Notation for Learning

March 10, 2021 by Ishaan Koratkar

I’ve come up with a system for taking notes while learning. I’m calling it Flash Notation. It’s used to jot down the concepts, facts, and procedures. It’s inspired by Scott H. Young’s book Ultralearning, which is a great resource for self-directed learning projects.

Flash Notation makes quickly scanning notes simple and quick.

Here’s how Flash Notation works:

Concepts are notated with a ribbon symbol: “🎗️”
Procedures and samples are notated with a arrow: “>”
Explanations are written down with a E: “E]”

Here is a sample.

Basics of Lisp

🎗️ prefix notation
In Lisp, procedures are applied to things given after the first symbol in a list.

-> (+ 1 2 3)

🎗️ lists
Lists are the main data structure of lisp, they can be created like this.

-> (list 1 2 3)

🎗️ quotation
Quotation is used to prevent the evaluator from evaluation something.

-> (quote albatros) You don’t need to use (quote {param}) each time, you can just do this: 'albatros.
You can also quote a list:
'(1 2 3)

🎗️ Procedures in Lisp
Procedures can be made like this:
-> (define (add1 n)
(+ n 1))
E] what you are doing is passing a name “add1” and a parameter “n”
and instructions on what to do with them “(+ n 1)”
to define (see the uniform beauty yet?) which puts that
into the global enviorment. You can apply that function to 3,
which will evaluate to 4.


This note taking system is intended for paper, because I think using my hands to irreversably change a piece of paper is more satasfying than streaming some 1s and 0s to a hard drive. I’ve heard paper notes are also better for learning, but even if there’s a trivial benifit, I still love my crappy $1 AmazonBasics notebooks.

2021/03/10 by Ishaan Koratkar