My Statistician’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

I've written two pieces at FiveThirtyEight that may be of interest to those of you celebrating Valentine's Day this weekend.  First up:  The Cheapskate’s Guide To Buying Flowers For Valentine’s DayIf you bought your roses on Feb. 10 and took good care of them, you might still have a bouquet to bestow on Feb. 14. (But you’d need a good explanation for why they wilted a day or two later.) You could eke a little more life out of the roses by keeping them in something other than tap wa … [Read more...]

7QT: Good books, fake books, and the best job in the world

--- 1 --- I'm excited about the discovery of gravity waves, and here's the most delightful thing I learned in the process of reading about the discover (via The New Yorker) The LIGO team includes a small group of people whose job is to create blind injections—bogus evidence of a gravitational wave—as a way of keeping the scientists on their toes. Although everyone knew who the four people in that group were, “we didn’t know what, when, or whether,” Gabriela González, the collaboration’s spokesw … [Read more...]

Speaking in Rhode Island tonight & how to have me visit your school

Tonight, I'm giving a talk on my book Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers that Even I Can Answer on "Lessons in Prayer from an Atheist Convert" at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island.  The full logistical details are here, and the event description is: Leah Libresco, a popular atheist blogger whose conversion to Catholicism became a topic of national conversation, will speak to the public at Portsmouth Abbey on learning how to pray (badly). Author of the new book, Arriving at Amen, Leah will e … [Read more...]

Repeating Last Year’s Lent

I'm doing the same thing this year for Lent as I did last year:Giving up jaywalking Trying contemplative prayerMostly on the grounds that both were still frustrating by the end of last year's Lent, so I figure there might be more to learn from both.  Not jaywalking left me on tiptoe at curb, waiting to sprint into the street, which didn't so much fix my impatience as at least make it ridiculous.  Watching the crosswalk on the other side tick down from 30 and finding it intolerable to b … [Read more...]

What Free Time Can Buy

Simcha Fisher has a great reflection on why she stopped homeschooling, and what she gained and lost when she sent her kids to school.  This is the loss that most stood out to me: We don’t get to choose how to spend our time. This is the one thing that makes me really miss home school. We don’t have much time or flexibility to do fun or important things together as a family, like go to museums or other cultural events, or celebrate religious feasts in a big way, or have long vacations, or have va … [Read more...]

7QT: Kabbalah Meet-Cutes, Substitute Mourners, and Vocational Opportunities

--- 1 --- The nice thing about being noisy about your hobbyhorses is that your friends wind up acting as your personal clipping service. That's how I heard about these three friends who have been living together for 50 years.“We thought we’d be there two or three years and somebody would get married or maybe buy a house by themselves,” says Sugg, who’s in her 80s. “But that just didn’t happen.” They all grew close to each other’s families — acting as doting aunts to various nieces and nephe … [Read more...]

Advice on Persisting in Prayer with the Caritas Podcast

Last week, I climbed the curbside snowbanks to meet up with the women of Caritas, a Catholic podcast, and the audio from our conversation on how to persist in prayer is up now!In the introductory segment, I talk a little about my college debate community, and I was back in New Haven for a reunion this weekend. So there was toasting, debating, singing, and, when my boyfriend and I happened to come across the Yale Freestyle Dueling Association, swordfighting.He's swinging … [Read more...]