A Lady Stole My Heart Today

At the gym.  Sitting right next to me in our spin session. A lovely lass – she pushed the right buttons and stole my heart.

Well, my heart rate, to be specific.

Just before the gruelling hour of spinning began, she tried to get the new electronic device attached to her bike to sync with her heart rate monitor, and instead it picked up mine – which we both noticed.  But then we were into standing sprints, and nothing could be done about it.

So for that entire hour, she was an intimate observer of my performance .  It was intriguing: I felt compelled to try even harder – I was being monitored after all – but then I also realised the compulsion and tried to ignore it.   Mostly failing.

That was an interesting pressure, peer pressure – and the pressure to impress, or at least not to appear as a total slacker.  Moreover, that pressure was to a complete stranger.

It also got me thinking a little about privacy and self instrumentation.  This was a data privacy breech, albeit a little unusual.  I’ve had some of my DNA genotyped over at 23andMe – which often has me thinking about privacy.  As someone pointed out, someone knowing your DNA also gives that someone access to some of your children’s DNA. It’s a data privacy breech with hereditary consequences.

However, it’s not particularly predictive, and really, I think there’s more benefit (to the human race) than disadvantage. Opening up my DNA (in the sense of something like the Creative Commons Zero license) would let others potentially benefit – and efforts to really open it up are underway at places like openSNP.

My genome, my heart rate, and everything in betwen.  How much of ourselves should we be prepared to give away like this, to complete strangers?  What actions would it make us perform, what are the advantages and disadvantages?

I’m intrigued by the questions.  For now though, here’s the captured heart rate:


What has this to do with reason? Even though I was actively aware that I would probably be stressed into performing more than average, I couldn’t help myself. I still did. Either that, or I simply had an elevated heart rate that day…

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