text, causality

I spent a short meeting in the morning with Alexander Rush (MIT, Columbia), talking about text and ideas for text as data. He works on methods for understanding and translating text, making use of inferences of the structures of the sentences. We discussed translations between different scientific domains, and parsings or understandings or summaries of papers on the arXiv. In particular, he suggested that we might be able to trace idea provenances, or find articles that confirm or contradict one another at a higher level than just pure citation-following.

In the afternoon, I presented to Jennifer Hill (NYU) some ideas about bringing causal inference to astronomy. We are both suspicious that it will work, but it is certainly the case that a lot of questions being asked in astronomy map onto the kinds of questions that causal inference is designed to address in the social sciences. Even if we fail or it doesn't help, there is still a paper to be written.

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