egregious word play

It’s interesting the things that we pick up from others when we spend enough time with them – little mannerisms, phrases and perhaps even perspectives and attitudes.

A colleague of mine (MM) some time ago mentioned that she’s started asking “how’s things?” as an alternative to “how are you?” because she’s heard me say it so much. I hadn’t even realised I said it so much until she mentioned it, nor did I realise it’s grammatically incorrect until just now when I wrote it out. Well, not like anyone ever questioned my question before anyway…

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learning how to learn languages

Every so often – maybe when I’m feeling like I need a bit of inspiration, or I’m just feeling bored and listless – I watch TED Talks. Usually these are TEDx Talks but they’re more or less the same thing. Usually I watch talks about psychology and human relationships, or about behaviour and the way the brain works; but a couple of weeks ago, YouTube was suggesting some talks about learning languages.

As you may or may not know, I’m currently in the process of learning Persian (AKA Farsi) and also kind of re-learning Mandarin, so when I saw videos like “How to learn any language easily” pop up, I figured “why not”. I used to be quite wary of these talks because I thought they would just tell me to spend three months in whatever country speaks the language I’m learning, and I’d miraculously master it (obviously I can’t just pack up and move to Iran or China for three months); but I had spare time that day, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to watch one talk, and see if it offered anything worthwhile.  Continue reading

the joy of learning

All through my childhood and school years, I did quite well academically. I liked school (mostly), I enjoyed learning new things, and I relished any opportunity to show that I was a bright and capable student (except I was never that kid who put their hand up to answer questions in class).

After finishing high school, I went straight into university, and did my Pharmacy degree. Although there was a bit of an adjustment phase to this new learning structure, I did enjoy university too. There was something of a thrill in being presented with this new level of intellectual challenge.

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the article that could save lives (or at least prevent some pain)

No, this is nothing to do with magic cure-alls, silver bullets or even preventative lifestyle advice. And it’s certainly not an article I wrote, but one I chanced upon.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I went into the staff tea room for my ten-minute morning tea break, and found a print-out copy of this article on the table: When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes (by David Epstein & Propublica, published by The Atlantic on February 22, 2017). I was intrigued, and started reading.

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what you see is not what you see

When I attended that talk about creativity as part of the World Science Festival several weeks ago, I arrived at the lecture theatre quite early (as I do). As I sat and waited for the talk to begin, I watched the slide show of random interesting facts that they had playing. One of these facts was about how we blink so often, that we spend about 10% of our time awake with our eyes closed.

Since then, I’ve thought intermittently about this – perhaps while sitting at a computer, thinking that we blink less while staring at screens of some sort; or perhaps while out and about in the world, and wondering about all the details that I’m missing by inadvertently having my eyes closed 10% of the time – but I always reasoned that it couldn’t be that significant a loss, since it’s not like we have our eyes closed for entire blocks at a time (say, for example, 6 minutes at the start of every hour) and then keep our eyes open the rest of the time. And because blinking takes next to no time at all, and it’s so spread out, we’re not really losing anything in our experience of the world, right?

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shared spaces

Ok, I’m going to write about this because I said I would, and it’s been over a week, and by the time this is scheduled to be published, it will have been two weeks, so I’m just gonna do it now.

At some time around the middle of March, I went to a panel discussion about women in architecture. I actually do remember seeing an ad for the talk somewhere, sometime ago, but I don’t know much about architecture, and I don’t have any specific interest in architecture, so, although I thought it might be interesting, I didn’t think about going. As it so happened, an architect friend of mine, who was going to go to the talk, and had tickets for it, sent out a group message the morning of the event, advising that she could no longer attend, and offering her tickets to whoever wished to take them.

This also happened to be the opening week-end of Brewsvegas as well as the final day of the World Science Festival, and I’d be out and about anyway, so, without really thinking about it, I accepted her offer, and she emailed the tickets over to me. After the eye-opening experience of attending one of the World Science Festival talks, I was pretty keen to see what insight this talk could give me. The event was also loosely tied in with International Women’s Day, which, if I remember correctly, had been the week before (?), and I thought that, if nothing else, my attendance would sort of be like a show of support for female architects.  Continue reading