Thinking Small – IBM’s “Star qualities of successful mobile development projects”



Stating the Obvious

This info graphic comes from the IBM Center for Applied Insights.  It makes me wonder who got paid how much to develop this.  Just about anyone off the street could have guessed the numbers and categories and been relatively (and effectively) close.  As for Applied Insight, add just about any business case or personal situation, and the info graphic still applies.  Just a couple of suggestions …

Star qualities of successful kindergarten projects
Star qualities of successful relationships
Star qualities of successful one night stands

600 developers couldn’t be wrong

Actually 600 could be wrong.  “Learn what nearly 600 developers have to say about the secret to mobile development project success.”  Wow! IBM, really went out on a limb to collect data on this one.  I would think Big Blue could’ve scrounged up at least 1,000.  Actually, I imagine Google wouldn’t put out any results that had less than six zeros to pull from.


Source: [Infographic] Star qualities of successful mobile development projects

NOW for something completely different AND ACTUALLY USEFUL INFORMATION

Pulled from a search of “successful mobile application projects” images, this doesn’t tell the same story but it actually tells something worth reading!  10,000 app developers is a much better number.  Thank you Developer Economics!!


Got Data? The Oracle (Google) Serves It Up


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Big Data isn’t just owned by Big Business.

In keeping with the blog motto “Bringing Big Data to the People”, check out Google’s free mass quantities in technicolor dolby.   Explore your world as seen in the data.

Google’s Public Data has over 100 sources (and counting) that provide a variety of data stores from world perspective to national focus.  These aren’t spreadsheets or power points, each page is an uber-rich interactive visualization of how the data lives. Not sure about the content?  Be sure to try all the bells and whistles in the legend right, the menu left, and the settings above.  This is data made for YOU to manipulate easily.

World Bank Plots Fertility versus Life Expectancy

The World Bank provides a wealth of information of how life expectancy and fertility rates plot.  Hit play to watch 1961 fly into today.  Spoiler alert, everyone slides down and to the right – lower fertility and longer life expectancy.  Mouse over the continental legend to see each in isolation or mouse over the graph itself to see the individual country’s action.

Head to the left margin to manipulate several categories within the data.  Separate out individual countries to compare, or see how different income categories move.

Try selecting female or male as the X axis and watch several players “bounce” off the Fertility and Life expectancy walls.

World Bank Data

World Health Organization and Harvard Medical School

From wealth to health, this data plots the outbreak of infectious diseases.  This data is interactive, but perhaps a little less maneuverable.  The zip through time makes it difficult to appreciate, let only comprehend, the data movement.  With that perspective, it’s better to switch to the 2-D line graph.

The left margin parses out timeliness – average time to outbreak discovery and average time to public communication – is best viewed as bar charts.  Run that time schemata, and you can see how the regions responded during different periods.

Data from, Harvard Medical School

Eurostat and European Employment Looks

From world perspective to European focus, this chart shows how bar graphs with time phase can highlight specific countries against the broader European data set.

EU Unemployment

The A’s Don’t Have It

Utilizing the US Census Bureau, this data walks through state revenues.  The four state’s beginning with A linger at the bottom.  Add Texas, New York and California and watch the disparity gap from the pack.  Try each revenue source – liquor store, insurance, and general – and see the bouncing balls.  2007 really slings around the bigger balls, but smaller players swayed less.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 11.27.27 AM

Still thirsty?

You can ask Google for public data and find 833 MILLION results.  Datafloq – as always – provides an awesome assessment of public data availability.  Start with their list to get an awareness of the possibilities.

Final Thoughts on Big Data Body Sizing


Fit or fat? Big Data Body Sizing declares the weight is over. We change. The world changes. Big Data is the latest in our evolving understand of the world around us. Big Data Body Sizing flips the perspective. Statistics paint a picture about the world population, regions, countries or a research group and apply that to you. Big Data Body Sizing starts with you and aggregates, creating a flow in the other direction – from you to the local friends and family or out to the global community. Big Data Body Sizing is the ability to change personal health as well as effect worldwide well-being. These are final thoughts about the inspiration and understanding of Big Data Body Sizing.

Beautiful Black Box

The body remains a most beautiful “black box” mystery. Despite Big Data or huge computers or the vastness of the Internet or the Universe, science has yet to reproduce how our bodily functions work. Computing capability may have shortened calculating the genome sequence from over a year to within a month, but we still can only observe its occurrence and estimate its outcome. Does God play dice? We create our perception of what chance is (and He creates the idea.) We don’t know the thoughts that create “good” and “bad” outcomes either. We know they derive from social norms, but not how thought come to “be.”

“How might our tools spur to exercise skepticism and consider new questions?”[1]

Big Data Body Sizing is most definitely NOT medical advice, nor is it derived from medical research on any level. Big Data Body Sizing isn’t even an “answer” by any regard either. It is a fresh tackle on the lingering question: Fit or Fat?

The Weight is (so) Over

With the volume, velocity and variety of data available today, Big Data Body Sizing seeks to redefine what Fit and Fat is and to open it to new interpretation. This is definitely not calorie counting and it only need involving micro-managing food if that is your individual strength.

Fit isn’t found on the scale. Fit is good health. Fit is capability. Fit is excellence. Fit is ability to help others. Get off the scale and out of advertising images – create Fit for YOU.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 9.32.00 AM

Fit is not a stasis either. You are never “there”. Life doesn’t stay the same, waiting for you to step into the same shoes and suit every day. Your body regenerates moment by moment, killing off cells and constructing new tissues and organs constantly. You will have to keep at it. That also means too that periods of doing less. Rest and relaxation are a part of health excellence too.

Greater Good

There’s a lot of data out there (in them thar hills), and it’s only going to get bigger. Your data is out there. Although privacy is a far larger issue to address than within this document, your data can be aggregated to a greater good. Using your data responsibly can effectively help your self, the local community, and yes, global well-being.

Google proved in 2010 that it could predict outbreaks of the flu in days or hours, which is weeks before the Center for Disease Control. Whereas the CDC uses reports from doctors for office visits for the flu, Google sees spikes in search key words for flu remedies.[2]

How can your data make a difference? Your data can be anonmyzed[3] and incorporated into larger data lakes. Sell your data to companies.   Pharmaceutical companies and drug stores can develop for product and service improvements – maybe just for you. Send (or sell) your data to local or regional health providers, such as physician groups, hospitals, and emergency/first responders. Big Data enables these groups to develop a better picture of what the health care needs are for the community. Donate your data to research facilities and volunteer organizations to assist traditional research methodology in solving the big challenges – cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Donate to humanitarian organizations for implementation of emergency assistance, disaster relief and health education.


Big Data Body Sizing is an idea. This isn’t a product or program or service in place for you to buy. Big Data Body Sizing hopefully inspires the diet and fitness industry to consider Big Data plug-ins as a new venture. Independent developers create apps for setting the path and plan and apps for narrating health and worth and not pounds and inches. Although a suite of sensors and apps already exist for personal monitoring, it is but a thread started for far more exploration into apps that aggregate data sources that aren’t collected yet.





[2] Big Data

[3] Anonymizing data is a controversial capability as to efficacy. Part of a much larger discussion, your personal data is already pervasive throughout the digital universe. Consider all the financial transactions you already perform daily.

Fit or Fat? Big Data Body Sizing Explained




Big Data capabilities are just beginning. Think of the flip phone you had a couple years ago and then walk through your cell phone capabilities now. You used to think just being able to take a picture with your phone was cool before. Now that pic can be square or panograph or video that you can edit, clip or alter in infinite ways. You can add comments and draw on it. Then how many different directions can you send those pictures? Flash them to the person next to you or around the world… simultaneously? How many ways do you communicate with a picture?

Today’s phones are personal digital assistants too. It doesn’t just hold appointment reminders either. Not only does it provide time and place, but it also offers drive time and directions – with traffic updates. Go sit in traffic in another part of the world wondering where you are and how you’ll get to your destination and you’ll realize again how crazy amazing it is to see traffic real time, while you are actually driving in it. Think of how it affords you decision making opportunity instantaneously.

Pictures and traffic updates on your phone are not just cool, new IT developments. This is evidence of Big Data – a surge of volume, velocity and variety of information. Big Data is a capability to consume vast quantities, at blinding speeds, and of all types like never before. Volume is the quantity of data, like how many pictures you carry on your phone. Velocity is the speed at which it multiplies as your picture transmits worldwide and is collected digitally. Variety means data isn’t just words transcribed into a digital formats. Fifteen years ago, digital data was primarily created from transferring analog records to a digital medium. By 2013, the quantity of digital archives had flipped from 25% to 98%. Big Data captures words, images, legacy archives – all of it. (For more information, see

The ability to extract patterns from the volume, velocity and variety grows daily. To date, most Big Data capabilities have been utilized in business applications, like how Target knows your daughter is pregnant (before you do.)[1] Big Data will continue to colonize our lives, both noticeably and subliminally. In the traffic example, Big Data utilizes your cell phone location data, in conjunction with everyone else on the road. This typifies the overt use – traffic updates – combined with the subtle – continuous transmission of your individual location. Capabilities such as Internet of Things (IoT) and movements like Quantified Self (QS) are expanding as well, making Big Data a very personal experience.

Big Data Body Sizing – Not Your Parents’ Diet/Workout

Big Data Body Sizing is utilizing Big Data to optimize personal health. Big Data was not available for your parents, so using Big Data to maintain or improve your health is not going to be the same. Big Data does not use traditional scientific method and it uses statistical analysis with a different approach. Sampling has changed, as much as the approach to what value is to be found in information.

