Thursday, July 18, 2013

Falling asleep is really cool.

If you pay attention, you can watch your brain shut down. (or, better metaphor, "suspend", or more appropriately "do a bunch of things differently than it does when you're awake.") How neat is that?

You're having a train of thought and then you realize you can't remember what you were thinking about literally seconds ago. Not a clue. And then you're on to the next topic.

Also, the next topic is often really goofy. Leaps that you wouldn't ever think of when you're awake. Yeah, every so often someone discovers the benzene ring, but more often you just come up with a pretty entertaining nonsense story, and that's cool too.

You can see all this happening! (Until, all of a sudden, you can't anymore.) I think that's cool.

Monday, July 08, 2013

My Soylent experiments, or, don't try this at home.

You might have heard about Soylent, this drink made by a bunch of Y Combinator softwaremen who wanted to have an alternative to eating food. Supposedly it has all the nutrients you need to be healthy. Now, given my extended joking about Food Cube, I was naturally intrigued.

Plus, they made it sound pretty easy. Make a list of all the nutrients you need. Buy vitamins and stuff until you have all those nutrients. Blend them together.

So I gave it a try. A run to the local GNC, a couple of things off the internet, and a big spreadsheet, and I had Homemade Soylent Version 1. It included whey protein, maltodextrin, olive oil, salt, a multivitamin, potassium chloride, monosodium phosphate, iron, fiber, calcium plus magnesium, and potassium gluconate. I'd tell you the proportions, but I don't recommend trying it.

It was awful. I made a 2500-calorie batch of it, drank 1/3 of it for breakfast, and felt sick all morning. I couldn't even think. It felt like I'd eaten a rock. After about half a day (and a couple trips to the bathroom) I could live like a normal human again. Whoops.

So I tried again. (naturally.) Same ingredients, different proportions: more fiber (25g), less calcium magnesium (think I had a little too much before), less maltodextrin and protein powder (for less overall drink), less iron (18mg is just the RDA for women. for men, it's 8mg).

I've almost made it through 1/3 of a day's supply now, and I don't quite feel sick. I don't feel particularly well, though, either. Plus, the thing is quite noxious. I am having a hard time drinking it, and I'm a guy who likes almost any food. I am guessing that a bunch of people who try this are going to find that, like me, they care about taste and texture more than they thought.

Still, though, good luck to them! Since I bought the ingredients, both the canonical example recipe (as made by the folks who are manufacturing Soylent) and the multitude of other recipes (as found on their forums) have evolved quite a bit, so it's likely that I'm just doing it wrong. But because every bad recipe means a day of drinking gross nonsense, I'm not inclined to experiment further.

(I did preorder a weeks' supply of the "official" stuff, though! I'll let you know how that turns out.)