I did learn that the DoD actually supports quite a lot of environmental research. It's not so much that they care about environmental issues as such, but they play by the rules, and the rules include environmental stuff, and if, say, that means they can't use some chunk of land on a base because it's habitat for some endangered species, they are all about throwing money at the problem of making that species UN-endangered so they can get back to their wargames and suchlike. (And they actually believe in and are concerned about climate change as a national security issue, they just can't say the phrase "climate change" because it's not politically correct.) So that was kinda heartening, in a weird way.
Anyway, we had a useful poster session, and I sat through the plenary and a couple talks, but mostly I just worked remotely from my hotel room. My one complaint about the meeting was that after the first day (which was great), they didn't serve any food I could eat. Now, normally I wouldn't mind -- it's my restrictive diet, I can cope with finding suitable food -- except that on the registration form, they asked if I had any dietary restrictions. If they hadn't asked, I wouldn't have expected anything, but to ask if someone needs any special accommodations and then completely ignore the answer is just rude. (And I don't think it was just me -- I can't imagine what a vegan or someone with gluten intolerance would have eaten off there.)
More importantly, I got to visit with people! (And I know more folks in DC than I realized.)
Monday evening after I got in, Anna and Ryan brought themselves and their daughter and dinner (rotisserie chicken and spicy green beans) to my hotel room, and we caught up while I got settled in. It had been a long time (a decade at least) since I'd seen them, so that was quite nice.
Tuesday evening I got Chris N. and Ian to join me for dinner. We walked from the Hilton near Dupont Circle over to a restaurant (Commissary) near Logan Circle and had an excellent dinner and lots of good conversation there and back.
Wednesday was nothin' much; I got bi bim bap (no rice, extra lettuce) for dinner while I read a book. I was hoping to meet up with Seth S., but alas, he was waylaid by extra homework. Next trip!
Thursday was a personal day, and I was really not feeling like museums or art galleries, so I just went for a walk around the neighborhood and looked at buildings. Found the Barbie Pond on Q Street, which is A Thing. And the Cairo Building, which is the great big tall apartment building that triggered all the height restrictions.
That evening, I joined JD and his buddies (roommate, SO, and coworker-of-SO) for dinner and board games, hooray! We played a round of Iota, which is a clever little game that's sort of like a cross between Set and dominoes, and after dinner a game of Lords of Waterdeep. They are good guys and it was fun hanging out with them. So that was nice.
Flew home uneventfully on Friday. A good trip overall, if rather dull on the work front.
Oh, and after two and a half days of being assaulted with CNN in the elevator lobby every time I left my hotel room, when I was waiting by myself and nobody was looking, I unplugged the TV. That much news is just unhealthy.