The sample set was created to statistically approximate the relevant data within a larger body because employing the entire set of data was simply impossible or cost-prohibitive.   Think of finding the average of 10 numbers versus finding the average of 1,000 numbers or 1 million. Big Data means consuming millions (and millions) of data points and being able to arrange them in far more ways than every possible and at relatively low cost. Sample sets were used to approximate what a data set does. Now the entire set can be manipulated.

Big Data Body Sizing doesn’t provide an “answer” the way market diet and workout solutions do. Big Data Body Sizing does less of proving or disproving a theory such as a diet or workout efficacy and more of observing what happens when you diet and exercise. Then Big Data Body Sizing provides suggestions to alter course.   The volume, velocity and variety of your life are never constant. Big Data Body Sizing adapts with you, again and again.

Big Data Body Sizing is personal. Diets such as Atkins or workouts like P90X are created with a sample and you follow those programs in hopes of getting the same results. Those programs and the plethora of others in the market are still very much viable, but Big Data Body Sizing makes them YOUR workout by incorporating a more comprehensive picture of all the elements that effect your health.


The Big Data Body Sizing model is a five-feature Robust Feedback Loop: data lake, diet & workout, path, plan and observation. Each feature is integral to the process. Although logically depicted as a circuit, in practice the elements happen simultaneously or in varying sequence.

Data Lake

All Big Data projects have a data lake – a depository where discrete and continuous volume, velocity and variety of data flow. The Big Data Body Sizing Data Lake starts with legacy information, such as your medical history, procedures, conditions, height and weight history. Next other sources add more to the profile, such as where you live/used to live, family medical conditions/histories, food preferences.   Finally, streaming metrics attach to the data lake, feeding it with your wearable input, spending exhaust and other IoT and Quantified Self apps.

Diet & Workout

Big Data Body Sizing Diet & Workout is promulgating a diet and workout. This is where the rubber meets the road, actualization of the program. This step begins with establishing a baseline, which can be a marketed diet and workout. You can also start with what you are currently doing, or not doing, to see what effects your habits have already. Big Data Body Sizing enhances that baseline with the iterations of the feedback loop. When your Path and Plan changes, your Diet & Workout changes as well.


Big Data Body Sizing Path is intention. Looking up over the high grass, where are you cutting the path to get? Is the current goal training for a triathalon? Fitting into a wedding dress? Perhaps you want to prevent the annual holiday 5+ pound weight gain. Maybe you want to stay cancer free. Alternately, if you are already fit, you want to hold the fitness you have, capture it, and sell your own success plan. Share your path with friends or family or workout groups. The Big Data Body Sizing Path is where success is measured. Note: this is only the bathroom scale if you want it to be. Measurement can be muscle mass, cardio vascular capability, immunity, or cancer prevention.


The Big Data Body Sizing Plan is the actual blueprint for diet and workout created according to the feedback loop. This plan is for daily routine with specific direction for diet and workout, or only as specific as you want it to be. The Plan also shows trending results, factors that influence your daily routine, such as the number of trips to Starbucks, how much you are on the road, dining in versus dining out, or perhaps “life events” that impact your overall well-being.


Big Data Body Sizing Observation is a heads up display (HUD) as to what effect your diet and workouts are having. This can be as old school as tracking your weight, but more effectively, it is a comprehensive glass panel including much more from your data lake. It can be a suite of body and workout metrics, or it can be an all-out virtual portrait of your lifestyle.


Big Data Body Sizing has two core tenets: Robust Feedback Loop and Market Segment YOU. These overarching elements influence the entire methodology.

Core Tenet 1 – Robust Feedback Loop

Big Data Body Sizing is not an “answer”; it is a continuous cycle of observation and adaptation. The Robust Feedback Loop provides specific suggestions as well as general trending reports. One reason the Ci<Co model doesn’t work is we don’t know what happens with the food and water we do intake. The Robust Feedback Loop won’t figure that out, but it can help you understand what your personal patterns are and what effect they have.

Big Data Body Sizing is most definitely NOT calorie counting. The multiple factors constantly influencing your health and your environment are not a stasis. You body continually absorbs the environment and acclimates to preserve your health. Your diet and workout should adapt to provide suggestions and then measure the effectiveness of what happens. Rinse and repeat.

Part of what happens is ready feedback to you on what happens to you every day – how much or how little your body fluctuates. Another part is a vast collection of noise. This noise in turn creates signals. The signals are the actions that effect YOU (and not necessarily anyone else.)

Robust Feedback Loop Example

Back to someone who has had a colostomy (removal of colon and large intestine) and their remarkable instant feedback of what they eat. They may not know whether what they eat is turning to fat or muscle, but because the food they eat is not processed through the large intestine, they know within hours what passes through them in what capacity. That’s a bit graphic but it’s nifty intelligence on what the body does with what it’s given. They have a feedback loop they can understand because it’s shortened and simplified. Big Data Body Sizing provides that feedback loop for the multivariate environment that is not so readably understandable.

