Juan F. Tellez

University of California, Davis

December 5, 2023

Plan for today

  • What’s this class about?

  • Getting to know each other

  • Voting patterns in the United Nations

What’s this class about?

Most wanted lists

  • Countries like the US spend lots of resources trying to kill, capture leaders of non-state armed groups
    • Rebel groups, terrorist orgs, organized crime
  • This is known in the literature as decapitation
    • “to cut off the head”

Does decapitation work?

The data: Milton and Price (2020)

Name Year Decapitated? Collapsed?
April 19 Movement (M-19) 1987 0 0
April 19 Movement (M-19) 1988 0 0
Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) 1996 0 0
Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) 1997 1 0
al-Qaeda 1988 0 0
al-Qaeda 1989 0 0

The results: a big effect!

Decapitated terrorist groups are 3 times more likely to collapse

Does this mean decapitation causes terrorist orgs to break down?

Not so fast…

Groups that are decapitated are different from groups that aren’t decapitated

Groups that were decapitated
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
Dev Sol/DHKP-C
People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Groups that weren't decapitated
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Lautaro Youth Movement (MJL)
Ansar al-Sunnah Army
Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)

The groups that are decapitated might be the weakest ones, the ones that states especially want to destroy, ones where leaders are more important, etc.

We need to adjust for these differences, otherwise our estimates will be confounded

What is this class about?

Wrangling and visualizing data to explore the questions we care about

Using models to describe how one political variable might cause another

Thinking causally about the relationships we observe

Grappling with uncertainty in the relationships we observe

An emphasis on doing

  • No readings
  • regular, sustained practice with hands-on problem sets
  • 10 weeks of focused study in R, a powerful and in-demand programming language

Class philosophy:

Little to none of this:

\[\sigma^2 = \frac{\sum_{i=1}^{n}(x_i - \mu)^2} {n}\]

Lots of this:

prison |> 
  # look at california
  filter(state == "California") |> 
  # measure variation over time
  summarise(prison_sd = sd(incarcerated_total, na.rm = TRUE))

This class is practical

This class could be a couple lines on a resume:

  • Ability to work with data ➡️ marketable

  • R is popular in industry

  • Familiarity with R ➡️ other languages

  • Principles learned in R can be applied elsewhere (Excel)

  • Problem-solving in Slack

Let’s look at the website

There’s a lot of work (and coding) in this class

  • I warned you!

  • Anyone can do it, yes “even” you

  • you will be surprised at what you can do by the end

  • But you have to try your best

  • If this doesn’t work for you, take another class


It’s easy when you start out programming to get really frustrated and think, “Oh it’s me, I’m really stupid,” or, “I’m not made out to program.” But, that is absolutely not the case. Everyone gets frustrated. I still get frustrated occasionally when writing R code. It’s just a natural part of programming. So, it happens to everyone and gets less and less over time. Don’t blame yourself. Just take a break, do something fun, and then come back and try again later.

Hadley Wickham, Chief Data Scientist at RStudio

🚨🚨 Problem sets = 50% 🚨🚨

For the love of all that is good

Do the weekly check-ins; they are free points

Go to section, ask for help on Slack

Do not miss homeworks in this class

Missing one = leaving a big chunk of your final exam blank

I want students who are working hard to do well, but I can’t save you

Try your best and have fun

Who am I ?

Grew up in Cali, Colombia…

…and Ft. Lauderdale

Went to UF (go gata)…

North Carolina

PhD at Duke University in Durham, NC…

I specialize in political violence, development, and Latin America

South Carolina

…The baby

Due: 10/4 (any day now)

Birthday on 10/6

The TAs

👨‍🎓 Haley Darstaad

👩‍🎓 RyuGyung (Rio) Park

👨‍🎓 Jack Rametta

Who are you ?

What year are you?

Where are you from?

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Santa Clarita, CA
San francisco / Malaysia
Pittsburg, CA
Roseville, California
San Jose, California
Watsonville, California
Davis, CA
Fairfield, California
San Ramon, CA
Fontana, California
San Jose, CA
Concord, CA
Irvine California
Porterville, CA
San Diego, CA
San Ramon, CA
Santa Rosa, California
Dallas, Texas
Cloverdale, CA
Antioch, California
San Lorenzo, CA
Woodland, California
Bakersfield, California
Sunnyvale, California
Fairfield, CA
Seoul, South Korea
San Jose, CA
Fremont, California

Everyone’s in the same boat

Lots of cool stuff

Something cool about you?
One of my favorite hobbies is skiing, and I am on the Davis ski team
I love gambling
I have 6 pairs of crocs and a large squishmallow collection
I really enjoy playing guitar and the violin.
I can play most songs after listening to them
Never satisfied at the current conditions
I am a volleyball referee, and a player, and a coach :)
I play on the lacrosse team here at UCD! I have been playing lacrosse since I was 7 years old.
I love nature and doing activities in nature such as camping, hiking, and rafting.
I make world maps in my free time.
I work two jobs while in school
im a black belt in karate
I'm a soccer fan and I don't like Messi.
I used to have pink hair :)
I'm a dj and events director for kdvs
I can't really think of anything cool, I have lived a fun life and had lots of amazing experiences but I can't think of specific details I would say make me cool
I make my own jewelry.
I love baking and sewing
I have six pet birds.
I enjoy dirt biking as a hobby.
I can drive stick shift!
I went to Romania this summer.
I have a small Snoopy collection
My biggest hobby is playing and watching soccer.
I know how to speak Chinese(Is that something cool?)
I used to do boxing and kickboxing
I have a cat named Lucky
I used to live in Dubai for two years
I do jiu-jitsu. However, I've yet to find a gym in Davis.
im left handed

Divided on euthanasia

Best number

Worst number

Not enough kids

Tail of…

True crime

Why is true crime so popular?
A lot of Americans live in a pretty high standard of safety and heinous crimes are rarely experienced in their lives. However, news media does a particularly good job of sensationalizing violence and the horrific crimes of serial killers, murderers, etc., placing people in a high state of fear. This fear, however, turns into fascination and deep curiosity, and I think the gore and violence of true crime becomes something that provides stimulation to people.
Because ordinary people can't do these things in the real world, they're against the law
Perhaps people like stuff that’s weird, taboo, extreme, bc it goes against what’s societally accepted or expected. Maybe it’s so detached from their everyday lives and routines that it excites/ interests them. Death and murder have also been a natural part of humanity. Probably a multitude of factors as to why people are into it..
I love this question. I think there are multiple reasons for the "true crime" genre's popularity. Some people want to know the details of a famous/unsolved murder to potentially be prepared if they encounter a situation like that in the future. Some people are detached from reality and view true crime as a collection of fictional stories, which is gross. True crime can also be sensationalized and exploitative towards the victims if not discussed with proper care, and I think some people get way too caught up in the sensationalization of real people's murders. Of course, there's also simple "morbid curiosity," where you're horrified by the details but just can't stop watching/listening.
We want to solve mysteries and puzzles, so true crime catches our attention.
I think because people are one event away from turning to crimes . Or people genuinely think those crimes are cool.. But also I think the way media portrays them are screwed and doesn't really neccessarily show the devastating affects that it had on people in real life. They just make them suspenceful and entertaining.
I think people are interested in what could drive someone to commit a murder. It is (in my opinion) the most extreme act a human can commit, so I think people are highly fascinated with the details of these stories and how it could conclude with murder.
People are usually interested in areas they don't understand.
It is because people like the exhilarating emotions that these shows and podcasts put into the stories, and people are fascinated by these stories because they either want to know why, or because they have an unhealthy obsession with soft gore.
I think its just because of morbid curiosity to see some of the darkest things that people are capable of. I also think people just like to be scared
Maybe because it is outside of most people's comfort zones so it is like a breath if fresh air for them
I think there's a very deep rooted interest in dark and twisted content in today's society easily accessed on the internet. I believe true crime also has an appeal due to the fact that the stories being broadcasted could happen to anyone and therefore strikes its audiences in a very intriguing way.
It often brings out whatever dark thoughts a person may have but do not/or can not act on.
I think because it allows people to seemingly experience the most ruthless and often senseless kinds of crime in a way that allows them to not be harmed, and from the safety of their own home. I think it has a lot to do with curiosity about the taboo, and many of the most famous true crime stories focus on crimes that are unusual and quite fascinating to learn about.
poeple like the shock i guess
Because humans are invested in thrills and fear
I believe people are fascinated by these stories because of the interest in learning why these serial killers did what they did. For example, what was going through the murderers head that they deliberately felt satisfaction in ending a persons life. Another interest people might have about it is the serial killers upbringing which is talked about a lot in podcasts and shows, so I feel people are also interested in the events that lead serial killers to commit the crimes they did.
I love to watch videos about murders, too. I think it's because this famous or unsolved murders let people give their imagination to them, especially for unsolved ones. I have seen people made up many answers to one unsolved murder. (but I don't like unsolved murders; a murder that I cannot know the truth can't fulfill my curiosity.) The reason of their popularity may be similar to the reason of the popularity of detective movies or novels.
I think because no one truly understands the perspective and reasoning why murderers murder or cannibals commit cannibalism for example. These shows allow the average viewer/ordinary person to see the other side of the story and I think this fascinates people since it’s a glimpse into the mind of a criminal and just how smart they can be.
I believe that knowing and learning about true crime stories is a way to stay informed and also delve into the minds of murderers which is what makes it so fascinating: the psychological differences between the mind of a criminal and the average person. From a sociological standpoint, it's also interesting to see how the public, media, and the authorities react and take action on these issues.

What is hair metal?

Guns and Roses

weak TV consensus: Riverdale

But i’m a creep…

UN Voting

At the United Nations, someone proposes a resolution

The countries vote on it

Let’s look at some voting patterns