Read Transclusion and Transcopyright Dreams (maggieappleton.com)

In 1965 Ted Nelson imagined a system of interactive, extendable text where words would be freed from the constraints of paper documents. This hypertext would make documents linkable.

Twenty years later, Tim Berners Lee took inspiration from Nelson's vision, as well as other narratives like Vannevar Bush's Memex, to create the World Wide Web. Hypertext came to life.

I love the layout and the fantastic live UI examples on this page.

There are a few missing pieces for the primacy of some of these ideas. The broader concept of the commonplace book predated Nelson and Bush by centuries and surely informed much (if not all) of their thinking about these ideas. It’s assuredly the case that people already had the ideas either in their heads or written down and the links between them existed only in their minds or to some extent in indices as can be found in the literature—John Locke had a particularly popular index method that was widely circulated.

The other piece I find missing is a more historical and anthropological one which Western culture has wholly discounted until recently. There’s a pattern around the world of indigenous peoples in primarily oral cultures using mnemonic techniques going back at least 40,000 years. Many of these techniques were built into daily life in ways heretofore unimagined in modern Western Culture, but which are a more deeply layered version of transclusion imagined here. In some sense they transcluded almost all of their most important knowledge into their daily lives. The primary difference is that all the information was stored visually and associatively in the minds of people rather than on paper (through literacy) or via computers. The best work I’ve seen on the subject is Lynne Kelly’s Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture which has its own profound thesis and is underpinned by a great deal of archaeologic and anthropologic primary research. Given its density I recommend her short lecture Modern Memory, Ancient Methods which does a reasonable job of scratching the surface of these ideas.

Another fantastic historical precursor of these ideas can be found in ancient Jewish writings like the Mishnah which is often presented as an original, more ancient text surrounded by annotated interpretations which are surrounded by other re-interpretations on the same page. Remi Kalir and Antero Garcia have a good discussion of this in their book Annotation (MIT Press, 2019).

page of Jewish text with Mishnah in the center and surrounded by various layers of commentary in succeding blocks around it
Image of a super-annotated page of Torah from chapter 3 of Annotation (MIT Press, 2019) by R. Kalir and A. Garcia

It would create a more layered and nuanced form of hypertext – something we’re exploring in the Digital Gardening movement. We could build accumulative, conversational exchanges with people on the level of the word, sentence, and paragraph, not the entire document. Authors could fix typos, write revisions, and push version updates that propogate across the web the same way we do with software. 

The Webmention spec allows for resending notifications and thus subsequent re-parsing and updating of content. This could be a signal sent to any links to the content that it had been updated and allow any translcuded pages to update if they wished.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:38PM

In this idealised utopia we obviously want to place value on sharing and curation as well as original creation, which means giving a small fraction of the payment to the re-publisher as well.We should note monetisation of all this content is optional. Some websites would allow their content to be transcluded for free, while others might charge hefty fees for a few sentences. If all goes well, we’d expect the majority of content on the web to be either free or priced at reasonable micro-amounts. 

While this is nice in theory, there’s a long road strewn with attempts at micropayments on the web. I see new ones every six months or so. (Here’s a recent one: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqrvNoDE35lFDUv2enkaEKuo6ATBj9GmL)

This also dramatically misses the idea of how copyright and intellectual property work in many countries with regard to fair use doctrine. For short quotes and excerpts almost anyone anywhere can do this for free already. It’s definitely nice and proper to credit the original, but as a society we already have norms for how to do this.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:46PM

Transclusion would make this whole scenario quite different. Let’s imagine this again… 

Many in the IndieWeb have already prototyped this using some open web standards. It’s embodied in the idea of media fragments and fragmentions, a portmanteau of the words fragment and Webmention.

A great example can be found at https://www.kartikprabhu.com/articles/marginalia

This reminds me that I need to kick my own server to fix the functionality on my main site and potentially add it to a few others.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 02:59PM

We can easily imagine transclusions going the way of the public comments section. 

