Tag Archives: Cambridge

The FX slogan in action

I always loved the FX slogan, it is true, and it is at the centre of entertainment. Yet is it at the centre of viable analytics? Is a result merely presented as an anecdote more acceptable? We seem to lack the ability to take a step back and look at it in a clinical setting, because it is not always about the mere setting.

A scientist will show you how expensive progress exactly is.
A diplomat makes you look forward to the invoice attached to it.

This is a setting that we seem to laugh at. Now take this in a very different direction: ‘A person who is 30% white is still 70% guilty‘. You are not laughing now are you? Take this to the next level with KTVU naming the crew of a plane crash (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpP2S6c74Ts), still having fun? The people connected to Asiana Flight 214 are not, I am certain of that. So when we see this, where do we go? Well we need to take a short pit stop when we address something that I have seen in my surrounding. The practice is not wrong, it can be loaded and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong.

To get this we need to look at 2009, when Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian told the audience: “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades“, this is true, it has been true for decades. So as data becomes is found everywhere it becomes the setting of an almost opposition. To get data from almost common sense (where everyone seemingly gets it, to a stage that the presentation of numbers, with a story, almost any story that fits we get to see that companies are desperately searching for talent with data skills and they make it worse by trying to find people who can tell a story. Yet where is the story the value? Is that because it is more believable, or because it fits the moment? Yet that danger is now growing as well. You see each quarter the story needs to be amended and builds upon the previous story and investors have a much better memory than some realise. This is where Forbes gets us with “Interestingly, much of the current hiring emphasis has centered on the data preparation and analysis skills—not the “last mile” skills that help convert insights into actions. Many of the heavily-recruited individuals with advanced degrees in economics, mathematics, or statistics struggle with communicating their insights to others effectively—essentially, telling the story of their numbers.” I am not sure that this is a correct path. Instead of focussing on the communication skill, we are given data presentations by Mother Goose and Mr Grimm and in all that, will we get the story that is told correctly? I have prepared dashboards and data reports for decades. I have seen how some jumps were made on the assumption of one result, whilst the data was not supporting it, or it was, yet only after targeted weighting? In that we get the story that is a partial truth, yet it is in that same instant a partial lie too and that part will no longer get the proper scrutiny that is required.

So now we get to the good stuff. Now we get to the Guardian that treated us to: ‘China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/04/china-planted-chips-on-apple-and-amazon-servers-report-claims). Is it possible? Yes it is, yet the numbers and the speculative sides in all this is a larger problem, or better stated it is a large issue in a much larger universe and we are merely shown the keyhole view with the audio of two moaning people. Yet whether they are having sex or are pushing the bed around cannot be stated as we merely see a wall and part of a piece of furniture and we go by the sounds we hear. So when we consider that the corn borer can make the identical sound of a bat, so much so that the female corn borer moths cannot distinguish between the sound of a real bat and the sound of a male moth imitating a bat. Which quite literally gets her screwed, it’s merely how he gets lucky.

This now relates to the article, where we see: “A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report“, yet when we are also told “The attack was reportedly discovered in 2015 by the US intelligence services, as well as by Apple and Amazon as the companies purchased servers made by Super Micro Computer“, yet companies stay in the dark on this? So first it is Russia, now it is China? Consider the next quote “Amazon, Apple and Super Micro have all denied Bloomberg’s report. Amazon said: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.

Furthermore, we see both “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems“, as well as “Apple said: “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.“. Is this an issue about what exactly?

This we see in the consideration of: “There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks”“. This is not unique. The American nagging and the nagging by its bitches (aka Australian Intelligence) is becoming a much larger setting as to the stage on where economic prosperity goes to. This is as I personally see it, the setting of a stage on where outsourcing goes to. This seems to be much more realistic and much more believable. You see, if there was truth in the Bloomberg part, if there was the real setting of “Apple had reportedly bought around 7,000 Super Micro servers when its security teams discovered the chips“, in that setting 7,000 server boards would have been shown to the world, it would have changed everything, places like Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and UTS (which has Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak as a professor). They would be showing you the high and low of it all, yet that did not happen did it? So when we are seeing “Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%“, which is interesting as ZTE was a thorn in the 5G side of the US and a few other players (like Telstra for example) for a much longer time, so is that a mere coincidence? What story telling sides are we not exposed to?

