Experiment to explain nonsomniacs based on purpose of sleep?


Insomniacs are people who feel tired and need sleep but just can’t seem to fall asleep. It’s a disorder and leaves the insomniac feeling even more exhausted and destroys their quality-of-life and negatively affects their health.

Nonsomniacs are people who get by just fine with little to no sleep. They don’t feel tired and live on very little sleep (typically <1-2 hours per day) without any adverse effects.

Past research

In 2016, researches did some experiments, using fMRIs to examine the brains of people as they sleep. They found that when we (and animals) sleep, the neurons physical shrink. This creates more space inside the brain, which allows CSF to flush away the metabolic-waste created throughout the day by neuronal activity.

Results and inferences

This seems to be the ultimate purpose of sleep (though it doesn’t explain dreams, which is a different topic).

Future experiments

It can be confirmed as the purpose of sleep by analyzing the neuronal activity, metabolic-waste, neuronal shrinkage, and sleep patterns and quantities of different animals. Hopefully, someone will actually do that research since it would fairly definitively prove that the evolutionary purpose of sleep is indeed to clear the brain of waste.

On a related note, it would be handy to examine the brains of nonsomniacs. There are two likely explanations of why they sleep so little. It could be that they have naturally narrower neurons, so their CSF can flush most or all of their neuronal metabolic-waste all day without needing to induce sleep, or it might be that their neurons just produce less or no metabolic-waste than most humans, so there’s less to flush.

Performing the same 2016 study on nonsomniacs could/would explain both nonsomnia and strengthen the original study’s findings.

Optional studies

It’s unlikely since it’s probably a different issue, but it might also help with insomnia research.

Soroudi Taste Effect


My mother didn’t have any formal culinary education, she just had a massive love of food. When she was little, she was ravenous and would inhale food with verve and pay attention to what it was and try to reverse-engineer the recipe in her mind. Once she had children, she had to cook, so she did. Boy did she ever. She constantly experimented in the kitchen and devoured all the cook-books and cooking-shows she could. She made dishes and baked-goods fit for a king, no, too good for a king.


After she was gone, I had to make my own food. I’ve cooked before, but I now had to make everything myself. This is when I discovered a phenomenon about food. Nothing I made was good, I just didn’t enjoy anything. Well, not zero, but very little. It didn’t matter how great the food look or how good it tasted, I just didn’t enjoy the foods I made.

Attempted explanations

It might have been anhedonia, the lack of enjoyment, especially since I haven’t enjoyed anything since I’ve been living alone, but I think it’s something more fundamental than that. The fact is that it’s difficult for me to enjoy anything that I make myself.

Everybody already knows that homemade food just doesn’t taste same as fast-food or even restaurant food, but that’s usually because fast-food or store food contain all kinds of artificial junk specifically formulated to make them addictive to the taste-buds. This isn’t that either.


When I cook for myself, I know what’s in it and how it’s made. I know the ingredients and the procedure to make it. This is why I can’t enjoy food the same as if someone else made it.

I’m confident that many of the foods I’ve made have been good, really good. I’ve made some foods that were gorgeous and likely tasted quite delicious, but because I made them, I didn’t enjoy them (it’s been rare that I actually enjoyed something I made).

I feel confident that if I presented many of the foods I’ve made to someone else, they’d love it, or if someone else had made the exact same food for me, I’d love it, but making it for myself, or someone else making it for themselves wouldn’t enjoy it as much.

Evidence and experiments

Another piece of evidence of this theory is that even though I’ve rarely cooked before my mother passed, the few times I did cook, she LOVED it. She was obsessed with eggs (when she was put on a low-sodium diet, she said she can live with that, but if she had a cholesterol problem and had to avoid eggs, she’d rather die). Despite this, and despite the fact that when I cook, I can never make anything simple or basic, I always go over the top, so my friend-eggs are “super fancy”, I think the reason she loved it was more becasue someone else had cooked it. If she had made the same food, she’d have liked it but not as much.


When I realized this a few years ago, I suddenly felt a massive pang of regret that I didn’t cook for her more often. I realized that she was cooking for my sister and I for our entire lives and giving us amazing foods and baked-goods, but she wasn’t enjoying them much herself, that’s probably why she seemed relatively apathetic to eating as compared to the actual cooking itself. I felt horrible for not noticing this sooner to cook and bake for her so she could enjoy eating as much as we did.

So, experiments can easily be done with people making the same dishes for each other and for themselves and seeing which they enjoy more. This can confirm what I’m naming after my mother as the

Soroudi Taste Effect: Foods that you make yourself aren’t as enjoyable as foods that someone else makes



Saccades are like OLED-jiggle

Saccades definition

Saccades are a rapid eye movement (not to be confused with deep-sleep) where the eyes will make quick, small jerky (hence the name, derived from French) movements, darting back and forth, generally horizontally, even when you try to look at a fixed spot.

