Your mom has been quiet lately, but she did tell me about this: Uberman's Sleep. This is a form of polyphasic sleep (which is just to say that you sleep more than twice in a day). Have you ever tried this? I had a few months where I slept twice each day. I worked 2nd shift at DEC in Augusta. We worked from 2pm until 10:30pm with a supper break at 6. You'd get home about 11 and still feel like you had juice left for the day. Sometime around 2am, you'd finally crash, but then it seemed natural to get up again at 7. Then, after getting some stuff done in the morning, you'd have an early lunch and want an hour or so nap before getting ready for work again. Weird schedule.images

Uberman's Sleep is much stranger than that. With this plan, you're only awake for 3.5 hours at a stretch. This grants you six 30-minute naps in a day. Your total sleep time only amounts to about three hours per day. Proponents say they have more energy, feel healthier, and have more vivid dreams. I bet they do. I think after a few days of that schedule I might have a really vivid dream of smearing a giant confession on a wall with my own blood (it would turn out that it wasn't a dream). 

I've never understood people who don't sleep well. I can fall asleep anywhere (airplanes, couches, yoga studios, meetings), and even if I wake up prematurely, I can fall back to sleep within seconds. When I was a kid, I made a little study of sleeping and dreaming. Each night, I would play the same casette when I went to bed. As soon as I woke up, I wrote down the last part of the song I remembered hearing. Then I figured out how long it took me to fall asleep each night and recorded the times in a journal (why? probably because I hadn't hit puberty yet). Then, in '87, I read a cool article in Omni magazine about Lucid Dreaming (POWER TRIPS: CONTROLLING YOUR DREAMS). I studied this technique. I went to the library and found every book I could on the subject. I invested more time learning about lucid dreaming than any subject ever presented in school. 

You might have to go back and start this when you're a teenager, but it turns out that learning to control your dreams is pretty easy. Eventually, you start to question reality at every turn, and can recognize a dream very quickly. As soon as you recognize that you're dreaming, you can begin to control the dream. You can fly, teleport, speak to the dead, whatever you want. It's really interesting–I recommend it.

I think I'll go take a nap.

RubberTireLast week your mom told me about a movie -- "Rubber." This movie has it all:

Psychokinesis

Sentient Auto Parts

Trashy Motels with Swimming Pools

Mock Contempt of the Proxy Audience

Shotguns

Dyn-O-mite!

A Sentient Tricycle

Fourth Wall Annihilation

It was written and directed by Quentin Depieux, whom you may remember from absolutely nothing. The description sucked me right in. SPOILER ALERT! Don't read the next line if you want to be surprised when you sit down with your big bowl of popcorn.

RubberHead"A sentient tire rolls through the desert, using the power of its mind to make small animals -- and human heads explode."

Did you read the spoiler? You might as well; there's no chance in hell that you're going to watch this movie. I did though, and I enjoyed it. It's refreshing to see a movie where the director wants you to love him while he's telling you that he hates you. Not you, actually, he might not hate you. He only hates the dumb audience, the too young audience, the too intellectual audience, the greedy audience, and the demanding audience. Assuming that you don't fall into one of those categories, perhaps he doesn't hate you.

I watched it on Showtime, but I see that it's now on Netflix (watch instantly or disk) as well. Check it out if you like. You won't. Say hi to your mom for me.

 

Recently, your mom told me about fish. Specifically, the fish on the carpet under this coffee table. What happens is this – you interleave different phases of fish swimming and then you have a slatted coffee table so you only see one "frame" of the animation at a time. Then, when you walk around, the fish appear to swim. It's just a really well-planned optical illusion.

spockmoire

What I like so much about this is that it could have been made at any time. I don't know when this technique was first invented, but there's nothing terribly complex about it. They could have made awesome animated carpets back in ancient Egypt.

spockconsoleThe oldest example of this animation that I can remember was from Star Trek. Spock had an awesome display where the pattern constantly shifted with black and white waves coming out from the center of a circle. This is another example of a moiré animation. There must have been an ancient example.

My favorite inventions by Leonardo Da Vinci were his clockwork lions. He made three of them for French royalty. They did things like rear up and then open, to display lillies. The most complex one could walk, swing its head and tail, and bare its fangs. These were all built in the early 1500's. I can hardly imagine the time and creativity required to build such a thing. 

In the late 80's, I got an early graphing calculator. I spent hours and hours and hours programming that thing to make a game on it. My first game was artillery. You'd take turns with your partner trying to figure out the angle and power to shoot a cannon over a mountain and hit the other person's base. Compared to all the computers we had lying around, writing this game for a calculator was like trying to dig a canal with a teaspoon, but it was a fun diversion. I wonder if Da Vinci could have pulled it off?

 

There was an interesting story the other day that AIDs kills cancer. It doesn't -- that was just the sound bite way the story was marketed around the intersweb. Your mom told me about it here.

Well, another interesting story resurfaced this week (from 2008) about how cancer kills AIDs. It doesn't -- the story was about a guy who got an intense treatment for leukemia, and the treatment cured him of AIDs. Neat, huh? Anyway, the reason the story came back up was because it looks like the technique has been franchised to other patients. Neat, huh?

 

Your mom probably taught you to respect authority. She probably also taught you to trust Officers of the Law. What's interesting is that you should never, under any circumstances, answer any questions the police ask you.

That probably seems like something guilty people say. You might think that you have nothing to lose if you're absolutely certain that you're innocent of any crimes. You might think it's your civic duty to cooperate immediately with the noble men and women who've sacrificed part of their lives to keeping the peace. 

