the value of each of the related concepts and provides pride of place to "Country" and one's being "in Country".


      Compare these with the Japanese pattern of こ (ko), そ (so), あ (a), ど (do) which describe a location with respect to the speaker.


      Western readers should notice here, that the author centers the name and position of the origin of this knowledge at the start of the sentence. While it is associated with him, it is also certainly associated with all his preceding ancestors and Elders who passed this information down.

      One might suspect that this practice isn't as common with base-level cultural knowledge, but that it becomes more important at succeeding levels of intimate area-based restricted knowledge. Placing the origin of the knowledge here at a more basic level of knowledge may help to instruct Western readers slowly and more surely understand how this foreign culture works.

      How closely does this practice generally look like the Western idea of citing one's sources which only evolved slowly over history and became more common with the flood of information in the 1500s?

    4. when the nose of theshark touches the horizon at sunset, it is supposed to signify thatsharks are breeding and are considered dangerous as they swimclose to shore.

      The Big Dipper, part of Ursa Major, appears upside down in the southern Hemisphere and is associated with the shape of a shark in the Torres Strait. When its "nose" touches the horizon at sunset, it's associated with breeding of nearby sharks who swim in shallow waters.

      Notice the variety of associations of time (both of year, sunset, and breeding) with an animal (in both the water and in the sky) along with a specific location (Torres Strait).

    1. In a study published in 2020, for example, Macedonia and a group of sixcoauthors compared study participants who had paired new foreign-languagewords with gestures to those who had paired the learning of new words withimages of those words. The researchers found evidence that the motor cortex—the area of the brain that controls bodily movement—was activated in thegesturing group when they reencountered the vocabulary words they hadlearned; in the picture-viewing group, the motor cortex remained dormant. The“sensorimotor enrichment” generated by gesturing, Macedonia and hercoauthors suggest, helps to make the associated word more memorable

      Manuela Macedonia and co-authors found that pairing new foreign words with gestures created activity in the motor cortex which helped to improve the associative memory for the words and the movements. Using images of the words did not create the same motor cortex involvement.

      It's not clear which method of association is better, at least as written in The Extended Mind. Was one better than the other? Were they tested separately, together, and in a control group without either? Surely one would suspect that using both methods together would be most beneficial.

    2. Designed gestures offer another benefit as well: they are especially effectiveat reinforcing our memory.

      Intentional gestures can be used as mnemonic devices as the movement can be associated with things we wish to remember.

    3. Research demonstrates that gesture can enhance our memory by reinforcing thespoken word with visual and motor cues.

      Research shows that gesture can impact our memories by helping to associate speech with visual cues.

      References for this?

      Link this to the idea that our visual memories are much stronger than our verbal ones.

    1. Transferring ideas into the external memory also allows us toforget them.

      While placing our ideas into external memory devices like notebooks or zettelkasten may allow us to forget them, mnemotechniques allow us to perform a similar task, but provides us hooks upon which they might be hung by means of association with other ideas. These hooks and association can be reactivated at later times when the ideas may be needed.

      The zettelkasten allows us to do multiple things. It encourages us to clarify our ideas by writing them down, we extend them by linking them to other contexts, we actively write towards a multitude of interesting goals, by writing, we can forget the original ideas which we can later serendipitously re-link to new concepts.

  4. Feb 2022
    1. Even thoughelaboration works verifiably well for deep understanding, it might notbe the best choice if you just want to learn isolated encyclopaedicfacts (Rivard 1994).

      For deep understanding the elaboration method may be the best tool, but may not be the best choice for learning isolated encyclopedic facts.


      By learning isolated facts do they really mean memorizing here? In which case, perhaps using mnemotechniques is the best way to create synthetic associative links by which to tie one's knowledge into their other mental frameworks of knowledge. If thought about this way one is really elaborating their knowledge in a synthetic manner instead of more naturally. Either way, you're doing some form of elaborating as a means of assuming the knowledge. Both forms are work, though slightly different.

    2. “Manipulations such as variation, spacing, introducing contextualinterference, and using tests, rather than presentations, as learningevents, all share the property that they appear during the learningprocess to impede learning, but they then often enhance learning asmeasured by post-training tests of retention and transfer. Conversely,manipulations such as keeping conditions constant and predictable andmassing trials on a given task often appear to enhance the rate oflearning during instruction or training, but then typically fail to supportlong-term retention and transfer” (Bjork, 2011, 8).

      This is a surprising effect for teaching and learning, and if true, how can it be best leveraged. Worth reading up on and testing this effect.

      Indeed humans do seem built for categorizing and creating taxonomies and hierarchies, and perhaps allowing this talent to do some of the work may be the best way to learn not only in the short term, but over longer term evolutionary periods?

    3. Learning requires effort, because we have to think to understandand we need to actively retrieve old knowledge to convince ourbrains to connect it with new ideas as cues. To understand howgroundbreaking this idea is, it helps to remember how much effortteachers still put into the attempt to make learning easier for theirstudents by prearranging information, sorting it into modules,categories and themes. By doing that, they achieve the opposite ofwhat they intend to do. They make it harder for the student to learnbecause they set everything up for reviewing, taking away theopportunity to build meaningful connections and to make sense ofsomething by translating it into one’s own language. It is like fastfood: It is neither nutritious nor very enjoyable, it is just convenient

      Some of the effort that teachers put into their educational resources in an attempt to make learning faster and more efficient is actually taking away the actual learning opportunities of the students to sort, arrange, and make meaningful connections between the knowledge and to their own prior knowledge bases.

      In mathematics, rather than showing a handful of methods for solving a problem, the teacher might help students to explore those problem solving spaces first and then assist them into creating these algorithms. I can't help but think about Inventional Geometry by William George Spencer that is structured this way. The teacher has created a broader super-structure of problems, but leaves it largely to the student to do the majority of the work.

    4. This is why it is so much easier to remember things we understandthan things we don’t. It is not that we have to choose to focus eitheron learning or understanding. It is always about understanding – andif it is only for the sake of learning. Things we understand areconnected, either through rules, theories, narratives, pure logic,mental models or explanations. And deliberately building these kindsof meaningful connections is what the slip-box is all about.Every step is accompanied by questions like: How does this fact fitinto my idea of ...? How can this phenomenon be explained by thattheory? Are these two ideas contradictory or do they complementeach other? Isn’t this argument similar to that one? Haven’t I heardthis before? And above all: What does x mean for y? Thesequestions not only increase our understanding, but facilitate learningas well. Once we make a meaningful connection to an idea or fact, itis difficult not to remember it when we think about what it isconnected with.

      Our natural associative memories make learning easier when we can associate a new piece of knowledge into our previously existing framework of knowledge and understanding.

      Associative questions can help us to assume new knowledge. Try some of the following:

      How does this new fact X fit into my conception of Y?

      How can new phenomenon be explained by theory Z?

      Is this new idea contradictory with this prior theory or do they complement and reinforce each other?

      Is this new argument similar to that one? Is one subsumed into or abstracted by the other?

      This sounds familiar, haven't I heard this before?

      What does x mean for y?

    5. Our brains work not that differently in terms of interconnectedness.Psychologists used to think of the brain as a limited storage spacethat slowly fills up and makes it more difficult to learn late in life. Butwe know today that the more connected information we alreadyhave, the easier it is to learn, because new information can dock tothat information. Yes, our ability to learn isolated facts is indeedlimited and probably decreases with age. But if facts are not kept

      isolated nor learned in an isolated fashion, but hang together in a network of ideas, or “latticework of mental models” (Munger, 1994), it becomes easier to make sense of new information. That makes it easier not only to learn and remember, but also to retrieve the information later in the moment and context it is needed.

      Our natural memories are limited in their capacities, but it becomes easier to remember facts when they've got an association to other things in our minds. The building of mental models makes it easier to acquire and remember new information. The down side is that it may make it harder to dramatically change those mental models and re-associate knowledge to them without additional amounts of work.


