There is a blog post here about How to Fall Asleep Fast. The technique comes from the Second World War and making WW2 pilots get enough sleep. A person called Bud Winter was tasked with training pilots to fall asleep quickly. The trick is to physically relax and then mentally relax. If you can keep your mind clear of thoughts for 10 seconds, apparently you will be asleep. 96% of pilots who had been trained on this technique by Winter were able to fall asleep within two minutes or less.
Recently I’ve started studying maths using a Jupyter notebook. What I do is to review my coursework, and while I go through each theorem/proof, I code it up in the IPython notebook and experiment with the maths. I’ve found it a good way to come to grips with complex ideas. I’m currently studying Dirichlet Characters, and am finding the technique invaluable.
The key to fast improvement is to iterate as quickly as possible and have good feedback loops built in from quality sources. This is why sketches, outlines, designs, and rough plans are so important. The goal is gather as much feedback as possible, and then to iterate quickly. When enough information about the optimal solution is gathered at a particular level of granularity, then drill down into greater detail. It’s essentially the gradient descent algorithm applied to life.
“My attention span is so poor today that my train of thought is now a replacement bus service.”
Last night we went to the British Library to see an event called “Sounds of the Sky”. It was fun being in the British Library and seeing some of the rooms, but the event wasn’t that great. The first part involved lying on our backs in a big room while various audio recordings played through some speakers overhead. The audio tracks – mainly interviews – were good, but the sound itself was a bit muddy and neither Helen nor I could make out some of the dialog.
I just tried the Deep Music skill on Alexa. It generates AI music – which sounds pretty much as you’d expect. It’s a bit repetitive, but not too bad. This is an area of Machine Learning that will get a lot better in the near future. So, my AI voice assistant can now play AI generated music at me!
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work on automating my life. It’s been a lot of fun! I’ve been using Python and Jupyter a lot to create scripts to make myself more productive. I have been customising my notebook to create an optimal work environment. I’ve been setting up my Emacs environment to make it more effective. It’s been nice having the space to do this!
Last night I binge-watched 6 episodes of Agents of Shield on Netflix! I hadn’t watched the series for ages, and so I picked up from Season 3. I absolutely loved it!
Some days I feel flat and completely unproductive. It’s a struggle to get anything done. I find that time-boxing helps. Today I found that going for a run really helped. This morning I felt totally discombobulated. This afternoon after the run, I had a lot more focus. I still need to ensure that I get the right things done though.
The more I use Deep Learning, the more I am amazed by it. Some things which would be hard to do programmatically are easy with the right Neural Network. It feels like we are just starting to scratch the possibilities.