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Z's 3-in-3 • How to improve your memory (PART 1) • Autonomous robots with lasers • Living in a comfortable prison

Z's 3-in-3 • How to improve your memory (PART 1) • Autonomous robots with lasers • Living in a comfortable prison
By Zvonimir Fras • Issue #16 • View online
Smart. Entertaining. Helpful. 3 things in 3 minutes.
Because you have things to do.
  1. Improve your memory (PART 1) - Spaced repetition and exercise
  2. Autonomous robots with lasers frying stuff
  3. Living in a comfortable prison

Whatever stage of life you’re in, you should never stop learning.
I spent a week deep-diving into the neuroscience of memory and wanted to share the cream of the crop with you.
What I didn’t expect is to find so many gems that most people aren’t taking advantage of.
Instead of cramming all this or sacrificing other things, I’m making this a 3 part series.
This way you’ll get a diverse set of 3 things every week - and you’ll get the best parts of all methods to blow the lid off your performance.
Before we jump in, here’s the plan:
Part 1 (this week)
1) Spaced repetition
2) Exercise
Part 2 (next week)
3) Visual images (and deja vu)
Part 3 (the week after next)
4) Meditation and sleep
5) Emotion and adrenaline
Number 5 is a game-changer and my new fave.
Spaced repetition is my old fave and still high up on the list.
Thing 1 - Improve your memory (PART 1) - Spaced repetition and exercise
You could argue that the ultimate goal of learning is to understand the concepts and being able to come up with original and unexpected ideas.
You can’t connect the dots if you can’t remember where they are. That’s what you need memory for. Even the existing concept and understanding are stored in your brain as memories.
1) Spaced repetition
Let’s start with the obvious and then get deeper.
This is how you crammed for every single exam you had in your life. That you didn’t forget you had, because let’s face it…
There’s science to this. In the beginning, you’ll forget quicker, but with repetitions, it will take you longer and longer.
There must be an optimal way to do this. - you say. And you’re right.
Ebbinghaus's forgetting curve (by Icez at Wikipedia)
Ebbinghaus's forgetting curve (by Icez at Wikipedia)
Your curves might be different than mine but they’re in the ballpark.
How can you leverage this?
Start using a spaced-repetition program like Anki.
I put things I want to remember into it and spend 15-30 minutes every evening going through the ones Anki algorithm tells me I’m about to forget.
If you’re learning a language, Duolingo went 10 steps ahead of mere spaced repetition and it doesn’t even feel like learning anymore. After a while, you’ll just hear someone speaking that language and be surprised you understand it.
2) Exercise
How much do you need?
180-200 minutes a week, bare minimum. Or about 25 min a day.
Z, my fridge is not that far, do you know how often I would have to go to it to get that much movement?
Good news is it doesn’t have to be an insane workout every time. It’s enough to make it hard to hold a conversation.
Depending on your fitness level, a brisk walk could be enough - as if you had to pee but the toilet is far and you’re not sure if you’ll make it so you hurry.
Thanks for that vivid image, Z.
Any time.
When should you do it?
1-3 hours before your learning session.
Why does it work?
It enhances longevity effects associated with improvements in cardiovascular fitness and blood flow. This might be helping with creating new neurons in a part of the brain.
Your bones release a chemical called osteocalcin when you exercise.
Osteocalcin takes a trip to your brain. When it arrives, it encourages the electrical activity and formation and maintenance of connections - a.k.a. hippocampus (area of your brain where memories form) feels pumped about creating new memories.
(to be continued next week…)
Thing 2 - Autonomous robots with lasers frying stuff
Here’s an example where giving AI robots high-power lasers to fry things - isn’t a terrifying thing.
Artificial intelligence, robots, and lasers are tools.
Like all tools, you can use them for good or for bad
Carbon Robotics used them to create LaserWeeder. The only lousy thing about it is its name… But it fries weeds with lasers so what else would you call it 🤷
Carbon Robotics autonomous weeder
Carbon Robotics autonomous weeder
And here’re all the good things:
  • Increases crop yield and quality
  • You don’t need pesticides
  • Reduces overall cost
  • Enables regenerative farming practices
  • Provides an economical path to organic farming
Shut up and take my money!
What are you talking about, Z, you don’t even have a farm.
And you’re a buzzkill…
Thing 3 - Living in a comfortable prison
A common mistake is to build a comfortable prison and stay there instead of actually living.
- Orange Book
But at least you built it?
At some point in your life, building that comfortable nook might’ve been your goal.
Getting that job, so you can prove to yourself or your parents that you can take care of yourself?
Filling your time with Netflix and social activities so you wouldn’t feel lonely?
Building an activity loop but not a flywheel?
If your progress plateaued and you now have to spend time maintaining what you’ve built… and it doesn’t give you space to improve - it might be a sign you’re living in a comfortable prison.
Time for a jailbreak?
See you next week!
Cheers, Zvonimir
P.S. What do you think of making a series? Would you prefer one long article instead?
Did you enjoy this issue?
Zvonimir Fras

Smart. Entertaining. Helpful.
3 things in 3 minutes.
Because you have things to do.

And reading long email ain't one of them.

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Zvonimir Fras, 800 Steeles Ave. W, #B10182 Thornhill, ON, L4J 7L2