0992: "Mnemonics"

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Absotively » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

For the order of sharps in a key signature, we learned "Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle" in grade six band. It has the advantage that backwards, it still makes sense, and it gives the order of flats: "Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father."

The order for sharps is the same as Novamystique gave for the circle of fifths mnemonic, which I thought had more notes in it, but I quit band before we got that far in music theory, so I could be wrong.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby punto » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:13 am UTC

Don't you mean "Mary's virgin explanation made Joseph suspect upstairs neighbor Pedro" ?

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Piogre » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:22 am UTC

My mnemonic for "Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species"

Was always some variation of something "King Phillip" did..

but then I came up with "Kids Playing Chicken On Freeways Get Smashed"

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby readerofxkcd » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:37 am UTC

Am I the only one who remembers the order of the planets by "MVEMJSUNP" from Saved by the Bell? (pronounced sort of like Muh-vem-jschun-nup)

and my high school chem teacher, a sweet little old lady, told us to remember PV=nRT as the "pervert law."

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Taleswapper » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:47 am UTC

When I learned my taxonomy at University Domain was higher than Kingdom. It has been a few years though.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby VegiZombie » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:55 am UTC

Killing Prostitutes Can Originate From Getting Stoned
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby cerrita » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:17 am UTC

I work in an electronics manufacturing facility, and they came up with a neat way to remember resistor colors: each station was labled with it's correlating color. So station 1 was brown, station 2 red, etc... Our materials were labelled with matching colors, so everyone has learned what order the stations/bands are just by being there. They have, however, yet to think up a repeatable method to teach capacitor values that doesn't involve beating the information into your brain with brute force.

"No, seriously, they're the same part. '1302' and '133' mean the same thing..." *sigh*, as a trainer, I've had this debate with many a newbie. :roll:

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby ndkid » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:37 am UTC

My chemistry teacher taught me OIL RIG
"Oxidation is loss, reduction is gain" I never mixed the two up afterwards.

When it comes to the bass clef I was taught both "all cars eat gass" and "all cows eat grass", I seem to remember it as "all cars eat grass". I always think of one of the tractors from Cars munching on some grass, not only is it a slightly funny image, but I will always remember that mnemonic now.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Khal Zhen » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:41 am UTC

As a high school math teacher, I always seem to refer to:


Or for the tired SOHCAHTOA, stolen from another teacher:

Some Old Hippy Caught Another Hippy Tripping On Acid
Last edited by Khal Zhen on Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:13 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby ShadedKnight » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:55 am UTC

Well, I decided to quit being a forum stalker and join in the XKCD parade after a couple of years of being an avid fan.

Just to set some things straight, yes PEMDAS isn't really correct in that MD and AS can be used interchangeably, but that's no reason to hate it. It works reasonably well for people just starting to learn order of operations and is only meant to do that. I used it until I started to program and then sort of forgot about it because I started to do everything in parentheses anyway just to make sure my order was the one being used. I didn't want Java thinking I had decided to do this: "A"+400+40 and give me A40040, so parentheses were a useful tool in anything.

I learned the unit mnemonic using something with King Henry Drinking Chocolate Milk. It's not the full one, but I can't remember the rest. :(

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Aaeriele » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:56 am UTC

There are some things in this thread that I wonder why people even give them the benefit of repetition, regardless of whether they like them or not.
Vaniver wrote:Harvard is a hedge fund that runs the most prestigious dating agency in the world, and incidentally employs famous scientists to do research.


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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby . . » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:09 am UTC

I'm loving some of the community proposals. =)

Another for star temperatures:
Traditional: oh, be a fine girl, kiss me
I use: orbiting bodies always find gravity kinematically motivating

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Mandorin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:45 am UTC

I learned, Can Older Senators Demand More Power and Privilege Than Junior Congressmen, again, using the US Mississippian and Pennsylvanian. For the cenozoic, it was Put Eggs On My Plate, Please, Homer.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Zia » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:46 am UTC

Planets: Mary very easily made jam sandwiches using no peanutbutter
(Pluto is a planet!)

