12/31/13

Maybe emotions are better viewed not by how they make us "feel", but what they make us want to do — I feel like the point of emotions is to make us want to do various things.
Maybe what we think of as consciousness or experience is memory formation.

12/30/13

I was angry today, and it got me thinking about anger during my meditation.

First, why I was angry: I saw a doctor to flush wax from my ears, and they failed, and I asked if I could try the water syringe myself, and they said no, and I asked if I could get my own syringe, and they said it would require a prescription, but he wouldn't write me one. Turns out they don't require a prescription, so ha!, but I didn't know that till later.

Second, my thoughts: anger generally makes me want to hurt people, but it's pretty easy to channel into arguing with them about how they should be less evil. But if I fail, what then? My thought in the past was "forgive them". But then I realized that when I'm angry with someone, I'm usually angry at myself for how I handled the situation, e.g., angry that I didn't think of a more clever argument for convincing them to agree with my point of view. So I should forgive myself. But my current thought is: I'm angry at myself, sure, forgive myself, sure, but I'm still angry at them, and I'm not sure how to forgive them if they persist in not recognizing their evilness.. But the anger hurts me, and makes me keep thinking about how to beat them.. So I think maybe the thing to do is recognize that anger makes me want to do that, and stop thinking about the situation.. Because it makes me angry.. Like how I don't read the news, because it makes me angry. That is to say, I think maybe there isn't a cure for anger except getting the person to apologize, or essentially ignoring it until it subsides, and then not thinking about the situation which would bring back the anger.
I was hearing a tune in my head and thought "maybe this is my auditory imagination pattern matching the same way my vision system does with random splotches beneath my eyelids", and I listened, and noticed there did indeed seem to be a sound I was ignoring, but my pattern recognizer wasn't, that resembled the tune that kept playing in my head.

It also occurs to me that my sense of where my body is, and having a body for that matter, is probably also pattern matching and model building based on tactile senses along with proprioception and whatnot.. Which is maybe why my body can feel differently positioned in a dream, since my limbs are likely numb, and the signals coming to the brain about them are probably easy to interpret any which way..
Maybe there's no real difference between the brain hearing an airplane sound and building a mental model of there existing an airplane flying over my house, and my brain seeing some random splotches under my eyelids that vaguely resemble an elephant and building a mental model of there being an elephant in front of me. Maybe they're both just pattern matching, where one pattern matches better than the other.
Maybe the reason the brain seems to tense some muscle while focusing is as a natural timer, so the brain doesn't get "stuck" focused on something, because eventually the muscle will get tired and stop tensing.

12/29/13

meditation thoughts

While meditating, I had a moment of feeling like I was seeing myself as an outsider, thinking, "who is this guy lying here trying to contemplate the mysteries of the universe?"

Shortly after, I had a moment of seeing a bunch of eyes around me, my own mind, looking at me..

I also got distracted with a few thoughts:

1) I thought about some design considerations for the mobile voting app I've wanted to create, like how to link phones together. Seems like passing around a random number would be good, but it needs to be big enough to prevent collisions, and also prevent people "snooping" by typing in a random number hoping to enter someone else's voting room. I had the thought that maybe this would be a good place for an xkcd style password phrase, like "frame typhoon football", rather than a number like "109072480903", which is about how big the number would need to be to have as many options as three random words chosen from a dictionary of 5000 words. Probably just two words would be enough, especially if voting rooms disappeared after everyone left.

2) I thought about a problem I've thought about before — how can you have a peer-to-peer game of poker? You have two clients, and no server.. how do they shuffle the cards such that player A can only see some of them, and player B can only see some others of them? I simplified this to shuffling a deck of 3 cards (2 cards doesn't work, because once you know one card, you know the other). I had some thoughts about how to solve this, but failed. I think the problem has a solution, because I recall someone I was talking to about this saying they had a solution published in a paper that I haven't read. But I like chewing on the problem.

3) I thought that I'd like to start putting illustrations back into my blog, but I don't have my bamboo tablet these days (and I'm not sure I'd use it if I did, because it's a bit of a hassle to setup and a bit awkward to draw). I like drawing on paper, and I had the thought: I could draw on paper and hold the image up to the camera and use JavaScript to process the image — similar to the mac's "signature thing" (shown here) — and give a url to the image so I could load it into blogger.

12/28/13

It turns out that the last episode Netflix has of Breaking Bad isn't the last episode of Breaking Bad.

Appleeeeee!!!!


I installed an update to Mavericks, and now my keychain password doesn't work. In fact, the keychain dialog is still the top-most window on my screen, I just moved it to the side.

The real scare was the first time I booted after the install when the only thing I saw was the keychain dialog. I thought this was it — a real test of my "backup" plan for if my machine died. But when I rebooted, my mac graciously loaded the desktop in addition to the unanswerable keychain dialog.

And apparently I'm not the only person this has happened to. I found a claimed fix here, which I'm going to try:
1. Go to Finder
2. Look for library in favourites.
3. If not there hold down option key and click on GO in the top menu
4. Scroll down to Library and click on it
5. Look for Keychain folder and click on it.
6. Inside KEychain folder is a single folder we random numbers and letters.
7. Drag this folder onto your decktop.
8. Re-boot and you should be good to go.
9. If Ok drag the folder off your decktop  into trash !!
..a couple notes: first, I really did need to hold down the option key while clicking the GO menu item in order to see the "Library"; and second, it worked! holy crap. I'm surprised that wasn't the first thing I thought of..

Maybe the point of sadness is to accept the thing we feel sad about.

Maybe the point of anger is to discourage other people from breaking social norms, back before evolution invented police.

12/20/13


My face, as interpreted by my Mac's signature thing. A friend did this with his face a while back, but I didn't know what the "signature thing" was. I discovered it today while I was filling out a pdf form using annotations in Preview, under Tools/Annotate/Signature.

The signature thing uses the camera. You're meant to hold up a signature to it, and it automatically clears away the texture of the paper and makes it transparent except for the black. The algorithm is generally pretty good about not interpreting faces as signatures, but I managed to trick it by standing in front of a white wall, turning my head sideways, and making sure my body was out of view — I then "signed" a document, took a screenshot, and rotated it to be upright.

12/19/13

..the decomposition meditation stuff on the other hand seems super useful. I've considered myself an introspective person in the past, but now I feel like I haven't been looking as deeply as I could, and I feel like there's real potential to see how I work at an even deeper level and fix things about myself that I don't like.

also, I am still trying to lucid dream, and that also seems worth doing, if only because, for some reason, whenever I have a lucid dream I wake up super refreshed, like I've had a really restful night's sleep. But I also want to talk to my subconscious, somehow..

incidentally, my current thought on jhanas is: cool, but useless.. except to the extent to which seeing cool new things is useful, which maybe it is.. is it "useful" to see a magic-eye? It's inspiring.. it's useful to be inspired I suppose.. and jhanas are quite a bit stranger and more interesting than seeing a magic-eye, especially if one has never experienced an altered state of consciousness, I suppose..

..but I don't think anyone walks around all day in a jhana — they're pleasant, but tiring in their own way, and I don't feel "smarter" in a jhana, though I think my thinking is subtly altered.. not sure..

I'm not even sure that being in jhanas is strengthening any mental muscles, aside from those used to enter jhana states. But I'm not even sure they help me focus.. which is ironic since they are states of intense focus..

..maybe I should try entering a jhana state focussing on a particular problem.. though it seems like only the first two would even keep my attention on that problem, and even then they'd just be looking at it, I'm not sure I'd be thinking it through. I suppose it's worth a try.

what the hell are these states? why are they there?

update: I recall now my teacher friend saying that jhana states are pleasurable, and I think they can be very pleasurable, though for some reason my mind doesn't care about that aspect so much, but I have had a pleasurable body-encompassing tingle in a jhana state — I think the fourth.

jhana update:
  • I think I've been to all 13 mentioned by my teacher friend
  • I thought I couldn't move after the first one, but I can.. my body is just very relaxed in some of them
  • They all seem to be in a line going backwards — even though the sensations may seem orthogonal, getting from one to the next always involves sort of "taking a step back" or "seeing things from a higher level"
  • It's always possible to think rationally and even talk, apparently, because I've seen my teacher friend talk
  • The sensations in each are impressionistic, rather than absolute. There's no magic. It's not like losing all sense of reality in some mystical realm, but they do feel "trance like"
  • My teacher friend says that 5 through 8 are really part of 4, and that seems accurate to me. If I'm in 4 with my eyes open, and I "take a step back", I get to 9. If I want to get to 5, I need to close my eyes in 4 and sort of think of the description of it — "infinite space" — so I think of space expanding.. so I'm not sure these one's are in a line, and they may just be what it's like to think about certain subjects while in 4.
Here are my current descriptions:

  • 1. focus on point
  • 2. focus on small area, body relaxed
  • 3. focus on whole visual field, as a whole, nothing in particular, body relaxed
  • 4. focus on all sensual input, including body, body relaxed
    • 5. "infinite space" — feels like I'm nowhere, eyes closed for 5 through 8
    • 6. "infinite consciousness" — feels like a lot of white noise of sensation, eyes feel like they want to shut hard
    • 7. "no-thing-ness" — feels more empty, relaxed, content
    • 8. "perception and non-perception" — not sure about this one.. feels like focus is happening, but I'm not sure what on, maybe.. maybe I haven't been here..
  • 9. sort of like seeing world with fresh eyes, body can move, I've walked around, very slowly though, and my vision tends to linger wherever it goes
  • 10. seems easier to imagine moving than actually moving — I had a quite vivid imaginary walk downstairs to get a glass of grapefruit juice, with my eyes open
  • 11. feels content to stay where I am
  • 12. feels content to just be
  • 13. feels like I see the world from the tippy top of my head
I've tried to "take a step back" from 13, and it feels like something is happening, but I haven't landed anywhere, and my brain is already pretty.. pretty something that it might not be able to be more of.. and my focus feels pretty far back already. I'll need to try again when my mind is fresh.. being in these states takes some energy.

12/18/13

I told my meditation teacher about the "clearing my mind" meditation I was trying, and he seemed against it — he seems worried that it has a higher chance of causing mental damage, and doesn't want me to "villainize" thoughts. So.. I'm not doing it. I'll need to think about it more. I feel like there's some use to calming my mind.. but I don't want my brain to think that thinking is bad..


12/17/13

meditation for programming

Fortuitously, a friend who is a meditation instructor wanted to learn to program, and is happy to exchange knowledge for knowledge. He is the person who originally framed meditation as mental exercise, and suggested "focus" and "decomposition" exercises. However, I misinterpreted both of them, it turns out.

Focus

I originally interpreted focus as.. well.. paying attention to an object. However, there are many types of focus:
  • sortof rubbing my mental hands around the object
  • thinking "yep, there's that object there.. still"
  • searching on the object for properties, like "oh, there's a bump I didn't see before!"
  • sortof imagining being the object
And all of these are not what he meant.

He wanted me to literally focus my eyes on a single spot on the surface of an object — the object didn't matter at all, what mattered was getting my eyes to stay still, not moving around, and not refocusing. The object was just there as a thing for my eyes to focus on, since it's harder to get eyes to remain fixed at a point in the air.

I expressed concern that if I did this, the object would sortof fade in and out of view, since my cones would get saturated. And he said this was fine, and desirable — it's a good sign that the eyes are stationary when the object fades from view. (note: he said blinking is ok.)

So.. why? Well, he said my brain would enter a strange, interesting and pleasurable state if I did, which he called "jhana" (pronounced jon-ah). And.. it did.

The state is comparable to looking at a magic-eye, where you focus your eyes a certain way, and suddenly an image appears, except no image will appear. But two things are similar to a magic-eye:
  • Although it is difficult at first to coax the eyes into focussing correctly to see the magic eye, once they do, it's easy to keep them there; in fact, it requires a little effort to stop them. Similarly, once the eyes enter jhana, they are willing to stay there, and the tedium of trying to keep putting them there stops.
  • In addition to presenting an image, magic-eyes are also strangely pleasurable to see, at least for me. In fact, I'll sometimes do the magic-eye thing on my keyboard, refocussing so my keys exactly overlap each other, which doesn't present an image — except my keys at a different depth — but it's still nice. Similarly, the state of "jhana" is nice.
In fact, it turns out there are multiple jhana states; my friend identified 13. I've been in the first 4. In general, getting to each jhana requires being in the previous one and jumping up somehow:
  1. focussing on a point — my eyes remain fixed, and the surrounding object fades in and out and swims around, presumably since my cones are getting saturated and confused.
  2. focussing on an object as a whole — my eyes see the whole object, strangely clearly. Also, I can't seem to move while maintaining this state. (I can move while retaining the first jhana.)
  3. taking in my whole visual field — my eyes aren't focussed on anything. Still can't move.
  4. taking in my whole sensory array — I can feel my body and hear stuff (which I generally don't do in the first three, since I'm focussed on vision). Still can't move.
  5. I'm not sure I've been here, but he says getting here requires being in state 4, and contemplating "infinite space". Also, he suggests that it doesn't involve sensory input at all, so I suspect that it's good to close the eyes too.
  6. I'm pretty sure I haven't been here, but he says it requires being in state 5 and contemplating "infinite consciousness".
  7. Getting here requires being in state 6, and contemplating "no-thing-ness".. whatever that means..
  8. Getting here requires being in state 7, and contemplating "neither perception nor non-perception"....
  9. Whereas the previous four jhanas don't involve sensory input, this one does again.. I'm pretty sure I haven't been here, and he suggests that I probably can't — he hasn't known anyone who's entered this state who hasn't done a certain amount of a different sort of meditation (decomposition, discussed below).
  10. I don't know anything about this
  11. or this
  12. or this
  13. or this
Also, it's worth nothing that it seems possible to enter the first four jhanas even if the eyes are closed, though the eyes are (I presume) still focussing the same way as if they were open. Also, he says he can now access all the jhanas directly, without first being in the previous jhana, so that's possible with practice, apparently.

Decomposition

He originally described decomposition with the example of looking at a stop sign, and seeing it's parts. I interpreted this to mean structural parts, like it has a metal bar holding it up, and paint on it, and an octagonal shape.. and when I would do "decomposition" meditations, I would go on to think of looking at the stop sign from different perspectives, like where it was in history, and perhaps the history of stop signs in general, and the design of the letters, and the thinking behind making it red, and so forth.

Wrong again.

He meant, I should decompose how I see the stop sign. Usually when I look at a stop sign, I think I see a stop sign, but in fact, "stop sign" is a pretty high level concept that my brain has formed — what I actually see are splotches and lines of various colors. If someone had never seen a stop sign before, or even any sort of street sign, or any sort of sign, or any English, or any words, or any geometric shapes.. perhaps a cave person who speaks english (but doesn't read it, of course).. what would they see?

And I think it's also part of the decomposition to note the higher level concepts invoked when seeing a stop sign, and to decompose them as well. In general, the idea seems to be trying to see all the things going on in the brain as it goes about the business of doing what brains do. So my meditation practice involves trying to decompose everything; what I see, what I hear, all sensations, and even how I think — decomposing thoughts into the thoughts that made them up, and so forth.

And if I force my brain to do this enough, he says eventually it will be able to do it automatically..

However, he did warn me that there will be a brief period (perhaps days, weeks or months) where I will see building blocks of stuff — splotches of color, low-level bodily sensations and such — but not actual stuff, like stop signs, which will make me somewhat non-functional during that time. But he says not to worry, I'll be normal again thereafter. I asked if I'd be able to find my house, and he seemed to think I would.. so that's nice at least. He also noted that I should be ok so long as I do some non-meditation things to ground me, like talking to people.

12/15/13

I stared at a bowl for 2 hours.. Um.. I poke fun at myself, but I do think there's a purpose to this.. Apparently.. Otherwise I'm not sure I could keep starting at a bowl for 2 hours.. Though I am concerned that I may be doing it wrong.. That would suck, right?
I tried focusing on a bowl for an hour.. In the first maybe 20 minutes I discovered some features of the bowl I did not know about.. And at one point I started trying to identify with the bowl, just to keep my focus there.. Oh my God.. I hope learning to focus on boring-as-hell crap, like this bowl, is going to really help me, because..

12/14/13

..as I quiet my mind, I think, what can I consciously do? I can move a muscle.. I can say words in my mind.. I can draw a square in my mind.. I can recall something from memory.. I think, what happens if I sort of "pull" on this lever over here? Often, whatever lever it is turns out to be a muscle on my face..
Meditating before sleep, while tired, I notice a new class of issues.. mainly drifting toward sleep, and having weird dreamlike thoughts like "I need to pick which key goes here", but really no key picking needs to happen, I'm just meditating trying to clear my mind..
..I feel more and more that many of the thoughts I have are triggered more or less directly from things in my environment
So I feel I did fairly well at stopping thoughts, and I noticed a lot of raw sensory input coming from my body and eyelids.. Not sure what, if anything, I can do to not have that input.. Though I'm not sure if I'm meant to pay attention to it.. Probably not..
I walked and tried to clear my mind as I walked, and sometimes I'd see everything in clearer focus, and I'd think "yes, this meditation is having an effect!", and then I'd realize that I was walking under a street lamp, and everything was literally brighter.

A similar thing happens when I meditate with my eyes closed.. Some thought will take shape that seems like an alerting of my mental state, but turns out to literally take the shape of some light pattern on my eyelids, or some tension in my muscles (to the extent that those have a "shape").

meditation notes

I had been trying several forms of meditation, including "focusing on my breathing", "decomposing an object", "relaxing", etc.. but today I went back to just "trying to clear my mind"

I think "trying to clear my mind" is key, somehow, and it is by far the hardest type of meditation I've tried (where hard means worthwhile? ;) — and it also kindof combines "focusing" and "relaxing", though it doesn't involve active thoughts like "decomposing an object", so it kills quite a few birds with one stone, but not all, but I think it kills the right birds..

Anyway, I'm meditating with the goal of achieving some sort of altered state of consciousness, which I'm guessing my mind will sortof "pop" into if I clear it enough.. who knows.. but the fact that I have that goal leads to many misleading thoughts of the form "oh, this is it, just increase this thought or sensation here and that will lead to a 'pop'!", but really it's just some ordinary thought, and not actually anything interesting.. so my brain is very misleading. I've noticed this in the past, when I've tried this form of meditation before, and it's a nice challenge to keep batting down and unmasking these thoughts, in addition to trying to stop thoughts from happening in general..

..anyway, so I tried for a while. Not sure how long. And have nothing special to report except that it seems good to try and be honest with myself about what my thoughts are, as opposed to being.. er.. hopeful that any particular thought is somehow transcendent..

..I feel like whatever state awaits me, assuming there is one, will be kindof like a lucid dream (if not exactly that), and will be blatantly obvious once I'm there..

incidentally, I had abandoned this type of meditation in the past because it seemed like trying to learn not to think, whereas what I really wanted was to try and think better, but somehow I've come back to it as a first step toward thinking better. My path is roughly: I've come to believe that one of the biggest impediments to thought for me is that when I focus, I tense my muscles, and this sortof waists mental energy, kindof like running current through copper waists energy by heating the copper, and I want a less resistant or super-conductive thinking material, and somehow learning to clear my mind seems on the path toward that..

consciousness and qualia

a thought about consciousness

Gödel showed that a mathematical system can have a statement which is true, but unprovable within the system.

We seem to be in a sort of system with physical laws of the universe.

I've generally been a believer in the grandiose sense of consciousness, asserting that my subjective experience contains a quality not explainable by physical interactions among neurons.

However, I think maybe consciousness is like a statement which is true, but unprovable within the system of our universe.

But, if that's so, then I probably don't actually have a good basis for thinking that it's so. If I had a good reason for thinking it was so, that would seem an awful lot like the beginnings of a proof for something that I'm claiming is probably unprovable.

a thought about qualia

Qualia is a word that tries to point at what-it's-like to experience something, like seeing red.

My thought is simply this: it occurs to me that our subconscious does quite a bit of stuff with raw sensory data before showing it to our conscious mind. If we could "see" the path all the way from redness down to the neuron that fired in response to a photon hitting it, we would probably stop experiencing redness and say instead that we experienced a photon hitting that neuron — and if we could see within the neuron to exactly how the photon caused the neuron to fire, we would probably not have any "experience" of a photon at all, but rather a view of some physical laws doing what they do.

12/4/13

A friend pointed out once that whereas we think of species as having an ancestor, like the first duck, there probably wasn't a first duck. It would be strange for there to be a group of birds, and for one to have a mutated child that was a duck, and for that single duck to.. I mean.. it needs a mate at least to do anything, a non-duck mate, and are it's children going to be incestuous?

update: another friend pointed out that there probably was a first duck, for any definition of duck.. or possibly multiple first ducks born simultaneously. What I meant to say is that there probably isn't an "eve duck" that is the great great great etc grandmother of all ducks.

So no first eve duck.. probably.

And ideas seem to evolve, and we think of tracing an idea to it's root, but that's probably impossible too.

12/2/13

I did an observation mediation focusing on sounds. It's late, and pretty quiet, so the only sounds were soft. I noted that the difference between real sounds and imagined sounds was small. For instance, there's a road nearby, and I know that cars drive on it periodically, and I would listen for them, and sometimes I'd think I heard one, but then I'd hear a real one, and it would be obvious that I was just imagining something before.. I feel like part of recognizing very faint sounds involves imaging them.
I was decomposing an object, as a form of mediation, which to me means thinking about the object in different ways and from different angles. The object this time was my thoughts, meta, I suppose. One way I try to think about things in different ways is to relate those objects to random things. So I tried to relate my thoughts to a chair. I noted that my conception of the chair is itself a thought, and my mental model of the chair probably says a lot about my other thoughts, and the way I think in general, if someone could analyze it well enough. Similarly, I suppose someone could reconstruct the universe if they had a bottle of beer, at a particular time and place, with it's cover picture, which would probably only make sense in a world that looks like ours.
I went to bed with the beginnings of a sore throat, slept for 15 hours, and woke up without a sore throat :)
daydream: I'm tutoring a kid in math, but they're distracted, and throw a paper airplane, and so I show them how to fold a better paper airplane, and then we try to make it go further.. and eventually some math is required to progress along the path of their interest

dream math

I had thought before that I couldn't think about stuff the same in lucid dreams — I speculated that I had no "mind's eye" since my entire world was already in my mind's eye.

But that's false, it seems. I had a lucid dream this morning, and I tried thinking about the problem "x + 2 = 5", and I was able to see the problem in my lucid dream's mind's eye, and subtract 2 from both sides to get 3.

11/26/13

if you could really imagine something being different, like actually see if differently, like a full-blown hallucination — if you really saw it after just thinking about seeing it, like wondering, "can I imagine those two colors switching places?" and then your brain answered "yes", and switched the colors in it's "mind's eye" perception.. that could be really scary, like "holy crap.. can I make it go back? did other stuff change just now and I didn't notice it? do I now think that males and females, and I just don't realize it, and from now on people are going to think I'm using the wrong word, and I won't for the life of me be able to tell why?" — I feel like it would be good to be able to imagine things that well, though I'd like to be able to control it and understand it, rather than accidentally wreaking havoc..

11/18/13


I tried to form an LLC called GL519,
but was rejected because the name was too close to someone else.
I then successfully formed GL312.
Now here is a bottle of 312 beer,
which I purchased because it used the same number.
It was good.

I do several types of meditation.
One type is "decompose",
where I take an object,
like a bottle of beer,
and try to think of stuff related to it,
where it came from,
what it "means",
and so forth..

When I'm done,
I increment a number in a google doc.
So far, I've "decomposed" 14 objects.

My other types of meditation are:
"relax", where I try to relax my body;
"imagine", where I try to imagine something as well as I can, the feelings and sights and such;
and "observe/focus", where I simply keep my attention on something, like breathing, or a bottle of beer, but without trying to think of stuff related to it, but rather just seeing what's there.

I do these meditations for 5 or 10 minutes. I started with 5, and now I'm up to 10. I suppose I'll increase that number as I get better.. I feel I could probably do 15 now.

lucid dreaming

after 50 or so failed attempts — since I started keeping track — I've had 3 successes this week, 2 of which were this morning.

some notes:
  • all of these successes take the form of me counting while also letting my mind wander, but keeping a train of thought focussed on counting as a way of sort of staying awake, and at some point I fall asleep, enter a dream, and then realize I'm in a dream. So, in a sense, they're all failures of the WILD technique, since I'm not actually aware of the transition from awakeness into dreamness, but I call them successes because they happened as a result of attempting a WILD.
  • in previous attempts, I put a lot of effort into relaxing my body, so much that sometimes my arm would fall asleep, which was quite painful, and sometimes I even tried to press on after my arm fell asleep in case that was meant to happen.. however, I've never succeeded when a body part fell asleep, and I've had now several successes without even trying to relax too much, but rather focussing on my imagination, and letting it wander as it does before falling asleep..
  • I think the most crucial point may be maintaining an intent to wake up in the dream, rather than the counting..
  • In the dreams, I notice that some things are very realistic, and some things are like computer graphics
  • I can feel things in the dreams, and I can hear things, including talking, and people will respond if I ask them things. I can also see colors, but I'm not sure I've smelt or tasted anything.
  • I can control the dreams in the sense that if I want something to happen, something more-or-less like that will happen pretty soon thereafter
  • Sometimes my minds eye is in my body, and sometimes I have no body, or I'm outside it
  • although I'm pretty darn conscious in a lucid dream, I feel like there is still a difference — my current guess, though I haven't remembered inside a dream to test this, is that whereas I usually have a sort of separation between my mental world and the physical world, inside a lucid dream, I don't.. so I can't really think things through before making decisions, at least, not in the same way.. I can think a little bit.. I'll need to try having a visual thought that is not manifested in the dream world, and see if I can..
  • I'm not sure what wakes me up from the lucid dreams — I know sometimes I've purposely tried to wake up from them, but other times, I want to maintain the dream, but fail, and I'm not sure why
  • often when I think I've woken up from a lucid dream, I haven't actually — I'm in another dream but don't realize it
some notes about the dreams themselves:
  • I recall talking to my mom and sister, and then walking to go outside, but when I got to the door, some animals — a cat and a dog — wanted to go outside too, and I let them go ahead of me. While outside, I recall looking at some gnarly part of a tree, and it seemed quite realistic and 3d. Then I walked to the glass wall of the greenhouse I was apparently in and touched the glass, and I felt something poking me from behind, like a plant, and decided there was a person there instead, who turned out to be my sister
  • I was at my grandmas house, and remember thinking "this is too realistic, this can't possibly be a dream", but then tested whether it was a dream by checking how well gravity worked, and I noticed I could float a bit, which made me realize it was a dream.. I looked around a bit, and then woke up
  • I don't remember how this one started, but I remember looking at the moon, and deciding to go to it, and I was flying toward the moon, and it was getting very big, but I noticed at some point that my mind couldn't fill in the details, sortof like zooming in too much in an image, and I decided to fly back to earth, and I remember flying toward Arizona, and I knew where Arizona was, but as I flew closer, I didn't know exactly where Phoenix was, so my mind sortof skipped a bit of the transition and I landed, but when I landed, everything was textured, like a computer, being flat, and I was walking on a flat textured surface, and I decided I wanted it to be non-textured and more normal, and it became so, but I "woke up" after that.. And I was sitting at a poker table, and it was my turn, and I didn't remembering going there, so I asked with some concern "how long have I been here?", and another player said "about 15 minutes", and I asked "is this my first hand?".. I'm not sure what they said, but I went on to say "I don't remember coming here, I don't remember anything up till just now". they didn't seem as concerned as myself, but it seemed so real that I was pretty sure I wasn't dreaming, but I thought I'd take a look at my cards which might reveal if I was dreaming if they were too extreme, and I did have 2 kings, 2 queens and an ace, which is a moderately extreme hand, and also not a Texas hold'em hand, which is what I thought I was playing initially, but neither of these things clued me into the fact that I was dreaming. I gave the dealer my ace, hoping for another queen or king, and I could see the top card he gave me was a queen, but he gave me five cards total, which I didn't understand, and the game kind of veered away from actual poker from there, but I never realized it was a dream until I woke up for real (assuming that I am awake ;)

Palm Springs is hot in November.

