Rhyming Mnemonics: Perhaps you're familiar with the rhyme that starts with "30 days hath September, April, June, and November"? Rhymes are similar to music mnemonics. When the end of every line rhymes, it creates a song-like pattern that's easy to remember. One expression I learned from watching a cooking show: "Looks the same, cooks the same"—a reminder to chop and dice ingredients uniformly for even cooking. The Rhyming Peg System: You can use number rhymes to memorize a list of items using the " peg system " also known as the "hook system".
In this system, for each number, you memorize an image of a word that rhymes with it. That image provides a "hook" or "peg" for things you want to remember, especially in order. So, for example, let's say you had a grocery list of items to buy: milk, cookies, bananas, and bacon. With the peg system, you'd:. It takes some work and creativity to memorize a list this way, but you'll retain that information much longer than if you just tried to memorize the words in order.
And once you've got the basic rhyming peg down, you can reuse this for any future lists. Resources: Peglist. And check out hundreds of mnemonic devices you can use in everyday life or to learn a new subject. If someone were to learn one thing, it should be that. The memory palace is a mnemonic device that's as tried-and-true as it gets—and deserves a section of its own. Invented by orators in ancient Roman and Greek times, the memory palace or mind palace or "method of loci" technique is both effective and enjoyable to use, whether you're trying to remember a speech you have to give, details of a case you're working on a la Sherlock Holmes , or your grocery list.
In fact, four-time USA Memory Champion Nelson Dellis —who claims to have an average memory—says that "The number one technique that we top memory athletes use is still and will always be the memory palace. With the memory palace technique, you associate a location you're familiar with—such as your apartment, the block you grew up on, or the route you take to work or school—with the items you're trying to remember. It works because you're visually pegging or "placing" representations of what you want to remember in places you already have strong memories of.
It sounds pretty absurd, but as we'll discuss in more detail later, the more visual, animated, and outrageous you can make your memories, the better.
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Here's a video from World Memory Championship winner Alex Mullen describing in great detail how to "attach" words to objects and locations in with the memory palace technique. You'll find yourself remembering these 20 words long after you watch the video:. Chunking is another mnemonic device that can make large amounts of information more memorable.
You probably use it already. To remember or share a phone number, chances are you chunk the numbers so they're easier to remember: "" "" ""—rather than the more memory-intensive "8 8 8 5 5 5 0 0 0 0. But by grouping information into smaller sets, we can "hack the limits of our working memory," as The Atlantic puts it , to remember more. The chunking technique involves grouping items, finding patterns in them, and organizing the items.
You might group items on your grocery list by aisle, for example, or look for connections between events in a historical period to create chunks of them, such as moments in the s that involved the US Constitution. Chunking works because our brains are primed to look for patterns and make connections. Brain Pickings explains :. Our memory system becomes far more efficient, effective—and intelligent—than it could ever be without such refined methods [as chunking] to extract useful structure from raw data.
To put this into practice yourself, you could group vocabulary words for a new language you're learning by topic, organize items in a list by the first letter or by the number of letters they have, or associate items with the larger whole they might be involved in e. In addition to memory aids or tricks like the ones above, there are also broader strategies that will help you better remember what you come across everyday—techniques that work no matter what you're trying to memorize. Shattered glass. Stinky socks. Screaming, swaddled babies. When Dellis gave me a crash course on memorization techniques in preparation for the USA Memory Championship, the one thing that stood out to me across all of the methods he shared was how vivid—and often absurd—the images you create need to be to become fixed in your memory.
Visualization is a key skill when it comes to memory. Names and numbers are hard to remember because they're abstract and our brains can't easily latch onto them. But our brains store and recall images much more easily. You forget this person's name, because you haven't really associated that word with anything about that person maybe it's been stored in your short-term memory, but probably not.
You need to connect "Mike" to something more.
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With the memory palace technique and other memorization techniques that deal with symbols such as letters and numbers , the best strategy is to turn something abstract into a sound and visual representation. Use the sounds in the word to turn it into an image. In the case of "Mike," you can think of a picture of a microphone. For multi-syllable names, create an image for each syllable. For "Melanie," you might think of a melon and a knee crushing it. Then, the second step is to peg or anchor that image onto the place you will remember it. If your new friend Mike has unusually big eyes, you might imagine microphones bulging out of each of his eyes.
It's similar to the memory palace technique, but instead of anchoring new visual information to a location, you anchor it to a physical feature of whatever you're trying to remember. Animate the images: The more animated and vivid you can make these images, the better. Doing this creates stronger, novel connections in your brain between that word or number and an image. Engage as many of your senses as possible: Remember how the brain begins the encoding process through your senses?
You'll remember abstract things like names and numbers more if you tap into your sense of hearing, taste, and smell. In the Mike example, perhaps you'll hear audio feedback from the microphones. In the Melanie example, perhaps some of the fruit is gushing out of the melon and you can actually smell it. When it comes to numbers, similar techniques apply. You can associate numbers with images, which will help you better remember long strings of numbers. To remember the number , then, picture a swan swimming past a flagpole to pick at a donut. Memory champions such as Dellis encode double- or triple-digit numbers with images so they can memorize hundreds of digits in five minutes.
For example, 00 equals Ozzy Osbourne, 07 is James Bond. Practice and learn more: This name game can help you train yourself to remember names and faces better. And Litemind explains how the major memory system for numbers works. Put away your laptop. You're more likely to remember notes you write by hand than those you type.
There are a few reasons why handwriting is preferable to using your laptop when it comes to memory.
First, the physical act of writing stimulates cells at the base of your brain , called the reticular activating system RAS. When the RAS is triggered, your brain pays more attention to what you're doing at the moment. Space flight to Mars. Space colonies.
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Ron Howard. Enter a search term Clear search. Use the classic catalog. Call Number Getting humans to Mars is expensive.
Is that with or without an in-flight meal? Even if you skip the peanuts, the only way to truly bring these costs down and change the economics of Mars is to build reusable rockets. Is that possible? They have already demonstrated the launch and landing of the Falcon 9. And this year, they are planning the first test flight of the Falcon Heavy. And what comes next? SpaceX eventually plans to replace its current fleet with a single one-size-fits-all rocket, called the BFR, capable of carrying people and a payload of ,kg.
You figure it out. Sounds great.
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When do we leave? Two BFR cargo missions are planned for , followed by a further two cargo and two crew missions as early as So, do you think we will we be ready in 15 years? Yes almost certainly.
That was never an issue on Star Trek. How come? Long periods with no stimulation, staring into the black vastness of space, can lead to depression and attention deficits. OK but they are astronauts. They can deal with this, right?
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Astronauts go through intensive psychological tests. But no mission in history has posed the boredom challenges of a Mars mission. So what do we do about this?