Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace

What motivates you?

It’s a simple question that can be answered in a variety of ways. You can look at extrinsic motivators, which are things in the world that you work hard to get. Examples of this include money, sex, fame, a new house and car.

And then you can also have intrinsic motivators. This includes goal-setting, grip, passion, curiosity, purpose, autonomy, and mastery. 

When we discuss cultivating motivation, we’re discussing how we can align and tune up that entire stack of skills. Steven Kotler concedes that this isn’t an easy feat—but when you finally get the hang of it, the benefits are extraordinary.

You may think that this isn’t something you’re capable of doing. Maybe you feel different from the “greats” of this world. But in this episode, Steven Kotler and Alexander McCaig disprove that mindset. The reality is you are just as capable of peak performance as any other athlete.

It’s the first basic point of Steven Kotler’s book: all human beings are foundationally hardwired for peak performance. Our biggest challenge is learning how to work with our natural biology, so that we seamlessly enter a flow sequence that empowers us to become our best self.

What Happens if I Just Push Through?

What’s our instinctive response to getting something done? We try using raw grit to push ourselves through the task. And grit is trainable, but you have to work at it by pushing yourself slightly harder than you want to every single day. Grit without flow is a recipe for burnout.

The way our system is wired, we need to get some flow from an activity before we’re comfortable enough with learning how to get gritty.

Extrinsic motivators can only do so much in propelling us forward. Once we get what we want, we need to start asking ourselves: what else can we look forward to? 

This is where intrinsic motivators come in. And Steven Kotler believes that it’s best to start with curiosity. Look for different curiosities that introduce more passion into your life. Learn things that catch your eye: read some books, watch a movie, listen to a lecture, take a quick class…there are so many ways to feed your curiosity.

Once you start cultivating them, you can really start looking for where they overlap and intersect. And then you can start building something that’s uniquely your own from these intersections—something that fuels your passion, because it gives you all the dopamine you need to focus.

It’s important to think of achieving peak performance as a marathon, not a sprint. This won’t happen overnight.  It’s all about getting a little today and a little tomorrow, until everything compounds into the peak mindset we’re looking for.

The Role of Autonomy in Motivation

What does our personal autonomy have to do with cultivating motivation? This was a salient part of the discussion, as TARTLE is an advocate for human rights.

If you have to do something that is not of your own choosing, Steven Kotler believes that the best way forward is to find something in the task that affords an opportunity for mastery.

At this point, Alexander McCaig shares his personal experience with rowing. Sure, it helped him get through college and he was pretty good at it. But he did not have any motivation for the sport. 

“My life became a function of how low you can get a specific number over a set distance. That was the mastery, right? How do I get there? How do I get there the most efficiently?” Alexander McCaig shared, “Everything else, it paid for me to go to university at the time and all that other good stuff. But it wasn't truly something I had any passion towards. I wasn't actually intrinsically motivated to do this thing.”

When Alexander McCaig chose to leave rowing, he regained his sense of autonomy. And he shares that the benefits were twofold: first, there was a massive difference in his internal happiness. Second, he freed up more energy to focus on the things he really wanted to do.

Steven Kotler’s Encounter With the Flow State

Steven Kotler shared his experience in being diagnosed with Lyme disease, a chronic autoimmune condition that can be fatal when it reaches the brain. He was incredibly sick, and described it as having “the worst flu you’ve ever had crossed with paranoid schizophrenia.”

Neurologically, Steven Kotler struggled. He lost both short-term and long-term memory, suffered from hallucinations, couldn’t see straight, and experienced pain everywhere. This was his life for three years.

In the middle of this dark period, one of his friends demanded that he try surfing. Initially Steven Kotler laughed at this suggestion—after all, he couldn’t even walk across a room. But she insisted, and eventually he gave in. They took a trip to the beach, carried him to the shore, and handed him a board the size of the Cadillac.

And then they walked him to the lineup and he sat on his board.

“I took all the energy I had left in the world, I think, and decided I was going to try to catch that wave. And it was maybe, as I said, like a foot and a half on,” Steven Kotler explained, “But I paddled and puffed my feet and popped up into a dimension that I didn't even know existed.”

Later in the episode, he described his feeling while surfing as a “very powerful altered state experience.” And he found out that this altered consciousness is referred to as a flow state. 

This flow state is incredibly similar to the state of mind that athletes used to become superhuman.

So What Really is the Flow State All About?

How did Steven Kotler interpret his experience of the flow state, in the context of his Lyme disease? To this, he refers to a book called The Breakout Principle by Herb Benson. 

