“Speedcasting – what’s that about?”

What were you listening to then?

Justspeedcastingonmywaytowork

What did you say?

Justspeedcastingonmywaytoworkit’soneofthosetruecrimeones

Have you been stopping for espressos on the way to work again?

Sorry, I’ve been speedcasting

Which is?

Listening to podcasts but on fast forward.  I’ve got a speedcasting app, and you listen at five times the normal speed.

Isn’t is just gobbledigook?  How can you take any of that in?

No, because this app trains you.  It starts off at double speed and then ups the speed by a tenth every two minutes until it’s going at five times as fast as normal.

But isn’t that like speed-reading?  Don’t you end up just forgetting it pretty much straight away?

No, because listening is a very different process, and we can listen much faster than we normally talk.

Really?

Yes – we can read about 300 words per minute, but we can learn to listen to 800 words per minute and understand it.

And what are the benefits of that?

You’d be amazed what you can get through.  I did the whole of the Mayan civilisation in 12 minutes the other day on a 45 minute “In Our Time”.

It must have made the bit where Melvyn Bragg asks then to hurry up very realistic.

That’s nothing.  It’s with audiobooks that it makes the biggest difference.

Why’s that?

We normally talk at around 200 words per minute, which is comfortable for the person talking but can be slow for the person listening.  But if it’s something being read aloud, rather than conversation, people go even more slowly, perhaps just 150 words a minute.

Like audiobooks?

Exactly. Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” is nearly 17 hours as an audiobook.  With speedcasting I got that down to 3 hours.

That still seems 3 hours too long.  Besides making Dan Brown more accessible are there any other downsides to speedcasting?

Well, it does make conversation seem very slow afterwards.

So I noticed.

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