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brain dump

A brain dump (sometimes spelled braindump, or brain-dump) is a complete transfer of accessible knowledge about a particular subject from your brain to some other storage medium, such as paper or your computer's hard drive. It is common for someone who maintains a blog, a personal journal that's shared on the Internet, to refer to the blog as a brain dump. The term brain dump can also be used in an educational context. For example, someone preparing for an exam might perform a brain dump by writing out as much information as they can remember about something they've studied.

Brain dump Web sites for exam preparation purposes are fairly common, especially for computer-related certification programs. Someone who has taken an exam might perform a brain dump by writing out as many of the questions as they remember, for distribution as a study guide for other people who intend to take the same exam. However, the practice is not encouraged by authorities, who argue that studying for only certain questions within a subject area might yield a pass on an exam, but doesn't yield any real understanding of the subject matter. Furthermore, running that type of brain dump Web site is usually illegal. In January 2003, Robert Keppel was sentenced to 12 months plus a day in prison and fined $500,000 for maintaining a brain dump (cheatsheets.com) that sold Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) exam questions.

A more extreme interpretation of brain dumping involves the attempt to store all the knowledge in your brain on a computer. At present, this is an impossible task. However, some futurist theorists, such as Ray Kurzweil (co-developer of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind), believe that a post-biological age will dawn when humans cease to exist as mortal beings and live forever in virtual reality, after downloading their brains to computers.

This was last updated in September 2005

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