We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In nine years of engineering education and 37 years of engineering teaching, statistics was the most confusing, difficult topic I encountered. The math itself is easy, but the concepts are subtle on the extreme and slippery. you are never certain you did it right or even close enough. Even experienced profession statisticians make serious errors.
The F-104 may not have been the safest fighter ever built, but it was operated in other countries with a better record than in Germany. From what I've read, many of the German squadron commanders had been aces in WWII, and believed they could fly anything with wings on it, without the need for a lot of study or briefing...
I have known a lot of fighter pilots and have many long time friends who are fighter pilots. With few exceptions they are arrogant, over confident, daring, bold and fearless. I wouldn't want them to be anything else. But an interesting thing happens as they pass 35-40 years old, they become better and safer pilots.
All the fighter pilots I've known pretty much fit your mold. I would replace better and safer pilots with more prudent and safer pilots for the aging effect.
Everyone who went through t-birds in UPT had to be somewhat fearless. It was neither the safest nor most forgiving training airplane ever, probably because it was just a stretched fighter. When I graduated, you could pretty well tell who was going to pick F-86's, based on personality. I was the old man of the flight (26), with two kids, and bypassed the F-86 for a MATS C-121C assignment. Never regretted it.
Well, this was discouraging, for one who has thought in terms of graphs, probabilities, and statistics since childhood. It's a good point, however. One can find benefits to uses of statistics, but much of it is at the margins.
Assistant Village Idiot
Loved his reminiscences about slide rules. Can't remember the Geology class (may have been crystallography) but we took sliding centre bit out of our slide rules, turned it upside down, reinserted it, and - voila - were able to calculate some really cool figures. Would love to meet the genius who discovered THAT relationship.