Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, everyone :).

Whoo, made it to July! It’s been a reasonably crazy past two weeks, with submitting some of our research to a conference (the paper is at the first link here!) in addition to a lot of social!

As of yesterday, I’m in full-scale recovery mode: I think I slept 14 hours across multiple nap-eat-nap iterations. Having accumulated a decent amount of sleep debt, I’m trying to stave off the ensuing cold as aggressively as possible :P. There has been some success thus far, though I look back at my food choices and mealtimes the last few days and am very confused.

One has to cut down on some life dimensions when dealing with encroaching deadlines.  Interestingly, I seem to have chosen some different dimensions this time compared to my usual: I incorporated way more social activities, and removed much more introspection and sleep. It’s interesting to me what activities I can consider “restful”: it seems that there’s a mode that I can take where I shut down all introspection and compensate by cramming my life with as much learning as possible in social and research domains. It didn’t work perfectly; I ended up doing a lot of late-night reading as a calming, but still anti-introspective activity, which meant that I kept falling behind on sleep. But altogether the final result isn’t bad. I don’t think I’ve ever tried this before because I didn’t have a sufficiently learning-intensive social activity. “Proper” learning– when I’m learning about something that’s interesting to me, and requires me to direct my attention along non-delineated paths to figure it out– is simultaneously calming and energizing for me. It’s a curious result that if I’m feeling worn down, the solution is often either to do a soothing, quiet activity, or it’s to start thinking about a possible solution to a social / introspective problem. The past two weeks also go to show that I have some pretty cool people around me, such that spending time with them feels like learning (and thus is restful and engaging, in my head.)

*Note: the circular reason why learning is calming for me is that I feel like I should be constantly learning almost every moment in life. So when I have that feeling of growing, I don’t have to be antsy: I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. It’s falling into that sense of purpose that makes it feel so restful.

That said, I actually am pretty behind on all of the usual things. Most important is probably my other research projects (small ahhhhh! I have a meeting with my advisors to discuss this on Thurs, must prepare). There’s a good amount of email I’ve been ignoring, though I’ve mostly pushed that through today. I’m behind on health: need to nap more. And there were a few talks last week that I filmed but haven’t caught up on. The usual. Life’s pretty darn good.

Hmm :). My last fun news is this: Rationality Camp 2 is happening! Hahaha– I’m really excited. There’s a decent amount of travel for me coming up, so I’ll be in and out of Berkeley over the next two months…

Rationality Camp 2 (organization): July 13th-16th, slightly more southern CA

Cognitive Science Society Conference: July 24th-31st, London

Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines Summer School: August 13th-Sept 3rd, Woods Hole (MA)

[me, frantically trying to catch up from having missed the first two weeks of classes]: Sept 3rd-indefinite, UC Berkeley.

Summer’s moving along :). Happy holiday, US readers, and happy Tuesday otherwise!

Monica

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