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Memory culture

Vedas

Through sophisticated mnemonics and error-checking mechanisms the Vedas, the canonical religious texts of Hinduism, have been transmitted orally for three and a half thousand years with shocking precision in both word and sound.

Gilligan’s Grace

Gilligan

The hymn Amazing Grace was set to its current tune more than fifty years after it was written. Because it was written in common metre, it can also be sung to Mack the Knife, Sympathy for the Devil, the Pokemon theme, and the Gilligan’s Island theme.

Pi poetry

Pi

“One. A Poem. A Raven. Midnights so dreary, tired and weary, silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore.” The beginning of a short story that also encodes the first 3835 digits of pi.

Sci-fi patents

In 1953 the sci-fi author Hugo Gernsback proposed provisional patents for sci-fi writers’ hypothetical inventions. 42 years earlier, he had predicted radar, television, remote controls, solar power, synthetic cloth, and videophones.