The Very Long Trip: June 8-14

August 23, 2014 4:09 pm

The second week was lots of hanging around. The cousins all had a blast playing together. You can see one of my notebooks in these pictures on the table. That was just half the reading for the deterrence class.  Once I was back for the weekend we went to the Dallas Aquarium.

And here's a video of Heather playing with the hose:

The Very Long Trip: June 1-7

August 21, 2014 9:06 pm

June 1 - 7:

Jess and Heather spent this week (as most of the month) hanging out with family.  Heather was able to meet grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.  She had a blast with all of them after having a little time to warm up.

Kyle picked up his rental car and drove down to College Station.  The Lab invited me to participate in what they call the National Security Leadership Program.  It's a joint program with Texas A&M.  Each year the Lab selects ~7 employees to participate in the program.  During June, those employees go to Texas A&M to take two graduate courses in national security at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.  Then we take another course during each of Fall and Winter via video conference.

The two classes during June covered nuclear deterrence and coercion theory, international relations theory, military strategy, history of U.S. intelligence programs, intelligence agency organization and tradecraft, and counter-intelligence operations.  The intelligence/counter-intelligence course was taught by a retired Director of Counter-Intelligence at the CIA who spent his life under cover as a case officer working operations around the world.  So he knew his material.  Both classes were fascinating and enjoyable.

They were a lot of work though.  The deterrence course had 4 books to read plus 100-250 pages of reading per night and two papers.  The intelligence course had 3 books, but luckily minimal additional reading, as well as a paper and two exams.  So I was very busy the entire month.

I was, however, able to drive back up to Frisco for the weekends to hang out with everyone and have a little fun.

The first weekend we went to the Perot Science Museum and celebrated my birthday.

I told you so...

August 19, 2014 9:45 am

This report from Statista has been making the rounds telling everyone how Honda Accords and Civics are magnets for theft.

Now it is important to remember our discussion about Bayesian statistics and why the headline of the article and chart, "Honda Owners Are Most At Risk From Car Theft," is simply wrong.  This data makes no attempt to account for the number of these vehicles in use when considering how likely a vehicle is to be stolen.  What this data really says is, "Of cars that have been stolen, we counted more Honda Accords and Civics than other vehicles."  Which is slightly different and explicitly says nothing about how likely Accords and Civics are to get stolen.  Claiming that, from this data, Accords and Civics are most likely to be stolen is disingenuous at best.  You must include the "prior" that accounts for the number of Accords and Civics that exist in the first place in order to say anything reasonable about the likelihood of Accords and Civics getting stolen.

If you don't at least know about Bayesian statistics you'll be misled by people who, either intentionally or not, report misleading data.  And I guarantee this report is being used today to sell additional insurance coverage to someone sitting in a Honda dealer buying a car (the same way they tried to do so to me in 2007).