First, an autoimmune condition is caused by a nervous system going haywire. According to Herb Benson, moving into a flow state jumpstarts a release of nitric oxide. This pushes stress hormones out of our system and lets in a variety of feel-good neurochemicals in, such as dopamine and serotonin.

When Steven Kotler entered the flow state, he effectively reset his nervous system to zero. In addition, these neurochemicals are huge immune system boosters.

We most commonly see the flow state with athletes. But it can also take on a mystical form as well. Abraham Maslow, in his study of high achievers, found that their one commonality was a capacity to alter consciousness and place themselves into flow states. 

Suddenly, a common thread is established between high achievers, athletes, and Steven Kotler’s experience on the waves. Everything boils down to shifting into the flow state.

Closing Thoughts

Our quality of life can be improved significantly if we understand how our biology works, and what we can do to build towards our flow state. Steven Kotler’s life experiences and insights highlight the urgency for systems and foundations that give us autonomy, the freedom to pursue our curiosities and our passions.

As it turns out, there is nothing that separates us from high achievers, athletes, and mystics. We’ve got everything we need built into our human biology. What we need to work on is our capacity to induce our peak performance.

Let’s build a world where we can make that happen for everyone.

What’s your flow state worth?

We are used to thinking that the universe revolves around us. That nothing superior to humanity could ever exist. But realistically, our time is only a small fraction in the billions and trillions of years that the universe has been in existence.

In this episode, Dr Avi Loeb returns to the podcast for a deeper dive into what the universe has to offer—and how human ego is preventing our capacity for human progress.

You Are Not That Special

Once upon a time, the biblical story of Abraham and Lot was written. The lives of these two coincided with the arrival of a meteor that obliterated the entire region. 

Religious narrative explains that this was a manifestation of God’s wrath. The city of Sodom was destroyed because of the sinfulness of its inhabitants. But the alternative is that it could have just been about a meteor that happened to hit that city.

Dr Avi Loeb’s point is that the narrative does not necessarily put humans at the center of a big event. This rock was heading for a collision course with Earth long before Sodom was constructed and inhabited by people who sinned.

For people to deserve punishment, we must assume that free will is a possibility. But how does this align with the reality that the meteor was already on its way to Earth millions of years before these people were even conceived? 

These are interesting contradictions to think about. They are borne out of humanity’s desire to assign meaning and purpose to these events, with us at the center of everything.

A Small Blip on an Infinite Timeline

Consider this: our recorded history only covers the past 10,000 years.

The amount of time it took for humans to create, develop, and launch rockets to the nearest star spans 50,000 years.

And stars were formed billions of years before the sun.

What does this tell you? It means that humanity is grappling with vast distances and incredibly long time scales. If there are other alien civilizations out there, it’s presumptuous to assume that they are the same as us.

What’s likelier is that they may not be synchronized with our progress, not just temporally but in terms of tech advancement as well. It wouldn’t be wise to assume that our existence has a massive impact on the entire timeline of the universe.

Is Superiority the Root of All Evil?

Human history has shown that groups of people are consistently trying to become superior over others. You only need to look at the results of the Second World War and the Nazi regime to see how destructive it can be to feel superior. 

So what would help unite us and prioritize our equality?

Dr Avi Loeb believes we need to accept that we are not the smartest kid on the block. If there are alien civilizations, it’s more than possible that they have progressed faster and further than we have. 

All our genetic differences are insignificant and meaningless. The Nazi doctrine, and other radical ideologies that seek to discriminate, will lose meaning.

“We will perhaps have more respect towards each other and regard all of us as equal members of the human species because there is a smarter kid on the block. How can you brag if there is someone much better than you are?” Dr Avi Loeb points out.

Closing Thoughts on Science and Human Progress

What good is our technology if we only use it to advance a particular niche that does not help the totality of human understanding? Take a closer look at what’s being developed and you’ll notice that the benefits of these innovations are not always aligned with humanity. We need to stop advancing technology just for the sake of making bigger and better-looking technologies.

To guarantee our preservation, we need to humble ourselves and bring our focus back to humanity. We won’t progress if we don’t unite. We won’t know more if we’re too afraid to disprove the theories we hold so close and dear to ourselves. And we won’t know how to empower ourselves if we think that we already have the answers, by some misplaced idea that we are at the center of the universe.

In this episode, Dr Avi Loeb returns to the podcast for a deeper dive into what the universe has to offer—and how human ego is preventing our capacity for human progress.

