Sexual Harassment, Anarchy, and the Tor Project

Back in November of last year, I shared this openDemocracy video of Jacob Appelbaum, “journalist and researcher for the Tor project, [talking] about technology, freedom and resisting surveillance at the World Forum for Democracy.”

While this current post has no bearing on his rousing speech or the approach to technology with regard to communication (and vice versa) it supports, I’m compelled to write it as a sort of follow-up.

Recently a number of women claiming sexual assault, sexual humiliation, and rape have spoken up publicly about being victimized by Jacob. Some of them are/were significantly involved in the Tor Project while others may be associated with the broader cryptographic & cybersecurity community.

I read all of the accounts to date, some of which are still anonymous, one of which is lengthy and provides a large amount of context, and I believe that they should all be believed. I’ll link them at the bottom.

In the media—especially social media—talk abounds in regard to the subject of sexual harassment permeating all levels of society, but I want to highlight something that will be different than what we in the US usually hear and expect with regard to our legal system and notions of punishment.

Two of the victims, Isis Agora Lovecruft (@isislovecruft), and Alison Macrina (@flexlibris) are or were involved in anarchist collectives (Isis Agora is much more prominent about her anarchist status, as evidenced from her personal website) and as a result have opinions that contrast with what mainstream society may expect.

Below are some excerpts from their posts.

Alison Macrina:

People speaking up were dismissed as a lynch mob — an ahistorical and offensive way to describe a critical mass of people who had previously been silenced and were demanding accountability. There have been repeated calls for “due process” and the involvement of the court system, which ignores the violence that system perpetuates against both accuser and accused. Calls for police intervention are particularly alarming to hear from a community in which so many advocate for a stateless society.

For all of you screaming “This is not what justice looks like! Why don’t you just go to the police?!” let me just wax realpolitik and, like a good little German, quote some Gesetz and cite some statistics.

The “due process” of a state court, in my case, will be detrimental to both Jake and I, as well as numerous other people. The law is very clearly against both of us in this case, with the overwhelmingly likely outcome that he would be kicked out of Germany.

Isis Agora Lovecruft:

Not to mention that, if our goal is to prevent more people from being harmed by Jake, prison is not an option. Overwhelmingly likely, even in Germany, Jake would be raped in prison. I do not wish these painful things I’ve gone through on anyone, not even those who have caused me pain. Further, most abusers have a history of having been abused at some point in their past, and Jake going to prison certainly will not help him amend his behaviour.

And here is part of Lovecruft’s statement on her website:

I am an anarchist! And when I say that, I do not simply mean that I would like to see all States destroyed, social hierarchies crumble, and state capitalism perish. I mean that I believe inequalities in power dynamics pose a hindrance to the progression of human thought and scientific understanding, that the overall degrees of freedom for collected conscious agents should be maximised, and that all forms of government are intrinsically immoral due to their disregard of individual consent. I don’t believe in control even down to the microcosmic, interpersonal level. Expressed more colloquially: “fuck you, you’re not my dad! make total destroy! kill it with fire.

I note these statements—which are but small passages of their posts regarding Jacob and his abuses—because they are in stark contrast to the prevailing incarceration-centric approach here in the US, which can be seen very notably and recently in the Stanford case of Brock Turner.

I by no means wish to say Brock doesn’t deserve an extended prison sentence (I signed a petition to recall Judge Persky who so leniently let him off, but my justification for signing lies outside the scope of this post), but only to juxtapose the community-centric approach and emphasis on transformative justice that anarchists—especially these two—espouse for terrible crimes.

https://blog.patternsinthevoid.net/the-forest-for-the-trees.html

https://medium.com/@flexlibris/theres-really-no-such-thing-as-the-voiceless-92b3fa45134d#.yr2e1ibq3

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Planned Parenthood

At seven minutes, this video is about three times longer than the edit that’s laden with the huge meme-flavored block text “HOW TO SILENCE CRITICS OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD” that will make the rounds around social media—along with its other sound-bite brethren on both sides of the table—and that will do anything but silence those that already have their minds made up. Those who are willing to shout and deflect and insult and stew in the tumult of political “discourse” that occurs on social media daily, hourly, minutely, and that affects, as Warren pronounces, all of us.

But I can’t just re-share a morsel that tries to encapsulate it all at a glance; speeches like this one are where the substance resides, and Senator Warren does not waste one second sensationalizing.

I know I’m connected with people online who resolutely fall on the other side of this issue, and I don’t think I can lob any image, quote, or speech their way that will change their minds. Hence, sharing this is more for myself and others who are willing to think and respond critically; to let her language, reasoning, and passionate admixture thereof inform us of how we should discuss and think about these issues, and then go off and do it, as the kids say, IRL, where you’re most likely to present to a friend, family member, or colleague an angle they hadn’t previously considered.

In real life, where presence plays a factor. Where disconnecting from the conversation is more difficult than just closing a browser tab.

Most-used Shortcuts User-interface Helper Element idea

[Update: This tweet just brought to my attention essentially what I was looking for, and it’s called Cheatsheet for OSX. Just installed it and it works well so far!]

So I just found this idea in an email to myself from five years ago. Still haven’t seen anything quite like it, even at a ad-hoc level. This idea pertains to an OS-wide level, ideally.

When in a shortcut-heavy program like Pro-Tools, iPhoto, iTunes, etc., it could be useful to have a little optional window pop up when hitting shortcut keys, like option + command, shift + command, etc., and in this window would be listed the most frequently-used shortcuts by that user, and a quick description of what those shortcuts do.

For instance, in iTunes, if I were to hit:

option+command

The little window would fade in, and list:

option + command + E - Equalizer
option + command + L - Downloads
...
...

This could be dynamic, where if you hit just command, every shortcut that uses the command key would show up in the little window (starting with the ones most frequently used, then if you hit shift, it would filter to only shortcuts that use both of those keys.

The closest thing I can think of is in, say, a right-click context menu in Finder on OS X, if you hold down option you’ll see the contextual menu items change.

Terrification

Usually, the more you understand something, the less you will need to fear it.

The anxiety dreams and nightmares of my youth have been all but erased due to my understanding of the world, understanding about my lack of knowledge, and other mechanisms for action within my own psychology. When I first saw the below animated GIF, I immediately understood why it would be perceived to be terrifying, hilarious, both, or neither. It also triggered an association for what was for me another association trigger: One of the most disturbing films I’ve seen, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

Not scary per se, but disturbing. Unsettling. An unplaceable oddness. In Mulholland there is a masterful build-up, starting with a cryptic scene in a diner, which ultimately has the character who is describing a state of pure terror to another, walk outside to confirm that fear, as a horrid creature slides out from behind a corner in a most inhuman way—not only is the figure petrifyingly ugly, but the way it moves is the clincher: nothing human moves like that, in a linear, gliding fashion, and in such a triggered manner.

That scene reminds me of one of my most fear-inducing recurring dreams as a child: alone at my house, walking downstairs from the safety of my room, all the windows dark with night, and as I walk towards the kitchen, the head of a figure, presumed to be a robber intent on killing or harming me, quickly pops up—the moment of paralyzation occurs, the head slides away from whence it came, not slow, but not too fast; it doesn’t mind being seen. The paralysis melts, and I have to wake up, because that’s it: that’s the end. The unanswered nature, combined with the uncertain demise, is what makes it so terrifying. The chills that I would get in Lynch’s surrealist mind-maze were the same that I’d feel in that dream and others.

That a few frames of a presumably screeching elderly woman exiting stage-left in a weird manner can elicit the heights of cinematic tension through mere GIFfery is fascinating, lending versatility to how the web can provide media feels in an instant. But it also further defines the five minutes that Lynch crafts through his singular direction—it is a scene that will live on, beyond the ephemeral meme-sharing thrills that come from a copy & paste, and into how we relate our waking- and dream-selves to ourself and to those around us.


Further reading: Alex Gladwin does an excellent job of analyzing the whole scene in his write-up, The Tuesday Zone: The Winkie’s Diner Scene from ‘Mulholland Drive’.

Original GIF post here.

CSS parallax effect for my About page

I just revamped my About page using a CSS-only method described in detail by Keith Clark here. Really happy how easy it was to use and extend!

The key is using the CSS perspective property in the wrapping div, where the children planes then appear to scroll at different speeds due to applied transform: translateZ(n) properties:

keith clark css parallax method

I’ve been wanting to play around with this for a while, without getting into Javascript methods, and from Keith’s post and the follow-up comments, it appears the modern browsers—especially Chrome, natch—do either a fast or acceptable job of rendering it performantly due to the browsers being able to use hardware acceleration.

The art of Chelsey Pettyjohn

The amazing style of Brooklyn artist Chelsey Pettyjohn, that I just happened upon in Instagram this morning.

Some of my favorites are embedded below. Note: I think they’re beautiful but some might consider them dark, disturbing, perhaps nightmarish, so fair warning.

potato connection

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


Chompity chomp

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


fry daddies

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


you again

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


stoned again

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


candyman

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


killer smile

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on



Peek

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


devil take the hindmost

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


chop chop

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


born to lose

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


poodle party

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


in the garden

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


comforting sounds

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


old stuff- moon bison

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


bone daddy

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


old habits die hard

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on


chomp chomp

A photo posted by Chelsey Pettyjohn (@hideousthings) on