Friday, September 30, 2005

Academic Job Search, Chapter 0: Scanning for openings

So, this week, at the behest of my advisor (who finally gave me the kick in the ass I urgently needed), I finally began in earnest the terrifying task of searching for an academic job.

The first phase is, of course, compiling a list of places to apply to. For computer scientists, this means searching the ACM and the CRA, plus the usual places for other disciplines: The Chronicle and For good measure, I also went to US News & World Report's college rankings --- not because I cared much about the rankings themselves, but because I wanted a good long list of institutions --- and did a brute-force scan through about 200 colleges and universities, searching for "faculty openings", "job opportunities", "human resources", etc. on each school's website. The brute-force scan didn't yield any leads beyond those posted on the jobs sites, but it did give me some context against which to evaluate the institutions that did post offers.

Then, tonight, as recommended by every graduate or soon-to-be-graduate in our program that I've ever talked to, I compiled my grand spreadsheet of institutions and openings. Conclusion: anxiety ahoy.

Currently, there are only a dozen-odd postings that seem like the general sort of job I'm looking for; and by "general sort" I believe I'm casting a pretty wide net (for example, I'm being fairly permissive about geography --- basically, only the Deep South is excluded). If, out of this year's national crop of Ph.D.'s, even a dozen candidates have better resumes than me, plus career objectives remotely resembling mine, then... well, I'd rather not dwell on it, though I do have backup plans.

Anyway. The amount of time and labor involved in this process is exhausting, but more exhausting than that is the simple psychological load of feeling your future career hanging in the balance.

On the other hand, this anxiety's arguably irrational, because 95% of the factors determining your future career options have already been set in stone by the time application season of your final year comes around. The only remaining X-factors are current market conditions and your skill at selling yourself. But the former's out of your control, and the latter can only help you so much (though, I suppose, it could torpedo your chances if you're grotesquely bad; but that seems unlikely for most candidates --- it's hard to accumulate a decent C.V. in the first place if you're that bad at communicating). So really, you should just work hard on your application, and accept what comes with a sort of fatalistic calm.

On the bright side, at least I've found a few openings that could be exciting, if I were to get those offers. My idea of the ideal job is unusual enough that, for the past year or so, I've almost been convinced that there wouldn't be anything even remotely resembling it. At least it's good to know that the probability of getting a decent position is greater than zero, even though it's hard to tell whether the increment's infinitesimal or substantial.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dissecting terrorism

Ed Lazowska, Steve Maurer, Stefan Savage, and Geoff Voelker are once again running a multi-institutional course on public policy and technology. This term's focus is on cybersecurity, but the first few weeks have basically focused on terrorism and security more generally.

Just like last year's offering, there's an online lecture archive with PowerPoints and videos, or synchronized video/slides using WebViewer.

Anyway, I just got home from this evening's lecture (which isn't entirely online yet, but will be soon), and it bears watching. Delivered tag-team style by Gary Ackerman and Jeffrey Bale of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the lecture was an unusually clear-eyed and (relatively) apolitical look at the definition of terrorism, the notion of "weapons of mass destruction", the motivations and deterrability of various styles of terrorist groups, and the likelihood of the various kinds and scales of terrorists attacks using non-conventional weapons. The lecture was sobering and occasionally darkly comic, as such discussions tend to be --- there's something inherently Strangelovian about weighing the probabilities of greater or lesser disasters. The overall message I came away with was: preventing devastating terrorist attacks is vastly complex, and can't be reduced to a simple formula.

Which makes me pretty worried, because America's current political discourse ain't exactly nimble when grappling with complicated issues.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Authors Guild demonstrates technological illiteracy

The Authors Guild is suing Google for attempting to innova--- er, for copyright infringement. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you already know my opinion on the subject. I hereby call for all Authors Guild members either to denounce the actions of their organization, or to stop using all web search engines, or confess to being complete hypocrites. Those are the only options.

UPDATE 22 Sept.: As usual, Lawrence Lessig says it better than I could.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A brief note on "free will"

Every conceivable behavior is either deterministic, or random, or some combination of the two. Neither determinism nor randomness can possibly qualify as free will --- intuitively, neither a clock's gears nor a pair of dice possess free will --- and therefore the very concept of free will is philosophically incoherent.