Sign up for TARTLE through this link here.

Follow Alexander McCaig on Twitter and Linkedin.

What motivates you?

It’s a simple question that can be answered in a variety of ways. You can look at extrinsic motivators, which are things in the world that you work hard to get. Examples of this include money, sex, fame, a new house and car.

And then you can also have intrinsic motivators. This includes goal-setting, grip, passion, curiosity, purpose, autonomy, and mastery. 

When we discuss cultivating motivation, we’re discussing how we can align and tune up that entire stack of skills. Steven Kotler concedes that this isn’t an easy feat—but when you finally get the hang of it, the benefits are extraordinary.

You may think that this isn’t something you’re capable of doing. Maybe you feel different from the “greats” of this world. But in this episode, Steven Kotler and Alexander McCaig disprove that mindset. The reality is you are just as capable of peak performance as any other athlete.

It’s the first basic point of Steven Kotler’s book: all human beings are foundationally hardwired for peak performance. Our biggest challenge is learning how to work with our natural biology, so that we seamlessly enter a flow sequence that empowers us to become our best self.

What Happens if I Just Push Through?

What’s our instinctive response to getting something done? We try using raw grit to push ourselves through the task. And grit is trainable, but you have to work at it by pushing yourself slightly harder than you want to every single day. Grit without flow is a recipe for burnout.

The way our system is wired, we need to get some flow from an activity before we’re comfortable enough with learning how to get gritty.

Extrinsic motivators can only do so much in propelling us forward. Once we get what we want, we need to start asking ourselves: what else can we look forward to? 

This is where intrinsic motivators come in. And Steven Kotler believes that it’s best to start with curiosity. Look for different curiosities that introduce more passion into your life. Learn things that catch your eye: read some books, watch a movie, listen to a lecture, take a quick class…there are so many ways to feed your curiosity.

Once you start cultivating them, you can really start looking for where they overlap and intersect. And then you can start building something that’s uniquely your own from these intersections—something that fuels your passion, because it gives you all the dopamine you need to focus.

It’s important to think of achieving peak performance as a marathon, not a sprint. This won’t happen overnight.  It’s all about getting a little today and a little tomorrow, until everything compounds into the peak mindset we’re looking for.

The Role of Autonomy in Motivation

What does our personal autonomy have to do with cultivating motivation? This was a salient part of the discussion, as TARTLE is an advocate for human rights.

If you have to do something that is not of your own choosing, Steven Kotler believes that the best way forward is to find something in the task that affords an opportunity for mastery.

At this point, Alexander McCaig shares his personal experience with rowing. Sure, it helped him get through college and he was pretty good at it. But he did not have any motivation for the sport. 

“My life became a function of how low you can get a specific number over a set distance. That was the mastery, right? How do I get there? How do I get there the most efficiently?” Alexander McCaig shared, “Everything else, it paid for me to go to university at the time and all that other good stuff. But it wasn't truly something I had any passion towards. I wasn't actually intrinsically motivated to do this thing.”

When Alexander McCaig chose to leave rowing, he regained his sense of autonomy. And he shares that the benefits were twofold: first, there was a massive difference in his internal happiness. Second, he freed up more energy to focus on the things he really wanted to do.

Steven Kotler’s Encounter With the Flow State

Steven Kotler shared his experience in being diagnosed with Lyme disease, a chronic autoimmune condition that can be fatal when it reaches the brain. He was incredibly sick, and described it as having “the worst flu you’ve ever had crossed with paranoid schizophrenia.”

Neurologically, Steven Kotler struggled. He lost both short-term and long-term memory, suffered from hallucinations, couldn’t see straight, and experienced pain everywhere. This was his life for three years.

In the middle of this dark period, one of his friends demanded that he try surfing. Initially Steven Kotler laughed at this suggestion—after all, he couldn’t even walk across a room. But she insisted, and eventually he gave in. They took a trip to the beach, carried him to the shore, and handed him a board the size of the Cadillac.

And then they walked him to the lineup and he sat on his board.

“I took all the energy I had left in the world, I think, and decided I was going to try to catch that wave. And it was maybe, as I said, like a foot and a half on,” Steven Kotler explained, “But I paddled and puffed my feet and popped up into a dimension that I didn't even know existed.”

Later in the episode, he described his feeling while surfing as a “very powerful altered state experience.” And he found out that this altered consciousness is referred to as a flow state. 

This flow state is incredibly similar to the state of mind that athletes used to become superhuman.

So What Really is the Flow State All About?