The one I know for Moh's Hardness Scale is obscene and not shareable.
Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Fluorite, Apatite, Feldspar, Quartz, Topaz, Corundum, Diamond

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Yosarian2 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:52 am UTC

xorsyst wrote:
bassjohn wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:
bassjohn wrote:I hate to be a pedant (but then this IS XKCD), but none of the mnemonics for oreders of operations actually work.

The order is PEDMAS (or BODMAS for British readers {brackets, orders, divide, multipy, add, subtract}).

All of the mnemonics in the strip read as PEMDAS - multiply and divide have been switched.

M and D are interchangeable because division is the same function as multiplication, division by 2 is exactly the same function as multiplication by 0.5 for example.

Yeah ... but ... OK I'm a fool :oops:

No, you're not:

10 ÷ 5 * 2 is 4, not 1, because D happens before M.

D and M happen at the same time, so you do them in the order they happen in the equation. Same with addition and subtraction. So, yes, 10 ÷ 5 *2=4, but not for your reason.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Elmach » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:15 am UTC

I've always remembered pi by

3.14159, 2653589 79 323 846 26 433

with some odd timing on the last few bits. Am I really the only person who learned it like this?

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby astrosteve » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:27 am UTC

I laughed for a good 30 seconds over the Planets mnemonic. The others were okay.

Order of Operations, though, makes me remember Algebra in High School. Our teacher was absolutely insistent you had to do multiplication before division, no matter what. He was the kind where you had to show every single step in solving the equation and would take away points if you ever did division before multiplication. Yes, that forced us to give wrong answers in some cases. But this was public school and I could go on and on about bad information teachers gave me. The worst part is it took me until i was in my mid twenties to realize how wrong some of it was.

ANYWAY, good comic. I liked it.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby The Old Wolf » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:32 am UTC

For what it's worth, the TNO's probably do have more likely candidates for planethood than Pluto/Charon. Eris with her odd little moon, and even Quaoar, Sedna and Varuna are just as valid for planethood if one is going to consider captured Pluto. It's just that that's how I was taught the solar system. Dammit.
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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby TVTom » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:45 am UTC

Many years ago, Sue Clark, then the owner of Clark Wire and Cable, ran a contest to come up with a better mnemonic for the resistor color code, as she was (understandably) tired of the "traditional" one.

The two that I remember best are:

Before Bad Ratings Overcome You, Go Buy Very Good Wire (works well for those of us in broadcasting), and
Big Banks Reduce Our Yields Greedily, But VISA Gives Willingly

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby ferrettt55 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:27 am UTC

I refused to listen to my teacher on the planets. I just made my own: "Mommy Very Edible Mommy Jumping Stew Unwanted Nutty People". It worked, I know the planets.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby AdmiralJota » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:38 am UTC

thegreenmercenary wrote:Saying a dwarf planet isn't a real planet is ridiculous. Is a dwarf human not a human? Is a white dwarf star not a white star? Pluto was simply the first planet discovered in its class, a class which happens to be the most numerous in the solar system, which is pretty dang awesome if you think about it. 'Dwarf Planet' is a sweet honorific if you ask me.

I agree with you, but unfortunately the IAU does not, due to some bureaucratic bumbling when they voted on resolutions 5A and 5B (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAU_definition_of_planet#Plenary_session_debate).

But I'm personally happy to recognize all thirteen presently-known planets: terrestrial, gas giant and dwarf. Does anyone have a better mnemonic for them than the one I gave?
Last edited by AdmiralJota on Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby scarletmanuka » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:39 am UTC

I seem to be the only one who was taught BIMDAS for the order of operations (again, with the condition that M/D and A/S are at the same precedence and are performed in left to right order).

I'm not really big on using mnemonics; but they help some people, so that's cool.

The only other one I can remember that hasn't already been mentioned is FOIL for multiplying two linear expressions to get a quadratic (or more generally anything of the form (a + b) (c + d); it stood for First, Outside, Inside, Last).

