Who is the Man with the Name that Rhymes? - If the name don't rhyme it ain't mine. https://www.shawnconn.com/rss.xml en The Gender Pay Gap https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/gender-pay-gap <span>The Gender Pay Gap</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>One of my friends on Facebook reminded of a <a href="http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/">Freakonomics podcast</a>, about gender pay inequality, I'd heard earlier this year. It had crystallized my thoughts on the subject and pretty much confirmed my existing intuitions.</p> <p>Here are the salient points in the podcast: </p> <ul><li>Intentional discrimination is hard to discern and seems negligible (there are laws against blatant discrimination).</li> <li>Aggressive competitive bargaining doesn't seem much of a factor when comparing men/women early in their careers.</li> <li>25% of the gap is can be attributed to self-sorting into higher paying sectors (e.g. a greater percentage of men in finance vs. public education).</li> <li>The most significant factor is due to <em>temporal flexibility</em>, valuing when you do your work. Men are more likely to trade off time flexibility for earnings. The pay gap gets most extreme when you start talking about executive-level employees.</li> </ul><p>To put it another way, while discrimination probably exists, it's statistically a non-factor. The more significant factor is men are more likely to be drawn toward paths that have higher earnings. In the competition for pay, especially at the top of the corporate structure in high paying sectors of the economy, it's a game of attrition with one's personal time. Women, statistically, do not not like to play that game. </p> <p>One my favorite, now defunct, blogs, <em>The Epicurean Dealmaker</em>, had <a href="http://epicureandealmaker.blogspot.com/2014/02/even-cowgirls-get-blues.html">a post</a> about this phenomenon manifesting itself in the world of investment banking.</p> <p>This pretty much confirms what I have experienced myself. I have friends that have put their career aside for the sake of raising their kids. I know of one friend that explicit walked away from the stock analyst route because she found being a teacher more rewarding. In my own <a href="https://luciditi.io">LAMP/Drupal web development consulting business</a>, I've made the choice to pursue higher paying, project-based work vs. the sit-at-a-desk-and-mix-unproductive-and-productive-time oriented work.</p> <p>While I'm sympathetic to the goals of pay inequality, I think fighting against 70-cents-on-the-dollar pay is a waste of time. It's better spent fighting for parental leave benefits (some that should be incentivized in this country) &amp; doing something about pay inequality overall (a much thornier problem), rather than fighting statistical artifacts that will never reach parity.</p> </div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/28/2016 - 19:46</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/inequality" hreflang="en">inequality</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/economics" hreflang="en">economics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/gender" hreflang="en">gender</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=120&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="yqlc8jBIIXZmxLjkIwHFixTneqPesA9bmyM7iHVud6A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:46:30 +0000 Shawn Conn 120 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/gender-pay-gap#comments Embodied Memories https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/embodied-memories <span>Embodied Memories</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I've recently been trying to reduce my possession footprint. It partially started in 2015 with the move, but it was more a utilitarian process of <em>"will or won't I need this?"</em> than a introspective <em>"why do I have this and what do I still think about it?"</em> It's good to do that time-to-time to remove the glut of stupid possessions that we all pile up. I like to reflect on what I own, with the <em>Fight Club</em> quote "<em>The things you own, end up owning you"</em> still hanging on after all these years.</p> <p>In my introspective process, I ask questions like "do I have positive feelings about this?" or "do I still own this solely by inertia?" Basically, we own things to achieve something with it. You can group the types of possessions in different ways, but it's most convenient for me to visualize it as a spectrum ranging from purely sentimental to purely utilitarian. As you can imagine, the sentimental, representing a strong thoughts/feelings, are the toughest rid myself of, while the utilitarian are the easiest. </p> <p>But it's that middle gray range, where I find myself jumping back and forth, on whether it should be tossed.</p> <p>For example:</p> <ul><li>A hand-pump beer tap, acquired after many years of being the beer keg supplier for <em>Thunder Over Louisville</em> parties. </li> <li>An abundance of guest-check notepads for manual restaurants orders, piled up from my years working a <a href="http://newalbanian.com/">NABC</a>.</li> <li>A 5.1 Surround system that I've had since college. Not excellent, but good enough to give a decent surround sound for all the various BWM movies, video games, music and other things it has played. </li> </ul><p>These items I have a tough time with throwing away; they hold an abundance of memories that I'd also toss out with them. Any its not just the warm, fuzzy, "oh, that reminds me of this one time..." kind of memories. It's also the hidden kind of memories; muscle memories of interacting with them; and other sensory memories that bounce around our limbic system triggering adjacent or tangent memories and feelings. In that way, these possessions are extensions of us, part of our life experiences, storing bits of thoughts &amp; feelings that make us who we are. </p> <p>Going back to the spectrum of a person's possessions, you can really develop a sense of what a person thinks &amp; feels just by looking at what they own.</p> <p> </p> </div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/05/2016 - 21:37</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/possessions" hreflang="en">possessions</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/fight-club" hreflang="en">Fight Club</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/metacognition" hreflang="en">metacognition</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/nabc" hreflang="en">NABC</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/thunder-over-louisville" hreflang="en">Thunder Over Louisville</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/memory" hreflang="en">memory</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=118&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="Q_tkM9-25fjamV104va4pNVRA2gGHT-SJ0hSZELnHXA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 06 Sep 2016 04:37:42 +0000 Shawn Conn 118 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/embodied-memories#comments The Meaning of Life https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/meaning-life <span>The Meaning of Life</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I like to think that I know something about life. I've had 36 years of it. In that time, I've experienced much, and have met a diverse group of people, all of whom are driven by different things. Career, family, religion are some common examples, but there are so many others. If the world has taught me anything, it's that people have a broad and deep list of passions that drive them.</p> <p>So what's the common thread here? Is there an objective way to say that something, definitively, is the meaning of life?</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Yes.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>The meaning is....</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Life.