Gone are the days of having more than 20-30 minutes of truly free time to read. Sometimes on weekends I find just enough time to half read a few articles that allow me to make my way over a small intellectual stream. This was the way I made serious progress when reading the literature back in the day: not always reading every paper word for word, but instead searching for what was crucial in that paper, finding a new link in the thought process and jumping on. The visual I get is hopping from rock to rock in a small stream. Problem now is that I will forget the particular rocks I hopped on and thus will forget how to get across that stream again.
Delicious.com (a web bookmarking service), now allows you to oranize webpages in “stacks” with tags. This seems a perfect way to document the stones over the river.
My first experiment, that connected dietary fat intake to (possibly) some of the biochemistry behind panic attacks. If you look through the stack, you can see the original paper I was reading (Feeding the Immune System) and then the different links I looked up as I explored ideas that bubbled up to the surface. For this stack the general stepping stones were “Diet & immune system function”>>”Role of serum saturated fatty acids in increasing inflammatory markers” >> “Obesity, inflammation and insulin resistance”>>”Why are high blood glucose levels bad (partly explained by “protein glycation”)”>> “Enzymes that reverse protein glycation are implicated in anxiety”. This isn’t a post trying to explain anything about anxiety, it is a post about how I can record my hops, skips and jumps in thinking. So I can ignore my kids AND get smarter.
I don’t know about you, but I think its fascinating that you can start out reading about diet and the immune system and end up 3 Scientific Kevin Bacons (SKBs) away in cutting edge research about anxiety disorders.