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February 17, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

"Dom DeLuise,the comedian, was implicated in the following unseemly acts in my mind’s eye: He hocked a fat globule of spittle on Albert Einstein’s thick white mane and delivered a devastating karate kick to the groin of Pope Benedict XVI. Michael Jackson engaged in behavior bizarre even for him. He defecated on a salmon burger and captured his flatulence in a balloon." How Joshua Foer trained his brain and became a world-class memory athlete.

Get some memory tips from Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, and test your own memorization abilities.
posted by tractorfeed (18 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
How, in god's name, is a fart balloon "unseemly"?
posted by NoMich at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Violence is memorable. This is why half of the Super-Bowl ads had people being smashed by or into things (without any blood or serious injury, naturally).
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:55 AM on February 17, 2011


This tawdry tableau, which I’m not proud to commit to the page

Don't be coy with us, you saw a good hook for your article and went with it.
posted by no_moniker at 9:56 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"In a baboon" would have been more memorable than "in a balloon".
posted by Wolfdog at 9:57 AM on February 17, 2011


The Aristocrats!
posted by Ratio at 10:01 AM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


"In a baboon" would have been more memorable than "in a balloon".

Damn you and your revisionist history.
posted by The World Famous at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2011


Some of these memory tips are covered in Bob Harris's delightful book Prisoner of Trebekistan, his account of what it took to be a Jeopardy champion. The sillier the event, the more memorable it is.

There are many show-prep tips as well, plus you can learn how to build your own buzzer (which he nicknames the "Jeopardy Weapon") so that you can play along at home.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bob Harris's delightful book Prisoner of Trebekistan

That book is incredible, and I would highly recommend it to anybody, even if you're not a Jeopardy fan. (A great moment for me as a Buffy fan was the realization of who the Jane he keeps mentioning is.)

Being on Jeopardy also emphasized just how damn good people like him and Ken Jennings are. I had all these strategies from both Bob and Ken's books that I was going to deploy, but during the game I completely zoned out on all of them.
posted by kmz at 10:07 AM on February 17, 2011


Great article. I thought they conflated recognition and recall though... they'd mention an experiment about how good we are at recognition and use it to make a claim about how good we are at recall. Those are two different mental processes.

I really wish they went more into this:

"He was also working on inventing a new color — “not just a new color, but a whole new way of seeing color.""

Is he talking about Churchland's chimerical colors, or something else?
posted by painquale at 10:09 AM on February 17, 2011


I'd really like to read the definitive book on mnemonic memory devices.
posted by Avenger50 at 10:11 AM on February 17, 2011


Cannonball Run II was a terrible movie.
posted by benzenedream at 10:23 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like to nominate the author of this piece for the Nobel prize in the category of "not using the phrase 'mind-hack' in an article that could very easily have done so"
posted by Dmenet at 10:39 AM on February 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


New primary color Squant.
posted by Babblesort at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll third the love for Prisoner of Trebekistan. Silly (but memorable -- see, it works) title, great book.
posted by Zed at 11:16 AM on February 17, 2011


Fascinating article! Considering how often I feel like I have a terrible memory for most mundane things, I may just have to try a few of these strategies on for size.
posted by sarastro at 11:54 AM on February 17, 2011


You could also just associate what you want to remember with porn and then project it back in time to yourself through ESP. (More fun than thinking of Dom DeLuise, at least.)
posted by ghiacursed at 11:58 AM on February 17, 2011


Thanks for that article, though. Very cool.
posted by ghiacursed at 12:19 PM on February 17, 2011


I'd really like to read the definitive book on mnemonic memory devices.

The Memory Book
posted by kevinsp8 at 8:44 PM on February 17, 2011


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