Think Tank Sociology

by Henry Farrell on February 15, 2008

“Moira Whelan”: speculates on Mike O’Hanlon and ‘think tank sociology.’

Think tanks in DC are traditionally known as refugee camps for the out-of-office team of foreign policy wonks. There’s an expected turn over when new administrations come on as each team goes about grabbing “the best and the brightest” to fill their ranks. O’Hanlon has by now gotten the message that he’s burned his bridges with his Democratic friends. Those that like him personally even agree that he’s radioactive right now thanks to his avid support of Bush’s war strategy. So what’s a wonk to do? … one option is pre-positioning yourself for the future. By getting out there and going after the leading Democrats—people that some of his closest colleagues are actively supporting—is he lining himself up to say that he was critiquing the next Administration before it was cool? That would be worth it, because as I’ve mentioned before, there are three forms of currency in the think tank world that make you a valuable player: bringing in money, getting press, and getting called to testify. This strategy could certainly pay off in those categories over the next few months.

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Another reason to use R

by Kieran Healy on February 15, 2008

The wacky world of software licensing visits my inbox:

The newest version of SPSS cannot leave the country according to our current licensing agreement and US Export laws. Additionally, graduate students are not legally allowed to work on laptops (regardless of ownership) that utilizes the university site license. As a result, we are imposing a hiatus on SPSS installations on laptops and on any system that will leave the country until this can be resolved. Anyone who is leaving the country with a UA laptop, please contact us to remove the software before you leave to ensure software licensing and export conditions are met.

They’re trying to fix this absurd state of affairs, but the Contracting Office apparently signed off on the original site-license agreement. If you’re using SPSS in the first place you need to reconsider your plan for your life, but still.