Monthly Archives: September 2015

Text Mining in Excel

This morning, I assembled a quick text-parsing tool to help me quickly analyze the contents of a text document.


  1. Select Third Avenue Funds 2015 Semi-Annual Report
  2. Parse word frequency utilizing WriteWords Word Frequency Counter
  3. Input values in xls
  4. Source stopwords [1] list from Ranks NL
  5. Input stopwords in xls
  6. Exclude stopwords from selected text parse
  7. Sort words by frequency



Use Cases

  • Input N # of pdfs to analyze key themes amongst a range of reports (eg, sector commentary (energy, technology, healthcare); specific equity commentary)
  • Conduct a look-back analysis to understand the frequency by which key themes occur over a specific period of time (eg, corporate actions (restructuring programs, buybacks, dividends) to understand key drivers of performance going forward
  • Correlation analysis: which themes correlate with greatest increases in stock and greatest drawdown? (eg, mentioning of poor weather conditions for Motorcycle sales for Harley Davidson)
  • Quickly source and isolate specific equities mentioned over a period of time for a specific fund (analyze investor reports from Q1 2010 to Q4 2014) and understand how investment strategies evolve over time


  • Input word or phrase and observe frequency of occurrence over time period over a range of select documents

[1] Also a good reference: Text Classification for Sentiment Analysis – Stopwords and Collocations

Domestic Political Considerations

American Political Environment
Reference: Icahn [1]

In light of the upcoming presidential elections, I will begin to aggregate key ideas policy makers should consider in 2016. Below includes considerations per Icahn and a few thoughts I’ve with respect to each bullet:

  • Domestic economy must reduce its dependency on low interest rates
  • The Fed should raise rates because the risks of malinvestment in numerous asset classes have risen
  • Overseas income should be repatriated and used to expand physical plant
  • There is too much “financial engineering” and not enough capital expenditures
  • U.S. corporate-tax regulation needs restructuring

The aforementioned include key elements of structural reform and give rise to important questions vis a vis the U.S. corporate environment: what is the best means by which to facilitate a U.S.-friendly corporate tax and operating environment?

Per his point on U.S. dollar repatriation – I do not necessarily agree as U.S. entities will yield greater returns on capital in developing and emerging environments. Our economy is a service-based one; capital expenditures should not be seen in terms of returning jobs to the U.S. By capitalizing on investment abroad, multinational corporations can tap large industrializing economies experiencing improvements to standards of living, higher incomes, and generally – a larger market for future potential products.

While an increase in rates may negatively impact emerging markets in the short term, market volatility has increased to unsustainable levels with respect to U.S. economic data and how the market perceives the Fed will digest this data. Nearing 30 recently, the VIX index reveals investor apprehension associated with the guessing game subject to the hand of Yellen. I feel that a soft increase in rates in the short term will instill market confidence and enable firms to re-align their investment decisions in accordance with capital allocation methods most beneficial to the firm in the long term, rather than making decisions on the basis of the simple availability of money. A clear indication of the effect of this low-interest rate environment can be seen through the popularity of REIT and MLP spinoffs as of late: firms are capitalizing on locking in low-interest financing in the face of limited alternative investment opportunities.

I’ve limited background on U.S. corporate tax structure, but am eager to dive in to future developments.

[1] Ritholtz Blog: Carl Icahn: Key Ideas for America


Automated Search Filtering for Potential Equity Positions


  • Topic
  • Date: Early
  • Date: Late

Input criteria in interface & conduct batch search.

Use Case

  • Aggregate list of 20 equities
  • Observe top 3 drawdown days in pre-defined trading period
  • Input news search for each drawdown

Potential Next Steps

Conduct sentiment analysis per each article

  • Download each article to DB
  • Omit common terms (the, and, of)
  • Observe frequency of text distribution to analyze significant variables impacting price reaction

Information Funneling: Identifying Important Data Feeds


The challenge of an information seeking mechanism is to learn efficiently a large repertoire of diverse skills given its limited resources, and avoid being trapped in unlearnable situations.  – Gottlieb et al, 2013

A quick digression from explaining systems in terms of physical / social / psychological structures. Here, we build off Part 1 of What Does the World Look Like to expand upon how I identify data streams that I’ve deemed useful which I leverage to construct my digital environment. We use the centralized, decentralized, and distributed networks framework from an earlier post to better visualize these structures.

