Watching Bodyguard

I’ve been watching British police story Bodyguard on Netflix.

Did anybody notice that the British show is much much much more diverse than any American police/politics drama. I mean, yeah, sure, I noticed in past viewings that black people in Europe, when caught on camera are very happy and well respected. But this show… It has random Asian on the bomb squad! Mixed races of all kinds at all levels of the government. Police force had more women than men in powerful places… And it all fit naturally–and it may just be British English on my American ears, but it all seemed so proper. (As opposed to American shows in which female leadership seems forced… With few exceptions of course.) Maybe it’s because of their Queen that their entire culture has builtin affordance for women in power.

The bomb squad is a job, in American shows, usually reserved for red-blooded white Americans plus one African American. The Bodyguard shows us a vision of truly diversely integrated society.

I suppose the British empire did have a few more years of experience with multiculturalism than America. Whether it is enslavement or equality and rights creation, they have always been on the forefront of not just behind Americans.

I guess the only grudge I can have for this show is there is not an Asian villain. Sure the bad guy looks German, I guess it’s a running joke about Brits’ (or is it the Englishes’) feeling about Germans… But if the European/British organized crime suddenly had a Mexican or Singaporean syndicate… Wouldn’t that be something?

Perhaps the grass is greener on this side when viewed from the other side?

Oh the Cost of Red Hearings

It occurred to me that this whole death of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing might be a red herring to block news of Harvard discrimination from surfacing. I happen to follow the latter news and it has all but disappeared from my news feeds since the journalists death.

If there is any thing we know about Harvard, is that it hosts a whole lot of foreign donors and famous people. According to news, possibility of future donation is a very influential consideration for admission to Harvard. If this setup is ruined, it could affect future Saudi princes or nobilities from being admitted.

Plausible explanation, imho, of the sloppy way this is being handled by everyone in power as well as many famous people. For example the first related news was Jamie Dillon, CEO of Chase, the largest bank, refusing to attend Saudi investment conference. Mr. Dillon of course has his MBA from Harvard. Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, Brown Alumni, also has Ivy League connection. The only other CEO mentioned in headline news is Richard Branson, who obviously didn’t go to school. Trump who is down playing this seem to be unaffected by his Penn connection. In the case of Branson and Trump, these guys are so rich and powerful that they may not suffer from influence of Harvard.


NIPS is to Drag Suit

Read an article about NIPS considering changing it’s name because it is slang for either many anything Japanese people or a nipple visible through clothing.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with someone explaining what a drag suit is, or rather what it isn’t. Drag suit increase water resistance and makes it harder for a swimmer to swim. And this is for normal atheistic swimmers, not a special-interest niche of people.

But I didn’t mind explaining it at all.

For people who grew up with NIPS and not nip or nips, there is no confusion.

Also, the review and data gathered to decide to keep the name was interesting exercise in data science, imho. The committee lamented that half of the opinionated women wants to change and half do not. (Opinionated in that they expressed a non-neutral preference in the official survey.) It would be a displeasure to half of the women both changing and not changing the name. The feminist infection I got from a youthful encounter is rolling my eyes and chewing the word “men!!!”

And honestly, of all the people that I’ve ever met who knew of NIPS, CS/mathy folks, many of hem leaders of this field, they didn’t seem the inappropriate kind. To these people, there are far more amusing artifacts of nature, and corollarily, hacks to nature, that render these kind of jokes and computer hacking kind of uninteresting. But admittedly, with diversity come these kind of cultural inconveniences–and by diversity, here, I mean in addition to there being women, the diversity of professional cultures and standards of behavior. When you bring doctors and lawyers and biologists and statisticians and business people, and pliticians, and judges(federal and appeals and…) and drug companies and weapons companies and social network companies to a academic conference… this little problem with a slang, albeit very sensitive, should seems rather small and inconsequential in the face of the more material challenged AI faces.

Let’s hope that problem is addressed systematically as humanity grows.

And CS will survive this! I mean considering it survived explaining why the Neural Information Processing Systems was dominated by Tree based methods, boosting, kernel methods, Bayesian methods for so long a time, and only now do we finally have anything remotely Neural. Nobody minded explaining then and no body should worry now.