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Author: Tang Syau

怎样处理 Anki 中的 Leech 卡片

本篇讨论的话题主要面向已经使用 Anki 比较长时间的朋友,如果你对 Anki 有兴趣或刚刚入门可以参考官方手册或其他教学文章,比如台湾人 Chun Norris 的教学文(大陆访问可能看不见文中的图片)。

使用 Anki 记忆时,如果一张卡片在回忆阶段 (review mode) 忘记的次数 (Lapses) 太多(默认是 8 次),Anki 就会把它标记为 Leech(水蛭、寄生虫),默认会把这张卡片搁置起来。大概意思是 Anki 认为这张卡片可能做得有些问题,你记了很多次但老是记不住,所以提醒你注意,看怎么调整一下。

Deck options 的 Lapses 选项卡里可以调整 Leech threshold(忘记多少次标记为 Leech)和 Leech action(是搁置卡片 (Suspend Card) 还是只是标记为 Leech (Tag Only))。

官方的解释是:

Leeches are cards that you keep on forgetting. Because they require so many reviews, they take up a lot more of your time than other cards.

Anki can help you identify leeches. Each time a review card lapses (is failed while it is review mode), a counter is increased. When that counter reaches 8, the note is tagged as a leech, and the card is suspended. The threshold, and whether to suspend or not, can be adjusted in the deck options.

Anki will continue to issue leech warnings periodically for a difficult card. The warning interval is half the initial leech threshold. That is, if you have Anki configured to warn at 8 lapses, future warnings will happen every 4 lapses. (12, 16, etc)

https://apps.ankiweb.net/docs/manual.html#leeches

官方给了三种应对 Leech 卡的办法。

第一种是等待,他举例说你在背两个长得很像的单词,所以老是弄混,这时候你可以让其中一张卡一直处于搁置状态,直到你完全记住了另一张卡,再把这个 Leech 卡恢复正常。但我觉得如果单词很多操作起来还是有点困难。我现在应对容易混淆的单词是建立一张新卡片,正面是这几个已混淆的词,反面是他们的简单释义和例句。有时候为了避免自己记住的是单词的顺序,还会建两个顺序不同的卡片。比如我今天就把 peddle 和 petal 记混了。就新建了一个这样的卡片:

第二种是删掉。如果你觉得这张卡很难记住,但好像这张卡要记的内容也可有可无,就可以直接删掉。

第三种是编辑。思考怎样让自己更好地记住,然后修改卡片内容。对记单词来说,我觉得可以考虑的修改有这些。

  • 卡片正面:可以把孤立的单词变为有语境的词组、短句。比如孤立的 peddle 无法让你想起它的意思,就可以尝试改成 peddle the myth。等到你对 peddle the myth 非常熟悉了,再把卡片修改回 peddle。还有一些单词适合添加发音,因为大多数单词没有添加发音,偶尔有一个有发音的单词就更容易记住。之前我用过 Forvo 上的发音,最近英语单词我会用 Cambridge Dictionary 的发音,方法是在喇叭图标上右键 Inspect,在附近就可以找到 URL 了。因为是相对 URL 所以前面要加上网站的域名。比如 peddle 的英音发音 URL 是这个
  • 卡片背面:背面的释义,无论是中文还是英文,都可以考虑是不是有更容易记住、理解的释义。比如 dwell on 我以前写的中文意思是「详细讲述」,发现老是记错之后,我查了不同的词典,最后把释义修改成了「一直想、一直讲」。也可能是后面这个意思更特别、更容易记住,也可能是我思考怎么修改的过程加深了我对这个词的印象,总之这样的方法对辅助记忆还是挺有帮助的。

当然,我写这篇文章的契机不是想介绍官方的这三种方法,是我最近用另一种办法自认为还比较不错地解决了一大堆 Leech 卡片反复出现的问题。

我现在用的这个 Anki 卡组是自己从 2017 年 10 月重新建立的,到现在积累了 2600 多张卡片,其中 Lapses 超过默认的 8 次的有多少张呢?刚我看了一下,居然有 1024 张!也许充分说明了我现在记忆力很差……所以很早以前我就把阈值从 8 调成了 12,然后把 Suspend 改成了 Tag Only。但仍然每天下来都有大量的 Leech,也不是每一个都可以通过上面的三种方式处理,处理起来也很费时间。一般每天记完之后只是看一下哪些被 tag 了,可以修改的就修改,然后把 Leech 卡右键 Reschedule(相当于变成新加入的卡片重新学习,但 Lapses 的次数会保留,所以你还是可以知道这张卡忘记了多少次),处理完之后再把所有的 tag 删掉,每天重复这个工作。但 Reschedule 的效果似乎并不明显。

最近我的处理方式是新建一个 Leech 专用 deck,单独设置 deck options,然后在 Reviews 选项卡里调整一些参数,比如把 Interval modifier 改为 80%(这样修改之后比如本来是 10 天以后再次出现的卡,8 天以后就会出现,详见官方手册)。然后把 Lapses 超过 25 以上的 90 多张卡片转移到这个 deck,头几天通过动态调整参数让这个 deck 在几天之后稳定在每天记 60-70 张卡片左右的量。每天 Default deck 里面新出现的 Leech 手动转移到这个 Leech deck。如果 Leech deck 里面的卡又被 tag 了,我就把它 Reschedule。

这样区分了两个 deck 之后,除了记忆参数可以分开调整之外,最大的好处是可以分开花时间记忆。我现在记 Leech deck 的时候会更用心一些,60 多个词也不会花太长时间,与原来所有卡片混在一起记相比的感觉要舒畅不少。经过几周之后,发现每天过的卡片里忘记的越来越少了,并且 Leech deck 也没有无限制增长,反而有所减少。

最近速读英文材料的两个工具

Microsoft Edge 的朗读功能

Windows 10 自带的 Edge 浏览器自带的朗读功能其实很好用,并且 Edge 还可以直接打开 ePub 格式的电子书。所以无论是读书还是看外刊的网页,都可以用 Edge 的朗读功能,调整到合适的速度后(比如 1.5 倍速),很可能会比自己阅读的速度要快。

当然其他浏览器也可以通过一些扩展来实现朗读功能。新版的 Microsoft Word 也加入了朗读功能。朗读的语种可以在 Win 10 的系统设置里添加,选择中文或日文语音读英文也不是不能尝试……

搜狗翻译网页版

之前介绍过搜狗翻译的质量已经很高。阅读英语长文的时候,完全可以将文字复制到搜狗翻译网页版后扫视中文,对感兴趣或需要准确理解的部分再对照英文。这样的方式读 New Yorker, The Guardian’s Long Reads 等长文章会觉得特别轻松。毕竟一目十行地扫视英文的能力还是很难练成的。

当然,怎样在快速汲取信息和训练自己的外语能力之间权衡,就是自己把握的事情了。就我来说,不是特别长的文章,一般是不会用这两招的。

顺带一说,最近几个月一直用的词典是 Cambridge English-Chinese Dictionary,国内直连的速度也很快。

There’s more to life than being happy?

刚在微博上看到严锋老师转发了一场 TED 演讲 There’s more to life than being happy (by Emily Esfahani Smith)。有人总结到「追求快乐让人变得不快乐」,严锋老师说「过份追求快乐让人变得不快乐」。这个话题让我突然有很多话想说。

我们先来看一看 Emily 的开场白:

I used to think the whole purpose of life was pursuing happiness. Everyone said the path to happiness was success, so I searched for that ideal job, that perfect boyfriend, that beautiful apartment. But instead of ever feeling fulfilled, I felt anxious and adrift. And I wasn’t alone; my friends — they struggled with this, too.

我曾经认为生活的全部目的就是追求快乐/幸福(按:happiness 既可以表示短暂的快乐又可以表示较长时段的幸福状态)。每个人都说通往快乐/幸福的道路是成功,所以我追求理想的工作,追求完美的男朋友,追求漂亮的公寓。但是我没有感到满足,我感到的是焦虑和迷茫。不只是我,我的朋友们也有同样的困扰。

后来 Emily 就去学习积极心理学(positive psychology),读了很多心理学、神经科学和哲学的书——恰好也是我最感兴趣的三个领域。她发现,数据显示,追求快乐反而让人不快乐,尽管大家的生活条件越来越好,但抑郁、甚至自杀的人却越来越多。而研究认为这并不是因为他们缺少快乐,而是缺少生活的意义。于是 Emily 开始追问快乐(being happy)和生活的意义(having meaning in life)有什么区别。

Many psychologists define happiness as a state of comfort and ease, feeling good in the moment. Meaning, though, is deeper. The renowned psychologist Martin Seligman says meaning comes from belonging to and serving something beyond yourself and from developing the best within you. Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but I came to see that seeking meaning is the more fulfilling path. And the studies show that people who have meaning in life, they’re more resilient, they do better in school and at work, and they even live longer.

许多心理学家将快乐定义为一种舒适和安逸的状态,也就是在某个时刻感觉很好。而人生的意义是更深一层的概念。著名心理学家马丁·塞利格曼(按:积极心理学之父)说,意义来自归属和服务于超越你自己的事物,来自发展你内心中最好的部分。我们的文化痴迷于追求快乐,但我逐渐认识到寻求人生意义更让人满足。研究表明,有生活意义的人适应能力更强,在学校和工作中表现更好,甚至寿命也更长。

接下来的演讲就是 Emily 分享自己找到的怎样寻求人生意义的四种方式(four pillars of a meaningful life):归属感(belonging)、目的(purpose)、超越(transcendence)、讲故事(storytelling)。Emily 的确讲了很多故事,四种方式各讲了一个故事,讲完还继续讲了自己的故事和父亲的故事。这里就暂且略过。最后她总结到:快乐的感觉有来有去捉摸不定,意义才能让我们掌握人生(Happiness comes and goes. But when life is really good and when things are really bad, having meaning gives you something to hold on to)。

接下来我谈谈感想。

我觉得虽然这是一场 TED 演讲,但其实论证方式特别像心灵鸡汤。我直奔主题,我们思考一下,Emily 的演讲从头到尾证明的是在人生中除了快乐之外还有其他重要之事(there’s more to life than being happy)吗?或者说她证明的是追求快乐反而会让人不快乐吗?

回到 Emily 的开场白,谁说追求快乐就一定等同于追求世俗意义的成功呢?Emily 和她的朋友追求好工作、好伴侣、好房子没有获得满足,最多只能证明这些追求快乐的途径可能有问题,但并不能证明「追求快乐」本身有问题,不能证明「 不应该追求快乐」。Emily 说自己通过追求这些没有获得满足,感到焦虑和迷茫,也就是追求某些目标让人感到不快乐,可以得出的结论应该是:这些具体目标,或者追求这些目标的方式方法可能不太对。也许我们追求另外一些目标更容易获得快乐,也许同样是追求这些目标,但换其他一些追求方式我们更容易获得快乐。你不能把自己原以为的那些目标直接等同于快乐本身,然后一起否定掉。

Emily 随后讲的意义,以及寻求意义的四种方式(归属感、目的、超越、讲故事),其实都可以认为是她找到的另一些追求快乐的方式。撇开她举例论证的效力问题,她可以证明的其实只是某些目标或者某些方式不容易实现快乐,而追求另一些目标或者另一些方法比较容易实现快乐,这并没有贬低快乐本身,也没有必要去抬高一个玄乎的人生意义(积极心理学之父给出的关于意义的定义实在很想吐嘈)。

向外国人介绍金庸

前段时间 Slowly 上的笔友对中国文化感兴趣,但我一时不知道推荐什么资源,总觉得无论是传统文化还是流行文化都很少有现成的资源给外国人看。金庸先生去世之后我才想到,金庸的作品算是现成的资源。YouTube 上也有加英文字幕的电视剧(虽然未必是正版)。今年《射雕英雄传》的英译本 The Legend of the Condor Heroes 也出了第一卷。各大外媒也写了介绍和纪念金庸的文章,顺便在此汇总一下。

The Power of Collider

最近一直在读之前提到的 The Book of Why,我觉得 collider 的概念可能是这本书里最重要的几个概念之一。本来我也可以用自己的语言写一个介绍,但好像懒得动笔,就节选书中几段话放在这里(顺序是我刻意安排的)。

X 与 Y 相关的三种解释:

  1. X 是 Y 的原因;
  2. X 和 Y 有共同的原因;
  3. collider。

We live our lives as if the common cause principle were true. Whenever we see patterns, we look for a causal explanation. In fact, we hunger for an explanation, in terms of stable mechanisms that lie outside the data. The most satisfying kind of explanation is direct causation: X causes Y. When that fails, finding a common cause of X and Y will usually satisfy us. By comparison, colliders are too ethereal to satisfy our causal appetites.

