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Stuff you can never remember?

  1. Jun 8, 2013 #1
    Is there anything you guys just can't ever seem to remember? For example, I know a lot of people who consistently don't remember what a certain arithmetic operation is, like 8*7.

    For me, I can't remember east and west. I know, it's crazy, but whenever I'm looking at a map and someone says "west", I have to pull out the "Never Eat Soggy Waffles" trick
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
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  3. Jun 8, 2013 #2


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    West and East spell WE when you look at the map. If you get it backward, it spells EW so obviously that's wrong. :tongue:
  4. Jun 8, 2013 #3


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    I used to be a mathematical wizard as a child. I memorized the multiplication tables, in all bases from 2 to 16. But after taking what seemed like 100 calculus courses, I found I couldn't remember what 8*7 was, even in base 10. Now, to figure out what 8*7 is, I have the following go on in my head; "Good god I'm stupid. 2*7 is 14. 2*14 is 28. 2*28 is 56."

    I also have difficulty with names. I knew a guy for about 5 years, and could never remember his name. Then one day I researched, and discovered the name of a weed that grows all over my yard: Stinky Bob.
    I saw Robert the next day, and explained to him why I no longer asked; "What did you say your name was?"

    He laughed.

    I've never had such a problem with directions. Do you live near the equator? I grew up and currently live very near the 45th parallel. The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west, and is generally to the south. At night, I just look for the big dipper.

    Also, I've heard it rumoured that men are better at directions than women. I think this might be true, as when I tell women; "It's just to the west of such-and-such", many will say; "Which way is west?"
  5. Jun 8, 2013 #4
    It's not even that I'm bad with directions (although if you said "drive west", I wouldn't know where to go). I have no problem with north and south. However, every time I'm looking at a map, I have to use that acronym to remember east and west
  6. Jun 8, 2013 #5


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    Every time my wife is talking about a place and casually points in the direction of it, the true location is closer to the opposite direction of where she's pointing. She will also give directions without a starting point that makes any sense - like drive on Rt. 50 and turn right at some store. Good luck trying to figure out where on that 100+ mile road she's talking about or which direction she's going. She then gets upset with me when I tell her that I don't know where she's talking about. :rolleyes:
  7. Jun 8, 2013 #6


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    I can never remember how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, and vice versa. I do it often enough, but I can never remember the equation.

    If I don't have a computer handy (or I don't feel like using my cell phone app), I can still get by because I do remember the freezing and boiling points of water at atmospheric pressure, in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

    Freezing: 32o F, 0o C
    Boiling: 212o F, 100o C

    This gives two points on a graph, (212o F, 100o C), (32o F, 0o C).

    We can connect those two points with a line, y = mx + b, or changing variables, TF = mTC + b

    The slope can be calculated,

    m = (212 - 32)/(100 - 0) [oF/oC] = 1.8 [oF/oC]

    Solve for b,

    32 oF = (1.8 [oF/oC])(0 oC) + b

    b = 32 oF

    TF = (1.8 [oF/oC])TC + 32 oF

    But I have to do that every time. I can never remember the equation.
  8. Jun 8, 2013 #7


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    I do the same thing, except I use the fact that -40 is the same in both temperatures. Or at least, that's what I used to do before I just gave up thinking in Celsius and got used to Fahrenheit.
  9. Jun 8, 2013 #8
    Huh.. I forgot what I was going to say.
  10. Jun 8, 2013 #9
    I have gone through a similar situation with my wife for years, but with a twist. She is great at pointing to where something is yet she doesn't have a clue which direction it is.
  11. Jun 8, 2013 #10
    North is usually at the top of most maps. Knowing that makes the rest easy. I heard that it began when explorers used the North Star to navigate and draw maps.
  12. Jun 8, 2013 #11
    If you are in China is the middle east still the east?
    I always remember that the middle east is to the right of where I am most of the time on the map and the west is on the other side.

    Why would you need that useless piece of knowledge? Civilized people always use Celsius. I mean do you also need to know what an inch or a foot is?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  13. Jun 9, 2013 #12
    I don't live in china. For some reason I just have to think really hard about east and west, just like a lot of people with 8*7.
  14. Jun 9, 2013 #13


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    Well, not all people are civilized, and knowing that useless piece of knowledge, will help you deal with the savages.

    Though, we were there for 9 days, and we never figured out how the clothes washing machine worked.
  15. Jun 10, 2013 #14
    The current day's date
  16. Jun 10, 2013 #15


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    If you lived at the South Pole, you'd never have to worry about East-West. Just North.
  17. Jun 11, 2013 #16


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    For the life of me, I can't remember some simple conventions, like red cable goes to plus (does it?), blue to minus. I have no problems with connecting cars/batteries/chargers correctly with whatever cables I have at hand, as I understand the logic behind, it is just the color convention that doesn't stick.

    And when I am in the city instead of telling me "get west" you can as well say "get lost". Directions in the city are relative to the city landmarks. When I am out of the city, directions are NSWE, and I have not the slightest problem with what they are. This leads to unexpected results when driving through a city that I don't know, I have to force myself into thinking in terms of NSWE as this subsystem switches of automatically.
  18. Jun 11, 2013 #17


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    I cannot, for the life of me, remember names well.

    Numbers and mathematical formulae, no issue at all. Faces - practically photographic (I've recognised people I've been barely acquainted with in kindergarten 3 decades down the road). But I can't remember names well.

    I'm referring purely to human names - I have no issue with the names of various obscure bacteria, fungi and parasites. That's my bread and butter.
  19. Jun 12, 2013 #18
    I often forget little syntax things when programming like what the syntax is to write to a file in append mode with c++.
  20. Jun 16, 2013 #19
    I can never remember the date for some reason. Often, I also have trouble remembering the month. Also phone numbers, names, any kind of information like that. Luckily it's not a problem when doing maths or physics because I can just remember mental pictures of things I've written down or thought about, although biology in high school was difficult because I couldn't remember the names of things.
  21. Jun 16, 2013 #20
    Oh yeah, another thing I can't remember: the difference between ##<## and ##>##. I always have to use a mnemonic my second grade teacher taught me: the sign looks like an alligator, and the alligator want to eat the bigger number
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