The Data Our Bodies Radiate

Everyday, your heart beats a certain number of times. Your lungs inhale and exhale a certain number of times. Your mood shifts, your blood sugar changes, your thoughts stream. But where does the data – the news – of these things go?

The data which our bodies radiate are like streams of thoughts that swiftly vanish from memory.

Some of this data are easy to capture : your pulse, your blood pressure, your temperature.

Other data isn’t so easy: the size of a neoplastic growth, your potassium level, the number of  red blood cells coursing through your vessels.

Information – which is the relevant data needed to make a decision in light of risk – abounds our lives. If you or your healthcare providers don’t know about the critical information your body glows forth, you or they might miss the chance to make important decisions about the state of your health.

Glow forth. That would be cool to see, huh? But we don’t – we are somewhat blind in that regard. We don’t – and never will – have infinite senses omniscient. We are limited and mortal – and yet it’s so human to desire beyond hope to transcend both realities. It’s what drives us to live our fullest – to be remarkable and, in some sense, immortal.

But we do create technologies. We can now ‘see’ infrared light. We can view our bones with dangerous radiation, view deep vein thrombi, graph the electric patterns of our brains.

But we too often need huge and expensive machines to do most of these things.

And yet: today’s emerging and converging technologies offer the hope of offering powerful and convenient was to ‘visualize’ and capture the glowing-forth of our bodies’ data.


The tweet is metaphor for the power of conveying the droplets of data that comprise the larger streams of our lives.

Not only will novel technologies be capable of streaming lone raw data, but they will also enable social and other connections, expanding the range of fellowship while providing robust arrays of searchable (and researchable) data for science to study.

We are entering a time of tectonic change. In spite of that, our longing for better lives – for health and healing – remains unchanged.

We should use that longing to bring forth novel and convenient technologies that can capture, process, organize and rightfully exploit the precious messages of our health.

Healthcare has often been a demand-side economy. You break your leg, the radiologist and ortho-surgeon get paid. You throw a pulmonary embolism, the hospital sends you a cheap survey and an extravagant bill.

It’s also supply-side: you have a condition you never knew existed, a company spends billions of dollars on research and advertising and – pop – you have an adorable little pill to take with your bacon and eggs.

The technologies we need to see the data our bodies radiate need an economy.

It may be that smart companies or brave individuals – lone crazy deranged fools – build some of theses technologies. They are on the supply-side.

You, however, are on the demand-side.

What do you demand from life?

Will you voice your demand?

Or will life pass you by, like the streams of data radiating from the deep core of your invisibly glowing heart?

@PhilBaumann –   @HealthIsSocial

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