Spaced repetition using flash cards

Pierce J. Howard’s book “The Owner’s Manual for the Brain” starts with the following ideas:

Learning is memory; memory, learning. Learning entails two processes: acquiring and retaining. Psychologists and educators would call these processes short-term memory and long-term memory. Whether we are learning a telephone number, a chess strategy, a role in a play, a dance step, or how to recover from a computer mishap, in order to say that we have learned something we must be able to demonstrate that not only have we acquired the knowledge or skill, i.e., that we understand it and can use it properly, but that we also have retained that understanding so that we may continue to use it over time.

Another key point to keep in mind with respect to how we use the word memory is that it comes in different modes: memory for words (e.g., a poem), for numbers (e.g., telephone numbers or the times tables), for images (e.g., faces or artworks), for sounds (e.g., specific engine noises or melodies), for movements (e.g., dance steps), for nomenclatures and organizational schemes (e.g., an organization chart or the periodic table of elements), for interpersonal idiosyncrasies (e.g., what motivates different people), and for personal preferences (e.g., things I do and don’t like). These eight areas are called talents, or multiple intelligences.”

The two best strategies that anyone can apply to aid in the learning process are spaced repetition and flash cards. They imply dividing the material into smaller parts, then writing down definitions, formulas, vocabulary, dates etc. and repeatedly learning and testing over a longer period of time, with breaks in between. Another tip is creating categories, based on how well you know the content. For example, there can be 3 groups for when to review the cards: every day, once per week, or before test. This process can be done by pen and paper (see video below), but there are also apps like Anki, Tinycards, Brainscape or Quizlet. Happy learning!

A galaxy’s stop-and-start young radio jets

In this image, made with the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), young, radio-emitting jets of material emerge from the core of an elliptical galaxy some 500 million light-years from Earth. The broad lobes on either side of the bright core are the result of jet activity that began roughly 80 years ago. The gap between these lobes and the central region indicates, the scientists said, that the jet activity stopped sometime after that, then resumed about 10 years ago.

“These are among the youngest known jets in such systems, and only a handful are known to emit gamma-rays,” said Matthew Lister, of Purdue University. The bright edges of the lobes are where the ejected material, moving at about a third the speed of light, impacted material within the galaxy. The bright emitting areas total about 35 light-years across, and are at the core of the galaxy, where a supermassive black hole about one million times the mass of the Sun resides.

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Paper: Lister, M.L., Homan, D.C., Kovalev, Y.Y., Mandal, S., Pushkarev, A.B. and Siemiginowska, A., 2020. TXS 0128+ 554: A Young Gamma-Ray Emitting AGN With Episodic Jet Activity. arXiv preprint arXiv:2006.16970.

Kanban board

If you want to be more organized, a solution is to use a kanban board. This helps you to better manage your time and human resources, when working alone or in a team. The concept is really simple: start with your to-do list, select the task you are focusing on, and then get a sense of accomplishment when you finish it.

The following two videos show you various use-case scenarios, such as from personal work, team projects, family planning and study scheduling. This method allows you to make your work visible, when oftentimes it is invisible and intangible.

Dyson Lightcycle Morph™ light

This new type of lamp from Dyson makes us reconsider how we perceive indoor illumination. With embedded technology that takes into account atmospheric conditions, the amount of daylight, and user preferences, this gadget offers a wide range of options to choose from. You can focus on working, relax when reading books, or just create a cozy ambiance.

David Ludlow has made an in-depth review of this product and highlights the 60-year lifetime, the advantages of diffusing powerful and flexible lighting, as well as automatic adjustment to weather conditions and motion around it. It’s main disadvantage is the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity, but this is compensated by programming from the lamp or the mobile app.

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