(Wednesday) Science: ANOLI, the Analysis of Life


In the past 18 months, a significant amount of grey literature has been published regarding the life and activities of David Robertson (Robertson 2009, 2010). For example, anecdotal reports suggest he has worked in a laboratory, participated in scientific research, been paid for rendering other services and moved around Australia extensively. More recently, ticketing information obtained from Emirates and Ryanair show he has been to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

To date, no quantitative analysis of the life of David (hereafter referred to as ‘subject A’) has been published. In this study, we seek to address a fundamental question which no doubt plays on the mind of those who have been reading the grey literature: what does Subject A actually do in a week?


Two major methods were used to perform the analysis, which combine as an Analysis of Life (ANOLI). The first was collecting all relevant memories from the brain of Subject A in the time period from 12:00pm, October 31st to 12:00pm, November 6th. The memories were found to be pseudo-randomly stored accounts of major and trivial events from the relevant time period.

Further data was collected by assessing Subject A’s Oyster card, phone and email records. These were particularly revealing. Data was collated and presented in graphs. No attempt at statistical analysis was made; this data serves as a baseline for future comparative studies.

Results and Discussion

Collation of the various data enabled a breakdown of the major activities Subject A undertook in the week, as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: Hourly breakdown of major activities of Subject A.

A noticeable limitation is the 34 hours of unaccounted time. It is suspected that this may have been spent attending to basic functions, such as eating and personal grooming, as well as in activities obtusely related to the Science Communication course Subject A is enrolled in.

The most illuminating data was obtained by careful tracking on Friday 4th November between the hours of 13:00 and 23:00. Figure 2 shows the content of an email exchange between Subject A and an unidentified second participant, deemed Subject X.

Figure 2: Graph showing productivity and squirrel correlation.

As shown in Figure 2, productive discourse between Subject A and X rapidly peaked, then tapered off until emails were almost content-less. At the end of the exchange, the squirrel content shot up. This may be a social convention to signal the end of a conversation, or some other kind of message. Further investigation of the relationship between squirrels and the philosophy of science is required.

The other noteworthy event on Friday was the participation of Subject A in his first documented indoor volleyball game. Physiological indicators and anecdotal evidence suggest Subject A was nervous and confused about the rules and strategies involved. However, definitive conclusions can only be drawn about the time spent by Subject A on the night, as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: Note dominance of commuting and train delays.

An objective observer would surely conclude from Figure 3 that the time investment for a relatively small amount of actual play would not be worthwhile. However, information mined from Subject A’s facebook indicates a general satisfaction with the night, despite the aforementioned confusion. We expect that, in future weeks, more data regarding volleyball patterns will come to light, enabling more accurate conclusions about the mental state of Subject A to be drawn.


Overall, the exercise of semi-quantitative ANOLI revealed useful statistics and generated a baseline of weekly activity for Subject A, at a level of detail not reported previously. It is suspected that Google may have collected such data on an ongoing basis in the past, but have not published it for unknown reasons.

Further investigation is required to obtain information about the unaccounted for hours, which may require the use of advanced tracking devices, such as a pop tag or radio collar. The possibility of drop netting or trapping should also be considered.

Finally, the most peculiar result was the inverse correlation between squirrel photos and philosophy of science content in email exchanges. It is critical to learn whether such a correlation is, in fact, causally related, and whether it extends to subjects other than Subject A and Subject X.

Categories: Science, Things people do | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Post navigation

7 thoughts on “(Wednesday) Science: ANOLI, the Analysis of Life

  1. Peter

    volley-ball lecture #

    1) this isn’t salsa dancing, young man

    2) carry

    3) net touch

    4) hands over net

    5) diving under net and landing on my foot!

    6) so where exactly did you learn to play volleyball?

    7) foot fault

    8) what do you think this is, ice-skating?

    9) no, that is not a proper set

    10) nor is that

    11) i’ve never seen someone procrastinate so much on a volley ball court.

    12) what is that stop-watch for?

    • I never realised just how many rules there are in indoor. So you’re pretty much on the spot with this! Attack hit from the 3m line, positioning faults when receiving serves, putting a water bottle in front of the team bench (!), subbing outside the 3m line, walking onto court from the side…

  2. FUn ! I’ll do the same next month so I can incorporate volcano climbing, freediving and other fun things :D You’re amount of productive works seems to high ti be unbiased…

  3. Chris

    Hmm! From a parenting point of view, there is too much ‘other’ and ‘procrastinating’ and not enough sleeping! And, who is X and why does he/she get to see all the squirrels?

    • The data on Subject X is not sufficient for a positive identification. And procrastination includes the categories ’emailing parents’ and ‘writing blogs’ so be careful what you wish for!

      I’m about to get some sleep though… and by the looks I may have miscalculated the sleep hours, I’ve been getting 6 or 7 per night, not 5. Oops. You may need to submit a response to the journal through the official channels. PS, you just made comment #666 on this blog…

  4. M@

    Leave the gun, take the cANOLI


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: