Polyphasic Sleep

Answer by Anonymous:

Is your sleeping pattern irregular ( or rather unconventional)? Want to sleep less?
Here is one of the greatest sleep hack…

There is no defined biological reason why we sleep so much. In fact, you could go so far as to say it’s a major disadvantage in our evolutionary process.

Imagine how much more you could accomplish in your life by sleeping less.

You may know that sleep is divided into five stages. Polyphasic sleep concentrates on the fifth and most important stage of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM.) This is the most beneficial stage of sleep; it is when the brain is most active and is when dreaming occurs. REM is the only stage of sleep that is actually required to survive and function normally. The interesting part of all this is that you only spend 1 to 2 hours in this stage of sleep every night. The other 6 or so hours spent asleep every night are seemingly wasted.

Polyphasic sleep cycles basically cut out the other useless phases, giving you an additional 4 to 6 hours of time awake.

The trick involves tricking your brain into immediately entering the REM stage of sleep, skipping the other four. Everyone has experienced this at some point in their life.

If you’ve gone a long period of time without sleep, and take a nap, you will find that you immediately start dreaming. This happens because your body is trying to catch up on lost REM sleep. The premise of polyphasic sleep then, is to train your body to enter REM sleep at multiple set times during the day with short 20 minute naps. If you are a fan of lucid dreaming, you will enjoy this even more because you will pretty much automatically become lucid while you sleep, without trying, multiple times per day.

There are six different ways to accomplish this, which I will outline below.

Monophasic Sleep
This is the most common way that almost everyone sleeps. However, it is completely unnecessary and only popular because you have been raised to sleep this way and are now conditioned to it. It involves sleeping 8 hours, with 2 hours of total REM sleep.

Polyphasic Sleep Cycles

This is where the fun starts. There are five commonly accepted polyphasic sleeping cycles, and none is better than the other.

What you need to do is pick what works best with your schedule. The Uberman, for example, would not work for a 9-5 worker. The siesta might be more effective in that case. The five different cycles are listed in order of difficulty, with the Siesta being the easiest, and the Uberman being the hardest.
The Siesta
This sleep cycle is actually pretty common around the world in warmer countries such as Latin America, where the temperature is so hot during the middle of the day that people retire to take a short nap after lunch. It involves 6 hours of core sleep and one short 20-30 minute nap. You will find in these countries that most shops close during the early afternoon, as everyone is ‘busy’ taking their siestas!

The Everyman (2 nap, 3 nap, 4 nap)
The Everyman is basically like a climbing ladder that details how much many naps are required depending on how much core sleep you want to cut. Each nap shaves off an astounding hour and 40 minutes from your core sleeping time.

The Uberman
The Uberman is only for the most hardcore polyphasic sleepers. It involves six evenly spread out naps every four hours and completely eliminates any core sleep you may have needed before. It is the most difficult cycle to get used to, but once accomplished, you sleep for two hours a night, freeing up the other twenty-two to do whatever you want.

Important Things You Must Know
Do NOT oversleep or skip naps. If you oversleep you WILL throw off the entire schedule and feel exhausted for up to 24 hours. If you skip a nap (by more than a couple hours with the Everyman, or by 30 minutes with the Uberman), the same thing will happen.
Tips
• Make sure you have a period of free time (up to a month) to adjust to the cycle.
• The first week or two is the most difficult part when trying to adjust to any of these cycles. Beat this phase without oversleeping or skipping naps, and you will have successfully hacked your brain.
• You must have something to fill up all your newfound time with, else you will get bored and find that falling asleep may be the easiest thing to do. Find a big project and work on it throughout the adjustment phase.
• Enjoy your newfound freedom. Don’t worry about negative effects as people have done each cycle before, and after being examined by doctors after years, and been found perfectly healthy. In fact, people only stop these cycles because they find it is difficult to run on a sleeping cycle which contradicts the entire rest of the world. Who knows, one day we may all be Uberman sleepers!

View Answer on Quora

What does meditation do?

Answer by Shaurya Chopra:

This answer received 250+ upvotes on quora.

Which room would you prefer, this one

or this one,

To put it simply it makes your mind calm.

Experiment: Just close your eyes and try to focus on your breath for only a minute. You can’t do it. You will fail.

You will realise how often we are bombarded with useless thoughts which are about past or future. It is like stuffing a room full of clothes which are useless to you? Don’t you want to get that stuff out, and put in something meaningful or useful in the room? Sure you want to do that.

