What a strange weekend.
On Friday I went to a salsa party full of single girls dancing, flirting and laughing. One stood out in particular. Let's call her May. It was a fun night and I still have images of May jumping around on the dance floor, flinging her hair about, skipping from man to man and basically just attracting a lot of attention.
Then on Saturday I met a friend who recently graduated, started work and is now engaged. Let's call her June. When we last met 4 years ago she was a student and vehemently anti-babies. Not so much now though. I listened to her tell me how relationships were a compromise and how she was never anti-babies.
And finally on Sunday I visited some old friends who now have two kids and are set up in the suburbs. Let's call them Cath and Shane. It was a strange feeling watching Cath and Shane feed, wash and change their screaming babies and think back to the weekend I had passed with May and June.
Was I witnessing cause and effect?
If I had to form a naive world view from this single weekend I would conclude that:
May surely didn't give pregnancy a thought that Friday night, yet with the benefit of hindsight we can say it is quite probably an eventual outcome of her behaviour.
June used to rant about the ridiculous things her mother told her about security, not expecting the spark to last and choosing someone because they love you and not necessarily the other way around. Now she regurgitates her mother's ideas to me as if they were her own.
And Cath and Shane, well they might fantasise about reliving the highs of being in love but these moments seem to be drowned in the logistics of day to day life.
So what happened?
What happened to love?
Was it ever real?
Or is it just nature's dirty trick?
Every now and again curiosity motivates me to go onto women's blogs and forums to see what sorts of problems they have in the dating game. It's always quite interesting. This week I found a post on the TwoXChromosomes subreddit about creeps and online dating. The post is from a guy who set up a woman's profile on a dating site to see what it is like.
What he discovered is that guys are basically just, like, creepy.
Here is an abridged version of the original post (emphasis is mine):
So here I am playing my violin in the mountains and this big bull elephant turns up and starts blowing his trumpet right behind me (NOT in tune, I might add). So I stop for a photo and he starts getting all huffy and then just starts running at me like it was HIS gig or something.
It's difficult to get a good photo of wild elephants when they're chasing you, but I got this one and some other pretty good photos of the ground. Don't worry, my violin is quite safe.
Managed fund fees have come under the spotlight since several academic studies showed that actively managed funds consistently underperform passive index funds. This is simply because all that work in trying to pick winners costs more than it's worth.
Here is a free managed fund fee calculator that you can use to compare the total fees for the lifetime of your investment. Over time, and with large investments the numbers add up quickly.
The great thing about this calculator is that it includes the effects of compounding fund growth and reinvested distributions both of which increase the fund management fee over time. The calculator makes two calculations: first your theoretical gross return with absolutely no fees, then your actual return with all the fees factored in. The difference is how much you lose in fees, inluding the opportunity cost of not investing that money.
I started some time ago using memory palaces to remember the music that I learn. It was great, I could think of a song, go to the memory palace for that song and have it all mapped out for me ready to perform. But soon I found I had a new problem - how to remember what songs I know? Or more generally - how do you remember what you can remember?
Well, as you might have guessed, you can use a memory palace for that too. You just need to connect each location in the new palace to your other ones. You can embed your memory palaces in this way ad finitum so you effectively have one infinite memory palace.
To embed a memory palace I found the easiest way was to add a 'descent' option at each location so that when I visit a location I can choose to pass over to the next location or descend into the embedded memory palace. Other people using similar techniques have used portals or doorways for the same thing, however I found that associating a definite direction (down) made it easier to remember and also easier to go backwards (up).
The descent path needs to be mnemonically linked to the destination memory palace or you will forget where it goes. For example, my memory palace for 'Comptine de un Autre Ete' from Amelie is along the Siene river in Paris. To get there I descend through a letterbox full of letters from Paris. Sounds ridiculous, but it works. Plus I just need to look at that letterbox and I feel like I'm in France.
It's also kind of fun traversing your memory palace like this.
Although I can read music, I hate it. It's slow, uncomfortable, distracting and entirely unnecessary. Music is already quite memorable and only requires a few hacks to get into your long-term memory. Here is the process which I use that has evolved over the past few years.
I hope you find it useful.
1. Find the MOTIVE behind the music.
Your goal here is to determine the reason WHY the artist wrote the piece. Throw out the sheet music and listen to a recording of the piece. Ask yourself the following questions.
It can also be very useful to do some background research about the piece and the artist. What was happening in his or her life when he wrote the piece?
2. Identify the FORM of the music.
Again, just listen to the piece over and over. The most important goal of this step is to identify the tonic and mode (major, minor, blues, lydian etc) of the piece. You will also recognise the genre and structure which are key parts of the music's form.
Once upon a time eggs and sperm where the same size. Or more correctly, once upon a time there were no eggs and no sperm. Just gametes. Equal in size and equal in cost these gametes could reproduce with each other in a happy and fair trade.
Then one day an individual chanced upon a mutation that would change the world forever. His small, undersized gametes gave him a reproductive advantage, allowing him to have more offspring at a lower cost. He was the first male.
His family flourished with the advantage of cheap sex and further mutations drove his gametes smaller and smaller - until one day something unexpected happened: His family could no longer reproduce successfully. Their gametes were too small to create viable offspring.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond lived another individual who acquired a mutation that led to large gametes. Costly and burdensome her large gametes were a reproductive disadvantage. Her family was small and struggling. She was the first female.
Recently I've taken up mnemotechnics which I've been using for music and lucid dreaming. One useful mnemonic tools is called PAO or Person-Action-Object. This tool encodes numbers into memorable unique scenarios. For example I have mapped the number 6 to 'Jesus walking on water'. You can then recombine these sequences the encode longer numbers.
If you don't know exactly how PAO works you probably want to read the Art Of Memory wiki first.
Yan from mentathlete.com generously posted a list of 10,000 famous people to use for your PAO system. I've forked his list and resorted it by <First Initial, Last Initial> to make it easier to find people for two digit numbers. I'm planning on updating and maintaining this list and will keep this page updated with the latest version.
If you have any additions you'd like to suggest please feel free to post them in the comments below.