Speeeeeeed reading

Author Cory Doctorow (blogging at boingboing.net) has had one of this books (Eastern Standard Tribe) converted into an automatic speed reading applet based on a technology from The Reading Lab.
The words race by on screen, one by one, in your speed of choice. Presumably this enables you to read faster and retain more, though I must say I am a bit sceptical after trying for a while. For complex sentences it can be hard to retain the meaning – and I tend to read more than one word at a time, which is not possible in this format (apparently, the Media Lab has something that allows you to “drive” a book in various formats.) But the effect is rather fascinating, and with some practice I assume one can effortlessly absorb more text simply because you don’t need to move your eyes as much.
But I am reminded of Woody Allen’s “I took a course in speed reading and read War and Peace in one hour. It’s about Russia.”

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