Duolingo + Range—Learning with interleaving

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Interleaving—6 active skills + random test button

David Epstein’s book Range educated me on the value of interleaving and spacing for better learning. (Chapter: Learning fast and slow)

One of the places I immediately applied it is in my daily Spanish lessons on Duolingo.

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Block learning—completing one skill from start to finish before proceeding to the next.

Previously I used to start with one skill in Duolingo, say present perfect, and then complete it from start to finish. I only moved to the next skill once the previous skill was golden, or on the rare occasion when I gave up on it for being too hard.

The screen looked like the one on the left: all golds above the current skill.

Now I have six skills in progress at the same time. Every day I complete just one test from at least three of them. The next day I start with the other three. If I want to practice more, I use the dumbbell button in the bottom right—it tests me randomly from any of the dozens of skills I have already completed.

This mixing provides me with a bit of range. Each test daily is from a different skill; any skill reappears only after 48 hours; forcing me to remember, forcing more mistakes, and, hopefully, resulting in better learning.

Continue reading Duolingo + Range—Learning with interleaving

Flimsy ain’t all bad

When something looks flimsy, people handle it with care. This careful use helps it last longer.

The opposite is something that looks solid but isn’t. A solid look will invite people to use it as they please, often without care. The inherent flimsiness will succumb to careless use.

The ideal is something that is inherently solid. But if that’s not really available, rather have something flimsy looking on the outside than flimsy just on the inside.

Continue reading Flimsy ain’t all bad

Yesterday…

I meditated. For the first time in months. It was awesome.

I completed 1000 Km of running for the year.

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Final target: A 1000 miles

I also completed 100 Km of running for August, 8th consecutive month.

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8 months of running at least 100 Km monthly; No Swimming or cycling though.

And I had Dudley with me for the day after ages. He was lovely. I’ve missed him. 😘🐕

Continue reading Yesterday…

Typing speed hypothesis

Hypothesis:

Typing speed increases if there’s no feedback from the input (looking at keyboard) and output (looking at the screen).¶

I’ve been taking book notes of recently read books. While taking notes I realised that I type fastest when I look at neither the screen nor the keyboard.

When looking at just the book, I let my muscle memory (training) take over and get the fastest typing speed. There are a few errors—typos—but the writing speed makes up for them.

Looking at the screen is the next fastest mode of typing. It is probably slower when I’m copying text from the book since I have to constantly switch between the two, specially because I have to locate the cursor in the book every time. It is also slower because any typos are apparent immediately and create a dissonance hurdle in the brain, slowing it down.

Looking at the keyboard while typing is the slowest. The brain skips a lot of the muscle memory, or tries to reconfirm it, and tries to look for keys before typing. It may cause the least mistakes but is really, really slow.

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TIL: “Your boys took a hell of a beating”

I discovered this gem of Football commentary today. It’s from a Norway-England match in 1981. I love the passion, sprinkled with humour.

We are the best in the world! We are the best in the world! We have beaten England 2-1 in football!! It is completely unbelievable! We have beaten England! England, birthplace of giants. Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana–we have beaten them all. We have beaten them all.

Maggie Thatcher can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher, I have a message for you in the middle of the election campaign. I have a message for you: We have knocked England out of the football World Cup. Maggie Thatcher, as they say in your language in the boxing bars around Madison Square Garden in New York: Your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!

Bjørge Lillelien

No wonder…

It was not unusual for Norwegians to turn off the sound on the TV and listen to him on the radio instead.

For more fun, follow the link above and read some of the parodies inspired from the commentary :)

Weekend

Sis was here. After months of radio silence, she suddenly made an appearance for Rakhi. I wasn’t happy at first about this visit. I prefer normal, friendly relations year round rather than the tamasha of happy relations for a festival. She, and most of my family, prefer friendly appearances at festivals irrespective of relations—good, bad or non-existent—rest of the year.

On R’s suggestion, I tried ignoring the ‘Rakhi’ aspect of the visit. Once I ignored that, I could accept the visit as a rare visit from my sister, and enjoy that for what it is. Helpful advice. By the end of the visit, I was quite happy about her visit. I even wished that she visited more often.

Aside: Sis also brought gifts for Rakhi, two polo tees in a Selfridges bag. Most people who know me a bit know that I hate exchanging gifts. My sis seems to have fallen in my mom’s camp here—she’ll exchange gifts for her own prestige irrespective of what the other person thinks.

