Home > modeling, musing > THIS REQUIRES YOUR MOCKERY


July 14, 2013

My title today is the subject line of a message I received from my buddy Jordan Ellenberg. Thanks for making things so easy for me to blog this morning, Jordan!

So here’s the subject: a Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s self-help book, including advice on how to quantify and measure your sex life, among other things – every other thing, in fact.

Just in case you’ve missed it, there’s a movement afoot among certain people to collect data about themselves on the level of heart rate, daily exercise and eating patterns, and the like, with the goal of self-improvement.

It’s got a name – the Quantified Self movement – and if I haven’t mentioned it before, it’s because honestly, it’s too easy, and I generally speaking like a challenge.

I saw a bunch of these guys at the health analytics conference I went to a couple of months ago, and let me tell you, they’re weird, and they know it, and they don’t care.

They honestly feel sorry for people who don’t have a Ironman Triathlon (or four) to train for via wireless excel spreadsheets. I mean, how do those people know whether they’ve actually improved? How do they know if they’ve eaten enough carbs? How do they know if they’ve slept??

As far as these Quantified Selfers (QSers) are concerned, it’s only a matter of time before everyone is, like them, making themselves perfect, and they’re the vanguard with nothing to be defensive about.

So anyhoo, those QS guys are convinced that they’re accomplishing something with all of their number collecting and crunching, like maybe they’ll live forever or something (after curing cancer), and they’re just so douchey I feel sorry for them. Blogging about them and trashing them would be like a mean older kid in the playground telling a bunch of little kids that there’s no Santa Claus.

Why do that? Why pop their bubble?

Here’s why: it’s just plain fun, especially now that they’ve ventured into sexy territory with their spreadsheets.

Here are a couple of questions for the Quantified Sexual Selfers (QSSers) in the audience, please get back to me.

  1. Yes or no: nothing says “hot ‘n’ steamy” like a fitbit readout of historical orgasms.
  2. Where does the sensor band get attached, and does it come with a vibrating option?
  3. Are your orgasms more satisfying before or after syncing your daily data with Stephen Wolfram’s?
  4. What’s your metric of success, and how do you know your girlfriend ain’t gaming the system?
Categories: modeling, musing
  1. July 14, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Schwing Added Measures —


  2. JSE
    July 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    So psyched that I can now order up Mathbabe mockery like it was room service.


  3. pjm
    July 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Hilarious. Timothy Ferris is fairly prominent in this vein (and afaict, he’s something of a con-man or, at least,a shameless self-promoter). There are some relentless self-quantifiers though who are more interested in scientific research than self-improvement (e.g., the blogger Peter Attia) and so we should be careful not to lump them together.


  4. July 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    It was pretty funny back in July of 2011 when via a Google search Fitbit sexual profiles ended up on the internet:) Have to love that one. Actually I feel sorry for those that can’t find a little time to put their little device away for a few hours:) When these folks first started out they were not as weird but boy things have changed so I guess we have data cults now:) A while back someone asked me to look at a dating site, OK cupid for them before they joined so I said ok and went on to create a fake profile and it was pretty funny there too as they keep emails going to keep you hooked and I did a little interacting with a fake Facebook account connected and it was funny as after 2-3 weeks, the Cupid site emailed a flow sheet with their analytics.

    I thought that was hilarious as you probably all know that the site was created by mathematicians so it would fit the mentality. Maybe the cupid and quantified folks belong together:) You know what though it’s scary for the younger folks as when they get dosed with enough of all of this they begin to think this is normal..yikes! It’s not their fault with some of what they get exposed to today.


  5. aalasti
    July 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Off to the orgone accumulator!


  6. July 15, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Everyone should fitbit every time their bits fit 🙂


  7. Zathras
    July 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Why should I go through the trouble of mocking it? The story is pretty much self-mocking.


  8. JSE
    July 15, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    “I can’t help it, gas escapes from my fundament on the least pretext, it’s hard not to mention it now and then, however great my distaste. One day I counted them. Three hundred and fifteen farts in nineteen hours, or an average of over sixteen farts an hour. After all it’s not excessive. Four farts every fifteen minutes. It’s nothing. Not even one fart every four minutes. It’s unbelievable. Damn it, I hardly fart at all, I should never have mentioned it. Extraordinary how mathematics help you to know yourself.” (Samuel Beckett, from Molloy, 1951)


  9. July 16, 2013 at 10:15 am
  1. July 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm
  2. July 15, 2013 at 11:50 pm
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