Also, it is very windy sometimes. The other day, a gust blew my hat and glasses off.

this is the sort of buzzer you get when you're told to wait, so you can walk around.

this one is safe to touch..
I'm kindof over getting told to throw my hands up in the air
so there

~Lorde

11/17/13

I walk a mile in your shoes
now I'm a mile away
and I've got your shoes

~Kings of Leon

11/13/13

image recognition

Someone pointed me to this demo.
I uploaded some photos from my phone, and it knew what each of them was:


..well, except the black volkswagen beetle, which was my rental car in Maine — it thought it was a limo.. but that's pretty close.

Then I uploaded a picture I found of a bug:


..I would have been impressed if it said "bug", but it said Damselfly, with Dragonfly as it's second choice. I thought it was a dragonfly, and was already impressed, but when I looked up damselfly I discovered it was right. It recognized what was in the image better than me.

So that's where we're at. Apparently computers are pretty good at knowing what pictures are of..

I took a picture of this truck in front of me..


..it had this fish..


..which is like the super secret fish sign used by christians to know if other people are christians.. now, I think the cross for the eye kindof gives it away.

11/12/13

silent alarm

I meditate with a timer that buzzes when I'm done. I had written my own timer, but if it goes too long, the phone falls asleep, and it doesn't buzz. I spent a while trying to fix this issue using phonegap, but failed, so far.
So I downloaded someone else's app called "SilentAlarm" , and it had been working great, but during one meditation I didn't feel the alarm go off.

I thought maybe I had just not noticed it, so I spent the next meditation focusing on my hand holding the phone, with my eyes closed.. and toward the end, I got a text message, which vibrated the phone and I looked at it, but the time was already down to zero, and I thought it too coincidental that the alarm would have gone off at exactly the same time that I got a text message.

So, I spent the next meditation focusing on the numbers counting down on the timer, and I noticed that I had a lot of semantic associations with the numbers, and it was hard not to read the numbers in my head, so I decide to try looking at it upside down by rotating the phone — and of course Android tried to "help" me by rotating the display — and when this happened, the countdown stopped!

11/10/13


a friend emailed me a photo of myself taken while they were reading my blog,
perhaps one day someone will take a photo of me while reading this entry :)

I was looking the other way, and my friend startled me when they got into my car. They were apologetic, but I told them it was fine — being startled is like sneezing, I can't control it, and it isn't necessarily a bad feeling, to me.

11/4/13

herokuuuuuuuuu!!!

> git push heroku master
Counting objects: 5, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 290 bytes, done.
Total 3 (delta 2), reused 0 (delta 0)

-----> Node.js app detected
-----> Resolving engine versions

       WARNING: No version of Node.js specified in package.json, see:
       https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/nodejs-support#versions

       Using Node.js version: 0.10.21
       Using npm version: 1.3.11
-----> Fetching Node.js binaries
-----> Vendoring node into slug
-----> Installing dependencies with npm
       npm WARN package.json untitled@0.0.1 No repository field.
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/connect-mongo
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/express
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/mongojs
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/mongodb
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/connect-mongo
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/mongojs
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/express
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/mongodb
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/connect-mongo
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/mongojs
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/express
       npm http GET https://registry.npmjs.org/mongodb
       npm ERR! Error: connect ECONNREFUSED
       npm ERR!     at errnoException (net.js:901:11)
       npm ERR!     at Object.afterConnect [as oncomplete] (net.js:892:19)
       npm ERR!  { [Error: connect ECONNREFUSED]
       npm ERR!   code: 'ECONNREFUSED',
       npm ERR!   errno: 'ECONNREFUSED',
       npm ERR!   syscall: 'connect' }
       npm ERR! 
       npm ERR! If you are behind a proxy, please make sure that the
       npm ERR! 'proxy' config is set properly.  See: 'npm help config'
       

11/3/13

It's 12:20am Pacific Daylight Time.
I just posted a HIT on MTurk.
I go to preview it, and I see this:



..it's fine..

today has just been full of computer craziness..

when I save screenshots to my desktop, they disappear after a few moments.. as it turns out, I think Dropbox is moving them to a Screenshots folder..

Gimp doesn't let me type. I tried to create some text, and any letter I pressed was interpreted as a hotkey rather than text. I ended up copying an image of a word I wanted from the internet instead. In fact, when I opened the save dialog, I couldn't type a file name either, so I had to save my file as "untitled" and rename it in the finder..

MongoHQ doesn't support db.eval, which I've started to use heavily, so.. I'm not sure what to do about that.. currently I'm running my own mongo instance on EC2..

the fibers module for node wouldn't install from npm earlier.. the error was something like "can't find sys/types.h".. apparently it's because I upgraded to OS X Mavericks, which broke gcc, so I needed to reinstall the command line utilities..

for a little bit Sublime Text wouldn't let me click anywhere to type — no cursor would appear, and if I did type stuff, it would appear at the very beginning of the file.. eventually it started working again..

huf..

11/1/13

my ec2 instance id is i-52bad834.. hehe

10/30/13

marilyn manson

I claim that this is marilyn manson outside the "hyde" at the bellagio

I claim that this is marilyn manson inside the "hyde" at the bellagio.. somewhere


I feel like I'm the last person they wanted at this gathering, dressing as I do, and being at the level of hipness that I'm at, but my friend managed, unintentionally/serendipitously, to get on the guest list earlier in the day, and was allowed to bring one friend — me

As it happens, I actually like marilyn manson — some of his music, but mainly what I've seen of him in off-stage interviews. Alas, I did not get to meet him personally, and have a deep philosophical conversation, probably because the club was loud.

Also, he didn't actually play music there.. he was the "host", which I'm not sure what that means, but seems to mean that he was physically present.

10/29/13

software development

I need a way to record my meditation on my phone..
let's add a text area to my timer app!

and of course, I need it stored in the cloud,
so I can access it from my computer..

I could create a heroku app,
but it will sleep most of the time and be slow when I access it..

so how about google apps script!
code code code
perfect, a simple generic script that just evals whatever code I send it,

oh, and I need a thing for merging conflicts,
on the off chance that I.. um.. would have conflicts with myself..
code code code
perfect!..

um..
you know,
I could maybe just add an iframe to my app with a google doc..

um..
actually,
I could just use a google doc in a web browser like normal,
and switch over to it to record my meditation..

lines of code written: about a hundred
lines of code used: 0

droid razr maxx hd again

omg, this phone is so super amazing, I don't even bother to bring my charger when I use it as a gps in my car

10/28/13

craps

I played craps for the first time. I've heard craps has the best odds at a casino — just under a 50% chance of winning.

In fact, I leaned today that there is a bet you can make in craps that is perfectly fair, but apparently casinos limit how much money you can put on this bet.

Anyway, I invested $10 in this game of skill, and left with $15.. so that's nice. I wonder, if I invested the standard 10,000 hours into learning to roll craps dice if it would be possible to gain a statistically significant edge. I don't wonder it that much though..