Proposed explanations

The Wikipedia page for saccades gives some explanations for their function, including building a “three-dimensional map” and gathering more information by expanding the detailed-vision area since the fovea is relatively small. However, both of these explanations are specious.

Counters to explanations

If the purpose is to build a mental-map, then why do they still occur when you are specifically attempting to stare at a fixed point? What purpose does it serve to have the brain induce an involuntary behavior that opposes your intentions? That’s not very good evolution.

If the purpose is to counter the fact that the high-detail fovea only covers a relatively small portion of the visual-field, then why did we evolve to do this complex and counter-productive behavior instead of just evolving a larger fovea? That’s not very good evolution.

OLED functionality

There’s a more logical answer that makes sense. The retina is like an OLED screen.

An OLED screen works different from an LCD/LED screen. An LCD screen works by controlling the orientations of many tiny crystals in the liquid layer inside the screen, which can either allow or block light that is provided by an LED (formerly fluorescent) backlight. An OLED screen on the other hand, has many tiny LEDs that are individually controlled to actually emit light themselves, thus providing a much better image, both in terms of color, but also with true blacks since there’s no light being emitted at all, which also has the benefit of reducing power consumption.


Sounds great, huh? So why haven’t OLEDs replaced ALL TVs and monitors? Like with everything else, OLEDs aren’t perfect and do have a downside. In this case, it’s that OLEDs are susceptible to screen burn-in just like good old-fashioned CRT screens. What happens is that if an OLED is left on for too long, it can “burn out” and get “stuck” and continue to show an image indefinitely (like when parents would tell children to not make faces because their faces could get stuck like that, but for real). There are plenty of photos of phones, TVs, and computer-monitors showing OLED burn-in of things like the clock, the news/sports chyron, the Windows taskbar, and so on.

Burn-in remediation

In the days of CRTs, the solution to prevent burn-in (other than turning the screen off) was to use screen-savers which would blank the screen (or later on, display pleasant imagery that constantly changes to prevent any of the phosphors from burning by being active for too long, or at least the proper screen-savers would, there were many that didn’t understand the purpose and showed static graphics that caused burn-in).

In the days of OLEDs, screen-manufacturers try to prevent burn-in at the hardware level by inducing a slight judder at the sub-pixel level. The image isn’t actually static, the screen will jiggle it very slightly, which is usually imperceptible without a magnifying-glass or microscope, and gets less perceptible with higher-density screens since the pixels are even smaller, let alone the sub-pixels (the individual R, G, and B components that make up a single pixel). This way, the sub-pixels are getting a varying signal instead of a constant one, and are less likely to burn in. Of course, this has varying efficacy, jiggling a static white image won’t help.

Retina functionality

The retina works in a similar way. The photoreceptors (rods and cones) will desensitize and reduce their firing rate when exposed to a constant and unchanging stimulus. That’s why if the visual-field is relatively static (like while driving on the highway), one can get “tunnel vision” where the world just turns to gray and seems to fade away, especially in the periphery.

Analogy and new explanation

This is why (micro)saccades exists, to “jiggle” the visual-field a little bit to prevent “burn in” on the retina to keep the photoreceptors firing and prevent tunnel-vision. You can still overcome it by staring intently at a very small point (if it’s too big, it’ll be harder to avoid saccades), and induce the graying, but in normal life, the saccades are what allow us to continue seeing at full-strength.


Of course, one might wonder why saccades evolved instead of just preventing the photoreceptors from desensitizing, and that’s because photoreceptors are like smoke-detectors (or Homer Simpson’s everything’s-okay-alarm) in that they work by constantly having a signal firing and input stimulus actually reduces the signal instead of boosting it. This has various effects from simply reducing energy in the default state of non-stimulation to providing for a visual system that works for both detail/color and dark/movement instead of improving one at the expense of the other.


So saccades are just nature’s screen-saver. As usual, nature beat humans to it by a billion years.

Scam-baiters need to learn how to talk to victims

I keep seeing scam-baiters struggle to talk to victims when they intercept a scam. They always struggle with what to call themselves, trying to explain what scam-baiting is. They should just call themselves a “fraud investigator” because it’s literally what they’re doing, and it’s clear and concise (“fraud investigator” isn’t an official title with requisite certifications and such to get in trouble for using that title).

Also, they should start with “we’ve detected you’ve been contacted by scammers” which gets their attention and lends more credence by saying “we”. Instead of giving a long-winded explanation, just say “we’re trying to stop the scammers from stealing [your] money”.

Once they’ve been alerted to the scam, they’ll have their shield up and will be wary of the scam-baiter, so their trust can be earned by telling them to “just look up [type of] scam on youtube”. That way, they’ll see examples of what they’re doing and be inoculated against the scam once they see the tricks and tactics that were just used on them.