How did Steven Kotler interpret his experience of the flow state, in the context of his Lyme disease? To this, he refers to a book called The Breakout Principle by Herb Benson. 

First, an autoimmune condition is caused by a nervous system going haywire. According to Herb Benson, moving into a flow state jumpstarts a release of nitric oxide. This pushes stress hormones out of our system and lets in a variety of feel-good neurochemicals in, such as dopamine and serotonin.

When Steven Kotler entered the flow state, he effectively reset his nervous system to zero. In addition, these neurochemicals are huge immune system boosters.

We most commonly see the flow state with athletes. But it can also take on a mystical form as well. Abraham Maslow, in his study of high achievers, found that their one commonality was a capacity to alter consciousness and place themselves into flow states. 

Suddenly, a common thread is established between high achievers, athletes, and Steven Kotler’s experience on the waves. Everything boils down to shifting into the flow state.

Closing Thoughts on Neuroscience

Our quality of life can be improved significantly if we understand how our biology works, and what we can do to build towards our flow state. Steven Kotler’s life experiences and insights highlight the urgency for systems and foundations that give us autonomy, the freedom to pursue our curiosities and our passions.

As it turns out, there is nothing that separates us from high achievers, athletes, and mystics. We’ve got everything we need built into our human biology. What we need to work on is our capacity to induce our peak performance.

Let’s build a world where we can make that happen for everyone.

What’s your flow state worth?

Find out more about Steven Kotler through his website.

Sign up for TARTLE through this link here.

Follow Alexander McCaig on Twitter and Linkedin.

Christopher Wanjek’s journey to publishing his book, entitled Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, began when Harvard University offered him the opportunity to write on any topic for a book series. 

As a senior writer at NASA for ten years, Christopher Wanjek looked forward to writing on topics that he was already familiar with: the big bang, black holes, and gravitational waves. However, he quickly found that all his topics of expertise were already taken and decided to turn his eyes on a slightly different topic: space colonization.

Feeling at Home in Outer Space

Most astrophysicists believe that space colonization is so complicated, tedious, and difficult, it isn’t worth discussing yet. We just aren’t at that point where we can think of going to space. 

However, Christopher Wanjek’s book doesn’t explore the nitty-gritty mechanics or quantum physics behind humans conquering the moon and stars. Instead, he gives us the opportunity to view the space race and the growing space industry in a different light. The main question he works to answer in his book is: why would we go to space, and then stay up there?

Christopher Wanjek likened our current perspective of living in space to living on Mount Everest. While the most seasoned mountain climbers dream of eventually reaching the summit, nobody lives on the summit itself because it’s not practical. So are there any economic and emotional motivations for people on the ground, like you and I, to reach and settle on the moon?

Space Colonization: the Process

Alexander McCaig explained that according to Christopher Wanjek’s book, there are three main reasons humans support space exploration. We either want to go to space because we have religious reasons, economic reasons, or for war—like in the space race.

Of the three, war is the easiest reason humans can resonate with. It has already happened before, between the US and Russia. And Alexander McCaig notes that getting there isn’t the big thing—it’s the process of developing the technology that we need to get to the end goal that counts. 

Christopher Wanjek gave a comprehensive logical process for making space settlements a reality. First, the involvement of tech moguls like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk is a great first step because it generates interest, and eventually a market, for people to go into space. While this journey is only accessible to the super wealthy, continued hype for this venture could see more people go into space as prices are lowered and it becomes more accessible. Here, the space tourism industry takes its first steps.

The next step is to have people in lower earth orbit, like the International Space Station. Their participation in the market can be valuable because their presence generates competition. This competition serves as an incentive for players in the market to innovate and make resources more affordable, which would in turn stimulate the space industry overall.

What’s the Point of Outer Space?

Now that we have clear and tangible steps that we can take to make space colonization a reality, the next question is: how can we incentivize humanity to support it? 

Christopher Wanjek shared that in his experience, many people doubted the urgency of exploring space. After all, humanity already has tons of problems on earth, so why shouldn’t we just focus on our own planet first?

He pointed out that this is a common misunderstanding because everything developed for the space industry has helped earth. For example, communication satellites help broadcast television signals around the world. Weather satellites allow us to predict future weather patterns. 

In the future, space holds even more in store for us earthlings. Since there’s uranium on the moon, we could develop the technology and infrastructure to build nuclear power plants. The moon also doesn’t have any dust clouds, so we could find a way to harness solar energy and then transport it to earth. 

Of course, the timeline for this venture will probably span decades. If the ice race to Antarctica took a ton of manpower, imagine how much more it would take for us to be comfortable in space. 

Closing Thoughts

Despite our technologies developing at an unprecedented pace, space colonization may still be decades or even centuries away. This is an intergenerational effort that will take plenty of collaboration from humanity as a collective.

Most of us have never really thought about the implications of settling down away from earth. Like climbing Mount Everest, it just sounded like a cool activity to check off the bucket list. Christopher Wanjek’s research has given us so much meaningful insight into the tangible effects of expanding outside our little blue and green globe.

What’s your data worth? Sign up and earn through the TARTLE Marketplace here

Studying the history of life is an important venture. It’s how we understand why certain characteristics exist in living organisms, and it can also be used to explain the importance of biological events that are happening today. 

A study on the population density of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the world’s most famous predators, was first published on Science and reported on the National Geographic. It’s a huge claim, with researchers estimating that a total of 2.5 billion T.rex have lived in North America, the native region of the species, going out as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mexico across a time span of two to three million years. 

This estimation is a huge claim and has certainly caught the eye of paleontology enthusiasts, However, there are a wide variety of variables that can compromise the validity of the information being tested: the location where the bones are found; shifts caused by glacial patterns and tracks throughout the years; inconsistencies with carbon-14 dating, which provides an approximate age; and even human intervention, which may not be enough to fill in the gaps in information that we do not know nor have the tools to understand just yet. 

If data-driven ventures cannot be used to sample what we know to be true, then is it still worth it? Are approximations a step in the right direction or is it too rooted in theory to be useful?

How Much Hindsight Is Too Much?

The pursuit of estimates often discounts the importance of absolutes. In paleontology, there are plenty of assumptions made that may affect the results of their research. As Alexander mused, much remains unsaid about the foundations of the study—and it may have an impact on whether or not scientists are taking the right perspective on the matter.

Analyzing data from the source and having a clear log of how the researchers conducted their tests is standard procedure. However, what is the impact of creating logs for circumstances that can no longer be observed by anyone living?

“Who decided that the dinosaur is a dinosaur or not a dinosaur? Who decides that it sits in this area of time as opposed to another? What if my carbon dating is wrong, and maybe this aquatic animal that we didn't think existed prehistorically actually did exist?” Alexander asked, expressing doubts.

Transparent and Tangible Research

This is the second time that scientists have made an attempt to estimate the population density of T-rexes in the past, and results closely resemble an earlier estimate that was published in 1993. The difference between these two papers is that this most recent study utilizes the latest in T-rex biology research to set upper and lower limits on the total population—one approximation after another. 

Since there is so much inexactness and uncertainty in what we do, it is important to focus on the fundamentals: ideas, principles, and beliefs that we know to be observable, objective, and tangible. When we go overboard on theory, we may find ourselves defining a biased picture of what the data represents.

This concern is not just limited to research and development in paleontology. With the vast variety of tools, knowledge, and technology that we have at our disposal today, it can become all too easy to take the wrong direction. When we take the next step forward, we need to make sure that our feet are planted firmly on the ground.

Dealing With the Metaphorical T-rex of Today

At the pace that science and technology is developing today, it’s safe to assume that more discoveries will be made—not just in paleontology, but in other sciences and across other industries as well. It is vital that scientists continue working towards making these discoveries more accessible to the public while staying true to the path of innovation. 

There is a different impact in analyzing tangible beings, objects, and events. TARTLE is an opportunity to look at the T-rexes of the modern world: clear and imminent threats that are capable of harming us and the people we care about. The TARTLE platform is an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations so that we can work as a collective to preserve our earth and our economy for future organizations.

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Despite significant technological and scientific progress in the study of physics, time, and space, it looks like we still have a long way to go before we ever truly understand the impact of what we are looking for. 

When exploring the origins of the universe and the nature of everything we see and know, in what ways have we exhausted our pursuit for scientific inquiry? How can we improve the way we study such an important part of our existence? Is it possible to become too data-driven in our search for meaning?

Jason suggests that we continue to fall short of understanding the universe because we’ve never pursued a proper relationship with the subject matter. This could be the case; plenty of social studies call for the researchers to immerse themselves in the communities they study. Since we acknowledge the universe as a dynamic, living, and breathing entity, this could be a new take to an ages-old problem.

Exploring The Green Lumber Fallacy

According to a book entitled Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the Green Lumber Fallacy points to one’s incapacity to truly understand the implications of what they know and how to use it. It is rooted in the idea that while we may be focused on the right issues, we may not yet be capable enough to fully comprehend its complexity.

