Sunday, May 09, 2010

all in the numbers

the quantified self?
as promised, i spent a good proportion of yesterday (perhaps 60%) lying horizontally on the couch, watching my favorite TV shows (2) and catching up on my favorite blogs (5 billion). and thanks for the well wishes -- i do feel mostly better today (let's say 82% healed).

as might be expected, i came across several things that i was dying to post about in today's post! i am on call (#4) today, so i don't have time to do all of the topics justice, but i'll try to hit the highlights!

one interesting concept blog i came across -- and the reason for all the numbers in the paragraphs above -- was the quantified self.

another blog that has become its own movement!

writer KK tracked 40 different parameters about herself each and every day (!), ranging from weight to weather to mood to sex. her 'self-experiment' has actually inspired an entire movement of people who have planned meetups to share this sort of data. a recent ny times piece goes into more detail.

at first, i was flabbergasted. 40!? surely this many measurements landed the author squarely in OCD-territory. but then i thought about my recent favorite, the happiness project, and how that is in many ways a self-tracking project in its own right.

and then i thought about the blogs i read, and the one i write! clearly, there is a comfort that many of us find in documenting (and therefore tracking) things. is it a way of reliving important events more than once, or a way of processing our own life data? i'm also not against numbers in any way -- in fact, i like them. i take my temperature when i'm sick, use a scale (in a responsible fashion, at least most of the time), track running mileage and speed, and relish academic feedback given in the form of test scores (probably because historically i am a good test taker).

every day at work i look at hundreds of numbers on patients, from vital signs to lab values to pain scores. i do think there is a danger in getting too quantitative -- not everything can be distilled into a mathematical answer. but the numbers sure do help.

so maybe writer KK at the quantified self isn't so crazy after all. still, i don't plan on starting a huge self-database anytime soon. i don't think i'd have any time left to analyze it!

at the shallow end
i came across this bag at j. crew. it's totally reminiscent of the gorgeous linea pelle dylan bag (sported by celebrities such as beyoncé, nicole richie, and vickie), but it has a crunchier vibe, a softer look, and (bonus!) is half the price.



birthday treat? anniversary gift? i-finished-residency-thank-the-lord prize? perhaps at least one of these occasions warrants a new bag. we'll see!


  1. Cool site. I love love love love love numbers and trying to make the leap between data and what it means to/about the individuals who supply that data. Glad you are feeling better.

  2. Anonymous8:33 AM

    i am numbers obsessed. i like to know how something stacks up against something else and seeing what it means. i always have to keep t in check though because sometimes i can get too obsessed and forget that the items i'm assessing are, usually, suppose to be fun.

    glad your feeling on the upswing and i hope you get one of those bags, they are awesome :)

  3. Anonymous10:09 AM

    I love the bag!!! I've had my eye on a balenciaga for-EVER, but haven't yet found a reason to justify it. I've tried several, too - college graduation? birthday? 2 yr anniversary? christmas?

    Sadly none of these events have been momentous enough to warrant a $2,000 bag.

    Perhaps a signing bonus will do it. :)

  4. That bag is gorgeous!! Although I could never bring myself to spend that much money on a bag...gah. However, if you're going to start making the big bucks soon with the end of residency, maybe you can afford it! (Haha, kidding! Do fellowships pay more than residency? Or is it still the cheap labor idea?)

  5. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Have you seen the Feltron annual reports? ( Basically this guy keeps track of all kinds of information about his life each year and then puts together an amazing annual report.

  6. omg you made me laugh outloud in the office! i love the blue one... sounds like you have ample reason to treat yourself!!!