Monthly Archives: March 2013

Hmm.. upgrades

I may have already titled a post like this. Obviously, this is a reference to Matrix: Reloaded.

Anyway. Some updates. Stuff going on.

Looks like i’m traveling to two places this year. I’ll update more when things move ahead. At least to Spain. I have to renew my passport, since I only have the first generation passport, which is expiring. That has a chip, but the chip ‘only’ contains a digitized version of the picture, and maybe some other info. The new version will have my fingerprints digitized on the chip. What next, dna sequences? The fact that you can only get a 5 year passport pisses me off to no end.

I sold off my Xbox 360, as I noticed I wasn’t playing it too much anymore, and we were watching all movies on the PS3 we got last christmas for ourselves. The last game I played on the 360 was Alan Wake (It was a present from U), which I liked very much. Played it all the way through.

As I am typing this, I am sitting on an InterCity2 train to Turku, traveling at 160 km/h. I am having a coffe and a muffin (4,50€), and surfing the web on the complimentary Wifi, which works fairly well actually. Speeds look to be about.. 2.5/1Mbps with a latency of a bad mobile connection (237ms by speedtest).

Stuff I’ve been up to recently at work: Working a lot on new servers, and SAN systems. At home: nothing much, really. Well we have rats now. They are called Sampo and Väinö. Both are albino (red eyes), the other has a bit of brown in the fur. I find I’m actually enjoying having them around. I haven’t really ever had a pet of my own since early childhood. The family dog is still alive (at 14 years), but spends most of the time sleeping. She lives at my parents. Rats are actually quite clever and social animals I’ve found. They are rather creative at problemsolving, and really need social contact. They seek it out, unlike some pets that just sit there.

Me and U are both waiting for Assembly Summer 2013, even though I every year state that I’m never ever going back. It’s still kind of a tradition. This will be the… 6th time I’m going. (the 21st Assembly that has been organized).

Other stuff on my mind: Feminism. I’ve been reading up on some articles on and around the subject of feminism. There’s the geek-feminism wiki. Obviously not for the fainthearted. There are some very valid points too; but feminism, like religion (and I’m not comparing the two), are catalysts for some very heated discussion and commentary. Of not was an article on Slashdot that discussed the case of Violet Blue’s planned talk (titled “Hackers As A High-Risk Population”) at security conference BSides San Fransisco. Apparently, Ada Initiative’s Valerie Aurora got her talk blocked because it reportedly contains ‘rape triggers’. Which means there was text or imagery that could trigger a post traumatic stress reaction, or a flashback or other psychological symptoms in rape victims. There was a similar case in the Geek-Feminism blog/wiki, discussing a Linux.conf.au keynote by Mark Pesce, which also, apparently, contained rape triggers. I can’t pretend to understand anything about rape-triggers per se, but I do understand traumatic triggers (since I suffer from them intermittently). But this is more a discussion on the aftermath on that talk, not about whether the imagery and language used was a trigger or not. The offensive content in Pesce’s talk was listed as, quote:

1. a pig and a duck apparently having sex
2. a black and white sexualised strangulation
3. a fetish scene with a woman in a mask spanking a man in a mask

Several of these were accompanied by a verbal metaphor to “being fucked” in
case the visuals weren’t explicit enough.

end quote.

The discussion veered away to how we could prevent such talks from being held, or people from being exposed to the content in them. Verbal warnings were suggested, but shot down because someone might come late to the talk, and miss the warning. Also, the fact that the verbal warning might contain triggers in and of it self, seems rather paradoxical, to me. So you can’t put out a warning, and you can’t have a talk with imagery or words that might offend someone in the crowd. Seems a bit hard to me? Granted, linux.conf.au. had a harrassment policy, which explicitly forbade displaying sexually imagery in public places, which a keynote unarguably is. Mark Pesce broke this policy. There is perhaps the question of what sexual imagery is, but you can very easily call any of the above “sexual”.