A feedback example for workouts is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). CFS is a complicated physical disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be otherwise explained by medical conditions. Those with CFS are sensitive to what energy they use. It’s not just a reduced effort capacity; it’s also an extended feedback loop. Traditional workouts or exercise may not affect them immediately, but onset of symptoms may come 24 to 48 hours after a workout and event that strains them. The cause and effect is still there, but it’s distorted from “normal” body functions (what used to work).

Core Tenet 2 – Market Segment: YOU

The second tenet, Market Segment: YOU, is emphasis of the individual experience each person has. Big Data Body Sizing is dedicated to capturing the unique story that is Market Segment: YOU. Diet and workout practices on the market today are be derived using traditional sample size scientific method, while others are simple trial and error. Again, these are great products with proven results for a given group of people and as such are a great place to start or continue a health routine.

With mass marketing a diet or workout is creating a single message to reach as many people as possible. Targeted marketing is derived from your habits: the intended audience evolve from specific parameters of behavior or profile, like the “welcome” flyers mailed to you when you move. Further slimming down, triggered marketing is a message delivered only once an interest or other event, such as a Google search, sends a signal of relevant content. Big Data Body Sizing pares that market size all the way down to one: YOU.

Market Segment: YOU Example

Jared Fogle of Subway diet fame created his own success story. Basically, he began losing weight by changing his college life junk food diet to eating low fat Subway sandwiches. After losing 100 pounds, he began adding walking to his routine, dropping another 145 pounds.[2] Jared’s story made its way to Men’s Health magazine as part of a story entitled “Stupid Diets … that Work!”[3] The Subway franchise picked up Jared for advertisements and subsequently as spokesperson.

This is a perfect example of Market Segment: YOU. Undoubtedly, many others have emulated his practice. Some have lost weight and some have not. Jared’s experience is solely his own. How many people who tried his diet already had 245 pounds to lose? He was a college student living in Indiana. He began his fit over fat journey from his unique perspective – Market Segment: Jared.

Only Jared knows all the specifics of his experience. Your experience is unique to you as well, so as Big Data Body Sizing may start with a market diet and workout routine, it continues with crafting a unique Plan for you and only you. It could be John Smith’s Taco Bell diet, or Mom’s home cooking 5 days a week. Create Mary Jones’ workout from Daily Burn or P90X or some other market workout. Big Data Body Sizing takes that baseline and cuts it down to Market Segment: YOU.

Three Domains of Consciousness – Summary

Big Data Body Sizing is a five element Robust Feedback Loop meant to create Market Segment: YOU.  From these tenets, market diets and workout programs can provide plug-ins to enhance their programs. Independent apps are available or are created to provide the methodology and tenets of Big Data Body Sizing.

Your Big Data Body Sizing Data Lake is filled with a comprehensive collection of legacy and streaming metrics that is unique to you. The continuous iterations reflect the three domains of consciousness: voluntary, involuntary, and self-aware. Some times you act with deliberate intention. You go to the gym to work out and you have a salad for lunch. Involuntarily you might not workout with 100% focus or maybe you eat a “low fat” food that actually isn’t that low fat (“Eat this; not that”.)[4] So, some of what we do is deliberate, and some of it is not as thought. The third domain, self-awareness, is seeing the observations of voluntary and involuntary, and realizing you can’t control everything. Then, do what you can going forward. These three domains are how we live life. Big Data Body Sizing brings this to light for your health.

Fit or fat?



[1] Big Data book reference


[3] Duane Swierczynski, “Stupid Diets. . . That Work!”Men’s Health14, no. 9 (November 1999), 94-98.


The Haves and Have Nots – Maybe and Maybe Not


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The concept of the haves vs the have nots or the shrinking middle class is a perfect topic for statistical conversation.  Statistics are notorious for weaving stories to fit a cause, and that’s important information for reflection on any subject, statistical reference or not.

All data needs to be considered contextually.

Hans Rosling’s Ted Talk provides stunning data visualizations on global statistics.  Data visualization is evolving into magnificent interactive story-telling capability.  Big Data will continue to increase this tool’s power as more and more data is consumed and its essence can be sliced, diced, distilled and interpreted in an infinite array of possibilities.

Fit or Fat? What’s YOUR Problem?


Which are you?

How do you measure up? Are pounds (or kilograms) the measure of success? Do you weigh-in every day, once a week or once in a while? What is a “good” workout? Is it measured by how many calories you burned? How long on the treadmill? Or is it captured via fitbit or Apple Health? How do you gauge the effectiveness of your workout? Could it be as simple as how “good” you feel?

What records do you keep of eating and workout? What do you do with them? Are the records like receipts shoved in a drawer, an indecipherable scatter of discrete points? Who or what program determines the relevant feedback for how you are doing?  What does it tell you?

What results do you get? Are you Fit or Fat?