Barnaby was here. He’s an 1.5 year old Golden Retriever pup. Like any puppy, he’s hyper and restless. Like most dogs, he loves being touched. He’ll place himself next to any human who’s giving him rubs, and then refuse to let them stop. Unlike most retrievers, he’s not very interested in food. He’s not very well trained. He doesn’t understand some common commands—down, leave, wait. Like a puppy, he’s moody about obeying the ones he doesn understand—come here and sit.

One thing that I really liked about him is that, unlike Chewie and Dudley, he doesn’t make any noise. I heard him twice in the 26 hours that he was here—once when he locked himself out in the backyard, and another time at night when he heard something outside. Otherwise, there wasn’t a sound out of him. Chewie, on the other hand, barks often and talks a lot. Dudley mumbles and groans to let everyone know his feelings. Barnaby was pleasantly quiet. (But I’m still planning to cancel his week-long stay over the year-end holidays).

I learnt fat != unfit. My sister is fat. Too fat for my liking. Yet, I observed on multiple occasions that she isn’t very unfit. Not at all as unfit as her looks would suggest. The first instance where I noticed this was when she got on the wobble board. It was her first time and she managed almost 2 minutes. Amit and S haven’t managed that long yet. I’m not sure even R has. But she did. Another time was when I took the three kids out on the walk. It was a brisk short walk, but she was able to keep up with us most of the way without getting out of breath. She isn’t very flexible, can’t really squat, and has many many other health issues. But it was comforting to know that at least she’s fitter than she looks.

I didn’t run. Chewie was unwell on Friday night. I had to stay up with him for almost an hour. As a result, I couldn’t wake up in the morning for Parkrun. A mix of things—unexpected rain, Barnaby’s arrival, my laziness, and my discovery and addiction with Expanse meant that I didn’t run during the day either. R was out all Sunday, and sudden, surprise showers closed the morning run window. Result: I didn’t run on Sunday either. Instead, I did the thing I hate: I binge watched The Expanse.

I threw away the weekend to binge-watching Expanse. I saw the S01E01 on Friday evening. By the time I finally slept on Sunday night (after 1 AM), I was at S02E08. The first thing I did today was to delete the Prime Video app from my phone.

I didn’t do any of the planned house work. The tap hole in kitchen top stays unfixed. The ivy from the side fence still needs to be removed. The kitchen oven is still to be cleaned. I started, but abandoned midway, the monthly cleaning of the utility room.

The tinnitus has been bad for a few days now. It’s been wrecking my head and hearing since at least middle of the last week, but it really peaked on Friday and Saturday.

It was a horrible weekend in most aspects. The one thing I was not happy about before it started—sis visiting—turned out to be the one small bright spot.

Running + dogs = el mejor

…I took the leash off, and we ran.
We ran next to each other. A mini stampede. We were completely in sync, and not thinking about much but the present moment. We ran as fast as we could as the trees whooshed by. Gizelle came up to my hips, but she never tried to jump in front of me or nip at my feet like a lot of dogs would. Her jowls flapped in the wind and her long pink tongue flailed happily out of her mouth as she ran next to me. Like a protector. Like a friend.

—Lauren Fern Watt, in Gizelle’s bucket list

New old toy—a tiny RC drone

New toy — a tiny drone
New toy—a tiny RC quadcopter

I got this a long while ago, but Chewie made sure I never got any time with it. The first time I tried to fly it, Chewie jumped off his perch, caught the drone in mid-air and thrashed it around with his mouth trying to kill the ‘bird‘.

I tried taking it into the conservatory, while locking Chewie in the living room. Chewie created such a ruckus from other side of the glass doors that R banned me from using the drone again.

While working alone last night I got the idea to bring the drone upstairs, to play with it during my breaks when Chewie is not around. So today I did.

I have had two play sessions with it already. It helps that it has a very short battery life—about 10 mins—so I can’t waste too much time with it in one go.

It’s a hard drone to fly—dirty lint on the rotors + cheap, low quality electronics + Chewie’s thrashing amongst the many reasons for it. After two 10 min sessions, my longest continuous flight is still only about 30 secs. Getting it to just hover over a spot for a minute would be a good first target. Soft landing it would be another. Both seem far away at the moment.

Continue reading New old toy—a tiny RC drone