How to memorize a randomized deck of playing cards


Q: Why is it so hard to remember the name of someone you've just met? A: Because our memories evolved to be associative, and the name of a person doesn't have much of an association with who they are. Mind Hacks offers a way to help you remember names by inventing false associations. The sillier or weirder the association, the better.

I've been using a similar method to help me remember the order of a shuffled deck of cards. My goal is to be able to hand someone a deck of cards, ask them to shuffle it and return it to me. I will then spend a minute or two going through the deck, looking at each card. Then I will hand the deck back to the person and ask them to look at the cards while I call them out one-by-one.

I'm using a memorization method from an e-book called How to Learn & Memorize a Randomized Deck of Playing Cards Using a Memory Palace and Image-Association System Specifically Designed for Card Memorization Mastery by Anthony Metivier. I've been practicing for about 4 days (10-15 minutes a day) and I can remember the mnemonically-derived "names" of 26 cards so far. For example, the 2 of Spades is "tin can." The King of Hearts is "ram." The 9 of Spades is "tape."

To help me memorize the names of the cards, I'm using a free cross-platform flashcard app called AnkiApp. It keeps track of the cards that you easily remember, and focuses on the ones you have difficulty remembering. Read the rest

What do you do when you've got a plumbing clog?


We live in an older house and the plumbing clogs up frequently (usually an hour before a dinner party). I rarely get good results from Draino or other lye-based clog dissolvers. I end up with a sink full of caustic swill that splashes on me when I vigorously agitate it with a plunger. A Drain Weasel works well for bathroom sinks, provided the clog is near the drain opening. The clog problem I had this morning, though, required more powerful clog-busting technology. Read the rest

People of all ages offer words of wisdom to their younger counterparts


"Being a starving artist only works if you actually make art." This is just one of many excellent life tips offered by people ranging from 6-years-old to 93-years olds in a video made by CBC Radio WireTap, called "How to Age Gracefully."

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How to tie the world’s fastest shoelace knot


Most people tie their shoes with the inefficient "bunny loop" shoelace knot. Let kindly Professor Shoelace show you the superior “Ian Knot."

Besides being faster, the Ian Knot is also more symmetrical, works equally for right or left handed people, and has fewer steps to memorize, all of which make it easier to learn.

Read the rest

Cool way to index your notebooks


Gareth Branwyn came across this neat way to quickly find information in your notebooks.

Based on his index of recipe types, [Adam, who runs the blog, High Five] puts the appropriate marking on the outside edge of the page for this Chinese recipe.

And here you can see that by placing corresponding marks on the edges of the pages that map to the recipe index in the back, Adam has organized his recipes for much easier access.

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Naomi Wolf wants young women to stop speaking with "vocal fry"


"Vocal fry" is term used to describe the creaky sound some people make at the end of an utterance (especially by people from Southern California, and extra-especially by young women from Southern California). Read the rest

How your feet help you sleep


The bottoms of your feet contain blood vessels right below the skin surface. When exposed to cool air, this will lower your body temperature, making you sleepy. So stick a foot (or both) out of the covers and sleep better.

But, as one YouTuber points out, "what if the monster eats my foot away? Read the rest

How to finish a conversation at a party


Chris Colin, co-author of What to Talk About: On a Plane, at a Cocktail Party, in a Tiny Elevator with Your Boss's Boss has simple suggestion for extricating yourself from a small-talk conversation you no longer what to have. From Atlas Oscura:

"Whether you’re having a lovely conversation or a crappy one, I think that the way to get out of either is identical," he says. "My approach is to look them in the eye with a big smile and say, 'It’s been so nice talking with you.' And then you just do a hard pivot and you walk away."


If you are hereby emboldened to try Colin's approach, note that the technique needs to be deployed with appropriate warmth and congeniality.

"What has to go with it is being a nice and decent person," says Colin. "When you say ‘It’s been nice talking to you,’ you should probably mean it, and you should communicate that with your eyes and your smile and all that stuff. If you do that, then I think it’s okay."

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You're inflating your tires wrong. Here's how to do it right, and save up to $500 a year.

Your tires? I want to PUMP! THEM UP!

