Eli’s Post-Hibernation Blog Post

So, if you’ve only been keeping up with my life through this blog, it appears that I fell off the map for the past two months. Let’s refer to this as “Eli’s Hibernation”. Needless to say, I was actually doing things during that time, things I could definitely have blogged about. While I won’t go item-by-item about what’s happened over the past two months, I will attempt to summarize. 

For one, this semester has been my busiest semester yet. With classes, research, TAing, and blogging, I haven’t had much time to breathe, much less relax. That being said, I am really enjoying all that I’m learning in class, and I really appreciate the opportunity my research has given me. For those that don’t know, which is all of you, I am working with Dr. Glenn Palmer along with a few of my friends on coding Militarized Interstate Disputes for the most recent iteration of the Militarized Interstate Dispute Dataset. Basically, that entails reading news stories about conflict between countries from the past ten years and filling out paperwork about the nature of the conflict, who started it, who said what, who did what, who and how many died, and how long the conflict lasted. While it may sound a bit tedious, and at times it is, I think it is really interesting stuff, and it’s kind of cool to know that you’re contributing to one of the most widely cited political science datasets in the world. 
On other fronts, my job TAing IST445H has been worthwhile. Every other weekend, I grade blog posts for students and work with them on any blog-related questions they may have. Two weekends ago, I had the chance to go to Washington, D.C. with them back to my old stomping grounds at CSIS in order to listen to various experts. We happened to be in town at the same time as the CEO of Northrup Grumman, one of the largest defense contractors in the world, was giving a talk at CSIS. Sitting in on that was a very cool experience, though most of the class disagreed with the main points he made. 
Looking ahead (I have to cut this short so I can get my laundry), Pittsburgh this weekend should be a lot of fun. I’ve never been. Looking forward to touring the steel plant a lot. After that, Thanksgiving break is coming up quickly. Hopefully I’ll blog again before then!
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