I can understand the desire to direct them to the scam-baiter’s own channel, but that’s not going to help ameliorate the victim’s suspicions, it’s better to just be generic and let them see ANY examples.

Here’s a nice, simple, easy-to-remember script to use:


I'm a fraud-investigator and we've noticed that you were contacted by scammers; we're trying to intercept the interaction before they can steal your money.

[explanation as necessary, keeping it as succinct as possible and avoiding technical jargon]

You can see examples of the scam by looking up [tech-support/tax/etc.]-scams on YouTube, there are many videos demonstrating the tricks they're trying to use, which you will now recognize.
[avoid promoting your own videos to avoid bias, let them find any videos, they all work]

[before concluding the call, after being thanked]

No problem, happy to help. Share scam-baiting videos with anyone you think might be susceptible to scams.

Murphey’s Beard and Schrödinger’s Scumbag (from Hanlon’s Razor)

Hanlon’s Razor says “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” In other words, don’t jump to conclusions that someone did something bad on purpose when it might have been just because they’re incompetent.

Unfortunately, that’s a bit overly optimistic. Humans are terrible creatures and while a LOT of people are indeed idiots, a lot (possibly even more) are also evil. We need a similar but opposite adage, but it doesn’t look like anybody has made/coined/named one. As usual, I’ll just have to do it myself. Hanlon has a razor and Murphey was a pessimist, so…

Murphey’s Beard: “Don’t assume incompetence when it’s more likely to be intentional”

In some cases, people do bad things because they’re both malicious AND incompetent at the same time. For example, cops are notorious for being purposely harmful but also regularly try to deflect accountability for their crimes by pleading incompetence. Police are in a quantum-superposition of harmful uselessness:

Schrödinger’s Scumbag: “If a human did a bad thing, they’re probably evil AND stupid”

Detectable pattern in thispersondoesnotexist images

I’ve been amused by thispersondoesnotexist for years; it (StyleGAN2) can generate (relatively) photo-realistic images of faces of people who, well, do not exist. There is a lot to discuss about this, but for now, I’d like to point out an easy way to detect if a photo was generated by it. It’s actually quite obvious once you see it. I noticed it by accident a while back when I was scrolling through a folder of images from the site and saw something unusual. See if you can notice it.

Show ▼

The iPhone “Home Button” is not a button

The “Home Button” on an iPhone isn’t actually a button. It’s just a piece of glass over a sensor. The sensor detects a “press” and the phone uses the haptic vibration function in a specific pattern to simulate a clicking sensation.

You can test this by turning the complete phone off (not just in sleep mode). Hold the power button until it says to slide to power down, then do that. Once the phone is completely off, press the home button and notice that there is no click, there isn’t even any movement as you press it, it’s just a solid piece of glass. Even easier is to press the home button with your finger covered in some fabric, like the hem of your shirt, again, nothing will happen, the “button” will have no travel as you press it and there will be no click, you’re just pressing on a piece of solid glass, the clicking is just an illusion.

It’s interesting that it’s possible to simulate clicking with the right pattern of vibrations. Game developers can use controller vibration functions to do more than just simulate getting hit.

Trans-women shouldn’t compete in women’s sports… because women’s sports shouldn’t exist at all

I don’t understand the controversy about trans-women competing in women’s sports. It’s absurd because women’s sports shouldn’t exist at all. Neither should men’s sports. Nor straight’s sports, gay’s sports, black’s sports, white’s sports, or any other nonsense. What’s next, have athletes compete against only other athletes from their own country? 🙄

The solution to ALL of it is simply to test athletes and give them a skill/ability ranking and have them compete with others of similar skill/ability ranking. You know, the way that CHESS does, or even boxing does with its weight-classes.

Yes, chess, boxing, bowling, darts, etc. all do have gendered leagues, but those aren’t about skill or ability, they’re about social stuff like providing women a safe group for themselves.

There is NO reason that athletes should be segregated based on attributes that have no bearing on the sport. It makes no sense for a skinny man to box against a massive jacked man or a woman to race against another woman who is three times as fast. Sure, some groups might be “better” or “worse” at some sport ON AVERAGE, but that doesn’t mean the ones who aren’t average should be forbidden to compete against people of similar ability. All that accomplishes is to remove the challenge and make a win meaningless. It only makes sense to have people compete against those of similar CAPABILITY, not similar gender or any other irrelevant trait.

DUH. 😒

The mirror self-recognition test is flawed, specious, obtuse, ignorant, and offensive

The mirror self-recognition test first described by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. in 1970 is an experiment to test whether animals or young children have a sense of self. It involves marking the animal/child (e.g., using a marker or paint or something to put a dot or x on their face) and then presenting them with a mirror and seeing if they show any interest in the mark. Most animals and even many human children tend to “fail” the test.