To the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25% or greater; obesity is 30% or greater. According to WHO as of 2014, 39% of the world adult population is overweight and 13% are obese. That’s about 2 billion fat people. In the United States 34.9% of adults are obese[1] and almost 70% are overweight. That is double the rate that alarmed President Kennedy to write Sports Illustrated, cautioning against the “soft American” persona. The potential consequences aren’t just about looking good naked in the mirror. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke increase with Body Mass Index (BMI), as do depression, infertility and musculoskeletal disorders. Obese Americans spend about 42% more than those that have a healthy-weight.[2]

That’s adults.

Childhood obesity is another layer. The WHO reported 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013. The Journal of American Medicine Association reports that 17% of US children ages 2-19, 12.7 million, are obese.[3] For all the social, economic, and hereditary factors that developed overweight or obese children, the result is compounded as they are also now more likely to remain so into adulthood. This burdens them with a lifetime of health issues and financial challenges.

It’s not just genetics either.

Statistics bear out CDC chairman Thomas Friedman’s remarks on how just being an American makes you more susceptible to obesity. Even what state you live in makes a difference. Mississippi and West Virginia tip the scales with greater than 35% of the population as obese, and it’s probably no surprise the South is the heaviest region. The company you keep matters too. University of Colorado and Colorado State research concluded that having obese friends made you more likely to be obese. [4]

Research has also established the group most recently susceptible to obesity: low and middle income populations. Historically, the poor cannot afford to be fat, but now a variety of factors contribute to create this new vulnerability. Fast food costs less, supports a fast-paced/low resourced lifestyle, and has far greater availability. This socio-economic cluster also faces the challenges of affordable health care, and overall they are less likely to have available means of time, money and access to effective weight loss programs.

It’s a numbers game.

These statistics are collected from a variety of sources. The WHO data is the most current, but some sourcing goes back to 2008 or earlier. A challenge itself is reporting. It’s a classic conundrum of using statistics to spin the desired story.

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control released an “encouraging development in obesity rates among 2 to 5 year olds.[5]” The CDC reported a 43% decline in obesity for that age group, quoting JAMA data. Yay! Right? Although the CDC’s presented this fact as a light in the gloom of increasing obesity landscape, the JAMA article conclusion was not so positive: “Overall, there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. Obesity prevalence remains high and thus it is important to continue surveillance”[6] Perhaps the most significant element of this point-counterpoint is the sample size driving the dramatic 43% decline reported for the age group was based upon the observation of about 70 children.

Does all this research have an effect? Do we really need to be told that we are getting fat?

Another growing movement is self-monitoring. Instead of listening to the statistics about everyone else, what can an individual do about him or herself? The Internet of Things (IoT)[7] is growing a network of sensors that provide a robust recording stream. The amount of information available to individuals, corporations and governments from these sensors is unprecedented. In the world of apps, measuring food and workouts and sleeping and how many steps you take is elementary. The next level is using wearables fitness trackers such as FitBit and Apple Health, which provide excellent visual presentation of a given sets of variables. Quantified Self[8] has further acclimatized these tools and more with a suite of monitoring techniques to achieve another level of self-observation. Quantified Self groups have local meetings and international conferences to explore the many methods of self-tracking.

“Our aim is to help people get meaning out of their personal data.” –

Even without Quantified Self implements, we amass data about ourselves daily, by the minute, by the second. This variety, velocity and volume of information is most definitely and significantly a Big Data venue. So how can the capability of Big Data tip the scale in favor of Fit over Fat?

First, let’s revisit the problem.


Not So Simple Math

Stay fit and don’t get fat. Most people would say preventing fat means eating less and working out more. Really … isn’t it just a simple equation?



This inequality simply says shut your pie hole and hit the gym, so let’s examine the simple problem a little closer.

To stay fit via the Ci<Co model, you take in fewer calories through diet restrictions or burn more calories through workout. Better yet – both. Fitness is typically perceived in eating a good diet of conscious nutrition and incorporating a workout regimen of some given rigor. JAMA, the CDC, the WHO and a lot of research universally agree that humans are eating more calories and burning fewer than previous generations. But what does that actually look like?

Diets rarely work, or they work for a period but then don’t. Workout or don’t work out. What results if you do or do not? How much do you need to get any results? You can even over-work out. That not only has been proven to be counterintuitive but also risks your health. Fit or fat.


Doughnuts are simple sugars and fat – not a sensible or significant healthy ounce. What we don’t know is how much fat does that doughnut become. If I eat one this morning, I know how many calories I consume (for the most part), but does it mean 5 extra minutes on the treadmill or a far greater penance? Should I run before or after eating the doughnut? How soon before or after? Five minutes, an hour? Will the routine evening run cure the doughnut and all grievances, or just some of the ills assailed upon my body during the day?

The basis of the Ci<Co simple equation is the calorie. Technically a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. It measures energy. It makes total sense as a quantitative standardization, but the logic doesn’t really mimic your body’s digestive and nutrition processes.  Doctors have studied the process with great rigor, but still little relative understanding. The body isn’t a vending machine where sticking a couple of quarters in returns the chosen product.

