Saturday afternoon session QSEU15 (the end!)


Session 8 – Saturday, 2:00 PM SHOW&TELL TALKS

I arrived a bit late for this but it seemed quite interesting and Peter also led a breakout session on morning rituals. He has quite a nice blog, althought it’s in Dutch ( He ran different experiments to see how morning rituals affect him, including using the Muse band.

A YEAR IN RUNNING – Valera Vasylenko
After a bad breakup Valera decided to start running and made some nice visualizations of the data over one year. He includes distance run and air temperature. He also signed up for the Paris half-marathon, which motivated him to run more, although he noticed that when he was in a bad mood he ran less. It was not clear whether he ran less since he was in a bad mood or he became in a bad mood when he ran less.

Justin, as in a previous talk by Paul Lafontaine, switched to a paleo diet in 2014 and also likes to quantify lots of things. He finds the diet improved his focus, which he quantified on “”. He also measured how test results varied with coffee consumption, lactose, gluten and alcohol. It seems that green tea greatly improved sleep quality and productivity.

Simon made his own dashboard and asked us to participate in his project (see He mentioned a bunch of sites to join apps or help with all the dashboard stuff, e.g., Zapier, Todoist, Ifttt, Bootstrap, Data driven documents and Firebase.

Session 9 – Saturday, 3:30 PM BREAKOUT SESSIONS

I thought that the reference to a pen and paper system to track mood was interesting so I spent an hour with Liz and about 5 other people at this session. Liz explained how she used to be a neurosurgeon and then had mood disorders and spent some time at hospitals. After many years of thinking about this, and trying different things, she finds that you can tell alot about your mood by asking yourself how much energy you have and whether its more negative or positive. During her worst days, Liz had lots of energy but it was negative, which made her paranoid. Her web page:

Her first point then was that in order to treat anything, you have to be able to measure it first, and one can plot two axes, with energy going top down (y axis) and negativity going left-right (x axis). She found this was better than writing down words, which are more “academic”, while here we want an idea of emotions. She also gave us a bit of an anatomy class on the reptilian brain, etc., but what I found the most interesting was the reference to quandrants of mood and creativity and the idea that there can be different “creativities”. That is (thinking about myself), when I feel more energetic and positive, I tend not to be very creative and just get a lot of things done. To be more creative I need to be a bit closer to the negativitiy line, while remaining positive. But, if I feel like drawing or painting, the energy line has to decrease and I need to be more calm.

Finally, Liz went into 5 major areas of our lives than can be scored, to help explain your mood, or your point on the graph. Why are you lower or higher? Well, its probably due to problems or success in one of 5 areas: surroundings, health, autonomy, relationships and “experience and knowledge”. The latter category includes lots of things, like training and knowledge of economics. We can live quite well without one or two of these categories but each one of us has our basic needs.

Quantified Brain and Music for Selftuning – Rocio Chongtay
Rocio talked about how she focuses with music and quantified it using Neurosky (, an EEG sensor. In her research asking people to concentrate to maintain a beachball floating in a tube (the more focused, the more a fan spun around to keep the ball afloat), she found that many people have problems focusing and she thought that music could help with this. She is also an archer and describes how different music helped her aim. There is a fine line here between being highly concentrated but not too tense, relaxed enough. All in all, music helped her get into the zone. One of her favorites, Hotel by Moby.

Stowing and Tracking – Art and the Quantified Self – Alberto Frigo

Alberto talked about his quantifying and the Minor data exhibition which was just outside the lecture hall. He made a nice summary of how he met each artist-quantified selfer, starting in chronological order. It’s amazing to see all the ideas people had, and how some previously new ideas are now quite common (e.g., selfies with food). One story I especially like is about a Polish house wife who wrote 700 notebooks about all the people she met, daily acitivities. Another was about a French man who decided to do everything at 33%, so he went 33% the distance to Lourdes on a pilgramage, and put 33% water in his bath tub. For the art part of quantified self, I think that Alberto was trying to underline the personal importance of the story, the need that different people have to get or stow all this data and the nice ways they illustrate it. The idea, in the end, as he concluded was “to build a coherent nest in a windy world”.


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