Saccades and endings. (2014)
Each speaker was given four minutes to present his paper, as there were so many scheduled—198 from sixty-four different countries. To help expedite the proceedings, all reports had to be distributed and studied beforehand, while the lecturer would speak only in numerals, calling attention in this fashion to the salient paragraphs of his work. To better receive and process such a wealth of information, we all turned on our portable recorders and pocket computers (which later would be plugged in for the general discussion). Stan Hazelton of the US delegation immediately threw the hall into a flurry by emphatically repeating: 4, 6, 11, and therefore 22; 5, 9, hence 22; 3, 7, 2, 11, from which it followed that 22 and only 22!! Someone jumped up, saying yes but 5, and what about 6, 18, or 4 for that matter; Hazelton countered this objection with the crushing retort that, either way, 22.
I turned to the number key in his paper and discovered that 22 meant the end of the world.
- Stanislaw Lem, The Futurological Congress, 1971
You are currently reading much faster than the average person. When reading on a page, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content. The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next key point.
- Spritz© (speed reading software), Demo Text, 2014