10 years of Inception

Inception is a special film for me. 10 years since I left hospital, bought my flat and one of the first films I saw was Inception at the Manchester IMAX and was blown away, so watched it and again and again (hey I was signed off with a brain injury – Inception was helping me)

Peering into the science of dreams with inception

Inception included a lot of the tips, used in dreaming circles. Things like the totem which is actually a reality check.

I also listened/read Inception and Philosophy and it brought a whole different perceptive to the film. As its 10 years, I’ll lightly spoil the ending

Everybody is so caught up with if the totem falls or keeps spinning. signifying if its still a dream or not. But he’s something which will change the way you think about inception again.

Does the top fall at the end of the movie after the screen cuts to black? If it does, then Cobb is awake; if it doesn’t, then Cobb is still dreaming. A careful examination of the film, however, shows us that this is not the case.

First of all, Cobb’s totem is extremely unreliable as a dream detector. Arthur specifically points out, when telling Ariadne about totems, that they work only to tell you that you are “not in someone else’s dream.” So even if the top falls, Cobb could still be in his own dream. Totems have this weakness because, if the dreamer knows how the totem behaves in reality, the dreamer could dream that it behaves that way; and obviously the owner of a totem knows how it behaves in reality. This is why you don’t want anyone else to touch your totem. If anyone gets a hint of how it is supposed to behave, they could dream that it behaves that way, and then your totem couldn’t tell you that you are not in their dream world.

Despite all this, Cobb tells Ariadne, specifically, how his totem works. When she asks if the concept of a totem was his idea, Cobb says, “No . . . it was Mal’s actually . . . this one was hers. She would spin it in the dream [and] it would never topple. Just spin and spin.” So the top can’t tell Cobb that he is not in Ariadne’s dream; she knows how it works. And in fact, since she is the architect of all the dream layers in the inception, couldn’t she have (even inadvertently) worked the law “All tops fall” into the very physics of the dreams she designed? How could spinning his top ever tell Cobb that he has left the dream layers of the inception?

And wait . . . what was that? Look at that quote again. The totem was Mal’s? Well that’s just great! Sure, Cobb thinks Mal is dead; and if she is, then he doesn’t have to worry about being in her dream. But Cobb thinks she’s dead because he believes the world in which Mal threw herself from the window (the real world) is real. The only way he could come to that conclusion, however, is by spinning the top and watching it fall—but wouldn’t that be circular reasoning?

Besides, who doesn’t know that tops fall after they are spun? We have no idea how Arthur’s die is weighted, or how Ariadne’s chess piece is supposed to work. But if Cobb spun his top in anyone’s dream, wouldn’t they dream that it fell? So sure, if the top did keep spinning, after the screen went black, that would tell us Cobb is still dreaming. But the top falling wouldn’t tell us anything!

Yes that and many other aspects of inception are deconstructed to a point my mind actually started to change/hurt. Not ideal for someone who just had a bleed on the brain but regardless I kept listening.

This book, research into dreams and other neuroscience books was how I came up with the idea of mydreamscape.

Welcome to mydreamscape.org

I spent quite a time afterwards thinking and researching how to create a service which allows people to share dreams but within a smaller social network, but hide details for people or groups. It was tricky as it could be solved with code but I was looking for something off the shelf.

I recently looked to see how dreamboard, lucidopedia and shadow are doing? Lucidopedia is no more, dreamboard seems to be around still but less prominent now. Shadow is still making big claims but who knows how much is hype and real? Looking at the kickstarter page, it seems to be all hype and people are peed off about it.

There is still something which keeps me thinking its a very good idea if implemented in a privacy preserving way. I thought about how it could work long and hard especially with abuse, but not seen anything which quite works the way I feel it could work… yet! Who knows maybe one day it will all make clear sense.

This is why Inception is a masterpiece and a 10/10 in my book.

A review of my 2019 resolutions

Me with birthday ballons

2019 has been quite challenging for me and I know many others!

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively decreased to 36 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 7 hours 20mins (down from 2018). Average deep sleep has been 4.03 hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 54,325 conversations, have 33345 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 111,540 photos and 3,971 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 267 open tasks and completed 2,876 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Guernsey, Madrid, Amsterdam, Venice (first time in Italy), Berlin, Helsinki, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Nottingham, The Hague, Bath, Newcastle this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Supergirl and film was John wick 3, Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 655 hours watching films (16.2 a month) and 300 hours watching TV series (37.5 a month)
  • This year I started a gratitude diary which now has 7,303 words