Meditation is just having more control over your mind so that you can focus more on present instead of worrying about future or past, make use of your time and do something productive.

Awesome stuff will happen after you do meditation: I have experienced I have more control over my anger, I can connect abstract thoughts, understand intricate ideas more easily (as I have less internal distractions). I make better decisions.

I can quit bad habits and get rid of addictions.

Day is more productive.

More mental clarity

You can’t write an exam while a rock band is playing, you can’t think when you are bombarded by useless thoughts. Meditation allows you to establish more control over your mind and you can silence it at will and you can let yourself focus on important stuff.

To learn meditation, just refer to a couple of wikihow articles, and nothing more is needed, you don’t need to follow/read/watch any of buddhist monks or babas, or join classes. Keep it simple. Just do breathing exercises, focus on breath, do it every day, results will be evident in the first week, be persistent and cultivate the habit, you will master your mind.

Always remember:
Mind is a perfect slave, but a terrible master.

So conquer your mind, control your mind and don’t let it control you.

View Answer on Quora

How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?

Answer by Oliver Emberton:

I'll answer your question, but first I need to explain all of human civilisation in 2 minutes with the aid of a cartoon snake.

Humans like to think we're a clever lot. Yet those magnificent, mighty brains that allow us to split the atom and touch the moon are the same stupid brains that can't start an assignment until the day before it's due.

We evolved from primitive creatures, but we never quite shed ourselves of their legacy. You know the clever, rational part of your brain you think of as your human consciousness? Let's call him Albert. He lives in your brain alongside an impulsive baby reptile called Rex:

(Rex is your basal ganglia, but that's not very catchy so I'm sticking with Rex).

Rex evolved millions of years ago – unsurprisingly enough, in the brains of reptiles – and his instincts guide and motivate you to this day. Hunger. Fear. Love. Lust. Rex's thoughts are primitive and without language.

Here's the bit you're not going to like. Rex makes the final call on all your decisions. Every. Single. One.

We like to think of Albert as "our true self" – the conscious part of your brain. He's the talking, reasoning part. When we decide to go to the gym or write that term paper, Albert made that decision.

Rex does listen to Albert. Like a child, he will do a lot of what he's told, as long as he wants to. But if Rex prefers to crash on the sofa to watch Survivor and eat Cheetos, that's what you're going to do.

The incredible ascension of mankind that surrounds us is largely possible because we've developed systems to nurture our reptilian brains, to subdue, soothe and subvert them.

Much of this system we call "civilisation". Widely available food and shelter take care of a lot. So does a system of law, and justice. Mandatory education. Entertainment. Monogamy. All of it calms Rex down for long enough for Albert to do something useful – like discover penicillin, or invent Cheetos.

Now let's look at your procrastination.

You're making a decision with your conscious mind and wondering why you're not carrying it out. The truth is the real decision maker – Rex – is not nearly so mature.

Imagine you had to constantly convince a young child to do what you wanted.  For simple actions, asserting your authority might be enough. "It's time for dinner". But if that child doesn't want to do something, it won't listen. You need to cajole it:

  • Forget logic. Once you've decided to do something, logic and rationale won't help you. Your inner reptile can be placated, scared and excited. But it doesn't speak with language and cannot be reasoned with.
  • Comfort matters. If you're hungry, tired or depressed your baby reptile will rebel. Fail to take care of yourself, and he'll wail and scream and refuse to do a damn thing you say. That's what he's for. Eat, sleep and make time for fun.
  • Nurture discipline. Build a routine of positive and negative reinforcement. If you want a child to eat their vegetables, don't give them dessert first. Reward yourself for successes, and set up assured punishments for your failure. Classic examples include committing to a public goal, or working in a team – social pressure can influence Rex. 
  • Incite emotion. Your reptile brain responds to emotion. That is its language. So get yourself pumped, or terrified. Motivational talks, movies and articles can work, for a while. I use dramatic music (one of my favourite playlists is called Music to conquer worlds by). Picture the bliss associated with getting something done, or the horrors of failing. Make your imagination vivid enough that it shakes you. We use similar tricks on children for a reason: "brush your teeth or they'll fall out".
  • Force a start. The most important thing you can do is start. Much of Rex's instincts are to avoid change, and once you begin something those instincts start to tip into your favour. With enough time, you can even convince Rex to love doing the things he hated. There's a reason we force kids to go to school or to try piano lessons.
  • Bias your environment. Rex is short sighted and not terribly bright. If he sees a Facebook icon, he'll want it. It's like showing a child the start of a cool TV program immediately before bedtime. Design your environment to be free from such distractions: sign out of instant messenger, turn off notifications, turn off email. Have separate places for work and fun, and ideally separate computers (or at least accounts).

