What We Are Reading

On with the links!

Articles

Get your electronic health record: It’s your right by Lisa Zamosky. Make sure to know your rights when you ask for your medical records. A good overview of the regulations and some good links to have in your arsenal.

Open Data Rockstar: Jennifer Pahlka by Maria Renninger. We’re big fans of what Code for America is doing to make open data useful for people in communities around the United States. Great to hear a bit from Executive Director.

Awash in Data, Thirsting for Truth by Margaret Sullivan. The public editor for the New York Times goes deep on how data can be used, and sometimes abused, in the new era of data-driven journalism.

Meet the Hackers Who Are Decrypting Your Brainwaves by Sean Captain. I’m fascinated by the growing presence of brain tracking devices out there. Great to see some grassroots groups looking to make sense of all that data.

When Discrimination Is Baked Into Algorithms by Lauren Kirchner. The code that governs our machines are written by people. Fallible people who have their own opinions and biases. Who make mistakes. But what kind of legal protections are needed when discrimination is the result of the computers that run that code?

Show&Tell
589aef6f-86b9-4a43-8919-551427cbaa7a-620x313 Why your bathroom scales are lying to you and how to find your true weight by Martin Robbins. Brilliant and fascinating post by Martin Robbins, who weighed himself every hour over a three-day period.

Soylent: What Happened When I Went 30 Days Without Food by Josh Helton. Say what you will about the techno-utopian food replacement product, but this is a great write-up on a month-long experiment to live off the stuff even while running nearly 70 miles per week. (Don’t forget to check out the data!)

Visualizations

open_jamierubin_net_v8_heatmap_html A Heatmap of Over 900 Days of Writing Data from My Google Docs Writing Tracker by Jamie Todd Rubin. Jamie shows us the data from the last two and a half years of tracking his writing.

From the Forum
Can You Quantify Inner Peace?
Psych Graduate Student Interested in QS Research

This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
Announcing the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference Program
Track HRV, Make a Dashboard, and Have Fun with Fitbit at QSEU15

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Track HRV, Make a Dashboard, and Have Fun with Fitbit at QSEU15

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We just published a preview of our program for the upcoming 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference. This year we’re experimenting with some new “how-to” sessions to help everybody learn something new and apply right away in their self-tracking practice.

We’re thrilled to have ten how-to  sessions on the program. From spaced repetition, to heart rate variability, and tracking sneezing (really!), these sessions also give you a chance to learn directly from some of the most pioneering and experienced participants in the global Quantified Self community. You can see the full schedule in our just-posted preliminary program.

Tickets are almost sold out, so if you want to come this is the last week to register!

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Announcing the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference Program

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Eleven days and counting!

On September 18th and 19th the Quantified Europe conference returns to the beautiful and affordable Casa 400 hotel in Amsterdam. If you’ve been before you know how special this conference is. The dozens of high-handled guest bikes waiting just outside the hotel door suggest it’s going to be hard to stay inside, but we have a lot of experience programming both “with” and “against” the lure of the city and we expect that nobody will be riding away until the last session ends. With over 70 different talks and sessions scheduled between social breaks with excellent food, our “carefully curated unconference” is the fruition of nearly a year’s work getting to know what’s going on the QS community. We’ve been deeply inspired by what you’re thinking about. It’s time for everybody to get in on what we’ve been learning.

Especially notable themes this year include novel ways of measuring sleep; widening interest in blood glucose sensors; popularization of genome and microbiome tests, and, as always, an amazing range of handcrafted and deeply personal tracking stories about health, sports, emotion, and more.

You can read a preliminary program here. [PDF]

As you’ll see, we’re opening the conference with 10 special “how to” sessions covering topics from heart rate variability to accelerated learning. Our goal with these sessions is to give everybody a chance to learn practical tips from experienced trackers. The heart of the program will be our Quantified Self Show&Tell talks, first person stories on topics like home EEG measurements to improve reading skill, self-collected data on distracted driving, and measuring the effect of music on concentration.

Lively informal breakouts will help set the agenda for the Quantified Self movement in the coming year, and we’ll be joined by dozens of Quantified Self toolmakers bringing their ideas and demos, with special thanks owed to the generous sponsors and Friends of QS who make this meeting possible, including Bayer, Abbott Labs, Intel, Scanadu, Oura, Emfit, and Beddit.

Tickets are almost sold out so register today.

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Meetups This Week

A great group of QS meetups are occurring this week. At the QSXX meetup in San Francisco, they will have a talk on tracking a hormone-related chronic illness. In Lille, the session will start with device demos, including O.Zen, a heart-rate variability game. Olivier Janin will give a talk reflecting on what he’s learned from 8 years of working with wearables.

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.

Monday, September 7
Oxford, England
Manchester, England

Tuesday, September 8
Lansing, Michigan
Zürich, Switzerland

Wednesday, September 9
QSXX – San Francisco, CA

Thursday, September 10
Lille, France

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What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!

Articles
Doctors voice concerns over plan for greater patient access to medical records by Dennis Campbell. England’s National Health Service is planning giving patients access to medical records by 2018. Additionally, they’re creating means to for patients to read and add to their doctor’s notes. Of course, some physicians are saying this might not be the best idea.

Counting the Miles: Thomas Jefferson’s Quest for an Odometer by Jennifer Harbster. Thomas Jefferson was well known for his interest in measuring and keeping track of important information. This fun article details his near obsession with being able to track how far his carriages traveled.

Helping Teachers and Schools Run Experiments by Tom Vander Ark.

Teachers are scientists, they’ve always experimented. Most of the time it’s informal, “Let’s try a new behavior management routine.” Or, “Watch this video tonight and we’ll discuss it in the morning.” Or, “Let’s try a really hard problem.”

What if we gave teachers, and whole schools, the chance to run experiments of their own or to join larger trials? What if they had access to better measures and powerful analytics?

Transform Your Eating: A Start-to-Finish Guide to Tracking Your Food by Stephanie Lee. Great overview by Stephanie here, who has covered some QS topics in the past, on how to get started with tracking your food. Lots of good tips in this article.

iMore survey shows ultra-high levels of Apple Watch usage by Rene Ritchie. iMore collected survey responses from over 8,000 Apple Watch users and compiled the results. Some interesting stats in here! For instance, according to their data over 70% of the sample stood up after receiving a “stand up” alert.

Show&Tell
tumblr_inline_nu0byhQvc61szhymg_1280 Quantifying & Hacking Focus – 2 Months In by Justin Lawler. Justin has been exploring how to better understand focus and concentration for the last few months. In this update, he talks about his Quantified Mind data and what he’s learned so far. (Note: Justin will be giving a show&tell talk at our QS Europe Conference on September 18th and 19th. Tickets are still available. Register today!)

Visualizations
Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 10.58.01 AM My Working Pulse by Victor Pascual Cid. Victor used a simple open source keylogger to track how he was using his computer.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.01.08 AM The Data of Long Distance Lovers. A fantastic analysis of text messaging data between to individuals.

This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
QSEU15 Preview: Putting Physiological Signals into Pictures
QSEU15 Preview: Why Should I Share My Data?
QS Europe Preview: Using Genetic Data for Recovery from Injury
QS Europe Preview: Where does your time go?

And now for a bit of fun:
Consider filling out this fun survey from the Internet’s favorite geek comic artist - The XKCD Survey!

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QS Europe Preview: Where does your time go?

SmarterTime

Time is the finite resource that we all share. We share, too, the befuddlement in how it’s spent. It seems that we are equally terrible at remembering what happened in the past and estimating how long something will take in the future.

EmmanuelPontHaving worked in project management for years, Emmanuel Pont knows full well everything hinges on time: how you use it, where it goes, why you never have enough. Emmanuel will be contributing two sessions at QS Europe related to the topic. He will facilitate a breakout discussion exploring productivity. What does it mean to be productive? How do you know if you are being productive? Emmanuel will also give a 5 minute ignite talk on his tool that helped him get a comprehensive sense of how his time was spent: from the websites he visited, to the rooms that he spent time in.

We program our QS conferences to support the exchange of ideas, and we’re always inspired by what we learn. Our next one is coming soon. QS Europe, September 18th and 19th in Amsterdam. We’ll see you there.

Register for QS Europe

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QS Europe Preview: Using Genetic Data for Recovery from Injury

RPDown

In the nearly 10 years since direct-to-consumer genetic testing was pioneered by 23andme, regulators have grown more watchful over the claims companies can make about the benefits of knowing your genome. In response, direct-to-consumer testing companies have changed their game plan, emphasizing ancestry and fun facts over physiological insight. Meanwhile, at Quantified Self meetings and conferences, interest in using direct-to-consumer genetic data for health and fitness has never let up.

This year at the QS Europe, Ralph Pethica, whose PhD in genetics and obsession with sports performance in surfing and cycling lead him to use his own DNA results to optimize his training, will be contributing two sessions. He’s going to lead a 30 minute “how-to” session on making better use of our genomic data to optimise fitness training; and, he’s going to give a fascinating 5 minute ignite talk about the cycling accident that lead him to explore the relationship between genomics and recovery from injury. You’re invited to join the discussion!

We program our QS conferences to support the exchange of ideas, and we’re always inspired by what we learn. Next up: QS Europe, September 18th and 19th in Amsterdam.

Register for QS Europe

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QSEU15 Preview: Why Should I Share My Data?

Breakout Raj Mehta

Everyone is asking you to share your data, but what’s in it for you?

At the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference open data activist Theo Scholl is leading an lively breakout discussion on the frontiers of data sharing: What kind of benefits make it worthwhile to share data? What’s most important: money, services, tools, altruism, participation, or data from others to exchange? Come join us to help advance what’s turning into a global conversation about how data flows, why, and to whom?

If you have an interest in data sharing for personal and public benefit, please join us!

 

 

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QSEU15 Preview: Putting Physiological Signals into Pictures

Virtual View - early version

Media artist Danielle Roberts ( check out her Reverse Calendar), found her curiosity piqued by a scientific paper claiming that  the well-known calming benefits of being in nature can be achieved by merely looking at pictures of natural landscapes.

DanielleRobertsAt QS Europe 15, Danielle will present “Virtual View” project, which combines image and sound for immersion in a constructed natural environment – with a twist. Virtual View feeds your physiological signal back into the system, subtly altering based on your response.

Join us in Amsterdam for QS Europe on September 18th & 19th, 2015. It will be an incredible two full days of talks, breakout discussions, and working sessions. We look forward to seeing you there! 

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Meetups This Week

As the summer ends in the northern hemisphere, the number of QS meetups is picking up and there are some great groups getting together this week.

Amsterdam will have a combined meetup with Behavior Design AMS. They will have toolmaker talks from Kenkodo (tracking metabolism) and Fithacking.nl (fitness), as well as, a researcher talk from Marleen Onwezen on whether apps can be designed to help people make better decisions.

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.

Monday, August 31
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tuesday, September 1
Toronto, Canada
Reno, Nevada
Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, September 3
Auckland, New Zealand
Denver, Colorado

Saturday, September 5
Denton, Texas

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