However, this is not the end. It is important to look at Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is not really the ‘storyteller’ of the century. We get introduced (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies) to the quotes “In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says“, as well as “Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design“, which also gets us: “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines“. This is a much more frightening setting, yet why was this kept in the dark for so long? Not because of any matter that can be attributed to common sense. You see, I find “Still, to actually accomplish a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in Seattle” an acceptable tactic, yet it opens the door on multiple places, places that are implied but not shown into the limelight. The first and perhaps the most visible one is: ‘timeline to design a chip‘. If that is so small, how can we be certain that the CIA did not do this to every Apple and IBM device ahead of fabrication? So when we get to “But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army“, why them? Why not the Ministry of State Security? When we look in those directions, I personally find Chen Wenqing has a much more deceptive look then Xi Jinping. For either, funding would never have been the issue. And in the end Bloomberg gives us: “Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons“. So yes, Bloomberg is raising questions, questions on where we need to consider ourselves in regards to China, an issue not properly raised by the Guardian this time around. Yet in both cases we end up with questions. We know that 5G will be a multi trillion industry and the US is desperate to melt the cogs of Chinese industry here, they have a backlog that is too large, there is at present no chance that the US, or Europe could catch up with China. The Chinese focus had been on 5G for too long, production is nowhere near it needs to be to go up against China. Yet this story, this event 3 years old and never in the limelight until now, that is impacting Lenovo and ZTE, so one of the 5G drivers is now as they call it: ‘In the shits‘, a 14% loss is nothing to get sneered at. And this optionally links back to the accusations against China in 5G, yet they are all still stories. The evidence was never handed into the limelight, and it also squarely lands the entire matter into the pond of former President Barack Obama, who still wanted to get trade deals going at that stage, so the Democratic party is going to get pushed into this mud pool sooner rather than later, because corporations at a global scale will feel betrayed in this mess. It gets fuelled more when we go back to September 2015, after this mess started and the people (via Reuters) get treated to: “President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.” So, did it happen? Was the story on the servers a ruse? Seems interesting that when placed in the proper timeline, against other news, we see a different setting do we not?

That is the stage we see when we add an element, any linked element to the story, it changes the preface of it and it changes the conclusions of it all. Any story with incomplete data is not a story, it degrades into a fairy tale, and both Mother Goose and Jacob Grimm both had their end of the spectrum when we watched their stories unfold. So where do the Guardian and Bloomberg stand? They go with sources that gave them news, yet when those sources cooperate in getting a particular story told, where do we get to stand, being told a story?

The server boards are evidence, yet where are they? If it is in 7000 server boards, there should be plenty to go around and show the world what was going on, but that did not happen, did it? So even as we were made aware a mere 5 hours ago of: “Huawei is trying to convince the U.S. government that Trump’s trade wars with China might slow down 5G adoption on American soil“, we now see that this is exactly what the US needed, time to catch up, or at least get a bigger slice of the 5G pie chart. You see a nation that is to be regarded as bankrupt cannot rely on importing goods; it needs US based goods to use a circle of non-cycled currency to keep its government running. And the 5G wave will go on for some time, the more time they get, the longer they can negate their official moment of being bankrupt. I am not the only one with that view, the same view is given (with a better economic handling) by Economist Laurence Kotlikoff who gives us: “While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said“, who also gives us: ““The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”” A stage that I had mentioned three years ago, it might have been 4 years ago. I mentioned the settings and the consequences and I only needed an abacus to get there, but according to all the newspapers, I was wrong. Now we see more storytelling games and more pushes by large corporations to keep the current machine switches on, because once it is switched off, it ends for them, they will have no options and the markets will collapse soon thereafter wiping ours (and partially their) retirements away. That is the realism of our day and age and it is a story that I am telling, just like the others. I merely believe that I have seen more data, more complete data and I see the interactions on a wider scale. From that assumption my story is (seemingly) better, truer and more believable, is that the case, is it that for you?

