Home > Aunt Pythia, Uncategorized > Aunt Pythia’s last column

Aunt Pythia’s last column

December 12, 2015

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  • Answer: read my book, which is now slightly out of date, do some projects on your own and post them on a personal webpage, and start applying.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.



Dear Grateful,

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!

Love always,

Aunt Pythia

Categories: Aunt Pythia, Uncategorized
  1. Christina Sormani
    December 12, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Thank you Aunt Pythia! We will miss you! Even the comments on your walls were great thanks to your moderation!


  2. Christina
    December 12, 2015 at 11:59 am

    We’ll miss you, Aunt Pythia. Saturday mornings just won’t be the same without your kind words in favor of geek love….


  3. December 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    …but you WILL still put up frequent Saturday morning pics of food, and especially baked goods, right??? (I believe it’s part of your contract).


  4. December 12, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you Aunt Pythia. I feel that you have covered all of life’s pressing issues in one blog.


  5. Jason Starr
    December 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you Aunt Pythia!


  6. CHA
    December 12, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you Aunt Pythia. It’s been amazing.


  7. December 12, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Thank you, Aunt Pythia, for some interesting reads.


  8. December 12, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Why the retirement (at such a young age)?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bertie
    December 12, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    It was a glorious run! Your thoughts on life’s big questions were uncompromising and often unexpected (though always self-consistent) . Enjoy your well-earned retirement x


  10. Alex
    December 12, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Aww, will miss you. I looked forward to it every Saturday. Thank you Aunt Pythia.


  11. December 13, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Thanks and fare thee well, Aunt Pythia!


  12. December 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this. It was one of the few blogs that I really looked forward to. Can you share some hints about why? Will Mathbabe continue?


  13. Grateful
    December 13, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this, but I’m honored to have my note on the last of the Aunt Pythia columns! Thanks for your amusing columns and advice!


  14. December 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    But, why, God, why?


  15. December 14, 2015 at 5:43 am

    This is truly a bummer! Have you considered a succession plan where Aunt Pythia delegates her advice duties to a hive mind oracle? Many of the commenters over the years have been extremely insightful and there is a certain culture in this community that I have not seen elsewhere.


  16. Tina
    December 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Noooooooo! Whyyyyyyy? I loved the Aunt Pythia column. And thank you so much for advice. I will miss you.


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