Quantified Savagery

Where Personal Data Runs Wild

A Tale of Two Trips

This summer, Valkyrie and I travelled through Eastern Asia. We started with the Great Barrier Reef and rainforests near Cairns, then went onwards to Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Korea before spending three typhoon-stricken days holed up in Manila, Philippines.

As with our bike trip, we kept a daily journal of our travels in blog form. In this post, I visualize the two trips from our blog entries using some simple word count graphs. These aren’t the most sophisticated visualizations possible, but they provide a simple starting point to build upon in future blog posts.

Quadtree Cartography

In this post, I show off some images from a project I’m working on (which will remain nameless for now!) These images visualize subdivisions of the Earth into Google Maps tile-sized regions with roughly equal population. I’ll also provide a brief and non-technical rundown of the process by which I generated these images.

Applying Genetic Research to My 23andMe Data

To calculate your risk of various diseases, 23andMe scours the medical research literature for studies that correlate incidence rates for those diseases with mutations at specific locations in the human genome. The locations where these mutations commonly occur are referred to as single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs.

In this post, I show how I applied the findings of this study about caffeine-induced anxiety to discover more about myself. I have no genetic research background whatsoever, and my knowledge of genetics is minimal, so it’s amazing that this is slowly becoming accessible to a wider audience.

The Behavioral Economics of 23AndMe Results

Over the holidays, I received a 23andMe genetic testing kit as a gift. In this post, I’ll take a look at my results through the lens of prospect theory, which aims to quantify our perception of risk. 23andMe results estimate your lifetime likelihood of various medical conditions, making them a great dataset for testing out these concepts in behavioral economics.

What I’ll Look Like in 50 Years

I spent a few weeks in the not-so-frozen Canadian northlands over the winter holidays. While there, I had the chance to visit an old childhood favorite: the Ontario Science Centre, six floors of science-based awesomeness. One of their current exhibits, the Amazing Aging Machine, uses a computer vision software package called APRIL to predict how your face will change over the next 50 years.

In this post, I explore my results from that exhibit alongside a customized aging I performed using the APRIL API.