Does a calorie burn the same in your body as it does in mine? Research (again) apparently says not.

The Plot Thickens – Us vs Them

Body types are shapes and categorizations of the different ways humans process food and burn energy. One of the original concepts is fat distribution: apple (called male or android ironically) versus pear (female or hydroid). Apples gain their weight in the waist while pears add on fat around the hips.   These body types have been used as well to predict a suite of health maladies. Android portends metabolic syndrome: diabetes, heart disease, & other horsemen; whereas, hydroid are considered at less risk for the same disease. Whether you are an apple or a pear though, that concept has recently been challenged by further research. Like picking the right diet, listening to the variety of research can go either way: being an apple or pear may or may not have an effect.

The body type premise has been further developed in new directions with more classifications: rectangle, hourglass, inverted triangle. There’s also groups of ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph.[9] Ancient diets have been revisited. Ayurvedic theory, which predates written history, breaks the groups in three doshas – vata, pitta, kapha – according to physical, mental and social characteristics.[10] All these categorizations and more each outline the tendencies for weight gain or loss through each type. This includes diet and workout suggestions, and in the case of aryurvedic, lifestyle choices as well.

In whatever form, these varying interpretations of the body’s functions demonstrate that people integrate food into their body in different ways and their workout results will differ as well.

Back to the doughnuts as example. Some can eat the doughnut no matter what. We all know that guy with a “higher metabolism”. We don’t know where he lands between apple and pear because he never gains weight; he’s the ectomorph. Although I’m sure doughnuts have been around for a long, long time in some form or another, ayurvedic living has been around for thousands of years. Ayurvedic diet is also far more comprehensive, addressing the many choices we have at our disposal. A doughnut can symbolize far more than fat and sugar molecules and divulge a far more deep understanding of desire and its affects on our health.[11]

So we are not created equally.

Your Waist Thickens – Me vs Myself

Time, the Avenger. The me in my 20s definitely isn’t the same as in the 40s. At some point, hitting the gym more has stopped seeing the return on investment. Restricting my diet doesn’t get the same results on the scale either.   I had removed all sugar – natural and refined – and shuddered to even dream of a carb. I was living off protein and vegetables. An avid P90X-er and gym rat, I still crashed.  (I still love P90x and I’d do it if I could – modify, modify, modify.)

What happened?

So many factors influence your body’s functions, making it hard to determine the culprit. Your diet could be wrong because your hormones are off. Your workout might not work because your lifestyle interrupts it or it exhausts instead of enhances your muscles. Finding a good combination or the right combination of nutrition and exercise is hard to know with so many moving parts. Your metabolism, stomach, liver, hormones, thyroid are all players in your active or sedentary life.  Is it something you can really change? Is it something instead you adapt?

What can you do?

There’s no shortage of suggestions for things you can do. A trip to the bookstore or a television infomercial later, you will have 20+ options easily enough. $9.99 buys a lot of advice or a program or a group to share the journey.   Mentioning weight loss on any social network is likely to get you targeted marketing for another 20+ diet and workout programs. They know you are out there, and they have their solution. But what is YOURS?


Paleo, Grapefruit, South Beach, High Protein/Low Carb, Cabbage Soup, Cookie, Atkins, etc. There’s no shortage of diets that tout the ability to turn fat to fit. But is there really a recipe for what goes in less fattening? Dr Tarnower (Scarsdale Diet) and Dr. Atkins are medical doctors with “proven” weight loss eating programs. Yes, they have successes, but they also have tragic failures. Diets are eventually lambasted for lack of results or worse – detrimental health effects.

The Hidden Equation

The calories in don’t go to a uniform source to burn calories out. It is a black box. The body’s digestion functions are vastly guessed about but still relatively unknown. Food intake processes as water or fat or muscle or excretion.

A 1980s Mayo Clinic study of 21 people reported food digestion from intake through just the stomach and small intestines takes 6-8 hours. After that, travel time through the large intestines and colon differed for men and women. Men make the distance in 33 hours and the women slide behind at 47 hours. (Did you realize you were carrying “the kids” around that long?) People without a colon (post colectomy) have a remarkable sensitivity to foods. Without being slowed down or buffered by the large intestine process, they know immediately if a food doesn’t work out, both with internal pain and as external “feedback.” They are dangerously susceptible to dehydration as well – a process colon-healthy people take for granted.

This medical condition’s effect on diet, exercise and health is readily “visible” because of the quick feedback loop of their intestines.  Good or bad – people who had a colectomy know how food effects them soon (minutes to a couple of hours) after ingestion. What major and minor events in your medical history shape your personal health ability that aren’t so obvious? Maybe not as blatant as a missing colon, perhaps the slightly (but not significantly) off thyroid or the sprained ankle from five years ago may effect your diet and workout profile.

