A few months ago I wanted to learn to appreciate and listen to classical music. I woke up an hour earlier every morning and read a book, listened to an audio course (Robert Greenberg's How to Listen to and Understand Great Music), and listened to actual music then and throughout the day. A few months later I can recognize the structure of most pieces and if the composer "broke the rules" (and why). I can't read music or tell which note is which (yet!) but I made a lot of progress.
Unless it's a particularly difficult subject, simple daily practice and learning goes a long way.
It was like I had more horsepower back then. I could sit down and do 200 vocabulary words 90% retention after a single pass. I'm nowhere close now.
On the other hand, I can organize my attack on learning something so much better than I could before.
Now that I'm in my 30s though, I have way more focus. I can easily sit down and work on a project for hours at a time. On top of that, I have way more motivation, because I have a very good idea of what I want in life and I know how to get there.
I gurantee that if you train your memory daily, you will get the same retention as you used to.
Would be interesting to quantify such changes, but my guess would be that the changes are smaller than expected or felt.
I am a 40-year-old full time student with a kid, but no job. I disagree completely. I've got the time. When I was 20, I remembered everything I saw or heard even once. I could recall it with ease. Concepts came easily when they were explained in text or in lecture. Now? I'm still plenty smart and usually get the best grade in my class, but I have to work hard for it, where before I never worked at all at it. I have to spend time actually memorizing things. I have to take time to think about concepts in order to understand them. (Weird, right?)
As far as I can tell, the only real advantages I have over my younger self are that I am better disciplined and I appreciate my education more.
I am a 40-year-old full time student with a kid
Shouldn't cognitive science/medicine also have a say on this?
(I realize this falls more in the "relearning" than "learning something new" category, but I've typed too much at this point to bail.)
There's this free online course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn which I think might be preferable to the book in the article, since it has transcribed video that you can speed up, exercises, and quizzes.
The best (er.. only) trick I remember: rather than re-reading material, reflect on it for a few minutes after you've read it, trying to recall and organize it in your mind.
Few additional tricks I picked up:
* Recall(as you mentioned) is critical to understanding. Effective recall also connects a topic just learned with other known topics.
* A problem looks solvable but its important to actually apply yourself and arrive at the solution. The process of learning does not offer rewards until the mind has been exercised.
* Deliberate practice of poorly understood concepts. Don't fall into the trap of fooling yourself to believe that you have understood a concept or practicing problems that you are already good at.
* Read through material quickly to to create a "framework" or stick-figures in the mind. Gradually add new concepts to the basic framework.
* Learning is best done with frequent breaks to absorb information. Learning is also a passive process where the neurons need time to grow.
* Repetition spaced across several days forces us to recall. This helps strengthen memories and filing concepts into long-term memory bank.
* Better sleep helps.
I could go on. Really wonderful course.
My take is this - you learn best when you are curious or can get curious about something. That kind of learning sticks. Or maybe I'm just different.
The course teaches not just "how to learn" but really "how to learn and become a master of the subject". While being curious and interested definitely gets the learning cart rolling, I doubt one can become a master without deliberately focusing on weak areas of understanding, practice and reflection -- all painful tedious stuff. For me learning sticks when I associate it with things I already know, zoomed in and out a couple of times to both understand a concept itself and how it fits in the big picture. So I do believe having "a method" to learn and deploy new learnings.
Some like me grew up in a culture of rote learning where we repeatedly read and smear the same text over and over again hoping something would stick. A lot of the teaching of the courses were completely counter-intuitive to me. I have spent close to 25k hours studying CS in an academic setting and could have saved myself so much time studying effectively. I've been working in SV for several years now and into some serious studying again so this course was very timely for me.
This article opened up asking a single question; "what’s the capital of Australia?” -- in an attempt to make the reader feel dumb. The name of a capital of a country you don’t live in is just the sort of data I would classify as trivia. Knowing that there is something called an atlas, or even more precise that there is a book that organizes this sort of information, or even more recently a website that you can ask this question to and receive back reasonable answer is far more important to know than knowing Canberra is the capital of Australia. Without knowing where to find or how to find the answer you would just have to answer “I don’t know”, but knowing these other concepts would allow you to answer “I don’t know, but I am reasonably sure I can find out”.