Judea Pearl. 2018. The Book of Why. Chapter 6

什么是 collider?

ABC. This is the most fascinating junction, called a “collider.” Felix Elwert and Chris Winship have illustrated this junction using three features of Hollywood actors: TalentCelebrityBeauty. Here we are asserting that both talent and beauty contribute to an actor’s success, but beauty and talent are completely unrelated to one another in the general population.

We will now see that this collider pattern works in exactly the opposite way from chains or forks when we condition on the variable in the middle. If A and C are independent to begin with, conditioning on B will make them dependent. For example, if we look only at famous actors (in other words, we observe the variable Celebrity = 1), we will see a negative correlation between talent and beauty: finding out that a celebrity is unattractive increases our belief that he or she is talented.

This negative correlation is sometimes called collider bias or the “explain-away” effect. For simplicity, suppose that you don’t need both talent and beauty to be a celebrity; one is sufficient. Then if Celebrity A is a particularly good actor, that “explains away” his success, and he doesn’t need to be any more beautiful than the average person. On the other hand, if Celebrity B is a really bad actor, then the only way to explain his success is his good looks. So, given the outcome Celebrity = 1, talent and beauty are inversely related—even though they are not related in the population as a whole. Even in a more realistic situation, where success is a complicated function of beauty and talent, the explain-away effect will still be present. This example is admittedly somewhat apocryphal, because beauty and talent are hard to measure objectively; nevertheless, collider bias is quite real, and we will see lots of examples in this book.

Judea Pearl. 2018. The Book of Why. Chapter 3

另外两个 collider 的例子:

Try this experiment: Flip two coins simultaneously one hundred times and write down the results only when at least one of them comes up heads. Looking at your table, which will probably contain roughly seventy-five entries, you will see that the outcomes of the two simultaneous coin flips are not independent. Every time Coin 1 landed tails, Coin 2 landed heads. How is this possible? Did the coins somehow communicate with each other at light speed? Of course not. In reality you conditioned on a collider by censoring all the tails-tails outcomes.

Judea Pearl. 2018. The Book of Why. Chapter 6

The correlation we observe is, in the purest and most literal sense, an illusion. Or perhaps even a delusion: that is, an illusion we brought upon ourselves by choosing which events to include in our data set and which to ignore. It is important to realize that we are not always conscious of making this choice, and this is one reason that collider bias can so easily trap the unwary. In the two-coin experiment, the choice was conscious: I told you not to record the trials with two tails. But on plenty of occasions we aren’t aware of making the choice, or the choice is made for us.

The distorting prism of colliders is just as prevalent in everyday life. As Jordan Ellenberg asks in How Not to Be Wrong, have you ever noticed that, among the people you date, the attractive ones tend to be jerks? Instead of constructing elaborate psychosocial theories, consider a simpler explanation. Your choice of people to date depends on two factors: attractiveness and personality. You’ll take a chance on dating a mean attractive person or a nice unattractive person, and certainly a nice attractive person, but not a mean unattractive person. It’s the same as the two-coin example, when you censored tails-tails outcomes. This creates a spurious negative correlation between attractiveness and personality. The sad truth is that unattractive people are just as mean as attractive people—but you’ll never realize it, because you’ll never date somebody who is both mean and unattractive.

Judea Pearl. 2018. The Book of Why. Chapter 6

在控制变量的时候,一定不要控制 collider,因为:

[I]n a collider, ABC, exactly the opposite rules hold. The variables A and C start out independent, so that information about A tells you nothing about C. But if you control for B, then information starts flowing through the “pipe,” due to the explain-away effect.

Judea Pearl. 2018. The Book of Why. Chapter 4