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May 13 2010

What do you want to delete from your brain?

Sometimes I wish I could delete useless information that has slowly accumulated in my brain to make room for stuff that really matters. It makes me sad that I can still sing the whole Pokerap and every other song from the Pokemon CD, but memorizing stuff for biochemistry was nearly impossible. 150 Pokemon? No problem? 22 Amino acids and their structures? Gaaahhh! If only we made silly child jingles about biochemistry…

Though I do have one useful song I learned – a little ditty that sings every state in the US alphabetically! I’m amazed that I still remember it from 5th grade.

What useless knowledge would you delete from your brain if you could?

51 comments

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  1. 1
    Dan J

    Television theme songs. I mean, come on… Who really needs to know the lyrics to “The Brady Bunch”?!?!

  2. 2
    Mark W. Schumann

    Most often: jingles from old TV commercials, the words of which I usually can’t recall. But the tunes haunt.

  3. 3
    Nobilis

    I’m not sure I would.The more I write, the more I realize that every experience I’ve had, every memory and impression, is grist for the mill.And if I occasionally forget where I put my car keys, well… I didn’t need to go anywhere anyways.

  4. 4
    frankbellamy

    I would delete all knowledge related to programing. I wouldn’t be in the mess I’m in today if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been cursed with the ability to write a computer program.

  5. 5
    Andrea Semler

    *Sings* Fifty nifty United States from thirteen original colonies!Thanks, I was trying to forget that too.

  6. 6
    Sean

    Everything I’ve seen on 4chan.

  7. 7
    Three Ninjas

    Oh my god. I could probably make a living from writing songs like that specifically for college students.

  8. 8
    Paul

    I’d like to forget some Arthur C Clarke books so I can read them again. I don’t think I’m going to see any new novels from him anytime soon.I would, however, leave a note for myself *not* to read 3001…

  9. 9
    Raiki

    Personally, I would delete old phone numbers. I just can’t seem to forget them.Though I have to agree with you, Fifty Nifty United States has come in handy way more times than I thought it would.

  10. 10
    Matt Conlon

    Haha Yeah! Fifty Nifty United States, from thirteen original colonieeees!I don’t remember much else though… I could certainly do with deleting a few things though… I’m running outta drive space. …Wouldn’t mind a ram upgrade too…

  11. 11
    JeffSatterley

    I remember that song as well. Now it’s stuck in my head. Thanks…

  12. 12
    Ryan Schneider

    No, not ALL of it…a lot of it, to be sure, but not all of it. Where else would my roommate get the idea to troll Chat Roulette with a GIF of Kermit masturbating?

  13. 13
    Pounce

    I would prefer storing memory external and the ability to “load it back”Reading a book i read ten years ago and then comparing the two experiences would be cool, how i experienced it two times the first time with different ammount of experiences.If that makes sense.

  14. 14
    oc

    Past relationships.

  15. 15
    skepticalmedia

    The entire lyrics to the pool hall song “Trouble in River City” from “The Music Man”. Instead I never memorized my times-tables.

  16. 16
    Patrick

    Plot synopses from The Simpsons and Friends, the origin stories of innumerable superheroes — if I could clean those things out of my databanks, I’d have terabytes more space.

  17. 17
    Golem

    In accordance with my unsleeping, migrane-addled, stomach-cramp inflicted self from last night:The Captain Planet Theme Song. You do NOT want that running through your head whilst sore, sick, and unable to sleep.

  18. 18
    Eric Dutton

    I still remember where we kept all of the products at Marrones’ Inc., a warehouse where I used to work. I remember where it was before they redesigned everything and after. That’s two whole warehouses full of crap, just filed away in my brain.

  19. 19
    Julia

    Actually, there ARE fun biochemistry songs! Kevin Ahern, a prof from Oregon State U, compiled 2 CDs of Metabolic Melodies. I got them for Christmas last year, and they’re awesome. http://www.davincipress.com/me

  20. 20
    Paul

    The key is right in front of you.Instead of wanting to delete stuff, you should make use of the lesson on things you remembered. Put the list of amino acids to a dinky tune and you’ll be able to remember it a lot easier. You could also make a story for them.

