Monthly Archives: October 2011

Mind Mapping: Tea Categories

I dream at night, during the day, and in colour. I carry an A4 pad with me everywhere I go (even to the park or the market) and make notes on whatever enters my mind when I’m awake. I make notes as mind maps for everything.

Mind-maps help me think. The best essays I wrote in Cambridge, the best speeches I’ve given and the best lessons I’ve taught also started as mind-maps. All were made on a thick, ring-bound A4 pad at varying times throughout the day.

Here’s one I typed up. It’s a collation of many smaller maps I made while reading about Chinese tea culture.

The best mind mapping software for Mac is undoubtedly iMindMap 5It’s available here for 14-days completely free of charge.

All The Tea In China, India and Africa
All The Tea In China, India and Africa. Click to enlarge it considerably. © James Kennedy, 2011

Every node here has a much deeper meaning than I’ve written down. Reading every piece of information on this mind map reminds me of the book that contained it, where and when I read it (and can subsequently recall most of the books). Mind maps thus carry individual meaning to the person who made them. They prevent plagiarism and make our own thoughts more clear.

Lastly, but most importantly, mind mapping look really impressive. Even if it’s only for this reason, I encourage my students to map all their university assignments on paper before writing. Mind mapping looks sophisticated and intimidates everyone else.

I’ve also been using the Reminders app for iPhone recently. There are many disadvantages compared with an A4 pad (it’s small, fiddly and only does linear bullet-lists) but it does give you one major speed-advantage: it fits in your pocket 🙂

Peking University Library Panorama. Beautiful Clouds.

Peking University Library 小地球
Peking University Library 小地球. Click to enlarge.

I love 北大. The clouds in this Little Planet picture frame the PKU library building and the National Day flower beds perfectly. I love the dramatic contrast, and the twisted cloud-shapes give the impression of motion. Created on an iPhone with the free Photosynth app.

In China, waitresses earn more than science graduates

Starting salaries in China

Graduate salaries in China are very low. By contrast, walk past any restaurant window in Beijing and you’ll see a poster offering employment, a bed, meals and about ¥1400–¥2000 per month in exchange for your hard work as a waiter or waitress. This is a better deal than the average Chinese Science, Medicine or Agriculture student can expect after graduation. Continue reading In China, waitresses earn more than science graduates

Taoranting Park Panorama 陶然亭

Taoranting Park, Beijing
A pagoda in Taoranting Park, Beijing

I spent the afternoon at the truly Chinese Taoranting Park, Beijing. “Truly Chinese” here means lakes, pagodas, few people, no vendors, and, until the end of this week, a multi-ethnic cultural festival. A Little Planet picture captures the balance and natural symmetry of this park perfectly. Subway Line 4, 陶然亭公园. Entrance is just ¥2.5.

Alongside the park is an exotic fish, reptile and plant market: a cheap place to fill the house with pot-plants.

Created with Photosynth for the iPhone.