You see, that is the danger with stories, it all hangs on the evidence that we are given and for the longest of times, the supporting evidence has been lacking, or basically completely absent on their side of the discussion. When we watch the Grimm in the TV Series Nick Burkhardt we accept it, because it is entertainment, and when the Grimm kills the Hundjägers, we know it is fabrication, entertaining fabrication mind you. Yet when we see the mention of Lenovo and ZTE, when we realise that 128,000 people are now in a state with an endangered job, families in danger of social security, as well as the impact on a larger scale, are we happy with the tale when it is the story and the non-shown evidence that is the matter. The fact that more parties are in denial is also an issue, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. It is the lack of evidence that is open for scrutiny that becomes the larger issue and that is an issue, it is an issue in every story, so whilst I embrace the FX slogan: ‘the story is everything‘ it is the lack of supported reality that makes it an issue in business intelligence and actual intelligence analyses. A setting that was 3 years in the open and we only get it partially served now, now that the need of America is becoming more and more dire.

The math does not add up and that has a much larger setting in all this than most are willing to admit to at present.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military, Politics, Science

A new congregation

I was utterly surprise to see an article in the Guardian that slightly boggled my mind initially. The article comes from Dr Judith Hawley, professor of 18th century literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. There are a few sides to it and the title was more than just an eye catcher. With ‘I didn’t ‘ban’ Fanny Hill because of trigger warnings – I don’t teach it at all‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/15/fanny-hill-ban-university-trigger-warnings-judith-hawley), I initially wondered if it was politically motivated (as I had never read the book in the first place), so I decided to take a look at it. Consider being a professor and making the headline in a magazine like Vogue because of ““Eyebrows were raised when the first erotic novel in the English language, Fanny Hill, was dropped from a 18th-century literature course ‘for fear of offending students’“, you see, that makes perfect sense in America, a nation where the state of Georgia will reward a blowjob with one year imprisonment, apparently being married to the woman who performs this on you is apparently no defence, so go figure. Nope, this issue (the Fanny Hill one) is happening in the Kingdom of the United. So the mail on Sunday, even the Times had the follow up after the Radio 4 message “In the 1980s I both protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Nowadays I would be worried about causing offence to my students” was given by the professor. In addition, we see “I was accused in the papers, remove Fanny Hill from the university course reading list for The Age of Oppositions, 1660-1780 “following a consultation with students” as the Times reported. It was never on the course, therefore it could not have been withdrawn“, so the media got it wrong on more than one count. There is a reference in the Evening Standard that is was Banned, where the writer Lucy Cleland (who fails English comprehension at this point) with “University of London, has apparently banned the book from her reading list 54 years after it was legally allowed to be published and more than 270 years after it was first written” (at https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/don-t-sanitise-books-such-as-fanny-hill-they-teach-us-so-much-a3611191.html). The professor moves onto the main event with “Yet this isn’t just a story about misrepresentation in the press. There are wider issues at stake, about what is being taught and talked about in universities“, this is actually a lot more important (as I personally see it) than the mere choice of a book being a ‘Yay’ or ‘Nae’ thing. With “The Times article implicitly linked my self-censorship to recent cases of students “no-platforming” public speakers they deemed offensive“. The issue as I see it is “I admit I have been frustrated by students requesting “trigger warnings”, usually about texts which include representations of violence against women. These requests imply that the texts or the teachers of them endorse the violence they represent and that students might be harmed by them. They can, however, provide an opportunity to analyse and respond sensitively to difficult issues“, consider the implication, ‘harm by academic consideration or investigation‘. How are these people even in University? We could consider the words of David Haig (as D.I Grim) with ‘How do such Fooly Woollie Hoiti Toiti academics exist?