It should also pointed out that countries have capitals -- is the "larger idea" -- and the fact that Canberra is the capital of Australia is triva. A good way to look at this; things that have unique names but can be categorized in groups are often trivia and the groups they make are the knowledge. The article actually picked a excellent topic to illustrate this notion. The big ideas are countries, states, provinces, territories. Learning the unique names of these things teaching you nothing new -- other than the name. No new ideas are conveyed by learning a new name. Learning that there are states and provinces, how they work, and what their differences is far more valuable than the names of each of the individual states and provinces. So yes, not knowing the triva can still allow you to work my “larger ideas”.
Getting to know the capital of a country is like creating a tiny hook onto which other information accretes. It creates a sense of familiarity about a place, which sensitises you to other news about the area (for example, the #StopAdani movement which, tragically, is going to fail).
Five years back, I started playing these trivia games at Sporcle (sparkle.com). I mean, what is the use of knowing all the periodic table elements? Then it turns out, a niece independently fell in love with chemistry and the periodic table, which has opened up a nice new channel of talking to each other. And I'm looking forward to visiting Ytterby this summer
Your example of #StopAdani made me smile (not because it will fail) But because it sort of proved my point. I did not know who Adani is or what they were doing. But I knew how to search and what sites to go to to get some context. I was ignorant that Gautam Adani and that the Adani group is trying to make a coal mine in Australia -- but not dumb, stupid or helpless. A week from now I will likely have flushed Adani from my mind, but I will remember some company is trying to setup a coal mine and there is some movement to stop it. I will likely remember that I can find more information about this on my hacker news comments history and from there be able to then provide the remaining details.
What I think you have touched on is something entirely different than learning a skill that will provide lasting enhancements to your life. Learning to tie your shoe, or riding a bicycle is a lasting life long skill. Learning that a multinational corporation from India is trying to open a coal mine in Australia is a current event. At most will give you a good talking topic with a buddy where you can exchange trivial information -- much of which you will forget years later.
After writing this I realize that yes, having a relationship with your niece is will provide lasting enhancements to your life, but I think we can all agree the type of knowledge we are talking about here is not relationship building or social skills. While knowing trivia is definitely a good skill for those things it’s not the type of knowledge and skill sets I have been talking about.
There was a journal entry  by Richard Feynman shared with me on HN recently -- strangely enough on a very similar topic -- thanks stcredzero. I think this journal entry shows the dangers of trivia teaching and testing and why as a society we need to accept not knowing a easily looked up question does not make someone dumb or stupid. We should be concerning our self with ensuring we know the concepts, how to apply them, and how and where to lookup the information needed to complete the loop.
On a side note, I link to think of my computer as an extension to my mind. I dabble in many areas of computers and robotics. I could not possibly remember everything needed to do the things i do. Maybe I have subpar memory. And remembering how to find things and answer my own questions with the resources of the computer and internet is a cheap hack. Nevertheless it has allowed me to do some pretty amazing things that I otherwise would have not been able to do. The particular skill I have is something that is becoming more popular and mainstream. I think they call it critical thinking. The particular subskill of critical thinking is problem solving. If I relied on trivia and came across something I did not understand and lacked the skills of knowing how and where to find things I would have not achieved a 1000th of what I have. Bringing this back to the original article and its attempt to make the readers feel dumb because they did not know the capital of a random country -- without critical thinking and problem solving skills and the ability to recognize I have a problem in the first place, I could never have solved the problem. I would have just thrown my hands up and said welp, I don’t know, shit out of luck. We are only lucky the the dialog in the article told us the capital, as we were told no googling although they did not say anything about looking up the answer in a atlas.
At the same time, I must say that playing around with random Sporcle trivia quizzes keeps paying off in unexpected ways, both in my work and social life. As I think about it while composing this response, it seems like the payoff is in making connections with people, although I play without having an end in mind or make a particular effort to remember anything. It is not the individual trivia point; it is more the stochastic effect.
However insofar as there's a limit to every principle, I would caution against a too-generic approach 100% of the time: it's often after a second step in which you learn, often by heart (think hobby, think things you love), a bunch of very detailed information about a topic, that you truly feel confident about your knowledge. And this is what we generally define as expertise (albeit 2nd degree until you make things, apply this knowledge). In most cases, it comes with time and exposure (experience, repetition) but is much accelerated by a conscious will to learn (and good methods).
In short, a high-level ontological approach combined with a sizeable degree of freedom to explore this or that topic in ample detail (quite lacking in studies where you have to rush everything).
I agree with you, and there is a whole lot of stuff to talk about with regards to this (far too much for me to type right now).
As pointed out in my previous reply on this topic, I have indeed stacked the table to one side to help illustrate my point.
I really want to talk more about schooling with regards to this subject of learning and assessing one's knowledge retention. But it is far too late :(
It's no different to, 30 years ago, knowing that when a piece of equipment is having a problem with its anterior doohickey, the troubleshooting guide is on page 25 of the manual. It only plays up every 18 months and you always have the manual on you, so you don't need to remember more than 'doohickey problems, page 25'.
1. Graduates can implement algorithms given a nice and thorough description in a textbook or a website.
2. Graduates can implement algorithms given a few minute whiteboard explanation by a colleague or a short answer on a Stack Exchange site. (For a short answer example, look at some at cs.stackexchange or cstheory.stackexchange, where expertise is often assumed.)
3. Graduates can design and implement algorithms that are simple derivatives of those they have seen or implemented before, without any textual advice.
4. Graduates can design non-trivial derivatives of algorithms that they have seen before, given a problem that is not googleable (for example, it came up as a secondary question in your research).
The actual goal depends on the aims of your university or class.
The problem with any level besides 1 is that it seems to require an artificial test environment. You want to give the students easy exercises, say solvable within 60-90 minutes, and you want to give them as much freedom for their implementation environment -- but the reality is, any popular and "time-tested" exercise is fully solved online, most likely in full detail on Stack Overflow. (Speaking from experience, trying to "dress up" the problem in some alternate description doesn't work if the students can Google.)
And, predictably, if you forbid the access to the internet you get upset students, you provide an easy and effective way to cheat, and you give ammunition to the critics who call your testing methods "distant from any actual practice".
I don't know what the "right" answer is, but I am fully convinced that stopping at level 1, the only level where you can realistically allow access to the internet, is not the right way.
But you're never done learning! In a world that changes as fast as ours does you'll be learning until you die if you want to keep up and stay relevant in the near future. Even more so in the IT domain.
So don't stop learning, or you'll be playing catch-up with very little chance of success once you do stop.
Secondary education levels have been a moving target ever since we started educating people to the state-of-the-art. It's been a long time (centuries, really) since an individual could hold the complete state of science in their head so it is all teamwork now and nobody knows everything.
So if you do your education today you simply learn more of something narrower.
1) Will people be able to meaningfully "produce"? So far our ability to learn has not outstripped the ability of the universe to provide interesting insights.
2) Will we share the fruits of that production in a way that helps new children? This, I'm not so sure about. I'm expecting a child soon and this worries me.
1) Accept that you're going to suck at the thing.
2) Do the thing.
3) Keep doing the thing.
As a child we typically do things just because we enjoy them, and often don't have an idea of a goal or target, other than simply doing the thing because we find it intrinsically fun. As an adult however we become highly analytic, self-reflective and critical of both ourselves and others, and we start to do things with a consciousness and awareness of others.
Additionally, by the time you reach adulthood there's a high chance that there's a thing that you've done enough to be in a fairly experienced position with, so anything new undertaken as an adult will now be judged in terms of the things you can already do, which means it will feel difficult and you'll believe that you suck at it. Which you do, because you're a beginner, and that's normal and is precisely what it means to be taking up something new!
While trying to play the piano as a child I had no thoughts of achieving a goal or getting to a specific level, and I certainly didn't compare myself to others. I just did it because it was fun. By the time I was more conscious of enjoying it and knew that I wanted to learn more seriously I'd already acquired a basic level of keyboard fluency.
So, having bought a guitar a few weeks ago and finding that all of a sudden trying to acquire a new physical skill is actually difficult (particularly important to remember as a developer where often what we're learning is a variation on an existing technique), I keep having to remind myself that it only feels difficult because it's new, and it would feel just as difficult if I were starting from a younger age, except I just wouldn't be so darn self-conscious about it.
I bought a second guitar a few years ago to keep at work and I use it during times when I need a break. Even though all I do are scales and nursery rhymes, it's still pretty relaxing.
I've had two different teachers, I've used games like Rocksmith, I've done online self-study courses (Justin Sandercoe seems like a wonderful person), bought the sheet music for my favorite records, etc...
My kids, on the other hand, made progress on their instruments (piano and violin) unbelievably quickly.
Mentally I feel like I'm in the stage of curiosity right now, where I simply want to get a feel for the instrument and see whether or not it sticks. I know the genres and styles that inspire me though, and I try not to think about the vast gap between my current abilities and even basic fluency on the instrument (adult self-consciousness).
With piano I played and picked things up myself for quite a long time, such that I now wish I'd realised my interests were serious sooner than I did. With guitar I'm hoping that I work out if it's something I want to continue much sooner, so I don't waste as much time ;)
I certainly don't feel too frustrated at the moment, but I wouldn't mind if the keyboard fluency I've acquired over the years made a difference on the fretboard instead of the whole thing feeling completely unnatural ;)
If you want to play songs learn chords. Learn A, D and E, play wild thing. Takes like 20 minutes play badly, a couple of days to play ok.
Scales are for soloing rather than rhythm guitar.
I can switch between those fairly fluidly.
Even Wild Thing has a solo part in the middle. A, D, and E really aren't enough, are they?
Can you name a few other real songs that you think are early beginner level?
Also, if you learn the barre chord, you learn most of modern rock's rhythm guitar.
Polly - Nirvana (E, G, D, C / D, C, G, A# barre), see https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/n/nirvana/polly_crd.htm
Pennyroyal Tea - Nirvana (E, G + some barre chords) simple chords and an incredibly simple solo too)
Karma Police - Radiohead (this has a B in it though and like on piano, Bs are a bit awkward)
House of the Rising Sun
Help - Beatles
Everybody hurts - R.E.M. (very basic plucking, D/G), see https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/r/r_e_m_/everybody_hurts_cr...
I learnt in the 90s as you might be able to tell. Most songs I know I've no clue what the solos are. Here's some other ideas:
It's also really easy to find basic arrangements. Just search "[song name] tab". What I used to do is search for a song I liked, if the tab looked difficult, search for another song, until I found one I could handle.
Right now, I'm doing the inverse of you, learning piano when I know guitar. I'm doing a course which teaches you very basic song arrangements while it develops you chords and fingering skills, and I personally find it easier to pick up the techniques by practising along to arrangements I vaguely know, even if it's just a verse or chorus.
How are you finding the piano? At one point I thought that might be a better fit for me because I can type quickly and accurately. But now I watch my daughter play and seeing her read read and play different left and right hand sequences makes me think that would have been more difficult.
After spending quite a bit of time playing Rocksmith, I can't help but think that it should be way better than it is. I think their strategy of ramping up the difficulty is excellent, but the imprecision of the DAC is frustrating. I want it to tell me when I'm accidentally muting or playing a string. I want it to be way more strict in timing of notes and sustains and bends. I suspect that would require custom electronics with a DAC on each string, but I'd be happy to buy that.
If you're find rocksmith a good progression, I'd maybe think about sticking with that. String muffling is something you get better at with practice and as your fingers get better muscle memory, but if you watch any live performance you'll see even the pros do it sometimes. Also bends and sustains, you get better at very quickly. It's more just learning the whole sequence and then refining the sequence later. A lot of people don't have the "ear" for hearing those mistakes anyway and won't even notice you make them so it might be that it's deliberately imprecise for beginners, I've no idea when I picked up the skill. Fore example, most non-musicians won't notice a bass guitar or the difference between a bass guitar and a guitar, although generally speaking people seem to be a bit more musically literate these days than in the 90s because of the internet.
One great trick which you probably know about is to play a progression incredibly slowly, so slowly you get every note perfect (just a tiny snippet of a few notes, at most like 10 seconds of a song). Then repeat it a bit faster, but still very slow, making every note perfect. If you fail a note, restart it again at that speed. Increase speed a little bit every time you get it right until you're playing it faster than it's normally played.
EDIT: Also, there's a certain amount of your finger tips getting a bit harder as you play more which makes it easier to play.
That's me. It's why I wish Rocksmith could be much more strict than it is.