To elaborate slightly, behavior either follows a set of predictable rules, or it does not. If behavior follows a set of predictable rules, then those rules constitute a deterministic algorithm, which clearly lacks free will. If behavior does not follow a set of predictable rules, then it is a random process, which clearly also lacks free will. In practice, most nontrivial behaviors must be modeled by a combination of deterministic and random elements, but combining the two into a randomized algorithm doesn't produce free will either.

Incidentally, all known physical processes --- or, in other words, all possible computing devices in the universe, including human neurons --- can be modeled using some combination of deterministic and stochastic processes. So, even if free will could conceivably exist, actual human beings certainly would not possess it. However, I believe that the very concept of free will is incoherent, an argument that does not depend on properties of our physical universe.

If you disagree with this analysis, it can only be because you misunderstand algorithms, or you misunderstand randomness, or you do not understand how these two combine, or you are defining free will in some tendentious fashion. This seems to be the case, for example, for most of the philosophical positions described in the Wikipedia entry on free will. Notably, none of the pro-free-will arguments that I've ever seen manage to distinguish human decision-making from, say, a program that repeatedly generates a random array, and then sorts that array using an implementation of quicksort that selects a random pivot on each recursion. If you believe that quicksort with a random pivot possesses free will, I suggest that you've redefined free will away to the point of uselessness.

Now, given that free will is philosophically incoherent, I'm not surprised that definitions of free will turn out to be useless, but still, it's sort of sad. Just give up already!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Two days of tribulation

Programming language research groups around the globe are currently gnashing their teeth and grumbling, for today and tomorrow comprise the "author response period" for POPL'06, the world's foremost theoretical programming language conference.

For those who don't know what this means, early this morning (or, more precisely, 19:00 12 Sept, Samoa time) the reviews for all submitted papers were made available to the authors, who have 48 hours to submit a 500-word response. This is an innovation recently introduced to the top ACM SIGPLAN conferences --- actually, it started at PLDI of the year my advisor was program chair --- and most agree that it has been a success. Formerly, authors had no opportunity to reply at all, and only received reviews after the program committee had met, discussed the papers, and made a final decision to accept or reject.

Of course, given the great personal investment of authors in their work, author responses could have turned into an occasion for endless counter-sniping tirades. So, a couple of safeguards were built into the process. First, software strictly enforces the 500-word limit on responses. Second, authors are cautioned to avoid subjective ranting, and address only factual errors or questions posed by reviewers. From what I hear, these restrictions have mostly kept author responses useful.

But oh, a mere 500 words! How dearly researchers would like to discourse at length, correcting all the mistaken impressions, giving comprehensive and intuitive answers to the subtler questions, and really slamming down that one reviewer who was clearly (clearly!) smoking something illegal while writing their review.

In the unlikely event that any program committee members are reading this, I speak, of course, purely in hypothetical terms. Any resemblance to reviews that I, personally, have received for POPL or any other conference is purely coincidental.

Except for that one review...

Just kidding. In all seriousness, if you're curious, I'm actually pleasantly surprised with the reviews for our POPL'06 submission. It's still not likely to be accepted, but POPL's the toughest conference in programming languages, with an accept rate around 15%, so rejection's just the default situation. As far as I'm concerned, we've already beat the spread on this one, even if we don't pull out a victory.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A useful feature that no digital camera will ever have

CompactFlash cards have reached ungodly sizes lately. This seems great at first --- shoot all day on a single card! --- but recently I discovered the downside: it's all-too-easy to lose an entire day's worth of photos if your card goes south.

This happened to me on a recent visit to the Denver Aquarium (incidentally, for a city that's a thousand miles inland and a mile above sea level, Denver has a shockingly well-stocked aquarium). I shot a hundred-odd photos and about a dozen video clips. Then, without warning, the card got corrupted so thoroughly that my camera actually began acting wonky, taking more than a minute to power up and power down and making it impossible to navigate the menus. The card wouldn't even mount as a drive on my USB card reader, rendering software-based disk reformatting and recovery tools useless. There are recovery services, which charge an arm and a leg to crack open your card and poke the hardware with circuit testers and such --- a mere $154 to recover a 512MB card! --- but it would almost be cheaper to buy another plane ticket to Denver and re-shoot the aquarium using a fresh card. I'll just eat the loss, I suppose, and be grateful that it wasn't my Rocky Mountain National Park pictures that got destroyed (now those would be irreplaceable).

