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Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Monday, October 6, 2014

NextGen, Voting, and Statistics...

What in the world could these all have in common? 


Welcome to week five of the Graduate Program. Yes... I survived the first official month. And what a month it was. After returning from Hong Kong, two days home and off to Korea for four days. Home one day and I'm back in Bend babysitting the little ones while the parental figures are out of town. Thursday I am off to Austin to watch my two little ones down there, while those parental figures head out. Yes... I am the flying nanny. Next Monday, back on reserve.


NextGen, Voting, and Statistics....

In statistics we've been working on how to design a research project. How to sample. Size, randomness, etc. And this brings me to my point. 

NextGen:

The FAA testing for NextGen has been on a volunteer basis. Sounds like a random sample? I don't think so. The only people who will be flying to the FAA training center and exposing their ability are checkairman, instructors, or have just gone through training. Highly competent and confident pilots.... those who have the ability and do not fear the scrutiny. Meaning, they are only testing the best of the best. Is that a valid and reliable study? Might be reliable as all pilots will perform equally as well...but not sure if that performance represents the normal population. 

Is it possible to conduct valid NextGen testing?


Voting: 

1936, "President Alf Landon"... was figured to win because they sent a poll to all people in the phone book and to those who owned cars.  He was supposed to beat Roosevelt with 57% to 43%. However, Roosevelt won with 61% of the votes. Why were they so wrong?

The reason is they polled only the wealthy. So this brings me up to today's election process. Does sending out ballets that someone has to place a stamp on, eliminating the poor from voting? Granted, you and I probably don't think that 49 cents for a stamp is a big deal. However, when you're a single parent, working to make ends meet, and  you don't believe your voice will be heard... will you take the time to buy a stamp and throw away half a dollar? Do you have time and money to get that stamp?


Thus my questions are these... why in the world are we not allowing free postage on the election ballots? Won't we get a better cross representation of the people? And why should voting cost money? The government can send out surveys for consensus data without postage required. 

Don't you think we should vote for free?

On to week five. Bend. Austin. Seattle. Life is a journey... enjoy! 
XO Karlene 

Please tell someone you know to read my novels Flight For Control and Flight For Safety and leave a comment on Amazon, too. It helps so very much! Thank you!

14 comments:

  1. Sorry your question is sensationalized. The only people who have to pay for the submittion of a ballot are those who request an absentee ballot. Every other citizen can vote at a polling booth. Polls are left open late so anyone can vote.

    The question about statistics used during the FDR election is an example of a poor sample population. This example is always used to show why a random sample is better and also the use of confidence intervals is important to show your poll. Please continue listening in your class. You will see that you have used statistics in the same way you are preaching against.

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    1. Absolutely... you and I have a choice.... But some areas you no choice but to vote by mail. Yet for those who do have the option of going to a poll, It takes time and money... day off work...or as you say, going late. But then those single parents have babysitting issues.

      But I have to ask... why not no postage? Wouldn't we get a more broad spectrum turnout from all populations?

      The reason it was a bad sample.. FDR... it only queried the wealthy. Thus I thought about today during the actual election, not just the polls. I believe that the required postage is keeping a select group of people from voting.

      So... while I don't feel posing questions about the way we do things sensationalizes anything... questioning processes is a good thing.

      Yet I will always question people who hide behind "Anonymous" and blast those who ask tough questions.

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  2. Wow! You ask great questions and are obviously up to your elbows in your coursework. I saw a lot of study design and analysis work in my career, but in a much different setting. Of course it is all about the validity of the original design!! Your question, "Is it possible to conduct valid NextGen testing?" is a great one. The easy answer is yes. Unfortunately, a perfectly valid study would also require a truly random sample of properly qualified pilots and *mandating* their participation, when the latter is not permitted (legal) and would likely skew the results. The better answer is no, but you can come reasonably close with good recruiting and screening. Qualifiers are necessary and the study design experts will suggest keeping them to as few as possible and as insignificant as possible. A perfect study? No. A valid study? Yes, but it won't be easy to achieve. (Whether FAA has the means or even the interest to truly validate their sample and the performance study itself remains to be seen.) Thank heavens you can do the majority of your course work from an Internet connected laptop!! Best wishes!! -Craig

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    1. Craig, Thanks for the great comment! I had always used the terms valid and reliable interchangeably. However, the more I look at the people they are getting to volunteer... I see that they are more reliable. As, the results are consistently the same...at the top of the doing great list. However, the validity isn't the average Airbus pilot. The only way as you say is a mandate. And they could do this by working with an airline and create a study for spot... the non-jeopardy annual training event where we would get everyone. Unfortunately the equipment they are using is not available in our training centers. But..when we get closer this is something I might broach the subject as when it's all said and done the equipment will be mandated and must be in our simulators. Thank you so much for the comment!

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  3. Addendum: 1) I wholly agree with your distaste for anonymous poster: if you've got something to say, whether right or not so right, own it!
    Trivia: One individual project during one of my "Research Methods" courses was to obtain and critique an important research project or research-based thesis or dissertation. Smart-ass that I was, I found my own professor's research-based dissertation, blinded it as best I could and went to work. While I got great marks for my analysis, my lame attempt and both respect and good humor was not well received. If analysis of existing work is a part of your course(s), please be careful about the choices and know your author's background. Again, best wishes, -Craig

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    1. That's funny Craig, as I have an analysis of the exact kind due at the end of next week. I will be cautious with that one. I agree... own what we say. And the funny thing is, I love differing opinions. If we all thought the same there would be no learning. What a boring world. Thank you so much for both comments!

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  4. Well, ignoring Mr. Anon's clandestine identity, and ignoring the fact that (s)he can't even spell "submission," and ignoring the fact that (at least in my state) my standard absentee ballot IS free....

    I think your point about NextGen testing is valid, and you certainly back that up with a very poignant example. Not sure why our Mr. Anon has a bone to pick about it. I'd say my "confidence interval" (whatever the hell that is) with him, is just about zero.

    Good point, and good post!

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    1. Thanks for the comment Eric!! Your state is free? The plot thickens as we would think this should be universal. About that confidence interval, we can safely say that we're 95% confident that Mr. Anon does not want the under poor to vote. lol. Why? that we would have to find a causal relationship soon. :)

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  5. I think you make a great point. And, to your anonymous poster, it's not a sensational argument. In WA state one must vote by mailed ballot in almost all counties. There are dropbox locations that one can use in lieu of postal mail, but these are much fewer and farther between than traditional polling places. So again, a barrier - spend a stamp or drive to a dropbox. There are organizations who work to ensure that those who can't get their ballot in will have assistance but the help is not guaranteed. So yes, I agree with Karlene, it's a valid concern, and especially these days, when voting rights are endangered in some of our states, it's very important to make sure all eligible citizens have access to voting.

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    1. Jennifer, that's great we have people who help with the voting process. I'm wondering if that team were active on trying to get free postage like in "Phoenix" ... read Eric's comment... that would be more efficient use of time. I'll have to find that group. Thank you so much for the comment! I think convenience is essential.

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  6. Karlene (and Eric) are are smarter/sharper than me. This is a fun (safe) place to share the real feelings - and support for the soon-to-be *Doctor* Petitt. Go for it! Eric, why are you not in the same degree class-year/program as Karlene? You've got the moxy and we know that you can write... Why not?

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    1. Craig, That's a great idea!! I think we will have to encourage him to do so!

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  7. Karlene I’m amazed by your tempo! You achieve in one month what others won’t in their entire lifetime! With all that traveling and family to add school into it! I wish I knew you recipe for such a performance!

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    1. Ah... you are so sweet. And funny thing is I am writing a book with little tips. :) Flight to Success... but I'm having a challenges with busy. lol. I am so close!! Trying for Christmas... just don't know if it will happen. But I'm trying! Thank you!!!

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