Categories
Psychology Science

Tips for boosting your memory and brain power

If you’re looking to boost your memory and brain power, this video contains some excellent tips and reminders.

In summary:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise helps form new brain cells and solidifies existing neurons. It also increases the hippocampus brain area which is responsible for memory and learning.
  • Never stop learning. Learning something new builds new brain cells. In fact, parts of your brain shrink when you stop learning. Be a life-long learner!
  • Play music. Learning to play music stimulates your verbal memory. This is because music training improves your left temporal lobe.
  • Use Mnemonics. Associate new information with a shortcut of memorable images, sentences, or simple words. Also, try the Acrostic and Mind Palace techniques. The more you can combine words with images, the stronger your brainpower. Keep in mind what Einstein said about creativity.
  • Gain new experiences. Do small things like eating with your weaker hand to stimulate more connections between areas of your brain. Such practice also strengthens nerve cells and ward off the negative impact of aging.
  • Try brain games. You can also work out your brain with puzzles, crosswords or Sudoku. Playing brain games improves cognition and keeps surviving neurons active.
  • Eat omega-rich foods. Your brain needs omega-3 fatty acids to function at its optimal level.
  • Challenge your brain. It’s vital to do small tasks like practicing math skills so you don’t outsource all your thinking to computers.

Above all, stay mentally active by engaging in mental stimulation. That does not mean chasing the nearest dopamine hit. Do any of the above tips on a daily basis instead.

Categories
Science Video

The persistence of memory

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

Carl Sagan, from the Cosmos episode “The Persistence of Memory”
Categories
Creativity Science

‘Grab a leash and take your thoughts for a walk.’

So, how do you walk and brainstorm?

Said Henry David Thoreau, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”

Walking boosts creativity. If you ever get stuck in a creative rut, science shows that you should go for a stroll to get your endorphins moving.

As learning scientist Marily Oppezzo notes in her TED presentation below, walking generates twice the ideas. Even if you walk and then sit, your mind will continue to generate novelty.

But you can’t just walk forever, nor should you run. You should discuss your ideas out loud; the good ones will stick around. If you really want to remember everything discussed, record the thinking session on your phone.

So, how do you walk and brainstorm?

Says Oppezzo:

  1. Pick a problem/topic for brainstorm
  2. Walk at a comfortable pace WHILE you are brainstorming
  3. Generate as many ideas a you can
  4. Speak and record your ideas
  5. Cap your time

The chair-based lifestyle is not only killing us, but it’s also stifling good ideas. Go for a walk to freshen up your pattern of thinking.

Categories
Science

The blurry black hole photo

In the New Republic, writer Matt Ford rightly argues why we should be in awe of the blurry photo of the black hole. It’s not about the picture as much as the effort in went in to capturing it. Context is king.

This level of cynicism is better understood as ignorance. The image itself might indeed seem unimpressive. But judging it as you would any other digital photograph, shorn of all context and understanding, would be shortsighted. One also has to consider the thought and labor behind its creation. The photograph might not depict the horror of galactic destruction as some expected, but it represents something even better.

In other words, the photo should not just be consumed and forgotten like every other piece of digital (re: social) media. The image of the black hole is an artifact.

Think about it: A group of mostly hairless primates, stranded on a rock circling a nuclear spark, used radio waves to photograph an invisible sun-eater so far away that a person would have to travel for 55 million years at the speed of light to reach it. It’s hard to not feel a frisson of awe at the scale of the feat. This context is vital to fully appreciating the image itself, in the same way that the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling is even more impressive when you know that Michelangelo spent three years of his adult life bent over backwards to paint it.

Read In Defense of the Blurry Black Hole Photo

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology Science

Placebos: the lies we make true

Placebos are the lies we make true #gif

What the mind believes, the body can achieve. Look no further than a placebo who’s sole power is in its real effects.

If it’s broken, only then do you fix it. But placebos work just as an app’s colors dupe the brain into submission. The slightest taste of sugar helps the medicine go down.

The placebo is cleverer than any of us. It works for no other reason than the belief that it’s supposed to. We are skilled storytellers, especially when we’re full of shit.

Categories
Science Tech

Dancing with the algorithms

Dancing with the algorithms, yielding results random but time-saving. How else are we to discover all these gems in a sea of content?

From Spotify to Gmail, we accept the recommendations to curate and speak for us. Playlists generate themselves, email answers itself.

Predictive life is human, stung with errors.

The computers and their code are often over their heads, impractical and sometimes stupid.

But in combination with human neurons, the computer gets closer to the truth: that we just need help deciding.

What appears random at first is the marriage of a happy accident.