Your body’s ability is entirely your personal experience. Dr Atkins, your workout buddy, nor the you of 10 years ago are not going to predict that accurately.

Back to YOU. What works? With all the research and options and potholes, what should you cut out or cut back? Fat and sugar are the first plucked from the lineup but a suite of culprits awaits: carbs, starches, MSG, gluten. And alcohol, the Mad Men vice of choice (with cigarettes) doesn’t look so bad around the waistline. Of course, lung cancer and high cholesterol aren’t quite so sexy.

Going back all the way to Roman times, ale and wine used to be a “healthy” choice; the alternative -water – was often dubious. The “evil spirits” of water, better known now as bacteria, could kill. The critters can be filtered out now, so water should be healthy – as long as it’s not from lead pipes or crossed over some superfund site. Today even over-consuming alcohol, “heavy drinking,” has been disputed as to the harmful effects on liver and internal organs. Somewhere between none at all and a glass or two a day has become a “healthy” option. Or is it?

No diet is bullet proof. No single commercial diet is the “answer” for weight loss. No diet program has been a proven sustainable “answer” for a healthy lifestyle.


Cardio and resistance are the basics of workout routines. Cardio burns calories and improves the cardio-vascular system. Resistance training increases muscle – either mass or efficiency. Both are intended to improve your health capability.

Again, there is no shortage of options: Jane Fonda (really? Did people really think Jane Fonda was a fitness expert?), Jazzercise, Aerobics, Pilates, P90X, Insanity, cross fit, barre. Workout programs have less science about them and more practice. Less “proof” is required, so less to disprove of efficacy. Thus even Jane’s instruction is more effective than doing nothing. But a good workout is influenced by many other factors in life, too.

Other Issues

“Calories out” actually doesn’t start and stop at the gym. Many other factors impact the body at any given point, and that can’t help but impact your ability to do the workout as well as receive its benefits.

Timing. How soon before or after eating has an effect on the workout. The easiest example may be the “one hour rule” before swimming. Whether the adage is true or not, its legacy belies a history of cause and effect observations. The importance of nutrition is stressed in most workouts. The body needs fuel in order to perform and also to recover. But what is the right amount of time and on what research is that based?

Tim Ferris of The Four Hour Body did extensive personal experimentation work with biofeedback. His personal data reflected specific windows of opportunity and interesting results. Bodybuilding programs emphasize nutrition touch points to get results and an entire industry of supplements supports that premise. Again, trial and report.

Daily Routine. What daily activities expend your pre-workout energy? What do you do all day? Stay at home mom with screaming active toddlers or 8 hours sitting at a desk? The three-mile run after a day at the office is a much different experience than one spent solo on the trail away from the triplets. Surely the quantity of energy utilized during the “non-workout” state has an effect, too. If you workout when you’re burned out, will you expend muscle instead of fat? What is that tipping point? And again, is it the same from person to person? Doubtful.

Location. What if you live in San Diego? Californians are known for a more active lifestyle than say, Chicago. For one, better weather does make a difference in getting out to workout in the first place. In San Diego, it is easier to be motivated and more likely you’ll put the effort into the workout to make a difference with blue skies and dry temperatures in the 70s. California also has a greater visible population of strangers working out, so keeping up with the Joneses includes fitness. Recall the CDC and University of Colorado research. Fat friends and neighbors beget the same. That prevalence also increases the likelihood of active lifestyle social relationships and professional networks – a collective peer pressure to make the workout happen and to be “in shape.”

“In 2008, the five states with obesity rates of 30% or more were Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma South Carolina and Tennessee.”[12]

What about SLEEP? Sleep is another facet, and there’s a lot of science behind how sleep affects every aspect of our health. Studies have indicated that too little (less than 5 hours) or too much (over 9) increases your potential for gaining weight. The suggested causation is that the right amount of sleep balances hormones ghrelin and leptin that regulate hunger appropriately. Alternately or additively, the onset of fatigue inhibits workout performance. Also, you are more likely to make poor decisions – including food and workout choices – when you are low on sleep.

And I haven’t even mentioned …. STRESS???!!! That’s the hormone cortisol, and yes, an increase in stress means more cortisol holding pounds onto your body and discounting any diet and workout efforts on your part.

 So the basic Ci<Co starts as a simple equation that could be a expanded to an infinitely-dimensional matrix. In “reality”, sssooooooo many factors combine to create an individual health equation: fit or fat?


We have more food and workout options than ever in history and generations of diets and gym cultures. It’s time to move beyond the simple solution.

Why Fad Diets Don’t Work … For YOU

Diets are a traditional scientific method approach to weight maintenance. A theory or hypothesis (diet premise) is created and then tested to see whether it works. Using statistical methods, the test is performed with a control group. This sample size either proves or disproves the hypothesis. The successful result – a diet that “works” – means a statistically significant portion of a test group (sample set) saw desirable results given those specific parameters.

