From time to time, I hear from researchers – from graduate students to economists working in industry to established tenured professors—interested in applying natural language processing tools in the context of serious, rigorous economics. The questions are usually multiple and combine gently personal inquiries (Whatever inspired you to pursue these two skill sets that are frequently described in opposition to one another? How can I build a career that does that too?) with technical ones (How can I measure sentiment in a corpus of news documents? How do I demonstrate that what NLP algorithms find is statistically significant?).

I snapped this photo as I was leaving Sunday’s March from the White House to the Capitol Building. As the daylight hours, and with them the time for afternoon prayers, waned, this sister stole a quiet spot for some alone time with God. I won’t pretend to know what she prayed for, but these days I find myself reflecting a great deal on the future of our country and praying for the United States, for my friends and their families, for the future of those Americans I don’t know but hope to get to know…

I must say yesterday’s conversation about Caltech professor Alice Huang’s advice column in Science magazine largely missed the point. In case you missed it, Dr. Huang responded to a woman postdoc writing in for advice about her advisor who keeps staring down her shirt. In Huang’s response, since retracted by Science but available through internet archives, she says “As long as your adviser does not move on to other advances, I suggest you put up with it, with good humor if you can.”