> play a progression incredibly slowly
Rocksmith does that too. One thing that bugs me about it is that after you get 100% on some piece in slo-motion, I wish it would automatically ramp up the speed 10% and start over and continue doing this until I'm playing the section perfectly at normal speed (or maybe even faster than normal). Instead, I have to pick up the control, navigate through some menus that aren't terribly well laid out, then restart the exercise.
Any other suggestions?
Others I have enjoyed learning are REM's Country Feedback (not the slide bit, the chords) and Bowie's cover of Jacques Brel's Amsterdam - this has an F but you can get away with Fmaj7, which is much easier.
I'm very much a beginner too - coming towards the end of the Justin Guitar beginner's course. The song book that goes along with it has some good tunes.
You can also do it without the Em, but it doesn't sound as good.
I believe there's a certain mindset that develops in musicians, that doesn't have much to do with the instrument or your age. The thing about being a musician is, you're always learning. I don't mean that in a hand-wavey kind of way. I mean you literally are always learning: New songs, new arrangements with different musicians and different lineups, new ways to address your own limitations (as you get older, physical limits can play a role in how you play/sing/perform something). There is no state where you're "finished" becoming a musician.
So...to be a good musician: accept that it is always learning and that you'll never be finished learning, and play whole songs with other people.
If you can't play with people, use a metronome or drum machine. Rocksmith is probably great, though, for muscle memory and rhythm; but, I noticed when learning to play drums with Rock Band that I immediately forgot the songs when the tracks weren't flashing by in front of me, so my "twitch game" skills were handling playing the game, while my "learning songs" abilities were seemingly switched off.
But, definitely play songs. From start to finish. If you flub a note, keep going, but play it slower next time, until you can play it without flubbing it. Chord books are a great way to get satisfying music without a lot of knowledge. If you teach yourself to sing and play at the same time, you can make real music all by yourself. People might even like it. And, work on one song until you're comfortable with it, reducing how much you rely on the chord chart each pass through (look at it every bar to start, then every other bar, then every fourth bar, etc.).
As others have mentioned, learning fast is not just an innate trait, it's directly related to how you feel about learning. If you view the learning process as a roadblock, it will be one. It's not a roadblock; it's what everyone does every time they play a new song.
And, to compare learning in childhood vs learning as an adult; I learned guitar as a child (well, I started when I was 12), and drums as an adult (I tinkered in my 20s, but never owned a drum set until my 30s and definitely wasn't able to do more than hold down a simple 4/4 rhythm before that). I learned drums a lot faster than guitar. Maybe I would have developed muscle memory better as a child, maybe I would have gotten more of a nuanced appreciation of rhythm or something, but I was able to focus my learning in very productive ways as an adult that I probably didn't have the mental framework to do as a child. It probably helped that I already had pretty deep musical knowledge on which to hang my new drumming skills...but, nonetheless, drums are a very different set of skills from guitar.
When I think back on my learning to play guitar, I very rarely learned anything until there were "stakes". If I was learning a song just for the fun of it, I wouldn't do it...I'd fiddle around, learn one riff, repeat it a few times, and then go play video games or something. If I was learning a song to play with my band, or to perform for an audience, it would stick a lot faster.
Rocksmith addresses this problem: when you reach a certain level of song mastery it starts making track invisible and if you make mistakes it puts it back on.
I still strongly agree with that sentiment, but the difference/problem with learning as an adult is two-fold: why I am learning, and how much time I have to learn/apply that knowledge.
There is a difference in learning material to 'ace' a midterm/final exam, versus learning something to figure out a novel way, or picking up a new technology, to accomplish some task (e.g., at work). Part of the difference is who decides what can be "pruned", and especially when. I think back on all the 'stuff' I knew I would never need again once the final was over. Admittedly, I wasn't always correct, but age and experience increased my hit rate, and what subjects I under or over estimated could be whole other threads.
I am retired now, but have gotten into learning, mostly just for fun, some of the most complex (nasty) subject matter that I never had time for before. If I want to go off on some tangent, or deep dive, I can. The amount of free (or inexpensive) courses out there is wonderful and exciting.
My problem is that I tend to get really interested in learning something, work really intensely at it for a while, then get bored and move on to something else, leaving dozens of unfinished projects in my wake.
If you want to do project X and can't focus on learning what you need for that, that's a problem. Otherwise, you're not much different from figures such as Theodore Roosevelt who'd read books on a thousand different subjects every year, for fun.
