Bookmarked Are we losing our ability to remember? by Scott Taylor (Scott Taylor)

Is the Internet, and more generally, the computer, fundamentally impacting how our memory and brain function? In this post I explore the basic function of memory, and how some apps can help us build a second brain.

Scott Taylor unpacks the problems with memory. He talks about the way in which our short term memory is restricted to four-chunks.

We ‘can’t remember’ things because there is a limit to what we can hold in our working memory. Researchers used to think that it could hold around seven items or chunks, but now it’s widely believed that the working memory only holds about four chunks of information.

Two strategies that help counter this is: spaced repetition and offloading memory.

On the topic of memory, Tim Harford explains how without a physical change, new experiences all start to seem the same. Claudia Hammond and Clive Thompson talk about how we change memories to fit with the present. While this builds on Niklas Göke’s five steps to remembering what you read.

via Doug Belshaw

Liked ABC Politics with Annabel Crabb (

I’m assuming nobody in Melbourne is reading this because they’re all off getting their roots done or just openly, lasciviously strolling about without the threat of having their collar felt by the Recreation Rozzers. But on behalf of all of us at the ABC, may I convey our congratulations to, and admiration of, the great people of Victoria, who have had an awful lot chucked at them this year. The photo in this account of the Great Reopening is just glorious.

Liked Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown might be finally be over, but we are still deeply divided by Virginia Trioli (ABC News)

It’s a bit of a paradox, because at the same time we have banded together strongly like never before. We wait to see whether what happens next, our recovery and the help we get along the way, will bind some of the wounds as well.

Replied to Gary Ablett Jnr was the champion who exceeded football’s greatest expectations by Russell Jackson (ABC News)

The game asked him to be nothing less than perfect, on the field and off it. It demanded that he fill the giant space in the sporting landscape once occupied by his father — the man they call God.

And somehow — drawing upon a strength of character that defies explanation — Gary Ablett Jnr did it, the exemplar of champions and a credit to himself.

Thank you Russell for providing the human side of greatness.
Listened The Bends Turns 20 from Stereogum

There are plenty of fans who wish that Radiohead had never moved on from that clear, grand, driven guitar-rock sound, or that they’d return to it one of these days. Maybe they still will; you can’t say anything for certain with this band. But even if The Bends is your favorite Radiohead album — some days, it’s mine — it works better as a crucial chapter in one band’s sprawling story. Radiohead’s restlessness — their drive to constantly find new sounds and ideas — is what defines them and what makes them probably the single most important rock band to emerge since Nirvana. In any case, as soon as Radiohead moved on to stranger sounds, a whole cottage industry of soundalikes popped up, striving to capture the same majesty as Radiohead had on The Bends. In a way, it might be Radiohead’s most directly influential album; there is, after all, no way Coldplay exist without that album. So there’s another first for The Bends: It’s the first time Radiohead moved on from a sound and left it for the rest of the world to process and adapt and devour. It wouldn’t be the last.

Liked 10 Classroom Blogging Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) (The Edublogger)

Classroom blogging can be a powerful and effective way to enhance the learning experience for your students. However, if you’re new to starting a blog, there are some important things to consider before jumping in.

Let’s recap the ten mistakes to avoid with your classroom blog:

  1. Forgetting to obtain permission
  2. Making participation optional
  3. Failing to share with an audience
  4. Publishing inconsistently
  5. Not respecting copyright
  6. Forgetting to use or update pages
  7. Not having clear grading guidelines
  8. Ignoring categories and tags
  9. Overlooking accessibility
  10. Choosing the wrong platform
Liked How I Finally Fixed My Parents Dodgy Wifi With AmpliFi by Troy Hunt (Troy Hunt)

I moved on and extended the network out to my jet ski with their Mesh products, did a ground-up build in my brother’s house (which I remain jealous of) and just last month, released a free course on UniFi commissioned by Ubiquiti. Clearly, I’m a UniFi convert.

But UniFi isn’t for everyone. It’s a “prosumer” product which means it’s great for everyone from technical people installing it in their homes through to professionals building out entire shopping centres or stadiums with the gear. But it’s not great for non-techies; there’s both design and setup involved and frankly, a heap of features they’ll never need. That’s where AmpliFi comes in, Ubiquiti’s consumer line for the home.

Bookmarked New Zealand LEGO Map by Alexander Waleczek (

It turns out I am definitely not the first one to approach a project like this. As I mentioned before, Dirk built a world map, as well as a globeDan Harris built a map of Scotland and just a few days back, somebody in NZ finished a map of Westeros.

It looks like I found a much simpler way to create a map like this than Dirk, while at the same time probably spending as much time as he did anyway. There is an R package (of course there is) which converts an image into a mosaic of LEGO bricks. With a bit of scripting the whole process could – in theory – be automated. However even if it was automated, there is still the problem of brick prices and availability, which means you might save time if you do several different maps but pay a premium for bricks.