I could carry multiple smaller cards, but I don't want to be bothered switching between memory cards during the day; plus, if one of the cards got misplaced or corrupted, I'd still lose a half day's worth of pictures.

Which brings me to my point. I'd much rather have a camera with two CompactFlash slots, and have it write one copy of each file on each card.

Of course, no digital camera maker will ever, ever sell a camera with redundant storage like this. Given how small and cheap cameras have become, this would add a lot of bulk and cost to the camera. I've experienced firsthand the frustration of losing my pictures, so I wouldn't mind, but only a vanishingly small fraction of consumers would pay for this feature.

What might happen in the future is that flash memory manufacturers and camera makers might get together and decide to make individual cards more reliable, by trading storage space for reliability. CompactFlash, like all computer storage media, contains some measures to protect against minor forms of corruption, but they could go a lot further in this respect.

In the meantime, I wonder if there are any fast, portable card-to-card duplicators out there, so that I could manually take backups of my photos while shooting "in the field"...

Friday, September 09, 2005

The revealed preferences of tax-cutting libertarians

M. Yglesias made a good point yesterday on the relationship between the "starve the beast", tax-cutting approach to "shrinking" government, and disaster preparedness funding:

If you wanted to go about trimming the government in a principled way by cutting spending, you'd start off with things that are genuinely pointless (farm subsidies) or else hugely expensive (Medicare). When you try, instead, to attack it purely from the revenue side and hope this will "force" spending cuts in the future, you're all but guaranteeing that the cuts will be focused on programs that just happen to lack powerful constituencies. That means, as we've seen, anti-poverty spending and spending aimed at either forestalling long-term problems or else preventing low-probability ones. That's terrible public policy, but it's the only possible result of the strategy the Republican Party has adopted.

As a result, yes, everyone who's endorsed Bush's various tax cuts -- from Alan Greenspan on down -- deserves their share of the blame. When you support a cut that's not explicitly paid for, you're implicitly supporting spending cuts. And not "spending cuts" in the abstract or the spending that you happen to think should be cut, but the spending that is, in fact, likely to be cut as a result. Which is precisely to say spending on worthy, non-porky infrastructure, and spending on poor people. It's easy to say that the money could be found in less destructive ways, but if it isn't found that way up front, it isn't going to be found that way amidst the murk of the appropriations process.

I'd add that, furthermore, unfunded tax cuts contribute to government debt, which must be paid down eventually with interest. When libertarians vote for politicians who enact tax cuts without matching spending cuts, their "revealed preference" is to use the coercive power of government to extort money from future generations rather than the present one. In this light, it's hard to take such libertarians' anti-government rhetoric very seriously.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Orgasms: Not just for fun?

Via NewsDog, AJ points to a pretty funny, scathing review of Indiana University historian and philosopher (and biologist?) Elisabeth Lloyd's recent book, The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution, which generated a fair amount of press when it came out. For those put off by the review's host publication (Evolutionary Psychology), comments at NewsDog point to a similarly critical review in Nature and Lloyd's response in same.

Lloyd argues that the female orgasm is a developmental artifact, like male nipples, and not an adaptive feature, i.e. that natural selection did not act directly on it, but upon its developmental analogue in the other gender (male orgasm). As far as I can tell, most biologists consider this scenario plausible, but some reviewers of Lloyd's book think she represents it as a slam-dunk case, which it isn't. Furthermore, the reviewers allege that Lloyd throws in a bunch of philosophy-of-science cultural criticism to the effect that chauvinism and ideology are responsible for the prevalence of adaptationist explanations of female orgasm. Lloyd, for her part, claims she's just pointing out that adaptationist explanations don't have much evidence going for them, rather than claiming they're definitely wrong.

I have nothing really interesting to add to all this. I'm just engaging in link propagation, since at least 95% of the human population probably has a fairly intimate reason to care about this subject.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cheap Amazon synchronicity

This is sort of along the lines of those old gags where Altavista would serve you ads for "Looking to buy a Congress? Click this link!" whenever you searched for "Congress" (or pretty much any other word). So in some sense it's an old joke. However, I still thought this was sort of funny:

If the humor isn't apparent, read the abstract, and then look on the right-hand side, under "Add to Wish List". If I were Prof. Zelizer, this screen cap would be like a ready-made intro slide for a talk.

