A Data-Driven Eulogy for a Data-Driven Life

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“Humans make errors. We make errors of fact and errors of judgment. We have blind spots in our field of vision and gaps in our stream of attention. Sometimes we can’t even answer the simplest questions. Where was I last week at this time? How long have I had this pain in my knee? How much money do I typically spend in a day?”

Thus begins Gary Wolf’s New York Times Magazine article “The Data-Driven Life.”    As our lives converge with machines, data, in mass amounts, becomes the new wisdom.

Here is a bit of satire for those of us who approach that future with a bit of trepidation.

…The Lord is my Shepherd, I have zero needs.

We gather here in a moment of great sadness to mourn the passing of someone close to us all. The actuaries were right. What can we say – the numbers tell the story.

In health:  His numbers were not so good. His blood pressure was 140 over 90 with a resting heart-rate of 72. His cholesterol was 330, with a frighteningly low HDL of 19. As many of you know, chromosomally he did have a few recessive abnormalities on chromosomal pairs 4, 23, and 24. But did they do him in? Unlikely, everyone could see that his BMI was well over 33!

…Yea, though I walk through the Valley of Asymptote Limit of Negative One, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.

This funeral brought to you with condolences from the College Board

His high school GPA was 3.7 (3’s and 4’s for his AP scores), 2110 for his SAT score, 3.4 at a 3rd tiered college, no GRE score to speak of (this technical mystery will be corrected in time for the obituary). He graduated without honors from a 2nd tired Graduate School. Such was his education.

… Your staff and Your rod, they comfort me.


Of course his consumer habits have been readily searchable. He shopped mostly at Mega Shopping Grocery. He accounted for approximately $95 of weekly average purchase they with a slightly elevated purchase quotient in the salted Snack aisle. Google reports that his interests were roughly evenly split between on-line fantasy games, sports, especially Indonesian Cricket, and Googles’ own World News Digest. Sadly, he had three outstanding bids for collectible Disney watches on eBay. He would have won. Nonetheless, those watches have already been sent to the next highest bidder. His digital life is otherwise unremarkable, with the exception of a single visit to a porn site. Google Notes suggest that it is statistically possible that he reached the site by searching for Morgan Spurlock’s documentary film “Super Size Me,” and by then clicking their search feature “Feeling Lucky.”

Posted on February 28, 2012
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