There are definitely ways around this, particularly if it is done by the site owner instead of enabled by a third party system like News Genius or Hypothes.is.

Examples of this in the wild can be found at https://indieweb.org/annotation#Annotation_Sites_Enable_Abuse.

Annotated on February 09, 2021 at 03:04PM

Acquired The Stars: A New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey (HMH Books for Young Readers)
This is a clear, vivid text with charts and maps showing the positions of the constellations the year round.
I’ve always wanted a copy of this book since I was little. Now I’ve got it.

I’m planning on integrating this into my memory practice shortly as well.

I just ran across and am happy to follow Anasuya Sengupta (@Anasuyashh) and
Whose Knowledge? (@WhoseKnowledge) via the New_Public Festival (#NewPublicFestival). Whose Knowledge is “a global campaign to center the knowledge of marginalized communities (the majority of the world) on the internet.”

As I’m reading Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly‘s (@Lynne_Kelly) Songlines: The Power and Promise, I’m curious to explore how the work of  Whose Knowledge might possibly help to empower oral cultures that are neither written down nor on the internet? Also how might this also empower their “third archive”?

Read Wheel of the Year - Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)
The Wheel of the Year is an annual cycle of seasonal festivals, observed by many modern Pagans, consisting of the year's chief solar events (solstices and equinoxes) and the midpoints between them. While names for each festival vary among diverse pagan traditions, syncretic treatments often refer to the four solar events as "quarter days" and the four midpoint events as "cross-quarter days", particularly in Wicca. Differing sects of modern Paganism also vary regarding the precise timing of each celebration, based on distinctions such as lunar phase and geographic hemisphere.
Read Forging Communities: Memory and Identity in Post-Conquest England by Jennifer PaxtonJennifer Paxton (Haskins Society Journal (2002))

Physical print sent by the author and not available in digital format (at least that I can currently find.)

This isn’t the sort of essay I was initially hoping for, but it does touch on the idea of forged church documents as a means of providing a power base for certain churches versus others as well as versus other leaders. Without an oral society with memory methods spread among various constituencies, the power structure was based solely on written (or forged) documents.

Read Talking out loud to yourself is a technology for thinking by Nana Ariel (Psyche)
Talking out loud to oneself is a technology for thinking that allows us to clarify and sharpen our approach to a problem

I ran across this article this evening and some of the ideas resonate strongly with me. The article mentions some areas of psychology research and a few papers I hadn’t seen before.

I’m also particularly interested in the idea of embodied cognition within cognitive psychology. Has anyone delved into these areas in their research or memory-related work? @LynneKelly’s research and written texts encourage singing, dancing and performing (I don’t recall specifically speaking or walking in her contexts, but I’m sure they’re all closely related), but has anyone else experimented with these additional modalities in their practice?

Most of the Western-based mnemotechniques I’m aware of are focused almost solely on internalized speech/thought. Can anyone think of any which aren’t?

I’ve seen several works in which Nassim Nicholas Taleb propounds the benefits of the flaneur lifestyle for improving thought, though his mentions are purely anecdotal as I recall. I’d appreciate any additional references to research in these areas if others are aware.


Like many of us, I talk to myself out loud, though I’m a little unusual in that I often do it in public spaces. Whenever I want to figure out an issue, develop an idea or memorise a text, I turn to this odd work routine. While it’s definitely earned me a reputation in my neighbourhood, it’s also improved my thinking and speaking skills immensely. Speaking out loud is not only a medium of communication, but a technology of thinking: it encourages the formation and processing of thoughts.

I’ve noticed speaking out loud also seems to help me in practicing and acquiring a new language.
Annotated on December 28, 2020 at 09:52PM

The idea that speaking out loud and thinking are closely related isn’t new. It emerged in Ancient Greece and Rome, in the work of such great orators as Marcus Tullius Cicero. But perhaps the most intriguing modern development of the idea appeared in the essay ‘On the Gradual Formation of Thoughts During Speech’ (1805) by the German writer Heinrich von Kleist. 

Some of this is at play with the idea of “[rubber ducking](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging)” as a means of debugging programs
Annotated on December 28, 2020 at 09:55PM

In both cases – speech and writing – the materiality of language undergoes a transformation (to audible sounds or written signs) which in turn produces a mental shift. 

There’s surely a link between this and the idea of thought spaces in the blogosphere or the idea of a commonplace book/digital garden/wiki.
Annotated on December 28, 2020 at 10:06PM

Mute inner speech can appear as an inner dialogue as well, but its truncated form encourages us to create a ‘secret’ abbreviated language and deploy mental shortcuts. By forcing us to articulate ourselves more fully, self-talk summons up the image of an imagined listener or interrogator more vividly. In this way, it allows us to question ourselves more critically by adopting an external perspective on our ideas, and so to consider shortcomings in our arguments – all while using our own speech. 

I’m also reading this and wondering about memory techniques and methods and how these may interact beneficially.
Annotated on December 28, 2020 at 10:07PM

It’s no coincidence that we walk when we need to think: evidence shows that movement enhances thinking and learning, and both are activated in the same centre of motor control in the brain. In the influential subfield of cognitive science concerned with ‘embodied’ cognition, one prominent claim is that actions themselves are constitutive of cognitive processes. That is, activities such as playing a musical instrument, writing, speaking or dancing don’t start in the brain and then emanate out to the body as actions; rather, they entail the mind and body working in concert as a creative, integrated whole, unfolding and influencing each other in turn. It’s therefore a significant problem that many of us are trapped in work and study environments that don’t allow us to activate these intuitive cognitive muscles, and indeed often even encourage us to avoid them. 

I’m curious if Lynne Kelly or others have looked into these areas of research with their Memory work? She’s definitely posited that singing and dancing as well as creating art helps indigenous cultures in their memory work.
Annotated on December 28, 2020 at 10:10PM

Read SoulCycle’s exclusivity was its secret weapon — and its downfall (Vox)
The boutique fitness phenomenon sold exclusivity with a smile, until a toxic atmosphere and a push for growth brought the whole thing down.
A fascinating story about culture and exclusivity.
Read - Want to Read: Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova (Harmony)
A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.
Have you ever felt a crushing wave of panic when you can't for the life of you remember the name of that actor in the movie you saw last week, or you walk into a room only to forget why you went there in the first place? If you're over forty, you're probably not laughing. You might even be worried that these lapses in memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer's or dementia. In reality, for the vast majority of us, these examples of forgetting are completely normal. Why? Because while memory is amazing, it is far from perfect. Our brains aren't designed to remember every name we hear, plan we make, or day we experience. Just because your memory sometimes fails doesn't mean it's broken or succumbing to disease. Forgetting is actually part of being human.
In Remember, neuroscientist and acclaimed novelist Lisa Genova delves into how memories are made and how we retrieve them. You'll learn whether forgotten memories are temporarily inaccessible or erased forever and why some memories are built to exist for only a few seconds (like a passcode) while others can last a lifetime (your wedding day). You'll come to appreciate the clear distinction between normal forgetting (where you parked your car) and forgetting due to Alzheimer's (that you own a car). And you'll see how memory is profoundly impacted by meaning, emotion, sleep, stress, and context. Once you understand the language of memory and how it functions, its incredible strengths and maddening weaknesses, its natural vulnerabilities and potential superpowers, you can both vastly improve your ability to remember and feel less rattled when you inevitably forget. You can set educated expectations for your memory, and in doing so, create a better relationship with it. You don't have to fear it anymore. And that can be life-changing.
Acquired American Museum and Natural History: Birds of North America by Francois Vuilleumier (Editor) (DK Publishing)

Ideal for the armchair bird enthusiast or dedicated bird watcher, this book includes stunning full-color photographs, revealing each species with unrivaled clarity.

A lavish introduction describes bird characteristics and behavior, while stunning full-color photographs reveal individual species for easy identification.

The 550 most commonly seen birds are pictured in clear, close-up photographs, with images of similar birds provided to make differentiation easy, from game birds and waterfowl to shorebirds and swifts to owls, hummingbirds, finches, and more. Discover which species to expect when and where with up-to-date, color-coded maps highlighting habitation and migratory patterns.

The most commonly seen species are given a whole page in the species catalog, and each full-page profile includes images of plumage variations, subspecies, information on similar birds, and artwork of the bird in flight that reveal their outstretched wings.

Rare birds and vagrants who occasionally stray into North America are also described, making AMNH Birds of North America one of the most comprehensive guides on the market and essential for anyone interested in birding.

Publish Date: November 10, 2020
Pages: 752
8.6 X 11.0 X 1.8 inches | 6.45 pounds
Hardcover
ISBN/EAN/UPC: 9780744020533

After doing some research on various bird books, I’ve picked up this massive textbook as the structure for creating a bird memory palace. 

Purchased from Amazon.com for $26.60 on 2020-12-07; arrived today.

Birds of North America Texts and Field Guides

Spent some time tonight looking at the seven most popular bird books for North America for my memory project. I’m still figuring out how to set up the memory palace for the project though. Lots of data to encode. 

While all are generally solid I’m arranging them for data/information, layout, and image purposes. Here’s the rough order of preference I think I’m going to put them in moving forward:

  • American Museum of Natural History, Birds of North America (and/or the Western Region) (DK)
  • The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America
  • National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America, 
  • Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America
  • Sibley Birds West
  • Golden Field Guides: Birds of North America

I’ll probably buy the top two as I proceed. It looks like DK just published an update to theirs in the last month! In particular, I like the volume of detail of the DK edition and the layout for potentially making memorization easier. 

Now to figure out how to best lay out the various pieces. I’m thinking that Lynne Kelly’s idea of using a Lukasa memory board may be best. But what to fashion it out of and how?

Winter Counts and related holiday traditions

Some indigenous American tribes kept annual winter counts which served as both a physical historical account of their year, but served as visual mnemonic devices leveraging a bit of the idea of a drawn memory palace along with spaced repetition by adding a new image to their “journey” each year.

I was reminded about the idea over the weekend by a dreadful, cheeseball Hallmark Holiday movie A Royal Christmas Ball (2017) (please don’t torture yourself by watching it). The two main characters had a Christmas ritual of creating a holiday ornament every year for their Christmas tree with a design that represented something significant in their lives that year. Because most families generally use and reuse the same ornaments every year, the practice becomes a repeated ritual which allows them to reminisce over each ornament every year to remember past years. It’s a common occurrence (at least in Western society) for people to purchase souvenir ornaments when they travel, and these serve the same effect of remembering their past travels.

If others haven’t come across this idea as a fun mnemonic device for the whole family with built in spaced repetition, I recommend you give it a try. Just don’t everyone necessarily make coronavirus ornaments for this year.

Non-Christians could leverage a similar idea for their annual holidays, feasts, or events if they like. Of course, you could follow the Lakota tribe and make a more traditional winter count.

For those interested in some of the further history and description of the idea of an annual count in the framing of mnemotechny, I would recommend LynneKelly’s book Memory Craft or some of her more academic works.

Watched Ella (2016) from Amazon Prime
Directed by Douglas Watkin. With Stephen Page, David McAllister, Ella Havelka, Suzanne Duffy. In October 2012, Ella Havelka became the first Indigenous dancer to be invited into The Australian Ballet in its 50 year history. It was an announcement that made news headlines nationwide. A descendant of the Wiradjuri people, we follow Ella's inspirational journey from the regional town of Dubbo and onto the world stage of The Australian Ballet. Featuring intimate interviews, dynamic dance sequences, and a stunning array of archival material, this moving documentary follows Ella as she explores her cultural identity and gives us a rare glimpse into life as an elite ballet dancer within the largest company in the southern hemisphere.
Started watching for the ballet, stayed with hope for mnemotechny. I was generally disappointed on the second count.

