Made in Heights is probably my favorite artist that I’ve discovered this year.
Fact: tahini mixed with cocoa powder and a little bit of powdered sugar creates something like Nutella, but better.
Fact: Busboys & Poets makes the juiciest, most convincing vegan burgers I have ever had the pleasure of shoving into my mouth.
Fact: VegFest is cool, and if you are not otherwise occupied in the next three hours, you should get yourself down to Yards Park.
(Fact: There is stuff there besides food. Like puppies. All of the puppies. And books and art and shirts and stuff. Go.)
0. (Pairing a bright red silk shirt with a black and green-striped tie achieves the approximate effect of a Christmas ornament. However, you did better than the girl who wore boyfriend jeans and sweaters with bows on them both days. Props?)
1. The differentiation between radicalization of opinion vs. radicalization of action is fascinating to me. What is the tipping point? Is it as simple as the opportunity presenting itself? If so, how do we counter chance? (Fascinating. Frustrating for policy, but fascinating.)
2. That Al-Qa’ida rarely uses calls to action in their speeches and other propaganda is equally interesting, if perhaps more straightforward: if you want an orderly, controllable resistance that allows you to do whatever you want while maintaining popular support, you simply stoke emotions. You don’t tell people what they should do; you let them see the need for action and then fill that role yourself. (It’s kind of brilliant.)
3. Forget about defining terrorism. Defining “group” is the pain in the collective research community’s ass.
4. Panelist who looks like he’s 14: I’m a post-doctoral fellow in psychology at the University of Maryland.
Katharine: YOU ARE 14.
5. The sheer variation in practitioner understanding of research methods is both impressive and daunting. You have everyone from the DHS types who are at least aware that they don’t understand and make a point of asking you to explain research givens (generalization from samples, statistical significance, etc.) to bridge that gap, and then you have people at the State Department who learned nothing from the Jon Stewart incident and continue to insist on being given data that has not been verified, much less cleaned, for the purpose of drawing quick and incomplete (and likely incorrect) conclusions.
5b. But this is why conferences like these are so important: at the very least, they get both sides of the equation in the room together. On the other hand…
5c. Practitioner guy: Why isn’t cyberterrorism included in your study?
Panelist: Well, because there is no actual violence involved.
Practitioner guy: I don’t believe that.
5d. When hacking a website blows your arm off, you let me know.
6. Good news: the conference made all of the vegetarian food, minus the desserts, also vegan. Bad news: the conference decided that vegans only eat vegetables, macaroni salad, and plain quinoa.
6b. (I should not be complaining because it is a huge deal to find vegan food beyond salad at such events, but still. We are people with appetites who are hungry because you decided to have lunch at 1, not rabbits.)
7. Why do we have 15 projects being done on chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear weaponry and risks. Why. Who funded all of these. Why. Why.
8. Not to complain, because I am grateful for a salary that lets me live without worrying about if I’m going to make rent (seven months of that was quite enough, thank you), but I do not understand the logic behind paying division managers on an organization’s flagship project half of what you pay the person you hired for the sole purpose of wrangling your tornado-like research director.
8b. The fact that you need a wrangler is perhaps indicative of something. Hmm.
9. Networking is silly. Talking to people who work for your organization whom you sort of know and getting to know them better is worthwhile. Social interaction: success.
10. Dr. McCauley: So are you looking at thing A or thing B?
Researcher: Thing A.
Dr. McCauley: How are you measuring thing A?
Researcher: Like this.
Dr. McCauley: So you are actually measuring thing B.
Dr. McCauley: *smirks*
10b. (Dr. McCauley is my research hero.)
10c. (Academic smackdowns are the best smackdowns.)
1. The new U2 album is weird…but I kind of like it. World crashing down.
2. SBTRKT is interesting, I suppose, but his stuff just doesn’t grab me. There’s no “whoa, this is different and rousing and brilliant.” Sorry that I’m not joining the “so anticipation much wow” caravan.
2b. However, I did just admit my enjoyment of something U2 did post-Joshua Tree, so my opinion is pretty much null and void.
3. To continue the New Music theme: Death From Above 1979’s record is smoother around the edges than what you’re used to, but it’s really fun. Approved.
4. Who is taking me to New York to Damien Rice’s show. i will pay you in beer. Or smothering love. Or love of the non-smothering variety. Details negotiable.
1. People will actually clap, when the band asks them to clap, for a sustained period of time.
2. Tim will take a selfie on your phone if you ask him.
3. Tim will also walk through the crowd, holding his guitar above his head, so that he can play an acoustic song in the middle of the room. Halfway through the song, he will turn around, thereby ensuring that he faces everyone at one point or another.
4. IF YOU ARE IN THE FRONT ROW, YOU WILL GET TO DANCE ON STAGE. DID NOT KNOW THIS. WAS NOT IN THE FRONT ROW. WOE.
5. You will find confetti in your hair several hours later, wonder how many people you confused on the metro with your confetti-covered self on a Tuesday night, and then decide you really don’t care, because any show where you can be in the mid-back and everyone is still dancing is a damn fine show.