...i've got answers!
from comments to the last entry: (1) what in God's name is hrdag? (2) what will you do there? (3) what do you mean, three to five years?
(1) hrdag is the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, which provides and assists quantitative analyses of human rights abuses all over the world. "objective, undeniable evidence" geared toward accountability is the key goal. for example, patrick recently testified to his findings at the icty trial milan milutinovic. hrdag has also been involved in creating a sampling scheme at the guatemalan national police archive. another grad student who works with hrdag (jeff, from stanford computer science) has invented a software system to help us match cases across multiple human rights datasets.
(2) unclear. i will definitely continue to work on my own pet project, which is the recovery and analysis of data from the (1980-1992) civil war in el salvador. these data have been mangled by time and old formats, but there are three surprisingly complete, detailed sets, if i can just wrangle them correctly. there are several other projects i'm interested in (mainly in latin america and west africa), but i'll be earning my keep by helping out with various phases of analysis on projects from all over the globe -- everything from checking the accuracy of the data against paper records to writing final analyses.
(3) three to five years! this is my favorite question of all. (unfortunately,) i don't mean i'll be living in cali for three to five years -- rather, that within the next three to five years i'll start trying to make california my permanent home. my philadelphia household and i ("a feral hat," which is an anagram of our initials, because we are huge dorks) realized recently that it was going to take a relatively serious amount of planning and resolve for us to stay present in one another's lives -- and that, however great your intentions, it's hard to be present from a long ways off. then we thought for a while about what sort of place we would (and, jobwise, could) all live. the answer we arrived at is "california in three to five years," after we've mostly finished being slaves to postgraduate education and other preparatory projects.
[fig. 1: a feral hat]