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2019.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Again I missed this one and its very unlikely this will happen before the UK leaves Europe.  Theres still an idea of visiting my  friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany. But this may change massively if I move to Amsterdam?
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    This also didn’t happen this year, although I did go to Madrid again and ride lots of coasters in the scorching 41c sun. Also I decided to give the rollercoaster park in Helsinki a miss this year. Next year I’ll be in looking out for coasters in other countries including South Korea.
  3. Look after myself better
    Didn’t do so badly but theres a lot of room for improvement. I do a lot of walking when away from home but Volleyball isn’t as intense as it use to be due to not being in the team now.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    This happened I think and my partner agrees.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    This is a yes, I baked some banana bread with chilli chocolate inside and it was very nice except when I took it to work things didn’t quite turn out as expected.  But I did get six peoples vote and there’s photos of the caroline reaper chocolate volcano cake here.
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    This needs some work, as I didn’t go to any events this year at all from memory.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    I did extended my e-residency another 2 years and I do use it as ID when entering some physical businesses. Its not quite what I was thinking about but it slightly counts. I did also look into using it as another form authentication for some services and finally setup a email address for it.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    I spent a weekend at IndieWebCampBerlin and the following days at Republica19. It was quite an amazing and my follow up to R&D with a lunch time lecture with this presentation.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    I finally started by finally removing the filing cabinet to the local dump, getting a large Billy bookcase in my partners new car (with the roof down in the Manchester rain). I bought a sitting and standing desk which is smaller but yet to put it up due to having the existing one still in place. I didn’t realise my Jerker desk is over 20 years old! I’ll be offering it on ebay in the new year if anyone is keen to have it?
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    This needs to happen in 2020, I had a couple of evening with my new projector, but nowhere what I was hoping for. My partner and friend had not seen Inception so we had fun with that one evening. Another friend suggested she had never seen Kill Bill, so that could be a back to back session with the projector and surround sound system.
    When it comes to the dinner parties front, theres been a bit. Likely the best was the chocolate tasting party which was great.
  11. Work on the dating book
    Since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book, I have done what I can. She suggested ghost writing the book and we have agreed thats a way forward. When I last spoke about the book, I saw 11+ chapters of my previously badly written nonsense, rewritten and re-imagined. Its going to be amazing!
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is summing up so much of 2019 for me. Not only in daily life but in work. Its appeared in presentations, in talks I’ve given and the way I go about things. Ok its not really about team human but new forms of value or rather. Its one of the reasons why I’m considering a secondment.

A review of my 2018 resolutions

Ian Forrester #ib100

2018 has been quite different in a good way.

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively increased to 367 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 2mins (slightly down). Average deep sleep has been 4.03hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 47,769 conversations, have 27,280 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 60,460 photos and 3,220 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 212 open tasks and completed 2,635 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Skopje, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dublin and Edinburgh this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Doctor Who and film was Avengers Infinity War. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 236 hours watching films (19.7 a month) and 409 hours watching TV series (46.6 a month)
  • Spent 847.9 hours working in Media City UK, 104.2 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 82.9 hours in Liverpool, 40.5 hours working on a train and 73.3 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Berlin, Dubin, Ravensbourne, etc.

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2018.

This didn’t happen, maybe Kates appetite for adventure has dimished?

Either way, I’m also quite impressed with work friend Jimmy Lee’s travelroulette to Hong Kong. I keep seeing good prices to fly from Manchester in early 2019.

  • Head further a field with the new scooter
    New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)

No go on this one. I had planned to head to Rotterdam to visit my volleyball friend Barbara then drive around the Netherlands and maybe into Beligum and north west Germany? Going to some theme parks on the way, before going back to Rotterdam and then back to Hull.

  • Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.

Oh I busted this resoultion mutliple times over.  Starting with Parque Warner Madrid and Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.

Then in my next trip to the nordic countries I went to Gröna Lund

Then hit my person best of 49x times on one ride by visited Tivoli theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

49 times on the Demon, people asks why didn’t I do a round 50? Well I did try but the ride closed just as I made the last journey. Unlike UK parks, the park was open very late 11pm so I took it easy and stopped for food, etc. So I wasn’t trying to break some personal record or anything. Just going around and around enjoying each ride.

Then I thought it would be just too rude to not visit Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland while attending Mydata 2018 which happened next door! Although I didn’t like much of the rides and it opened at 4pm?

Then finally I got to Port Adventura Barcelona, Spain. A very popular theme park with Rollercoaster fans.

253 rides in another over  country…

Truly smashed this one into pieces and loved every moment.

  • Go to a new part of the world

This year I got to two new countries. Finland and Macedonia. Both suprised me, the Finnish was fancinating and massively different from the Swedish in many ways I didn’t quite get till I was there. Also great to see old Manchester friend Gabrielle while I was there.

Macedonia was also really interesting and I couldn’t help but link what I saw in Romania with Macedonia. One of the highlights was seeing and walking around a set of flats (centar) which I had only really seen on the screen while creating the living room of the future.

  • See more comedy

I got to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival with my partner this year. The last time I was in the fringe festival was in 2007 during the TV Un-Festival.  This year I did a lot of comedy from Edinburgh to a more local Cholton Chuckles.

Very enjoyable and something I’d like to keep this going for sure.

  • Explore more about the brain using neuroscience

This didnt happen enough, I went to a MCR Talk: Retrain Your Brain but not much more, something to explore more next year? But I’ve given up on Funzing as the last event was pretty poor.

  • Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers

So this worked out well except I broke it a few times with some poor chocolate choices. One such time was eating a milkyway out of a box celebrations, there was no Twix left and I didn’t realise Teaseers were Maltesers.  But I have been pretty good most of the time and its really changed my tastes when it comes to chocolate. Now I find milk chocolate far too sugarly and milky, almost sickly.

Cocoarunners has done a excellent job providing different types of chocolates monthly and the range has been super impressive. Theres a blog post previously highlighting my favourate ones.

  • Do more with my Estonian e-residency

I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my estonian e-residency.

  • Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in

Started to reduce the amount of services but theres a lot more that can be done. But this year I have been making my home server more stable which runs Plex, Tinytiny RSS, etc.

  • Be more daring in matters of the heart

So my partner asks…
“More daring?”
“Yes more daring” I reply with a slight smile

I have been dating my partner for almost 10 months now and like all relationships its needs work, time and effort. Luckily my partner is understanding, patient and caring…sometimes! (smile!)

  • Explore the future of online dating

Still very interested and theres some chatter about doing something around this with a potential new project in 2019. Although I’m not dating myself, theres still a moral problem I see and would like a hand in changing, regardless of my own status. Decentralise dating for the win of team human!

  • Decentralise more and use POSSE more

This has happened, especially since I starting using Mastodon.

However Facebook dropped support for third-party tools to automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles, which is annoying and means my facebook is very quiet. Twitter also changed their API breaking a lot of my linux twitter clients forcing me to use the web interface. This meant my use of twitter has dropped too.

So generally I’m doing less POSSE because each platform is locking down their systems.

MCR Talks: Neuroscience of Decision Making with Gabija

Dr. Gabija Toleikyte

Last time I went to a Funzing event I wasn’t that impressed (talk was good but the setup was a bit crappy) but I thought I’d give it another try as the Neuroscience of decision making is too good a talk to miss. I find the Funzing weird as its promoted through Facebook and after clicking the link you are led to the funzing site which isn’t as smooth as Eventbrite. Especially since you finally get your ticket only a hour or so before the actual event via email or text (which leads you to a funzing microsite)

The talk was in Texture (the cool nightclub venue in the northern quarter). The place was full of chairs and most was already sat on. Interestingly I would say its about a 65% female audience. Grabbing a odd chair with a drink after not spotting anyone I recognise (this is a good thing, getting out of your comfort zone).

Just before Dr. Gabija Toleikyte suggested, a early warm up exercise encouraging us to talk to the people around us and ask what brought them to the event. The woman behind me, was generally interested but not so interested in chatting. I turn to the woman in front of me and we talked for a while about her thoughts on the illusion of reality. I threw in my thoughts on memetics and we chatted for a while.

We also briefly talked about my brush with death,  and how I have  found a stronger interest in how the brain works and how we use.

When Gabija started with a proper warm-up she asked us to greet people next to us with a gesture of 1, 2 or 3 fingers. 1 being a hand shake, 2 being a bow and 3 being a hug. On giving the gesture, you have to pick the lowest number between the two. Most of mine were hugs and bows.

When Gabija started she ran through a lot of things in a short amount of time but broke it down in a easily digestible way. It was a good talk and based on a number of things I had heard or read but not really connected in this way… Here are the books I read which she mentioned.

Something new for me was the Triune Brain model

  • Lizard brain – lowest level regulates breathing, heartbeat, digestion, etc.
  • Mammal brain – system 1 regulates emotions, memory, habits, etc
  • Human brain – system 2 regulates rational thinking, learning, problem solving, assessing pros and cons

There is different decision making systems in the brain: slow (rational, system 2) and fast (intuitive, emotional, system 1) its about deciding which system is best as rational decisions with system 2 require a lot more energy. While system 1 is prone to the unconscious biases as its using pattern and basic logic. Emotions are important so we don’t get stuck with indecision; and understanding our emotions can help us to make better decisions. However emotions are quite different from mood which can distort decision making.

Lots to think about and well worth the money and time, thank you to Gabija and hope to check out her next talk about productivity.