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby AdmiralJota » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:47 am UTC

scarletmanuka wrote:The only other one I can remember that hasn't already been mentioned is FOIL for multiplying two linear expressions to get a quadratic (or more generally anything of the form (a + b) (c + d); it stood for First, Outside, Inside, Last).

I've never quite understood the point of that one. How is it easier to remember the seemingly-arbitrary word "FOIL" than it is to just remember "multiply each bit in the first one times each bit in the second one"? The latter has the big advantage that it works even if the things you're multiplying have more than two terms.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby thisismactan » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:10 am UTC

As it happens my bio teacher in freshman year gave us another Katy Perry one: Katy Perry Came Over For Great Sex.

And of course you can't forget "Some Old Whore Caught Another Whore Trying Out Anal, which isn't perfect but works.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby ashabraham12 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:09 am UTC

Mnemonic for Taxonomy, thanks to my high school bio class:
Kinky People Cry Out For Great Sex.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby mattcoz » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:12 am UTC

xorsyst wrote:I agree it should be avoided, but BODMAS gives us a definite order or precendence for it.

Except that it doesn't. This is demonstrated by replacing division with multiplication and vice versa.

10 / 5 * 2 --> 10 * .2 / .5

If division took precedence over multiplication, the result would be 1 instead of 4. So multiplication and division must always be done left to right.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby krko » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:31 am UTC

Any body got a good one for the Reactivity Series? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactivity_series

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby MadHuman » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:36 am UTC

I came up with a mnemonic for the resistors while I was in high school:
Black Bears Rip Out Your Guts But Vampires Go Wild.

Doesn't make a lot of sense, but I still remember it, 5 years later... :)

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby prairiewest » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:58 am UTC

My grade 9 electronics teacher was Mr. Varga. He taught us this one for resistor colors:

Bad Boys Rave Over Young Girls But Varga Goes Wild

Yes, we all thought it was strange even at the time.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby davidkw » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:28 am UTC

My favorite for the planets post Pluto, from "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" on NPR:
Many Virgins Entered My Jacuzzi, Swimming Utterly Naked.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Hawknc » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:31 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Wait... I figured Randall would have heard of this Resistor Code one before. Everyone at my college knew it (hell, I learned this from a professor):

Randall didn't say he didn't know it, just that he didn't care for it. Frankly, I've got more respect for him for not propagating it than the people in this thread who weren't so tactful.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby twinsdad » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:06 am UTC

Warning: non-PC

For the hardness scale, I had
Trashy Girls Can F*** Any Fellow Quickly Then Climax Digitally

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby twinsdad » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:21 am UTC

For the OSI layers, depending on whether you want to go top-to-bottom or vice versa:

Poorly Designed NT Scares Professional Administrators (OK, rather dated now that Windows NT is a dodo)
Physical Data Not Transported? Should Press Accelerator (which also clues some of the actual terms Physical, Datalink, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, Application)
and in the reverse direction:
Australia Post Sucks, They Never Deliver Parcels

For the Novell Netware file permissions SRWCEMFA and directory object permissions SBCDR I used to ask students to come up with mnemonics - got some screamers, but none ever stuck for me as I heard great new ones every month or so.

The version of the resistor colour code I learnt working in an electronics factory was the racist one, but the last four terms were Blessed Virginity Gone West.

I mostly just use repetition to remember, though.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby cheezewizz2000 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:11 am UTC

The one I learned is from Stephen J. Gould's "A wonderful life". It is a review of a porno called Cheap Meat that one of his students saw:

Cheap Meat Performs Passably
Quenching The Celebate's Jejune Thirst
Portrature, Presented Massably
Drowning Sorrow,
Oneness Cursed

Rare Pornography, Purchased Meekly,
O! Erogeny!

The Erae:
Cenozoic, Mesozoic, Palaeozoic, PreCambrian

The Periods:
Quaternary, Tertiary, Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic
Permian, Pensylvanian, Mississippian,
Devonian, Silurian
Ordovician, Cambrian

The Epochs of the Neogene & Palaeogene (equivalent to, but not synonymous with, the Quarternary & Tertiary):
Recent, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Miocene,
Oligocene, Eocene,

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Niml » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:47 am UTC

Hi, love the comic been reading for years had to make a forum account to spread the wonderful world of Mnemonics.

