Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Weltanschauung und Schrieb

One of the cats, about 2 weeks ago, decided to stampede over my laptop,knocking off the Tab key in a way that I can't reattach it. I've made doby pressing the little plastic thing over the centre of where the key was,but it just fell off. This is inconvenient, because I need a tab key toswitch between windows in the same workspace, and to do tab-completion.So, Pat thinks to himself, "I shall use xmodmap". After all, I've used itto make the sound keys do something useful for me, and have bound thewindows keys to useful ends. So, I decide to sacrifice the caps lock key,which previously was being an extra Control key, for this end, and open upmy .xmodmaprc to find what to do. Hmm, perhaps a keysym will work.xmodmap -e 'keysym Caps_Lock = Tab'No, that still gives me a control. I whip out xev, and find that it still isseeing caps lock as a control key. Hmm.. I could comment out my prior mappingand restart X, but I have some useful programs already running, so I'd liketo fix this without that. I then remember that I need to disable the specialmapping for modifier keys before I change their real mapping.xmodmap -e "remove Control = Control_L"There, now neither capslock nor control work as a control key. Let's..xmodmap -e "keycode 66 = Tab"xmodmap -e "add Control = Control_L"All good. Tab completion is happy.. except then I find that WindowMaker, mywindow manager, doesn't seem to see my new tab key as valid for alt-tabwindow cycling. Conveniently, it doesn't allow me to choose any other combo.I restart it -- maybe it hasn't picked up the change yet .. no dice. Hmm.I doubt it would hardcode the keycodes -- it after all does work on a numberof different platforms, and I doubt it would special-case every platform thathandles keyboards differently. It's probably asking X for the keycode when itstarts up. Hmm.. let's seexmodmap -pk | grep TabI have both tab keys' keycodes in there (the original, and my left caps lock).I wonder.. maybe it only gets the first tab keycode (which happens to be theoriginal one, keycode 23). So, perhaps if I remove that keymap..xmodmap -e "keycode 23 ="I then restart windowmaker, and all is good.So, I now have my caps lock key acting as a replacement for my dead Tab key.It's all good, although, thinking about it, what I did is really pretty crappyif an end-user were to want to do it. I had to deal with one verypoorly-documented and complex section of the windowing system, and intuit howundocumented parts of the window manager work. On the other hand, I've heardabout people who want to disable keys on window in a similar way need totweak with the system registry in ways that might break it.

Behold the mighty works, and despair.

Seriously, about that last link, it really strikes me as odd, and horrifying (although I can't put my finger on why, exactly) when people who are mentallydisturbed in some way end up deciding their disturbance is a good thing. I'malways tempted to pop their bubble.I'd like to think it's because it's because people who take that tack haveeffectively ruled out getting better. However, if there's anything I've learnedabout the way people think recently, it's that people don't really understandtheir emotions and how they think very well. Societally, we expect people to beauthoritative sources of information for themselves, but in reality, they'reonly playing with a few cards that their closer friends can't see, and often,to survive looking into themselves, they might need to become blind to thingsthat their ego cannot stomach.

I found a new webcomic to read. It's funny.

Apparently, in town there's a 15-year old who was arrested for takingnude photos of herself in sexual activities and posting them on the net.She's to be charged with sexual abuse of children (herself, presumably),possession of child porn, and distribution of child porn. This is an interestingtopic -- it's clear that there's great societal harm in many other kinds ofcrime, but child porn is just something that just makes us feel disgusted --coming up with a reason why it's harmful to society and should be prohibitedthat doesn't feel like a pathetic attempt to justify our gut feelings isdifficult. I'll try, though. I'll try to stick to the moral values, and leavethe ethical and pragma framework things out. Understand that this means thatyou're not hearing me speak with a unity of something being bad and somethingbeing immoral.

The reason child porn is problematic, I'll startout by saying, is that it derives from an initial act which is problematic --the sexual explotation of children.

Query: Some people like watching films or news of real people being brutalizedor being beaten up. Is that a problem?Answer: No, unless the film was made with a tie to the production of saidviolence. To make it concrete, it would be immoral to watch films from anorganized crime group that made the films while performing the violence.News organizations and the like, unlike propganda or similar, do not do this.

Query: Is it possible to say that she sexually abused herself?Answer: I don't think self-abuse should bear any kind of legal weight,and so, no, I don't think she's sexually abusing anyone. As to the natureof the concept of sexual abuse that's consentual, that's another discussionfor another time.

Query: Is it morally problematic for her to be making or distributing thisstuff?Answer: From what I understand, the rationale against producing child pornis mainly aimed at stopping adults from coercing, tricking, enticing, orsimilar, children into sexual circumstances (other adults are fair game).Analysis of that on moral grounds can wait for another time. This doesn'tseem to fall into that category -- if she wasn't put into the situation byothers, then the traditional rationale falls apart. If that falls apart, thenthe distribution prohibitation, which is chained from this, falls apart too.

Query: Is it possible to make a public policy argument to close this?Answer: Probably. It would not, by my system, be philosophically just, so Iwould not morally judge people on the basis of ignoring public policy loopholeclosers, but also would not oppose the existence of the law. The rationale isthat it's enormously difficult to tell the nature of someone's participation inporn, and to serve the greater good, it's worth blocking some morally neutralactivity to block a lot more morally bad activity.

Query: So by this line of reasoning, the people who are working on making,using Computer Graphics Generated porn of various types of porn and other thingswould not be on morally risky ground for creating such models that look likechildren, and using them to depict child porn acts?Answer: By this line of reasoning, such acts are not morally significant, sothe assertion is correct.

This answer is somehow dissatisfying. Why is the concept so disturbing? Whydoes it make our stomach turn? I think that it is likely that we have twoconcepts about children, firstly that they're pure, and second, that they'revery vulnerable to being pushed around. The first, if we think back to ourchildhoods, is false. The second is a good claim -- children are protectedfrom a number of situations that would be disadvantageous to them, including(I think) contracts and similar. Further, and this is I think a cultural thing,in American society, there's an expectation (or at least was, probably still isfor some of the more stuffy parts) that sex is to be saved, especially the firsttime, for someone special. The idea of that 'cultural ritual' being taken awayis threatening. Of course, many historical cultures had no such ritual, andin fact had very different ideas about sex.

Tags: comics, philosophy, tech

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