Sources and Methods #34: Lynne Kelly

Lynne Kelly 101:

Lynne's website

Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies

The Memory Code

Lynne on Twitter

33 Memory Experiments

Show notes:

2:20 - Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies was published by Cambridge University Press so it is the academic version of The Memory Code.

3:10 - I was looking at the way indigenous cultures, in particular Australian Aboriginal cultures, record information about animal behavior and I started to realize that they were storing information about a huge number of animals in memory.

8:07 - I listed ten different aspects of these memory systems that indigenous cultures used which would show up in the archaeology and in order to claim that a site such as Stonehenge is in fact a memory palace, I want at least eight, if not the whole ten, of these different aspects as indicators. There has to be public and restricted places. There must be performance spaces because all knowledge is performed in oral cultures because dance, song, and mythology are far more memorable. There must be sequenced sets of locations because that's the way all oral cultures are explored around the world. There are also handheld devices that I found: The African Lukasa, or memory board of the Luba people, the Australian Aboriginal, Churinga, which is an inscribed object that has abstract signs. I found these sort of devices everywhere so I started wanting them in the archeology, as well, and that whole pattern is what is required, not just odd little bits and pieces that I can jump to the conclusion 'Oh that must be memory!'

10:08 - In literate societies, we separate things into separate domains and we like our knowledge to remain separate, but indigenous cultures don't do that, they integrate everything and that's why I had to learn from Aboriginal cultures, and then from Native American, in particular the Pueblo people, but also looking at African and Pacific cultures and how all of these things work in an integrative way. So if you look at Australian Aboriginal songlines, Australian Aboriginal people still move out north and still move around the landscape, moving from sacred location to sacred location and at each of those locations, they would perform a ritual. Now, a ritual is a repeated event and so they would repeat a song or a dance or a story at each location. Some of the research shows that seventy percent of those songs were about practical stuff.

All cultures had the same idea of broad landscape sets of shrines and sacred places where they performed the information.

19:16 - I have yet to have anyone fault the theory. It's been received very well. There are some that are quiet about it, but the book as you will see in the front of The Memory Code is endorsed by big name archaeologists; Rosamund Cleal in England, William Lipe who's endorsed it, he was also one of my examiners, is a big name in America.

23:12 - Oral cultures do not stay static, so they will add new information/adapt all the information, depending on what's happening.

If you look at the artwork of Australia, we've got some of the oldest continuous art tradition and they are constantly touching it up, but also adding things. So right up north which is where the longest art tradition is being mapped, you get the moccasin, the fishing boats from Indonesia, getting added on top of the rock art a couple hundred years ago because they were being added into the story, into the oral tradition, into the knowledge system. So things have changed and updated, but the basic structure isn't.

25:38 - My 33 memory experiments - What I have tried to do is take each of those sorts of those devices and those sorts of information and start trying it myself.

29:47 - Indigenous stories, if you read the originals, do not have a straight linear narrative unless they are translated for Western cultures in which that's added into them.

34:23 - Here we've gone to a lot of group work and projects without this grounded information stored in. Plus, we have little kids singing and dancing and making up stories and then as they get older, they behave insensibly. That's what we're going to be working on the funding for primary and secondary here and we're setting up what's called the Orality Centre in Castlemaine, where we're going to start embedding songlines.

Sources and Methods #33: Gabe Weatherhead

Gabe Weatherhead 101:

Macdrifter (Gabe's personal site)

Gabe (not really any more) on Twitter

Nerds on Draft


Technical Difficulties (Gabe's old podcast)

Show notes:

6:50 - - Resource to make your website (or others) searchable.

8:50 - Podcasts are great for ruminating on a topic, where you’re just riffing and talking real time about it, but it’s not great for thinking through things. People that I’ve seen who become more podcasters than writers, I think their logic suffers for that. They’re not ever really thinking things through at a deep level other than to have a kneejerk conversation.

11:02 - I think there are a couple different flavors of app developers. There are those who are in it for the money. Then there’s the app makers who have their own personal problem they’re trying to solve. Then of course there’s the career developer. We were more in the bucket of we had a problem we wanted to solve, and we wanted customers to pay to help us solve that problem. We learned a lot. 1) iOS development is not cheap. 2) There’s not much of an equation or plan that you can follow. It’s like viral marketing is luck of the draw and what sticks, no one really knows. We were naive, thinking ‘if you make a good thing, people will come to it.’ That’s not really how it works.

14:52 - We learned that we were really terrible at business because we were in love with our own principles too much. And we learned that you have to give up some of your principles to be really good at business.

19:42 - I have left Twitter without announcing it. I don’t think Twitter and Facebook are good for people, in general. I think that it’s not healthy the way people are interacting with each other, and focusing in on things and they’re too easily deceived by what they think the world looks like, and I’m a victim of that, looking at the world through the kaleidoscope of Twitter, thinking I understand how everything works because I read! The conscious choice to limit my view of the world almost predestined everything. Coming out of this election, I would be shocked because I viewed everything differently whereas maybe the old way was I watched the news, I read different newspapers, I talked with different people, I consumed all of this different content and pulled it in and came to different conclusions.  

24:45 - I left Facebook because of their attitude towards privacy, and the way they’ve repeatedly tried to trick their users into revealing more information about themselves. I’m a big privacy proponent in my own life, I don’t really like algorithms following me. I feel like a bit of a nut talking about this.

