Speed-Watching: Download information straight to your brain (Matrix-style)


Remember the movie Matrix where Trinity instantly learned how to fly a helicopter by downloading the program straight to her brain? While we’re not there yet (see perceptual learning via neurofeedback), it is possible to learn things in half the time by listening to lectures at double speed. I call it speed-watching.

If you’ve ever taken a class on Coursera, you’ve likely noticed the +/- buttons that allow you to do this. If you feel overwhelmed by 2x speeds, watch a lecture at 2x for one minute and then reduce to 1.75x. Sooner or later your brain will adjust to faster speeds and you’ll be blazing through lectures in no time. In fact, 2x will even start to feel slow at times.

I also ‘speed-watch’ my news, recipe videos, and topics on Khan Academy. The only time I don’t speed-watch is if I’m listening to music videos or learning a language. To access this speed feature in YouTube, you will need to enable HTML5. Do it here: https://www.youtube.com/html5.

Beyond saving time, speed-watching also keeps your mind engaged, thereby increasing comprehension. Lack of engagement is why many in classrooms let their minds wander, doodle, or catch up on email. Now that education can be customized to ‘your’ learning curve, what will education be like in the future?

If you can see the bigger picture, you recognize that we are at the verge of exciting times. 

For those interested in accelerated learning, here’s a link that compiles a few resources to help your endeavor: http://nahyaninc.com/blog/accelerated-learning-level-1/


Biocomputing and Bioencryption


Binary code is so January 11th, 2011. Current advances in biotech are pushing us deeper into the age of bio-based computing and data encryption. Leonard Adelman, a professor of computer science and molecular biology at the University of Southern California, created the first DNA computational system in 1994. His experiments allowed him to solve heavy combinatorics problems, albeit at a slower pace than current capabilities. Since then, a team of undergraduates at the Chinese University of Hong Kong made tremendous progress by developing a practical model to store data in living bacteria. This type of biological data system will allow you to store 4500 gigabytes of data in a biodrive no heavier than a nickel (5 grams).

How does it work? We already know that DNA stores information for most living organisms. Our current electricity-based computing systems store and process info by setting two commands: on and off (translated to ones and zeros in binary code). Combinations of these ones and zeros are then made to represent text, instructions, etc. DNA, on the other hand, can be sequenced in parallel structures using combinations of each nucleotide: A, T, C, and G. By introducing new layers to our binary system, this process compresses the amount of bits needed for each combination. Thus allowing you store information in less space. There is even a method, DNA steganography, to encrypt information within DNA itself. The implications of this technology not only excite one’s imagination of the future, but also call into question our current theories between Natural Selection and Intelligent Design. Mankind as we know it just may be programs in a well thought out Matrix. However, using advanced math and science, we are just now beginning to hack the code. One thing is for sure, the forward-march to biocomputing will give new meaning to computer viruses.