Stratosphere


We had no lines at all going to the stratosphere to ride the "big shot" on a cold Monday evening :)

fox

oh, fox rent a car..
I've been renting a car for $15/day in vegas from fox.
I wanted to renew my rental,
but they said it would be $25/day.
I looked online,
and I could get a fresh rental for $10/day..
so that's what I did.

(update: just a side note, my previous rental was a chevy spark, which I feel must rank near bottom on any scale of coolness, however, it has this spot on the dash where I can just place my phone in gps mode, and it magically stays there.. this time they offered me a "better" car with no such spot, and I turned it down in favor of a spark again.)

10/25/13

SP4

Sabbatical to Pursue Personal Pet Projects

SP4

..a working title for whatever-it-is-I'm-doing..

10/24/13

Las Vegas

I saw someone win with four-tens. I swear, there are four tens in that photo. I, uh, wasn't a participant in that hand, thank goodness.

update: incidentally, I am in Vegas visiting a friend, and I always feel like I need to say "I'm in Las Vegas.. visiting a friend" so people don't get the wrong idea that I'm here to do traditional vegasy things, like, say, play poker.. and it's true, that's not why I'm here, in fact, I didn't have any plans to go to the strip at all except that my friend invited me to go play poker (though I have considered going to a show).

Anyway, I suppose at a higher level, one purpose of my year long whatever-it-is is to become more emotionally secure, and not worry about people judging me for, say, playing poker in vegas.. on that front, I suppose I'm off to a rocky start ;)


We noticed that Tegan and Sara were playing at a casio at 3pm today — we noticed this at 2:40pm, and we were 20 minutes from the casio, so we went, but they wouldn't let us in, but we watched from just outside.

Arcadia

that mountain has trees that the camera couldn't see as well as I could standing there


a trail I didn't go all the way on because I didn't think I could find my way back in the dark


the black beetle I rented in Maine


ice cream from the ice cream place I saw on my way into Arcadia — I remembered the phrase "dairy bar".. there should totally be ice cream bars — anyway, I thought it would be open late like a bar, but I got there just before it closed at 7pm. By the way, that ice cream is purple and brown, not white. It was a blackberry/coffee swirl :)

android copy paste

I'm sure everyone knows this but me, but apparently you can long-tap to highlight text and copy it, and you can long-tap where you want it to go, and an option will appear to paste it. I just copied a phone number from a web page, and pasted it into my dialer :)

10/19/13

droid razr maxx hd

my old phone's battery sucks, and more than once I found myself waiting for a ride with no way of contacting the person if something should come up.

..also, the screen had a glich where it would randomly click places sometimes..

so I got a new phone with a better battery life: the droid razr maxx hd.

and I am happy :)  — I'm using the internet from it right now, and it has been serving as a hotspot continuously for the last 3 hours or so, and the battery is at 65%. My old phone could serve as a hotspot for about 15 minutes on it's own power.

Here's the first picture I took with the phone:


it's not a great picture, but it was getting dark.. anyway, those are cows, but they're like zebras with one stripe, or spotted cows with two giant spots.

flight pricing

I plan to go to Las Vegas next, so I'm looking at ticket prices.

Now, another place I've considered going is Denver,
so I noticed when this flight had a layover in Denver:


Note the price is $225.
Now, here's the cheapest flight too Denver, and it's not even non-stop!



meditation notes

I had been doing 5 minute focus-on-my-breathing meditations, and keeping count. After about 17 of them, I upgraded to 10 minutes. I can keep focussed pretty well, and I notice more about how my body breaths — for what that's worth.

Sometimes I have thoughts when I meditate, and I wonder if I should write them down or dismiss them. The verdict is still out for me. Usually I dismiss them, hoping they'll come back later if they're good, and sometimes I write them down if they seem important enough.

I've been trying to lucid dream still — since I've started counting, I've tried 41 times, with 1 short-lived success (well, partial success, I had tried to enter a lucid dream from a waking state, but instead I entered a lucid dream by realizing that I was dreaming.. that is to say, I feel asleep during my actual attempt).

One thing that happens when I try to lucid dream is that my body gets numbish, particularly my arm, and I can't figure out if my nerves are being pinched in some way, or if that's supposed to happen, because it's the same position I sleep in, and I don't have trouble waking up with my arms asleep (generally).

In any case, I've read somewhere that I will feel like my body wants to shift position, but that I shouldn't — I should keep still — and I try keeping still, but ultimately move. I think I did try keeping still for a long while once and it still didn't work, so I don't know, I should try again I suppose..

..something that seems a bit more promising is trying to imagine walking around with my dream body, feeling my dream body, feeling my imaginary environment, etc.. somehow this seems on the path toward becoming comfortable letting my mind detach from my physical body, as it seems to do in dreams.

10/18/13

just saw this from my cab in new york the other day


health insurance

I'm a believer in having health insurance. My sister stayed one night in a hospital, and all they did was run tests — nothing was found wrong. This cost about $16,000.

But I left my job, so I need to find my own.

I applied for a Health Net plan on eHealth, and was rejected.. they haven't told me why.

So.. I need to try again. I'm applying right now for "Obamacare" through the Covered California website. I have a few complaints.

First, the standard password issues, except I had a password that complied with all their written requirements, and it still rejected it — it said the max was 16 characters, but it appears the actual max is less than that.

Second, this statement: "Would you like to see if these programs are right for you? Make sure you select ''Yes'' and get the help you need to reduce the cost of your family's monthly premiums or co-pays." — this seems like spam.. is it spam? or is it the whole point of the site? I definitely want to see a price and what I get in return, that would help me know if each program is right for me..

3. It says "County Code is Required - Please select your county code". There is no box highlighted. There is no box for selecting a country code. It turns out the phone numbers must include a country code. (update: that's "county" not "country".. adding a leading 1 to my phone numbers did get rid of the error, but I suppose it shouldn't have)

4. I entered an address. It says it doesn't match some other address it found somewhere else that I didn't type. The other address is, well, wrong — in particular, it doesn't include my unit number, and the word "Ave" is on a separate line from the street name — where did they find this other address? And will they reject my application for not being the same as it? I think I'll stick with my correct address, and hope for the best..

5. I've had to enter my date of birth twice so far..

6. under marital status, there is "Single" and also "Never Married". "Single" is the top choice, as if it would be the most common, and presumably have the usual connotation of, well, not having gotten married.. I guess I'll choose "Never Married" since it is more specific.

7. "did this person have a medical expense in the last 3 months".. oh god.. this sounds dangerous.. surely having a medical expense recently is bad for getting health insurance. Now, I did have a wisdom tooth pulled out, but I paid for it out of my own pocket, and I chose when to have it — I mean, if I knew they'd ask this question, I would have chosen to have it later, it's not as if I needed it.. also, it's a dental expense, which is typically not covered by health insurance anyway.. surely if they can sell me "medical insurance" and not cover dental, I can say I got dental work without incurring a "medical expense"..

8. "does this person have or has this person been offered affordable full coverage health insurance for January 2014?".. one of the options is CORBA. I have been offered CORBA, however, it is like $500 a month. I don't consider that "affordable".