How to hang sweaters so they don't get shoulder bumps


One useful tip of many from this list. Read the rest

A former casino floor manager offers tips for beating the odds

Apropos of Rob's post yesterday about the plight of card counters in casinos, Mental Floss has a number other methods for improving your odds at a casino. They interviewed Bill Zender, a former professional card counter, dealer, and casino floor manager. I think Zender's most useful tip is finding a sloppy, drug-addled dealer who regularly flashes their hole card. This probably doesn't happen often, but when it does, you can rake it in.

Zender estimates there are fewer than 100 professional blackjack card counters in the world. If you happen to be one of them, you might nab a 1.5 percent advantage. So save your energy, Zender advises; instead keep an eye out for the sloppy blackjack dealer who will accidentally flash the face-down card. Zender once made a living exploiting this, keeping a notebook of 35 weak dealers from 16 different casinos. The strategy is called “card holing,” and it can give you a 6 to 9 percent edge over the house. (That’s like standing in front of an ATM that spits out twenties!) The best part? “It’s totally legal,” Zender says. “They may throw me out of the casino, but they’re not going to arrest me.”

Image: Daniel J. Prostak Read the rest

Happynomics versus econobollocks

Tim Harford investigates the field of "happynomics" through which economists attempt to devise policies that make people happier, and does an excellent job of sorting the evidence-based approaches from the trendy rubbish that's part ideology and part wishful thinking. Bottom line: beware the "focusing illusion"; count your blessings to reverse your habituation to the good things in life; set things up so that doing the things you want is easier than doing the things that make you unhappy, and, finally, understand that you probably can't be happy all the time.

If this stuff interests you, I strongly recommend Stumbling on Happiness, an excellent book about the state of psychiatric research into happiness by Daniel Gilbert, head of Harvard's psych department. Read the rest

Bo Diddley's essential guide to drugs, food, health, money, cows, and women

Bo Diddley went around the block a few times, so heed this advice.

Alcohol and Drugs Only drink Grand Marnier, and that’s to keep the throat from drying up in a place where there’s a lot of smoke. As for drugs: a big NO!

Food Eat anytime, anything you can get your hands on. I mean it!

Health Whenever you get to feeling weird, take Bayer aspirin. I can’t stand taking all that other bullshit.

Money Always take a lawyer with you, and then bring another lawyer to watch him.

Defense I can’t go around slapping people with my hands or else I’d go broke. So I take karate, and kick when I fight. Of course, I got plenty of guns – one real big one. But guns are for people trying to take your home, not some guy who makes you mad. I used to be a sheriff down in New Mexico for two and a half years, so I know not to pull it right away.

Cows If they wanna play, and you don’t wanna make pets out of ‘em, and you can’t eat ‘em – then get rid of ‘em!

Women If you wanna meet a nice young lady, then you try to smell your best. A girl don’t like nobody walking up in her face smelling like a goat. Then, you don’t say crap like “Hey, don’t I know you?” The first thing you ask her is: “Are you alone?” If she tells you that she’s with her boyfriend, then you see if the cat’s as big as you.

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My workflow in the WSJ

I'm profiled in today's Wall Street Journal, where they asked me about the tools I use to be productive, safe and happy on the road and at home. Read the rest

Quick fix for uneven table legs: cork slices

The squishiness of the cork is what makes this work so well.

Quick fix for uneven table legs: cork slices Read the rest

Interview with author of "The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast" (plus excerpt)

Josh Kaufman is the author of the new book, The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything... Fast. I interviewed him about the art of rapid skill acquisition.

Do you find yourself staying interested in most of the things you start? If not, what has held your interest for many years? I'm curious about many – often wildly different – things, so I like to explore new projects and skills as often as I can. I usually find something valuable enough in my early exploration to keep at it: I've been doing research on general business principles for over eight years now. My early interest in the web lead to my first career out of school, as well as my current work as an author / researcher / entrepreneur, which requires me to be a jack-of-all-trades. I just learned how to program in Ruby, so I'm coding quite a bit. I love the process of making something from nothing, and learning as I build. Read the rest

The secret to feeling like you have more time available

tldr; Increase your sense of awe. (Via Dan Pink) Read the rest

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