Diego Velazquez

NYC Art Gallery | Art Blog

“Las Meninas” – 1656, Oil on canvas
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Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

washington irving sleepy hollow,

A visit to Sunnyside is an enchanted adventure in a romantic landscape and a much-loved riverside home that has been charming visitors for generations.

Hear about Washington Irving’s storied past and how he came to be America’s first internationally famous author, best remembered now for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other short stories. His characters, from Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane to the mysterious Headless Horseman and the comic Rip Van Winkle, are icons in American culture. Even Johnny Depp has added to their global renown.

irving sunnyside, washington irving sleepy hollow Washington_Irving_and_his_Literary_Friends_at_Sunnyside

A gently curved path leads to gorgeous views of the Hudson River and reveals the allure of Sunnyside’s unique design, its intimate setting, its bucolic grounds, and its association with a beloved man of letters.

Your guide, dressed elegantly in hoop skirts or formal dress of the times, explains how Washington Irving designed Sunnyside and its grounds himself, collaborating with his neighbor, the artist George Harvey. “It is a beautiful spot,” Irving wrote, “capable of being made a little paradise.” Beginning in 1835, he expanded a small cottage in stages, combining his sentimental interests in the architecture of colonial New York and buildings he knew in Scotland and Spain. The house became a three-dimensional autobiography.

The grounds reflect Washington Irving’s romantic view of art, nature, and history. He arranged garden paths, trees and shrubs, vistas, and water features to appear natural, and planted an exotic wisteria vine (still growing) to envelope the house.

Irving’s contemporaries extensively described and illustrated Sunnyside during his lifetime. And since Sunnyside and many of its furnishings remained in the family, a visit here is one of the most authentic experiences of mid-19th century life anywhere in the country.

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Escape from Jonestown


Julia Scheeres | A Thousand Lives | 26 minutes (6,304 words)

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For our latest Longreads Exclusive, we’re proud to share Julia Scheeres’ adaptation of her book, A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown, which tells the story of five people who lived in Jonestown at the time of the infamous massacre, which occurred 36 years ago, on Nov. 18, 1978.

This story also includes home movies—never before released publicly—from inside Jonestown. The footage, discovered after the massacre, includes tours of the compound by Jim Jones and interviews with many of those who lived and died there. You can view the entire series of clips at YouTube.com/Longreads.

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A New Technique for Note Taking


Problem Solving

Taking notes in class is necessary for most college courses. Unless you are doing hands-on activities, professors usually have notes that students can choose to copy down. While some students lug their laptops around every day, others choose the old-fashioned notebook with a pen/pencil. Before graduating from Cal Poly in 2011, Andrew Hughes chose the notebook option for taking notes.

“Every quarter, I bought new notebooks. I carried them around for different classes, and stored them at the end of each quarter to make room for the next set of notebooks. I wanted to keep them all for future reference, but they just ended up in boxes in my closet,” said Hughes.

4357529719_5548c4fce6_zStudying Computer Engineering, Hughes sought out a way to store notes digitally on a tablet. While laptops were a convenient way to keep notes organized, the act of typing doesn’t allow for note takers to retain…

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How To Use Evernote

Your Remarkable Virtual Professional

Evernote is a software designed for note-taking and archiving. It helps you organize your notes in one place. Plus, you can sync your notes in all your devices, so you can view them even without internet connection.

In Evernote, you can also add images to your notes, save web content and annotate them, and set reminders for your notes.

You won’t miss important details and misplace your notes anymore!

Below is a tutorial on how you to use Evernote. Enjoy!

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Memory and Recall: 10 Amazing Facts You Should Know

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“If we remembered everything we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.” ~William James
It’s often said that a person is the sum of their memories. Your experience is what makes you who you are.

Despite this, memory is generally poorly understood, which is why many people say they have ‘bad memories’. That’s partly because the analogies we have to hand—like that of computer memory—are not helpful. Human memory is vastly more complicated and quirky than the memory residing in our laptops, tablets or phones.

Here is my 10-point guide to the psychology of memory (it is based on an excellent review chapter by the distinguished UCLA memory expert, Professor Robert A. Bjork)

1. Memory does not decay

Everyone has experienced the frustration of not being able to recall a fact from memory. It could be someone’s name, the French for ‘town hall’ or where the car is parked.

So it seems obvious that memories decay, like fruit going off. But the research tends not to support this view. Instead many researchers think that in fact memory has a limitless capacity. Everything is stored in there but, without rehearsal, memories become harder to access. This means it’s not the memory that’s ‘going off’ it’s the ability to retrieve it.

But what on earth is the point of a brain that remembers everything but can’t recall most of it? Here’s what:

2. Forgetting helps you learn

The idea that forgetting helps you learn seems counter-intuitive, but think of it this way: imagine if you created a brain that could remember and recall everything. When this amazing brain was trying to remember where it parked the car, it would immediately bring to mind all the car parks it had ever seen, then it would have to sort through the lot.

Obviously the only one that’s of interest is the most recent. And this is generally true of most of our memories. Recent events are usually much more important than ones that happened a long time ago.

To make your super-brain quicker and more useful in the real world you’d have to build in some system for discounting old, useless info. In fact, of course, we all have one of these super-brains with a discounting system: we call it ‘forgetting’.

That’s why forgetting helps you learn: as less relevant information becomes inaccessible, we are naturally left with the information that is most important to our daily survival.

3. ‘Lost’ memories can live again

There’s another side to the fact that memories do not decay. That’s the idea that although memories may become less accessible, they can be revived.

Even things that you have long been unable to recall are still there, waiting to be woken. Experiments have shown that even information that has long become inaccessible can still be revived. Indeed it is then re-learned more quickly than new information.

This is like the fact that you never forget how to ride a bike, but it doesn’t just apply to motor skills, it also applies to memories.

4. Recalling memories alters them

Although it’s a fundamental of memory, the idea that recall alters memories seems intuitively wrong. How can recalling a memory change it?

Well, just by recalling a memory, it becomes stronger in comparison to other memories. Let’s run this through an example. Say you think back to one particular birthday from childhood and you recall getting a Lego spaceship. Each time you recall that fact, the other things you got for your birthday that day become weaker in comparison.

The process of recall, then, is actually actively constructing the past, or at least the parts of your past that you can remember.

This is only the beginning though. False memories can potentially be created by this process of falsely recalling the past. Indeed, psychologists have experimentally implanted false memories.

This raises the fascinating idea that effectively we create ourselves by choosing which memories to recall.

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