For the curious, I was browsing to this page because I saw a Princeton Univ. Press ad for it in this month's print edition of The American Prospect, and it looked interesting. It's now on my long, long list of books to read...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The waxing and waning of FEMA

Kevin Drum points to a few articles that seem timely. Read his post, read the linked articles (D. Franklin in the Washington Monthly, July/August 1995; E. Holdeman in WaPo, August 30 2005), and then read the comment from someone who claims to have worked with FEMA in the past:

I used to work with FEMA, and what is reported is absolutely true. Clinton built up FEMA by expanding the ability to plan for disasters, react to coming disaster, mitigate future disasters and build the preparedness infrastructure at both the Federal, State and Local level.

Bush destroyed it. He appointed a hack who was universally detested to run the agency. Then it got swallowed into Homeland Security and all the plans got garbled. And almost all of the most experienced and best managers left. Last year, FEMA rated DEAD LAST among Federal agencies in terms of employee job satisfaction.

The Mitigation program - ie the program to try and reduce the risk and impact of future disasters was scrapped entirely. The Directorate shut down, Project Impact cancelled.

The Preparedness program was moved out of FEMA.

And of course the ability to handle the onrushing storm was crippled because all the crafty vets were gone. All those guys who had been trained in that little thing: If its raining in New Orleans, for god's sake don't let the dykes burst! - were gone.

We see the evidence already.

Exhibit A - they diverted the helicopters who were doing the absolutely essential thing. And clearly there was no effort to ensure that there was a substitute.

Exhibit B - There was completely inadequate planning for law and order. Remember New Orleans has about the highest crime rate in the country - but despite that there's no evidence that there was a major effort to set some controls. Would have been tough anyway with the National Guard in Iraq. But something could have been done.

Exhibit C - Presidential interest. In every major disaster event that was happening (ie while the hurricane was coming), the President and/or VP personally intervened to find out what was going on and to check if there was anything they could do to help. And there almost always was a need for them to push along some other Federal Agencies. Clearly there was none of that this time.

This is a massive failure. A bureaucracy was crippled and failed because of top level negligence. It did NOT have to be this bad.

The comparisons to the planning failures in 9-11 and Iraq are obvious.

UPDATE 4 Sept.: Susan B. Glasser and Josh White at WaPo have more. Why are none of the other major papers on top of this? There were many political failures behind the unnecessary magnitude of this disaster, but the gutting of FEMA seems to me the most dramatic and most avoidable. It takes a lot of political will to raise taxes and sink money into big construction projects, like rebuilding levees, but FEMA was already there, it was already prepared and in top operational condition when the Bush administration moved in, and it was simply gutted.

Meanwhile the Times, in typical fashion, picks Elisabeth Bumiller and Adam Nagourney, the nation's reigning queen and king of shallow horse-race political reportage, to write a piece on the White House spin operation. As one would expect, the piece is short on dissection of substantive policy failures, and long on Kremlinological analysis of the administration's public relations situation. Yet another reminder of why I suspended my subscription to the Sunday Times.

Also, Kevin Drum has an easily-digestible chronology of the decline of FEMA under Bush. Via Talking Points Memo, The Independent Weekly, Sept. 2004 and Knight-Ridder, Aug. 31 also report on FEMA.

Lastly, I'm reading some conservative comment to the effect that somehow it's too soon to judge whether FEMA's response has been adequate, and we should all wait a week before passing judgment. Erm, right. Here's what FEMA used to be like (from the Washington Monthly article linked above):

Consider the Oklahoma City bombing. Tom Feuerborne, director of Oklahoma's Civil Emergency Management Department, can cite the events of April 19, 1995 almost down to the minute. It was 9:02 a.m. when a truck bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in downtown Oklahoma City. At 9:30, Feuerborne placed a phone call to FEMA's headquarters in Washington. At 2:05, FEMA's advance team arrived, complete with damage assessors and members of Witt's staff. Six hours later, at 8:10 that evening, Witt himself arrived to be briefed on the situation. By 2:30 a.m. April 20, the first of FEMA's search and rescue teams had arrived to supplement the efforts of the Oklahoma City fire department. Says Feuerborne, "My office is very happy with the quick response of FEMA."

