Aunt Pythia’s last column
Dear readers, some bittersweet news today.
Aunt Pythia is retiring. It’s been a blast, and she will always remember you with fondness. She has truly enjoyed handing out consistently bad and possibly dangerous suggestions to all you wonderful and earnest people. She’s learned so many things, during this time, as well, and is truly grateful for that.
Just in case you haven’t read all the past Aunt Pythia columns, she’s compiled a cheat sheet of sorts for your benefit:
- Question: how do I become a data scientist?
- Answer: read my book, which is now slightly out of date, do some projects on your own and post them on a personal webpage, and start applying. Make sure you know linear algebra well enough to explain PCA and understand why you need to actually care whether a matrix has a near-zero determinant before inverting it, and make sure you know statistics well enough to explain statistical significance to a CEO and margin of errors to anyone at all.
- Question: why is math so hard?
- Answer: Math is hard because we rarely spend time dawdling over thing we already know, however beautiful they are; instead we push ourselves to the very limits of known theory. We are impatient and hungry for more knowledge. That’s a good thing, and it’s human nature, but it’s also nice to dawdle sometimes. Think about just how cool Galois Theory is every now and then.
- Question: how will I ever get laid?
- Answer: Be a human, listen well, try to seem like you’re making an effort, but don’t act desperate. Be realistic about what makes things more likely to work, and put yourself into a situation that makes things more likely to work, but never get creepy. Finally, there are lots of people in the world, so don’t obsess with one of them if things aren’t working out, but if things are working out then try to appreciate it daily.
- Question: I have this secret crush on someone, and it’s really intense, and I have a sense that they might like me too, but I’m afraid to do anything about it. What should I do?
- Answer: Go for it. You only live once.
To finish off this final Aunt Pythia column, I will stack the decks in my favor with a lovely letter I just received:
Dear Aunt Pythia,
I wrote to you in this column about a long term love. I told him. It worked. He has felt the same way for years. It is glorious and strangely serious for only being one month.
I am so glad, and good on you for writing back and telling me. It’s so wonderful that after so long you guys can get busy making each other happy.
Finally, thanks for making my advice seem good!