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><em>The meaning of life is life</em>. That's the best answer I can give to a question that has no explicit answer. That answer may be seem like a cop-out, a profound insight, or, more likely, if you've previously thought about it, something that you've always known. The only purpose, or meaning, of life is to perpetuate, life. That's it. </p> <p>Let's look at this through 3 different perspectives, the physical, the mental, &amp; spiritual.</p> <h2>Physical</h2> <img alt="Life finds a way!" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ea5a3879-f57a-43c2-8d68-bee5a6214634" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/LifeAnimation.gif" class="align-center" /><p> </p> <p>This is most evident in physical form. Life is a chain of complex biological processes that have figured out how recreate itself. We have even <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21661196-its-long-been-thought-our-universe-all-there-it-possible-we-may-live-just-one">performed it in a lab</a>, or at least the starting seeds of life (I leave it to the reader to frame what it means for their religion). Growing from that seed, we have the <a href="https://www.evogeneao.com/learn/tree-of-life">amazing tree of life</a>. It's easy to be bewildered by its complexity and think what else <em><strong>it could</strong></em> mean, or <em><strong>where it's going</strong></em>.</p> <p>Each tree branch is a niche that each species has found to self-recreate within Earth's ecosystem. Even when pressure is put on an organism, threatening survival, eventually evolution finds some way out. We see this all around us in many forms from <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimicrobial_resistance">the tiny</a> to <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100923104140.htm">the large</a>. Life is a continuation of this biological process, despite conditions changing around it. Many people think of evolution is some sort biological process that is constantly chiseling to perfection. I'd argue it's a path of least resistance that organism has found, to balance its needs to survive with what its environment provides.</p> <p>This is the flow of life. It was put into motion long before we were here, and will be here long after us. Just like with the other mechanics of the universe, this is a force that makes life happen. Yet, no one asks about the <em><strong>meaning of Gravity</strong></em>; it's just accepted as a force of the Universe we live in. Likewise, the biological forces that make life happen in this cozy part of the Universe, is its own force, pushing us along with its own momentum.</p> <h2>Mental</h2> <p>Our minds, unarguably, have made us the apex predator of our environment. We've even named ourselves based on that trait, <em>Homo sapiens, </em>wise man. It has enabled our species to understand its environment to a greater degree than any other animal. It has made us understand and master, tools and communication, which has enabled us to work, in tandem, to form our modern global civilization.</p> <p>And yet, despite reaching crazy levels of material prosperity, we still push our thoughts ahead. After solving one question, we follow it up with another, <em>why</em>? <em>What next? Where are we going? </em>It's questions like these, propelling the mind forward to new endeavors, that pushes the body forwards.</p> <p>In physics, it's pushed us to create <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider">ridiculous huge devices</a> for replicating forces that, according to the models of physics, have brought the universe into the state it's now. We've layered explanations of universe into complex set of theories that we're trying patch into one unified quilt that <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything">covers everything</a>. </p> <img alt="LHC Atlas" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="72caa2cf-b654-4093-93b3-e56463d9fd94" height="369" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/atlas-detector-hr.jpg" width="566" class="align-center" /><p>The academic world of physics is just one example of how our thoughts are an extension of life perpetuating itself. Thoughts or ideas survive based on its fitness (ability to explain the world), its ability to reproduce (transmit to another person), and how it competes/adapts with its environment (explaining or cooperating with other like ideas out there). And just like with the tree of life, there is a tree of educational disciplines forking off of one-another. </p> <p>To use another example in more creative/abstract human endeavors. Take a look this great video essay called <em><strong>Everything is a Remix</strong></em>. </p> <p class="text-align-center"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nJPERZDfyWc" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>The elements of creativity Ferguson mentions in his video (copy, transform, and combine) are very similar to same forces for the continuity of life: reproduction (copy), adaptation (transform), and competition/cooperation (combine). </p> <p>To use one last example, think of lodestar of our civilization: politics.</p> <p>We've devised a complex framework of rules to codify our ethics of behavior. This framework of ideas gives us a theory of how we should conduct ourselves and what our hierarchy of values should be. Political philosphy survive based on reproduction (people adhering to its philosphy), adaptability (ability to change to the realities of people's needs), and competition/cooperation (to fight/ally in elections, or war in the extreme). They are self-reproducing systems of order based on the desire for order. </p> <p>All these examples can be thought of life perpetuating itself higher up the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs">Maslowian pyramid</a>. Once survival, at a biological level, is stable we have other needs (e.g. to understand our world, to be entertained, to have a stable society) to fulfill. Each of these needs has its own competitive dynamic environment where it's seeking to find an equilibrium: a perfect understanding of the mechanics of the universe, a expression of creativity that makes us genuinely feel the spectrum of human emotions, or the best way for people to behave to achieve maximum harmony. </p> <p>(pro tip: read about the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy">Nirvana fallacy</a> and understand that any political system / policy / etc. is ultimately a bunch of tradeoffs to an inherently intractable problem).</p> <h2>Spiritual</h2> <p>Harmony sounds like a nice way to segue into my last perspective, spirituality. </p> <p>This is the hardest to pin down because it's the most abstract. Life has so many facets and so many great things to love about it, it's easy to focus solely one of its many aspects: life for the sake of life (e.g. raising a family, chasing love for the sake of love), passions, projects, &amp; plans for the sake of passions, projects, &amp; plans (e.g. hobbies &amp; goals). But somewhere, between all those moments of life, everyone has that existential itch; <em><strong>what does all this mean? </strong></em></p> <p>Trying to answer that question, at its core, is an attempt at finding greater meaning, or purpose, beyond what is here and now. The question, by its nature, will <em><strong>depend on what you value</strong></em>, or what you <em><strong>ascribe meaning to</strong></em>. As such, the question is a great synecdoche for life; it's an unending series of questions and answers that will change as time goes on. Ultimately, no one will have the same exact answer as you, because we don't have <em><strong>the exact</strong></em> <em><strong>same</strong></em> thoughts/feelings <em><strong>at the exact</strong></em> same moment in time. Rather, we just have a constellation of overlapping interests/likes/dislikes that pull &amp; push us apart as we're travelling our path through life.</p> <p>The best way to see this embodied is religion. It has, over the years it's existed with humanity, mixed in the study of morality, law, philosphy, and science. All in the attempt to explain the nature of life, the universe, and our role in it, with the implicit thought that if we know the all answers, we'll have the ultimate guide to our meaning/purpose.  </p> <p>Just like with the physical tree of life, religion has grown, evolved, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions">branched</a> into different spiritual niches with the times. We can take 2 large branches, like the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions">Abrahamic religions</a> &amp; <a href="   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_religions#.22Dharmic_religions.22">Dharmic religions</a>, and trace their route through history for example. It shouldn't be any surprise that some religions, being an artifact of physical life, embraces the meaning of life through procreation (<em><a href="http://biblehub.com/genesis/1-28.htm">be fruitful and multiply</a></em>).</p> <p>Ultimately, religion has the same evolutionary pressures as previously discussed: reproduction of new adherents (both in the sense of offspring &amp; trying to pass on culture/beliefs/values), adaptation to environment (e.g. protestantism forking from Catholicism, Christianity embracing pagan traditions), &amp; competitive pressures (e.g. holy wars, the various schisms in the Islamic world). Throughout the ages, religion has evolved to fit the desires of people beyond the body and the mind.</p> <p>Someday, I'd love to take a special look at Nihilism &amp; Atheism through this prism. There is a sort of critical thinking in the philosphy of Nihilism, or the "religion" of atheism, that lends itself to a sort of life-rejecting, black hole, <strong><em><a href="https://www.shawnconn.com/quotes/abyss">gazing into the abyss</a> </em></strong>sort-of-way.</p> <h2>Sine qua non</h2> <p>So to wrap up <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_problems_in_philosophy">this unsolved problem</a> (hurrah! solved!) in a shortened, less grandiose way, the meaning of life, for you, is whatever keeps you alive, whatever keeps you going, <em><strong>whatever you live for</strong></em>.</p> <p>If I still haven't convinced you, I'll leave with one last passing thought. The question <strong><em>What is the meaning of life?</em></strong> is non-existent without life; in a world absent of conscious creatures carrying the capacity to question their core essence, there would be no questions, no thoughts, nor feelings to inspire such a philosophical question. The question is, itself, an ultimate byproduct of life and its processes trying to understand its own nature. </p> </div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Sat, 07/16/2016 - 21:13</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/philosophy" hreflang="en">philosophy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/meaning-life" hreflang="en">meaning of life</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/religion" hreflang="en">religion</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/tree-life" hreflang="en">tree of life</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/physics" hreflang="en">physics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/everything-remix" hreflang="en">Everything is a Remix</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/biology" hreflang="en">biology</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/nirvana-fallacy" hreflang="en">nirvana fallacy</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=115&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="ZAFlxe97PSvS2ovZJt6FcaMBmOOnykarCcJ1CCnoHFg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 17 Jul 2016 04:13:34 +0000 Shawn Conn 115 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/meaning-life#comments The Habit of Fitness https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/habit-fitness <span>The Habit of Fitness</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>About three years ago, my walkabout the country made me noticed how winded I was just walking around. Some time after returning home I decided it was time to get serious about my own fitness.</p> <p>Like many habits that you accrue over time, physical activity &amp; diet are established in formative years then you totally forget about it. Sadly, our bodies don't care about these habits; it is almost inevitable that your metabolism will slow down as either you get older, move into a less physically demanding job, or probably both. The slow creep of habits and time is hard to stay vigilant against. Especially, when there's more crazy fattening foods more than ever.</p> <p>Over the course of the next year I was able to drop 40 lbs. (~25% of my weight), drop my body fat down to a trim level, and get my blood pressure to a healthy range.</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><img alt="weight lost chart" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="189880b4-ef5c-4dfe-b436-adb42e0acde5" height="357" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/weight.png" width="201" /></td> <td><img alt="body fat lost chart" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="007b165d-94f5-4ffc-b65f-cd7d3c6e6942" height="361" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/body-fat.png" width="203" /></td> <td><img alt="blood pressue lost chart" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5c7ef8c1-1709-41e9-89be-5ff892fe609f" height="368" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/blood-pressure.png" width="207" /></td> </tr></tbody></table><p>I don't consider myself much of a motivational writer, but I thought I would recap what I did in the hope it helps someone. I'm a pretty lazy person so I feel like most anyone could probably do the same, provided that they have a bit of grit in them (I'll say I have more than average) and are determined.</p> <p>Which gets me into the first thing: motivation. If you're not motivated toward some <em><strong>tangible</strong></em> &amp; <em><strong>realistic</strong></em> end goal, you'll probably fall back into whatever slump you feel like you want to get out of. Mine was pretty simple, I just don't want to be winded while climbing. To that end, I just targeted some generic normal <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index">BMI</a> goal (21.75). BMI isn't a perfect measure (especially for someone like me who's below average height), but it's good enough. The important thing is to give yourself a <strong>simple direction</strong> that isn't <strong>too long </strong>to work towards, because the tough part will be reworking your own habits to keep on the path.</p> <p>From here, I'll cover in 3 broad topics how I got to my goals. </p> <p><strong>Measurement </strong></p> <p>You can't know what direction you're going without a map, GPS, or some guidance measurements. Likewise, there's no way you can realistically tell if you've made progress without tracking your health metrics. I wouldn't have been nearly as successful without a handful of health tracking tools to measure my progress. When you're looking a cold hard data, it's much easier to be objective about progress than superficial things. For example, I never really thought that l looked fat until I looked at myself retrospectively.</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><img alt="The Man with the Double Chin" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="8c7cee8b-9251-4b82-88a2-558e00b01d81" height="210" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/before.jpg" width="152" /></td> <td><img alt="The Man with the Long Hair" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="fb750273-ca44-4e98-aaf4-5201aaba09ee" height="205" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/after.jpg" width="157" /></td> </tr></tbody></table><p>Here's what I used:</p> <ul><li><strong>A digital scale that tracks body fat %:</strong> This is pretty much required. Almost any sort fitness plan is going to be about balancing diet &amp; excercise. You can't have a good gauge of that without some regular measurement of your weight, and, more importantly, your body fat. This is because everyone is going to weigh differently based on their gender, height, bone mass, and other factors beyond your control. Body fat, however, should give you an idea to how much muscle you have vs. your fat. Like BMI, there are <a href="http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/112/what-are-the-guidelines-for-percentage-of-body-fat">general guidelines</a> you can take based on your gender and target level of trimness (I shot for a goal of 15% body fat).