This poem was originally published in Entropy.

/man·trap/ noun
a room or area used for access control, containing a series of doors that cannot be open at the same time to prevent unauthorized entry as permissioned individuals enter or exit

From inside,
I see them at a distance
through layers of black fence

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…