  21. 21
    Vixen Strangely

    Eric_Dutton–I feel what you’re saying–I remember every aisle and position of damn near every item the Staples I used to work at had in stock. I think I remember every brand name, every seasonal display (I put up an insane number.) I used to think, “I will be an old lady, not sure about my friends’ names or my own SS#, but I will remember product SKU’s and plan-o-grams.” I can remember nightmare loads I pulled off the truck and checked in almost by item and how they were stacked. And yet I sometimes read books, and halfway in, realize I’m wouldn’t be able to recount the story using all the characters’ names. I’ll be talking about “the lawyer guy” or “the hippy chick”. (Thankfully, I can’t still pull up the SKU’s for different copy papers off the top of my head. It was kind of “Rainman” when I did it back then. Doing it now would just be too weird.)

  22. 22
    sven

    but, Captain Planet… he’s our hero. Going to take pollution down to zero. He’s our powers magnified and he’s fighting on the planet’s side.

  23. 23
    BexBee

    I do that with books (and in real life, I’m terrible with names) and then confuse myself immensely when some of the characters have similar names… sigh.

  24. 24
    Trey Bierman

    I wouldn’t delete anything. Knowledge is one of the few things I truly love. Even if it’s something useless, it’s still precious to me. Or even if the information in question is a certain memory. There’s some movie, I can’t remember what it’s called, where people can have their bad memories erased. Even if that were scientifically possible now, I believe it would be dangerous. That’s deleting a part of yourself. I feel the same way about all the small tidbits of information I have.

  25. 25
    Trey Bierman

    Captain Planet is an hero.

  26. 26
    the_Siliconopolitan

    Twenty-two?Anyway, I’ve always hated learning by rote. It was not until this year that I finally learnt the Periodic Table, the AAs and the sugars by heart. And I’m a chemist! That’s what unemployment will do to you.Actually knowing 150 things in order could be quite an asset. Look into mnemonic techniques. You have a good list for pegging (get your mind out of the gutter!). Just associate the AAs with a pokemon and voila, instant memory.

  27. 27
    Sam Barnett-Cormack

    Why on Earth do you need to forget a book to read it again?? I’ve re-read every book I enjoyed, many of them several times over. Of course, it’s kinda necessary at the rate I used to get through them… don’t give as much time to reading now. My fiancĂ©e can get through 2-3 typical length novels in a day if she’s mostly reading. It’s slightly scary.

  28. 28
    gmal

    This is not something I’d like to erase from my memory, but your desire for a song to remember biochemistry reminded me of it: In HS I had a math teacher who had the class sing songs for trig formulas. I happened to be out the day she taught them, so when I came in the next day I was wondering what the hell was going on.Another example I can think of, of learning a song as a mnemonic in school, was singing dative German prepositions to the tune of the Blue Danube.

  29. 29
    Andrew Hall

    As a comedy writer I rely on my mountains of silly and useless information quite a bit. Of course, I don’t need to memorize 22 Amino acid structural thingys either.http://laughinginpurgatory.blo

  30. 30
    oc

    That movie. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” starring Jim Carrey. Even if something makes up a part of defining you, if it also makes you disfunctional in some way, then that’s a rational reason to want to dump it. Countless people see therapists for just such reasons.

  31. 31
    Not Guilty

    It isn’t useless per se, but I really wish I didn’t have my credit card memorized. It’s too easy to buy stuff online when one has it memorized. Aside from that, maybe some of the bad decisions I’ve made whilst drunk. But perhaps it is good I remember because it generally works to stop me from repeating those mistakes in the future.

  32. 32
    arkonbey

    I can remember the entire engine start procedure for a GE T-58-401c installed on the HH-3f helicopter. I haven’t started a helo since 1995 and I will never need this again as I am out of the USCG and the airframe is retired anyway. Why can’t I get rid of this?”Number one engine (notification to fireguard)Fireguard response: “Fireguard posted”"Turning 1 (starting engine #1)Starter button depressed”rotation (Ng or compressor speed registering)”"oil pressure’s off the peg (oil pressure gauge begins reading)”"T5 (inlet temperature) below 100(deg. C)”"19% (Ng) [advance throttles to]Ground Idle”"fuel flow (fuel pressure gauge registering)”"light off (engine starts. T5 shows spike in temp)”"good start on 1 (Ng, T5 and fuel flow steady)”

  33. 33
    L.Long

    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I am the some total of what I was. To erase something would be to undo ME. As one commenter said use the past to learn.Actually I’d like to get a lot more of my lost memories back!Why forget a book? I’ve reread many of them 3 to 5 times. With some of Heinlein’s books I’ve seen how I’ve change thru the years and can now ‘see’ some of the gross errors he has to make the story work—if not errors than at least wild assumptions.