</li> <li><strong>A pedometer:</strong> This is a good general tool. It might be optional depending on your exercise preference, but, again, I went with something completely generic: walking. The WHO has some <a href="http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/">guidelines</a> about how much you should exercise, but, again, I'm like most people: lazy. In lieu of that, I went with a generic goal of 10,000 steps. It's a simple goal the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/21/health/ten-thousand-steps-better-health/">Japanese figured out back in the day</a> based on some simple math on calorie burning. It roughly translates to about 5 miles, which might sound like a lot for some people, but I do a lot of pacing while in deep thought or listening to music, so it works for me. </li> <li><strong>Calorie counting app:</strong> Calorie counting sucks. Nothing else is sure to suck the fun out of life than creating a spreadsheet for eating food. However, there's no way around this fact; if you know nothing about how calorific your food is, you'll never get a grasp of how much you need to balance diet &amp; excercise. I used <a href="https://www.myfitnesspal.com/">MyFitnessPal's Calorie Counter</a> for about 3 to 6 months with everything I ate. It's not perfect (especially with restaurant meals), but after using it everyday it gave me an intuition about my core diet, and other meals, which is very useful in shaping your habits. Most apps also have a calculator where you can punch in your physical traits and come up with a calorie target so you can head toward a goal of weight loss.</li> <li><strong>Blood pressure monitor:</strong> This is probably optional. I have hereditary high blood pressure issues so it's probably more important to me than the average person.</li> </ul><p>There are many manufacturers of health measurement tools. I ended up going with the <a href="http://www.withings.com/us/en/">Withings</a> set of products since they seemed to have the most open data platform (a big thing for me as a software developer). All data shows in their Health Mate app (the above screenshots were from the app). The most expensive item is the digital scale which cost around $100-200. Pedometers &amp; Calorie Counting apps are free all over the Android/iOS platform so there's no big cost there. Blood pressure monitors are in the same price range as scales, but that's optional. </p> <p><strong>Habits</strong></p> <p>Once you have the tools to guide you, the next step is heading down the path to your goals.</p> <p>This means changing your habits. This is the toughest part. We are, ultimately, a collection of thoughts, beliefs, and habits that emerge from them. To change your habits is to question some of your thoughts and beliefs. This might be easier or harder depending on the details (e.g. your thinking, and convictions), but it's not impossible. You just need the will &amp; desire to change who you are, and to find what <em><strong>works for you</strong></em>: changes you can make that won't make you miserable in the process or, even better, make you happier.</p> <p>This change in lifestyle isn't something that happens overnight. It's small, incremental improvements that lead you toward your end goal.</p> <p>To that end, I'll go back to the first topic, measurement. Every day you need to measure yourself: your weight, your body fat, your BMI, your calorie intake, your physical activity. </p> <p>That's why the digital scale was so important for me. The change was pretty simple; flop out of <a href="https://shawnsleepsnaked.bandcamp.com/">bed naked</a>, and stand on scale for a few seconds. For physical activity, the passive pedometer app was working in the background to record how much I move, again, simple change. For calorie counting, every meal I ate I would pop open an app and search for details (or use a barcode scanner for packaged food), then punch in what I ate. This was a little more involved, but it gets easier after it becomes a habit. Especially since most apps will remember details if you have a somewhat consistent diet (which you should).</p> <p>If you do nothing else, you should build this habit to give you some idea of your diet/exercise compared to some benchmark (the average for people, the recommended amount, or a set goal), and how you feel after any adjustment to your lifestyle. In that habit you can find the things that work for you.</p> <p> </p> <p>This leads me to diet. This, I think, is the toughest of all habits to changes. Taste, like our other senses, is a subjective experience. Trying to change habits of what you eat is tough because we're hardwired to crave all the stuff (sweets, fats, etc.) that is bad for us in excess. You're essentially trying to fight many millennia of evolution, the force of billions of advertising dollars, and the inertia of the average diet of whatever country/culture you live (I had to fight through what I call southern/midwestern comfort food grazing culture).</p> <p>The trick here, for me, was finding small changes in eating habits that, over time, would make big changes. These are things like finding lower calorie/fat versions of things you always eat to see if you can live with the big trade off: taste &amp; satiation vs. nutrient &amp; calorie improvements. For me, it was things like swapping out soda for diet soda, discovering yogurt can be awesome when mixed with other things, finding snacks that weren't as bad as my go-to snacks, using other spices &amp; sauces to make otherwise boring staple foods tasty. </p> <p>Over time, and with enough self-reflection on your eating habits, you can learn to manage your discipline, rewards, &amp; substitutions to lead yourself to better habits. One big thing is to realize that, save for a few set of base tastes, most taste in food <strong>is learned</strong>. From birth, we're given a bunch of foods/flavors that we learn to associate with happiness/survival. Over time, our eating habits settle on a group of foods/flavors that we rely on without even thinking about it. Anything else outside that group, depending on how open your mind, is some foreign food/flavor that can range from a neutral to hostile sensation.</p> <p>This helps if you have a frame of reference for things you used to hate, but now love. For me, it was onions or, in a later examples, exotic types of beer like a sour gueuze, or coffee (which I picked up when I moved to the Pacific Northwest). Learned tastes all have the same process, fighting through the body's initial repulsion, adapting to the unpleasantness, then noticing the other sensations that were initially muted. </p> <p>In those other sensations you can <strong>learn</strong> what sensation is good about it vs. what sensation that you've adapted to (e.g. the happy stimulus of warm coffee over the initial bitter shock). Over time, the negative dissipates over the positive aspects, and your body will learn a new habit. </p> <p> </p> <p>The other big habit is exercise. Generally, I consider this a tough habit to change, but not as tough as changing your diet; with exercise you can <em><strong>add something</strong></em> you like to do (e.g. hiking, running, biking, etc.) whereas diet is often <strong>removing something</strong> you like to do (e.g. eating a ton of pizza with beer or soda). </p> <p>In forming a positive habit here, you got to find something you like to do. For me, I'd already decided to take the lazy route: walking. But within that otherwise tedious task, I was able to do things I liked to do: listen to music or podcasts or wander to different areas I've never explored before. I <a href="https:[email protected]89912,-85.8171959,11z/data=!4m3!8m2!3m1!1e1">photoshpere'd</a> the shit out Louisville's parks back when Google had this great service calls Google Maps Views (and before they turned it into a lame Yelp! clone).