The guy in this video will explain to you why you're wrong. He analyzes a ton of scenarios (more than you've thought of) and shows you how in each case you should not talk to the police. Even if you're innocent. Hell, especially if you're innocent. Don't believe me? Watch the video.

 

 

There's a reason that nobody is vegan – it's too hard.

But I'm starting to think that there are a bunch of reasons why people should eat vegan most of the time. 

  1. The_china_studyHealth: I recently watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix (it's available to watch instantly). They talk a bunch about The China Study, and by the end it's pretty easy to believe that animal proteins aren't helping anyone. Our bodies are complex, hard to understand, delicate machines. So, of course, there are a million theories as to why they don't work as well as everything thinks they should. But, because of the complexity, many of these theories that seem to contradict each other might simultaneously be correct. Assuming you get the right balance of carbs, fat, and proteins, is there a reason you shouldn't skew towards unprocessed, plant-based nutrition? At least you'll finally be getting all the fiber your doctor thinks is so important.
  2. ForksOverKnivesMorality: My dogs and horses are no less part of my family than any human being. I know you've evolved to be carnivorous, but aren't there plenty of other instincts you've suppressed because you want to be a member of society? So why is it okay to raise animals to kill, or raise animals to enslave for milk and eggs? This sounds like I'm passing judgement; I'm really not. I don't have a moral objection of my own. I've certainly heard objections from other people though. Like I said, my animal friends are part of my family, but I don't care that much if two people on the other side of the world kill each other, and it doesn't bother me if a lion eats a zebra or an Australian eats a kangaroo. The moral argument makes me wonder though – do you have a moral objection that you're not acting on?
  3. Nausea: I guess this reason doesn't apply to a lot of people. I used to eat a lot of meat – probably more than my share and your share put together. Something happened though, and I had to stop. A strong aversion to meat started with me when I began having symptoms of an appendicitis. I gave up meat several months before I had to get my appendectomy. In fact, I read about meat aversion in one of the pamphlets at the hospital and thought, "Oh! I have that!" But now, it seems so obvious. Why aren't more people disgusted by meat? It's really hard for me to understand now. 

Anyway, your mom told me about vegans, and I thought you should know.

 

I bet your mom already told you about this too, but just in case... Did you know that AIDs kills cancer? It doesn't.

T-cells can cure cancer though, if you have enough of them and they're specially trained to attack it. Turns out that the best way (found so far) to alter the T-cells is to modify them using a form of HIV as the carrier for the new cancer-fighting genes. Here's the article in the NYT

WmLudwigThe guy they tried this on is named William Ludwig. As far as I can tell, this is NOT the same William Ludwig as the drum guy. Those drums are awesome though. I wonder if the cancer-fighting Ludwig can play the drums at all?

If you want to know more about the treatment that Ludwig received, I recommend this cartoon at xkcd.

First, kudos to your mom for being so aware of the latest trends. This week she should have told you about ListeningRoom.net. You listen to music on your computer, right? While you work? C'mon, everybody does, it's okay. Well, Abe has come up with a great way to listen socially. With ListeningRoom you create a room and then upload your own music. After you get a nice selection of trax up there, send your link to your friends. Guests are totally allowed; you don't have to go create yet another login if you don't want to. In fact, if you don't sign in, it creates a name for you.

Once you're connected (either by creating a room, or joining one in progress), you can upload mp3's from your library. If multiple people are contributing, the site alternates by playing a song from one person and then another. This is a great opportunity to sort your iTunes by "Time" so you can guarantee a lot of time for your own stuff. I like to add "A Passion Play" by Jethro Tull, which clocks in at 44:58. Rush and Yes also have some great 20 minute toe-tappers.

As your song plays away you can watch as David U. Libby frantically uploads all of his Scandinavian-emo-waif songs in the hopes that one of them will get played this hour (it won't). There are a couple of rules: you can't play more than two tracks in a row from the same album, or three in the same hour. Something like that, anyway, I wasn't really paying attention. You can figure out the rules for yourself as you play around with it. Unlike some things, it's fun on its own, but best when with others.

Anyway, your mom told me about that and I thought you should know. By the way: say hi to your mother for me.

Here's something your mom told me about – Google Hangouts. I know, this is old news, but I figure that if she hasn't told you about it, maybe nobody has.

Here's what you do:

Hangout
  1. Get someone to invite you to Google+ (which is just like facebook, but nobody you know is on there, so it's a ton less self-centered)
  2. Create a circle (there is no "naked clown pics" circle by default, so if you want one, you have to make it)
  3. Start a Hangout (it's dirtier than it sounds, but not dirty enough)

That's it, you're done. Now you can video chat with tons of people for absolutely no reason at all. Why? Why not?

It works pretty well. When someone talks their image jumps to the large screen. The audio sounds good. I hear that facebook/Skype is trying to play catchup as quickly as possible. You'd better use it now, while people still care.

Remember animated GIFs?

They used to be terrible – mostly used to show that your site was under construction.

underconstruction_animated

Now they're frequently used to bring you cat-oriented lulz.slideintroastrollp1 Well, fortunately, someone came along and decided to turn this useless technology cul de sac into an artform.

Check out the animated GIFs by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. They're featured in an article on Gawker, and they explain the process on The Atlantic

Your mom told me about this back in April, but I figured you were still too busy to check it out so I thought I'd remind you. Here are a couple that I ripped off so you wouldn't have to bother to click.

hair

car

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