Three questions with NGT part 2.
 
Yesterday I shared the three most popular questions that Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson hears.  In formulating my own questions I want to ask Dr. Tyson, I thought about the questions I hear most often.  Like NDT, I hear the same types of questions over and over again.  I thought about what my top three questions were.

Being a teacher, I do hear the same types of questions from my students.  But it is not only my students who ask me questions. Friends, family, even strangers all ask questions, so I factored those into my collection.

In thinking about questions, one must eliminate the rhetorical and questions asked in polite conversation. Someone who works in customer service likely asks "How are you today?" over and over.  A person with a grouchy partner may hear "Are you listening to me?" more than any other question.  Those things don't count. (By the way, I do not work in customer service OR have a grouchy partner....)

I think the top question I am asked is in the classroom by my students.  It ususally begins with "I don't get it." or "I don't know how to.." but regardless of the class, whether it is a developmental algebra, a statistics, or a methods course, the crux of the question always boils down to "It's so easy when you do it- how did you know to do that?"

My reply to this question is very simple. Whatever problem I just solved or computation I just performed looked easy because it was easy.  It was easy because this is what I do for a living.  I eat, sleep, breathe mathematics. When you practice the same types of problems every day for years, they no longer are problems.  They just become something you do.  No one complains that Michael Phelps makes swimming the lenghth of the pool look easy.  That's what he does, and what he trains for.

The second most popular question I am asked is probably about my veganism. Unlike most vegans, the question I'm frequently asked isn't "Where do you get your protein?" it's generally along the lines of "Don't you miss it?" "Doesn't that smell/look good?"  or "But what about Bacon?"

My reply here is generally punctuated with a sigh. No, I don't miss it.  No, that doesn't smell or look good.  And nope, bacon does nothing for me.

The third question I get a lot is generally about books.  Because I am an avid reader, people often ask me about books.  "What's the best book you ever read?" "What was your favorite book this year?" "Who is your favorite author?" and "What should I read next?"

Since the whole topic of the three questions here started based on a book I read by Neil Degrasse Tyson, it is only fair that I address some of those book questions now.

My top ten books, at this moment, but in no particular order, are:

Ishmael, Daniel Quinn; Neverwear, Neil Gaiman; The time travelers wife, Audrey Niffengger; The world according to Garp, John Irving; Farenheit 451, Ray Bradbury; The blind watchmaker, Richard Dawkins; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and other short stories, Hunter S. Thompson; The dogs of Babel, Carolyn Parkhurst; The botany of desire, Michael Pollan; and Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery.

The best book I read in 2016 was 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, I love that type of fantastical dystopia- it reminded me of Phillip K. Dick's The Man in High Castle, and Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. My favorite author of fiction is Neil Gaiman, who is releasing a new book next month, and I am excited to go hear him speak in New York TWICE in the next few months.  As far as what you should read next, I think you should read Sacrifice, a YA novel written by my friend, and fellow Patreon artist, Jorge Silva Rodighero. It's a nice read with great literary and historical references, and features an etherieal cast of characters.

In light of my off the wall questions I'd ask NDT (I'm sure he'll give me some side-eye for wanting a particle accelerator in my kitchen...) do you have any questions you'd like to ask me?  I'll do my best to answer them as well as NDT answere'd Andy Samberg on the whole weird robot sex issue....