By mapping numbers to consonants and then putting vowels in between you can make any word. The system I use is the following:
1 - t
2 - n
3 - m
4 - r
5 - l
6 - j
7 - f
8 - k,g
9 - p,b
0 - s,z
For example, Pi starts with 3.14159265. Chunk this into pairs of digits: 14, 15, 92, 65, or in consonants we find, tr, tl, pn, jl. We can create a story with this: trtl, pan, jelly. To find the numbers just "invert" the story!
Shameless plug to my own blog , I get no advertising revenue or anything from this I would just love to share this with you guys as I feel like you guys might find it interesting. In the post I detail how I memorised the first 37 digits of Pi.
I honestly think it's amazing that I can still recall, with ease, the first 37 digits of Pi 5 (!) months after first memorising them.
Well, obviously N = 1 but if I can't convince you with "I can recall a string of 37 digits 5 months after memorising them" I don't know what will!
It is SO weird but it just works. It's hard to explain and really paradoxical because I use it for everything now ... Allais paradox 1953 (lm => lam => drunk in dutch), Ellsberg paradox 1961 (jt => jeti => jeti chasing jedi with urns on a mountain). In my honest opinion its a skill worth learning. If this didn't convince you, Sherlock also uses it in the series ;)
- shravana (literally 'listening', as India's philosophical traditions were mostly oral, but more broadly may be understood to also be 'reading.')
- manana ('reflection' upon that which was heard. May include exercises, debate and such)
- nididhyasana ('meditation,' may be taken to mean experience)
Further, knowing is then classified into two types - jñana and vijñana. These correspond to mere apprehension of information ('knowledge') and integration of that into action, life and experience ('wisdom').
Knowledge is transformed into wisdom by a process of reflection which is active. Passively obtaining new information is unlikely to result in wisdom (which is useful) without reflection.
Thought this might be interesting to those in this thread who are looking to learn and improve themselves.
Questions? my_hn_username at gmail.
Disclaimer: Have studied Vedanta in India under a master (A Parthasarathy). This information may be found in his magnum opus, Vedanta Treatise: The Eternities.
EDIT: formatting and email address.
There are certain tennis strokes that adults can't learn. For instance,
adults can't learn to hit a "kick" serve that has a lot of topspin.
There is an absolutely fascinating video about plasticity of learning between adults and children that I'd highly recommend watching .
A man built a "backwards bicycle", where the handlebars steer the bike in the opposite direction to what you would expect. It was almost impossible for him to ride the bike more than a few feet at a time before falling off. Finally, after 8 months of consistent practice, he could ride it relatively well.
When he put his 6-year-old son on the bike (who'd been riding a normal bicycle for 3 years), he had it mastered just 2 weeks later.
Destin also admits
"It took me 8 months to learn how to do this, but I was only picking up the bike and running to the end of the driveway and back every day. I wasn't "ACTIVELY" trying to learn. Meaning... I wasn't struggling and trying to make my brain learn. I simply got on the bike every day, tried to operate it to the end of the driveway, turned around and tried to operate it back. The goal was to understand how my brain figured things out on its own, without trying to force it to. Many people have built bikes like this and figured it out in much less than 1 day by staying on the bike until they were able to master it. I had no timelines, and was using this as an exploratory activity to learn how I learn."
I'm interested in what would the difference be for them to alter a learned skill if they'd been practicing for the same amount of time (so that it's less set in stone)? I'm certain his son would have still been an order of magnitude or 2 faster, but probably quite a bit less than the original number.
I remember a few years ago I learned that I had been tying my shoes wrong my whole life (tying a granny knot instead), so my shoelaces would come loose at least once per day. It took me a few weeks of practice to manually think through the hand movements to make the new know before my brain got used to just doing it without thinking about it.
I'd imagine that as a child it should have been at least 10x easier to re-learn.
Perhaps not lose entirely, but certainly age can dramatically reduce the ability to learn certain things. This (rather long) article goes into detail:
The section marked "Language Exhibits a “Critical Period” for Learning" is maybe the most relevant.
However, the article was written in 2010, and may be out of date. Understanding the brain's mechanisms and plasticity has advanced significantly over the last few years.
The scientific consensus on the effects of nootropics is kinda all over the place (there are a bunch of different types out there, and different studies for the different types), but there's enough information to make an informed decision.
I had a daily nootropic "stack" that included choline and piracetam, and noticed an improvement in recall and focus. Whether it was placebo or not, I certainly felt like I was more capable of learning than baseline.
During my foray into the nootropic world, I also came across discussions about Hericium erinaceus, or lion's mane mushrooms. Studies have shown it to increase the 'nerve growth factor' which is a key measurement when it comes to growing new neurons. And since growing new neurons and making new connections between them is correlated to learning new things, and if this factor of 'neuroplasticity' decreases with age, my guess is that lion's mane can come in handy if you are an adult and want to learn to do other stuff good too.
However, I'm no expert; maybe someone with more direct experience or knowledge can weigh in.
They put some interesting brain research into that course. I started last week and love it so far.
What's wrong with that ? I fail to understand ?
If you start putting everything into your brain, you'll soon go mad. A regular cleanup of the information in your brain to retain only what's relevant for your survival is okay. It's best such things are left googleable. What is the use of keeping in memory the capital of australia, when that trivia contributes a total `0` to do what you do.
If you keep doing, implementing and executing stuff that you are passionate about, I think you'll keep learning. Only thing is that we become more focussed as adults about our interests, than we are as children (inquisitive about everything).
Basic machining from MIT (I now need a milling machine and lathe):
Learn about Synchrotrons from UC Berkeley (Undulators and Wigglers):
I also swim in a non-proper way and I recently found a "new way" of swimming after seeing some video about it, and it is fairly easy. But due to muscle memory I find myself going back to my own way.
My own way being: Imagine doing a front split, then pushing your body up into a standing position, while angling your upper body 90 degrees (plane with the water, that is).
I couldn't get past the first paragraph. I don't think memorisation and learning should be conflated as it appears to be in this article. Perhaps it's the fault of the title -- clickbait?
Of course, I knew the capital of Australia.
Still I think this piece misses some points. I believe there is a threshold (perhaps different for everyone) for the types of learning the piece is about. There is learning by forcing knowledge in by repetition. If you need to remember a small list not based on any logic, this is the only way. Knowing that Canberra is the capital of Australia is a poor example for the point the author tries to make. There is no logic behind capital city names, a human choose the name and it was not chosen according to any rules. There is no understanding involved at all.
However, for a Buick (or i.e. the Human Body) it is different, those "things" work according to the laws of physics, a Buick is build using a specific design and it has a limited set of necessary components. During its operation a repeating cycle of steps is executed. There is a very limited number of states in which a Buick can function but not be completely broken compared to the number of states it can be in. If you understand how a Buick was build, you can play its function in your head and simulate what could cause the noise a person on the phone is describing.
From childhood onward this is the way I have learned, I always felt like there was a point in time in which my knowledge became like self contained ball in my head, I would even visualize said ball. There is a moment of understanding, of seeing the beauty and logic of a system. In that moment you say: "Ah yes it felt very complicated before, but now that I get it, I would have designed it quite like that actually." In programming it works the same, that moment when you understand what a class is... it's beauty, you will program differently from that moment on. In biology one can have the same but often one must conclude: "Ok I would have designed it differently but in terms of evolution, it does make sense indeed."
I have a lot of trouble learning new languages, I also struggle playing elaborate games like Descent... Until that feeling of ahhhh I understand why a game designer put that weird element in, it balances the game, it adds some unpredictability to it. Only then does it become fun.
I'm told I am a very good and fast learner and have a good memory but I feel it is not true, I use this systems approach. As soon as you understand what a carburetor should do, it becomes very easy to remember how it does it. As a scientist that means constantly updating and changing ones view of reality itself based on new evidence. It's about building a mind model but always knowing that model is an oversimplification that is only useful as long as it explains your experimental results (more specifically, as long as it explains your experimental controls).
My wife is often amazed at how I can be so highly educated and smart in some ways and so stupid or un-understanding in others. I feel it is because I sometimes lack a "mind-model" for certain things of situation that I can interact with/in, I still need to build it, or it is insanely difficult to build it. Trying to build such models for the humans in my life may my biggest fallacy yet. It leads to countless hours of grinding thoughts, simulating conversations that will never occur.
That aside, the article is rather bunk and claims to have authority. Memorization isnt learning.