So back in Bio 11, my bio teacher taught me the taxonomy mnemonic as Kinky People Can Often Find Good Sex >.>

Found out years later he was a sex offender <.< explains a bunch :D

also in Canada we learn order of operations as BEDMAS, (Brackets, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.)

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby dtilque » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:32 am UTC

oakleafwolf wrote:
Tualha wrote:He forgot the classic stellar classification mnemonic. O, B, A, F, G, K, M, and later R, N, S were added.

Traditional: Oh, be a fine girl/guy, kiss me right now honey.

R,N,S? The next two are L and T... O_o

R N S are types of carbon stars. Carbon stars are M type that are redder than normal because of their atmospheric composition. If you classify stars based on their color (rather than temperature), they go after M.

One bright astronomer, famous Galileo, knowingly magnified Leppershey's telescope.

For those unfamiliar with L and T, those are for brown dwarfs. I haven't seen any real good mnemonics including those two. Yours doesn't roll off the tongue easily, so it's not all that great. Not that I really need a mnemonic for this.

There's an additional class Y for "stars" that aren't massive enough to be brown dwarfs. You may want to try incorporating that into your mnemonics.

I don't want to get into the latest edition of the Pluto wars, but I noticed that some mnemonics in this thread had an A-word for the asteroids. Those that do should also have a K (Kuiper belt) after the N.
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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby Tualha » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:54 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Tualha wrote:He forgot the classic stellar classification mnemonic. O, B, A, F, G, K, M, and later R, N, S were added.

Traditional: Oh, be a fine girl/guy, kiss me right now honey.

Hubble version: Obviously brilliant astronomer finds galaxies keep moving, revealing new science.

which is correct? H or S? i assume S by the other mnemonic, so shouldn't it be sweetie rather than honey?

Um, for honey, replace with sweetheart. Clearly Tualha wasn't as awake as she thought she was yesterday morning.

Didn't know about the L, T stuff. Not an astronomer, obviously. A science dilettante.

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby markfiend » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:03 pm UTC

Order of sharps: "Fat Cats Go Down And Eat Beef"
Order of flats: "Bad Eggs Are Disgusting, Generally Causing Farts"
advanced, forthright, signifficant
pronouns: he/him

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby radon-nikodyn » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:16 pm UTC

Ah Mnemonics. I refused to learn them during Secondary School, but decided instead to simply memorise the original thing and as a Memory-Jogger compress this Information (usually by taking the first letter of each Word and arranging this either sequentially or if no Sequence, then alphabetically). Why memorise more (useless) Information?? And if the "Advantage" of the Poem or whatever is so that it easily rolls off the Tongue, why not simply repeat over and over again the original List, until that becomes natural? Ah, school Teachers…

Unlike trying to come up with a Poem for everything, this Compression Method can effortlessly everywhere be deployed. So I still remember e.g.:

Akk: wogfud* which compresses: wieder ohne gegen für um durch
2-way: aaehinuuvz which compresses: an auf entlang hinter in neben über unter vor zwischen
Dat: aabgmnsvz which compresses: aus außer bei gegenüber mit nach seit von zu
Gen: stww which compresses: statt trotz während wegen

*When possible, the Compression is further compressed to a single Word: so either the Letter-sequences are remembered (visually or vocally) or a Word which "says" the entire Sequence, in this case wogfud is better than w-o-g-f-u-d.

The point is, that no new Information is Memorised, save a tiny amount of Information to store the Compression. A larger Point is that I have always had a problem with Pictures/Metaphors. Why use Pictures/Metaphors when one can deal with the original Thing itself — why memorise a poetic Mnemonic instead of just memorising the original thing?

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Re: 0992: "Mnemonics"

Postby dryriser » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

In the UK, we were taught the following for resistor codes:

Bye Bye Rosie, Off You Go to Birmingham Via Great Western.

(Obviously that references British train lines, but it doesn't matter that much)

And for the planets, my favourite after the Pluto arguments was:

Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nine Planets.

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