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.

Favorites

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.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

Causes of Death

There are many ways to die. Cancer. Infection. Mental. External. This is how different groups of people died over the past 10 years, visualized by age.

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.