Read Faster? Spritz It!

If learning how to speed read seems too much of a task, this is good news for you. It appears that technology will be paving the way for those of us who want to learn how to speed read the easy way. It’s called Spritz and it’s catching on.

What is Spritz?

Spritz is a new technology that is designed to help us read faster. According to the research, we spend 80% of our reading time moving our eyes from word to word searching for the ORP – optimal recognition point. This is the part of the word our eyes look for before we can start to process the meaning of the word.

When you read a word, your eyes naturally fixate at one point in that word, which visually triggers the brain to recognize the word and process its meaning. Each time you see text that is not centered properly on the ORP position, your eyes naturally will look for the ORP to process the word and understand its meaning. This requisite eye movement creates a “saccade”, a physical eye movement caused by your eyes taking a split second to find the proper ORP for a word. Every saccade has a penalty in both time and comprehension, especially when you start to speed up reading.

How does Spritz Work?

In a nutshell, Spritz saves us reading time by making us more efficient when we read. It helps us in three ways:

  1. It streams the words so we don’t waste time having to move our eyes over the words as we scan for the next ORP.
  2. It highlights the ORP so you don’t waste time having to look for it.
  3. It reduces the number of times our eyes pass over the words for our brains to make sense of them.
  4. It establishes a reading rhythm for optimal reading and comprehension.

Check it out…

How can I Spritz it?

You can Spritz it almost anywhere…

  • Spritz the net - download this spritzlet and you can spritz any page on the web.
  • Readsy - this site allows you to cut and paste text, pull from a URL or upload a PDF file.
  • ReadMe! - this is an ePub reader with Spritz. Convert your ePub books to Spritz or download new ones from Project Gutenberg (45,000 books), Manybooks (29,000 titles), Feedbooks, OpenLibrary (1M+ books) and the Internet Archive (2.5M+ titles).

Check this page for updates to see where else you can Spritz from.

So if you have ever wanted to be able to read a book in 90 minutes, Spritz will help you get there…

Guest Post: How to Maintain a Lucid Dream

Guest Post 1In an earlier post, we wrote about lucid dreaming and the benefits that it can offer to the lucid dreamer. If you were successful in achieving a lucid dream but are struggling to maintain it, you should find the advice in this guest post from Kerry McGlone to be insightful.

About Kerry McGlone

Kerry McGlone is an experienced lucid dreamer knowledgeable about how lucid dreams can be achieved. She discusses lucid dreams and other phenomena which are associated with lucid dreams on her website Dream Lucidly.

How to Maintain a Lucid Dream

Okay, so you’ve experienced a lucid dream. That’s great, but how long did you remain in a lucid state for?

Unfortunately, the first time you experience a lucid dream may not last very long. You may become aware of the lucidity, get excited and wake up as a result. This is completely normal. It is common for first time lucid dreamers to be unable to sustain a lucid dream for a long period of time. Although it may seem like a bad thing to wake up from being excited (and it’s disappointing, that’s for sure), at least you’re on your way to sustaining a lucid dream for a longer period of time.

keep-calm-and-lucid-dream-21The main piece of advice for now is to ensure you remain calm as you enter a lucid dream. As you progress into the lucid dream, the aim should be to keep the focus on the dream itself, and nothing else. When entering, pause for a second. Try to grasp the scenario, and then proceed calmly.

Don’t focus too much on actually controlling the dream at first – that may require more experience to be done correctly. Your first task is to concentrate solely on remaining lucid, and nothing else. Before you can turn your attention to anything else, you will need to perfect the time you remain lucid – this is essential! By all means, feel free to experiment with your lucid dream, just don’t get so overwhelmed by the whole experience. This will reduce the likeliness of remaining in the lucid state.

Enhancing Your Lucid Dream State

There are two very useful techniques that can help to enhance your lucid dreaming experience. These techniques may be used either to increase the awareness of the lucid dream or to make sure you don’t lose the lucid state. While these methods may be two of the most common ways for maintaining a lucid dream and making it last longer, they may not work for everyone since each individual is different.

Hand Rubbing

Staying lucid is critical to and lucid dreamer. One common method used to ensure the lucid state is remained is to simply rub your hands together. This will reinforce the idea of keeping focused on the dream opposed to waking up – which is obviously something you want to try and avoid.

When in a lucid dream, you may dream you’re indoors or outdoors. If indoors, try touching furniture or the walls. If outdoors, touching the ground may be useful.

Essentially rubbing your hands helps to stabilize the lucid dream you’re in.

