all papers are about four things

It is pathetic how little work I got done today, given that the International Date Line made today 45 hours long for me. I did get some writing done in my machine-learning opus, and figured out a way to re-structure it to make it more readable. I also thought a bit about the following thing, which came up in discussion with Bedell:

Scientific papers in the astronomy literature are always, and unavoidably, about four things: They are about the Universe or astrophysical phenomena. They are about the data we have on those phenomena. They are about the astronomical literature itself. And they are about the authors themselves. You can't avoid talking about yourself when you write a paper because: subjectivity. All data analyses, frequentist or Bayesian, involve subjective decision-making. You can't avoid talking about the literature, because: relevance. Besides, astronomy is the astronomical literature, in my opinion. And you can't avoid talking about the data, because: accuracy. That is, you must be responding to data in some way or other, even if you are a theorist. And you can't avoid the universe, because otherwise it isn't astronomy!

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