Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quote of the day

"The best things in life aren't things"

Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better

knowledgeIf someone granted you one wish, what do you imagine you would want out of life that you haven't gotten yet? For many people, it would be self-improvement and knowledge. New knowledge is the backbone of society's progress. Great thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and others' quests for knowledge have led society to many of the marvels we enjoy today. Your quest for knowledge doesn't have to be as Earth-changing as Einstein's, but it can be an important part of your life, leading to a new job, better pay, a new hobby, or simply knowledge for knowledge's sake — whatever is important to you as an end goal.

Life-changing knowledge does typically require advanced learning techniques. In fact, it's been said that the average adult only uses 10% of his/her brain. Imagine what we may be capable of with more advanced learning techniques. Here are 77 tips related to knowledge and learning to help you on your quest. A few are specifically for students in traditional learning institutions; the rest for self-starters, or those learning on their own. Happy learning.


  1. Shake a leg. Lack of blood flow is a common reason for lack of concentration. If you've been sitting in one place for awhile, bounce one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall.
  2. Food for thought: Eat breakfast. A lot of people skip breakfast, but creativity is often optimal in the early morning and it helps to have some protein in you to feed your brain. A lack of protein can actually cause headaches.
  3. Food for thought, part 2: Eat a light lunch. Heavy lunches have a tendency to make people drowsy. While you could turn this to your advantage by taking a "thinking nap" (see #23), most people haven't learned how.
  4. Cognitive enhancers: Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that has been used in China and other countries for centuries and has been reputed to reverse memory loss in rats. It's also suggested by some health practitioners as a nootrope and thus a memory enhancer.
  5. Reduce stress + depresssion. Stress and depression may reduce the ability to recall information and thus inhibit learning. Sometimes, all you need to reduce depression is more white light and fewer refined foods.


  1. Sleep on it. Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote about in his book Psycho-Cybernetics about a man who was was paid good money to come up with ideas. He would lock his office door, close the blinds, turn off the lights. He'd focus on the problem at hand, then take a short nap on a couch. When he awoke, he usually had the problem solved.
  2. Take a break. Change phyical or mental perspective to lighten the invisible stress that can sometimes occur when you sit in one place too long, focused on learning. Taking a 5-15 minute break every hour during study sessions is more beneficial than non-stop study. It gives your mind time to relax and absorb information. If you want to get really serious with breaks, try a 20 minute ultradian break as part of every 90 minute cycle. This includes a nap break, which is for a different purpose than #23.
  3. Take a hike. Changing your perspective often relieves tension, thus freeing your creative mind. Taking a short walk around the neighborhood may help.
  4. Change your focus. Sometimes there simply isn't enough time to take a long break. If so, change subject focus. Alternate between technical and non-technical subjects.

Perspective and Focus

  1. Change your focus, part 2. There are three primary ways to learn: visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. If one isn't working for you, try another.
  2. Do walking meditation. If you're taking a hike (#25), go one step further and learn walking meditation as a way to tap into your inner resources and your strengthen your ability to focus. Just make sure you're not walking inadvertently into traffic.
  3. Focus and immerse yourself. Focus on whatever you're studying. Don't try to watch TV at the same time or worry yourself about other things. Anxiety does not make for absorption of information and ideas.
  4. Turn out the lights. This is a way to focus, if you are not into meditating. Sit in the dark, block out extraneous influences. This is ideal for learning kinesthetically, such as guitar chord changes.
  5. Take a bath or shower. Both activities loosen you up, making your mind more receptive to recognizing brilliant ideas.

Recall Techniques

  1. Listen to music. Researchers have long shown that certain types of music are a great "key" for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled simply by "playing" the songs mentally.
  2. Speedread. Some people believe that speedreading causes you to miss vital information. The fact remains that efficient speedreading results in filtering out irrelevant information. If necessary, you can always read and re-read at slower speeds. Slow reading actually hinders the ability to absorb general ideas. (Although technical subjects often requirer slower reading.) If you're reading online, you can try the free Spreeder Web-based application.
  3. Use acronyms and other mnemonic devices. Mnemonics are essentially tricks for remembering information. Some tricks are so effective that proper application will let you recall loads of mundane information years later.

Visual Aids

  1. Every picture tells a story. Draw or sketch whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Having a concrete goal in mind helps you progress towards that goal.
  2. Brainmap it. Need to plan something? Brain maps, or mind maps, offer a compact way to get both an overview of a project as well as easily add details. With mind maps, you can see the relationships between disparate ideas and they can also act as a receptacle for a brainstorming session.
  3. Learn symbolism and semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. Having an understanding of the symbols of a particular discipline aids in learning, and also allows you to record information more efficiently.
  4. Use information design. When you record information that has an inherent structure, applying information design helps convey that information more clearly. A great resource is Information Aesthetics, which gives examples of information design and links to their sources.
  5. Use visual learning techniques. Try gliffy for structured diagrams. Also see for an explanation of webs, idea maps, concept maps, and plots.
  6. Map your task flow. Learning often requires gaining knowledge in a specific sequence. Organizing your thoughts on what needs to be done is a powerful way to prepare yourself to complete tasks or learn new topics.
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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Increase your Brain Activity with 15 Ideas

These are 15 fun ideas that will increase your brain activity. It has been proven that the more exercise you give your brain the more it will grow and operate to new super levels. Are you striving to be more intelligent, more creative? Here’s a great platform on how you can achieve your goals.
15 Extra Ways to Keep Your Brain In Shape

“If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”

- Brian Koslow

It’s simple, your brain is at the center of everything you do, all you feel and think, and every nuance of how you relate to people. It’s both the supercomputer that runs your complex life and the tender organ that houses your soul. So it is very important to focus on keeping your brain in shape.

