Saturday, January 25, 2014

A movie of 'Magic: the Gathering' will be made by Fox

Hey there, everyone! To those who don't know, MtG is a Trading Cards Game which I really like (I talked about it here and there). The reason I'm bringing this up again, is hat a movie about it is going to be produced soon!
Now, I've joked about making an MtG movie a couple times with my friends, and I've seen this pretty good Czech film:

Which I totally recommend and think should get more exposure, but the thing with MtG is that, though the story of a player can be really fun to watch, making us feel connected to them or whatever, a film taking place in a plane, telling the story of an actual planeswalker, seems kinda farfetched and hard to adapt to a movie plot.
So, the way I see it, there are two possible outcomes to this:
  1. We end up with another gritty fantasy movie, with the badass anti-hero Jace who goes through a 'corrupted plane' or sometihng, fighting bad creatures with his planeswalker powers (maybe he finds out he's The Chosen One who will ignite his spark, or there is talk of a chosen planeswalker... there is always a chosen something), which will have nothing to do with the cards, and little to do with the setting (which of course will be only the setting of a single plane or expansion, unless we go all multidimensional, in a 'Thor: The Dark World' way, which would not be at all original either).
  2. We'll get a fine adaptaction of what an actual MtG game is like, somehow the concept of a Library full of spells can be adapted to cinemas, and we end up having a nice enough movie, with a probably farfetched and chaotic plot that will only be an excuse for many Planeswalker duels to take place.
I am still waiting for the movie to come out and prove me wrong, and show me how cool a big-screen MtG project can be, if only to see a CGI version of Sorin's Vampire army taking over a defenseless horde of white soldiers... My only fear is an X-men vs Elspeth crossover!

If you know anything or have any theory of what the movie will be like, please tell me in the comments! 

I'd like to take this space to remind you all that Esperanto is a living language that can be easily learnt here, making you look like a polyglot in less than a month and effectively accelerating your language learning speed in any other one you learn. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How to Remember Numbers Using the Phonetic Technique

Good morning and welcome to my blog. Today I will tell you about another memory technique which I've found really useful lately: the phonetic system for memorizing numbers.

Many people find numbers harder to memorize than other kinds of information (e.g., text, visual concepts, etc.). This relates, mainly, to the fact that numbers are hard to link, assuming we are using a random set. For instance, if we were to memorize the numbers 123456789, that would be really easy: it's just a simple pattern! If we instead try something like 12481632, it may be a little harder, but paying close attention reveals it can be separated as '1,2,4,8,16,32', or 2^n, which though more complex, is still easier to memorize.

But now, what happens if we use a truly random set of numbers? for instance, a phone number: 56678723.
Well, one easier way to see this number, is to again separate it into smaller, easier to remember sets of numbers, which is what common notation of phone numbers does: '56-678-723'; suddenly it is not so hard, is it?
Most people agree that a long number should be divided into small sets of 3 or 4 numbers, optimally, for it to be easily remembered. I say that's probably the best option, but trying different approaches (like sets of 5, or pairs) can be a good mental exercise... or a way to pass the time, if you're really bored (or boring? I know you want to say I'm boring).

Well, that does it for short (yes, I said short!) strands of numbers. Now what happens if you want to remember a set of 20, or 30 numbers? What happens if you want to remember 100 digits of Pi? Then, my dear reader, is where the phonetic system enters the scene.

In order to use this system, we assign a sound to each number, and then use the now-thanslated numbers to form words. To make matters easier, we use only consonants for numbers, whereas vowels are added at discretion of the memorizer. The system I use (feel free to alter it in any way, this is not a compulsory translation form) is:
0 is '/s/', and '/z/'
1 is '/t/' and /d/'
2 is '/n/'
3 is '/m/'
4 is '/r/'
5 is '/L/'
6 is '/g/' or '/ʃ/' (sh in shower)
7 is '/k/'
8 is '/v/' or '/f/'
and 9 is '/p/' or '/b/'

Now, some practical examples: say you have to remember 8675867 (I just keyboardsmashed that, just in case you think I'm choosing numbers on purpose). One way to remember that number may be separating it on 86-758-67. Another way could be assigning it sounds; by our system, this number could be  (I know a psychologist could find some really obscure stuff about everyone's minds seeing how we come up with random words) 'fig, calf, gecko', though you've probably come up with a different set of words if you're doing this with me (please do, it's more didactical that way, and you can tell me what you found in the comment section). One way to remember this, could be imagining a fig, being given to a calf, by a gecko. I'm quite sure you won't get that image out of your head now. Another way could be using your Mind Palace (which you can create if you still don't have one, clicking on this link for a tutorial), placing a Fig, a Calf and a Gecko in it.

I've used this method to remember the first 100 digits of Pi so far, and I am still thinking of adding more when I get bored, but I know somewhere out there there is a practical use to the ability of memorizing numbers: for one, you could use it to remember everyone's numbers, or at least the ones you consider important, so that losing your phone's chip won't make you lose all of them.
This method is especially useful if you speak more than one language, since sound stacking can be easier when you can find a word with the consonant order not by looking though one 'mental dictionary', but by looking though many. For instance, you could mix english words with Spanish ones, or French, or even Esperanto (which is still a living language that you can totally learn here, without much effort. Yes, this is my esperanto disclaimer of the day).

In order to practise this method, I'd like to urge you, if anything, just to strengthen your brain, to convert all the address numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers or whatever you come across, into text, even if you don't memorize it later. You never know when this will be handy!

That's all for today, I hope this serves some purpose in your life... and if it does, let me know in the comments!