20,000 Dear Abby letters analyzed in study of "American" anxieties


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/15/20000-dear-abby-letters-analy.html


Or at least her(their) marketing strategy.


And we’ve known since the time of The Day of the Locust that those questions are sometimes written by the advice columnist themselves.

A dataset of horoscopes, or soap opera plots, would have the same value.

“From an an analysis of 1970s Cosmo covers, we can see that 99% of Americans want to find new ways to please their man.”


“From an an analysis of 1970s Cosmo covers, we can see that 99% of Americans want to find new ways to please their man.”

That… sounds really good? I would be very interested in that analysis.


Two isn’t nearly enough dimensions. What’s the x-axis there, anyway?


I don’t think there is an x-axis? I just assumed (ha!) that it’s a word cloud, with the density in different areas indicating the relative prevalence of different anxieties?


I never claimed to understand those either.


And the people that would solicit her advice in the first place. Something tells me it’s a pretty narrow demographic.


Dimensional reduction techniques like tSNE and PCA have no interpretable axes in the sense of relating to a particular variable – the whole point is to take a high dimensional dataset and reduce it to an understandable two or three dimensions.


I move that Rob Beschizza should be proclaimed the official agony aunt of BB and should maintain a regular column to that effect.


Yes! An Agony Aunt would be perfect column for boingboing.


And Rob would be just the guy to write it!


I agree. Shall we start a petition?


Dear Robby,

Trump gerrymandered my mouth and my eyes! I can no longer just look at it.

Would a new VPN help?

Prosopagnostic Pat


We even celebrate the fact when it happens in Parliament…


Dear Robby,

I have this uncontrollable… urge… to photoshop all the pictures I take of my relatives. In fact I’m photoshopping a picture of one of my aunts (I have three) right now, swapping her eyes with the eyes of aunt #2 and her nose with the nose of aunt #3.
I have no idea what makes me do it.
Sometimes I’m photoshopping five or six times a day.

Is this just a phase I’m going through, or should I try to call the Adobe hotline and talk to someone?

Best regards,
Photoshoppin’ Pete


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