Saturday, April 8, 2017

Earliest Memories

I can remember some things from when I was two years old, but some people can't even remember things that happened when they were four or five years old.

My earliest memories are of my grandmother, who died when I was two and three months old. We visited her every weekday, so that's one reason why she's stayed in my memory.

And I remember when my baby brother was born. I was two and a half when that happened. It was an important event, so it, too, was impressed in my mind.

I wonder why some people can remember things that happened early in their lives while others can't.

What are your earliest memories? Do you know why they might have stayed with you?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stupid Expert

I've always been interested in languages. I took lots of electives in college just for fun and have several shelves of books about languages.

But the stupidest thing I've ever read was in a book by a supposed expert in Linguistics.

I read it so long ago I can't even remember the title or author's name, but I've never been able to forget one stupid thing that supposed expert wrote in his book.

He (and, yes, I do remember it was a man) gave an explanation for the variety of Native American languages.

Here's the explanation:

Thousands and thousands of years ago early humans came across the land bridge that existed between northern Europe and the North American continent and traveled southward, then across the continent.

As they traveled they dropped off babies and toddlers who hadn't yet learned to talk at multiple points along the way. Each group of tiny children developed their own language.

In the first place, what are the chances of kids that young being able to survive without adults to care for them?

And why would any people simply drop off their babies and leave them, probably to die?

Even if the toddlers survived to adulthood, could they really invent complex languages?

The whole concept is so impossible I don't know how whoever wrote that book even got it published.

I wish I could find out the title or author. He ought to have won an award for the worst academic book ever written.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mnemonic Devices

A Mnemonic device is something that helps a person remember something.

Most of us probably learned some of those in school.

One example is "I before E except after C or when followed by G as in neighbor or weigh."

As we get older our brains gather more and more information, so it becomes easier to forget things.

I've developed a few mnemonic devices of my own.

For example, I used to keep my medications on the windowsill over the sink and I'd move them from one side to the other after taking them. That way I'd be sure I'd done so.

I'll put library books I've finished reading in a different location than the unread ones so I don't forget to return them.

I keep a big whiteboard in my office and write my daily to-do lists on it, then check off the things I've accomplished.

And, of course, I often write notes to myself and put them where I know I'll see them.

What do you do to help yourself remember things?