[This is my 211th research blog post. That's a lot of posts over the last nearly-9 years! I'll be an old man when I post my 212th.]
At the brown-bag talk today, Gruzinov (NYU) talked about modeling pulsars using what he calls "Aristotelian Electrodynamics", which is an approximation valid when synchrotron radiation losses are so fast that charged particles essentially move along magnetic field lines. He claims to be able to compute realistic predictions of pulsar light-curves in the Fermi bandpass, which, if true, is a first, I think. He argued that all pulsars should live in a four-dimensional family, parameterized by two angles (viewing and dipole-misalignment), one spin period, and one magnetic dipole moment. If it all bears out, pulsars might be the new standard candles in astronomy!
In the afternoon, Foreman-Mackey and I went on the BayCEP phonecon of the exoSAMSI group, where we discussed hierarchical inference and approximations thereto. There are various projects close to doing a proper hierarchical probabilistic inference of the distribution of planets in various parameters. Eric Ford (PSU) is even implementing some of the ideas in this old paper.