Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Plan So Far

I've made a plan that I am trying to follow.  Here are the routines I am trying to implement followed by the reasons I am doing them.  You may wonder how I am fitting all of this into my everyday life.   There are only 24 hours in every day, and I want at least 8 hours of sleep.  That leaves 16 hours to get all the things done I want to get gone.  On the days that I work that takes another 8 hours.  With eating and other incidentals taking about an hour and a half to two hours.  This leaves me about 6 hours in a day, which I am ashamed to admit that was about the amount of time I used to spend watching tv, playing computer games, or just reading articles online.  By cutting down my media consumption I have made more than enough time to get all the things done that I want, and in the end after I am done I still have some spare time to peruse the joys of the internet.

Every Day

Pedometer:  I am mostly tracking my exercise with a pedometer.  It can give me better metrics on how my excessive is going.  My pedometer app links up with my exercise and food tracker.  

   Measure Weight:  I want to be able to see this change over time.  There is also been evidence that just by taking your weight down every day without changing any other habits will lead you to loose weight.  As you are conscious of what your body is doing you tend to make slightly different choices without thinking about it.

   Food Journal:  By tracking my nutrition with a food journal I can better estimate how my weight loss is going to go.  I also need to be tracking the protein I eat so I can maximize my potential muscle growth.  Also, like tracking weight, by paying attention to what you eat and recording it you will naturally make slightly different decisions.

   Walking (about 30 minutes):  Having good cardiovascular health is very important.  If I am going to live to see the singularity then I need to get this into shape.  Once I loose enough weight I will begin jogging.  For now I am walking so I don't damage my hips, knees, or ankles (I have previously injured my ankles and knees fairly severely).

   Stretching (about 30 minutes):  I am not very limber, and this should help rectify that.  It will also help me with the aches as I get back into shape.

   Music practice (about 30 minutes between singing, trumpet, guitar, and piano):  This is a little right brain creative exercise   I also love music and it helps me stay centered.  I will probably only end up doing the singing and the trumpet, but it is very possible that I will take a day to do some of the others as well.

   Math review (Khan Academy one lesson a day):  Left brain exercise.  I also want to remember all the math I have learned so far in my life and maybe learn a little more.

        "Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes- I mean the universe- but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it is written.  This book is written in the mathematical language... without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth." ~Galileo Galilei

   Memorize something (10- 15 minutes):  Right now I am memorizing little inspirational quotes.  I figure having inspirational things floating around in my head can only help.  This exercise is just to keep my brain limber and plastic.

       "Never memorize something you can look up" ~Albert Einstein 

   Planning:  This daily planning is to make sure I have time the next day to get all of this stuff done.  This should only take about 10 minutes.

   Dual-n-back training:  This is one of the only things that has been proven to increase IQ.  20 minutes will leave you mentally exhausted. The way it works is that you must track 2 things, a letter and a position of a square on a board.  They both will change (or stay the same) every second or so.  You have to remember if the letter or position or both were the same as they were two iterations previously.

   Meditation (about 30 minutes before bed):  After the Dual-n-back training this will be to just calm and center my mind.  Daily meditation has been shown to decrease stress levels and increase the ability to stay detached from problems.
   Sleep tracking:  This is mostly just a segment of my quantified self exploration.  A large portion of the important information is keeping track of things that may be changing how well I sleep.  Factors like caffeine before bed, exercise before bed, eating before bed, what kind of noises there are, what temperature the room is, what position did I sleep in.  


   Weekly Planning:  Keeping track of any one time adventures, activities, or other anomalies that may come up will mostly take place during my weekly planning.

   Measure BMI:  I am using an electrical impedance test for this.  I am only tracking this weekly because it is very variable on a day to day basis depending on hydration.  To track trends I will have to do it at a consistent time with a consistent hydration.

   Input weekly data into spreadsheets:  Right now this includes my BMI and daily weight. 

Every Third Day (2-3x a week)

   Weight Training (upper body and core):  Currently my legs are fairly massive.  They've had to cart my over-sized body around in all of my activities.  So they are strong and large.  My weight training is to gain some strength and size in my upper body and core to match my lower body.  After I've gotten things about to the proportions I want I will switch to an endurance and plyometric (speed/agility) muscle training.

Once a Month

    Long term planning:  This is where I will track my long term goals on weight and overall health.  Looking back at the last month will help me tweak the plan for the month going forward.

    Body Measurements:  I am currently measuring all of the major muscle groups by circumference.  I will be able to track long term muscle growth and fat loss with these measurements.  This along with BMI will give a good indication of my body composition over time.