Is this sample set representative of YOU? Where do they live? What is their work and lifestyle? How old are they? How long have they been working out? What medical conditions do they have or have they had? The diet results “hold” a variable to test while the rest of the infinite array of variables run rampant. When you try a diet, you are basically seeing if you fit into the statistical average person who proved the hypothesis correct.

Until recently the many variables that effect how and when and where you consume food and water and anything else and then burn it were incomprehensible. Tracking the many factors mentioned were overwhelming, especially for the experimentation procedure environment required of a professional or academic research study. Duplicating the body’s miraculous survival mechanisms (eating and burning) is still quite far away. What is closer to possibility is the capability to effectively create your own diet.

What Works Out

Workouts make a difference – but is it the difference you want? Are you creating muscle and burning fat? Or burning out? Adding bulk or sculpting lean?

For diets and workouts, the answer should be what works … for YOU? Not the average person who’s tried the diet and/or the workout.

THAT, my friend, is where Big Data Body Sizing kicks in.








[5] CDC report


[7] Physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, and software that enable objects to exchange data with other connected devices





[12] The Atlantic, “Beating Obesity”, Marc Ambinder, May 2010

The Data Starts With You


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Big Data is about Volume, Velocity and Variety of data.  This awesome Ted Talk is great for examples of what types of information are available, what some of the challenges are and what some of the awesomeness is from using it.

Data belongs to the people.  Thanks to those that take the time and their talent to make a difference for the community.


How to Encrypt Data in the Cloud to Stop Mischievous Hackers


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With all the doom and gloom of hackers in the news, here’s an IT perspective about how encryption can be used to help secure cloud services.

Datafloq – How to Encrypt Data in the Cloud to Stop Mischievous Hackers.

In the modern IT procedures, almost all significant information processes or data pathways include some form of cloud storage or cloud computing. This means that even businesses and organization which do not own or operate cloud storage assets still have their data transported through some form of cloud service, no matter what they do. In many aspects, this is a great thing for the broader IT industry, mainly because cloud technology allows for a multitude of great advances, including continuous access to important information, mobile device synchronization and practically flawless data recovery potential.

On the other hand, the same cloud presence also compromised the global data security status. Now, though often weak cloud security protocols, a malicious attack that is either designed to steal valuable information or to simply vandalize an organization can produce a true disaster. This is why encryption is more important now than it ever was. By encrypting cloud content, users produce a new level of protection against attack, making sure that even stolen or lost data will be meaningless and useless to those who perpetrated the attack. Because of the complex nature of cloud computing systems, several important factors need to be addressed so that all users of cloud storage or some other cloud service can be safe in the knowledge that their data will not be easily compromised.

Handling of Security incidents

Any incident is a worrying occurrence, but those who are dedicated to cloud security cannot leave it only at that. In a security-related situation, any incident needs to be confronted quickly and decisively using extensive detection and its reporting protocols, followed by an organized management of the same breach. Encryption will not stop an attack, but it will stop the attackers from using or stealing the data they have acquired. But still, the previously mentioned steps represent a hugely important factor in demonstrating to the customers the commitment to data security.

Data Protection

Cloud computing represents a phenomenon which holds several important possibilities when it comes to data being compromised, and which are true for both consumers and vendors. Data can not only be stolen, but also lost or unavailable. For the end users, all these scenarios are exceedingly problematic. Because of this, cloud security needs to keep a close eye on how data is being transmitted and handled in every situation while a layer of encryption means that it is not easily accessible from the outside.

Insecure or Incomplete Data Deletion

Attempts to delete data on cloud services once a user contract has been terminated, for example, may not always lead to their true deletion. At the same time, even timely scheduled deletions may also be impossible because the servers that are being used might store data from other clients, or because additional copies might be present. This is why deletion must be completed in such way that the clients are absolutely sure that their data was completely wiped clear. Of course, the same procedure should not be utilized lightly because it could drastically impact data recovery potential if the data owner’s change their mind after the files had been deleted. With encryption, even data that might be left behind will not provide any problems for its owners because it will not be accessible.

Malicious Behavior of Insiders

Malicious attacks do not only come from the outside environment, but also from the employees or contractors of the cloud service company, but also the business that uses cloud services. Encryption is not designed to be a method of making sure that a set of information cannot be accessed by insiders. In fact, the true point of encryption is to make the same information meaningless without the right encryption key. This way, any insider malicious threat is greatly reduced.

Service Unavailability

Any cloud security detachment will often come across the notion of service being unavailable because of many different reasons, ranging from software and equipment failure to break down in a pathway between the cloud service and its end users. In these cases, encryption should still be in place to safeguard any data. This so-called “static” potential of encryption is also extremely important when it comes to protecting data from mischievous hackers.

With these key facts about cloud security, it is clear that any encryption process could prove to be a huge asset in the fight against hackers. By using it, anyone can make sure that their data and services locate on the cloud are completely safe and protected.


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