</p> <p>Whatever exercise habit you pick up, you must integrate into your life. It already helped that I had a job that afforded me to wander around in short bursts between periods of sitting and thinking. When I wasn't working, I could throw walking into other habits. If I went to restaurants, I'd park my car between a park and a restaurant that forced me to walk through it. Adding little small bursts of physical activity over time will add up. Again, this is habit you got to find for yourself and it has to be natural flow into your daily activities. </p> <p>Over time, I found walking surprisingly effective. That was almost the bulk of my exercise. The only other big things I did were daily push ups (which I'm up to 100 each day) and an exercise bike supplemented with binge TV watching when I couldn't go out and walk. In both these cases, I'd to do an amount of activity up to the point of complete exhaustion then I'd stop. </p> <p>Just like with learned tastes, the body adapts and learns. When I went from no exercise to some exercise, aches eventually happened, but I got over it. This was where the walking would help. If I was tired from infrequent biking or running, I'd just walk. It was pretty simple and all I had to was move my legs and focus on other things that were pleasant (music and many, many podcasts). Eventually your body builds up a tolerance through what you put it through and you will gain endurance and muscle just by boring repetition. It now takes up to 50-60 push ups before I even notice I'm slowing down.</p> <p>Between the sustained habits of measurement, diet, and exercise, you should be learning more about how your body is responding to your new habits. Which leads me to the last topic.</p> <p><strong>Knowledge</strong></p> <p>After setting in place many new habits, you should start noticing changes. If anything, your weight &amp; body fat should be dropping. The rate of change will vary, but the important thing is it's heading in the right direction. One of the great things about digital scales is trendline tracking, so even if you're making progress slowly, <em>it still means you're making progress</em>; you just have to maintain your current habits.</p> <p>If the previous paragraphs have emphasized anything, it's that <em><strong>there's no one right path</strong></em>. There are many fitness strategies out there. Your results will vary so you have to pick up general fitness knowledge and compare that to specific knowledge about your own habits.</p> <p>For me, I'd read &amp; learn general facts &amp; knowledge about nutrition/exercise. Things like:</p> <ul><li>The different between carb/fat/protein calories</li> <li>How do our bodies loose weight (spoiler: we breath out the majority of it)</li> <li>What is <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_metabolic_rate">Basal metabolic rate</a>.</li> <li>How many calories are in a pound of fat (3500 calories).</li> <li><a href="http://greatist.com/health/alcohol-nutritional-labels-101713">Why haven't there been nutrition labels on beer and other alcohol</a>?</li> </ul><p>Learning basic facts about nutrition/exercise let me compared what happened when I started eating foods that were more protein heavy than fat heavy. It actually made those boring nutrition labels have some tangible meaning. I'd started experimenting around before I learned on <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/fitness">/r/fitness</a> that <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/wiki/faq#wiki_how_do_i_calculate_my_macros.3F">macroing is a thing</a>.</p> <p>The important thing here is that knowledge makes facts tangible to your situation and it should engage you to try out new things and see what happens. You don't know what you'll come up with until you try different combinations of diet/exercise and see the result on your health measurement.</p> <p>One odd thing I stumbled upon was something I called the Alcoholic's Diet. I'd find, despite the heavy calories of beer/alcohol, a night of drinking actually resulted in losing weight (with the caveat I didn't binge on some massive amount of food). I thought it might of been a fluke of being dehydrated, but I noticed as long as I didn't overcompensate on calories (e.g. eating a low calorie veggie meal with some protein instead of fatty burgers and fries) I'd generally lose weight. </p> <p>It's not sustainable and I don't recommend it, but I thought it an odd consequence of my habits (being more lively than usual when I drink) and my body (not doing anything with empty calories it can't do anything with). I'm sure there's many other odd things you discover when your experiment around with your diet/exercise habits.</p> <p> </p> <p>To close, I'll just throw some fun facts out there with the amount of energy I ended up burning off.</p> <p>At my peak, weighing 169 lbs and 30% body fat, I had a total of 50.7 lbs of fat. At my trough, weighing 117 lbs and 10% body fat, I had 11.7 lbs of fat. Which makes for a fat loss of:</p> <p>50.7 lbs - 11.7 lbs = 39 lbs</p> <p>At 3500 calories / lb of fat (with <a href="http://vitals.lifehacker.com/you-need-to-burn-7-000-calories-to-lose-a-pound-not-3-1719560948">some rules</a> about initial fat loss notwithstanding) this translates to:</p> <p>39 lbs x 3500 calories = 136,500</p> <p>So with 136,500 Cal of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_energy">food energy</a> we can convert that to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calorie#Definitions">thermochemical energy</a> at a rate of of 1 Cal to 4.184 x 10<sup>3 </sup>Joules. which gets us:</p> <p>136,500 Cal x (4.184 x 10<sup>3</sup>J) = 571,116,000 J</p> <p>Or roughly, 571 Megajoules (5.71 x 10<sup>8</sup>J) of fat burned. What else has the equivalent amount of energy? According to Wikipedia's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(energy)">Orders of Magnitude of Energy</a> page:</p> <ul><li> <p>81,588 shots of a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.458_Winchester_Magnum">.458 Winchester Magnum </a></p> </li> <li> <p>63,457 AA Batteries</p> </li> <li> <p>The force of 1903 1-ton cars driving @ 55 mph</p> </li> <li> <p>475 Snickers candy bars</p> </li> <li> <p>57 shots of an <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISU-152">ISU-152</a>'s armor piercing rounds</p> </li> <li> <p>The force of 5 55-ton planes at landing speed</p> </li> <li> <p>5 Tour de Frances</p> </li> </ul></div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/30/2016 - 22:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/self-improvement" hreflang="en">self-improvement</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/health" hreflang="en">health</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/weight-loss" hreflang="en">weight loss</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/fitness" hreflang="en">fitness</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/happiness" hreflang="en">happiness</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=114&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="lgVC85koQQiHSnKUi6x_YdfGWIIEUxvS7dAubfB_lDU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 31 May 2016 05:40:10 +0000 Shawn Conn 114 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/habit-fitness#comments Catching Up https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/catching-up <span>Catching Up</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Welcome to the new <em>Who Is...?</em> site. After 7 years of rocking an old site using a <a href="https://www.drupal.org/project/drixel">pretty dated design</a> with <a href="https://www.drupal.org/drupal-6-eol" title="Goodbye Drupal 6!">out-of-date software</a>, I finally got to updating it. It has been a perennial theme on this blog of very long hiatuses and vain attempts to catch up. </p> <p>When it comes down to it, blogs aren't as much a thing anymore, or at least in the sense of a "web log." The banner of "social media" has replaced that as the repository of all timely updates and cool things currently going on. With the democratization of the web &amp; the proliferation of all kinds of publishing tools, there's more interesting stuff to read than ever. I still like long form blogs, but I feel that a massive sea of short form has drown out the long form stuff.</p> <p>Anyway, here's to catching up!