Whether I'm reading a novel or a reference book, there are only four ways that I go about the simple act of reading. Sometimes I only use one method, sometimes I use all four (or even a combination of any given number of the four methods). Here they are:
  1. Wide style reading. That means "taking it all in." In my mind, I have the entire context of the book or journal or magazine I am reading. This context affects the specific words that I am perceiving.
  2. Focused concentration. When I am using the "focused concentration" method, only the words I am reading are being perceived by the language centers in my brain. No context is associated with what I am reading.
  3. Concentrated reading. This is simply reading as one would normally do; no distractions will interfere with the assimilation of the written material.
  4. Imaginative. When I read using the "imaginative" style, I am picturing and imagining the structure of what I'm seeing. For example, if I'm reading about a happy story, I'll try to imagine what about the story is so joyful.
Some examples of #1 ("Wide Style Reading") may be reading a book on history. The past may affect the future. Focused concentration may be used if learning a mathematical formula. If I'm trying to learn a math formula like the calculation of the distance between two points, I don't really care about what year in history this formula was developed. Method number 3 ("concentrated reading") is often used when I am trying to learn a skill, e.g. how to program a software code, or how to compute a function. And, finally, method 4 is the most enjoyable. I use that when I'm reading a novel or a literary work. It is fun to imagine and picture what I'm reading about. On occasion I will combine "wide style" with "concentrated reading." On other occasions I will imaginatively be concentrating in a focused way. Get the idea? Interestingly, almost every time I concentrate on a project or a point of focus, I learn something regardless of whether I use any of the methods I've mentioned. That, alone, reinforces how I feel about concentrating.

I'm in the library reading some books. Getting tired of sitting, I decide to wander around and see what everyone else is doing. Of course, there's a group of people at the computer table probably reading about different things happening in the world. Looks more interesting than the book I was reading, so I embarked on... you guessed it! Research! Okay, well actually I was just goofing around until I stumbled on some news websites where people had various opinions about these tracking devices found in ID bracelets, various media, and even trees! (There are some scientific experiments involving some sort of nano-spray paint where trees were painted with this type of paint which would facilitate the transmission of radio frequencies -- or whatever. I can't remember all the details, but it was something like that.) Anyway, I started reading a news article about students at this one school having to wear some sort of RFID tracking badge. Mandatory tracking? Hmm... I was trying to understand why some folks think good things about this, and why some people think potentially not-so-good things about this. When I finished reading that interesting article, I decided to spend my remaining hour at the library finishing the book I started a few days earlier. And then I noticed something. In the back of the book was this raised metallic-looking lump. I didn't really see or notice it at first because it was covered with paper, but if you held it a certain way (I held it up to the light) I could see this pattern in it. When I peeled it back, well by golly it was an RFID tracking device. Was this just like what I was reading about on the computer earlier? I learned even more upon further research. I learned even more upon further research that per Buys Textbooks, Fact #2: A number of books...have RFID ("radio frequency identification") chips bound into the cover...so that they can be scanned, tracked, or inventoried more easily. Then, I thought "wow" I'm actually experiencing and discovering something I read about in the actual book I was reading. Cool!

Anyway, I think all that RFID ("radio frequency identification") stuff is pretty interesting. And I'm sure it has a lot of neat applications. What continues to amaze me is no matter how much I do research, how much I read and experience the media, or how much I study, I feel like there will be no end to my own education! (Oh, by the way, I was trying to remember what that little antenna looked like that I found in that textbook. I tried my best to sketch and illustrate it here. I'm not sure if this is exact, but it's how I remember it:

guess at what that rfid chip looked like
My guess at what that antenna chip looked like.
You can read more about RFID here. Thanks for reading my post. Your comments are always welcome!
I need some sort of planner. They call it a planning book or "planner book" where I can list all the ideas that I have, when to do them, and at what time, supposedly, is supposed to be my free time. The problem is, this entire weekend is going to be all about research. I can't even type the word right (I keep spelling it "reasearch"). I know the "re" probably is short for "redoing" something (I'm good at that) and the "search" is like looking for something. Anyone seen my keys? (joke). Don't laugh, I know you'll be faking it. What, exactly am I researching? I'll share that with you here. There's no room in my planner book to list it, so I'll list it here:
  1. Resolution. That is when I decide to do something, and then follow through. There are so many resolutions, though.
  2. Loudness. Huh? Yes, loudness. To me, being loud means getting a result without being distracted. Not "loud" as in loud music, but being loud as in stating something so clearly that nothing else gets through.
  3. Final approach. Ever heard the pilot landing a plane? They say they're on "final approach" which usually means it's time to land. Time to reach the successful end of a trip. If I am doing a simple task like getting groceries, then "final approach" means I'm putting that bread in the cooler, or putting the bulk almonds and cashews in their respective little glass jars. When I imagine a project, and then follow it through, the success (for me) is the final approach.

So, that list mentions "resolution," "loudness," and final approach. Since there are so many permutations and variations of those, each deserves some research. Right? Does that make sense? Let's see YOU read that in some textbook. I just now explained some really simple steps I take in my approach to life. Do we have a comment section here? I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on what your approach to life is.

Thank you for reading.
So I've been educating myself. I have been going online studying cultures and humanity across the entire world. Being a big fan of Indian food, I searched for various aspects of culture in India. I couldn't resist refreshing my memory about India's great leader Mahatma Gandhi. Quite a few years ago, I used to read and study the scriptures of India and appreciated how in ancient times, scriptural text was a "space" that was sacred. I believe that to be true nowadays, but perhaps more widely understood in the days of long ago. Books on the Sanskrit language still intrigue me. Not long ago, on the radio, I heard an expert talking about Sanskrit, how it consists of every possible sound the human voice can articulate. Isn't that fascinating? But it takes years (I think he said 9 years or something like that) to truly master it. Regardless of exactly how many years it takes to master a written language, it is still quite exciting to study and research it.

I do admit, though, that my Indian cultural search began with a daydream consisting of eating some amazing food. Sometimes dozens upon dozens of spices are used in a single dish. I once found an eastern cookbook that had lots and lots of pages, but only a few recipes; perhaps each recipe took lots of pages because of so many spices. The book was well-worth it, though.

Sometimes when I check out the news for India, the media might cover interesting topics like Bollywood, and cricket, but what really fascinates me is the eastern culture. They are so very thoughtful in the far east. Very contemplative, very smart, very intelligent. I wish it was closer to here. I would travel there very often. Imagine that! Flying to India to have lunch and dinner, and being back here the next day. Wouldn't that be fun!? Unfortunately, travel there takes hours from where I'm at. Perhaps even a full day of airports, changing planes, not to mention changing time zones with jet lag and all the things that go along with
When I think of things to write about researching stuff, or getting educated, I think I'll write those things, here. I just watched a show on TV about how we have an innate ability to learn. Why is that ability innate? How come we don't have to 'learn' to learn? I think the answer is because we must learn to survive well. Therefore, this requirement to learn becomes an innate ability. Here are some examples to clarify (before my readers get too confused):
  • Eating food. We naturally gravitate towards attempting to satisfy our hunger. We don't necessarily have to "learn" to eat to satisfy hunger.
  • Finding a path. Anyone knows to get from where they are at, to where they are going realizes that they must follow a path (or else, create a new path).
  • "Getting educated" about basics. If we have an built-in ability to learn, or, have an aptitude to learn, then the basics come naturally (at least, for some people).
So, surviving well is different than merely surviving. But an important thing to consider when learning to survive well is that education, learning, research, and finding a path are all a part of gaining the knowledge we need to make it through life with understanding.

What exactly is "understanding?" Is it a state of mind, or a result issuing forth from our mind once we have learned something? I believe understanding and learning are two different sides of the same coin. Once we've learned something, it's sometimes incorrect to assume we understand it. But on the flip-side, if we've understood something, have we learned it? That is where one of this blog's main topics come into play: research. For me, research follows learning, and understanding follows research and learning. Is that true for all people? I don't know. I don't mind saying "I don't know," because my readers should feel free to comment how they feel about this. So I'll finish this paragraph with some thoughts: research may mean something as simple as learning and understanding something. Or, research may mean reading, rereading, and assimilating the material in a textbook or a journal. And finally, research could be something as "unassuming" as sitting in one spot, contemplating something one has learned. That, my dear readers, is my understanding.