I’m pleased to announce that both Shiloh and I seem to be recovering nicely. Mrs. TwS has noted how odd it is that Shiloh and I both seem to get sick at the same time which leads me to believe either:
- I am, in fact, not a human but some sort of manimal, perhaps with dog genes spliced into my own (in which case I am probably overdue for both distemper and kennel cough vaccines)
- One of us is suffering from a psychosomatic sympathy illness
I have no idea which it may be. On a different note, I just bought a larger dog food bowl so Shiloh and I can eat from it together rather than having to take turns (uh…just kidding there).
But, the advantage to being off sick (assuming you aren’t delusional with Dengue fever or some such) is that you can catch up on some reading. As a result I have two posts from Sources and Methods to recommend.
The first is a review of a speech by Richards Heuer. If you’re not familiar with Heuer, he’s like the big kahuna of intelligence analysis and his Psychology of Intelligence Analysis is required reading in the field (well, there isn’t requires reading in the field but if there was this book would be at the top of the list). It’s quite good and I don’t want to steal the author’s thunder by over-quoting here so I’ll just give you my favorite bit: [italics are the author’s commentary]
“I understand you are all concerned about evaluating whether these structured techniques actually work. So am I. I’d love to see our methods tested, especially the structured analytic techniques Randy and I have written about. The only testing the Intelligence Community has done is through the experience of using them, and I think we all agree that’s not adequate.” (I suppose this is the comment that bothers me at the deepest level. It implies, to me, at least, that the IC doesn’t know if any of its analytic methods work. What other 75 billion dollar a year enterprise can say that? What other 75 billion dollar a year enterprise wants to say that?)
And the other is a neat video about ‘change blindness’ and how we can often miss HUGE changes that are right in front of us. While the video talks about visual perception it’s true in the intelligence field as well, most ably demonstrated by the failure to see the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc until the dust had settled.