A Visitor Pays a Compliment

 

Below, a visitor expresses appreciation for the MOLTXIBIT on menstrual synchrony, and MOLT curator Geneva Kachman emails back:

Mon, 19 Sep 2005

First, I plan on hiding my magnifying glass. Then I’m joining the dragon’s league! [A reference to the curator’s note of September 2005].

I’m a man who, just this evening, went on an Internet search for answers and information about a subject I’ve come to know as “menstrual synchrony.” I was married for 17 years to a lady who first introduced me to this theory, and swore that the phenomenon actually took place within her place of business. I’ve been interested ever since, but have never been convinced that it was true.

I’m now engaged to another woman whom I’ve been dating for about 3 years. She, too, tells me of this synchrony among women she works with. For this reason I came upon your website, and found it so intriguing I spent hours (too many...I have to work tomorrow) reading page after page and link after link.

My reason for writing you is just that I want to thank you for the information you have put forth. I am not as educated as you are, but I do understand most of the information you have published here. I can follow most of the mathematical data, and I agree completely with your analyses. I wondered about variability of cycles until I dug deeper and saw that you had covered that as well.

Above all, I admire your writing skills, straight-forward approach, and your ability to make the subject understandable to us “common folks”. I found your entire website very interesting!

Thanks again!

S.A.

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Dear S.,

All I can say is, “Well – knock me over with a feather!” Yours is the nicest (most flattering!) email I have ever recieved – although I hope what’s on the MOLT website isn’t going to cause conflict with your fiancee!

I don’t know about your not being “as educated” as I am – if you are throwing around phrases like “mathematical data” and “variability of cycles.” I have a BA in English from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop – BUT, I have always been torn between poetry and science, and so probably have more science coursework than the typical “dreamy-eyed writer.” I actually made it through a “weeder” calculus course at Oakland University, home to many an engineering student – it was tough, but, this may sound strange – all those differential equations and so forth – just seemed like poetry to me – describing something fluid and dynamic in precise language (although a very different language than poetry). I only have a smattering of exposure to statistics, but whenever I’ve attempted to delve into it on my own, I always think the same thing – “statistics is just like poetry!” (I wonder how many statisticians would feel the same, reading poetry – “poetry is just like statistics.”)

I wonder – could I include your email on the MOLT website, as a testimonial – I can just use your initials, if you don’t want me to use your name, or just put, “from a MOLT visitor” – Stodgy PhD menstrual researchers (who shall remain nameless) (at least in this email) aren’t very good at acknowledging the work of the less stodgy PhD-less, such as myself...but, that is a whole ‘nother can of worms...

Congratulations on your engagement,

Geneva Kachman

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Dear Geneva,

Thank you for your kind words. Rest assured, my fiancee will have no problem with the information on your website.

I KNEW you had been edumacated (haha) in English and writing! I just knew it...and I can spot it a mile away. What is so refreshing about your style is that you possess the ability to write about scientific subjects with such fluidity that it becomes interesting to the average reader. In comparison, the average scientist/statistician/mathematician could not write an interesting article if it fell upon his or her head from an overpass! And the common writer has difficulty delving into detailed scientific subjects with adequate authority to make the reader believe that he or she has any more than a casual understanding of the subject at hand. You have the talent to have combined the best of both, and your product is fantastic.

As for your comparisons of calculus and statistics to poetry, I’m going to pretend that you lost me, just for the sake of humor...I think of any comparison as an analogy such as:

 

Poetry is to Calculus as Heaven is to Hell

Statistics is to Poetry as Enslavement is to Freedom

Just kidding! I think I understand what you mean. Mathematics, an exact science, must adhere to strict rules by its own nature. Poetry allows much more freedom, but still there are rules which must be followed. Consider the meter of iambic pentameter...that is nothing more than math coming alive! Music, for that matter, is similar to math, in that it can be reduced to an equation. I would go on, but I fear that I’ve already made your head about to explode with boredom!

You absolutely have permission to include my email on the MOLT website. Use my full name if it is to your advantage; otherwise, use my initials only.

Take care, and good luck!

S.

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