All entries for Friday 24 February 2012

February 24, 2012

Speed Reading: Even though I am a mathematician…

Tutor was Han-Na Cha.

First, on subvocalization: attempting to consciously destroy all subvocalization also destroyed my speed and any comprehension I had of the text. Comprehension-wise, I find the voice ‘reads’ the text a little behind my eyes (and far faster than I could speak it aloud), which I find helpful. Despite this, it’s difficult to tell exactly what I subvocalize: focusing on the process interferes with it.

However, I think reducing it in certain areas will increase speed (while slight!) and possibly (hopefully!) comprehension. This is a very maths-related area, so I’ll add some examples.

Example 1: [1\quad 2], (1,2) and \{1,2\} are all different: the first is a vector, the second a tuple, the third a set. However, I take no time to /read/ the symbols surrounding the numbers - they are merely interpreted.

Example 2: x < 2 is probably pronounced “x is less than 2”, but while reading it as part of a series of equations, I don’t subvocalize it as such - just sort of understanding it. This is an aid to comprehension, as focusing unnecessarily on the symbol detracts from the meaning.

Example 3: \exists and \forall are pronounced “there exists” and “for all” respectively; I do subvocalize these (in full! there ex-ists! bleh!) and (likely) focus too much on them. Taken from my metric spaces notes: a sequence is Cauchy if:
(\forall \epsilon > 0)(\exists k \in \mathbb{N})(\forall m,n \geq k)d(x_n,x_m) < \epsilon
In this case, this example is healthily chunked already - each bracketed section is a phrase and together it forms a sentence. The order is important and only the whole statement together makes sense. Reading it should be a bit slower than a sentence because you actually have to understand each part before moving on - they’re all important.

In short, I suppose the aim here is to become as good at reading symbol-heavy sentences as I am wordy sentences.

In second; my current mode of reading is linear, but jumpy. I begin at the beginning and go forth, occasionally hopping back and forth to section titles to see where I’ve come from and where I’m heading until I reach the end, whereupon I stop. A nonlinear arrangement would likely serve better: the headings, a summary (if present), the end, the beginning, for instance. So I suppose a relevant ‘goal’ is try that.


Emotional Intelligence: An Amnesiac Discovery

Follow-up to Emotional Intelligence: Illness Interferes. Irksome. from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Samantha Tarren.

On the not-working side: I did a lot of work this week. Unfortunately, it was all on the same thing, which I've been working on for about two weeks. I'd been putting off parts because I thought they'd be boring; they were (incipient boredom), but when my code didn't work I found I couldn't leave it alone - that the solution would come to me if only I stayed at it (unreasonable eagerness). After completing it, though, I feel somewhat burnt out.

On the "I can't remember the last time I felt sad" time: it appears that statement was literal. I felt sad yesterday, but all I can remember from that is "huh, guess I do feel sad, I'll have to blog about that". Unfortunately I cannot remember the circumstances or the reason that lead to the emotion, or how I felt at the time (I am great at forgetting things, clearly). Suppressed or ignored, I don't know. Such a curious happenstance.


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