I wish to register a complaint.

Firstly the spelling of the title of this communication is deliberately wrong, I’ve used the US American English version. Secondly, where is this going?

I like watching Hawaii Five-O. I like seeing the wonderful Hawaiian scenery. I also quite like the characters. I’ve been watching for five seasons now and I still enjoy it. OK, the technology is purely comical and the team can hack into any CCTV system and use facial recognition etc. The plots are far fetched and they have jumped the shark many, many times. In fact I think I have tweeted about that before.

Now I have a problem with this and many other films and TV series which include dubious science. Having this level of nonsense in the public domain creates an impression where some things are seen as essential or that they actually work. I do understand that 5-O is a TV show and that they must get their man. I honestly do get that. I also understand that a major plot device is that they aren’t the police but a “special taskforce” and so they can blow shit up without too much hassle. Much like Inspector Morse gave the impression that Oxford was full of murderers so 5-O gives the impression that violent crime is rampant in the USA’s 4th smallest state [by land area].

Another thing that this TV show pushes into the public perception of acceptability is torture. Suspects are often beaten and are left chained to a chair in a small room to consider their options. I am pretty sure that this helps permeate public perception that torture works. There are many films where the bad people are tortured and then the world is saved. This is all good for governments who indulge in poor unscientific behaviour. I would suggest you follow the links in these articles to see what I mean.

Ultimately, torture doesn’t work. It’s illegal. It won’t help you get the information you want. It makes you barbaric. For a good discussion about stopping terrorism then I suggest you listen to this episode of Freaknomics. I still watch 5-O. But at the same time I like to think that I can ignore the bullshit aspects of it and use the TV show as 45 minutes of escape and relaxation [apart from the bloody Halloween specials that they do I hate those shows].

While I’m on terrorism here’s why data-mining doesn’t work.