Aunt Pythia’s advice – nose rings, breakups, itchy fingers, and data science
Aunt Pythia is yet again gratified to find a few new questions in her inbox this morning, but as usual, she’s running quite low. After reading and enjoying the column below, please consider making some fabricated, melodramatic dilemma up out of whole cloth and, more importantly:
Please submit your fake question for Aunt Pythia at the bottom of this page!
Dear Aunt Pythia,
Can I have a nose piercing and still be taken seriously as an academic in Mathematics?
Dear Math Dyke,
Actually, I think you can. Mathematicians may be elitist snobs about some things, but it’s not about the way they’re dressed. They tend to be pretty open-minded about physically presented strangeness. Plus they’ll probably just think it’s some kind of cultural signifier that they don’t understand.
Don’t let this fear hold you back from getting your nose pierced if that’s what you wanna do! It’ll look fabulous!
Hi Aunt Pythia,
I was recently dating this girl, and thought I had no feelings towards her other than enjoying her company and being attracted to her. Recently, after dating for a month or so, she wanted to have a “talk” and make things serious. I confessed that I did not love her, but told her that I did not expect these feeings at this point. She dumped me. What could I have done? Should I lie? Thanks 😦
First of all, I’m sympathetic to your viewpoint. But I’m also sympathetic to hers – and I’m much more like her myself.
People just move at different paces, and yours was too slow for her. I think the conversation you two had was probably the best thing, and I’m glad you didn’t lie.
My guess is that, from her perspective, you guys had been dating for a full six weeks (I’m interpreting your “or so” broadly), that you were pleasant yet tepid, and that she just wanted more from her love life than that. She didn’t get the impression, based on your conversation, that passion was around the corner, so why bother? From her vantage point, she deserves an interesting and exciting love life.
But don’t despair: there are other women who want to move slowly, especially if they’re not interested in having kids any time soon. My advice is to go find someone with a slower pace that matches yours!
Dear Aunt Pythia,
I love to twiddle my fingers . . . but I never took up knitting, for example, because I figured you have to have the mind of an accountant to keep track of the pattern. I supposed I could crank out a scarf or two …. Plus, wool is so itchy. (I note that linen is an option?). Should I be discouraged?
One possibility is to have the “mind of an accountant” (I put this in quotes because I know a few accountants that may be offended by the assumptions) and count out each stitch as you go. Or you could instead have the mind of an artist, and not worry about imperfections in stitch count, since they add texture and individuality to your project. Or, you could do what I do, and have the mind of a mathematician, and choose or design patterns that allow you every now and then think, but mostly just happily knit whilst watching Star Trek or something.
The real reason I love knitting is that I love color and I love the touch of yarn. I just can’t get enough of touching it. And most luxury wool yarn is not itchy at all. My suggestion is to go to a yarn store and touch everything in sight. It’s what people do, don’t worry, nobody will be surprised.
p.s. if you live in New York, try Knitty City on 79th near Broadway.
Dear Aunt Pythia,
Don’t Always Take Advice
I do think you need to understand the math behind the algorithms in order to really be a good data science (as I explained in this post). But that doesn’t mean you have to have a math background – you can give yourself a math foreground right now. So yes, if you are willing to really go deep and understand these algorithms from top to bottom, of course you can become a data scientist. There’s no secret property of college learning that makes it somehow better, after all. And there are tons of online resources that you can use for this stuff, as well as the book I’m writing which will be out soon.
One more piece of advice: get yourself a github account and store your code for projects in that, as well as written descriptions of what problems you’ve solved with your code. Since you don’t have a standard background in math and stats and CS, you’ll have to have evidence that you really can do this stuff.
Please submit your question to Aunt Pythia!