As I’ve been reading about Zettlekasten for part of the evening, it dawns on me that there are some likely overlaps with both my prior work on statistical mechanics and ideas of mnemonics and techniques like the method of loci. I’ll have to think of how to better memorize and specifically tag pieces of information into such a mental Zettlekasten. I wonder what might evolve?
Read Different Kinds of Ties Between Notes (Zettelkasten Method)
After the awesome discussion of Sascha’s latest blog post, I meditated about all the different kinds of ties between notes. Here’s what I came up with.

You can translate “Folgezettel” (literally: “subsequent note”) as “note sequence”. 

Annotated on March 23, 2020 at 04:47PM

Our brain can only hold to so much information at a time. 

of course this is why I like mnemonics and specific techniques like the method of loci. We can not only retain more but the memories can be stored in interesting ways that increase their potentially creativity like creating a Zettelkasten in the brain.
Annotated on March 23, 2020 at 04:53PM

Read - Reading: Memory Craft: Improve your memory using the most powerful methods from around the world by Lynne KellyLynne Kelly (Allen & Unwin)
📖 On page 198 of 320 of Memory Craft

I love some of the things she’s documenting here though I’ll have to dig into her references. She’s much better versed in memory practice than Yates, in part because she actually makes a practice of using the techniques. There are pieces I wish she went into greater depth on.

Syndicated to Goodreads on March 15, 2020 at 11:52AM

Read - Reading: Memory Craft: Improve your memory using the most powerful methods from around the world by Lynne KellyLynne Kelly (Allen & Unwin)
📖 On page 130 of 320 of Memory Craft

I’m loving all these examples of memory devices she’s discovered and describing in this section. Not much of this is covered in much (any?) of the other common literature on memory.

Watched Memory Games (2018) from Netflix

Directed by Janet Tobias, Claus Wehlisch. With Yanjaa Wintersoul, Nelson Dellis, Johannes Mallow, Simon Reinhard. Glimpse into the brain's vast potential for memorization through the eyes of four competitive memory athletes as they share techniques and insights.

Great overview of some basic memory techniques, the personalities of several big names in the space, and a bit about the competitions themselves.

Rating: ★★★★

Read Building a personal knowledge base by Kirill Maltsev (kirillmaltsev.net)
I try to unload all information that has any meaning to me from my brain to external storage because I don’t like to rely on my memory nor do I trust it. In this blog post, I’m going to describe my current approach of working with a personal knowledge base.
He’s got a solid listing of tools here, many I’ve either tried or am currently using myself. Looks like he hasn’t come across Roam yet which I like for it’s ability to change tags across many linked pages. I wish other tools had that one killer feature.
Read The Strange Quest to Crack the Voynich Code (Undark Magazine)
It’s an approximately 600-year-old mystery that continues to stump scholars, cryptographers, physicists, and computer scientists: a roughly 240-page medieval codex written in an indecipherable language, brimming with bizarre drawings of esoteric plants, naked women, and astrological symbols. Known...

a roughly 240-page medieval codex written in an indecipherable language, brimming with bizarre drawings of esoteric plants, naked women, and astrological symbols. Known as the Voynich manuscript, it defies classification, much less comprehension. 

Something I hadn’t thought of before, but which could be highly likely given the contents: What if the manuscript is a personal memory palace? Without supporting materials, it’s entirely likely that what’s left on the page is a substrate to which the author attached the actual content and not having the other half, the entire enterprise is now worthless?
Annotated on February 16, 2020 at 08:51PM

All we know for certain, through forensic testing, is that the manuscript likely dates to the 15th century, when books were handmade and rare. 

This may provide some additional proof that it’s a memory aid in the potential form of a notebook or commonplace book. What were the likelihoods of these being more common that other books/texts? What other codes were used at the time? Was the major system or a variant in use at the time?
Annotated on February 16, 2020 at 08:54PM

Listened to Episode 7: Don't Accentuate the Positive by Dr Laurie SantosDr Laurie Santos from The Happiness Lab

We often think positive thinking is the best way to achieve our ambitions - but the science shows it holds us all back. Dr Laurie Santos hears how champion swimmer Michael Phelps imagined the worst to help make his Olympic dreams come true.

Bob Bowman’s book

Kristin Beck | Wikipedia

Gabriele Oettingen’s website

Dr. Santos mentions Norman Vincent Peale and his book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) as one of the earliest in this space. I might suggest that Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (1937) was a natural precursor to this and these ideas of visualizing what you want as a means of helping to get it. His work assuredly influenced Peale’s and probably sells as well today.


 It takes what it takes. 

–Bob Bowman, swimming coach of 23-time Olympic medal winning swimmer Michael Phelps


On planning:

Hope is not a course of action.

–Kristin Beck, Senior chief petty officer, United States Navy SEAL, ret.


