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USA National Memory Championships 215

bigtallmofo writes "Could you memorize 1,000 digits in under an hour? How about remember the exact order of 10 shuffled decks of playing cards in under an hour as well as one shuffled deck in less than two minutes? If so, you could be counted among 36 grand masters of memory worldwide. Slate is reporting that other spectacular memory feats were performed at the 2005 USA National Memory Championship. Congratulations to Ram Kolli, a graduate student in computer science at Virginia Tech, and this year's champ."
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USA National Memory Championships

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  • More practically.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pilkul ( 667659 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:02PM (#11987517)
    Similar techniques are sometimes used by adult foreign learners to learn Chinese/Japanese characters. It can be easier to remember, say, Darth Vader setting a pack of wild dogs on fire on a pile of flowers in a swamp, than 25 strokes of chicken scribbles. James Heisig's Remembering the Kanji [] is the most popular (perhaps the only?) book using such a method.

    In this context such methods are fairly controversial, since the mnemonics are rather time-consuming to learn and recall is slower than brute force (on the order of 5-10 seconds instead of instantaneous), but it has some quite dedicated followers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:11PM (#11987563)
    Imagine how much the *AA would panic if every song or movie you heard or saw was a permanent part of your memory that could be recalled in full quality at any time.
  • Re:The Human Brain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebrandsberg ( 75344 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:17PM (#11987589)
    Einstein's brain was probably wired completely different. I bet he would forget to pickup milk on the way home, instead, constantly thinking about something grand. I tend to be HORRIBLE at memorization, yet can solve problems others find difficult. Everybody is different, it is just a matter of what skills and to what degree we use them.
  • Re:The Human Brain (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @08:33PM (#11987679)
    Is incredible how powerfull can the human brain be. If these people can do that imagine what could Einstein do ?

    Likely, not that much better. Read the article. These people use an assortment of mnemonic devices to remember these large chunks of data. If you tried to remember a series of cards, you would get lost in the volume of data. But if you remember each three cards in order as "person action object", then you can remember the sequence of cards as a story, and that is orders of magnitude easier to remember, because it has real meaning, whereas a sequence of cards is essentially meaningless. The brain sucks at remembering things without meaning, and excels at things that have meaning. That seems to be because our memory is inherently associative. We remember things by associating them to other things. That way the more associations you can make between a new factoid and existing concepts in your brain, the more easily you'll remember it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:11PM (#11987912)
    You can sum the numerical values modulo 13, and sum the suits (arbitrary assignment of suits to values 1,2,3,4) modulo 4. The missing card is the one which if added would give you 0 for your sum modulo 13, and 2 for your sum modulo 4.

    This requires keeping track of one number up to 12 and one number up to 3, instead of four numbers up to 91 for your method.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford