Category Archives: UNL

Graduate hours

My department has divides the 90 hours for a doctoral program into 11 sub-categories, and today I went through it, identifying the precise hours that were, are, or will be taken to fulfill the requirements for a Ph.D. Graduation is still 13-18 months away, but I’m definitely feeling closer to the end that the beginning. I remember walking to the country kitchen in Pierre with my first grad textbook, studying it over chicken salad and being excited…

Also had two conversations re: the OODA loop paper. I’m hearing the same thing from both professors, which is great: they come from different areas of the field, and the biggest fear is that they talk past each other. The dual-processing section will be expanded, to ease in readers who are substantially less familiar with Boyd than, say, the crew of this summer’s Boyd Seminar. I had hoped to be actually done with the paper this week, but it’s better to build it up now and rapidly convert it to part of the dissertation proposal later than the reverse.

OODA Alpha, Part III: The OODA Loop

The OODA model grew from Air Force Colonel John Boyd’s combat-oriented research into psychological theory (Boyd, 1964, 1976a, 1976b, 1986, 1987a, 1987b, 1996; Fadok, Boyd, & Warren, 1995; Fadok, 1997; Osinga, 2007), and since then has been used in the military literature (Alex, 2000; Bower & Hout, 1988; Dickson, 1992; Gray, 1999; Hammond, 2001; Nagl, 2005; Plehn, 2000; Polks, 2002; Richards, 2003, 2006; Sparling, 2002; Sweeney, 2000) and for military doctrine (Department of National Defence, 1996; U.K. Ministry of Defence, 2002; U.S. Department of the Navy, 1995; U.S. Air Force, 1997; U.S. Army, 2003).

The OODA loop is named for the first letter in its four primary processes: Orient, Observe, Decide, and Act. While the model was initially described as a linear process (U.S. Marine Corps, 1997), such a model was recognized as cognitively naive (Cook, Leedom, Grynovicki, & Golden, 2000; Bryant, 2006). Boyd (1996) provides the following, updated visualization:

“The Essense of Winning and Losing”

The OODA model is informed by cybernetics (Boyd, 1976b; Osinga, 2007) so it is not surprising that like all cybernetic systems (Wiener, 1961; Smith & Smith, 1966), the OODA model includes a stimulus component, observation, and a response module, action. Within a dual processing framework, the Level 1 or implicit system is known as “Orientation,” while the Level 2 or explicit system is known as “Decision.” Orientation is always active and guides action through when decisions are made, action is subject to rational control as well.

OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

Graduation Update

I am extremely lucky to have a very caring and very hard working academic adviser. Unfunded out-of-state graduate tuition is quite pricey, and owing to the logic of bureaucracy my summer credits for Notes on Rails were going to be charged as such. A few phone calls later all that was taken care of.

Now, in spite of having completed all the work, I will graduate until December. This doesn’t change the PhD timeline at all, it doesn’t alter my fall assistantship, and I won’t need to re-comp. The only thing it does impact are the date on a peace of paper (meaningless!) and a chunk of change (meaningful!).

So unlike what happened to my bike, this is good news!

Glad to be appreciated

Apparently the “Notes on Rails” project is going well — after the wedding day presentation to my adviser, I now have a contract position to continue developing it through the summer (on top of the doctoral credits for doing the same), plus my school-year-assistantship has been bumped up to a research assistantship in a related area.

Timewise, next semester will be busy but productive. I have only about three hours a week of pre-structured time in the fall, the rest being for research and work. I really like an environment such as this. I’ve never been one for make-work, and the longer I’m in it the more grad school lets you focus on getting things done.

Near Disaster!

In our quest to determine (among other things) how educational visual design impacts student behavior…

we battled my incompetence and insane anti-piracy technology,

  • The first struck as I was copying our experiment files (written in Medialab, the same program that we did last semester’s research) from the shared drive to the C:\ drives of the individual computers. I overwrote the old installed Medialab copies with the new Medialab files. To the extent this put new experiment and questionnaire files on the individual computers, this was great. Less great was…
  • Medialab philosophy that its users are thieves and must be dealt with harshly. Copying a new copy of Medilab onto the drive in the same location as the old one trips some sort of DRM nonsense. Not only did our registered copies stop working, but re-entering our registration codes would not work. If Medialab was more impressive this may be understandable, but Medialab is little more than what a talented highschooler could whip up over a weekend.

Fortunately, with literally four minutes to go before the first forty participants start filing through, the day was saved by

  • John Fulwider, graduate student extraordinary. John called MediaLab’s parent company after the end of office hours, and somehow managed to get through to a real person amidst the voicemail. Talking to a MediaLab rep (a company whose terrible DRM system is matched only by their out-of-this-world-amazing customer service), we managed to get everything up and running in time.

Starting up a human-subjects experiment is stressful. The combination of technology, technique, and humans always is. But it’s a great experience. Of all the friends and teachers I have met in the Department of Political Science — and there are many — Dr. John Hibbing and fellow student John Fulwider are the two absolute role-models. Hibbing is everything an R-1 professor should be. And Fulwider is everything an R-1 professor-to-be should be. I am incredibly lucky & proud to know them both.

Thank you, UNL Department of Political Science

On February 12, two days after my dad’s heart-attack, my colleagues at UNL’s department of political science sent me a wonderful get-well card for my dad.

The card had wonderful handwritten notes, from both the faculty and staff of the department — men and women I admire and look up to

“Very sorry to hear the news. I am thinking of you & hoping things get better”
“Hope everything turns out OK. We are thinking about you and your family.
“I am so sorry. Please know that my thoughts are both you.”
“My family will keep you & your family in our prayers. Let me know what I can do for you.

As well as from my fellow graduate students — men and women who work besides me, take the same classes as me…

“J. & I are thinking of you” – J.F.
“All my best” – A.F.
“Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.” – S.S.
“All my best” – D.B.
“We are all here for you during this rough time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in any way.” T.M.
“Condolences.” – M.H.
“Take care of yourself. I’ll take you to lunch later this week” M.S.
“I am sorry to hear about your father. He is a really good guy and I hope he pulls through.” – M.T.
“Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.” – C.J.
“I am thinking of you, and your family and wishing you all the best.” – T.W.
“Just want to let you know that I’m thinking of you and your family. Please let me know if I can do anything to help.” – J.T.
“Thinking of you and your family. Hope for the best. Take care.” – C.J.

and even argue the eccentricities of Keynesian economics with..

“I am very sorry to hear about this change and I promise that I’ll let you win an argument sometime soon to maybe make you feel better… 🙂 ” -D.O.

My mother has spent the past two days writing her thank-yous. We have a bag that is, physically, overflowing with the kind wishes our family has received. We have four stacks of envelopes to go out already.

But I’m younger in life, I don’t have as many contacts, and, of course, I feel more natural talking to people online than through the post office. So I write these messages, and so many kind people take time out of their day to share their thoughts.

This blog is nothing without your contributions. I’ve said that before, and that is true. And many real life friends have been with me through all this through the blog. More than any event in my life, this tragedy has united me to people.

But there is still a special feel to atoms, to paper and physical things. So I want to thank everyone in the department who wrote, and everyone there who has shared kindness to me in every other way since 2005. I want to thank the department, and the professor I teach under this semester, for both sending flowers to the funeral.

Minutes before the mass started, my mother and I walked to the front of the department. She was so impressed, and proud.

My dad always loved flowers.

And I want to thank J.F. and S.S. for even planning on surprising me and driving up, before two blizzards and two closed interstates made travel both impossible and crazily dangerous.

To my friends and colleagues in the department — everyone is in both categories — thank you. I love you.

Not Box Seats, Admittedly…

Nebraska Expects Tough Time from La. Tech,” Associated Press, 2 September 2006,

… but my office now offers a direct and near-level view of the ginormous big-screen TV installed over the north end of Memorial Stadium. Add in live (to the second) streaming commentary from, and I am one happy graduate student.

I remodeled my office specifically to allow me to see the game while working on my laptop, and this is extremely cool. I am also able to hear announcements from the stadium, and also hear the rhythmic chants of Go Big Red.

Huskers Nation

The Huskers will be playing before their NCAA-record 276th consecutive sellout in a stadium that has been expanded to 81,067 with addition of 6,500 seats and 13 skyboxes in the north end zone.

As part of the $50 million facilities upgrade, Nebraska also boasts a video screen that’s 117 feet wide and 33 feet high.

Nebraska comes into the game off three straight wins to close an 8-4 season. The Huskers are ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2002 and are favored to win the Big 12 North for the first time since 1999.

“I feel I’m 6 years old and it’s going to be Christmas morning on Saturday,” defensive end Jay Moore said. “With all the upgrades, the new seats and the new big screen, the stadium will be rocking.”

Nebraska is paying a $750,000 guarantee to the Bulldogs, who also play September road games at Texas A&M and Clemson.

The Huskers are favored by three touchdowns, but the Bulldogs plan to give them their money’s worth.

Go Big Red!