Indeed, our desire for knowledge is going in the right direction. But are we looking at it in the right perspective? Alexander points out that while 99 percent of our universe is composed of material we can’t see, “we’re looking at one percent, maybe less—and think we’re bad-ass, and we have the answer for all of it.”

“That's like, I have the ocean on earth. I've taken out one droplet of water. One. I'm going to study it and say all of the fundamental rules of the universe and everything sits right here in this one drop, because I can see it.” he continued.

Must We Bend Before We Break?

The author of Antifragile, further, explores the concept of antifragility: things that are not just resilient to disorder, but are dependent on it for growth and development.

Parallels can be drawn between antifragility and the scientific method. This is because the constant search for knowledge requires that researchers are always open to the possibility of having their hypotheses disproven. With such a massive universe left to comprehend and explore, it would be a step backward for humanity to assume that we already have all the tools, equipment, and mindset required to uncover the truth. 

It’s on us to continuously question the methodologies we’ve set for ourselves. Are we maximizing our progress when we take the conservative approach? Do we still give ourselves room for creativity? 

Beyond exploring the big cosmic question, modern advancement has taken an aggressive view and approach to nature. Our thirst for development has led us to create sprawling urban jungles that have taken over large swathes of lush greenery. We’ve replaced rivers, forests, and habitats with rock-hard concrete and gas-belching machinery. 

It’s time to be more discerning of what we leave behind when we reach for the stars.

How We Can Refocus Becoming Antifragile

TARTLE goes beyond the surface to bring two human parties together. It’s a platform that gives people the opportunity to support experiences they may have never been exposed to otherwise.

The benefit is twofold: the first is in the transfer of skills and knowledge between communities who become invested in a common cause. The second is the capacity for these causes to look for alternative sources for funding, from people and entities that they would never have been able to reach without the platform.

Antifragility is a constant test of our character, especially when we’re exposed to lived realities that are so different from ours. However, it’s also an important part of the authentic human experience. Underneath the chaos of sharing this world with 7.6 billion other people are simple hopes, dreams, and aspirations—a chance to find common ground and empowerment in our common humanity.

What’s your data worth? Sign up for the TARTLE Marketplace through this link here.

Bio-Forks in the Road

Entertainment is full of examples of technology gone wrong. Every dystopian sci-fi movie makes use of this to some degree. Either technology runs amok and enslaves humanity as in The Terminator or The Matrix, or we become so enamored of a technology we enslave ourselves to it as in Gattaca. In still others, technology becomes a tool that is used to suppress humanity, most famously in the novels 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. And if we are honest, we can look to all of these examples and see parallels with technological development today.

That’s because there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes with some sort of trade off or a dark side. It will always be possible to take an objective good and pervert it to something destructive. The very real life development of nuclear power is a poignant example. Nuclear power, even the old school, brute force fission reactors that are still the most common produce tens of thousands of megawatts of electricity every hour. And they do this with no carbon emissions on the production end. The only thing stopping them from producing more is their relatively small number, with fewer than a hundred operating in the United States. 

However, with all that promise comes the proverbial dark side, which Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced first-hand in 1945. While none have been used in war since then, the threat has loomed over the world like the Sword of Damocles. Trillions have been spent developing ever more powerful nuclear bombs and methods to deliver them. Trillions that could have been spent researching fusion reactors, an even more powerful energy source with a fraction of the radioactive waste of fission. Instead fusion research led to the hydrogen bomb, a type of nuke that makes Fat Man and Little Boy look like glorified fire crackers. 

We stand at a similar technological fork in the road today. As our knowledge of genetics and our ability to manipulate them grows, we will be faced with difficult choices on how to use this technology. The same technology that could eliminate genetic predispositions to various diseases could also lead to triggering those dispositions in others. Slowing down or eliminating aging could create a world of selfish would-be immortals actively preventing the birth and development of future generations. The same technology that creates a new vaccine could create a new virus to unleash on an unsuspecting world. 

Less dramatic is the idea that companies will simply use these advancements to control whole markets in new ways. Take the situation with genetically modified crops. While GMOs have been a great help in getting food to grow in environments that have typically been hostile, allowing more to be grown for and by those in challenging environments, there has also been a cost. Some, like Monsanto, control aspects of the GMO market with an iron grip. They do this either by engineering their seeds so they won’t germinate or in the case of a product that does, they have been known to sue farmers for their “intellectual property” because the GMO seeds germinated and spread into a neighboring field. That kind of action can kill a farmer’s business. In the case of the non-germinating seeds, a farmer is then forced to buy fresh seeds every year, instead of in the old days, growing this year’s crop from the last year’s seeds. That keeps prices artificially high and also puts farmers at risk should bad weather kill enough of their crop that they can’t afford to buy the new seeds. 

The point is that we have to be very careful with how we use our technology. It can often be used to destroy rather than help others. Not only that, the destructive option is usually the easier one in the short term. Just look at fusion again. We built a bomb with it decades ago but we still haven’t figured out how to make a commercially viable fusion reactor. 

Just as our choices with nuclear power defined much of the world for the latter half of the twentieth century, so our choices with genetic modification will define the world for what’s left of the twenty first. We must choose, and choose wisely.

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Genentech and Priorities

It came to our attention that we tend to point out all the bad stuff going on. Whether it be talking about how social media companies are selling your data, other companies skimming it off your activity, tracking your location, or governments trying to force their way into the blockchain economy we tend to focus too much on the negatives. While that is a natural tendency of human nature (the news has a saying – if it bleeds, it leads), there is plenty of good stuff going on as well. We at TARTLE think it’s our responsibility to make sure you know at least as much about the good stuff as you do the bad. 

Some of those good things are coming from a company called Genentech. This 40-year-old healthcare company exists to help better treat people suffering from some of the worst diseases around. Of course, it’s worth noting that this goal isn’t unique in itself. What is unique is that Genentech starts with helping people as the goal. They don’t spend a lot of time talking about profit. Not that they don’t make one, it’s just a natural result of them pursuing their primary goal of improving the health of people everywhere. 

Another aspect of the way Genentech operates is that they don’t just work on improving health on the back end, treating people when they are sick. They also work on getting out in front of the problem by taking care of the environment around them. 

How are they doing that? Genentech is actually doing quite a bit. They are being transparent about their goals in reducing their water use and greenhouse gas emissions and taking active steps to make those goals a reality. In transportation, they are working on building a complete electric vehicle fleet for their campus as well as providing service for that last leg from public transport not just for Genentech employees but for those of nearby businesses that aren’t big enough to have their own fleet. They are even helping to build out the rest of the infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay Area. In water use, they’ve managed to save 78 million gallons of water in just three years. I don’t care who you are, that’s impressive. In energy, they are working towards having all the electricity needs of its campuses supplied by clean sources. They are already well along the way and plan on getting to 100% clean electricity by 2025.

Now, all of that isn’t to say that Genentech is perfect. What are they missing? What they are missing is the right approach to data. They recently signed a multimillion-dollar deal with 23andMe to gain access to all of the genomic data on file. So, if you have done a DNA test with 23andME, Genentech is able to access and use that information without your knowledge.

Naturally, being able to access large amounts of data like that is a big asset for a healthcare company on the cutting edge of developing new treatments. Yet, they should still be getting their data ethically, not buying it from someone who shouldn’t be selling it in the first place. 

This is why TARTLE is working so hard to get our name out. Many companies like Genentech would love to get the information they need from people who give their fully informed consent, yet they haven’t realized that there is a way to do exactly that. All it takes is for them to sign up in our digital marketplace as a buyer and search for exactly the kind of data they need. Not only would they be getting it from people who are willingly sharing their information, they are able to then go back to the same people for follow-ups with responses to treatments, lifestyle questions that might be relevant and much more. What’s more, they are not only getting their data ethically, they are likely to do it at less cost. When people understand what their data is going to be used for, that it will help others, they are more likely to actually donate that information. In that way, sharing data becomes ethical and charitable, and that clearly is good for everyone.

What’s your data worth?

Data Science vs IT

Believe it or not, there is often more than one department at a company that does things with computers. Even more shocking, they do different things. Unfortunately not everyone knows or appreciates that, even within the same company. 

For example, as companies become more and more data driven they are looking to their data science/analytics departments for solutions. That certainly makes sense on the surface. Unfortunately, the corporate executives tend to forget that the analysts can’t institute new systems on their own. Often, implementing new analytics will require outside support. Unfortunately, IT is largely a maintenance department that occasionally finds new solutions to problems. Within a major company, IT’s job is largely to keep the computers working, both in the hardware and the software departments. At best, they can identify and install new software for gathering data, but they typically won’t do the gathering.

Conversely, the data science division might identify the software but most likely would not be handing the install. Therefore, when a business is trying to get more value from its data it can cause unintended conflict between data science and IT, usually with data science blaming lack of IT support for not being able to get enough quality data to get the job done. However, all data science needs to do first and foremost is to get data and analyze it. It doesn’t much matter how they get that data. So, one great way they can do that is to sign up with TARTLE and buy their data from us. Or, more accurately, from you.

One of the great advantages is that we offer access to source data in real time. We can connect you with our members willing to sell access to their medical data. This is not only past data, but current since it is possible to get connected to various health tracking apps as well as IOT devices like Fitbits. If there is a need for more specific data about behaviors you can simply ask our members directly. Since they are all here with the goal of being able to get rewarded for sharing their information the engagement rate is going to be a lot higher than a blanket survey sent out to the general public. 

This is all in stark contrast to the way data analysts typically get their info. They usually get it from third party aggregators or from social media companies that sell it in large blocks. There is little opportunity for buyers to customize what they are getting, meaning they have to spend a lot of time and money sifting through data that is probably irrelevant. It’s also old. Data acquired through second, third, or even fourth parties is likely to be weeks or even months old, meaning that you are trying to make solid business decisions based on old information. In essence, you’re guessing. Yes, it’s an educated guess, but a guess nonetheless. Real time data allows for much more accurate projections as it minimizes the time between observed behavior and the response to it, whether that be a new product, marketing plan, or company policy. 

Another benefit of working directly with TARTLE’s users is that you only pay for the data you need when you need it. We’ve already touched on the fact that through current means of data collection, you will likely spend a lot of time sifting data you don’t need. You might also have to spend money to get it in regular batches, usually coming at times when it isn’t needed. With TARTLE you can customize the type of data you need, how much, and when, which in the end will save time and money.

If you’re working in a data science department, you can sign up as a buyer at TARTLE.co today and get started. We’ll get you connected with members eager to help you develop better solutions for your business. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Fiber Optic Data

The world is awash in data. There is data coming in from research, phone calls, satellites, phones, fitbits and even your Bluetooth connected fridge. Collecting data isn’t our problem, being able to process it is. Before you can process it though, it needs to get transported. In that sense it’s like any other raw product. Like a piece of iron ore, it needs to be transported to a foundry and dumped into a furnace to be refined so it can be turned into something useful. Data needs to make it from your IOT device to a server where it can be processed and analyzed. Too often, transportation and processing are bottlenecks in the transformation of raw data into useful information. 

Think about a highway, you can only increase the volume of cars on the road so much before it descends into chaos. Yet there may still be a need to get even more vehicles, or at least people and products from point A to point B. So you need to come up with new ways to handle the traffic. Data is similar. Most data is still transferred over some kind of copper wire. That wire can handle only so many electrons moving through it, just like a highway only being able to accommodate so many vehicles. For years though, those older copper cables have been getting replaced with fiber optics. Basically long pieces of very thin, flexible glass, fiber optics use photons instead of electrons to transfer data. Immediately, there is a gain since the medium allows for faster movement of data. There are also new fiber optics being developed that allow for speeds up to a 100 times faster than what is currently available. How fast is that? Just for a point of reference, imagine walking at 100 times the pace you do now. Instead of power walking at around 3-4 mph, you would suddenly be able to walk from Chicago to Washington D.C. in less than three hours. 

Yet, that presents its own problems. Fiber optics have a massive capacity for data because of their ability to send many signals simultaneously. However, when you get too many signals going through at once it becomes a jumbled mess. It’s similar to how one person’s echo is easy to understand but the echo of a choir singing is indecipherable to the human ear. Thankfully, there are clever software writers out there who can write the necessary algorithms to untangle that mess. In fact, with the new fiber optics that will be coming out soon, the bottleneck won’t be the data transportation, it’ll be the ability to untangle that data into discernable bits of information so it can be analyzed. Essentially, the physical technology is already here, we are just working to bring the software side of things up to the same level. 

In a sense the kind of data analytics and processing that TARTLE works with is similar. The standard way of aggregating data from second and third parties has a lot of noise embedded in those signals, even after it has been processed. That is because there is a lot of circumstance and context mixed into the kind of data that is gleaned off monitoring your devices and internet activity. And as it turns out, there is no mere algorithm that can filter out that noise. The only way to get a clearer signal is by doing something the big companies rarely do, go to the source, to you the individual. The answer to “why” you did one thing instead of another is the only algorithm that can truly help decipher that data. It gives the context that is missed when companies only look at your data and never to you as a person. TARTLE provides an avenue to get the answer to “why”, making our system the most efficient way to get clear and accurate data about people and why they do what they do. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.