04/09/2013 05:04 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2013

Remember the Alamo (and More)


Joshua Foer's 2012 bestseller Moonwalking with Einstein recounts his year spent training for the US Memory Championship under the tutelage of "Grandmaster of Memory" Ed Cooke. Among the required skills - memorizing the sequence of a shuffled deck of cards in under five minutes.

Now Cooke, with some friends from Oxford University, is looking to bring those skills to the masses. Memrise is an online platform for learning that uses visual, emotional, and semantic cues to make the task of memorization far easier and a lot more enjoyable.

"The metric we always use is - is this something you would do on a Sunday night when you're tired, hungover, and just been dumped by your girlfriend?" Ben Whately, a founding member of the Memrise team, told us. (We're now applying this standard elsewhere in our lives.)

Today the site unveils a wealth of new resources, among them tools to learn up to 5000 words in 25 languages and an iOS app (available only in the UK for now). With courses in everything from Mandarin Reading Survival to, yes, memorizing a deck of cards, the site aims to make self-improvement as painless as possible.

"For most people, learning a language is a massive emotional and intellectual investment," Whately said. "We want to make learning a genuine recreational choice."

Get started on the road to becoming a Grandmaster of Memory, and check out Memrise here.

Now go forth (and forget about it).

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