Comment by Puredoxyk on Reason and Intuition in science · 2019-12-20T13:15:43.229Z · LW · GW

You may find the biography of Bertrand Russell and his life's work very interesting, I think. He set out to prove that mathematics is in fact the basis of all things, and that all things could be discovered and understood through pure logic if only our logic system was good enough. And yet, he failed, and his master work wound up proving the opposite: that in fact something else, something un-logical in its nature, has to underlie mathematics and logic. It sort of drove him crazy, and makes for a fun story as well as perhaps a good warning for those who would cut out what you're calling Intuition from the process of discovery.

If you have lots of extra time and want to go further, looking into kungfu may also be fruitful: it's framed very differently, but as a path of knowledge, kungfu insists that would-be discoverers of its secrets must both practice and experiment rigorously, and make themselves into good instruments of intuition and the reception of flashes of insight. As a style of self-education, it's unique and has a lot to offer about using those two elements - intuition and reason - together, imo.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Micro feedback loops and learning · 2019-05-26T12:48:44.245Z · LW · GW

I have an example of this! I'm also in total agreement with you about what makes the app cool, and it's partly because I immediately related it to the following.

I'm a martial artist, and I teach newbies regularly as part of my training, and a friend I was teaching told me I had to read a book about tennis, which *really* confused me. (I also thought at first that he meant Infinite Jest, but he didn't. :P) The book is The Inner Game of Tennis, and it was a huge hit in the 80's that spawned a lot of useless, ignorable, X-For-Dummies-type spinoffs. But the original is one of the best books on learning I've ever read period, and it both confirmed and revolutionized everything I knew about learning and teaching martial arts (and swimming and singing, which are also interests of mine -- hello, friend!).

The book is by a dude who trains tennis players, who's played his whole life, and who had SILLY successes with total noobs and never-been-athletic people, and finally wrote down how he was doing it. And there's a ton of great detail in the book about specific methods and tiny brain things that, for the most part, it's very easy to translate out of tennis and into a million other things (the tendency for spinoffs to happen makes sense here, at least); but the main crux of it is almost exactly what you're describing with the app: Give the brain "what it feels like to do it right", and then let it constantly compare what you're doing to that, in real-time, and adjust all the little sub-skills however it needs to to get the right result. Everything else is just sauce; Practice is the brain making that in-the-moment comparison and learning to adjust for it, and Practice is everything to developing skill. Thus, by focusing directly on training people to feel the difference, in the now, when hitting the ball, he trained them in the one fundamental of tennis that would give them the fastest possible access to actual expertise: How to Practice.

Anyway, I think I've said enough; you should definitely check out the book if you're interested in further information on this lesson about learning; and I'm super geeked that there's a singing app that uses this type of feedback, it sounds like, to excellent effect! I'm also equally annoyed that it isn't for Android, but that's not your fault. :) Thanks for the awesome post!

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T15:16:37.603Z · LW · GW

That's been pretty much exactly my experience as well, with the possible addendum that I work really hard to make sure I can sleep as long as I want if I notice that I might be getting sick, since if I catch it early, doing this is VERY likely to prevent the illness altogether.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T14:10:39.477Z · LW · GW

Studies, no. I wrote a book (, if ya'll don't mind me dropping that link -- if it's verboten, I'll remove it and sorry) that compiles as much as I've been able to get ahold of as far as information after a decade of running a site and communicating with people on the subject, and it has chapters that address your other two (very good!) questions. The short answer is: AFTER adaptation, polyphasic sleep copes with events (including sickness, travel, and "just life") just like monophasic sleep does, only in a compressed / hyperefficient manner. DURING adaptation it's super strict and will get thrown off by these, but once it's well-ingrained, things work surprisingly similarly -- just shorter.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T14:06:40.275Z · LW · GW

I've developed a hilariously pavlovian response to songs I used for alarms at some point or another -- I can still hear "The Authority Song" by Jimmy Eat World and, if I'm sitting or reclining, feel a physical itch to stand.

I only use a very quiet beepy thing anymore, or my phone if that's what I've got, and it usually doesn't even go off before I wake up (I deliberately set alarms a few minutes later than I'll wake up so that I have a chance to get up and pre-emptively shut them off), but for a while using songs was a fun way to play with the ol' brain!

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T14:04:02.368Z · LW · GW

I've been some kind of polyphasic for a solid decade (more, but with breaks that bring it to about that overall). I use an alarm if my schedule is changing -- i.e. I'm doing a day of Uberman to get more done; or I missed a nap and so am sleeping 4.5h tonight instead of 3 -- but even then I often don't need it. Once I'm on my regular Everyman 3 schedule for a few days straight, no alarms are necessary, including popping right awake at 4am feeling great. I only use alarms for naps anymore if I want to read when I wake up, so that I don't get sucked into my book and waste too much time; I wake up so reliably after 20 minutes that my friends have used me as a timer.

I love being made of programmable firmware. ;)

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T14:00:59.827Z · LW · GW

I would hope that I'm not the only source that insists on limiting or eliminating driving for at least the few really hard days of an Uberman adaptation, yeah. Also, you know, don't perform surgery or operate giant cranes. Just in case we needed to add that. ;)

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:59:24.456Z · LW · GW

Based on my experience and that of people I've spoken to, I would say dancing is fine, lifting is not. I can swim almost infinitely, do martial arts, and even climb moderately with no effect on my sleep; but those things are not tearing muscle generally. Things like lifting and heavy climbing, which tear down / build muscle -- and insanely calorie-intense things like whole days of skin-diving; I learned that one the hard way -- will necessitate extra sleep, often even after adaptation (just like they do when you're monophasic); but during adaptation, they could really screw you up by preventing you from sticking to the schedule. Stay in shape by keeping your cardio and fitness activities, but cut out the serious limits-pushing training for those few weeks, and plan to take some extra naps or a longer core when you do them afterwards, and polyphasic sleep and athletics seem to get along just fine.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:55:28.203Z · LW · GW

Oo, so would I! I don't think I'd be willing to be the guinea pig for that though... ;)

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:54:49.427Z · LW · GW

I disagree as well -- my optimal sleep time is 19 minutes, and I take 1-2 to fall asleep, so I set my alarms for 23 and usually wake up before they go off.

I'm not sure this can be formulated in a way that "works for everybody" though. Aiming for 20 minutes of sleep and doing the picky adjustments of a minute here, a minute there after you're adapted seems the most sensible to me.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:53:30.014Z · LW · GW

Thirding! I LOVE my sleep masks.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:52:54.929Z · LW · GW

Thirded; I'm curious about that too.

As to brainless activity, cleaning tasks are my favorite. Stupid, picky, clean the shit out of EVERYTHING cleaning tasks. Polishing the silver. Dusting the ceiling. Organizing the socks. Toothbrush-scrubbing the corners. I was lucky enough to stumble on that my first adaptation, and for every one since, or even when I just miss sleep and know I'm going to have a tired night, I make a big list of picky cleaning tasks and just plow through them while I'm tired. They're physical enough to stay awake for, repetitive/stupid enough to not think during, AND they make you feel really great about how you spent the time afterwards!

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:50:13.443Z · LW · GW

Very good points. Thought I've written a stupid slew on tricks for this sort of thing, my favorite but-I-can-overcome-any-alarm hack is the one I (in one of many moments of silliness) called the Boomstick method: Deeply ingrain a habit of doing some set of activities immediately upon waking. For instance, for a solid month and/or numerous short naps or pseudo-naps, respond to an alarm by leaping up, doing ten jumping jacks, running to the bathroom, slashing water on your face and then reciting a [something]. Then stay awake for a good period of time, and do wakeful things for the first while. You can, in fact, get your body to read a) the alarm as a signal to start that routine, and b) that routine as a signal to flip all the hormones etc. to "I'm awake" position. It's tough to develop, but overall works like a charm.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:46:44.811Z · LW · GW

Oo, nifty info, thanks!

I too seemed to retain my ability to fall asleep quickly, no matter what schedule I'm on. But then again, maybe that's because a) I've trained myself so thoroughly to nap and/or b) if I can't sleep pretty quickly, I just get up, no longer having the patience to lay in bed. ;)

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:44:44.900Z · LW · GW

Thank you for the "she". ;) Also, I agree that simply taking data from willing polyphasers means a higher likelihood of your baseline being abnormal for one reason or another, the presence of already-screwy sleep definitely among them. However, the research has gotta start somewhere, and I'm thrilled that voluntary groups are starting to form -- it's a great step, and LW are just about the perfect people to be on it IMO. <3

(I did "just name it", but before I started writing about it in '00, there was no data other than Dr. Fuller's, which was really only recorded / disseminated in a tiiiiiiny Time Magazine blurb in the 80's; and Dr. Stampi's work on naps generally, which is excellent but limited and doesn't discuss polyphasic sleep as a lifestyle. I didn't know this at the time -- I thought I was just writing my experiences with something that surely other people had written more about elsewhere...which I mention to excuse the rather slipshod quality of my early work. It's why I tried so hard to improve the book and to make my site more comprehensive later...I hope I've made up for some of the early lapses.)


Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:39:35.455Z · LW · GW

I agree with you -- I even tried to develop a variant on MM that would be more conducive to allowing sleep to happen if it could, while still being a useful state to just chill in if it couldn't:

Maybe I hit that balance, maybe I didn't; but I do think that the point is well made that MM itself isn't necessarily the best thing for this purpose.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:36:55.485Z · LW · GW

Actually, I wrote a refutation of it years ago. It's more vitriolic than I'd write if it were today (but then again, today I'd just say that my book contains the refutations for most of this in much more polished form), but it did get answered.

Here's the refutation:

And a follow-up discussion I thought was pretty helpful at the time:!topic/polyphasic/_R4-kdZbpJI

Comment by Puredoxyk on Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps · 2013-07-27T13:32:17.206Z · LW · GW

Of course, 12 naps means twice the opportunities to oversleep...

I'm fascinated by the idea of using extra naps during adaptation, since it is a natural response to want them, and the people I've known who took them deliberately didn't find them harmful (unless they overslept, which is a definite risk if one is already exhausted). I never allowed for them myself.

Comment by Puredoxyk on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-02T17:31:19.252Z · LW · GW

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." -L. Wittgenstein

(Apologies if this quote has been in a previous month -- I'm a new user to LW -- but I had to include it since a) pretty brevity and b) so perfect for the Internets!)