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Almost all of us have used a mnemonic device or other memory aid in our lifetime. Early in life, we learn that the directions of a compass spell the word NEWS, or we tie strings around our fingers to remember an important task. Later in life, we may have to develop a quick way to remember a long list of terms for a test, or figure out an easier way to remember other important facts. Our brains are constructed to associate complex facts with simpler ones, so the trick to any good memory aid is simplicity. We need a phrase or simple physical trick that will jog our more complicated memories. Here are some common, and some not so common, mnemonic devices and other mental tricks to help us recall important information.

1. The Great Lakes spell the word HOMES. (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior) Good one for grade school children.

2. Moh's scale of hardness: Tall Girls Can Fool Around And Other Queer Things Can Do. (Starts with Talc and ends with Diamond).

3. Musical Modes: I Do Follow Lonely Men And Laugh. (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian...)

4. Lines on a musical staff: Every Good Boy Does Fine (E,G,B,D,F)

5. Spaces on a musical staff: Spells FACE.

6. Strings on a guitar: Every Apple Does Go Bad Eventually. (EADGBE)

7. Deciding between the ulna and radius bones: With your thumb pointing up, remember 'Ulna, Up.'

8.Spelling the word 'separate' correctly: Break the word up in your mind- Sep A Rat(e).

9. Loosen or tightening a standard bolt: Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Most bolts loosen in a counter-clockwise direction.

10. Difference between a poisonous coral snake and a harmless King snake: 'Red touch yellow, kill a fellow.' A coral snake's red and yellow stripes are next to each other, while a King snakes red and yellow stripes are separated by a black band.

11. Deciding the 'short' months on a calendar: Many people forget the old 'Thirty days hath September...' adage, so here's another way to determine the short months. Make a fist with your
right hand. Starting with the first knuckle, assign a month to the knuckles and valleys. Those months that fall in the valleys are short months, (February, April, June, etc.) and those on the knuckles are long months.

12. Forecasting future weather: There is much truth in the old sailor's adage "Red in the morning, sailors' warning; red at night, sailors' delight.'

13. Quick body measurements: When trying to figure ideal proportions, remember this. 'Twice around the wrist is once around the neck. Twice around the neck is once around the waist.' This means you can measure a person's wrist and calculate the other proportions quickly. Someone with a 9 inch wrist should have an 18 inch neck and a 36 inch waist. Remember, these measurements are for ideals, not to be confused with painful reality.

14. Determining an Emily Dickinson poem on a test:
Because of her unrequited crush on a hymn-writing minister, many of Dickinson's poems have a rhythm similar to his musical style. Try singing the poem in question to the tune of 'Yellow Rose of Texas'. If it fits, it is probably a Dickinson poem.

15.Finally, for the most obscure factoid of the evening, remembering the weight of water: 'A pint's a pound, the world around'. A pint of water does indeed weigh a pound.