Musing on technology and a few other topics



Confinement diary - Day 6

Spring is definitely here as the weather in the Paris area attests. But so is Covid-19 as the empty streets can also attest.  

When I brought my dogs for a short walk this morning around 6:45am, there was close to no one in the streets and no cars too. While this might sound normal given that this is Sunday and we went out early, this is definitely not, as I have already seen many more people out at the time during the week-end.

The saddest piece of news this morning is definitely the worsening situation in Italy where ~800 people passed away from Covid-19. In Europe we didn’t take this disease seriously when it started in China, and I hope that we will learn the right lessons when this will be over.  

I wrote about improvement yesterday and so I have started on a few things that I will continue during the confinement:

On Python Programming I decided to have a look at a dataset from FiveThirtyEight that list all the US Congress Member from 1947 to 2014. The analysis conducted by FiveThirtyEight is available here. Mine is way more simple since I constrained myself to the Python Standard Library csv package. The code is available on my GitHub repo. Nothing fancy or difficult except that the constrain of not using a library like pandas makes it complicated to run advanced analysis. This is a topic that I will keep for a later date. I must admit that I was in awe when I found the FiveThirtyEight repo, this is a very interesting dataset repo for anyone interested in data analysis.  

On Stress Management, I adjusted my routine to spend more time on meditation and breathing exercises. For meditation, I use both guided and unguided meditation through the Ten Percent Happier app (for guided meditation) and the Insight Timer app (for unguided meditation). Both are quite good. I target between 10 and 20 minutes of meditation per day.  
For breathing exercises, the Wim Hof Method is the way to go for me. I will come back to this method at a later stage.  

Finally on Data Science, I find the challenge a good opportunity to learn Natural Language Processing while working on something useful. Not being an expert, my contribution will be limited, but I have to start somewhere. What caught my eye is that the dataset is now 4Gb in size while it was “only" 2Gb two days ago.  
The challenge consists of 10 initial tasks for which teams are asked to build models. Those tasks are simple questions such as What do we know about non-pharmaceutical interventions?. I believe those initial 10 tasks will be expanded as new research papers are published and as initial models are refined.  

Speaking about Covid-19, I highly recommend Dr. Peter Attia’s podcasts on the topic and the associated show notes which he made available for free: see here. Peter and his team update the information on the virus as fast as they can and they were kind enough to make the show notes accessible to all.  

While I feel I have done quite a bit today, I still need to define a workout routine that could be easily conducted at my home. That’s a topic for another day, not that we are going to lack time in confinement!

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