The blog post on Geek Feminism also brough up the point of bringing undue attention to any (in particular) women in the audience, who, upon hearing a verbal warning, would need to stand up and walk out of the auditory or whatever space, and thereby attracting attention to themselves. Additionally the argument was made that sexual imagery causes an atmosphere where sexual topics might be more easily brought up, causing unpleasant situations.  It just seems like there’s no good way out of this, doesn’t it?

Also, I found a rather extreme disclamer in the blog post, which stated “Warning: some unsympathetic commentary linked“. You can’t honestly expect everyone to have sympathy for any cause? There will always be people who disagree. Sexists. Chauvinists. Assholes of all kinds. Trolls! You can request and moderate a discussion so that it only contains the things you want to hear, but then that’s just as much censorship as banning certain kind of language and imagery. Later, Theodore Ts’o sent an email to the LCA mailing list, where he referenced a bunch of statistics, and wrote up some analogies. I don’t think statistics are the answer here, and do not appeal to the target audience (the feminists making the complaint, as well as the people on the mailing list, i would suppose). The problem according to them, as I understand it, is that the policy was broken. I understand this. But does this also mean that every conference attended by women (and why would a conference be male only? and can’t men also be raped?) should have a policy banning the use of sexual imagery, rape metaphors, text (examples brought up were: “We are so fucked.” “You’re gonna get fucked.” “Skull-fuck Steve Jobs.” etc.) or speech of this nature, as well as violent imagery? Sounds a bit extreme. I understand this completely from the victims point of view (though not a rape victim, but trauma in general). You can’t choose when you are faced with triggers. The triggers are different for each person. It might be related to a certain time of the year/day, certain smells or sights, or they can be more internal than that.

My point is, you can not clean up the world according to your desires. You have to learn to live with your traumas, or isolate yourself completely. And again, to reiterate, I’m not saying I know how it is to live on when you have been raped. There are multiple books written on how to deal with traumatic triggers. There is therapy of all kinds. I believe very strongly that with proper therapy, you can deal with your triggers; learn to live with them, or eliminate them entirely.

One thing I cannot look at is hospital shows on TV. Then again, I don’t watch too much television these days, but hospital scenes are part of many movies too. And that won’t be on the back cover. “Warning, containts hospital scenes”. If I am faced with imagery or sounds that I know can trigger a panic attack or other PTSD symptoms, I will take myself, or the imagery out of the picture. Currently that’s the way I deal with that particular trigger. I’m not out on the barricades demanding that movie companies print out exactly what every movie contains, in case someone finds it offensive or shocking. You can’t shut yourself out of the world.

I hope this post doesn’t attract too much shit from anyone. It’s not to be interpreted as insulting to feminists (after all, I doubt any two feminists are alike), or victims of any sort. Simply as commentary on something that I felt like writing about.

You can also go check out the actual slidshow from Mark Pesces keynote, in case you want to see this sexual imagery. I  didn’t find it too shocking, but then I’m not too conservative, nor a rape victim. And I spend a lot of time on 4chan.

Maybe the bottom line is: moderation is key. Don’t ask people to live by your rules. Open a dialog and talk things out. Yours is just one opinion among others. Like this blogpost.

Another article I read was in the, I suppose you can all it a leftist magazine, Voima. It was a short column (I’ll get the writer and the name of the article when I get home) on how feminists are getting angry! The columnist declared herself a feminist, and stated that she was happy that feminists are apparently getting angry. Sidenote: I can’t help but to recall the awesome scene from the 1976 movie “Network”, and the line “I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'”. Examples she used in her column were, among others, “why are women always taking the husbands family name when they get married?”, “why are female-dominated lines of work the most underpaid?”. I’m just flabbergasted by these. First of all, there are female dominated lines of work. Education. Healthcare. Care for the elderly. But is this something that was written on a stone tablet and taken down from the mountain? I’ve seen male nurses, teachers, daycare workers. There’s nothing stopping men entering these lines of work. Why women chose these jobs, I have no idea. Perhaps tradition? Kind of like why women choose (note) to take their husbands names when they marry?

There are also a number of interesting wiki articles on feminism. Like the three main waves of feminism (we’re apparently now in the third wave of feminism). The articles are here, here and here, respectively. A lot of interesting stuff, so be sure to check those out.