is copyright Michael Curtis 2010-2020. All Rights Reserved.

Pi Palace


Imagine that you have learned loads of images to represent numbers and words; but you do not have many peg location places to memorise them at. So you might need 500 places for 500 facts that need revising; but you do not know 500 places. Maybe you could imagine more than one image at a peg location. That might help.

Or you commit to learning a sequence of locations. But which locations? And is there a neat trick that lets you know something about the look of the place based on its ordinal position in an itemised list of places? Eg. Would place 357 necessarily be a certain colour or have a certain building or background or foreground or prop in it?: a cue to help you to remember what the place is.

I already wrote about how the 100 types of shop might each be a folder of, say, 10 photos of that type of shop. So it could be a system of 1000 peg locations.

Another point of view is that, as long as the place is along an imagined route, you do not need a structured hint as to what the place will look like: your familiarity with the journey will help you to recall which peg location comes after the one you are currently imagining.

I have been looking at the very long number pi to see if its apparent random look can randomly generate places to imagine on a journey like that. Pi is handy for randoly creating mnemonic visual aspects, in general.

There can be 100 themes for what is in the middle of the location scene. For example, the theme of 'palace'. And there would be 10 different templates of how a palace should look.

So, 2 pi digits would dictate which of the 100 themes to use at the current location; and 1 pi digit would decide which sketch of it to draw; 1 pi digit decides the fill colour for that template; but you can pick a second colour if it has small details that require a further colour [that second colour would be your choice and so not a pi digit]. So, already 4 digits of pi have been used to construct the location.

Foreground terrain could be one of 10 types such as flat sand, gravel, etc.. I am not sure that you can play around much with background terrain since the main focus of the scene cuts off a substantial portion of it; but maybe you could have 10 background types like snowy mountain, rocky mountain, etc..; but maybe use some originality in how it is drawn so that the scene has more chance of being unique. So that is two digits of pi used.

Next comes one of 100 props such as a palm tree. Where it is positioned and how many occur is itself a pi piece of information. Whether it is near or far, 1 or 2 or 3, left of the main theme or right of it - that gives at least 10 ways of presenting it; and it needs a fill colour (1 of 10). So that prop has used 4 pi digits.

In total, one scene is using 10 digits of pi.

Anyway, it's an idea I would like to spend more time on; but is Pi too much effort for the benefit?

Spelling inside a picture

An alternative approach to making imaginary locations containing hidden meaning is to think about:

Focal point image, 5 templates of it, 20 colours of it, 3 backdrops and 5 foregrounds.

If a castle focal point is theme number 1 then location 1 would be the first template example of a castle coloured in the first of 20 colours: black.

The hidden item you want to remember permanently there is, let's say, the word 'cucumber'; you want an image that occurs next to the castle; and something about the object implies the 'C' first letter of 'cucumber'.

Yes, you could just imagine a cucumber. Second best is to have trivia categories which each mean a letter of the alphabet. 'C' might be represented by the trivia category of 'Cars'. So you could find an image of a car (on the internet) and picture it in the scene in front of the castle.

The choice of backdrop and foreground would imply the 2nd letter of 'cucumber': the 'U'; 3 backdrops times 5 foregrounds would cover such 2nd letters as:

A E I O U Y L R C P T H {other}

'Cucumber' is easy to imagine but this approach would prompt maybe surnames or town names: tougher trivia to remember.

But would the image be too noisy with one object to imply ordinal information and another object to encrypt a spelling?

Picture Frame

Another idea I am playing with is what information you can store in an imagined picture frame: the shape of the frame and the colour of the frame.

I could have a photo of the city of Birmingham, UK and store the 'BI..' of Birmingham by expressing the 'B' as the containing picture frame colour; and the 'I' as the design shape of the frame.

Or maybe I could have a lot of photographs of places to use as peg location images; and I could remind myself the ordinal number of the image by representing a clue in the picture frame.

eg. 20 colours x 10 frame shapes would express the ordinal number of 200 places. Then the 201st place would begin the picture frame cycle again: have the same frame as picture 001.

The next article (Picture Frame 10000) expands upon that idea.