Over a very long weekend I set out to do a bunch of stuff, one of which was getting the bluetooth module to work. And I did!
This video had to be the most useful resource I could find on the topic. And I went through a lot of resources in my attempts.
Here’s a picture of the unit in action!
What am I doing?
Broken Bluetooth module(HC-06)
I had recently bought a HC-06 module from one of the many electronics stores in Chandni Chowk. Although I had explicitly asked for a HC-05, I somehow ended up with the HC-06. If you’ve been to Chandni Chowk before, you know exactly how that could have happened.
I wasn’t too happy about that, but it didn’t really matter for what I had planned. But here’s the funky part. I don’t think it works. Certainly, not the way it does for the people on youtube. It powers up, connects to other bluetooth devices, but no data transfer ever takes place.
I was hoping to use it in a home automation project, but looks like that’s gonna have to wait a while. Or at least as long as it takes for an online retailer to ship one!
Update: Looks like I might not have been doing things right. This issue is fixed and the module works fine!
What is this all about?
How much information is stored inside a human? Not as much as you think. All you need is a mere 1.5 gigabytes to fit your entire genetic code. Veritasium did the math in his latest brain tapping video and cooked up that number using bits to understand the molecules that make up a person’s genetic code. Of course, we have a lot of cells in our body (around 40 trillion) and each of those cells contain the full 1.5 GB of our genetic code. So a real person has about 60 zettabytes (60 with 21 zeroes after) of information in total. Thats huge. Veritasium says that in the year 2020, all the digital information in the world will only tally up to 40 ZB. So turns out, there’s a lot of information necessary to make a person. But! 99.9% of our genetic information is shared with everyone else on Earth. What makes us unique is much, much smaller than a ZB. In fact, it takes less than a megabyte to make a person different from the next. So there it is. A reasonable 1.5GB of information for our genetic code. A ridiculous 60ZB flowing in all our bodies. And an embarrassingly tiny megabyte that makes us believe we’re a unique snowflake.
Oracle owns Java. Google cloned Java in building Android. Oracle sued. And now the courts are trying to decide when it’s OK to clone someone else’s software. If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don’t just cut and paste the source code. But in suing Google, Oracle argues differently. They claim copyright not just over the source code itself, but over the standard names and structures used to organize Java. In other words, Oracle says it owns the designs of Java’s application programming interfaces, or APIs. In 2012, Judge William Alsup ruled against Oracle, and software developers rejoiced. After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system and various cloud services. With APIs protected by copyright, they could all be in trouble. But now an appeals court has overturned Alsup’s ruling.
This is scary stuff.
To really understand climate change, we need to see the big picture. This beautiful globe is an animated climate model, made to help scientists figure out what the eff is going on.
This particular model (which you can see in all its mesmerizing glory at 8:33) shows many atmospheric particles moving around the globe. The reddish-orange is dust streaming off the Sahara; the white is pollution from burning coal and volcanoes; the red dots are fires; and the blue swirls are sea salt whipped into the air by the wind.
All those swirling particles affect our climate. “There are so many different factors at work,” says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. "Everything from how light travels through the atmosphere to how the winds move the ocean around to how rain hits the ground has an effect on what actually happens on Earth both now and in the future."
One of our most mysterious and intriguing states of consciousness is the dream. We lose consciousness when we enter the deep waters of sleep, only to regain it as we emerge into a series of uncanny private realities. These air pockets of inner experience have been difficult for psychologists to study scientifically and, as a result, researchers have mostly resorted to measuring brain activity as the sleeper lies passive. But interest has recently returned to a technique that allows real-time communication from within the dream world.
The rabbit hole between these worlds of consciousness turns out to be the lucid dream, where people become aware that they are dreaming and can influence what happens within their self-generated world. Studies suggest that the majority of people have had a lucid dream at some point in their life but that the experience is not common. As a result, there is now a minor industry in technologies and training techniques that claim to increase your chance of having a lucid dream although a recent scientific review estimated that the effect of any particular strategy is moderate at best. Some people, however, can reliably induce lucid dreams and it’s these people who are allowing us to conduct experiments inside dreams.
When trying to study an experience or behaviour, cognitive scientists usually combine subjective reports, what people describe about their experience, with behavioural experiments, to see what effect a particular state has on how people reason, act or remember. But both are difficult in dreamers, because they can’t tell you much until they wake up and active participation in experiments is difficult when you are separated from the world by a blanket of sleep-induced paralysis.
This paralysis is caused by neurons in the brainstem that block signals from the action-generating areas in the brain to the spinal nerves and muscles. The shutdown happens when Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep starts, meaning that dreaming of even the most energetic actions results in no more than a slight twitch. One of the few actions that are not paralysed, however, is eye movement. This is where REM sleep gets its name from and this window of free action provides the lucid dreamer a way of signalling to the outside world.
Using a procedure first verified by sleep researcher Stephen LaBerge, the sleeper can signal to researchers when they have begun their lucid dream by using pre-arranged eye movements. The person moves their eyes in the agreed way in the dream, which occur as genuine eye movements, which are recorded and verified by electrodes that are placed around the eye sockets.
This simple but ingenious technique has allowed a series of experiments on the properties of the dream world and how they are reflected in brain function. These neuroscientific studies have been important for overcoming an initial objection to the concept of lucid dreaming: that lucid dreamers were awake but just relaxed, or perhaps even fraudulent, claiming to be experiencing a dream world when they were not. Studies led by neuropsychologists Ursula Voss and Martin Dresler have shown that the brain activity during lucid dreaming bears the core features of REM sleep but is distinct from both non-lucid dreaming and the awake state, suggesting that it is not just a case of wishful thinking on the part of either the participants or the researchers.
Some of the most interesting studies involve in-dream experiments, where participants are asked to complete pre-arranged actions in their lucid dreams while using eye movements to signal the beginning and end of their behavioural sequences. A recent study by neuroscientist Daniel Erlacher and his colleagues at the University of Bern compared how long it took to complete different tasks while lucid dreaming and while awake. These included counting, walking a specified number of steps, and a simple gymnastics-like routine. They found that the “mental action” of counting happened at the same speed regardless of whether volunteers were dreaming or awake, but the “physical actions” took longer in dreams than in real life. The research team suggested that this might be due to not having the normal sensory feedback from the body to help the brain work out the most efficient way of coordinating itself.
There is also an amateur community of lucid dream enthusiasts keen to explore this unique form of virtual reality. This stretches from the fringes of the New Age movement who want to use lucid dreams to access other planes of existence (best of luck with that), to a more technologically oriented community of dream hackers who sample scientific research to try to find reliable methods for triggering lucidity. The connection with established studies can be a little haphazard and methods veer between the verified and the barely tested. In some online discussion boards, there have been reports of people using medications intended for Alzheimer’s sufferers, which have the side-effect of causing vivid dreams, based on little more than hearsay and data reported in a patent application.
Some researchers have highlighted the potential of lucid dreaming to advance the science of consciousness but it’s a difficult area to study. The currents of consciousness run unpredictably through the tides of sleep and the science of dreaming is still very much in the age of exploration. It’s also a conceptual problem that some feel unequipped to tackle. After all, what can we make of consciousness when it creates a new world and our experience of it?
I don’t think I know anyone that has had lucid dreams or is at least aware of them! This looks interesting. I wonder what it feels like to know you’re dreaming.
What if I told you 10 years from now your life would be exactly the same. Doubt you’d be happy. So why are you afraid of change?