Apr. 11th, 2017

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Ray Norris is an astronomer who was educated at Cambridge and Manchester. In an article in NewScientist, he notes that on a good night, he can identify about 20 stars. An associate of his, Bill Yidumduma Harney, who grew up in a remote Aboriginal community in northern Australia, can name roughly 3000.

The article immediately caused me to wonder what kinds of mnemonics were used to commit such a large body of knowledge to memory. The article gave no hint.

So just a few days ago, I ran across a writeup for a book titled The Memory Code, which purports to explain how non-literate societies in general are able to encode tremendous amounts of integrated information that is essential to the survival of each society.

I am still wading through the part where the author, Lynne Kelly, is making a case for how all this might have come to be, and promises to get into the nitty-gritty of how to create one's own "songs" and rituals to aid in memorization.

I am being patient, and not skipping ahead.



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