Once you know what to look for, you'll start to recognise the patterns and control them.

There's an impulsive baby reptile in your brain, and unfortunately he has the steering wheel. If you can be a good parent to him he'll mostly do what you say, and serve you well. Just remember who's in charge.

For more like this follow my blog or stalk me on Twitter or Facebook.

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Where can I learn to build advanced robotic equipment from scratch?

Answer by Shaurya Chopra:

The internet is the perfect place to start.

If you are just starting out buy an arduino or wait for the arduino robot. If you don't have a basic background in electronics or programming get a Lego NXT Mindstorms which is easy to program, requires no background, you can further use robot operating system (ROS) OR LeJos (java), while you are working on nxt, learn about microcontrollers, transistors and other basics. Then move on to arduino or fabricate your own microcontroller board.

EDIT: I see that you have programming experience, if you are good with electronics go buy an arduino uno/mega. If you have ideas springing and want to design and build robots fast go for NXT. One downside of arduino is that if you want to structure your robot, you need to get framework from elsewhere, whereas NXT comes with lots and lots of parts which can help you design robots.

As the question description has been modified, I am answering specific to the description, ignore the text above.

EDIT 2(Answer specific to modified question description): Robot Operating System is your friend. Start by learning SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping).

What is SLAM?

Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is a technique used by robots and autonomous vehicles to build up a map within an unknown environment (without a priori knowledge), or to update a map within a known environment (with a priori knowledge from a given map), while at the same time keeping track of their current location. Source: Wiki

LIDAR can be used for terrain mapping

Lidar (also written LIDAR or LiDAR) is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laserand analyzing the reflected light. The term lidar comes from combining the words light and radar.[1] Source: Wiki

Udacity artificial intelligence might also help.

Pathway to make application specific robotic equipment:

1. Decide what kind of a robot will it be. Get clear on kinematics, decide if you want to build Mobile wheeled robots, quad rotor (flying), or a bipedal robot.

2. Decide which hardware and software platforms will you be using. Make a list of sensors, actuators and softwares to purchase.

3. Build a digital design. Make a primitive prototype. Then buy the stuff required to build that prototype. (refer to step 2) Visit Robot Structural Analysis Professional for simulations, designing etc.

4. Assemble the robot, dynamically modify your primitive design and make changes accordingly.

5. Get the right IDE (integrated development environment) for coding and testing. Work on kinematics and perception first. See if movement is co-ordinated, else implement PID (Proportional Integral Derivative algorithm) for motion stabilisation. Calibrate sensors accordingly and keep testing.

6. Now implement SLAM and put the LIDAR to use. Use filters accordingly and test.

Also, check out the ROS Navigation stack:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Iu2t0d3xo
Visit navigation – ROS Wiki

View Answer on Quora

Road less traveled(Self composed poem)

Looking forward to the road less traveled,
The one with rough terrain and gravel;
All choose the common path of drudgery,
The destination ostensibly promises luxury;
That faithful man who follows his heart,
a dreamer, a winner, a man who is set apart;
He has courage to choose the road less traveled,
In his path are great mysteries yet to be unraveled;
As he hustles along the road,
Leaving all his worries abode;
He possesses nothing but unprecedented valor,
Fear has no choice but to surrender;
Choice is what makes the difference,
It is something that defines our existance;
-Shaurya

Automatons Initialized

So the era of automatons has initialized and I anticipate the inflation of robotic industry to be a very influential phenomena this century. Automatons are basically automated machines equipped with sensors, in short autonomous robotic systems.

One of the primary objectives of these robots/automatons is to automate, dull and mundane to complex tasks. Now here is an interesting prototype design that comes from Richard Dudley. Richard has an interesting implication for an automaton, that is to deploy an automaton to pick up strawberries.