Alex Waleczek walks through the process of recreating the map of New Zealand with Lego.
Replied to A Modest Proposal: Deweaponizing Network Effects by Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

In my hypothetical scheme, everyone has a cross-platform universal identifier. Every stable social connection on a given service can be imagined as a labelled edge in a social graph that contains a node for every universal identifier.

The key in this scheme is that these edges are owned by the user and must be easily portable to any service.

Cal, this discussion of users owning their content has me thinking about the #IndieWeb and domain of one’s own. It also has me wonder where this fits with Eli Pariser’s discussion of online parks.
Replied to

Congratulations Joel. I was reading Cory Doctorow’s Homeland today and you reminded me of his discussion of dandelions as a model for spreading ideas , especially with your Maths Video Australia site.

The dandelion doesn’t want to nurse a single precious copy of itself in the hopes that it will leave the nest and carefully navigate its way to the optimum growing environment, there to perpetuate the line. The dandelion just wants to be sure that every single opportunity for reproduction is exploited!

When my mother died, a colleague told me it can take years to come to grips with it. A part of me understood, but was also perplexed with why. As our daughters grow older, they have me reflecting on my own childhood, about what I did and how I acted at the time. Maybe it is one of those mysteries of time and memory that cannot be known, but I still find myself wanting to ask my mother questions. It has taught me that there are just some spaces in life that cannot be filled, merely acknowledged.
Listened The Number Ones: Tears For Fears’ “Shout” from Stereogum

There is great power in simply saying fuck this shit. The sentiment doesn’t have to be any more nuanced or focused than that. It doesn’t have to have a specific target. It doesn’t have to have a solution. It can just be a feeling, and that feeling can be enough to fuel you, to help you feel like you have some kind of power. When enough people decide, at the same time, that this shit needs to get fucked, the world changes. “Shout,” Tears For Fears’ second American #1 hit, is a great moment for the fuck this shit sentiment — a rare moment where fuck this shit is the entire message of a big pop song.

After six months, I got my hair cut today. Playing it safe, I got it cut short. I know with all the discussion of donuts and lowering of restrictions that I should be more confident, however for me, confidence takes time. One of the things I noticed afterwards was my experience of space. In particular, I felt more aware of the temperature, of the breeze blowing or chill in the air.
Liked Cuts to humanities departments are cuts to our ability to reason by Catherine Ford (The Age)

When you diminish humanities departments, you fracture and destabilise an apparatus that fosters and supports thinking – analytical, creative, imaginative, productive, progressive thinking.

When you cut down humanities teachers and students, who, together, bring what they read, learn and test in their courses to a society that cannot afford to think less, or be critiqued less rigorously, or fail to imagine, you are shutting the book on the very heart and brain of that society. You attack places where enlightenment, useful consternation and doubt, and intellectual pleasures and satisfactions, are a currency passed from one generation to the next. You target an enterprise, a practice, and a legacy, whose benefits are far-reaching.

Just behind my old office there was a box. An innocuous box. I only noticed it when my principal showed it to me one day. It was a pump for a spring, with the water pumped into a nearby lake. For me it is a reminder of how we can think we are in control of land and space, but it would seem that we are only ever managing it, at best?
Listened Philosophy in a nutshell pt 3: Derrida and the text from ABC Radio National

In 1967, French philosopher Jacques Derrida wrote “There is nothing outside the text”. Or did he? It’s a bad translation that’s launched a thousand bad interpretations – but it’s gone on to become a key element of Derrida’s work.

David Rutledge speaks with Rebecca Hill about the the famous quote: “there is nothing outside the text.” The discuss what constitutes a text, including ideas of masculinity and feminism.
Replied to Butterfly Attacks by wiobyrne (

This is really interesting. In the remaining weeks before the 2020 US Elections, Twitter is limiting your ability to retweet content from others. More specifically, Twitter is urging you to give some context in your re-share…as opposed to blindly boosting the message of others.

Ian, moments like this when Twitter tries to fix things on the fly remind me of a comment Ian Guest once made:

I share some of your concerns, but I don’t feel as … unsettled? A couple of hypotheticals I’ll throw into the pot to see what bubbles to the surface.

  1. What would happen (for you) if Twitter’s ‘fail whale’ reappeared tomorrow and suddenly Twitter was gone?
  2. What if you deactivated your original account and started afresh? Knowing what you know and bearing in mind what you wrote in this post, how would you do things differently, if at all? Is ‘making Twitter great again’ within your capacity?
  3. If Twitter is broken beyond repair and neither Mastodon nor quite cut it, if you had the wherewithall, what would you design as a replacement? What would it need to have or be able to do?

So often the aim is to make things as easy and simple as possible, but I find there is something about the friction of carving out responses from my own site. I feel that it certainly makes me more mindful of my digital actions. As Clay Shirky suggests:

The thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I don’t notice what’s changing in the environment anymore.