Dream Spinning

One common experience may people face is a lucid dream beginning to fade unexpectedly. If you begin to sense the lucid dream is coming to an end, a common technique used for prevention is called dream spinning. This technique is practiced by many lucid dreamers and is considered to be reliable in sustaining a lucid dream.

Dream spinning is actually relatively easy. All you have to do is imagine yourself as a child and spin around on the spot. In order to receive the full effects of dream spinning, it will likely take 10-30 seconds of spinning. Once you conclude your spinning, you should find that your lucid state has restored, and the location of your lucid state may also have changed – the environment, place, position, etc.

It is also common practice among lucid dreamers to experiment with dream spinning in order to achieve a different setting, regardless of whether the lucid state is diminishing. However, when dream spinning, it is recommended that you continue to remind yourself that you’re lucid dreaming to negate the possibility of losing lucidity as a result.

These two techniques should work for most lucid dreamers but the most important thing you can do is not get too worked up on losing lucidity when you first begin to lucid dream. Instead, praise yourself having gained lucidity – which many people fail to do – because you deserve it! I know it sucks to finally become lucid only to lose the state moments after, but it will get better if you set your mind to it; it all comes down to the belief that you can and your determination.

For more information on lucid dreaming, visit Kerry at Dream Lucidly.


Lucid Dreaming Made Easy

Battling the Mom Brain – Part 2

Source: Pinterest – Susan Olsen Johnson

During pregnancy, they say that the brain shrinks a little and they attribute that as the reason why pregnant women are so forgetful. Supposedly, this is all meant to return to normal after the pregnancy (give or take a little bit of recovery time) – “should” and “normal” being the operative words. Except that it’s now seven years on and I’m still battling the Mom Brain. I don’t seem to have made much recovery at all. If anything, the Mom Brain feels worse than ever.

Being Absentminded Versus Having a Bad Memory

I used to think it was because I had a bad memory. I would train my memory on Lumosity hoping to fix the problem only to realise that my problem isn’t my memory. In fact, by Lumosity’s standard, my memory isn’t bad at all. So why don’t I remember what I need to remember when I need to remember it?

Brain Training

The Absentminded Professor

The absentminded professor is a common stereotype describing a talented academic who is usually so engrossed in her ‘own world’ that she fails to keep track of her surroundings. Now that sounds like me! Except that my mind is usually not preoccupied with fantastical theorems or something significant such as the cure for cancer – it just has a propensity to wander off with the fairies and forget to come home.

For example, I might be brushing my teeth and I’ll remember that I need to take my phone off the charger and put it into my handbag. Since I’m in the process of brushing my teeth, I don’t do it immediately, but after I’m done brushing, I get distracted by other things, like making sure my sons have packed their bags for school and getting out of the house and into the car. We’ll be in the car halfway to school when I’ll remember that I forgot to take my phone.

Here’s another example that commonly happens to me: I’ll be in the process of replying an email (or SMS) when my boys will interrupt me with a request for assistance or something. I’ll stop to help them and then I never end up replying that email or sending off that SMS, except that in my mind, I remember writing a reply and it gets checked off the “to do” list even though it hasn’t been completed.

What’s happening in the brain?

I was reading an article about parents who forget their children in the backseat when I stumbled on the explanation of why the brain temporarily forgets the things it needs to remember. According to memory expert, David Diamond:

The human brain is a magnificent but jury-rigged device in which newer and more sophisticated structures sit atop a junk heap of prototype brains still used by lower species. At the top of the device are the smartest and most nimble parts: the prefrontal cortex, which thinks and analyzes, and the hippocampus, which makes and holds on to our immediate memories. At the bottom is the basal ganglia, nearly identical to the brains of lizards, controlling voluntary but barely conscious actions.

In situations involving familiar, routine motor skills, the human animal presses the basal ganglia into service as a sort of auxiliary autopilot. When our prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are planning our day on the way to work, the ignorant but efficient basal ganglia is operating the car; that’s why you’ll sometimes find yourself having driven from point A to point B without a clear recollection of the route you took, the turns you made or the scenery you saw.

Ordinarily, this delegation of duty “works beautifully, like a symphony. But sometimes, it turns into the ‘1812 Overture.’ The cannons take over and overwhelm.”

By experimentally exposing rats to the presence of cats, and then recording electrochemical changes in the rodents’ brains, Diamond has found that stress — either sudden or chronic — can weaken the brain’s higher-functioning centers, making them more susceptible to bullying from the basal ganglia.

How do we fix the Problem?

In all honesty, I don’t have any answers, but I suspect that these will be good places to begin:

If you have any other ideas, feel free to suggest them in the comments.