There is more to this system, it not only distinguishes between strawberries and the leaves, but uses a pair of microwave transmitter and a receiver to identify ripe strawberries by scrutinizing the water levels which determines whether the strawberry is ripe or not and uses an articulated mechanism to pick up these strawberries and assorts them accordingly. Automation not only increases the level of accuracy in the task but also holds the scope of increasing execution of this process.

Why I am writing about self help topics.

Let’s take up the example of chess. Every grandmaster had his first game in his life. He was as imperfect as any other novice player. He might lose as often as any other person, but the lines that separate him and other novices is the skill of observation, and many a times, introspection. Whenever he loses, he adopts the strategy of his opponent and learns from his mistakes, accumulation of this experiences, observations and introspection make him better at choice. I introspect, I observe, I try to reckon the mistakes I made, and try to improve upon them, then I run through certain thought experiments through which I find certain ways to improve my mistakes. I put them into action, certain solutions may not work but others may make a big difference, after separating wheat from chaff, I try to help others, by blogging my solutions.

Make and break habits

“First we make habits, then our habits make us.”

Habits form us, they make us who we are. At times we realize that we need to make or break certain habits, but most of the times we are not successful in doing so, that makes us think it is difficult to change habits. I have a few ways that can help you to control your days, and not let your days control you.

1. Identify: In order to make or break a habit, you must first identify which habit you must work upon. Jotting it down is recommended, it has great effects on your subconscious mind.

2. Make/Break: List 2 habits for instance, one that you want to make and one that you want to break. It really helps to replace bad habits by good habits. For instance, you do not want to waste time surfing the internet aimlessly, you want to break internet addiction and you want to make reading a habit. Whenever you think about going to the internet, instead pick up a book. Even if you read one or two pages, it really does not matter, what matters is you redirect your energies where they should be.

3. Take baby steps: Most of us get overwhelmed by the goals, or tasks we set for ourselves. We need to break down such tasks, and plan them so that these small steps are accomplished easily. Psychological, it does make us feel we got a lot of work done.

4. Reward: This step is mandatory. Period. Set a reward for yourself after you successfully follow your healthy habit, believe it or not, it gives us positive reinforcement, results are more evident in dogs. To teach them tricks you give them treats, and they readily transition into the new phase you want them to be in. Do note that this does not have to go against what you are trying to accomplish. For instance if you are trying to eat healthy, don’t get red meat or high carbs as reward.

5. The ultimate solution: If all above still does not help you, make it a point to meditate everyday.  On how to meditate, follow this link, http://www.wikihow.com/Meditate. It helped me beat internet addiction, exterminate negative thinking and made me more productive. It directly affects the neural networks of the brain. It has innumerable health benefits also.

Find your passion.

“The purpose of life is, a life of purpose.”

Being passionate is the key to life. After I realize what passion means to me, I am happy I find it, and my life would have been worthless, if I did not have passion. Yet most of the people do not find passion in their life time.

So here are a few ways, suggestions and tips:

  1. It is never too late: No matter what your age, condition and circumstances are, it is never too late to find passion. Just start for the life changing hunt.
  2. So that’s how you start: Start out by jotting down what all you would love to do (or are interested to do), in all your free time, if you think you are too busy, just write down that list with the mindset, that you are paid for a month, and you have all that time, what would you want to do. Beware of distractions, nobody can have passion for watching television or pointless web surfing. The list might include, coding, photography, cooking, painting etc. Do all of this whenever you are free instead of indulging in unproductive tasks. Even if you are not good at any of the things, but have even a slight interest, do it. Remember, Even a teacher was once a student. Start small and stay consistent, sometimes things don’t have quick rewards, be persistent and patient.
  3. Have 20 interests, and one of them will be, your passion. (Prof. Larry Smith, in a T.E.D. talk)
  4. Publicize: This is really important to do, do not brag, but just publicize. Your well-wishers will appreciate, critics will show you how many mountains you need to climb, some may show you the next step or join you in your pursuit.
  5. You can be passionate about multiple subjects/things: You can be passionate about only one thing in your life, I consider this to be myth. Think whether you really love the thing or not, know how to differentiate between an interest and passion. And most important of all, do not lose focus. Try connecting your passions. If you are into arts and computer, try animating, or creating digital art.
  6. Be yourself: You need not be doing great feats about something you are passionate for, just do it for the love of it, it might be something you are known for, it might be something that transcends you in a state of ecstasy, it is something you live for.

