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Why Pack Ultralight

I really agonized over the purchase of my latest jacket. For about fifty dollars more, I could get a jacket that was .8 ounces lighter than the other one. It sounds crazy just writing that. In the end I found a deal to get that jacket for the same price, so I was spared the agony of having to make decision.

Managing every ounce in a backpack sounds ridiculous. I get it. It seems like obsession gone awry, excess for its own sake.

But a couple weeks ago, walking through Budapest, I decided to take my backpack with me for the day. I wasn't sure if I'd find some time to sit and do some work, and we were thinking of going to baths, where I'd prefer to have my own soaps. But, as it was our first day in a new city, there would be a lot of walking.

We barely took public transport, instead walking miles up and down streets, across bridges, and up a huge hill for the view. And, for maybe the first time, I realized that I didn't notice the weight of my bag at all. At nine pounds or so, it was so light that it didn't encumber me in any way.

Extreme Learning

On nickwinter.net

Yesterday, I went down to the Institute for the Future for a workshop on "extreme learning". There were many diverse people in there, and we spent the day talking about learning, education, and school, and how we as futuristic learners could see things going in 2023.

I had some good conversations, but the thing that struck me the most was how much I felt like I was back in school for a day. There were large- and small-group discussions, presentations, brainstorming assignments--and the young people were taking tons of notes! It was funny to me, because I had come to talk about how bad school had ended up being for my attitude towards learning.

They asked what extreme learning meant to me. It's a bit sad, but to me, it's just learning, but where you remember it later. Naturally I talked about spaced repetition as the antidote for the in-one-semester-and-out-the-other paradigm of education, but I was surprised to be the only one talking about it.

The highlight of the day was playing Throw Trucks With Your Mind during lunch, since one of the extreme learners, Lat Ware, had brought two laptops and Neuroskies to demo it. I was surprised by how well it worked compared to some of the other bio-control stuff I'd tried. Lat has done his math well.

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