Self-Experiment

Today I start a self-experiment.  For 45 days I will be tracking and sharing health data via this spreadsheet.  Novel parameters such as “the most interesting thing I learned today” and “how many times I stretched for at least 1 minute and less than 30, with corresponding metric of intensity” integrate with more traditional data collection points (weight, BP, exercise etc) in my first attempt at understanding the variability in my life.

The goal is to discover and explore possible correlations between health and creative output.  When I have  a great idea, such as the TEDx Global Music Project, is there something – or a set of things – I did during days prior that set the stage for ideogenesis and the pursuit of the interesting?  What activities do I do but ignore  (for example, the amount of time I spend on my iPhone before bed..)?  How can I compel myself to more wisely utilize my time?  How can I catalyze my evolution from good to great to excellent health?

These questions and more I am exploring in an organized and diligent manner.  Stay tuned to this blog for thoughts, insight and the occasional infographic.

This first phase is “2 weeks to runway ready” (I’m walking in a fashion show July 16th).  It kickstarts with a 100% plant-based diet and strict blend of 3x a week hour-long aerobic and anaerobic exercise.   We have also orchestrated tri-daily mini metabolic boosts, which I’ll share more about in a later post.

I read a fascinating paper by Allen Neuringer calling for more people to engage in self-experimentation, particularly professionals in the psychology field.  As I am experiencing first hand, the difficulty in designing quantified self systems is “exacerbated by our lack of experience in formulating questions about our own behaviors in a rigorous, empirically testable manner,”  Jump in and try it.  Use my spreadsheet if you’d like.  There are lots of resources; check out quantifiedself.com.

I would love your input, encouragement, ideas, suggestions, brainstorms and anything else.  The data is public domain so have at it.   Data viz artists might have a good time playing with this or suggesting amendments to parameters that would streamline info conveyance.  Some parameters would be easy, i.e. the hours of sleep I lose every month because I’m on my damn iPhone.  Hopefully, this will help me streamline myself.

“The solution to many of our problems is a continuous process of discovery and change.”

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Language Implications

A letter in this weeks Economist commented that we “need people who can make something of data and create information to guide decision-making”. This was enough to start a neural avalanche regarding the relation between data and information.

Data quantifies qualities along variable attributes correlating to an “event” or representing a set of “events”.

“Information is data that has been processed in such as way as to be meaningful,” [1,2] Also, “A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn” (‘statistical data’) [3]

Meaning signifies implication. “Implication is deductive inferred logical relation. ‘ if p then q: if p is true then q cannot be false'” [4] From quality information we can differentiate complex systems and model them with equations.

Data is fed into our neural system from our senses over time with systemic repetition and correlated via lingual adaptation into information. Information is then relayed off itself, forming concepts (information systems). Concepts are comprised of variable lingual attributes and exhibit meaningful complexity, described by the lingual structure from which they are formed.

Cognition is functionally different across various lingual data systems (concepts), which are then organized within a grammatical framework relative to other concepts. This is self-organization. Might a cohesive pattern emerge in neural functionality if we could see specific neuron systems forming new “concepts” via grammatic relations in order to more efficiently process increasingly complex ideas? Could “more meaningful information” imply a denser Set of data (information) to which the concept could potentially be applied? Our minds create a conscious whole greater than the sum of its parts by processing words into concepts and integrating different concepts to create experientially new thoughts, which are in turn described by new lingual formations and even entirely new words and ideas. This process simplifies the energetic input required to think a difficult thought by utilizing information, rather than data, and compounding meaningful representations of it across multiple meaningful systems. Aristotle’s Holism and Occam’s Razor together make a concept that I refer to as “complex energy density”.

Thoughts from the forefront of theoretical science,

Amy

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