‘ Not the professor mind you! The professor is being kind by stating it like “But it would be wrong to represent all current students as refusing to listen to views they don’t want to hear. Rather, we could think about this in terms of an evolution in free speech. Students are raising questions about who has the right to speak, the right to determine the agenda, and calling for a diversity of writers to be taught“, the agenda is the education, the degree they signed on for and the teacher has the responsibility to educate them and prepare them for real life as best as possible. you see, when I see ‘Students are raising questions about who has the right to speak‘ as this is getting dangerously close to the judging event of Kristallnacht where Germans decided to burning Jewish goods, like books and paintings. It was not the first time; in 1497 Giralmo Savonarola did something similar in Florence. Here we saw ‘thousands of objects all going up in smoke in front of the Florentine public‘, art that would now be regarded as priceless, books, literary works, all on the whim of censorship by pointing out to the guilty as fornicators and deceivers of the devil, only to propel himself as a prophet and a messiah. So when did this ever go right? We see Ray Bradbury give us the dangers to some extent in Fahrenheit 451. The simplicity of it is within ourselves is by ignoring the side we find uncomfortable, we find it dangerous. There could be some wisdom in banning ‘Mein Kampf’, yet critically analysing it and showing the dangers and teaching the people how dangerous certain approaches are would have been much more powerful. In this it is like making Darrell Huff’s ‘How to lie with statistics‘ a mandatory secondary school subject. when the people at large realise how they are deceived (read misinformed) by the media more often than we realise, that is the first step in making sure that critical facts are displayed to all, giving less rise to innuendo and making all people ask: ‘What are the actual facts?‘ The professor is right that a situation like “they should attend to the power relations implicit in the pedagogic relationship and be aware that students can feel coerced” is a cautious issue to approach. Coercion is dangerous and there should be safety valves to prevent this from getting hold on anyone. In addition, we need to make certain that a critical analysis is available to empower the student with the ability to diffuse situations as they master the trade, the art and their environment. I believe that could in part revoke the issue from growing, which she touches on at the very end. With “A climate of suspicion may be growing on our campuses – but it is fostered in sensational headlines about banning books” If there is a climate of suspicion that it needs to be taken on head on as soon as possible, as visible and as loud as possible. You see, ‘a climate of suspicion‘ can only grow in the shadows, so setting the lights high and bright so that anyone can see everything is the only way to push suspicion in the sewers like the cockroach it is. Open, clear and precise is the only way for the critical mind to move forward and that is the only actual solution. So as the students learn (or would have if the book was on the reading list) is that “The problem with teaching Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power“, which in the cold light of day loses power over others as the students learn about the power it emphasises on (or apparently seems to do). It is the media that is the second part and as it implies that something was banned, whilst it was as the professor stated never on the list, is also a needed consideration to see. You see as we know that Mein Kampf is still banned in many places, as such, how can people protect themselves against the message it holds? And we do not need to go that extreme, how about ‘Love comes later‘ in 2014 banned in Qatar, or Lysistrata in Greece, written in 411BC and was banned in 1967 in Greece because it held anti-War message (something about a military junta and feeling anti-empowered by a pussy for peace option). In this where does Fanny Hill fit (perhaps it does not fit)? You see, it is not merely about the fact that books were presuming to be banned, or actually were banned. It was often the empowering reasoning that made them banned. When we see that a 411BC book gave fear to a Greek Junta of 1967, how powerful would the critical analyses be, to empower those opposing an ultra-right military Junta?

So how is the misrepresentation of banning now the message?

It is not, it merely illustrates the dangers why it is important for the students of now, to ignore (to some degree), the elements of opposition. I personally believe that ‘students might be harmed by them‘ is nothing compared by the actual harm that the ignorance of any fact represents. This especially as the harm is speculative and in the end, the academic mind itself is lessened by not knowing. I am not ignorant of the part of “the student body is larger, more diverse, less privileged and more uncertain about the future, and the ubiquity of pornography has changed the terms of the debate“, yet the premise is within ourselves and the university to alter ‘less privileged‘ to some extent. We can tackle ‘uncertain about the future‘ by giving all the parts we can so that uncertainty is partially lessened, by knowing what was, we see that what might be, and prepare ourselves for the larger extent of the eventuality that will present in actuality. ‘Ubiquity of pornography‘ is a much harder issue. By learning that the common place part of sex and desire is at the core of exploitative profit, we can comprehend that inner drive in exploitation is one we can alter and channel (although most likely impossible in any teenager), the fact is that the true illustration on ‘How sex sells‘ is also a first drive towards your money and as such as it is about the price of what is sold, it merely makes the advertiser a pimp of products we ultimately do not need anyway and as such the consumer is more empowered to see how they are exploited, especially through glossy magazines. And these players are all about ‘trigger warnings‘ because the harassment through the message of incoming harm is one that works too often, too well.