The purpose of this exercise is to minimize overlap between data feeds. For example, in keeping to date with news sources, it is not optimal to read both The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. While there is value in digesting multiple perspectives, the gain is but marginal; it would be a better use of time to allocate my time with digesting feeds from a different network structure (ie, a node within a distributed network, such as a blog), than simply digesting more information from another authority.

Non-Italicized = Sites I Use
Italicized = I’m cognizant of the existence but do not actively access

I still log what does exist (in italicized text) to take a tally of the sources that do exist in order to be aware of what data is available for a specified function (that I’ve chose not to mark as my personal preference).

The following is what I’ve dubbed as my “system” – the information feeds I allow myself in the world of distributed networking.

Primary Tools and General Reference

How I View My Digital World

Diagram: My Digital Existence in the Context of Centralized, Decentralized, and Distributed Networks


Primary Data Feeds

Centralized Networks

Decentralized Networks

Distributed Networks

Blogs updated frequently

Relatively inactive blogs that do contain useful information to reference

Aggregation / Community

Investor Reports

Tertiary Data Feeds
Not actively referenced…a means by which to optimize productivity (ie, not scroll through Facebook)

Entertainment & Culture

Food Delivery / Other
Includes sites I use (or mean to use); select services I have chose not to use explicitly omitted (eg, Amazon Fresh, Google Express) 

  • Caviar
  • DoorDash (btw, 1.99 delivery til sept 26!)
  • Eat24 (Yelp)
  • Grubhub
  • Instacart
  • Munchery
  • Postmates
  • Seamless
  • Sprig
  • Uber Eats (have not yet tried)

[1] Screen to screen latency – a concept that I’ve dubbed which describes the potential lag in digesting information by virtue of switching from one medium of consumption to another (such as disengaging from a desktop computer, then walking over to a couch, then re-accessing the website on a tablet).

Significance: the higher the latency associated with receiving information, the greater the possibility that the information is never consumed (ie, an agent is too lazy to google search a website on his tablet, gets distracted, and never reads the article he / she accesses via desktop computer in the first place)

Useful tools which address this problem

  • Google Chrome: enables the access of open tabs across any device (as long as the user is logged in to Google Chrome on each device)
    • Primary drawback: Corporate PC does not allow me to log in to Google Chrome; perhaps this is a limited prohibition in the context of my life (and Chrome has already solved the problem) – but is still an issue now, nonetheless
  • Pinboard: lite means by which to record notes and bookmarks
  • WordPress: highly customized pages through which I can organize (curate) my own bookmarks (like I currently do on my blog)

[2] The link above points to, which enables me to easily link to subreddits I follow. The complete list of subreddits I subscribe to is listed below (I later plan to sort the followings links in order of greatest to least by # of subscribers):

Other notes to self:

Time As A Universal Currency for Exchange

In part 2, we discussed a framework to consider the physical inputs required for an individual to exist in a cultural environment. Here, we will observe the interactions between individual units within larger systems and develop a framework that examines the units of currency exchanged which enable an individual to alter his / her perception of reality.

In short, I seek to elaborate upon how time serves as the universal currency of all and how allocations of time serve as the means by which individuals can accumulate data points that serve as leverage to influence reality.

The Implicate and Explicate Orders

In 1980, David Bohm developed two frameworks for understanding different aspects of reality: the implicate and explicate orders. The explicate order consists of an unfolded organization of abstractions that humans can easily perceive such as sight, sound, and touch. The implicate order represents the folded order – which represents how one person perceives the “unfolded” order. An example of which is a car crash:

A large number of spectators witness the explicate order (car crash) from a multitude of angles; each will perceive the situation on the basis of their proximity to the crash and degrees of focus devoted to other activities at hand (eg: prior to the car crash, Person A is drinking coffee with Person B around the corner from where the car crash occurs (they eventually hear, but do not see the car crash); Person C is sitting on a bench observing the cars passing by on the street which the car crash occurs; Person D just stepped out of his / her building which is situated on the street which the car crash occurs for a cigarette break); when the accident occurs, each person absorbs the details of the incident dependent upon the aforementioned – each person will walk away from the incident with a “folded” perception of the event – resulting in a multitude of implicate perceptions of the car crash.

Technological innovation has given rise to the means by which we form our expectations of reality. The printing press enabled non-physical transfers of knowledge to exist; the telephone and telegraph decreased the latency associated with transmitting information. The television and more recently, the internet, has enabled the rapid transmission of data to large audiences. Our perceptions of reality are formed when we digest different notions of the explicate order which in turn shape how we perceive reality on an implicate basis.

As a result, this innovation has significantly affected how information is sent and received, which are formed through the following:

  • Centralized Networks
  • Decentralized Networks
  • Distributed Networks

Centralized Networks

Radio, tv, and newspapers represent centralized networks: individuals contribute thoughts and ideas to a central mediator who in turn decides what is / is not published to its audience.

Diagram: Example of Centralized Network, The Financial Times Newspaper


In earlier times, the printing press itself acted as a centralized network: what was / was not published was determined at the jurisdiction of the owner of the press.

Decentralized Networks

Decentralized networks act as 2-sided networks by which contributors simultaneously act as audiences on centralized platforms. Mediation is limited to the degree by which moderators of a community choose to censor its users (eg, disallowing hate speech or the dissemination of adult content). Examples include forums and message boards.

Diagram: Example of Decentralized Network, Seeking Alpha


Distributed Networks

Distributed networks operate in the absence of mediation. Each node within a network is connected to virtually any other node and information flows in an unlimited number of directions. The structure by which we can understand distributed networks are personal blogs: individuals exist on a standalone basis, unencumbered by mediators or content platforms.

Diagram: Example of Distributed Network, Blog Network


Information Networks

In the past, geographical or socioeconomic positions played important roles in accessing information. Much of this was ruled by accessibility to educational institutions, cost of books, cost of technology (radio, tv, computers), and cost / access to transportation (availability of public transportation or cost of motor vehicles). Temporality presented an additional confound: operational hours set by institutions restricted the times by which individuals could access information (eg; a library’s hours of operation, when a tutor is available, or when a professor decides to host office hours). Today, the internet has enabled the reduction of many of these barriers and confounds, contributing to a greater degree of information democratization.

Technology largely defines the rates by which we can update our orientations to problems in the real world. Problems remain unsolved to the extent by which an individual lacks the necessary knowledge base to understand the relationship between inputs and drivers within a system and how varying inputs affect how units in a system interact with one another and affect processes and outcomes.

Reality, here, is defined as identifying the primary data points which define a class or idea which (generally) are confirmed by a consensus of (a select) majority.

Consider the following example of the Fourth of July for many Americans:

Americans associate the Fourth of July with BBQs, fireworks, and red white and blue. We encounter the explicate order of this event in America through socialization (growing up and attending bbq’s, firework shows, etc.) and internalize these events which effect our expectations of what the date should entail on an implicate basis. The explicate order is strengthened by implicate expectations: I / (we) expect to see fireworks on the fourth of July on an implicate basis; we contribute to the explicate reality by photographing these events, etc, further molding the construction of the reality and influencing expectations of others, and ultimately, the explicate order.

The fourth of July is but a point in time in space: Americans associate this class with a multitude of instances that define that class [1]. The fourth of July is a symbol which triggers associations for many Americans, associations not necessarily manifested in non-Americans with respect to the fourth of July. As such, red white and blue, bbq’s, and fireworks exist as a reality of the fourth of July for Americans, but not so much so for other subsets of people.

In the context of Bohm’s aforementioned framework, exposure to data points associated with a class symbol form the basis of an individual’s conception of reality: the more data points one individual accumulates with respect to an idea, subject, or experience, the greater leverage he/she harbors regarding any interaction with the the idea, subject, or experience simply because this individual harbors an understanding of how units and processes interact with one another to define a class of ideas.

Developing the Foundation for An Idea or Class of Ideas

Thus far, we have noted that a conception of reality is defined by how strongly a multitude of data points meet an expectation for what characterizes, or defines, a class symbol. Here, we break down how these relationships interact with one another.

Consider for a moment the data points which define the idea of Graph Theory, as a concept:

Diagram: A Visualization of the Wikipedia Entry for Graph Theory



To understand the class symbol: Graph Theory, it is necessary to define a subset of data points associated with the topic:

  • The definition of Graph Theory
  • Applications of Graph Theory
  • Its History
  • Graph Drawing
  • Graph-Theoretic Data Structures
  • Problems in Graph Theory
  • Areas Tangentially Related to Graph Theory

The subset of data points associated with Graph Theory each embody their own subsets of information:

Problems in Graph Theory:

  • Graph coloring
  • Subsumption and Unification
  • Route Problems
  • Network Flow
  • Visibility Problems
  • Covering Problems
  • Decomposition Problems
  • Graph Classes
  • Enumeration
  • Subgraphs, Induced Subgraphs, and Minors
  • Graph Coloring

Also Related (to Graph Theory, as represented by the subtopic “See also” from the diagram above):

  • Related Areas of Mathematics
  • Generalizations
  • Prominent Graph Theorists
  • Algorithms

In order to engage in an information exchange associated with Graph Theory, it is necessary to understand the aforementioned subtopics to conceptualize the context surrounding the class symbol, generally.

Consider the list below in relation to the diagram above on the basis of 3 levels:

  • Graph Theory serves as the Class Symbol (Level 1)
  • The subset of data points above serve as Instances of Graph Theory (Level 2)
  • The subset of data points associated with each instance is a Manifestation of Graph Theory (Level 3)

From broadly identifying Graph Theory as a class (Level 1) to assembling the components associated with it – its subtopics – or, instances and manifestations, the accumulation of each successive data point represents a unit of currency by which actors can trade ideas associated with Graph Theory ranging from:

  • Teaching others about graph theory
  • Collaborating with one another on the topic of how to tackle problems associated with graph theory
  • Challenging commonly held beliefs, or assumptions, associated with the topic

Conceptualizing Digital Knowledge Networks

By now, we have developed the basis by which we can conceptualize how subsets of information serve as units of information that embody class symbols that have the potential to exist as units of exchange between actors in a system.

The primary distinction between the current age and all other points in time derives from an altercation by which information is sent and received. A larger set of data is available for any individual (who has access to the internet) to explore and accumulate. Actors, in the absence of mediators and institutions, have the ability to absorb, synthesize, and share information, contributing to virtually any discourse hosted via the internet.

Here, we can observe the construction of distributed networks and, more specifically, examine the distinction between young and mature knowledge networks.


I’d quickly assembled a database and script parsing xml of four websites; two of my friends (Chris Chang and Kingston Hon) as well as two more mature website (Paul Graham and Aaron Schwartz). These diagrams serve as visualizations by which we can observe the information that they have shared with the internet: potential units of currency enabling each to connect and transact with any other node on the internet network.

Infantile Knowledge Networks

Below represent the site structures for and

Diagrams: Visualizations of Infantile Blog Structures


In accordance with each site structure, both are laid out quite simply: Each site pushes articles every few months, and have been accessible for less than 2 years each.

Mature Knowledge Networks

Next, we examine mature knowledge networks, those of Paul Graham and Aaron Schwartz. Each have been online for a greater number of years and are comprised of a greater number of posts.

Diagram: Visualization of Mature Blog Structure,


Unlike Chris and Kingston’s blog structures, Paul Graham organizes his website on the basis of deeper categorization:

  • Essays
  • H&P
  • Books
  • YC
  • School
  • Arc
  • Lisp
  • etc.

Above, we examine but one subset of his blog: Here, we can easily observe that he has pushed a significantly greater number of posts to the internet than Chris and Kingston – a higher volume of currency to transact and transmit ideas.

Diagram: Visualization of Mature Blog Structure,


Aaron Shwartz arranges his blog through three sub topics:

  • Quote Blog
  • Web Blog
  • Technical articles

Here, we can observe the frequency by which Aaron Schwartz pushes information to the internet; from greatest frequency to least: Web Log Posts, Technical Articles, Quote Pages.

A Micro Analysis on Allocation of Time

The website visualizations above represent the digital constructions of time invested in by each individual. Each individual manifests a synthesis of ideas which they share to participate in a cultural environment.

In an effort to further articulate the relationship between time and knowledge networks, I embarked on a project by which I logged each point of information I absorbed for a period of two months. The following project demonstrates how an individual can allocate his / her consumption of time to accumulate data points associated with classes of ideas which enable him / her to transact these points of information with others within a cultural environment.

Breadth and Depth: Input Volume by Subject Type

Diagram: Time Series Analysis of Volume of Information Logged Within My Personal Database Over a 2 Month Period


For the select period, we can track the interest by which I pursued a broad array of subjects and topics ranging from macroeconomic themes, exercise, specific equities, and specific investment themes (beef, consumer retail). Notably, this module enables me to observe which themes I explored with great depth in comparison to others which sparked my interest yet failed to follow up on.

This module enables me to accurately track where my attention is allocated over periods of time.


Applied Databasing: Sourcing Recommendations and Building Efficient Recall Methods

At the end of April, 2015, I’d requested help from my network of friends, shooting off the following email:

Friends – I’m working on a little project and would appreciate your help.

Could you send me a list of your favorite items within the following categories? Don’t need to list for all 3 (but can if you want). 1 is more than enough.

  • Books
  • Movies
  • Music (Artists)

I’ll send over the output once completed so you can see where your contribution stands. Your help is much appreciated.

I yielded the following results:


The above graph represents the entire field of results I harvested from my query. The purpose of the exercise; however, was to construct my database such that I could effectively recall information on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Popularity (frequency)
  • Alphabetical order
  • Date Logged

I’d successfully assembled my database to handle the aforementioned criteria. The results of the survey were as follows:

Diagram: Most Popular Artists


Diagram: Most Popular Movies


Diagram: Most Popular Books


As we can see above, while my data is not statistically representative of the tastes and preferences of my generation (which would be impossible to deduce from a < 30 person population sample), the exercise did challenge me to design my database with an application in mind.

Reflection: Allocation of Time Over Two Month Period (captured in database)

At the end of my two month period, the top subjects in my database comprised of the following topics:

Diagram: Snapshot of Composition of Top Datapoints as of June 2015


The above graph serves as a brief overview of where most of my time was directed at a specific point in time. However, it is necessary to observe my database from a higher perspective as other modes of exploration don’t require high volumes of data.

Diagram: Overview of Topics Captured in Database as of June 2015 and Sample User Interface


Diagram: Graphical Representation of Topics Captured in Database as of June 2015


At the conclusion of the two month observation period, I’d focused most of my time following macroeconomic events while paying special heed to individual equities. At this point in time, I’d developed a thesis on low oil prices and constructed valuation analyses on companies hit hard by the oil pricing environment. I also studied macroeconomic events to understand its effects on consumer spending (notably, Harley Davidson (HOG)) as well as the effects of high cattle prices as a result of the California drought on tertiary industries (poultry, namely: Sanderson Farms (SAFM)). During this time, I developed significant positions in the aforementioned equities. Additionally, I diligently followed my exercise routine (logging the distances I’d run and times I’d run those distances in), as well as embarking on an additional extracurricular project within a project: sourcing movie, music, and book recommendations from my network of friends and redesigning my personal database to efficiently sort and recall these points of information.

Additional points of interest over the two month period include:

  • Nutrition
  • Aggregating Notable Finance Blogs to Bookmark
  • A study on Capital Allocation Methods

Information Transmission and Transaction: Leveraging Digital Networks to Manifest the Currency of Time

The study above represents an observation of how time is spent and over what range of topics information is accumulated. In my view, I like to consider that individuals exist as nodes in space (Level 1; recall from illustration of Graph Theory above) that allocate their time investing in a breadth of subjects / hobbies / ideas (Level 2) within their cultural environments by which they develop depths of information (Level 3) which enables them to transact these points of data with one another to teach / collaborate / challenge one another.

The world today looks like a series of nodes in space by which individuals can harvest data points from a virtually limitless web of associations. This generation is defined by high degrees of access to information. Individuals readily and ably share information while associations with institutions or proximity to physical social networks play less a role in impeding an individual from accumulating relevant data points associated with specific topics.