      The mental work involved here may be one of the reasons for some cognitive biases and the reason why people are more apt to stay stuck in their mental ruts. An example would be not changing their minds about ideas of racism and inequality, both because it's easier to keep their pre-existing ideas and biases than to do the necessary work to change their minds. Similar things come into play with respect to tribalism and political party identifications as well.

      This could be an interesting area to explore more deeply. Connect with George Lakoff.

    6. As proper note-taking is rarely taught or discussed, it is no wonderthat almost every guide on writing recommends to start withbrainstorming. If you haven’t written along the way, the brain isindeed the only place to turn to. On its own, it is not such a greatchoice: it is neither objective nor reliable – two quite importantaspects in academic or nonfiction writing.

      Brainstorming can be a miserable way to start a creative process. Without a pre-existing source of ideas (one's own notes) it can be the only place to start, but it suffers from being unreliable and having no objectivity. It is tremendously difficult to plumb the depths of one's memory for great ideas, questions, or interesting places to start an endeavor, but if you've been collecting these for ages, it becomes much easier to span a space and see tangential spaces.

  5. Jan 2022
  6. Dec 2021
  7. Sep 2021
    1. Active reading helps you make connections within your latticework of mental models. Connections help retention.

      Connections ARE retention. They are memory.

  8. Jul 2021
  9. Jun 2021
    1. One cannot hope thus to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.

      the idea of an "[[associative trail]]" here brings to mind both the ars memorativa and the method of loci as well as--even more specifically--the idea of songlines.

      Bush's version is the same thing simply renamed.

      <small><cite class='h-cite ht'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Jeremy Dean</span> in Via: ‘What I Really Want Is Someone Rolling Around in the Text’ - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>06/09/2021 14:50:00</time>)</cite></small>

  10. Nov 2020
    1. It affords an immediate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.

      What Bush called "associative indexing" is the key idea behind the memex. Any item can immediately select others to which it has been previously linked.

    2. It is exactly as though the physical items had been gathered together from widely separated sources and bound together to form a new book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into numerous trails.

      Although Bush envisioned associative trails to be navigable sequences of original content and notes interspersed, what seems to make more sense when viewed through today's technology, is a rich document of notes where the relevant pieces from external documents are transcluded.

    3. Selection by association, rather than indexing, may yet be mechanized. One cannot hope thus to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.

      It should be easy to surpass the mind's performance in terms of storage capacity as well as lossiness. It might be more difficult to surpass it in terms of the speed and flexibility with which it "follows an associative trail"

    4. The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.

      The human mind doesn't work according to the file-cabinet metaphor — it operates by association.

      "With one items in its gras, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain."

  11. Oct 2020
    1. How to best help users when they forget the answer to a question? Suppose a user can’t remember the answer to the question: “Who was the second President of the United States?” Perhaps they think it’s Thomas Jefferson, and are surprised to learn it’s John Adams. In a typical spaced-repetition memory system this would be dealt with by decreasing the time interval until the question is reviewed again. But it may be more effective to follow up with questions designed to help the user understand some of the surrounding context. E.g.: “Who was George Washington’s Vice President?” (A: “John Adams”). Indeed, there could be a whole series of followup questions, all designed to help better encode the answer to the initial question in memory.

      Here they're using the word encode at the bottom of the example, but they're not encoding anything!! They're talking about making other tangential associations which may help to triangulate the answer, but they're not directly encoding the actual information itself.

  12. Dec 2019
    1. One need arose quite commonly as trains of thought would develop on a growing series of note cards. There was no convenient way to link these cards together so that the train of thought could later be recalled by extracting the ordered series of notecards. An associative-trail scheme similar to that out lined by Bush for his Memex could conceivably be implemented with these cards to meet this need and add a valuable new symbol-structuring process to the system.
  13. Feb 2014
    1. It affords an immediate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.

      The essential feature of the memex is its ability of association; tying two items together.