This test is all kinds of bad science. The biggest reason is that it presumes the animal/child even knows that the mark is unusual in the first place. If the animal has never seen its reflection before, why would it bother touching the mark? For all it knows, that’s just part of what it normally looks like, especially if the animal has stripes or spots or integument or pimples or scars or any other sort of markings. Just because the animal doesn’t pick at the mark doesn’t mean it doesn’t realize that’s its reflection, it just means that it doesn’t have any reason to or any interest in it.

Moreover, the test presumes that animals would be unaccustomed to their own reflection because there are no mirrors in nature. That’s obviously not true. While it might be amusing to picture, animals don’t routinely freak out and assume another animal is coming at them whenever they go to take a drink at a watering hole. They are fully aware that they are just seeing their own reflection. Duh. 🙄 And thanks to all the metal and glass that humans are putting everywhere, more and more animals are getting accustomed to seeing reflections and rapidly evolving.

Another factor is how many animals don’t try to evade running or flying or swimming into their reflection in a mirror. Do people think that animals don’t try to evade other animals normally? 🤨 Of course they do. The fact that they run into the mirror and don’t try to avoid their reflection shows that if anything, they KNOW it’s their reflection, and thus treat it differently than they would if it were another animal.

(Absurdly enough, if animals DO pay attention to their reflection, like dogs pawing at it, then humans will use that as “proof” that the animal doesn’t know it’s its reflection and thinks it’s another animal. Basically, humans refuse to give animals credit no matter what, and will only accept anything if humans have some sort of manipulation in the behavior. Typical. 😒)

One way to attempt to fix this test is to present the animal/child with a mirror before marking it and letting it get a good, long look at itself for a while, and then mark it with something over like a large neon-colored x (and do it quickly to ameliorate any effects of short memory). That way, the animal will actually be able to detect a change worthy of investigating (though even then, maybe it just doesn’t care 🤷).

Tiger drinking from watering hole with reflection
Yikes! A tiger wants to lick me! Better stop drinking and run away! 😲
Two giraffes drinking at watering hole with their reflections
Eek! There are giraffes in the water!

Conspiracy theories fail at basic logic

There’s a (conspiracy) theory that John Lennon made a deal with the Devil which is the reason that he was able to create the Beatles and become famous. The rumor says that he made a deal that the Devil would “collect” his soul after 20 years and that Mark David Chapman’s killing of him was the Devil reaping his soul.

The fact that Chapman was actually religious and his primary motivation for killing Lennon was specifically a religious one (e.g., Lennon’s misunderstood statement about the Beatles being bigger than Jesus and not believing in Jesus), there are some massive logical failures with the theory.

Let’s start by working backwards to determine when this supposed deal was made. Lennon was killed on December 8, 1980, so according to the theory, that would mean he made the deal with the Devil on December 8, 1960.

For one thing, Lennon had already evolved from the Quarrymen to the Beatles months earlier (mid-1960), but that was still essentially his first band. If he were going to make a deal with the Devil, why would he have jumped to it after barely even one band? To believe the theory, you’d have to believe that he was impatient and/or lazy and didn’t even try before resorting to selling his soul.

More importantly, the band wasn’t yet famous or known, so how would anyone know the exact date and terms of the deal? 🤨 It’s not like Lennon did (or even would) ever state publicly such a deal, so how and why would anybody know about such a deal about someone who at the time was still just some random nobody? 🤦

Of course, conspiracy-theorists have an answer for everything and they’ll probably just make up some stuff like someone happened to find a copy of the deal (which I guess was inked in paper rather than some supernatural æther or something and John just happened to have lying around and the person who found it only told some crackpots instead of taking it to the news 🙄).

Pretty much every conspiracy of this type has the same logical fallacy, they presume knowledge of a deal with the Devil that was necessarily made when the subject of the conspiracy theory was still a nobody and thus, there would be no reason for people to watch or track or know anything about them or their goings on, and ignore the fact that any such deal would obviously be kept a secret.

The better theories attempt to lend credence by claiming that the subject had better skills at something (usually music) after the deal, completely ignoring the concept of practice. I guess they believe that nonsense about doing something over and over again being the definition of insanity when it’s actually just practice. 🙄

The top-tier conspiracies will actually go so far as to try to repudiate practice as an explanation by claiming the increased skill was sudden, that they went from bad to amazing overnight. For one thing, that’s not impossible, it can and does happen; there are plenty of times when something just “clicks” and suddenly something becomes easy (even without some sort of trauma like being in a car-accident or hit by lightning which on numerous occasions, has given people savant-like abilities they didn’t have before). But even more likely is that the claim of sudden improvement is just made up; nobody who repeats the story actually knows or remembers or was there and it’s just myth.