Missing Pieces

Posted to Self-surveillance  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Leave it to Robert Krulwich to bring us back to life in the world of personal data. In reference to Stephen Wolfram's dive into emails, keystrokes, meetings, and phone calls:

"It's amazing how much it's possible to figure out by analyzing the various kinds of data I've kept," Stephen Wolfram says. To which I say, "I'm looking at your data, and you know what's amazing to me? How much of you is missing."

This is the bit I struggle with when it comes to the whole quantified self thing. There are lot of people who collect data about themselves, and it's all about optimization and trying to "fix" something. I'm more interested in how personal data collection relates to say, keeping a journal or scrapbooking. In this sense, it's not about how much of your life is missing in your personal data stream. Instead it's about how data can help you fill in the gaps.

By the way, if you're not listening to Krulwich's show slash podcast Radiolab, who he co-hosts with Jad Abumrad, you're missing out on some fine storytelling.


Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Jobs Charted by State and Salary

Jobs and pay can vary a lot depending on where you live, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s an interactive to look.

Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities. Record speed, …

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.