Dreyer’s English

7th June 2019

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer, vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief of Random House.  Dreyer is one of the most delightfully droll writers of non-fiction we know of, full of wonderful little quips like “The only thing worse than the ungodly ‘incentivize’ is its satanic little sibling, ‘incent’.” You’ll learn of common mistakes in writing that cause editors to sigh, along with confusable words, trimmables, commonly misspelled names, and why it’s important to verify quotes. (If nothing else, Dreyer’s English taught us to try to be even more careful to verify.)  Barb always wondered why her American editors corrected her use of “towards” to “toward”—Dreyer explains why. Dreyer’s only flaw was that he tended to go off on irrelevant political tirades that will quickly date the book—a bit like holding a treasured glass of Château d’Yquem knowing you will have to fish gnats out to drink it.

Coincidences and Learning

Last year we met LHTLer Frode Hiorth in Oslo, Norway. Frode wrote about a strange coincidence involving last week’s book recommendation—Pakistan: A Hard Country.  Frode had had the book on his shelf for many years, and the day before the Cheery Friday email, he’d finally just taken it down and read a few chapters.  So he was very surprised to see the recommendation the next day! Frode notes: “In Oslo where I live we have quite a large Pakistani immigrant population, and I wish more Norwegians read more about Pakistan, because I think most people don’t know how many languages are spoken, how big the country is, etc.  Instead they (people from Oslo:-) sit in the back seat of a taxi with a Pakistani taxi driver without any idea that for instance Punjabi and Urdu are two different languages. If they instead had learned a bit more, the taxi-trips can be quite interesting:-)”

The Simple Trick to Memorize Anything

Yes, it’s 4-time US Memory Champion Nelson Dellis back with a simple back-to-basics video talking about the SEE-LINK-GO method he outlined in his terrific book Remember It! (Basically, it is Nelson’s 3 step foolproof method for memorizing all things).

Barb on The T-Shaped Podcast

Barb had a wonderful time talking to @RealGilbertLee on his “The T-Shaped Podcast.”  Their discussion ranged from Barb’s childhood to the Coursera course and much more!”

Sleep Is Important in Making Your Learning Last

Here is a fantastic paper in Science about how sleep enables the learning process to “get a grip” on your brain: “Rehearsal initiates systems memory consolidation, sleep makes it last.” The abstract neatly encapsulates why this research is so important. “The role of sleep therefore seems to go beyond providing additional rehearsal through memory trace reactivation, as previously thought. We conclude that repeated study induces systems consolidation, while sleep ensures that these transformations become stable and long lasting. Thus, sleep and repeated rehearsal jointly contribute to long-term memory consolidation.”[Hat tip Alan Woodruff, via npj Science of Learning Research Roundup.]

Israeli researchers discover sleep repairs DNA damage accumulated during our waking hours

And here’s an article by Naama Baraka in ISRAEL21c about another important study revealing why pretty much all critters need to sleep.  Study co-author Lior Appelbaum notes:

“During wakefulness, we accumulate DNA damage in the neurons in the brain…. It’s like potholes in the road. Roads accumulate wear and tear, especially during daytime rush hours, and it is most convenient and efficient to fix them at night, when there is light traffic.”

Appelbaum’s tips for having a good sleep are “To sleep regularly and on time and as much as needed. Not to delay sleep hours and not to have long sleep deprivations.” [Hat tip Rex Freriks]

Science says Silence is Much More Important to Our Brains than We Think

We’ve long been of the opinion that silence is golden (hence our occasional harping about loud restaurants.) This article shows there’s something healthy about silence: Key graf: “When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world..” Okay, and now we’re left wanting to go to Finland. 😛

The Pros and Cons of Noise-Canceling Headphones

This article from the New York Times gives a good overview of noise-cancelling earphones.  We have a pair of the Bose QuietComfort 20s that reporter Geoffrey Morrison mentions, but frankly, for planes, we still prefer our bulky but virtually screaming-baby-proof 31 dB Peltor Earmuffs. (We’ve also learned to sleep in these travel essentials when wild parties erupt in the hotel room next door.)

Los tesoros ocultos de la neurociencia

Here’s an article written by Barb (for translation) that appeared in the Spanish magazine Telos.  Enjoy!

Rateforsuccess—a Way of Evaluating Videos

Gideon Isaac at Rateforsuccess.com has developed a website where an educator can put a video of a lecture on it (actually the video has to be on Vimeo or YouTube or Coursera, the website only stores links). Viewers can then comment at various points in the video, or give a numerical rating on various aspects (such as interest, or humor, or understanding, or agreement, or whatever else the professor has decided to ask for). These numerical ratings can be charted, and averaged, so that the professor has an idea of what parts of his lecture need to be worked on and improved or clarified.

If you are interested, Gideon would love for you to create an account on the site and try it out—it also works with text lectures.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team


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