  34. 34
    Zenlite

    I’ve never forgotten the quadratic formula because of a guitar strummed song my algebra teacher sung years and years ago.

  35. 35
    VeritasTruthseeker

    Sorry, Jen. I’d delete no knowledge, no matter how useless. It might come in handy on Jeopardy!.

  36. 36
    Daniel Town

    Like a pensieve.

  37. 37
    Daniel Town

    Son of a… now that’s all I can hear in my mind.

  38. 38
    Trey Bierman

    I don’t care what other people do with their memories, dangerous or not. I’m not one to discuss ethics. However, I have many memories which I hate and that are painful, but I’ll never forget because I’m not scared of my memories. And, no, I’m not saying that people who require therapists are cowards. Like I said, I don’t care what other people do, I’m simply stating what I would, since that was the question in the first place.

  39. 39
    Mary

    Yikes! Why did I never learn that song?(Anybody want to post the words and tell me what tune goes with it? :-D )

  40. 40
    Eric Dutton

    I have the same problem with books, and I’m an English major. I guess if had read Beloved eight hours a day, five days a week for eleven years I would probably know it pretty damned well, too.I also wonder if our brains are holding onto that information because part us worries that we’ll have to go back to those jobs. *Shudder*

  41. 41
    gg

    I would delete the reams of dialogue from the original Star Trek series that litter my brain and cause me to giggle at inappropriate times.

  42. 42
    matt

    the 1980′s . . . and 1990′s.

  43. 43
    Eric Dutton

    Don’t delete anything that makes you giggle!

  44. 44
    Eric Dutton

    Man, I loved the 90′s! What happened in the 90′s that’s worth forgetting? I mean . . . you know . . . except for what I’ve already forced myself to forget.

  45. 45
    Herschel

    Another vote for nothing. Even the dumb stuff I know, the bad movies I’ve seen, the bad music I’ve heard, the dreadful food I’ve tasted serves to warn me away from similar detrimental experiences in the future.

  46. 46
    Introbulus

    Useless knowledge I would delete from my brain? None, absolutely none. Even if it means never being able to get the song “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” out of my head, knowing more Pokemon than historic presidents, and knowing the absolute minimum point total with which you can beat the original Super Mario Bros (1,000, excluding coins and the New Game +), I would never, ever delete any of the trivial knowledge in my head. Those bits of data are a part of me, and even if it frustrates me to remember them while not remembering the state capital of North Dakota, I wouldn’t get rid of any of it. I would like to scrub out some of the more horrifying memories though. Like the name of a certain web image that I shall not repeat here, for fear that someone, somewhere, will see it, search it, and be scarred for life.

  47. 47
    Kelley

    I personally think that the Pokemon theme song is useful information. I WISH I knew the Pokerap! Also, I know 50 US states as well – and the US presidents in order to the tune of Yankee Doodle. That’s a fun one. :)What do I wish I could forget? Information about people I haven’t talked to in years/people I will never see again. At least their birthdays.

  48. 48
    Rob U

    Captain Planet Theme? Forget that, you do *not* want the He-Man theme in your head. Hell, I can still remember the words he speaks and all the motions; damn, not its stuck in my head!Time to go put something cool in my head, Thundercats on Youtube. Something about a rocking guitar riff can make you forget just about anything.Pete…PS: Side note: Ever notice how a *ton* of eighties cartoon shows had kick ass theme songs but the shows themselves sucked large?

  49. 49
    A Student

    Red Dwarf had an episode in which the computer, Holly, intentionally had a crewman erase his memory of a book. Afterwards, he denied that any such event had taken place. You had to have seen it.

  50. 50
    Sean

    You’re a biologist. Team up with a chemist and get cracking on that brain bleach.

  51. 51
    Paul

    Of course you can read them again – and I have several times – but while enjoyable, it’s just not the same as reading it for the first time. Maybe I could have worded that a little better!

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