</p> <p> </p> <p>Since last posting, I'm now out on the west coast in Seattle. It was a fun journey with only a few bumps along the way:</p> <ul><li>The house didn't close before I left, which meant running around gathering POA documents &amp; having to run across a Fort Collins to find a notary and overnight shipper to get the deal done.</li> <li>I was stranded in Denver International for a 1 day+ because Spirit Airline is the worse, cheap-as-hell-but-you-get-what-you-pay-for airline (don't fly Spirit unless you want to pay for every extra and have no deadlines whatsoever). </li> <li>Travelling with 3 suitcases (basically my portable, work &amp; life on-the-road show) which somehow I managed, but still was awkward until I figured out the best way to roll things around.</li> </ul><p>I arrived in Seattle at the beginning of July. Since then, it's been a slow immersion into culture of Seattle &amp; the Pacific Northwest. Here's a summary recap of happened since then.</p> <p> </p> <h3>July/August</h3> <p>I settled into my home, a  7 x 3 ft space that contained my 3 bags and a futon to couch surf off of. Surprisingly, despite the thin padding for the heavy metal frame, I didn't wake up with back aches. On the plus side, I had a nice alarm clock: Peter's cat Ella who woke me nearly every morning by nuzzling my face. I enjoyed rooming with a long-time friend which was spent playing RocketLeague, chatting the politics and Internet culture, and <a href="http://www.theseriousness.com/podcasts" title="Seriously...">interrupting a podcast</a>. Hung out with a new friend Jessie, numerous times. I met a handful of new Louisvillian transplants to the PNW. I caught up with an old friend visiting Seattle.</p> <p>I did some pair programming with Ella.</p> <img alt="I did some pair programming with Ella." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1d0f2f1e-6cbe-4326-a038-0926b426f700" height="617" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Ella-CatHacker.jpg" width="463" class="align-center" /><p> </p> <p>I started the hunt for looking for a 2 bedroom place while finding out how aggressive the real estate market is. I picked a fight with Time Warner's really shitty collection practices (and eventually won!). I launched my last new Drupal 7 sites. I estimated a website project bid for Ted Nugent. I put myself out there for a Drupal jobs and found 3 interviews lined-up back-to-back, only to be passed on the position I really wanted. Went on a few random Tinder dates only to be disappointed (and later with the dating scene in general).</p> <h3>September</h3> <p>Felt like could pose like a "local" since on the same day, in 2 separate locations, I was able to given directions to tourists using landmarks and no map. As time went on, I've found myself acquainted with the local/state Marijuana laws &amp; regulations after being asked many times by tourists wanting to score pot. After reading through <em>Thinking Fast &amp; Slow</em>, I was inspired by its anecdotes, and my choice paralysis, to come up with master ranking spreadsheet to decide on the best place to live, which my realtor called "like <em>Moneyball</em>." I put in a bid for a 2 bedroom place only to have it yanked from me, which, in retrospect, worked out pretty well. Later that month, I'd place a bid on another place which I one.</p> <h3>October/November</h3> <p>I felt like I gather pretty good knowledge of Seattle public transit. I attended the Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit. I closed on a condo. I lived in a barren condo with nothing but an air mattress, lawn chairs, &amp; a TV tray for a month or so. I establish my web development / consulting business, <a href="https://luciditi.io/">Luciditi</a>. I went to my very first Hump! film festival a with some new &amp; old burner friends. I had my family visit before Thanksgiving. They helped move all my worldly possessions within 3 hours as I didn't plan for storage space parking in downtown Seattle. I spent Thanksgiving inebriating while conquering Towerfall on hardcore mode with friends (and celebrating by watching Beastmaster 2!).</p> <h3>December/January</h3> <p>I travelled back home for the holidays. I enjoyed the friends, family, and traditions. I had all kinds of mini-parties. I saw Episode VII. I attended the launch of Taco Steve's new shop. I kicked off NYE in Portland with a Strippers &amp; Steak themed mini-burner party. I caught up with a good friend Will. I slabbed it up in Slabtown, Portland, OR. I closed down old business with clients back in Louisville. I'd picked up new business in the Bay Area. </p> <h3>February-Now</h3> <p>I fought through a rougher PNW winter than I thought it was going to be. I met various neighbors. I completed the launch of the new Luciditi web server (half the cost, twice the speed). I shutdown the Riverhouse Wiki for editing. </p> <p> </p> <p>...and so on...I'd go on, but this is just a rambling post. I have more deep, single-topic, posts that I'd like to get to so I'm just going to end this here. One of my goals for 2016 is to write more so expect more from this space in the future. With various web business out of the way, I should have more free time for this now. </p> </div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Sun, 05/08/2016 - 12:06</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/recap" hreflang="en">recap</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/pnw" hreflang="en">PNW</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/seattle" hreflang="en">Seattle</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/house" hreflang="en">house</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/drupal" hreflang="en">Drupal</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/travel" hreflang="en">travel</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/fort-collins" hreflang="en">Fort Collins</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/spirit-airlines" hreflang="en">Spirit Airlines</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/time-warner" hreflang="en">Time Warner</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/ted-nugent" hreflang="en">Ted Nugent</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/web-development" hreflang="en">web development</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/tinder" hreflang="en">Tinder</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/thinking-fast-slow" hreflang="en">Thinking Fast &amp; Slow</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/moneyball" hreflang="en">Moneyball</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/sound-transit" hreflang="en">Sound Transit</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/pacific-northwest-drupal-summit" hreflang="en">Pacific Northwest Drupal Summit</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/luciditi" hreflang="en">Luciditi</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/moving" hreflang="en">moving</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/towerfall" hreflang="en">Towerfall</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/rocket-league" hreflang="en">Rocket League</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/friends" hreflang="en">friends</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/portland" hreflang="en">Portland</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=112&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="JVph9cDf6UT1ITNJ4M64NMSfbnNaK3tZvOesGejv4Uo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 08 May 2016 19:06:09 +0000 Shawn Conn 112 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/catching-up#comments The Adventure Begins https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/adventure-begins <span>The Adventure Begins</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I decided to put down some thoughts to the long-abandoned blog. Getting back to <em>Who Is...</em> was something on the agenda, but I just lost track of the time; between a career that has been sucking the life out of me, and trying to decide what to do with my life, the blog fell by the wayside, a victim of shifting priorities I suppose. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.25em; text-indent: 2em;">I'm hoping to breath some new life into it, if for anything, just to chronicle adventures to come. The last post was a start off to </span><a href="http://www.shawnconn.com/blog/home" style="line-height: 1.25em; text-indent: 2em;">chronicle the 2013 trip</a><span style="line-height: 1.25em; text-indent: 2em;">, but I only got as far as the opening story. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.25em; text-indent: 2em;">The concluding lines were pretty fitting for where I'm now...</span></p><blockquote><p><span style="text-indent: 30px;"> ... It's an event to change up the narrative of your life. It's a chance to redefine what home means to you.</span></p></blockquote><p style="text-indent: 30px; ">That was in reference to a 2-month, somewhat unintentional, <span style="line-height: 1.25em;">walkabout across the west coast. Now, it refers to the move out there. </span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; ">2 years ago, something really awful happened to me. Actually, more than one thing awful happened to me. I'm not rehashing the memories, but I'll just state that it pushed me to the brink. After that, something in me just broke; it left an emotional crater that I've not wanted to return to. This is all to say that it was for the best; I'm a stronger person for it.</p><p style="text-indent: 30px; ">It's time to move on. I've had many great times here. I'm sad to leave friends &amp; family, but frankly, it already feels like many have already left me; our priorities in life has changed and our shared experiences grow further apart as a result. Not that I'm hurt or upset (too much) by this, it's just a part of life. It doesn't mean we still aren't my friends; we just see the world differently these days. </p><p style="text-indent: 30px; ">I think big; I see the world, the universe, and think about my place in it and how it relates to everything else. Contrary to that, it feels like I'm against the grain here. Perhaps it's something with settling down that makes your world-view insular. I think that's got to be it. Once you've decided "this is as good as it gets", there's some sort of mind-shift where you do everything to preserve that state as long as possible. <span style="line-height: 1.25em;">You change from "think of the great possibilities!", to, "I'm against this idea until it convinces me that I'm for it." </span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">That feels like what is stacked against me here. I want to run like life is running in top gear, exploring possibilities and pitfalls, and possibly, potential new peaks. They're out there, you just got to find them, if you're willing to give it a shot. As a fellow barmate at Richo's &amp; I concluded the other week, the failure isn't in trying and it not working as you hoped, the failure is in not trying at all.</span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">I have a passion in life and it's just not being fulfilled here. I guess the typical auto-pilot life script says "do some school, do a job, get good enough at job, and checkout at the job because you have kids to raise, then die" Maybe I have too strong a passion in a field that is "just a job." Maybe I'm just overcompensating for a lack of love in my life. Maybe I just searching for novel thoughts and new stimulation when I'm trying to still live like a young adult in my mid-thirties. I leave it to the reader to decide.</span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">But</span><span style="line-height: 1.25em;"> here's a little secret that helps to acknowledge of everyday.</span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">We're all making it up as we go along.</span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">We're given a roadmap in life based on what our forefathers and foremothers did. It gives us a "good enough" life path and does a decent job at preparing us for what is to come. However, when you're actually experiencing it, you'll find that all the preparation in the world doesn't tell you everything. You'll be caught off guard, you'll forget key details, and most importantly, there will be things that are completely new</span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">It's unavoidable. So there are 2 tacts in life here. </span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">You minimize all potentials avenues of change to make it as much as a steady-state as possible, or, try to embrace change quickly to understand, adapt, and smooth out the bumps the best you can. </span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "><span style="line-height: 1.25em;">The only constant in life is change. Embrace it.</span></p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "> </p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "> </p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "> </p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "> </p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "> </p><p style="text-indent: 30px; "> </p></div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Sat, 06/06/2015 - 01:38</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/pnw" hreflang="en">PNW</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/moving" hreflang="en">moving</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/future" hreflang="en">future</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/change" hreflang="en">change</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/career" hreflang="en">career</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=106&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="FMBviKI8n2Y_Kp5DJACD_pNWnNOGCzmT2F9SkAzmcuQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 06 Jun 2015 08:38:48 +0000 Shawn Conn 106 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/adventure-begins#comments Absolute Time, Relative Experience https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/absolute-time-relative-experience <span>Absolute Time, Relative Experience</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It's been a while since another post. There are many topics that I have cached that I'd like to write on. If it weren't for the troubling aspect of so many things eating at my free time, you'd see more posts on here. I'm not sure there are many readers on here anyway, I've noticed the traffic has slowed down to very little these days. Partly because Google hasn't been indexing the site correctly which I fixed not too long ago. I'm sure the sporadic updates are another reason. So be it; there's not much I can do it about it.</p> <p>Lately, an intriguing concept for me has been time. I'm reminded of a post I wrote long ago about <a href="/2003-1#03242003">my 2nd act</a>. I think about today and the way things have progressed in my life which, in turn, has made me think about how I perceived time back then versus how I perceive them now. Time is a hard thing to exactly pin down; it can mean different things depending on what you're talking about.</p> <p>In physics, time is a duration between 2 events or physical states. Whether it's how long it takes for the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day">earth to fully rotate</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clock#How_clocks_work">a pendulum to move from side-to-side</a>, or the <a href="http://tf.nist.gov/general/enc-c.htm#cesiumbeam">radiation frequency of a cesium-133 electron transitioning between energy levels</a>, the essence is the same; noting a specific physical state and some constant duration between each happening of that state. Keeping track of time physically allows us to consistently synchronize many things in life.</p> <p>Psychologically, however, time is a different creature. Anyone that has uttered about time, flying, dragging on, or such has experienced this. Time isn't felt with the consistent synchronicity as with a modern atomic clock; it's relative to the observer based on number of influences. These influences can warp how time is felt just as <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/spinning-space">gravity warps spacetime</a>. Most of these influences are pretty common to many people; things like a person's age, the novelty of what their feeling or doing, their sense of urgency, their emotional state, the influence of drugs, and so on affect a person's sense of time. The Wikipedia article on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_perception">time perception</a> is an interesting write up on the phenomena and discusses many of these same influences.  </p> <p>The brain isn't like a clock. For the brain, time is more like a series of memories (feelings, thoughts, facts) that we can go back and reflect on even as new ones are happening. These memories that flood into our brain represent how we feel time progress. How many new memories we pick up, given a certain amount of time, would be akin to some sort of <a href="http://www.google.com/#q=Temporal+resolution&amp;tbs=dfn:1&amp;fp=cc44e60aafb033a4">temporal resolution</a> for the mind.</p> <p>The easiest way to explain temporal resolution is to compare to something like a video camera. A video camera works just like a normal camera except it take multiple pictures every second. Showing the pictures in normal progression produces the effect of motion. For a video camera, the temporal resolution is how many pictures, or frames, are taken per a unit of time (seconds). The frames per second (FPS) captured by the camera is the temporal resolution. With a greater resolution, the effect of motion/change is more noticeable. A slideshow of pictures progressing a 1 FPS won't feel like motion, a video at 10 FPS will produce choppy looking video, a movie at 24 FPS will produce a reliable feel of motion, a TV broadcast or video game at 60 FPS will produce smoother motion akin to what we see in life.</p> <p>But the brain isn't like a video camera either. It doesn't capture crystal clear memories at a certain rate each second. Its temporal resolution is variable. While there's a few well known influences on the brain that adjusts it, we hardly know the whole picture of it. </p> <p>So how does that relate back to feeling of time perception? The brain, by its nature, doesn't have a concept of the second. It can't feel a second. The second is something created by us for observing the physical world. We anchor our lives around the physical phenomena of the second so we can make order of life, but their is no inherit concept of it. For the feeling of time perception, the brain is governed by our senses and its thoughts. The memory is its unit of time.</p> <p>To explain how this relates, I'll use the most common influence that everyone has experience with: aging. Let's use a couple days that most people have gone through: the first day of elementary school &amp; the last day of high school. This example is arbitrary but it could work with any 2 similar events where one occurred after another.</p> <p>In the first day of elementary school, you have to go through a lot of new things which are almost always, for good or bad, memorable: learning to wake up on a certain time, learning how to read, meeting new friends, learning all your teachers, etc. Through a kindergartner's first day, there are numerous novel things to learn, feel, and do.</p> <p>Compare that to the last day of high school. While there will still be many memorable things (saying good bye to friends/teachers, preparing for graduation, etc), it won't compare to the first day of elementary school. At that point there has been many routine things established: your schedule, your friends, your hobbies, the subjects you know, etc. In your mind, these things are glossed over; they're footnotes pulled from your <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_memory#Types_of_memory">explicit/implicit memory</a>. </p> <p>Visually, I like to think of it as a day divided up into different memories of that day. In the example above, the top would be the new kindergartner's day compared with the graduating senior's day. The length of time is the same (i.e. one day worth of physical time). However, there are way more memories divided into the day of kindergarten than there is the day of high school.</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><a href="/files/images/TimeLine.png"><img alt="" class="lightbox" src="/files/images/TimeLine.png" style="width: 285px; height: 150px; " /></a>   </p> <p style="text-align: left; ">However, because the mind feels time by its memories, the amount of time felt for the kindergartner is much longer than the high school student. Each memory itself is the unit of time, not the second. Visually, the effect would appear something like this to the mind:</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><a href="/files/images/TimeLine2.png"><img alt="" class="lightbox" src="/files/images/TimeLine2.png" /></a></p> <p>As time goes on this effect becomes more pronounced as a routine sets in. It's not immediately noticeable, because of its graduality of time but it's noticeable on retrospective. Comparisons between the length of summers during school vacation versus the length of summers as a working adult are quite noticeable for me. One good way to observe it is to pay attention to what kids do versus adults. Adults are generally more patient because time, for them, is passing faster than kids. Many parents talk about how quickly their "kids grow up so fast" which is funny because, from the kids' perspective, they grow up so slow.</p> <p>This effect isn't just related to new experiences. New experiences are just one of the many influences I mentioned before. Aging, I imagine, is the most noticeable of all. As the body slows down from aging, the alertness from its senses puts the mind &amp; body into a gradually increasing torpor. In an odd abstracted way, the body aging isn't too different from <a href="http://www.nist.gov">NIST</a>'s definition of <a href="http://tf.nist.gov/general/glossary.htm#aging">aging</a> which is used in the context of physical timekeeping. </p> <p>The end effect is new memories created from our senses and thoughts slows down, even though time is still passing at a constant rate. In other words, our temporal resolution decreases; the 60fps videogame turns into the 24fps movie, which turns into a choppy 10fps video which turns into a slideshow of still moments.</p> <p>If you wanted to extrapolate it out, you can use the same visual example. Imagine a person's life experiences as a spiral of memories; densely packed from the center starting from birth and childhood, and getting less sparse as you spiral out into adulthood. Those core group of memories in the center define you as a person. The more you add to the spiral, the more you reflect on things and wonder where the time has gone.   </p> <p><a href="/files/images/TimeSpiral.png"><img alt="" class="lightbox" src="/files/images/TimeSpiral.png" style="width: 526px; height: 454px; " /></a></p> <p>This sort of relativity in time perception makes me wonder about how other creatures feel time. Do dogs have a greater temporal resolution than people? Does time moving slower for them? Does it allow them to do things like catch objects with their mouth quickly? Gradually they age and move slower. Does their lifetime feel the same as ours? What about insects that live for only a few days? They react really quick to movement. Does their greater temporal resolution make time move even slower for them?</p> <p>Something to ponder...</p> </div> <span><span>Shawn Conn</span></span> <span>Sun, 05/08/2011 - 21:58</span> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/time" hreflang="en">time</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/temporal-resolution" hreflang="en">temporal resolution</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/subjectivity" hreflang="en">subjectivity</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/life" hreflang="en">life</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=97&amp;2=field_comment&amp;3=blog_comments" token="HoZXt-xP_pFaq7zI_uwAeTtj8mwxbbeKfKP7w8SYq8k"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 09 May 2011 04:58:18 +0000 Shawn Conn 97 at https://www.shawnconn.com https://www.shawnconn.com/blog/absolute-time-relative-experience#comments