There was a conversation where someone told someone to delete their Facebook app. I said, to a large number of people, that’s like telling them to delete their mailbox. That’s their connection with family and friends, that’s how they know what’s going on with their actual associates. And to tell them oh you should get rid of that is naive at best. I don’t need facebook because I have other ways to connect with friends and family, and they mostly aren’t on facebook. (Laughs) I’m a hermit.

I don’t think a non-commercial product will replace facebook. Money is what drives it. So collecting user data will always be the business. And selling ads will be the business because that makes the most money. In order for their to be an alternative that didn’t track people for people who cared about privacy, most people don’t want to pay for that service and they especially don’t want to pay what the company would make on ads instead. So I don’t think that will be replaced. I do think facebook will eventually die away because younger people care about different things. Younger people are using different services.

29:11 - Right now, I don’t think there’s enough money in privacy for people to make much off of it.

Quick App Notes:

I like Slack a lot.

I like Sublime Text. There’s a commercial version I use a lot.

I use Keyboard Maestro a lot.

I have Hazel on Mac. Copied on Mac and iOS.

1Password of course.

I’m really hopeful that the Devonthink Team adds document provider service to Devonthink on iOS.

40:00 I would own an iPhone at this point just to use Devonthink. I have so many notes because that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always been the guy that created 3x5 cards with bits of information and kept them in a shoebox and created a little tagging system with little colored flags. That was just how I worked. On the computer, it made sense – I’m not going to run out of space.

A great example of this is Christmas shopping. I have a little note that’s just information about my wife’s shoe size, ring size, which is great for gifts. I also have a note with the gifts I’ve already given people, so I don’t get them the same gift five years later. Little bits of information.

43:17 – Apple Notes is great.

49:00 – Task Paper is also great.

1:05:18 – I love mind mapping, that’s a big thing that I do. And my favorite is iThoughts.

1:07:56 – I use Arq which encrypts things before it goes to backup servers. Backblaze is great too. And Little Snitch is useful for monitoring what apps are connecting to the internet.

1:10:33 – I recommend people get this: Napkin. Great little app for Mac.

Gabe’s Picks:


1)    The Hayao Miazaki Blu-Ray Collection


1)    QC35 Headphones by Bose. They are fantastic. Get the iMic flip USB cable.


1)    I use Audible. All the time.

2)    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson

Sources and Methods #32: Belle Beth Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper 101:

Belle’s Website

Belle on Twitter

Productive Habits Email Course


Hello Code Website


4:06 - In terms of my own productivity, I think I’ve always been drawn to the idea of self-improvement, and trying to get more out of my day and trying to learn new things and find time to do interesting things. I’m one of those people that’s interested in heaps of stuff, and I have a really hard time sticking with one particular thing, so I’ve always been looking for ‘how can I fit more of these things in, and how can I get better at 10 different things at once’ and that’s led to the productivity stuff I write about now.


12:55 This [productivity reviews] is important because we tend to ignore things like what science tells us about the brain and the subconscious ways the our brain works, things like cognitive biases that affect us day to day. And other things like we all have different body clocks. But taking advantage of all the specific idiosyncrasies of you and your life and your surroundings as well as understanding the more general aspects of what science has shown us about how brains work in general and how humans behave and the habits we all have that are really predictable - combining both of those means you can be so much more productive. And part of the problem that productivity courses get such a bad rap is because its become this idea that productivity equals doing more work. And of course it seems silly to think that you need to do more work. We all could if we just forced ourselves. But what’s a better way to think about productivity is doing more of the right things, and getting more out of your day. And you accomplish more of what’s important. And you have more time to lay around and do nothing, if that’s what you want.

Personally, I do that. I spend heaps of time just doing nothing or being very lazy. Because I spend heaps of time getting certain things done rather than just getting through a to-do list.

Productivity you get the most out of your time. Not getting the most done.


20:12 - Knowing your own habits and your own behaviours is really important to being more productive. Because I think so many of us reach for little tricks. Like Pomodoros, or some new app, or we buy into a new philosophy. But if you don’t know what your own habits already, or how you’re productive already, or what being productive means to you, it’s not going to help. I did this myself. I bounced around different systems and apps so many years.

I always try to grab a pencil and paper and write down the problems I’m having and why I think I need to try something new, and what my expectations are before jumping in.


33:15 (On public transparency for business goals) So that was something we did very early on, and that was something that came out of my time at Buffer. When you’re super transparent, you can help people by sharing the lessons of what’s worked and what hasn’t. It’s definitely helped us with our own business. We try do a report on our blog every month, a business report with all kinds of statistics on it, visitors to the website, incomes, etc. And people have really liked that.


On Coding and what to learn:

49:39 - I would recommend learning HTML. HTML and maybe CSS as well. Because I think so many of us interact with the web on a daily basis and it’s useful to know things like how to inspect the website you’re looking at, and figure out what’s gone wrong, or how they’re doing something. Or if you’re a blogger, it’s quite handy to use HTML to get exactly what you want.

I would not recommend coding (app development, etc) to everyone. Do not try to learn it yourself unless you really want to build things. Because just trying to learn Python and Ruby because I thought it would be interesting was so frustrating and I got very little out of it. If you’re doing it just for fun certainly don’t try to teach yourself.


56:00 (On the usefulness of physical writing systems) Writing things down really helps me remember them. Sketchnoting really just came out of having a lot of notebooks around.


Belle’s Picks:

Book: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Film: My Scientology Movie

Music: Tim Minchin