9. the confirmation screen shows the information I entered, except my phone number.. it forgot my phone number. I suppose that's fine.. I don't need them calling me..

10. total income for this month.. hm.. technically I worked one day at oDesk, but I got paid that day, and they also paid me for all my outstanding vacation days.. so I earned more than I usually would.. sortof. I didn't earn that money this month though, surely the earning of the money happened previously. Now I could mark my pay for the 1 day I work, but I assume this "how much did you earn this month" thing is supposed to guess how much I'm likely to earn in a month going forward..

11. hm.. now they want me to sign this under penalty of perjury — very serious stuff, they say — hm.. I check back through and notice that it asks if my home address is the same as my mailing address. Well.. sortof.. I don't have a home. My mailing address is the last address I plan to ever have.. maybe I should call them.. part of me says this is a bad idea: "don't ask permission, ask forgiveness, etc.."..

..so I took the risk of asking permission, and I got it!

I asked if I could mark my home address as the same as my mailing address, even though it isn't — since I'm homeless — and they said yes.

I asked if "dental expenses" counted as "medical expenses" and they said no.

I asked if I needed to count the 1 day I worked for oDesk this month, and they said no (I should put my projected gross income).

excellent..

..oh, after all that, I get insurance, but it doesn't start until next year. what about the rest of this year?.. I hope I don't almost-but-not-die :(

(update: although my insurance ends this month, it turns out that I have 60 days to elect COBRA coverage, and it is retroactive to November 1st, so I'm effectively covered for free for 60 days.. that's nice.. and strange.. and it almost gets me to January 1st, missing only December 31st..)

10/16/13

To do "business",
I filed for an LLC,
with a random name:

GL519 LLC

..which, it turns out, is taken.
well, it's "too close" to some other name.

10/14/13

Yesterday was a rough day.
It was a travel day,
where I left one Airbnb place to go to another.

I was making up my bed to leave,
and I saw this..


(update: this is an artist's rendition
provided by a reader who was concerned
for the welfare of other readers
seeing the actual spider on my bed,
which can be viewed by clicking here)


..which frightened me,
and I stopped.

I called the owner to let them know,
so they wouldn't continue making up the bed and get bitten by this beast..

anyway, that wasn't the rough part.
the owner bravely transported the huge spider to the safe outdoors on a paper towel.
that's not a euphemism for killing the spider.
they carried this thing live.
it could have just crawled onto them.

anyway, after this, my train was about to leave,
so I ran over to it,
and made the train,
but realized I had their key..

my first attempt to return the key was to get off at the next station and take a train back,
but I didn't know when one would come,
and my trusty 4g internet was not working,

so I called the owner,
and they said I could overnight mail it back.
a sensible idea.
so I got to Boston,
on Sunday,
and went to a Fedex place,
which was closed,
and went to another place,
which was also closed,
and called a place that was open,
and they said they didn't pick up mail today,
so I could give it to them,
but it would sit there until tomorrow.

I thought about taking a taxi back to return it,
and called a cab company,
and they said they could take me there and back for $190,
which seemed too expensive..
I could go back myself and sleep in a nice hotel for that price..

so I decided to drive it,
with a zipcar,
but there was a run on zipcars,
but I found one in Harvard Square,
and I took a taxi there..
but it was gone,
and I went to look at my reservation,
and it was for 3 hours later than I said it should be,
something to do with the website thinking I'm on San Francisco time,

and it wouldn't let me cancel without a fee,
so I called zipcar,
and they canceled it without charging me,
and found a car that was available nearby,
and asked if I wanted them to reserve it for me,
and I said "yes, grab it!",
and then they said "oh, someone just barely grabbed it.."
and I said "is there any zipcar in the city?"
and there was, but it was an hour away,
which was too long,

so I called a friend,
and he was willing to drive me,
a very good friend,
but he had a time constraint,
which was that the Red Sox were playing,
and he had tickets,
with a girl,
which seemed important,
but we had plenty of time,
at first,
but he had trouble picking me up in Harvard Square because there was a festival of sorts which was slowing traffic, and completely blocking random streets,

and when we finally were on our way,
we started to see lots and lots of traffic heading back into Boston,
presumably for the big game,
so I told him to drop me off at a train station,
so he could get back in time,

at this point,
whereas I had planned to meet my host in Maine at the train station at a time when they would be there anyway,
and drive with them to their house,
instead,
I would arrive in Maine at 1:45am,

but my gracious host in Maine said they would leave the door open for me,
and told me where my room would be..

anyway,
I managed to return the key and headed back to Boston,
again,

and it wasn't so bad..
I watched the Red Sox game in North Station,

on a side note,
my train was to leave at 11:20pm,
and I glanced up at the schedule board to see this:


..it says the current time is 11:39pm,
which is after my train would have left,
but it was wrong,
and corrected itself soon after:


anyway,
when I left,
at the top of the eighth inning,
the Red Sox were down 4 points,
though my friend is from Detroit,
and I was kindof rooting for them on his behalf,
though I would not have said that to anyone in North Station,
(my friend was actually at the game with a Tigers shirt on, which seems brave)

..turns out a lot happened in that game after I left..

the train wasn't so bad.
ticket's were $20 to Maine,
and for $28 I could get "business class",
which I opted for to see what it was like,
and it was pretty comfortable.

I had a power outlet and a chair,
which for a digital nomad is about all that's necessary..

..and when I got to Maine,
a very kind taxi driver drove me to my Airbnb place,
and the door was open as promised,
and I had a nice bed waiting for me,
with a towel,
and a cat..








your hair
...
from it's privileged position
so close to your brain
it could see all the things
that you couldn't explain

~The Blow



10/10/13

some of my best thoughts come when I'm trying not to think at all

I'll be trying to meditate and clear my mind, or focus on my breathing, and thoughts intrude, but they're good thoughts.. they try to lure me away thinking "oh, this is a good thought, I should stop meditating and write this down"

meta-ly, I had this very thought while meditating, and although I didn't stop the meditation, I did "hang on" to the thought so that I would remember to write it down..

darn thoughts.. surviving and reproducing in my mind..

10/9/13

research tomatoes

I've been asked to review papers, which I hate, because I feel like I'm writing a lot of BS when I could just be saying which papers are better than others.

But I feel bad declining reviews for that reason, because "it's the best system we've got".

So, I want to build a better system: Research Tomatoes

The idea so far is a monthly journal of new research where everyone who submits needs to rank-order at least 3 other submissions, say. And the journal just shows all the papers in rank order at the end of the month.

I think it would also be best to make it non-archival, where Research Tomatoes doesn't own any publication rights, so that people can submit there without ruining their chances of submitting to some top-tier conference (until Research Tomatoes becomes a top-tier conference).

And then when people ask me to review papers, I can say "I will review this paper if you submit something to Research Tomatoes, or at least rank order 3 papers on that site".

10/8/13

dump of ideas and things I'd like to do from pima.. trying to clear it out to focus more on "need to do" stuff.. since it stresses me to have so many items in there..