Ellen Gordon, administrator of Iowa's Emergency Management Division, has a similarly uncanny memory when it comes to FEMA's response to the Midwestern floods of 1993. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, July 11, she received a call from L.D. McMullen, the general manager of the Des Moines Water Works. Their operation was at the point of collapse, he said. The 250,000 citizens of Des Moines would soon lose all of their water.

One year earlier, Gordon would have mailed federal relief request forms to Washington, where, as Puerto Rico's Governor Hernandez-Colon discovered, they may have received a less-than-speedy response. But all Gordon had to do was place a phone call to the FEMA disaster field office located in Davenport. Early Sunday morning, FEMA officials arrived in Des Moines, and, by 11:30 a.m., they had determined a plan of action. By that evening, 29 water distribution centers had been established. The next morning, the first of 30 self-contained water purification machines arrived. For the next two-and-a-half weeks, the Des Moines Water Works was inoperable, but the city had all the water it needed. "Nothing sticks out in our minds that we had to haggle over or justify," says Gordon. "Whenever we asked for assistance it was there."

FEMA's response time used to be measured in hours. Katrina's scale may be unprecedented, and so one might excuse a slightly greater delay in coming to terms with it, but nothing I've seen or read indicates even a hint of the responsiveness and competence described in this article. And primary responsibility lies squarely with the executive branch --- Congress budgeted plenty of money for the Dept. of Homeland Security (which is now FEMA's parent department), and it was the Bush administration's responsibility to make sure that DHS used its funds properly.

UPDATE 2 (4 Sept.): The litany of failure never stops. BoingBoing quotes from a Chicago Tribune article (emphasis added):

While federal and state emergency planners scramble to get more military relief to Gulf Coast communities stricken by Hurricane Katrina, a massive naval goodwill station has been cruising offshore, underused and waiting for a larger role in the effort.

The USS Bataan, a 844-foot ship designed to dispatch Marines in amphibious assaults, has helicopters, doctors, hospital beds, food and water. It also can make its own water, up to 100,000 gallons a day. And it just happened to be in the Gulf of Mexico when Katrina came roaring ashore.The Bataan rode out the storm and then followed it toward shore, awaiting relief orders. Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents.

But now the Bataan's hospital facilities, including six operating rooms and beds for 600 patients, are empty. A good share of its 1,200 sailors could also go ashore to help with the relief effort, but they haven't been asked. The Bataan has been in the stricken region the longest of any military unit, but federal authorities have yet to fully utilize the ship. (...) The role in the relief effort of the sizable medical staff on board the Bataan was not up to the Navy, but to FEMA officials directing the overall effort.

On Eric Byler, and Asian-American sex relations

Just got back from a trip to find that Charlotte Sometimes arrived from GreenCine while I was gone. I can't really say that I like it, but it has some virtues, and it's interesting at least. It's a super-low-budget film that, apparently, made a splash on the festival circuit, won a couple of awards, and was championed, with effusive praise, by Roger Ebert. It's also one of the rare American movies with Asian-American lead characters who are distinctive individuals, with real dialogue, complex motivations, etc., rather than stock caricatures or representatives of Archetypal Ethnic Verities.

Anyway, I'm posting about this only because I'm watching one of the DVD extras, an interview by Roger Ebert, from a post-screening session at Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, with the director, the producer, and two cast members. The director, Eric Byler, who also wrote the film, turns out to be an unexpectedly thoughtful person.

More precisely, it is not the fact that he's thoughtful which surprises me (many directors are), but rather the manner of his thoughtfulness, which seems writerly, almost novelistic. When most film directors give interviews or DVD commentaries, they seem preoccupied with the nuts-and-bolts craft of filmmaking. They'll go on and on about the travails of shooting in some special location, or building some peculiar set, or how the gears of a plot's mechanics mesh together. Film directors also tend, on average, to be primarily visual thinkers, and so --- aside from the obvious fact that they talk more about the visual aspects of a film than its verbal aspects --- they're often pretty bad at expressing complex thoughts in words. For example, I think that Quentin Tarantino, despite his gift for writing dialogue and his extraordinary personal loquaciousness, sounds completely goofy in interviews. Byler's different --- he seems preoccupied, above all, with the interiority of his characters, and he's reasonably articulate at explaining his thinking about them.

