Reason 211


#211: There’s always the opportunity to learn something.

This was certainly true this weekend, when the APSA Annual Meeting was once again held here in DC. For those of you paying attention, this weekend was Labor Day weekend, normally associated with pool closings, cookouts and blow-out sales. For those of us that signed up for political science, it will now always be associated with a (pretty awesome) conference on the most inconvenient weekend of the year. I am very, very new to this, but as far as I can tell the conference rotates so that it’s somewhere cool one year and then in DC (the coolest place) the following year, then another cool place, then DC again, then so on. At least that’s how I think it works based on a sample of n=3.

If you were in DC this weekend and not inclined to partake in the aforementioned pool closings, cookouts and blowout sales, you had the opportunity to learn tons of cool things because there were hundreds of political scientists presenting really cool research steps away from DC’s best bars. You technically had to register to attend and pay $84 (which I did), but you could probably have snuck in for some awesome talks on redistribution and pension reform even if you didn’t have a fancy badge.

On the remaining 360 days of the year when there is no APSA meeting, there is still the opportunity to learn something every single day. Really. Here is a list of the cool things that I have learned in DC outside of my many, many hours in class:

– Washington, DC is basically a swamp.

– There are very few infectious diseases for which we have any hope of complete eradication.

– Puerto Rico is the best place in the world.

– California is the best place in the world.

– New York City is the best city in the world.

– Very fancy people travel on refundable first class tickets.

– Victoria’s Secret is headquartered in Columbus, OH.

– Qatar is the richest country in per capita terms.

– How to make pizza using ingredients from Trader Joe’s.*

*I didn’t really learn this, but the information was given to me.


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