Friday, April 12, 2013


As I am taking more and more onto my plate in this transition I am trying to find ways to automate what I can in my life.  I have identified several areas where the technology is there.  As I automate different processes I will post what and how so that others can simplify their lives.

Things I will be automating:

    Bill payments
   Credit card payments
   Money into savings plans

Online presence
    Cross posting to different platforms
    Better organizing of email

Quantified self
     I found a great site called RunKeeper that connects with my sleep tracking, food journal, and fitness apps     and graphs out the metrics.  I'm glad that I don't have to keep that all on a spreadsheet of my own.

I'm at a loss for what else I can easily and cheaply automate at the moment.  I think my first DIY project will be an automatic cat feeder machine with Rasberry Pi.  Other than that I would love some input on what to automate next.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I've started tracking my sleep using an app called Sleep Cycle. The way it works is by utilizing the motion detecting in my iPod to track movements during sleep and then estimates how deeply I was sleeping. While I would love to use a Zeo (which tracks brain activity), the Sleep Cycle app dose have some features that I like.

It tracks mood upon waking and other factors like caffeine and exercise that can effect sleep. It also has a built in white noise maker.

My favorite feature is the alarm. You give it an interval during which you want to wake up. It then will pick a moment to ring during that time when you are coming out of a deeper sleep so that it is more of a natural awakening.

Just using once has me really excited to have more gentle mornings.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Planning to plan

There are so many planning apps.  They all seem to have four star ratings, and non of them do exactly what I want.  The ones I have tried out don't have very intuitive interfaces and it takes several steps to add an event.  I want one that works like a paper planner (which Walmart and the dollar-store don't currently stock) that will let me plan out long term and short term things.  I would also like one that has a place to insert metrics and track them.

For now I will be planning in a spiral notebook until I get something that I like better.  Feel free to recommend something in the comments.

On a good note, the Livestrong food journal/ calorie counter is really easy to use.  It doesn't track everything that I would like it to track, but it does most of it.

What is Transhumanism?

I realized that most of the people that I know closely don't know what Transhumanism is.  So here is my very diluted and basic definition.  Transhumanism is the use of technology and knowledge to help improve the human condition.

If you want to know more, there are large communities online that philosophize about what new technology trends may portend for the future of mankind.   They also have basic documents that explain the basics of what their group considers to be the core of Transhumanism.

Humanity + (H+) has this called the Transhumanist Declaration.  It can be considered the founding statement of what transhumanist believe and aspire to.  It is very open ended and focuses on the responsibility of using technical progression wisely.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA), which I belong to, has this to say in their Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation.  

The end goals of both of these groups are for humans to use technology to transcend our current state.  There are many different opinions on how it is going to play out and what methods will be used, but most agree that technological changes are accelerating and compounding.  As knowledge itself is not good or evil, it is up to us to choose how to use it.

For me, the choice is clear.  I need to live this life authentically and actively.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Practical Transhumanism to me is using technology and knowledge to improve the human condition. This is an all encompassing and never-ending practice and so I am going to break it down into as many facets as possible.  Each one will receive several blogs as I break them down further.

The subsections I will be focusing on are:

Time Management
     Daily/Weekly/Monthly planning
     Eliminating distractions

     Speed reading
     General cognition/rationality
     Lifelong learning

     Motor skills
     Quantified self

     Creative outlets

I'm sure that as time goes on more will be added to the list.  I am also sure that I will have to tackle these one or two at a time until they become part of my habits.  Part of my initial planning will be to sequence them so that they will have additive effects to each other.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Am I a Transhumanist Poser?

This last week I read an article that stated, “If you’re into Transhumanism and you’re not doing anything to improve your body and be in the best shape you can be in, you’re just a POSER.” 

This remark did not strike me as hard as it would have six months ago, before I started cleaning up my diet and losing weight, but it did make me wonder what other ways I could live a more authentic H+ life.

I then took a road trip to attend the Mormon Transhumanist Association (a member of the H+ community) conference which I enjoyed immensely   As soon as the presentations began I started thinking about what I could write about that would get me a spot presenting next year.

While I have yet to decide on a topic for a paper, all of this has led me to make the decision to plan out and live Transhumanism as well as I am able.

I now feel that the poser quote can apply to much more than just improving our bodies, it must also apply to our minds as well.

With this in mind I am beginning to plan out those improvements that I can currently make.  I will follow this planing and implementation on this blog.  I do so to track my own improvements and to tap into social pressures to keep me to my goals.