In the end I loved the article as it made me contemplate a few things I never really sat for, I was aware of my actions towards ignoring the messages offered to me, yet the realisation that we can voice a certain reflex is also a way to guide it to act (read: react) better. I personally thought that students who undertook ‘The Age of Oppositions‘ would be eminently equipped to utterly ignore (read: counter, or deal with) ‘trigger warnings#JustSaying

The question becomes where to draw the line. Now, that is all up to the professor and the University, and I am not looking at that part, also I make absolutely no implication in any direction on the need for Fanny Hill to be part of that curriculum. The questions that are shaped in my mind are not merely the comprehension of the event, or how the media covered it, it is also the setting of the stage. Consider the 2011 work of ‘The Promise’. One might want to consider the sides, the acts of the British army and how Israel is depicted there, yet in all this, the work that is the dominating part in creating the drama was “Kosminsky says that his overriding aim was to present the experience of the 100,000 British soldiers who served in Palestine“, the view is very unsympathetic to Israel and the Jews, yet the one part not touched on (perhaps validly), is that one religious group got exterminated for 32% of its totality, in the years that would follow, for Europe the numbers were grim beyond comprehension, 63% of the Jewish population was exterminated, so in every Jewish family 2 out of 3 would be dead, the anger, the rage and disbelieve was only catching on in 1947/1948. That part was missed, or perhaps more accurately stated was not the aim of the story, and as such barely covered. It is however the fuel that underlies in the events we see dramatized in the story. We can argue that this is what the Allies wanted all along for the mere reason that 3.7 enrages Jews running free in Europe would not allow for any reparations to commence for decades to come (personal speculation). It does not lessen the TV series, it does not tell you a lie, it merely shows you a side of Palestine 1946-1948 and the experience of the British soldiers in Palestine remains very real. So should we run at the sight of any ‘trigger warnings‘, that is the question we need to look at as well, that is the underlying issue I see in the guardian article. The mere two words ‘trigger warning‘, we should never ignore them, yet are they dealt with correctly? I do not proclaim to have the answer; I am merely voicing the question. Perhaps there is an answer out there that shows me to be wrong. I cannot tell, yet if education and learnings are impeded with ‘trigger warnings’ what do we end up learning? That is as I see it the most dangerous part in what some call ‘the secular society‘. You see, I am not against secularism, I merely seem to see a larger move where it is not merely about separation of church and state any more. It is more and more about halting, censoring and diminishing religion as a whole, to some degree even countering levels of spirituality. The dangers as we might consider people like Charles Bradlaugh, seemingly grows clusters of anti-socialists, not those who are not social, a form of liberalism where there is an implied growth of working against economic self-management. I wonder if it can be proven, some of the works we see imply it, but do not state is as factual (it might not be the case). If ‘trigger warnings’ push the education into learning of ‘we must not cause offence‘ how far is the sheep catechism of our own inner morality to go? Merely follow any flock and let the loudest secular decide? Yet that is the extent of the dangers the next generation face. I have always believed that empowering any person through educating all the sides of the coin (all three sides) is the only way we can see that the coin that falls on the ledge is not magic, just merely a probability closest to zero. Yet is that true? Some sources state that the chance is 1 in 6000. So in a population of billions, how many radicals landed on their edge? Should we be blinded against them by the alerting message of a ‘trigger warning’?

That is not the merely the premise, in some vocations that becomes the name of the game. So the next congregation better be ready for what comes, because the more you know, the better you can solve whatever comes your way, in my personal view, ‘trigger warnings’ be damned.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Politics, Science