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PyData and a few other things

July 10, 2013

So here’s the thing about being a parent of benign neglect: it’s no walk in the park. I talk a big game, but the truth is I’ve have trouble getting to sleep from the anxiety. To distract myself I’ve been watching Law & Order episodes on Netflix until the wee hours of the night.

Two things about this plan suck. First, my husband is in Amsterdam, which means he’s 6 time zones away from our oldest son whereas I’m only 3, but somehow that means I’m shouldering 99.5% of the responsibility to worry (there’s some universal geographic law of parenting at work there but I don’t know how to formulate it). Second, half of the L&O episodes involve either children getting maimed or killed or child killers. Not restful but I freaking can’t stop!

In any case, not much extra energy to spring out of bed and write the blog, so apologies for a sparse period for mathbabe. For whatever reason I woke up this morning in time to blog, however, so as to not miss an opportunity it’s gonna be in list form:

  1. I’ve been invited to keynote at PyData in Cambridge, MA at the end of the month – me and Travis Oliphant! I’m still coming up with the title and abstract for my talk, but it’s going to be something about storytelling with data using the iPython Notebook. Please make suggestions!
  2. I was in a Wall Street Journal article about Larry Summers, talking about whether he’s got a good personality to take over from Ben Bernanke, i.e. should we trust our lives and our future with him. I say nope. What’s funny is that my uncle, economist Bob Hall, is also referred to in the same article. The journalist didn’t know we’re related until after the article came out and Uncle Bob informed him.
  3. Hey, can we give it up for Eliot Spitzer? The powers that be are down about that guy presumably for having sex with prostitutes but really because he’s a threat. I say legalize prostitution, unionize the prostitutes a la the dutch, and put Spitzer in charge of something involving money and corruption, he’s smart and fearless. Who’s with me?
  4. It looks like good news: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau might be cracking down on illegal debt collector tactics. Update: wait, the fines are fractions of 1% of the revenue these guys made on their unfair practices. Can we please have a rule that when you get caught breaking the law, the fine will be large enough so it’s no longer profitable?
Categories: news, open source tools
  1. Abe Kohen
    July 10, 2013 at 7:36 am

    1. Some of us are natural worriers. I think it’s in the genes.
    2. I missed the reference to you and Max Stone when I first perused the article. Interesting divergence of views.
    3. A Spitzer-Wiener ticket would make NYC the laughingstock of the world. It’s even funnier in German.
    4. Why python? Asking seriously as I’m updating some of my computer language skills,


  2. Tara
    July 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I really like Eliot Spitzer. He was the only politician saying something really sensible in Inside Job.


  3. Christina
    July 10, 2013 at 8:41 am

    So sorry you’re having trouble sleeping! But it is comforting to the rest of us neurotic moms out here to know that even the awesome Cathy O has moments of mom-kookiness. 🙂

    Spitzer: I’m not a power of any sort, being or not being, but I’m still down on him. For being stupid enough to get himself caught in such a ridiculous situation, then folding like a house of cards and running away. I think the blindness and ego are the real limitations with him.


  4. July 10, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Eliot Spitzer – He was the only one actively going after the banks and funny he was the only one (I may be wrong) who was caught in that sting. What happened to client 1-8?

    I’ve been saying for a long time decriminalize or legalize prostitution. But it is all wrapped up in the new political moral code that says that men (mainly GOP men) know what is best for a womans vagina. They obviously don’t care about the rest because they don’t care about her paycheck.


    • Abe Kohen
      July 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

      I certainly care about my wife’s paycheck. It has definitely taken us through some rough times. And without her medical insurance we would have been up s*#t’s creek.


  5. July 10, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Neat! I’m giving a talk at PyCon Canada showcasing IPython Notebook using some data about how many people bike on the bike paths in Montréal in August.

    Just bought a ticket for PyData Boston the other day, so I’ll be watching your talk with great interest =)


    • July 10, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Great, see you soon!


    • Abe Kohen
      July 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

      So Julia, if I may ask, why Python?

      Just for background, when I took the Programming Languages course at Stanford, it was a language a week, so I learned some useful, and many not so useful, languages. C, and pseudo-C++, with sh,csh, awk and perl have occasionally paid the bills. Taking Java at Udacity, and enrolled, but haven’t started Python at edX.


  6. July 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

    1] Wait till you have grandkids.
    2] Summers is poison.
    3] Spitzer is an amazing pit-bull on corruption. We need him out there. The hooker thing is irrelevant to his real service to the country and the economy.
    4] Debt collectors? The NSA or WikiLeaks should make all their phone and email communications public.


  7. Aaron
    July 10, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Is it possible to read the WSJ article without a subscription?


  8. Deane Yang
    July 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Sorry to say this but I’m happy to hear that “benign neglect” is hard for you. Somehow things have changed since we were children. Our parents were for some reason willing to let us do things on our own, and this is way harder for us to do the same for our children. I’m always berating my wife for being overprotective, and then when it’s my turn, I don’t do any better. To be fair, when our older son got to high school, we did let him go off on his own much more, and he did manage to have some good adventures (still not as impressive as yours).


  9. July 10, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I am with you on Spitzer. He shouldn’t have resigned in the first place.


  10. July 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    On reading the article on the WSJ, they block access from some links but they do want to be found on Google, so copy and paste the article title into Google and use the link from the search engine and you should be right there:) It works most of the time. It was a good article and I commented with a link one of my blog posts with one of Cathy’s videos. Really good stuff Cathy! I think re-watching the movie “Inside Job” about now is also a good thing to do if folks want some additional background on Mr. Summers:)

    Sptizer is smart and he just messed up his morals so if you can get past that, I think he’ll do a good job as when he uses the right brain, he does get results and with all that transpired I think he might be afraid of that “other” brain right now and will keep his focus. I agree with you here totally.

    On the consumer financial protection agency, I think we just have the wrong guy in there and have said that myself…get a technologist in there with a secondary legal focus would be key in my opinion. The legal system and courts also have their issues with technologies and I have my doubts there as I think we need specific IT centric laws in place that spell it out exactly, now we just have nouns and verbs that are “relevant” and I think adding “context” here would help a lot.

    I just could not help myself with the video with the Zimmerman case on how the court and prosecutors did not know how to use Skype for a remote witness..funny…as they broadcasted both Skype names and didn’t use the “do not disturb” setting so folks watching on TV were calling in during the testimony…MSNBC caught that one. Again one more example that makes me wonder how smart and how relevant some of the rulings are if they stumble on simple issues like this:)


    Keep up the good stuff as it is very well appreciated!


  11. Linda
    July 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Oh Mathbabe, Mathbabe–the issue with Spitzer is not so much patronizing the prostitute, although even though perhaps prostitution should be legal, it currently isn’t and as the former Attorney General and then Governor he should not pick and choose which laws to follow–the issue is that he might have been a really good governor but put himself in a position where he had to resign and left the rest of us, all 17 million citizens or so, in a state that was adrift for three years. It wasn’t about messing around with one young woman, it was about messing over the body politic.


    • Christina
      July 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Well said, Linda!


    • July 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Love ya but I can’t agree. I disobey laws all the time when I think they’re wrong. I’ve probably disobeyed laws as an occupier. And I’m just not judgmental about that kind of thing, especially as it pertains to sex.

      Plus I don’t blame him for resigning, because I didn’t live his life and I don’t know what kind of pressures he was under at the time. But I’m glad he wants back, we need him.


      • Christina
        July 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

        Albany perspective: Being Governor wasn’t going so well all of a sudden; he had gotten outsmarted by corrupt upstate (=small time bumpkins to you big city folks, I know) politicians he considered beneath him, and he knew there was no recovery after he’d made himself additionally vulnerable with the hooker scandal. The choice to run away from a situation he created thru bad judgment (and money laundering tricks he should have known law enforcement could pick up, since he’d been AG) doesn’t recommend him for the next job IMHO.


      • Abe Kohen
        July 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

        Frankly I would rather have a politician who screws his X, Y, or Z, than one who screws the people. But his problem is not only that he got caught (probably retribution for going after Dick Grasso) but also the embarrassment he caused his wife and children. My wife and I were sitting on a bench at the Central Park reservoir a few months after he resigned when he came by and finished running. There were no words I could say to him.


      • K
        July 10, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        Maybe I’m misremembering, but wasn’t he a vocal campaigner against prostitution rings as attorney general and governer? I don’t like the hypocrisy.


  12. July 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    +1 on Spitzer.


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