These network graphs serve as reminders of our investments in time: with what breadth and what degree of depth is information being harvested? Is time being optimized to address physical inputs which address individual resource requirements? To what facets of cultural environments are individuals learning from or contributing to?

Affecting Reality

As such, individuals with the greatest depth of information associated with a specific topic or class of ideas has the greatest propensity to navigate and shape a reality. Understanding the inputs that comprise of the whole class, individuals with a high degree of understanding of the inputs which control units within a system and how these units interact with one another in simultaneous processes has the greatest ability to shape prototypes of ideas. The enfoldment of the explicate order (data points harvested from the unfolded abstraction of reality, also known as the implicate order) enable an individual to affect systems to the highest degree.

Up Next

So far, we’ve studied:

  • Structures of Physical Systems
  • Structures of Cultural Environments
  • Framework of Time as Currency for Transacting

Next, we’ll discuss the motivations associated with why people choose to accumulate different units of currency as well as the neurological and psychological processes which affect these systems.

[1] The class / instance framework is borrowed from Douglas Hofstadter and his Prototype Principle through which he notes: specific events have a vividness which imprints them so strongly on the memory that they can later be used as models for other events which are like them in some way. Thus in each specific event, there is the germ of a whole class of similar events […] (through which) unconsciously, (people) rely on a host of presuppositions about (events) […] that trigger relations with other class symbols. 

See page 352 of Hofstadtr’s Godel, Escher, Bach for detail

Understanding the Relationship Between Physiology and Society

In an effort to define the structures that embody the human experience, I’d modeled a system covering three facets of existence which rule our perceptions of reality.

Biology & Society

My model is structured through three modules which involve:

  1. Physical inputs which enable an individual to operate in the realm of
  2. A “menu” of societal involvements arranged on the basis of the assembly of a cultural environment, all of which are conditioned on the basis of how an individual shapes his / her
  3. Tastes / preferences driven by psychological and neurological processes

In other words, I’ve identified that human existence is modulated by physical inputs which enable individuals to operate in multi-faceted cultural environments that serve as arenas by which individuals have the ability to satisfy their wants and desires driven by the development of their tastes and preferences (defined by the construction of psychological and neurological processes).

Module 1: Physical Inputs

In order for an individual to participate in a broader society, it is necessary for him / her to appropriately modulate his / her health and well-being to optimize the levels of energy required to carry out specific functions he / she bears upon oneself.

The dependencies of the first module include:

  • Nutrition
  • Metabolic Rate
  • Sleep

The aforementioned components contribute to an individual’s ability to exist in a broader cultural environment. A careful analysis on the optimal means by which to extract the highest levels of energy from a minimal amount of resources is required for an individual to maximize his / her contributions to any facet of any cultural environment.

Dependency 1: Nutrition

The primary goal of an optimal nutrition program is enabling the greatest extraction of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from metabolic processes. Human beings derive their primary resource requirements from the following macro nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats (lipid)
  • Protein

In descending order, the aforementioned are metabolized to form:

  • Glucose
  • Fatty Acids / Glycerol
  • Amino Acids

Under optimal circumstance, glucose, fatty acids/glycerol, and amino acids are oxidized for energy, processed through the Krebs cycle which delivers two primary outputs: CO2 & H2O and ATP. The former exist as waste byproducts of the Krebs cycle, exhaled through mammalian systems. The latter represents the goal of proper nutrition: extracting energy to fuel the cardiovascular system, nervous system, muscle contractions, metabolism, and thermoregulation.

Consumed in excess, glucose is stored as glycogen or fat; fatty acids / glycerol and stored as triglyceride in fat cells or synthesized into cellular membranes while amino acids are either stored as glycogen or fat or made in to new protein compounds.

Dependency 2: Metabolic Rate

Upon the efficient extraction of energy from nutrition inputs, individuals are more perfectly able to appropriately allocate energy for various physical processes:

  • Basal life processes (70%)
  • Physical activity (20%)
  • Thermogenesis (10%)

Basal life processes are the processes which enable mammals to function and survive. These processes involve the following organs each with different resource requirements and functions:

  • Liver (27%): metabolic detoxification, protein synthesis, produce biochemicals for digestion
  • Brain (19%): coordination of voluntary and involuntary actions and transmits signals to and from different parts of the body
  • Skeletal Muscle (18%): muscle contractions
  • Kidneys (10%): removal of metabolic waste
  • Heart (7%): transport oxygen, nutrients, and removes metabolic waste from the bloodstream
  • Other Organs (19%)

I sought to identify the resource requirements of our organs to better understand the effects of my nutrition intake on my physical energy requirements. By outlining the different functions / requirements of the human body, I can better understand how / why / when to consume different nutrients and also remind myself that the less efficient energy i consume, the 1) the harder my body has to work to rid itself of metabolic waste and 2) less able my body will be in executing critical physical functions.

Dependency 3: Sleep

Sleep serves three primary functions:

  • Endocrine function
  • Memory processing
  • Waste clearance

Endocrine functions are either suppressed or increased in the absence of sleep. The following are suppressed in the absence of: growth hormone (growth, cell production, regeneration; glucose concentration); prolactin (metabolism of lipids); thyroid stimulating hormone (general metabolism). Alternatively, cortisol increases when sleep is suppressed, resulting in an increase in blood sugar and a suppression of the immune system.

Sleep enables memory processing functions. The first includes neurotransmitter regulation which involves memory consolidation via the hippocamus. Next is gene expression which involves the recycle of synaptic vessels, myelin structural protein formation, and cholesterol and protein synthesis.

Lastly, sleep involves the clearance of metabolic waste in the brain. During sleep, the brain contracts, allowing cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to remove metabolic wastes (interstitial fluid and extracellular solutes).

Diagram: Module 1; Physical Inputs


Module 2: Cultural Environment

In good health, an individual participates in his / her broader cultural environment. This involvement includes various levels of social organization:

  • Micro (person, partnership/marriage, organization, neighborhood)
  • Meso (community, town/city, formal organization, state)
  • Macro (nation, society, international, global)

By structure of the aforementioned modes of organization, individuals choose to participate among three facets of the cultural environment:

  • Technology
  • Arts/Humanities
  • Science

Through these 3 facets of inclusion, individuals share and distribute knowledge, advancing the trajectory by which humans interact with the world and each other.

Dependency 1: Technology

  • Cooking
  • Clothing
  • Architecture

The list above constitute the minimum technological requirements for a human being to survive: food, clothing, and shelter.

Dependency 2: Art / Humanities

Beyond his / her minimal physical requirements, humans record and document a snapshot of time and place through the following three mediums:

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Religion
  • Literature / Mythology

As a result of documentation, human beings can understand time and place – apart from physical involvement with a specific time period / place.

Dependency 3: Science

Lastly, the structures that define cultural environments can be understood with respect to the physical size of units within systems. Science enables individuals to observe these systems ranging from the particle level to the universe level.

(in order of decreasing magnitude from greatest to least)

Subsets of the sciences (by scale):

  • Earth and Space (Astronomy: planetary science, cosmology)
  • Social (Sociology: law, ethics, economics; Psychology: developmental, cognitive)
  • Life (Functional Biology: physiology, medicine, ecology; Cellular Biology: biochemistry, evolutionary biology)
  • Physical (Chemistry: materials, chemical reactions; Physics: particle, thermodynamic)
  • Formal (Mathematics: computer science, statistics; Logic: reasoning, philosophy)

The divisions of the sciences represent different perspectives by which individuals can view the world and the means by which they identify drivers and levers affecting interaction between units in a system.

Diagram, Module 2; Cultural Environment



Thus far, we’ve reviewed the first 2 of 3 modules which I’ve identified constituting the framework of human being: physical inputs that enable individuals to participate in cultural environments defined by technology; art/humanities; science; all of which represent perspectives by which individuals can understand the world at various units of scale. Next, we will continue to understand the neurological and psychological processes which effect micro decision making that drive outcomes associated with 1) the quality of physical inputs consumed to operate in our cultural environments and 2) what persuades an individual to participate in various aspects of cultural environments. Before we dive deeper in to the topic; however, we will first explore an interlude: a physical framework through which to understand time as units of currency through which individuals involve themselves in their greater cultural environments.