Friday, September 25, 2009

On reading way to much into your data

Studies like this one are very annoying.

So you hook up some people to fMRIs and watch their heads while they make some decisions. And guess what? You can predict with better than 50% accuracy what they'll do slightly before they do it. Whoop-dee-freakin-do, what did you expect was going on inside their heads? Parties? Not inside the fMRI machines, that's for sure. See, the thing about brains is people use them to think and decide things.

The thing that actually annoys me, though, is the leap from "we can sorta kinda predict what they'll do" to "therefore, they do/do not have free will." I mean, whatever things your brain thinks are the result of physical processes that actually go on inside your skull. That's why people with head injuries get so seriously messed up. So if you spy on that process, why shouldn't you be able to get a good clue as to what the result will be? And what bearing does that have on free will? The brain will come to the conclusion it will come to. The physical process is the means by which that happens.

To complain about a lack of free will because your brain runs according to the laws of the universe is bizarre. They aren't limiting you or locking you into your choices. They enable your choices.

Anyway, it's about time for my core sleep so sorry if this makes no sense.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three-hour core plus four naps

I'm a lot more alert nowadays, so much so that I'm cutting down on the video games and starting to do more productive things. I'm still a little groggy when I get up from my core sleep at 4-ish, but it's getting better. This morning I watched the first episode of Firefly (on hulu), a show I've been meaning to watch for a while. That kept me pretty alert.

I'm pretty happy that this is working out so well.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Continuing adventures in polysleeping

I've been reading on health and diet, and a few days ago because I'm crazy, I tried another experiment: I went on a no/very low carb diet. Shockingly, within a day, I was sleeping better and more alert when not sleeping. I felt better all over, except for my stomach which took a little adjusting. I also needed some HCL for the first two days, but that requirement had already begun fading by the third day. (Meat requires HCL (= hydrochloric acid) to digest) The dosage for HCL was much easier to get right when eating only meat, I didn't really have any of the troubles I had before.

I've been eating eggs (this awesome grocery store carries some cage free eggs from an amish farm that are great), some bacon, cream, butter, cheese, and mostly beef, cooked rare. Prime rib is a good cut, although a little too expensive perhaps to eat for every meal.

It's important to note that a zero/low carb diet is a high fat diet, not a high protein diet. If you get more than 35-40% of your calories from protein, it can be toxic. So I try to eat all parts of the steak or whatever I'm eating, fat included. Fat has a very good flavor but the texture is not that pleasant to me; it's ok if I eat it along with the other parts of the meat. Note that 60-80% calories from fat means you're eating like 20% fat by weight, which isn't that much, really. I will probably go into more diet theory later, but this is basically what I'm doing at the moment.

So then I ate a big Indian meal. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have naan when I'm at an Indian place. Well, I payed for it. I felt terrible and was really tired for like a day afterwards. I think I'm starting to recover. The beer I had the night after didn't seem to hurt me nearly as much as the naan, so I wonder if wheat is especially hard on my system. Which would really suck because I LOVE bread. I haven't been eating any. It would be nice to have it as a treat once in a while, but if it makes me feel like crap it wouldn't be much of a treat.

Anyway, I think tomorrow I should be back to my zero/low carb state. Hopefully I will feel great again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Resistance

Currently halfway through my third listen of Muse's latest. Wasn't so sure the first time through but... yeah, it's great. I think it's track 2 (Resistance) that I'm digging the most right now. Can't say it's better than Absolution but it's not worse, which is a tough thing to accomplish. You should totally listen to it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Five weeks of polysleep

So I started August 4th. Since then I've had around 120 extra hours of time. Some of it was pretty unproductive (walking in circles trying to stay awake). Most of my alert time has been at work, in the middle of the day. Most of my free time at home I've not been alert enough to do the brainy things that are the point of this transition, like study go, etc, so I've wasted it playing video games. :) (however, I'm feeling much more alert the last couple of days, so this is due to change)

The stages of adaptation, as I see them: first, you have to learn to sleep when you're dead tired-- if it takes you 10 minutes to fall asleep, you'll waste half your naps. You have to do better than that, and you will when you're tired enough-- this took until day 7 or 8 for me. Then (or concurrently, actually), you have to get your body used to sleeping at the particular times you want to. This takes about a month. Finally, you have to learn to sleep when you're *not* dead tired. This is what I'm working on right now, and I think I'm doing pretty well.

It hasn't been completely smooth sailing. I haven't had a problem many others have, which is struggling to get up/oversleeping (I did fall asleep sitting up a couple times on the couch, hehe). Just get into the habit of always getting up when you wake up/the alarm goes off.

My problem was I started getting really bad heartburn, and it took a bit to figure out exactly what was going on. When you sleep your body builds up gastric acid. Less core sleep = less acid (at least for me). Less acid in your stomach can cause the valve at the bottom of your stomach to fail to open correctly (it's triggered by acid). This causes a pound of almost-acidic-enough digesting food to sit in your stomach. It doesn't reach your small intestine, so you don't feel satiated, which causes you to eat more, which packs more into your stomach than it can really handle, which causes it to back up into the esophagus, giving you heartburn.

The solution isn't too hard in theory, you take some HCL to supplement your body's acid store. Unfortunately, even after I managed to obtain some (you should have seen the looks I got at Walgreen's), the dosage proved to be too tricky. Too much gives you the same symptoms as too little. So I was all set to give up this weekend. I decided I'd go to bed when I was tired and get up when I woke up. Time to start paying attention to my body. Went to bed 12:30 or so, got up around 5 (same today): my body had adapted. Stomach problems appear to be solved, for the price of an extra hour or so of sleep.

So, it's not quite the schedule I planned originally. I had planned 3 hours + 3 naps. Day 8 I added a 4th nap so I could function at work. Currently I'm at ~4 hours + 4 naps. That sums to something like 5.5 hours of sleep. Either one of two things will happen: I'll drop a nap (in theory I should be able to make do with only two with a 4.5 hour core), or as my body gets better at sleeping it will naturally need less core.

I'm so addicted to the extra time now. OK, this post is disjointed and long enough. I still have more to say on the subject, stay tuned.

Posting this here... I can find it next time I want to persuade someone that legalization is the way to go.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

You can probably file this under "TMI"

I found it odd and amusing. Judging from the comments, nine out of ten of you (as if I had ten readers) will find it violently repulsive.