  • hotel where you pay by the hour, not the night.. could be used for storing stuff during the day, or taking a day nap
  • make mate-with-just-knight-and-bishop solver — probably exists, but would be fun to do
  • movie recommender using the OkCupid idea of asking questions (where some people would answer questions on behave of the movies)
  • rather than getting noise cancelling headphones, it may be better to get gun-range ear-muffs and put ear-buds inside them — this would be great on planes too where they want you to turn off stuff during the first 10 minutes.. I tried a pair of 3M Optime 105's, and they were pretty great, and apparently cheap (like $20)
  • build language learning tool where you paste in text from a target language, and it reads it to you using Mac OS X's speech-to-text for that language, and also shows you the google translation for each sentence, and also the word-by-word translation for each word.. and see if this helps
  • make PIMA online, so I can access my todos on my phone
  • try having someone hire me to hire someone else — I think the right way for people to use services like oDesk may be with "middlemen".
  • try using html5 workers
  • try to understand plank lengths better: does a plank length change length if you go close to the speed of light? 
  • apparently I can put a thing on my phone, in the lock screen, saying my e-mail address, so someone can give me back my phone.. maybe I should do that..
  • create a version of node.js that is completely fiberized, to try and sell the idea of using fibers (the current fibers module forces a bit of ugliness since the "main" thread is not a fiber, whereas it could be
  • create a meditation game to keep track of doing various meditations, with merit badges.. this probably exists already..
  • consider lasik eye surgery
  • try running as meditation — that is, I find it boring because it's hard to think, but maybe it's good that I can't think if I'm trying to do some meditation where the goal is to not think.. though I am sortof thinking, in the sense that I'm feeling pain from running..
  • try OpenKeyval to make a multiplayer game hosted on github
  • create mturk competitor that pays by the hour, rather than by the task, where the hope is that it is easier on requesters to set an hourly wage this way, and easier on workers to know how much a task pays.. the problem of course is people being slow, but maybe they won't be if people aren't anonymous
  • create an app that let's a group of people vote anonymously, for committees to use for decision making
  • for language learning, maybe it would be good to hear lots of different people pronounce the same word, especially for words with sounds that are hard for native English speakers to detect, so that they can maybe see what things are consistent between all the pronunciations..
  • I'd love a service that could get a DVD from Netflix, physically put it into a computer, and allow me to stream the content.. is there a reason this wouldn't be legal?
  • someone suggested going to Thailand, specifically the island of Ko Tao.. consider this
  • make phonegap app to send emails to myself (so I can spam pima with even more things that will end up here)
  • make phonegap app to set alarms more easily

10/6/13

I have great friends.

10/5/13

I had written some code
so people could answer a survey question,
and the link was sent out,

and I started walking home,
and I realized there was a bug,
where it wouldn't acknowledge to people that they had answered,

so I pulled out my macbook air,
and turned on my cell-phone hotspot,
while standing on the side of the road,

fixed the bug,
committed the code,
and pushed to heroku

I felt like a true digital nomad

10/4/13

in talking to people, and talking to myself, I find that there is little difference between what people want the universe to be like, and what people believe the universe probably is like.

when I have philosophical conversations with people, I'm starting to just ask "what do you want the universe to be like?" — I think this causes less issues of people worrying about how to justify their beliefs, especially since some people have pretty good reasons in their subconscious for why they believe something, without being able to articulate those reasons.

10/3/13

oh hell
oh hello
oh hell
oh hello

10/2/13

I pay $91/month for my phone,
which includes an 18% discount for being a student,
which I'm not anymore,
and Verizon has finally decided to re-verify my status.

So soon I'll pay x * (1 - .18) = 91..
wolfram alpha, please solve that for me..
x = $111 / month.

painfully,
45% of that price is for not-my-data-plan,
and 50% of my data-plan-price is just to let me use it on my computer,
which I could circumvent with technology,
but I've been afraid to..

in any case..

I'm thinking about just having internet, and no cell phone plan..

it looks like Google Voice + Talkatone may work..

notes:

  • want to try Brackets code editor — can write plugins in JavaScript
  • a friend let me try his 3M Optime 105 noise reduction headset,
    • pros: works great, doesn't require power, cheap
    • cons: doesn't play sound, large
    • consider for airplanes and thinking in loud places

my mac has been begging me to upgrade the OS for a while.. I think I'll let it do that..

9/25/13

Ed Chi called me a digital monk..

something to do with me minimizing my possessions,
and wanting to wire my brain to another human..

:)

9/14/13

I want to do some things more,
so I have a place where I record how many times I've done them,
and when I do them again,
I add one to the count..

my brain is so easy to please

I drew this on a postcard a while back, and just scanned it (I've been scanning a lot of things lately in preparation for moving.. that is, scanning, and then throwing away, to possess less stuff)..


result of today's hacking — a board that let's you make legal chess moves*:


*it doesn't support queening a pawn

source code

another successful lucid dream :) — and this time I had not read something about lucid dreaming just prior to succeeding, though I believe I did focus on it a lot..

..and I wasn't able to repeat it right after, though I felt very close, but I was distracted by some noises..

one note:
when I lucid dream..
and I have a thought, like, I want X to happen..
and I have an idea in mind of what X is..
there's a delay..
and something inspired by X does happen,
but not exactly X.

I want to live in a place like Dagstuhl
great common spaces
meals are provided

this is my favoirte room,
on the top floor


I want to just have a conversation with someone in that space

based on my novel idea that ideas evolve, and can't really be attributed to anyone, I decided to have made a video series about it, as someone else:

http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

update: going through old papers, I just scanned some notes about this:



brain teaser

going through some old papers, I found a picture which was the solution to a brain teaser I had forgotten about,

it goes like this,

can you hang a picture,
with the string over two nails,
such that removing either nail will cause the picture to fall?



how I managed to write a thesis



this is a todo list,
items like "10 thesis" mean "work on my thesis for 10 minutes",
items like "sc2" mean "play a game of StarCraft 2"

8/28/13

work notes:

problem: how do we get a timestamp for the most recent sunday at midnight?
solution:
var x = new Date(new Date().toDateString())
var lastSundayAtMight = x.getTime() - (1000 * 60 * 60 * 24 * x.getDay())

...
I had a pleasant walk into work today.
I saw some colleges from work on the way.
They had gelato.
They offered me some.
It was surprisingly flavorful — mint that reminded me of my mother's mint garden.

[spoiler alert]

I came up with a solution to that problem involving soldiers coordinating when to fire — I solved it first on paper, but I wasn't certain it would work, so I implemented it in javascript

the problem turns out to be the firing squad synchronization problem

my solution is messier, but essentially the same as the simple/slow one depicted on wikipedia — apparently it can be done faster using black magic

8/27/13

I said before that my roommate told me a cool puzzle,
involving soldiers coordinating when to fire their guns,

and I came up with a solution that seemed optimal,
I could prove it couldn't be faster,
which involved sending a signal all the way down the line,
and then back to the front,

but,

he says the soldiers are only allowed to have finite state machines for brains..
so they can't count..

the thought crossed my mind,
of some lobsters in a pot,
pulling each other down,
as they try to climb out,
screaming: please give us a policy to save us from ourselves!