I always marvel at people who read a lot and actually remember what they read. Like, what super power is this? I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like — although I hope this is finally changing. But regardless, after I read a book, much of what I’ve read leaves me. It’s so upsetting! I want to be one of those people who can recall the names and dates and events of everything they’ve ever read.
While I’m reading a book, I’m totally in it. It’s not like I don’t understand or something. For the most part, if I continue reading a book and finish it — I’ve enjoyed the book thoroughly. And yet, I still end up forgetting much of what I read.
Also, I love fun facts.
When I study, taking notes is non-negotiable for me. It’s the only way I truly ingest information that’s foreign to me. And while I LOVE having notebooks and writing with a pen, I can’t carry them right now. So I thought, why not keep a running note on what I’ve read — or learned from daily life — each week as a post. This is all part of my efforts to write consistently and to truly retain information that I’m ‘learning’. I’m so hoping this is not the first and only such entry (serious finger crossing going on over here), but here it goes.
Here are some of the things I didn’t know before this week and now I do. Hooray!
Francis Bacon & the origins of the NSA.
I’ve heard this name before, but I think that’s as far as my knowledge on the guy went. I started reading a really interesting new book — The Woman Who Smashed Codes. It’s about two American figures who helped lead the way for the field of cryptology in America. Elizebeth and William Friedman. The book focuses more on Elizebeth, but both of their stories are told. Both of their careers began on an utopian-like estate in Illinois called Riverbank where they were tasked with un-masking hidden messages in Shakespeare’s works. Their boss believed that Francis Bacon was the true author of the works and hidden messages were within.
These messages turned out to be bogus (as in not there), but nevertheless I learned a bit about this guy — Francis Bacon. I already forgot most of what I read (shocking)… Except that he was some smart scientist guy who wrote a bunch during the time about an array of topics — ciphers being one of them. He is also the guy who coined the phrase ‘Knowledge is Power’. That’s pretty neat.
William Friedman — along with two junior employees — was responsible for creating the origins of the NSA… while it was still just three men working to decipher messages from foreign powers in a basement somewhere in DC.
This city has been destroyed (thanks to war) and re-built some 40-ish times.
I don’t think this building has been rebuilt recently, but I love how old it looks.
For me, the spine is the most interesting part of the body. Much of what asana does is to help keep a healthy spine. The four out of five categories of yoga asana have to do with the position of the spine — flexion, extension, lateral, rotational.
I’ve been re-reading my yoga body (anatomy) text book in preparation for taking another anatomy course. I’ve read the book twice now (this is my 3rd time) and I still keep reading things I don’t remember (again, shocking).
Wtf is wrong with my memory?
Well today I just read something that will hopefully stick — when you move your cervical spine (your neck), your lumbar spine will automatically move in the same way. So if you flex (bring your chin in the direction of your chest) your neck, your lumbar spine will also round. Neat. This has to do with the fact that these two parts of the spine are secondary (they are developed post-birth whereas the thoracic spine is primary). There’s some really interesting implications to this for teaching yoga.
‘Back benders rib‘ — The mid-thoracic vertebra are less mobile with the spinous processes limiting extension (back bending). Due to this lack of mobility, when someone practices a strong extension (back bend) the vertebra will sometimes rotate instead of gliding and extending on the one below it. This causes the ribs attached to rotate and creates discomfort.
Did you know he was Serbian? I didn’t.
The German migration.
Starting in the late 19th century — and especially between 1919 and 1933 — Germans migrated to South America in waves. They set up their own communities, set up shops and schools. The migration was fueled by the poor economy in Germany at the time (the same poor economy that fueled the Nazis rise to power).
There’s even a town in Argentina where it feels like you’re in Germany altogether… Although it sounds like this one was started by a wealthy German family.
Ok. Let’s see if I can keep these random fun facts to actually stay put.
Next week I’ll probably still be reading my cryptologist spy novel, studying anatomy, learning more fun facts about wherever it is that I am (which will be a bit of Belgrade and a bit of Ljubljana, Slovenia) AND starting a new yoga philosophy book called Tantra Unveiled.
Until next week xox.