A Whole Body Workout in 7 Minutes

Fri May 10, 2013 by brett

Lifehacker has a infographic giving research-based workout exercises that will work your whole body. The best bit is that you apparently can do the whole thing is 7 minutes (30 seconds per exercise, with 10 seconds rest between them).

The exercises are:

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Wall Sit
  3. Push Ups
  4. Abdominal Crunch
  5. Chair Steps
  6. Squat
  7. Tricep-dips
  8. Plank
  9. Running in place, lift knees high
  10. Lunge
  11. Push-up and Rotation
  12. Side plank

Apparently your discomfort should be around 8 on a scale from 1 to 10.

The original source is The American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Journal.

A Poignant Account of Depression

Fri May 10, 2013 by brett

There is a poignant account of a person falling into depression over at Hyperbole and a Half. It is beautifully illustrated too. The author explains how you can’t externally induce happiness in someone who is depressed. This really struck home for me, as someone who is obnoxiously upbeat. There is actually a light at the end of the rather long blog post.

Slaves, Robots and Labour

Thu May 9, 2013 by brett

There is an interesting post over at pieria.co.uk called “The Financialisation of Labour”. Frances Coppola compares the changing economic incentives between a company making a capital investment in a slave and an employee. She then suggests replacing the word “slave” with the word “robot”.

Interestingly, although Frances Coppola sees the structural problems in the labour market, she believes that companies potentially will be investing in both employees and robots, whereas I only see highly skilled people being employable in the future (with all the social problems that will bring).

The "Barefoot" Craze

Thu May 9, 2013 by brett

I just bought some Merrell “Barefoot” style shoes. They have practically no heel so are supposed to be better for you as you walk more naturally. I thought they were interesting because they are very lightweight and good for travel. We’ll see how they go.


Desktop Spectrometry Kit

Tue May 7, 2013 by brett

Yesterday I found something super-cool - a desktop spectrometry kit (for $40, which is even cooler). A spectrometer is a device for determining the composition of chemicals using light. There is a public database over at SpectralWorkbench.org, where you can upload your spectrographs.

Finger Induction of Lucid Dreams

Fri May 3, 2013 by brett

There is a method of inducing lucid dreams that is getting a lot of love on Reddit at the moment. The FILD method is described in this post, but the technique can be summed up as follows:

  1. Go to sleep.

  2. Wake up when you’re very tired, perhaps using an alarm.

  3. Start tapping two fingers very gently, using a minimal amount of energy. Keep tapping and let yourself drift off to sleep.

  4. Do a reality check after a few minutes.

The Technological Unemployment Problem

Fri May 3, 2013 by brett

Jon Perry has written an interesting post listing some strategies for dealing with the Technological Unemployment Problem.

The Technological Unemployment Problem is the issue of technology replacing humans to the point that there is massive unemployment.

My own feeling is that there will be an increase in unemployment, which will mean a change in society. I think that a number of the proposed strategies will happen:

  • We will become a “Frugal Maker” society. Food will be grown using efficient techniques such as aquaponics. We will be using machines to produce goods for ourselves. People will use technology to reduce their discretionary spending.

  • People will also be augmenting themselves with technology in order to become more productive. You can see this already with smartphones and tablets.

Unfortunately I think that these changes will be accompanied by wide-spread social unrest.

Bitcoin and the Byzantine Generals' Problem

Thu May 2, 2013 by brett

One of the main problems that Bitcoin solves is how to stop double spending. This is a hard problem to solve in a distributed currency, and is the reason why a lot of early digital currencies relied on a central server for storing the transaction history.

The creator of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto describes how Bitcoin solves the double-spend problem in this email. It’s an extremely elegant solution, and Satoshi presents it in an easy-to-understand way.

Mnemonic Tagging

Thu Apr 18, 2013 by brett

OK, here is an idea I had this morning: It’s called “Mnemonic Tagging”. The idea is that you create a list of keywords (or tags) that you use to mentally file mnemonic visualizations. For each of these tags you imagine something that represents the tag, followed by a chain of mnemonics that relate to that tag.

For example: Let’s say you want to remember the equation for Radiated Power in Physics. We create a mental tag for “Radiated Power”. This might be the image of a circus strongman lifting a radiator. As this relates to gravitation, We might create another tag called “Gravitational Waves” (maybe the image of someone falling to Earth while they are waving frantically).

We then associate those mental images with the mathematical mnemonic for that particular equation.

We potentially want to associate a number of mnemonics with that one tag, so we could visualize the tag mnemonic as being at a specific place, and the associated mnemonics as being stuff around that place.

Anyway, another work in progress!

Mnemonics for Maths

Wed Apr 17, 2013 by brett

I have been studying maths for quite a few years now, but I still find it a struggle to remember various formulas/equations, especially when starting a new topic. I’ve been thinking about developing my own mnemonic system for math symbols to help me memorize equations easily.

I would need to relate various mathematical operators to something else that is easy to visualize. The bracketing of expressions is problematic, you would need to have a way of visualizing a collection of things that the operator acts on.

I think that having a mnemonic system for maths would help internalize the ideas and models within a domain. It’s obviously still a work in progress!