Gabriele Oettingen’s work and the Woop concept  (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) sound interesting. Perhaps worth reading some of her work: 

Oettingen, G. (2015). Rethinking positive thinking: Inside the new science of motivation. Current.

“You name the goal, and research shows that positive thinking makes it less likely you’ll reach it.”

Oettingen, G., & Mayer, D. (2002). The motivating function of thinking about the future: Expectations versus fantasies. Journal of personality and social psychology, 83(5), 1198

Oettingen, G., & Wadden, T. A. (1991). Expectation, fantasy, and weight loss: Is the impact of positive thinking always positive?. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 15(2), 167-175

Oettingen, G., Mayer, D., & Portnow, S. (2016). Pleasure now, pain later: Positive fantasies about the future predict symptoms of depression. Psychological Science, 27(3), 345-353.

“It’s a strategy Gabrielle calls “mental contrasting.”

Oettingen, G., Mayer, D., Timur Sevincer, A., Stephens, E. J., Pak, H. J., & Hagenah, M. (2009). Mental contrasting and goal commitment: The mediating role of energization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(5), 608-622.

“In addition to simulating the obstacles, Gabrielle also recommends taking time to imagine— very intentionally— what it would feel like to implement our plan whenever the obstacle comes up.”

Oettingen, G., & Gollwitzer, P. (2010). Strategies of setting and implementing goals: Mental contrasting and implementation intentions (pp. 114-135).

Some of the ideas behind the WOOP concept remind me of some tangential sounding philosophy and framing that Matt Maldre wrote about in his recent posts about New Year’s resolutions. [1] [2]

WOOP also seems tangential to some areas of memory research as the visualization can tend to create “false” memories that one can look back on as experience when moving toward a particular goal. I often found that in my diving practices in college I did significantly better on new dives when I visualized them or practiced them in my mind several days and even the night before practices.

Listened to Episode 5: Caring What You're Sharing by Dr Laurie SantosDr Laurie Santos from The Happiness Lab

Sharing a good experience with another human deepens our enjoyment of the moment... but only if we abide by certain rules. Dr Laurie Santos shows us how we often get 'sharing' wrong and explains how we can all derive more happiness from ice cream, sunsets and a night in front of the TV.

Maryellis Bunn’s website

Erica Boothby website

Museum of Ice Cream website

Alix Barash website

There is some interesting discussion about exploring and interacting with the world here both with and without a camera and/or digital phone or other device in one’s hand. 

The research and examples in this episode could be useful  for UX/UI  designers in the social media and IndieWeb spaces. The ideas presented here could help us in designing interactions on the web for people in a much happier and healthier fashion. I particularly likes the concept that a museum specifically redesigned some of it’s exhibits so as to be able to minimize the use of phones and increase the human-to-human interaction.

The questions of whether we’re posting content for ourselves or to share with others is an intriguing one. I tend to post for myself (and my memory via my commonplace book) first in almost all cases. When I’m taking photos or checking in, I almost always do it in a way so as to minimize as much as possible the distraction of doing so to others. It’s exceptionally rare that I spend the time and effort to get the “perfect” photo when I’m with others in public.

The discussion about the museum experience being designed for or against photography and the research relating to memories of the experiences reminds a lot of Matt Maldre’s recent experience with a museum security guard who urged patrons to get their phones out and take close up photos of artworks. [#] She obviously intuitively knew something that the rest of us could have only guessed at. Or perhaps she’s just been reading all the most cutting-edge research and putting it into practice in her own work?

This also reminds me I ought to call Dan Cohen and have a conversation about these sort of design concepts (and particularly those relating to Frances Yates and memory techniques) for his forthcoming library.

Bookmarked The Memory Arts in Renaissance England: A Critical Anthology by William E. Engel
This is the first critical anthology of writings about memory in Renaissance England. Drawing together excerpts from more than seventy writers, poets, physicians, philosophers and preachers, and with over twenty illustrations, the anthology offers the reader a guided exploration of the arts of memory. The introduction outlines the context for the tradition of the memory arts from classical times to the Renaissance and is followed by extracts from writers on the art of memory in general, then by thematically arranged sections on rhetoric and poetry, education and science, history and philosophy, religion, and literature, featuring texts from canonical, non-canonical and little-known sources. Each excerpt is supported with notes about the author and about the text's relationship to the memory arts, and includes suggestions for further reading. The book will appeal to students of the memory arts, Renaissance literature, the history of ideas, book history and art history.

book cover

Read I Was Wrong About Speed Reading: Here are the Facts by Scott H. Young (Scott H Young)
7 years ago I wrote an article about speed reading. Turns out I made a lot of mistakes. Discover why speed reading might not be as useful as expected.
Most speed reading material always seem off. This one is reasonably measured and at least indicates a balance between speed and comprehension and retention. Seems like a dearth of references here. I can’t imagine that there isn’t more peer reviewed research on speed reading and comprehension. 

Of course the memory portion can be handled relatively easily, but even that takes some work and repetition.