If you are still indecisive of what you need to do, just pick up multiple activities you need to engage in, in order to find your passion, and of course, your choice totally depends on what kind of a person you are, here are just a few things you might want to pick to get you started.

1. Sports

2. Chess

3. Culinary

4. Blogging/Writing

5. Coding

6. Playing instruments

7. Singing

8. Dancing

9. Photography

10. Arts

11. Storytelling/Acting

12. Comedy

13. Fashion designing

14. Making websites

15. Inventing

16. Science

17. Philanthropy

18. Poetry

19. Vlogging

20. Reading

I want to tell you about I found my passion and my case was a bit different than usual people. The best thing happened to me was that I started out early. I started using the computer when I was one and a half, When I was about 6 is realized that I was exceptionally good at it and I found my passion. I kept delving into it, I was intrigued by computers so much that I started networking and tweaking when I was about seven years old. Mom’s jaws dropped down, when she got to know I changed the hard drive of my computer when  I was in second grade. I also started coding using .NET framework at that time. Networking got me into ethical hacking. I was keen to know more about getting networks secure by finding loopholes and vulnerabilities all by myself. I won an ethical hacking competition at my school and was awarded for hacking my school server. A big change came in my life when I was about 11 years old, I got into robotics and since hardware interested my equally as software did, this was a turning point in my life. I have been loving robotics and computers since then, and I have decided to do that for all my life, and living my life for the love of it, so finally I know what I am passionate about. However I do have multiple interests other than these things, they are photography, writing, blogging, reading, culinary, instrumental music, neurology, philanthropy, poetry and rocket sciences. After I developed all these interests, I never ever felt bored in my life. Now I know, my life is worth living.

I would conclude by saying that passion is one of the most powerful forces in this world, that drive humanity to great heights. Everybody is blessed with innate abilities and talents, which might be untapped. Passion is so powerful, it might make you forget about your sleep, food, surroundings to a greater degree, you must control it and redirect all your energies to it, to see stunning results.

All the best for your ventures.

Gamification to Addiction. Expanding their business, killing your cognition?

That ineffable success of facebook, all that is behind addiction of interactive applications on a computer. Why are teens hooked up to games for hours and hours, and going a bit off track, I am going to manifest what I think why people are more likely to indulge in activities such as watching television, movies and exposing themselves to other visual and/or auditory media, and the affliction of all these perils. Interested? Read on

Let me first introduce you to this alien term, “gamification strategy”. Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts, as suggested by wikipedia. One primary reason for addiction to anything, from liquor to a website, is that once you do a certain task, classified as an addicting thing beforehand by other people and why you have a natural tendency to be addicted to that thing is that there is real-time feedback and instantaneous positive reinforcement. To understand this concept, consider comparing 2 things, studying and watching a movie, the reason why you tend to remember a movie, than a concept from your textbook is that, a movie engages your brain more than the text, your perception involved in a movie is visual, auditory and emotional mental involvement, whereas in a text, what is your engagement as compared to the former example? Give yourself some time to ponder upon this question.

The human brain retains what all is interesting, that’s what you might think. I would say, ostensibly, this might be the case, as it appears to be, but, retention totally and entirely depends on the fact that, you are more likely to retain a certain thing, when you are involved into out, incorporate all your senses into that thing, that is the key point of retention, visualize it, try to feel it, if you can’t, try to watch someone else do that, find certain mind intriguing applications of the concept that you are willing to learn. The gamification strategy most of the times, results into a result that is not desirable at all, people are spending less time to introspect themselves, relative to the amount of time they are spending doing unproductive tasks involving the use of the gamification strategy. One example, is that of the facebook like button, you see that not only on facebook but now-a-days on various other websites, maybe on flyers and newspapers too at times, you can write a status on facebook, people hit the like button, you are more likely to write pointless things as your status, just because it will receive more likes, than to right something on a serious note, that might not gain as much attention as those things do. In order to be more productive, understand the gamification strategy, the instantaneous positive reinforcement that is tagged with the strategy, these things make you repeat that specific task more often.

On a positive note, this strategy has been useful to make people enjoy positive tasks such as on education websites, and are now being incorporated to certain productivity applications as to-do and focus applications. This makes you crave to do those positive things again, to a varying level, depending on the level of involvement, which in most of the cases is a good thing.

There is a lot buried deep inside you, just introspect your thoughts, striking observations are going to pop out in a while.