Byler also has interesting things to say about Asian-American inter-sex relations (he is mixed-race, by the way):

EBERT: You mentioned, at Hawaii, that there were what you felt were specifically Asian-American gender issues in the film, which you doubted that would be obvious to every audience. You said something about that.


EBERT: Could you talk about that?

BYLER: You know, I didn't, I didn't really think about the audience very much in any of the artistic choices that I made. But what sort of inspired the beginning, and I have to go all the way back to there to talk about it, 'cause I don't like to, myself, deconstruct the movie, but when I started, the way that I saw the world was, I saw a lot of couplings between Asian-American men and Asian-American women that were platonic, or that's what they called them. But there was always this tacit understanding that, uh, he would pretend not to love her, and she would pretend not to know.

And it's not necessarily an Asian-American thing, I betcha everybody here has been in a situation like that. But there's sort of a suspicion among Asian-American men, I think, that somehow the choice as to whether this new person who comes into your life is gonna be a lover or a friend is somehow contingent upon race. And, you know, I'm thinking about, you know, I was growing up south of the Mason-Dixon line on the East Coast, before I moved to Hawaii. I looked a lot more Asian when I was young, and the, uh, well there's a certain sense of isolation when there's only two other specimens in the whole school. And, of course, there's a little bit more isolation when you're not the same race as your, either one of your parents. So then your siblings, if you have them are the only, you know, the only being that you know when you're a child that's like you. But, you know, as you come of age and you start to say well, how, what kind of sexual being am I gonna be? You look at the images that you see on television. And you know, usually an Asian man is a technician, and he's never a lover. And if he does express sexual desire, it's ugly or unwanted. So if you're an Asian boy and you're growing up in this country, and you're thinking how do, where do I fit, as a sexual being, the message is the more you repress your sexual desire the more you'll be able to be accepted, or be able to fit in.

And, if you think about the messages that Asian girls get in this country, watching the images that we have on television and movies of Asian women, it seems as if sex is the only thing we want from them. The more sexy, the more beautiful you are, the more we want you. And so they misinterpret, I guess what we'd call exotification, as acceptance.

And so these two creatures, this Asian-American boy and this Asian-American girl grow up, and he's a little bit more tied to traditional values, and not surprisingly, because the traditional values, whether they're Christian or Buddhist or Shinto religions, those values are more in line with what, I guess, mainstream society wants from Asian men. And Asian girls are sort of encouraged to be more sexual, and so they're sort of breaking through into another more, I guess, Western set of values, or more like, Greek or, you know, the hedonistic sense of values that have overcome Christian values here. And so these, these creatures don't know how to interact very well. They sort of slide into this, they're attracted to each other, they want to be together, but they slide into this friendship thing. And I think there's a fundamental lie at the core of that friendship. And it often leads to some very difficult emotional situations.

Now, I should make a few things clear. First, I usually try to avoid generalizations about Asian-Americans as a whole. Second, I usually feel that I, personally, am pretty atypical for almost any recognizable subgroup of Asian-Americans, or stereotypes thereof (for those who don't know me, this claim probably sounds incongruous coming from an Asian-American grad student in computer science, but if you knew me better I hope it would seem less so). Third, I've never been the male half of the above-described quasi-platonic unrequited-infatuation friendship situation.

Nevertheless, I find Byler's statements very astute. Byler's saying, out loud and in public, things that are rarely said, even though (I think) nearly all young, adult Asian-Americans today recognize them on some level, whether they consciously acknowledge them or not.

Note, by the way, that one should be wary of confusing the view Byler expresses with a superficially similar sentiment that is unfortunately rather common among Asian(-American) men: the belief that Asian(-American) women are effectively a form of racial property, and therefore for an Asian(-American) woman to refuse an Asian(-American) man is an infringement on that property right, and a form of betrayal. This sentiment is, of course, reprehensible for all sorts of reasons that should be obvious.

The superficial similarity to Byler's view is that both views describe circumstances that seem potentially frustrating for Asian-American men. The difference, however, is that Byler doesn't indulge the racist, sexist premise of racial ownership of women. He merely acknowledges the obvious fact that sexual attraction, like all human emotions and behaviors, can be modulated by cultural influences, including racist assumptions embedded in the culture, and that the results can be painful for all involved.