Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Numbers, numbers, numbers

What am I going to do about my system for memorising decimal numbers? It's not a bad system, but it's not better than everybody else's. And "better than everybody else's" is the kind of thing I strive for. But however I play around with possibilities, I can't think up a clever way to move to a four-digit-image system. I may have to come up with a non-clever way, and just memorise ten thousand images by sheer brute force. It has to be done, if I'm going to break records...


Mike said...

I have 2 approaches.

1. 100 categories of 100 items.
eg. BIrds ; RAven

2. 100 celebrities;
100 people of a similar type for each of those celebrities.
eg. Celebrity male with shaven head -> 100 public domain images of people who are male and have shaven or bald or receding hairline heads.

In both cases, the nickname for each image is built from 2 syllables.
eg. BiRa is the bird-raven.

Zoomy said...

Hmm, I actually like option 1 quite a lot! I might have to give that a try! Thanks, Mike!

DOL said...

Sort of joking, but isn't there a real possibly that at those levels of concentration you're putting your brain at risk of developing an aneurism? I ask because I'm aware of a few chess prodigies who died this way.

Zoomy said...

I'm fairly sure that nobody has ever died from thinking too much about chess, and I'm positive that nobody has yet been killed by memory competitions. Not even as a result of arguments about the rules! If I turn out to be the first, please feel free to write an article for some medical magazine about it.

Mike said...

I have example categories such as BIrds on a web page - 10000 image system.
Last year, I sketched out 5000 words for it (not online) but the image search is, of course, a separate project. I do have 100 bird images though!


Memoryking said...

Yes the 100 categories and 100 items concept has existed for many years it's just no one has bothered to learn it yet.

I know a memoriser who used 52 categories with 52 words/images for packs of cards. They however never really learnt the images well enough to be able to use it constructively. Shame as at the time (1994) they would have demolished the competition with a vastly superior system.

Dominic O'Brien bought low and sold high. Memorisers these days have it tougher! Someone will need to use four digit system in order to really smash through number barriers.

One thought though, in the recall if they have forgotten a number, are they seriously going to go through all 10 000 images?

Mike said...

Apparently, categories and items seem to have been used by Irish monks way before our time.

And a lot of 'new' stuff is really stuff we heard about through the recent invention of the internet - when people had the opportunity to put some of their old work online that no publisher would touch.

It's hard to come up with something new; maybe all most of us can do is put a bit of our personality into it.

And what I think is praise-worthy is the commitment to an idea. 100s of people can suggest an idea and feel ownership of an idea despite getting no credit for it - very few people take the idea and make it a competent reality.

Memoryking said...

Lol I think the systems way predate Irish monks!!!

The ancient greeks were using pretty much all the memory systems in use today way before 'religion' was even invented (and what a bad day for mankind that was).

But the point you make is correct, there is little new stuff invented these days.

Zoomy said...

I think the memory techniques of the ancient Greeks tend to get wildly exaggerated in memory communities. From the way some people talk, you'd think that all they did was memorise things, without any time devoted to all those other things the ancient Greeks are more famous for (poetry, olympics, inventing gayness etc).

Also, I'm pretty sure that religion was rather important to the ancient Greeks too. I don't think we can claim that memory techniques predate organised religion, nice though the idea is...

Memoryking said...

Well various forms of organised religion may have predated memory techniques, although I doubt it very much, but what cannot be true is that Irish monks predated the ancient Greeks :)

You are right though that the memory side of the Ancient Greeks gets exaggerated a lot. You would think that the world memory championship started in Athens in BCE 400 by the way some people talk.