Steven Jonas

QS Portland co-organizer
Steven Jonas
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Organizer of Portland meetup.
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QS18: The Quantified Self Conference. Join us in Portland!

Portland CityscapeWhat did you do? How did you do it? What did you learn?

These are the questions that inspire every Quantified Self conference. We’ve been working for many months to organize the 2018 meeting, and now we’re ready to open QS18 for public registration. The conference this year is in Portland, Oregon – we hope you’ll join us!

QS18: The Quantified Self Conference – Register

QS18 is what we call a “Carefully Curated Unconference.” We’ll have over 100 individual sessions, all of which are proposed and lead by conference attendees. We work closely with all the participants in advance, based on what we know of your projects, work and interests. The final program lineup is released a few days before the event. So please let us know what you’re working on when you register.

A warm thank you to Ziba Design in Portland, OR, whose beautiful building will be the setting of this year’s meeting. Due to the size of the venue, attendance is strictly limited to 300 people. We have a limited number of early bird tickets available for a reduced price. So please don’t delay.

 

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Highlights from the Quantified Self Symposium 2018

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We recently held a symposium where we invited self-trackers, toolmakers, activists, clinicians, scholars, and scientists to explore the impact of everyday science on cardiovascular health.

The video of those talks can be found on our Medium page:

Medium: Highlights from the Quantified Self Symposium 2018

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Join us by livestream for the 2018 Quantified Self Public Health Symposium

Join us today (April 19th), starting at 9am for a special all-day event about the intersection between Quantified Self and public health. The sessions will look specifically at cardiovascular health and participant-led research. You can view the entire program here.

QS CVD Symposium Live Feed

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What We Are Reading


Articles

Smelling Food Makes You Fat by Robert Sanders. The late Seth Roberts, an influential contributor to the QS community and prodigious self-experimenter, wrote a book called the Shangri-La Diet based on radical weight regulation ideas stemming from his observation that his body seemed to treat calories from familiar sources differently. The germ of his theory came from a trip to Paris, where Seth found that he lost his appetite, and subsequently a good deal of weight, while trying a variety of sodas that, for him, had novel flavors. This seemed odd, given the calorie content. With further testing of his hypothesis, he theorized that the brain associates flavors with calories and will store calories from familiar flavors and burn calories from unfamiliar flavor sources (you can get his book or read this paper to get a full explanation of the theory and why the body would function this way). Related, he found that consuming flavorless calories in the form of extra light olive oil caused him to lose weight. This was a completely new model of weight regulation that, frankly, most people didn’t know what to do with. But this recent study from UC Berkeley seems to validate aspects of Seth’s theory. Scientists found that they were able to help obese mice lose weight by knocking out their sense of smell. Mice who still had their sense of smell ate the same food and increased in size to twice their starting weight. It’s an incredible example of the ability of self-experiments to create novel insights through accurate and tenacious observation. -Steven

“Mysteries in Reference Lists by Martin Fenner. Since we spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to get things right in recording measurements, communicating what we’ve done, and helping others do the same, we’ve come to enjoy a deep respect for how difficult it is create an accurate, explicit recitation of the steps involved in any action. There’s just so much ambiguity in what we say — and also so much tacit knowledge in what we do. But some things are much simpler than others: for instance, academic citations. There are only a few possible elements: Title, Author(s), Date, Journal Name, Volume, Issue, Page(s), DOI, URL, plus some specialty reference elements available to ultra-professionals when needed. You’d think that almost nothing could go wrong. That’s why I enjoyed this post by Martin Fenner so much: Even in the simple case of citations created by scholarly professionals, mysteries are common. -Gary

Evidence Based or Person Centered? An Ontological Debate by Rani Lill Anjum. This is a descriptive account of philosophical differences between two common ways of thinking about how we get sick and what we can do to improve our health. But for me Anjum described a deep underlying antagonism between two different philosophies of care, which helps me understand terrain I’m on when struggling with scientific and medical criticism of Quantified Self practices. I’m going to see how it works to address these criticisms not only as pragmatic doubts about QS methods but also as strong – if implicit – philosophical freak-outs. -Gary

Self-Tracking Induced Sleep Anxiety by Kelly Glazer Baron, et al. This one is presented without comment, but there’s a QS Forum topic started here: “Orthosomnia”. -Gary

Show&Tell

My Scars by Ellis Bartholomeus. Ellis has taken a quantitative and thoughtful look at the form and meaning of the physical scars she has accumulated. She walks through a map of decades’ worth of scars and how she turned it into data, finding that when she added the lengths of her scars, the total is over a meter. -Azure

Max’s Vocabulary Acquisition by Nick Winter. Nick tracked the first 100 to 1000 English and Chinese words that his son learned through the first two years of his life. Comparing his son’s acquisition rate to other prominent examples, he found that his son’s progress appears to be rather linear. Nick also made Max’s Vocabulary data to look at yourself. -Steven

Fight For Your Right to Recess by Cantor Soule-Reeves. At Cantor’s school, recess is cancelled whenever it rains, an issue since he lives in Portland, Oregon. He wanted to make a case to the administrators that this policy is negatively affecting his activity levels by tracking his steps and comparing days with and without recess. -Azure

What I Learned from Weighing Myself 15 Times in a Day by Beth Skwarecki. If you are tracking your weight, a common and prudent piece of advice is to weigh yourself the same time every day. Since our weight fluctuates throughout the day, by taking a measurement at the same time, you reduce the amount of randomness in the result. However, what is not often explored is how much weight actually fluctuates during a day. In this example, the swing was over 8 pounds. -Steven (thanks to Richard Sprague)

Tracking Sleep and Resting Heart Rate by Jakob Eg Larsen. Jakob has tracked his sleep and resting heart rate (RHR) for the past four years. By tracking his RHR over a long period of time, has allowed Jakob to develop an intuition for connections between his RHR and physiological state. He has seen multiple times, for instance, that his resting heart rate will increase because of a coming flu before the onset of any other symptoms. -Azure

Data Visualizations

rplacer/place Atlas by Rolan Rytz. On April Fool’s Day this year, Reddit tried an incredible community art experiment called r/place where every user is allowed to change only a single pixel every five minutes on a digital 1000×1000 canvas. The resulting 72 hour timelapse is an entrancing drama as various subreddits fought for space to have their imagery placed on the canvas. The reason I’m mentioning it now is that I recently came across an attempt to tell the story of this project by annotating all the images that showed up at r/place: what subreddit was behind the image, was there a conflict over that space, what new imagery arose from it, and what compromises were made between two warring factions (the r/France-r/Germany compromise was excellent). The atlas contains nearly 1500 entries. -Steven

C6PnLL8U4AAJEZZ#tabtQS 1: RescueTime in Tableau by Tim Ngwena. This novel visualization shows app usage over a three year period. For Tim, I’m sure that there are all sorts of stories embedded in the increased or decreased usage of certain applications during certain time periods. In the link, Tim walks through the workflow for creating this chart. -Steven

Pasted image at 2017_07_12 07_52 AM (1)Activity Levels Around the World. This visualization is from a paper exploring “activity inequality” and comes 717,527 individuals’ smartphone data with over 68 million days of activity. -Steven (thanks to Richard Sprague)

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QS17 Program Updates

QS17 is here!

We can’t wait to see old friends and meet new people who have never been to a QS conference before. If you are reading this because you are attending QS17, you are in for something special. Our program is filled with engaging talks, fascinating discussions, and informative workshops. Here is a PDF of the printed program.

Here is a map of the venue to help you find your breakout discussion and workshop rooms:
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Updates to the QS17 program

Our sessions come from our attendees and we try to leave the program open for as long as we can before we send it to the printer. Still, some things come in after the deadline and we can’t resist finding a spot for them. Below are new sessions that will be happening in addition to the printed program:

Saturday

Lunch (13:00-14:00)
Office Hours
GERO
Stanislav Leontenko, Nikolai Kovtunenko
Gero has developed a first digital biomarker of aging which can be measured by your physical activity gathered from your smartphone or wearable device. By using this tool, you can evaluate your personalized effect of healthy or unhealthy lifestyle. 
getgero.com

BLOODTESTERS
Azure Grant
Get your blood cholesterol tested! Lets’ talk about the value of this metric and what could be learned by having the ability to get a lipid profile in your home.

Session 3 (14:00-15:00)
Breakout Session
QS IN THE JUDICIAL CONTEXT (Harvard)
Liza Cornet
In what way could QS help with the understanding, prevention and intervention of offending behavior.

Sunday

Session 5 (10:30-11:30)
Show&Tell
DIABETES VIZ
Peter Kok
In this talk, I will show a custom web app that I’ve created that automatically collects data from continuous glucose monitor and with some novel visualizations, helps me manage my diabetes.

Lunch (13:00-14:00)
Office Hours
ACTITHINGS
Elke Beck
I’m a human-computer interaction researcher and I’m currently exploring how sensor-based self-tracking technologies can help older adults (65+ years) to reflect on their physical activity/ sedentary habits in daily life. I’ve developed several low-tech,  interactive prototypes which people can use for tracking and reflecting their physical activity behaviour.

BLOOD VALUE RESPONSES TO FOOD, FASTING, AND EXERCISE
Ben Best
I have been monitoring the way my blood glucose, ketone, and triglyceride respond to various foods by making hourly measurements 6 to 10 hours after eating the food. I practice a ketogenic diet, and often fast. Every few months I get very detailed laboratory blood tests.

BLOODTESTERS
Azure Grant
Get your blood cholesterol tested! Lets’ talk about the value of this metric and what could be learned by having the ability to get a lipid profile in your home.

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Meetups This Week in Manchester, Austin, and Seattle

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Tuesday, May 2
Manchester, England

Thursday, May 4
Austin, Texas

Friday, May 5
Seattle, Washington

QS17 is coming soon

Our next conference is June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event for seeing the latest self-experiments, debating the most interesting topics in personal data, and meeting the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.

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Quantified Self Meetup in Prague This Week

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The Quantified Self group in Prague will be having a meetup this week. The group’s organizer Jan Pavuk, will distill what he learned at the recent BNA Festival of Neuroscience into practical methods and tools that can be used for people’s QS practice.

Thursday, April 27
Prague, Czech Republic

QS17

To experience more of this style of knowledge sharing, you should come to our upcoming conference in Amsterdam on June 17 & 18. It’s the perfect event for seeing the latest self-experiments, debating the most interesting topics in personal data, and meeting the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.

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Steven Jonas: Spaced Listening

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It’s hard for me to like an album the first time I listen to it. I can almost feel some part of my brain reject the music, even from bands I like, because it’s not familiar. However, after a few listens, the album will grow on me and I’ll find myself humming melodies that I previously couldn’t sit through. That is, unless I turned off the album the first time around and never gave it a second listen.

I suspected that this behavior was having a negative impact on my ability to appreciate new music when I noticed that almost none of the music that I listen to has come out after 2006.

In this talk, given at a recent QS Bay Area meetup, I discuss the system I set up that scheduled when I should listen to an album to help me over the hump to appreciating an album on it’s own terms instead of rejecting it because it wasn’t familiar.

Spaced_Listening_by_Steven_Jonas_on_Vimeo

Click to watch Steven’s Show&Tell talk.

Tools used:
- Anki
- Google Forms

QS17 is coming soon

Our next conference is June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event for seeing the latest self-experiments, debating the most interesting topics in personal data, and meeting the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.

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Meetup Today in Portland

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There is a Quantified Self meetup happening in Portland tonight. Mark Leavitt will present an update to his Health E-Seat project (his office chair is a recliner/recumbent bike hybrid). It will feature some in-progress projects on tracking intentions and recording mood and music. The night will end with a talk about my attempt to apply the findings of a study on improving learning with smell to my spaced repetition practice.

Tuesday, April 11
Portland, Oregon

To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own! If you are a QS Organizer and want some ideas for your next meetup, check out the myriad of meetup formats that other QS organizers are using here.

QS17

You can see many great talks at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.

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Meetups This Week in Dublin and Austin

IMG_4626Dublin recently put on a fantastic meeting with a couple of great talks about gut health (which you can watch). They are back at it again, with three speakers on bio-markers related to nutrition. Austin’s theme is nutrition as well, with the main talk on a person’s data collected while losing 95 pounds on a ketogenic diet.

Tuesday, April 4
Dublin, Ireland

Thursday, April 6
Austin, Texas

To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own! If you are a QS Organizer and want some ideas for your next meetup, check out the myriad of meetup formats that other QS organizers are using here.

QS17

You can see many great talks at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.

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