On Thursday I did another one of my crazed one-day trips to Washington: Jet Blue redeye from Oakland, spend the day doing stuff, have dinner, then zip back to Dulles and catch the flight home.

Jet Blue is a fascinating experience. It’s a pretty good ride, in my view, but their genius is in their making flying essentially indistinguishable from sitting in your living room, flipping channels on the TV. For some reason I find the TV in the seatback in front of me absorbing in a way my TV at home rarely is.

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A lovely morning at Dulles International Airport

This time I was giving a talk to a group at the National Academies. These aren’t gigs that really pay anything, but the crowd is pretty extraordinary, so it’s more an opportunity for professional networking and public service than anything.

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Courtyard of the Keck Center, Washington DC

Of course, how much you manage to network depends on how social and awake you are, so I don’t do quite as well as some of my always-friendly business development colleagues; but you never fail to meet some interesting people at these things.

The Keck Center is very nice, but since I didn’t see a croquet pitch on-site, I have to rate the Beckman Center more highly.

The workshop was quite interesting, and I got a lot of raw material and ideas for my own work. (These National Academies reports represent an amazing amount of intellectual labor.) But by 5:00, I was ready to either fall asleep, or sit to a nice dinner of roasted coffee beans. Instead, I met a friend of mine who lives in the area, and we walked over to Union Station, and had dinner at the Thunder Grill, a Western-ish place.

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Thunder Grill, Union Station, Washington DC

The bison burger is pretty good.

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Cafe on the second floor of Union Station

After that, we had some coffee, then I headed out to Dulles.

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Dulles in the dusk

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