By regularly engaging in the right activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity. Here are some extra tips on how to keep your brain in top nick.

1. Just stop.

“Take 20-30 minutes out of your day to think about nothing. But don’t sleep – you’ve got to meditate. Sit still, reduce sensory input, and try to focus your mind on something like a calm scene or a color (to begin with thinking about something rather than trying to think of ‘nothing’ is easier). A study at the University of Kentucky revealed that subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 30 minutes had better scores than those who napped for the same time.”

2. Hit the streets.

“Lace up your running shoes and get moving. A study from the University of Illinois, US, revealed that aerobic exercise actually increases brain volume. They put two groups through different regimens - one did aerobic training three times weekly for one hour; the other group did just stretching and toning exercise. The aerobics group had increased their brain volume and white matter, which forms the connections between neurons.”

3. Mix it up.

“Exercise has long been hailed as an aid to brain-power longevity. But to ensure you’re not leaving the gas on in your eighties, vary your workout routines now. Try changing things up on a regular basis and you’ll stimulate your brain more because you’re not using the same pathway over and over again.”

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1001 Books You Have to Read Before You Die

  1. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. Saturday – Ian McEwan
  3. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  4. Slow Man – J.M. Coetzee
  5. Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson
  6. The Sea – John Banville
  7. The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
  8. The Plot Against America – Philip Roth
  9. The Master – Colm Tóibín
  10. Vanishing Point – David Markson
  11. The Lambs of London – Peter Ackroyd
  12. Dining on Stones – Iain Sinclair
  13. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  14. Drop City – T. Coraghessan Boyle
  15. The Colour – Rose Tremain
  16. Thursbitch – Alan Garner
  17. The Light of Day – Graham Swift
  18. What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt
  19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon
  20. Islands – Dan Sleigh
  21. Elizabeth Costello – J.M. Coetzee
  22. London Orbital – Iain Sinclair
  23. Family Matters – Rohinton Mistry
  24. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  25. The Double – José Saramago
  26. Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  27. Unless – Carol Shields
  28. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
  29. The Story of Lucy Gault – William Trevor
  30. That They May Face the Rising Sun – John McGahern
  31. In the Forest – Edna O’Brien
  32. Shroud – John Banville
  33. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
  34. Youth – J.M. Coetzee
For a complete list go to here

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Quote of the day

"Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty."
John D. Rockefeller.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fortune 40: Stocks to Retire On

Will the Dow and the S&P 500 go back to their record-setting ways? Is the recent weakness the start of something much worse? With the fate of the bull market hanging in the balance, this is a perfect time to revisit the Fortune 40, the portfolio we've designed - and recalibrated annually - to help you thrive in markets both rocky and calm, and build for retirement.

Our 40 favorites turned in a banner year, trouncing even the S&P's glitzy performance. From June 2, 2006 to June 1, 2007, our diversified group returned 27.4%, compared with 21.5% for the S&P. Since its inception in 2002, the Fortune 40 has delivered an 18.3% annualized return, easily besting the S&P's 14.7%.
More from Fortune on

Fortune 40: In-Depth Slideshow

Six Supertrends ... and Six Superstocks

Ben Stein's Perfect Portfolio
This year, we've created five mini-portfolios: Growth and income; bargain growth; deep value; small wonders; and foreign value. Together they comprise a diversified portfolio.

We started with virtually the entire market and narrowed the field by running a grueling series of screens based on each experts' methods. We focused on companies whose shares appear cheapest relative to their long-term growth prospects. We combed through SEC filings, scoured analyst reports, and grilled large shareholders. We favored stocks that are also owned by fund managers with demonstrated records of success.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Free digital camera enhancer

"Free DCE does the hard job of noise reducing and automatic balance control for you. And it is free!

The program works best if you have bad light condition (indoor, shadows etc..) and your image is somehow off. So if some of your images are already fine, you won't see much difference. DCE makes very delicate changes..."


Idiom of the day

Se laisser demonter - to get flustered
Il ne s'est pas laisse demonter devant leur hostility evidente - He didn't get flustered at their obvious hostility.

Quote of the day

"Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination."
Edward Abbey


Another way to use Wikipedia..

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

The 100 Most Inspirational Personal Finance Turnaround Stories Online

If you’re like many Americans, you probably have some concerns about your personal finances. You may be worried about credit card payments, high interest loans or whether your retirement plan is going to provide you and your spouse with enough money to sustain you. The bloggers highlighted in this article used to have similar problems, but they’ve all decided to make a change for the better. Although many of them haven’t yet achieved what they set out to do, they can all be considered successful. They’ve changed the way they think about money, and that’s the most important step you can take. In this article we have collected 100 of the most inspirational stories of financial turnaround from around the web in order to provide you with the inspiration you need to make a change in your own life.


This group is made up of serious savers. Some of them are figuring out what to do with the money they used to send to credit card companies, while others are trying to play catch-up on nest eggs. All of them are taking great steps to improve their financial futures.

  1. Ima Saver: Ima Saver started a saving challenge with $20. She saves her change, profit from odd jobs and any other money she comes across. To date, she’s saved over $11,000.
  2. Grad Money Matters: The writer behind Grad Money Matters is a self-professed “poster child for why not to delay starting a nest egg.” After missing out on lots of time, this blogger is working even harder, trying to develop means of passive income.
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Idiom of the day

Sauf avis contraire - unless one hears to the contrary
sauf avis contraire, le coli sera expedie vendredi - Unless you hear to the contrary, the package will be sent on Friday.