Either Ms. Havelka didn’t want to personally, didn’t have permission to speak of it via elders, or she didn’t know about some of the deeper uses of dance within her culture. It just wasn’t covered here at all. I’ve been fascinated by Lynne Kelly’s research programme and in particular I’m reading my way through her most recent text Songlines with Margo Neale about the uses of song, dance, and arts within indigenous cultures in Australia. I’m curious how much time she spent in country to learn what she did. Was it just a few weeks for some exposure, or was there a deeper learning experience? Is she passing that experience along to her students? Was some of it filmed, but lost in editing?

Presuming they’re not already acquainted, I suspect that Ella Havelka, Lynne Kelly, and Margo Neale might enjoy meeting and discussing dance, culture, arts, and teaching.

Ella Havelka did speak about the significance of her feather tattoo within her culture, so there was at least some representation of associative memory here. The comment was simply a passing one (and sadly focused on covering it up with makeup to hide it for ballet). The discussion of the feather just didn’t connect with the greater body of knowledge I’m sure is hiding just behind it.

I was a bit proud that my 9 year old ballet enthusiast wasn’t able to discern what made Ella different despite that being a large part of the story arc. Still she enjoyed the dancing and journey anyway.

Note: This film was renamed Ballerina for airing via Amazon Prime.

Rating: ★★★½

Watched A Royal Christmas Ball (2017) from Hallmark Movies
Directed by David DeCoteau. With Tara Reid, Ingo Rademacher, Mira Furlan, Haley Pullos. Dateless for the Christmas ball, 39-year-old bachelor, King Charles of Baltania, tracks down his American college sweetheart, only to discover Allison has never been married, yet raised a 17-year-old daughter, Lily, who mathematically might be Charles’ biological princess.

Rating: ½ 

 I didn’t think there could be a worse Hallmark Christmas movie than the one saw yesterday. This was an order of magnitude worse.

It did have an interesting Christmas tradition of creating a custom ornament each year to commemorate the year much like the Lakota winter counts. I’ve seen references to these types of decorations before, but it’s rare to see them represented as a recurring thing.

Baltania, what a great name for a generic non-existent European country.  

The animated gilded book page turning and sparkles with voice overs were appallingly bad. I think that almost every bit of footage they shot for the film got used twice. The production value was atrocious. The casting was painfully drunk. The green screen work was pure misery and I’m fairly certain a 9 year old could do a better job using Zoom right now.

Read Birds of North America: A guide to field Identification by Chandler S. Robbins, Bertel Bruun , Herbert S. Zim, Arthur Singer (Illustrator) (Golden Field Guides from St. Martin's Press)

Spot the silhouette of a Northern Goshawk in flight. Identify the raucous call of the Red-winged Blackbird. Discover the secret of picking out a Chipping Sparrow from its look-alike cousins. It's simple with this classic field guide, a treasured favorite among amateur bird lovers and exacting professionals. Recognized as the authority on bird identification, this invaluable resource provides:

-All of North America in one volume
-Over 800 species and 600 range maps
-Arthur Singer's famous illustrations featuring male, female, and juvenile plumage
-Sonograms that picture sound for easy song recognition
-Migration routes, feeding habits, and characteristic flight patterns
-American ornithologists' classifications
-Convenient check boxes to record birds you have identified
-Color tabs for quick references

Read introductory pages 1-17.

This seems to have most North American birds with good layouts, information, sonograms, and ranges. Could be a solid contender and is a nice size.

Read Peterson First Guides Birds by Roger Tory Peterson (Houghton Mifflin Company)
Peterson First Guides are the first books the beginning naturalist needs. Condensed versions of the famous Peterson Field Guides, the First Guides focus on the animals, plants, and other natural things you are most likely to see. They make it fun to get into the field and easy to progress to the full-fledged Peterson Guides.
Read pages 1-17 of opening.

A very slim, but nice pocket-sized guide. Probably the least comprehensive on my list. Has some basic names, info, and few pictures than others. Opening was pretty good on laying out structure for what to look out for.

This is definitely not the guide for me.