Handy sets of facts to memorize

Sitnam gave us eight; any help?:confused:

We were in catholic school so no mention of sex; :eek: our mnemonic device was:

King Phillip Came Over From Great Spain

My memory is even less complete, but I do recall memorizing three distinct list of prepositions beginning with “of, in, by, to, for, with, at, down, from…”

Somehow in my now foggy memory, I believe this came from ninth grade German class. Our Jesuit instructor could not fathom how we ever were allowed beyond sixth grade without knowing English, let alone attempt to learn a foreign tongue when we didn’t even know our own.

…and answer there came none, and this was scarcely odd because they’d eaten every one.

Ho. Ly. Crap. Are you sure you’re not me? Positive? Because, that’s me circa 1982 (age of 10). I remember a musty old circa 1960 book in the basement that talked about codes and it had that exact same order in it (I even remember it had a red cover), which I’ve retained in the almsot 30 years since. When I researched (probably in Wikipedia) what the actual order was nowadays, and found it to be somewhat different, it just hasn’t stuck, etaonrishdlfcmugypwbkvxjqz has (and I did that without cut and paste!) Also makes me wonder what’s behind the choices of the contestants on WoF when they pick their three extra letters for the final round. (“P”? that’s like 18th common, you moron!)

When I was an early teen I studied for the ham radio license (my dad is/was a ham) and I learned about 13 of the 26 letters in Morse from that.

OK, now for my addition to the list, I’ve found it really helpful to knw what day of the week any given day is. Someone tells you they were born on, say, April 24, 1962, you can instantly pipe back “that was a Tuesday!” That’s the “party trick” aspect, but you can see that it’s actually practically useful.


“But I suck at math!” you say. Well, I was just like you. Still do suck at math. Until I discovered a very simple way to do it, all it involves is remembering 1 date from each month (complete with mnemonic) and simple math. That’s it. The section on how to do it on your hand (as if you were counting) makes it even easier.

I tells ya, this is going to change your life and it will come in handy. You can thank me later with lots of sex. :slight_smile: (Or, if you’re male, arranging it for me. :slight_smile: ) OK, my wife probably wouldn’t approve, so you can keep the sex for yourself (the chicks will dig you) and I’ll take large cash payments. Unmarked, non-sequential bills only.


Major naked eye features of the Moon -
Mares: Mare Frigoris, Mare Imbrium, Oceanus Procellarum, Mare Nubium, Mare Humorum, Mare Vaporum, Mare Serenitatis, Mare Tranquilitatis, Mare Crisium, Mare Foecunditatis, Mare Nectaris
Craters: Plato, Aristoteles, Eudoxus, Aristillus, Autolycus, Archimedes, Aristarchus, Kepler, Copernicus, Eratosthenes, Grimaldi, Tycho, Stevinus

I suppose you could have subspecies. Although in the botany field, Phylum is replaced with Division. That would confuse up the mnemonic…

That it would…so would throwing in a sub-species category, eh?

I’ll be darned if I can remember the English preposition stuff that we learned in groups of threes, but the German we were drilled with, remains etched in my brain to this day:




Gruss Og!

The list that starts with etaoin etc. is for letters in usage, not for letters in words. For instance, “t” ranks so highly because it’s in a lot of really common words, like “this”, “that”, “the”, “it”, and “to”. So that’s a good set of letters to use if you’re playing Wheel of Fortune with a complete phrase that includes two- or three-letter words. But the final bonus round is usually a single word, so you need to use a different list there.

I am definitely going to work on this! I had never even heard of this algorithm. Muchas gracias.

If you like Dungeons and Dragons, and web comics, this web comic/DnD combo integrated a simple substitution cipher when the Rogue (Haley) lost all of her loot in a fire, making her “insane”. LINK Also, I suggest you check out a great historical fiction novel by Neal Stephenson called Cryptonomicon. :slight_smile:

My quick submission to this list of lists is to memorize basic (and even advanced) first aid procedures for common emergencies (ie. choking, cuts, sprains, breaks, loss of consciousness, poisoning, burns, drowning, seizure, etc.) for a variety of age groups (babies to elderly), as well as emergency procedures for a variety of situations (ie. car accidents, vehicle-pedestrian impacts, assaults, fire, etc.) and the relevant phone numbers (police dispatch, poison control, dangerous goods response, etc.). Oftentimes “911” isn’t as fast as calling police dispatch directly, for instance.

I don’t bother to memorize much. For a while at my job I had to recite alphanumeric codes over the phone so I printed out the NATO phonetic alphabet and had it in the flip folder at my desk. Good enough.

I know my stepson didn’t learn the multiplication tables by rote but I assume his teachers know what they’re doing. Just because I did it that way doesn’t mean much. I don’t use mental multiplication very often, more likely addition and subtraction so I know what the bill will be and how much change from a fifty. I worked in building trades for a while and I did memorize the 12 times, because it was in America, and inches in the foot. I’ve forgotten it now, but it’s not hard to do 12 * 9 in your head. For different jobs I memorized decimal time (that is, 5 minutes is .083 of an hour, 45 minutes is .75, etc.), decimal conversions of common screw threads, and various mental debris like employee numbers. When no longer required I forgot them.

A year ago I needed to know decimal time again for work and just made a cheat sheet. I don’t know if that’s progress or what. I think it’s more important to know general principles than a list. Unless I think I’m going to use a phone number a thousand times I don’t bother memorizing it any more, for instance.

Things like passwords, important birthdays, PINs, ID numbers, yeah, I’ll make the effort. Emergency phone numbers? That sounds paranoid to me. 911 (triple zero here) is what you’re supposed to use in an emergency and if it’s not an emergency you have time to look up the number. I’ve never had to call an emergency number, anyway. Knowing first aid is good but I don’t consider first aid training rote memorization, though.

I memorized the words to Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” (and still know them well enough to fake it) but I’ve only actually impressed anybody with that once. Formulas for area and volume were suggested earlier and sure, knowing them could be handy but I wouldn’t use them often enough. I’d probably bother to memorize them if needed for work. But I’d just as probably forget them when no longer needed.

State and world capitols are handy for trivia games, as are lists of sports championships by year and Oscars for best picture. IME memorization is handy for fun, school, and work, but often a cheat sheet works better. Looking at the subjects suggested here in this thread I don’t think many apply to me. Memorizing some common phrases (“Dove il bus per…”) is good before travelling to another country where you don’t speak the language, IMO.

Good ol’ Hank the VIII gave us this list:

Divorced, beheaded, died,
Divorced, beheaded, survived.

I will put on my list: To identify trees and some bushes by their leaves and bark. It’s not too late.

All of the planets at a minimum. I can’t believe how many people don’t know My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles. (Or, substitute Noodles for Nine Pickles if you’re cruel and have abandoned Pluto).

Implicit in that: know that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and that the Moon revolves around the Earth, and that there’s a difference between revolution and rotation.

For US citizens, I don’t think we need to know all of the Presidents, but the first few, Lincoln and the most recent four or five Presidents are mandatory. I had to memorize the Gettysburg Address; this hasn’t gotten me out of any jams, but I believe it’s a very important part of our history. (Of course, the Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are mandatory).

Maybe this is going beyond rote memorization, but I took an etymology class in high school, and knowing a couple of dozen Greek and Latin roots can help you generally figure out a vast number of words you might encounter. I took it to get out of a study hall, but reaped great rewards when I took the SATs.

If you’re ever in a situation where people are quickly trying to determine if you’re a Real American, you’d better know that Olive Oyl was Popeye’s girlfriend. It’s common knowledge that that’s the first question the CIA uses when questioning people. (People of other nationalities, please ignore this paragraph. It’s nothing you need to know about).

I’m an engineer, so many trigonometric and algebraic formulas and come in handy on a daily basis, as do the several right hand rules.

Thus far useless to me: the beginning of the Canturbury tales (memorized in old English) and that the stages of mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.


I always learned it aboard about above across. I also remember the down durring except for section, they both kind of flow out rythmically. The rest is lost.

At one of the Star Trek conventions, some fellow recited, from memory, the titles of each and every original ST episode. He did it in something less than a hundred seconds, but I still doubt that parlor trick has helped him lose his virginity, yet.:eek: