Aunt Pythia’s advice and a request for cool math books
First, my answer to last week’s question which you guys also answered:
My loving, wonderful, caring boyfriend slurps his food. Not just soup — everything (even cereal!). Should I just deal with it, or say something? I think if I comment on it he’ll be offended, but I find it distracting during our meals together.
Food (Consumption) Critic
You guys did well with answering the question, and I’d like to nominate the following for “most likely to actually make the problem go away”, from Richard:
I’d go with blunt but not particularly bothered – halfway through his next bowl of cereal, exclaim “Wow, you really slurp your food, don’t you?! I never noticed that before.”
But then again, who says we want this problem to go away? My firm belief is that every relationship needs to have an unimportant thing that bugs the participants. Sometimes it’s how high the toaster is set, sometimes it’s how the other person stacks the dishes in the dishwasher, but there’s always that thing. And it’s okay: if we didn’t have the thing we’d invent it. In fact having the thing prevents all sorts of other things from becoming incredible upsetting. My theory anyway.
So my advice to Food Consumption Critic is: don’t do anything! Cherish the slurping! Enjoy something this banal and inconsequential being your worst criticism of this lovely man.
Unless you’re like Liz, also a commenter from last week, who left her husband because of the way he breathed. If it’s driving you that nuts, you might want to go with Richard’s advice.
Dear Aunt Pythia, I want to write to an advice column, but I don’t know whether or not to trust the advice I will receive. What do you recommend?
Perplexed in SoPo
I hear you, and you’re right to worry. Most people only ask things they kind of know the answer to, or to get validation that they’re not a total jerk, or to get permission to do something that’s kind of naughty. If the advice columnist tells them something they disagree with, they ignore it entirely anyway. It’s a total waste of time if you think about it.
However, if your question is super entertaining and kind of sexy, then I suggest you write in ASAP. That’s the very kind of question that columnists know how to answer in deep, meaningful and surprising ways.
With global warming and hot summers do you think it’s too early to bring the toga back in style?
It’s never to early to wear sheets. Think about it: you get to wear the very same thing you sleep in. It’s like you’re a walking bed.
Is it unethical not to tell my dad I’m starting a business? I doubt he’d approve and I’m inclined to wait until it’s successful to tell him about it.
Angsty New Yorker
Wait, what kind of business is this? Are we talking hedge fund or sex toy shop?
In either case, I don’t think you need to tell your parents anything about your life if you are older than 18 and don’t want to, it’s a rule of american families. Judging by my kids, this rule actually starts when they’re 11.
Of course it depends on your relationship with your father how easy that will be and what you’d miss out on by being honest, but the fear of his disapproval is, to me, a bad sign: you’re gonna have to be tough as nails to be a business owner, so get started by telling, not asking, your dad. Be prepared for him to object, and if he does, tell him he’ll get used to it with time.
I’m a philosophy grad school dropout turned programmer who hasn’t done math since high school. But I want to learn, partly for professional reasons but mainly out of curiosity. I recently bought *Proofs From the Book* but found that I lacked the requisite mathematical maturity to work through much of it. Where should I start? What should I read? (p.s. Thanks for the entertaining blog!)
Confused in Brooklyn
Readers, this question is for you! I don’t know of too many good basic math books, so Confused in Brooklyn is counting on you. There have actually been lots of people asking similar questions, so you’d be helping them too. If I get enough good suggestions I’ll create a separate reading list for cool math page on mathbabe. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
Please take a moment to ask me a question: