Happiness

For Computers for the Rest of You we had to read “Happiness In Everyday Life: The Uses of Experience Sampling” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeremy Hunter.

For me the most interesting aspect of this paper is to show how smart nature is. Basically our bodies trigger happiness in us when we are socializing and doing activities that are not stressful but require us to think and use our abilities – from that we see that nature is basically tricking us into finding a partner and evolving into something better by giving us a “cookie” when we are doing such activities. Another interesting finding of the study was that those who actually spent time studying or reading, which bring on lower levels of happiness, report a higher than average level of happiness when doing sports or socializing proving the concept that you cannot know true happiness if you’ve never experienced true sadness.
The second part of our homework was to think of the logging project we want to work on. I am thinking of the following:

  • One illusion I have is that I am a very active person when I am awake and when I sleep I am motionless. To test that I want to use an accelerometer to see how much of my day is actually producing movement. I would use the Nokia accelerometer coupled with a bluetooth equipped cell phone to record and log the information. I would attach the accelerometer to a hat to include class room time as active time – if it was in my pocket the accelerometer would be still. I am also interested in measuring how much I move around at night while sleeping.
  • Another illusion we have is that pictures represent more than what is actually framed. I want to enhance that illusion by recording the gps location, the ambient sound during the time I am taking pictures as well as record what music I was listening to during that moment. This will add some context about the framed object, its surroundings as well as the photographer’s mood. I intend to do this by coupling a GPS, a sound recorder and my iPod/iPhone to the camera. The click of a picture should trigger the GPS for a reading, record ambient sound for 30 seconds and log the name and artist of the song that is playing on my iPod. Some more about this idea here.
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