Hey baby, let me build you a memory palace.

I walk my dog twice every day, so I have a lot of time to listen to podcasts. (In fact, often when I’m drawing comics I listen to TBTL, because I am a proud TBTL Ten…which means nothing to you if you aren’t one and everything if you are.) As a result, a lot of random information makes its way into my brain, and my conversational style can tilt towards the non sequitur.

On the other hand, some of my favorite podcasts (This American Life, Radiolab, the aforementioned TBTL, and The Moth) seem to catch wind of topics at roughly the same time, so I’ll actually end up with a lot of new knowledge in one slightly peculiar subject area. Example? Memory testing.

At some point in the last few months, everyone and their mother was talking about how the human mind makes memories, and how to optimize your own memory making – vis a vis Jonathan Foer’s book Moonwalking with Einstein, which chronicles his experiences on the memory competition circuit, and explains how to make a memory palace. (N.B.: The Memory Palace is also a pretty cool podcast.)

Personally, I find all this stuff pretty fascinating, even though I’ve long ago stopped trying to figure out why I can remember the precise dialogue from every Calvin & Hobbes strip every written, but have forgotten all of world geography and most basic mathematical techniques.