2017-05-17

It's been a busy month. My time in LA has been defined by job churn and trying on a lot of different roles, only to find that the things I'm really committed to—the things I want to improve on—are old ones. Being a mathematician, asking effective questions ("strategy"), fabrication & construction, interdisciplinary research/writing.

Hard to find entry-level work doing that, still, but I have feelers out and am also looking into graduate programs. If I can get by until a grad program, I think it could give me the momentum necessary to get to the next phase. Some people have shown me statistics/data-related jobs, which are interesting, but statistics is not mathematics. I get the impression many companies which would need math modeling work are filling that void with machine learning. So I suppose I am one of those people whose work is being automated. (For better or for worse? I'll keep that to myself...)

My only two commitments right now are lots of math tutoring and a slew of design & research for The Cactus Store. I helped make the Super Kabuto site and am learning more about these extraordinary plants.

Math tutoring has been the only constant in LA—I've been tutoring the same students, through the same company, since September. I love teaching math, and have had a strong interest in its intricacies since reading A Mathematician's Lament in high school.

Teaching any science is mostly about helping a student build an effective mental model of the mechanics at play. (The line between "mental model" and "metaphor" is thin—I think the former needs to keep a close structural similarity, whereas the latter has more room for suggestive analogy.) And math is only a science in as much as it can describe the world; its depths are far removed from most physical reality.

For many students, my job is to remind them to be very, very specific about language. What exactly does the question ask? What exactly is the definition of this term? How can we use the latter to approach the former? I wish there were more mathematician-writers, but the only decent one alive now that I can think of is Jordan Ellenberg. Maybe I can be next.

The rest of my time, right now, is taken up with some freelance work and job applications. A little reading, surfing, and python programming in spare moments.



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