The Data-Driven Life – a status report

Me in 2009 (left) and me in 2016 (right). The difference is at the level of about 40 lbs, and the shape of my head doesn't tell the full story.

Me in 2009 (left) and me in 2016 (right). The difference is at the level of about 40 lbs, and the shape of my head doesn’t tell the full story.

On January 12, 2012, I weighed 248lbs. That was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life, and up to this date the good news is that it is still the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. Back then I had knee pain. I had high blood pressure. I was unhappy with my levels of stress, and how I dealt with stress. I had body image issues. When my doctor decided to have “the talk” with me about my health and specifically issues tied to my weight, I finally chose to really do something about it. For the first time in my life, I embarked on a painful, slow, and long process of losing weight the only way sustainable it has ever worked: by increasing exercise levels and decreasing calorie intake. To do this, I needed to lead a “data-driven life” – I needed to have good estimates of daily calorie intake and calorie output, so I could put the laws of Thermodynamics to work. In this piece, I check in on things and see how this has progressed.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review, March 13 – March 18, 2016

The Moriond Conferences!

The Moriond Conferences!

This last week was a killer. I’m lucky I didn’t get sick again. Up at 05:30 every day. In bed well after 21:00 or 22:00 every night but Friday night. There was an ATLAS conference note on the search for additional Higgs bosons to make public. There was an exam to write. There were SMU Scholar Candidates to interview and meet. There were a dozen tiny meetings, none of which had anything to do with anything else. And Jodi was traveling, which made commuting to and from SMU a frustrating strategic exercise. What a week.

Oh, and coda: Asus Chromebook C300 + Crouton = Tuxbook/Wildebook = Happy Steve.

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Presidential Candidates and Verbal Honesty

Verbal Honesty Score and the raw data that were used to compute the score. Data is from PolitiFact.com.

Verbal Honesty Score and the raw data that were used to compute the score. Data is from PolitiFact.com as of 3/12/2016.

As a physicist, I am fascinated by trying to quantify the world – to find the numbers that can represent what is going on in nature. People are hard to quantify most of the time, but trying to do so can be informative. Organizations like PolitiFact [1] offer a set of data about people – specifically, about politicians – that can allow us to create numbers to represent and understand those people. In this post, I discuss my own recent attempt to quantify the data collected by PolitiFact by constructing an “Verbal Honesty Score” for the remaining Democrat and Republican Presidential Candidates. I find that Donald Trump is, by far, the most verbally dishonest candidate… by a long shot, and by two measures of the same data. I find that Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and John Kasich are the most verbally honest of the group, though who is more verbally honest differs by which of the two measures you want to use. For now, I assign no errors to the numbers though errors of a statistical nature are possible. I comment on errors of a systematic nature.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review, February 8-12, 2016

A scene from the SMU Research Day on Feb. 10.

A scene from the SMU Research Day on Feb. 10.

This was an incredible week, not because of anything that happened specifically to me but because of what happened for all humankind. At SMU, we were visited by Prof. Tony Gherghetta from the University of Minnesota who gave a fantastic seminar at SMU on the subject of composite theories of new physics at the LHC. The physics community was abuzz with rumours about the press conferences and seminars planned by members of the LIGO Science Collaboration on Thursday, Feb. 11. The rumours, this time, proved to be true. The LIGO Science Collaboration announced the discovery of gravitational waves and the birth of a new form of astronomy. Jodi delivered the Clare Boothe Luce lecture at the University of Dallas that same day. The week closed out with a trip to Wisconsin for a nephew birthday party. What a week.

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