Month: January 2018

Journalist af karsken bælg: En bog om Lise Nørgaards journalistik af John Chr Jøgensen

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Godt niveau og levende sprog fra en akademisk herre der har baggrunden i orden som kyndig i kvindelige journalister skrives om nationalklenodiet, Lise i guldsandalerne, og damens mindre fremdragede side fra tiden som mesterlærling frem til stjerneskribentens Pilestrædetid med ekstraordinær ret til ucomputeriseret skrivemaskine. Jørgensen placerer hende som borgerlig individualist med ben i næsen, en ironisk distance og fornyer af journalistgenrer.

På side 38-39 får vi smag på sprogkunsterens evner: Hendes allerførste nu 81 år og et par uger gamle lederartikel fra den 4. januar 1937 i Roskilde Dagblad. Anledning var udenrigspolitiske forviklinger ved et royalt bryllup mellem en hollandsk prinsesse og en tysk prins og her hedder det om naziregeringen at:

“Den har følt, at noget maatte der gøres, og da det ikke var muligt at faa en Finger med i Spillet i selve Holland, vedtoges det at fratage tre tyske Prinsesser af ædleste Blod, der skulde være Brudepiger ved Formælingen af den formastelige Prins og Prinsessen i det Land, hvor en Fodboldkamp med Tyskland kunde foregaa under andet Flag end det med Hagekorset, deres pas. Naa, da Ilterheden havde lagt sig og en Kurér fra den indeklemte Prins havde været hos Hitler, maatte man fra Naziside være blevet klar over, at saadan skulde det alligevel ikke gribes an.” En indskudt dobbelt bisætning med alliterationer og så deres pas og nå!

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“En Frygtelig Kvinde” and gender

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En Frygtelig kvinde” is a recently premiered Danish film. On this blog I have previously considered how male and female view a film differently: In the case of the Klown movie, there seems to be a slight tendency for female reviewer to be less enthusiastic.

En Frygtelig kvinde” portrays a man and a woman as they fall in love and move together. Keeping in mind the title, “A terrible woman”, would it mean that male film reviewers grade it higher than female reviewers? Below is a small sample – by no means complete – of published film reviews from assorted venues. Danish grades typically go from 1 to 6.

Grade Gender Venue Reviewer
4 Female/Male Berlingske Sarah-Iben Almbjerg, Kristian Lindberg
4 Male BT Michael Lind
5 Male Ekko. Claus Christensen
4 Male Ekstra Bladet Henrik Queitsch
4 Male Filmland P1 Per Juul Carlsen
5 Male Politiken iflg Kino.dk Kim Skotte
 5 Male Soundvenue Rasmus Friis
 4 Male Moovy Elliot Peter Torres
 5 Female Den korte Avis Lone Nørgaard
 2 Male CinemaZone Daniel Skov Madsen
 1 Male Filmz Morten Vejlgaard Just
 4 Female Jyllands-Posten iflg. Kino.dk Katrine Sommer Boysen
 ? (fairly negative, which perhaps can be translated to “3”)  Female Information  Lone Nikolajsen

There are too few reviews for us to make any firm conclusions. A notable issue is two very negative reviews by two males.

A few samples: While Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis finds it very funny (“skidesjov” og “pissesjov”) the male Filmz reviewer views it as “a misogynist crappy movie” (“en kvindefjendsk lortefilm”).  Two fourth-wave female feminists have opposite views: “a fantastic movie” vs. “really disappointed“.

Even the woman in the movie generates opposite views. The actress, Amanda Collin, are generally praised, but for POV International the character is “faceted” while Louise Kjølsen finds it stereotypical. Lone Nikolajsen characterizes the two main characters as “two well-known sex role clichés”.

According to Ekko, Directory Christian Tafdrup’s previous film sold only 1’603 tickets(!) but was generally praised and received several awards. “En frygtelig kvinde” is produced for just 4 million Danish kroner and the theater was packed when I viewed it.

Code for love: algorithmic dating

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One of the innovative Danish TV channels, DR3, has a history of dating programs with Gift ved første blik as, I believe, the initial program. A program with – literally – an arranged marriage between to participants matched by what was supposed to be relationship experts. Exported internationally as Married at First Sight the stability of the marriages has been low as very few of the couples have stayed together, – if one is to trust the information on the English Wikipedia.

Now my colleagues at DTU Compute has been involved in a new program called Koden til kærlighed (the code for love). Contrary to Gift ved første blik the participants are not going to get married during the program, but will live together for a month, – and as the perhaps most interesting part – the matches are determined by a learning algorithm: If you view the streamed program of the first episode you will have the delight of seeing glimpses of data mining Python code with Numpy (note the intermixed camelcase and underscore :).

The program seems to have been filmed with smartphone cameras for the most part. The participants are four couples of white heterosexual millenials. So far we have seen their expectations and initial first encounters, – so we are far from knowing whether my colleagues have done a good job with the algorithmic matching.

According to the program, the producers and the Technical University of Denmark have collected information from 1’400 persons in “well-functioning” relationships. There must have been pairs among the 1’400 so the data scientist can train the algorithm using pairs as the positive examples and persons that are not pairs as negative examples. The 350 new singles signed up for the program can then be matched together with the trained algorithm. And four couples of – I suppose – the top ranking matches were selected for the program.

Our Professor Jan Larsen was involved in the program and explained a bit more about the setup in the radio. The collected input was based on responses to 104 questions for 667 couples (apparently not quite 1’400). Important questions may have been related to sleep and education.

It will be interesting to follow the development of the couples. There are 8 episodes in this season. It would have been nice with more technical background: What are the questions? How exactly is the match determined? How is the importance of the questions determined? Has the producers done any “editing” in the relationships? (For instance, why are all participants in the age range 20-25 years?). When people matches how is the answer to the question matching: Are the answers homophilic or heterophilic? During the program there are glimpses of questions, that might have been used. Some examples are “Do you have a tv-set?”, “Which supermarket do you use?”and “How many relationships have you ended?” It is a question whether a question such as “Do you have a tv-set?” is a any use. 667 couples compared to 104 questions are not that much to train a model and one should think that less relevant questions could confuse the algorithm more than it would help.