Do our brains have a fixed disk space for certain bits of information, and can that space be enlarged if necessary?
I was wondering about this because my own brain seems to have a remarkably small disk space allotted to names of flowers, as you may have noticed from my last post's reference to Bordeaux-coloured ground-covering flowers. Not very precise, and although I had heard the name of the plant only that day whilst chatting to my neighbour who has a much larger disk-space for plant names (he of the immaculate garden stuffed to the brim with interesting thought-provoking flora), I still couldn't remember it when I came to write it down.
When I was at university, I read Arabic and Islamic Studies and one of our erudite profs - a Scot whose nose betrayed a certain enjoyment of a tipple or two on a regular basis - told us that he had reached maximum capacity for learning new Arabic words. In other words, he could no longer remember any new words he came across. As he already had many hundreds in his pocket, I'm not sure this presented him with too much of a problem, but I wonder how many names of plants he knew.
My capacity for remembering Arabic words was, surprisingly but thankfully, considerably better than for names of plants, especially those Latin ones which go in one ear and straight out the other without passing Go or collecting £200. I doubt I could ever have studied medicine for the same reason. Never would I have had the chance to pass out in an operating theatre because I would never have got that far, falling at the first hurdle of remember reams of Latin names. Actually, I wouldn't ever have even got that far as I'm crap at maths and mostly crap at science. I say 'mostly' because I got a 'B' in my chemistry 'O' level, but I recognised my limits in that subject and despite tempting cajolings from my chemistry teacher who used to pick his nose in class and wipe the bogeys off on the back of his tie, I did English instead. We didn't have Media Studies options in those days.
I think the plant's name begins with 'G', and I've concluded that it was carried off by aliens in search of a pot plant without a pot for their outer spacial Mother's Day.