Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dangers of Think Tanking Revealed With New App

Besides getting a paper cut from a foreign policy white paper, accidentally stabbing yourself with a pen, or being gently shoved while in line to grab a sandwich before a policy speech, attending think tank events is fairly safe.

But a new app may make you think otherwise.  Enter SketchFactor, a new crowdsourced app that lets people identify "sketchy" places so they can be warned of any potential hazards.

Think Tank Watch visits scores of think tank events each year and decided to give SketchFactor a test drive to see how safe the neighborhoods of think tank land really are.  Here are some results:

  • Brookings (Dupont Circle): Reports of "homeless people calling you out for anything you're wearing," as well as "propositions for sex and harassing you for money."  One user also noted that a Starbucks near Brookings has really slow service.  Another user notes the "super loud and annoying" construction going on south of Brookings.
  • American Enterprise Institute (South Dupont): One user complains of loud construction nearby, as well as people hanging out in a nearby cigar shop with "apparently nothing better to do."
  • Center for American Progress (McPherson Square): Users note a few murders nearby.  Another user highlights the "high corruption area" near the White House.  One user mentions that a "gang of prostitutes" propositioned him nearby and that the area "gets sketchy" after 6pm.
  • Heritage Foundation (Union Station): One user was approached for money at a bus station nearby and threatened.  Another user had his/her car broken into nearby.
  • Cato Institute (Mass. Ave.): One user complained of homeless people "panhandling all day."  Another user noted a "really cute bulldog" in the neighborhood.

No one ever said that think tanking was easy, but somebody has do it...