Yet Still More Quick Snippets

Published on Sunday, June 13, 2010 in , , , , , , , , ,

LinksLet's get right to the June snippets, shall we?

• My first snippet, instead of being a link, concerns Grey Matters itself. Take a look over in the rightmost column, and you'll notice some major changes. Both the feed and downloads sections are gone, replaced with links to the new Downloads page (divided up into free and commercial downloads) and Feeds/Social Links page. Having these on individual pages allowed me to greatly expand those pages, while also making them easier to maintain.

Also note that my Twitter Feed has been added. If you're on Twitter, please follow me!

• For those of you who download and use the MAGIC Magazine Database, which currently only has issues from September 1991 to October 2009, I've posted data for November 2009 up through June 2010 here (and will continue to add new issues as they come out) in CSV format.

• If you're learning the Day of the Week For Any Date feat, there's a great new way to train for it, and it's free! Magnus Bodin, from Sweden, has developed a large amount of mp3 training files for this feat. In each individual file, a date is given, then there's a pause, then the day of the week on which that date falls is stated (the voice is computer generated, BTW).

The files are arranged in “albums” of 1,000 mp3 files. You can get the albums with 8-, 11-, 15-, 20-, and 30-second pauses, as well as in day/month/year order or month/day/year order. Living in Vegas, I've found it's handy to practice with both formats, as it's not unusual to run across people from all over the world.

This is a great tool, as you can put these files in your mp3 player or mobile device, set the device to shuffle the order in which the mp3s play, and practice working your way from the 30-second delay album down to the 8-second delay album.

Update (June 14, 2010): Magnus Bodin has just updated the files with the following changes:

1. Re-generated all files with a new algorithm to ensure that the dates are more well spread out.
2. All DMY and MDY-dates are now different, so for those of you who mix these, you will have more different dates, hopefully.
3. The inhalation pause is decreased from 5 to 4 seconds.
4. More "elite"-files provided for you speedy ones; there is now sets with a pause-length of 7,6,5,4 and even 3 seconds!
5. Now all sets contain exactly 1000 files, and not "approximately 1000".

If you have any "glitch-sounding" files in your downloads, you should definitively download the new sets.

I've talked about learning languages before, which is perhaps the ultimate memory feat. If you're truly interested in learning a language, I suggest checking out the Fluent In 3 Months blog. At that blog, you'll learn effective attitudes and approaches to learning a new language that can help you learn it quickly and easily.

• While I'm on the topic of learning a foreign language, check out Livemocha, where you can practice your skills by talking to native speakers of that language! Another fun language-learning approach is this Talking Cards game, where a regular deck of playing cards is shuffled, and then depending on which cards turn up, you have to describe or answer something in the language you're learning.

• For those of you who enjoy magic squares, check out this attention-getting presentation for a magic square! A number is given, and then the performer proceeds to write another number down on a post-it note, which is then stuck to the wall. The performer then writes another number and another number until 16 numbers in all have been written and stuck to the wall. The performer then proceeds to move the numbers around on the wall and finishes with them arranged in a magic square!

I like this approach, as it makes the creation of the magic square as fun as the revelations of the patterns are amazing! Also, if you already do a version of the magic square, such as this one, it's not difficult to adapt to this presentation.

• I'll wrap this edition of snippets with some thoughts from xkcd fans. If you've ever wondered what this particular group of geeks thinks would be cool to learn and/or memorize, you've got your answer. It's interesting how many of the things listed there are already taught here on Grey Matters.
Answers to last Sunday's puzzle:

3 by 3 grid:
3 by 3 grid Solution 4

4 by 4 grid:
4 by 4 grid Solution 4

5 by 5 grid:
5 by 5 grid Solution 4

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