Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2016

So Hannah’s been complaining that that our political system has been twisted and  we no longer vote for ideas and beliefs, rather than to people. And I couldn’t agree with her more. But the more I read her blog, the more I realised we had it all wrong.

The untrustworthy system

Our political system, wherever that may be, is dysfunctional and the average person’s ability to change that is traditionally limited to once every years. We cannot trust this system as a whole. If we could- we would used it to our advantage and put some thought before casting our vote to the smirk-jotted-greased-hair politician. So the best we could hope for is a trust-worthy representative, that will actually do as a he promises, because – “what good can a well-promising politician do if he cannot keep up to his words?”

The greatest negotiators

I would like to believe that all politicians are well-intended, at least initially and they all hoped to serve their community to the best of their knowledge and abilities. But it’s not as easy as it may appear, as we all basically want the same things – good education, a stable economy, a social security and a prosperous society. But people have different priorities and different strategies to achieve these goals.

Let’s take the budget as an indicator for priority. We all know that education is important, but some of believe in promoting the best students while other believe the extra resources should be allocated to help to students with difficulties. Other think we should subsidise students based on the economical status and not their grades. Others believe that while education is important, our safety precedes that altogether. Our politicians claim that given a certain amount of resources they can produce the best budget. They may claim that education is more important than safety but sitting to do the works, we’ll have to face the hard-cold truth that safety requires resources too. At this point, we trust out politician to make the best decision for us and work according to their promises but without ignoring reality. I don’t need a politician with big words and elaborated agendas. I need a politician that gets the job done. And that is exactly what they claim. And this is exactly why we vote for them.

In another example, imagine being a politician for a local municipality who needs to decide between helping the local factory and town’s main source of income survive the recession or addressing the pollution caused by that very same factory. Both issues are important and an ideologist would be consider heartless or short-sighted if he choose to ignore any of them. You can promise as much as you like to keep both the factory running and the lake clean, but at the end of the day- the intervention of a force major to aid you (in the form of money to green-ify the factory) isn’t really something you can count on. Neither do your opponents but they make promises anyhow. And usually voters will go the best promise and not the candid representative who admitted to have no magic tricks up his sleeves.

The missing ingredient

So in essence, there’s nothing wrong with voting for a person, as opposed to voting for a set of ideas. I would like to have more politicians that (1) think like me; (2) can get the job done; (3) are trust-worthy and honest. Sadly, we usually can get only two out of these three traits, if not less than that.

What we’re missing is accountability. It’s that sword that we should be holding close to the politicians’ neck so when they’ll fail us, they’ll be gone. And not surprisingly they’re against it. I can’t blame them. A politician job is difficult enough as it is, navigating between the different agendas and struggling not to be tempted by the corruptive forces of leadership. But this is something that we, the citizens, must demand.

Our political system, wherever that may be, is dysfunctional and the average person’s ability the change that is officially traditionally limited to once every years. Political activities might goes to rallies and protests and some even riot, but all eventually doesn’t change the fact that politicians are in power up to the moment when we vote to someone else. Accountability, may come as the citizens’ power to kick a leader out of this office in the middle of his term, or may come at the denial to re-election for a politician that haven’t kept his promises. Accountability would bring back the meaningfulness of promises. Promises should be kept.

And a final word about the politics of fear

The words “Vote for X if you don’t want Y in your goverment” are not exclusive to anywhere in the world. This phrase is a manipulative lie, as simple as that. It’s a lie because if I don’t like Y, I won’t vote for it and Y wouldn’t get to the goverment, regardless if I vote for X or not. It’s manipulative as it exploits my opinion on Y to dissuade me to vote according to my personal beliefs.

Someone else will vote for Y to get it elected, regardless of my personal taste and choice. Let’s say there’s an indicted corrupt politician running for office. Obviously I won’t vote for him, but apparently there are enough people who would that he might get elected. Because people would prefer the like-minded-get-the-job-done that failed his honesty test. And accountability should be the barrier from such politicians.

Advertisements
After an exceedingly long break, I’m back working on Thedorus, so here’s a rather technical bit on what I’m currently doing.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t like Angular. My distaste for it and alike comes from their heresy of writing javascript code within the html code. I think it’s an incredibly wrong idea as it bind the code to a specific HTML, it duplicates code maintenance in case you have several HTML versions (themes for example) and it make the work of the HTML coder (assuming it’s not the JS-programmer himself) much more difficult as he needs to edit the HTML without stepping on any mine.

My alternative comes in two steps. First, I have my template-engine – O.
It’s works like mustache.js, only it serves my needs – it can easily use sub-templates and it has iterations, conditionals and even translation-support.
So running my engine would produces me a beautiful page, but I still need to integrate the JS-code somehow, right?
So my second step is to identify all the elements in the HTML that requires binding. I’ve marked them with the css-class “js-registry” and if they don’t have and ID they would also require the attribute “data-register” with the corresponding registry code (explained in a second).
But I said “no messing with the HTML”, right? well, I lied, but let’s go through this. An HTML element has 3 attribute that can be used as an identifier – the tag name, the element id and CSS class.
The tag (e.g. “<ol>” for ordered-list or “<u>” for unordered-list) should not be referred by either CSS or JS as we never know when it might change. CSS classes are obviously used for CSS. I should mention I despise people who use css-classes such as “text-align-center”. I mean, seriously? if you’re deciding the style at the HTML level why not use <center> tag and get it over with? CSS classes should not be indicative of the style content rather than the style function (e.g. “message-title” or “sign-up-button”)
Element-IDs, which are unique per page are for the sole use of JS and it’s a great way to find elements. But in the case you have a list of generic items (a list of message for example) that needs to be referred from the JS, then (and only then) I find it acceptable to use css-classes in the JS. But to make it clear for the HTML-coder that these classes are for the use of the JS (and he might end up losing a finger if he dare to temper with them), we can add the prefix “js-“, so in our example we’ll have “js-register”.
my code has a singleton “registry” code that contains the functions to be applied on the different DOM elements. So let’s say I have a DOM element with the ID “messageList”. If I’ll try to register it, I’ll find the pre-stored function that would fetch me the list using AJAX and then place them in the DOM document. Once messageList is registered, I would also look for any descendants and thus I’ll find myself registering all the messages as well.
I should mention that when registering the descendants, I’ll only registered this whose CSS-display style attribute isn’t set to ‘none’. That way, I won’t fetch any unnecessary information which I might not need. However when resizing the window, I’ll be sure to look again for elements that haven’t yet been registered. This functionality means that small-screen mobile won’t be bothered with loading elements they don’t need.
Using this registry system save me the need to be constantly vigilance for the case a button appears on the screen – meaning, I don’t need watchers, which are much-dreaded performance killers.
So I’m ok with intervening with the html and writing the “js-register” CSS-class name but bare in mind that this isn’t really a code, rather than a simple placeholder for code and it doesn’t affect the readability of the HTML code.
    this.onElementRegistered = (function onElementRegistered (elmId) {
        if (elmId !== undefined) {
            this.registerS(O.ELM.per('#'+elmId+' .js-register'));
        }
    }).bind(this);
    this.registerS = (function registerS (subElements) {
        var elmCount = subElements.length;
        while (elmCount--) {
            var dElm = subElements[elmCount];
            if (dElm.style.display !== 'none') {
                this.register(dElm);
            }
        }
    }).bind(this);
    this.register = (function register (dElm) {
        var dElmId = dElm.id;
        dElm.setAttribute('class',dElm.getAttribute('class').replace(/\bjs-register\b/,'js-registering'));
        var registerCode = dElm.getAttribute('data-register') || dElmId;
        if (this.registry[registerCode]) {
            this.registry[registerCode](dElm, this.onElementRegistered.bind(this,dElmId));
        }
        dElm.setAttribute('class',dElm.getAttribute('class').replace(/\bjs-registering\b/,'js-registered'));
    }).bind(this);
    this.onWindowResize = (function onWindowResize() {
        this.registerS(O.ELM.per('.js-register'));
    }).bind(this);
    window.onresize = O.EVT.subscribe('window.resize',this.onWindowResize).getDispatcher('window.resize');
So I came across a TED lecture by Ran Gavriely who talked about the dark side of porn, which I felt was extremely patronising and incredibly ill-informed:
Ran claimed that porn videos is all about male-dominance in which the focus is on the act of penetration so in order not to conceal it, the man has his hands behind his back and the woman is in an uncomfortable position. Clearly Ran hadn’t seen much porn, because there are plenty of porn vids in which the penetration is a small part (hope you got the double-meaning here), equal in importance to the built-up or to oral-sex, not to mention different power structures. it seems to me that abstracting sex to “male-dominance”, albeit very common way to look at it, is missing out the fact that women enjoy the act of sex as well and not every penetration is a proof for male-dominance.
Ran also dismisses pornography because of its name, as it stands for ‘porna’ (prostitution) and ‘graph’ (documented). Well, wether prostitution is as bad as Ran describe it we’ll address in moment but regarding the name -what are “food-porn” or “science-porn” or “competence-porn“? in those names the “porn” stands for “something that you really like” and yes, we can discuss the psychoanalysis of people who like to watch food porn, but let’s agree the “pornography” actually stands for “the enjoyment of watching sex”. what makes it such a bad thing? is it merely our society that decided sex should be done secretly as if it’s a bad thing? The truth it, whether we want it or not – sex is fun. everyone are doing it (or at least most people would like to do it). There’s nothing wrong with consensual sex and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Ran argues that porn provides young watchers wrong expectations regarding body physics and endurance. Well, This is also true regarding the beauty industry in general, and it’s causing havocs on young girls’ self-esteem. Likewise The same applies for unrealistic action movies as well, and these two are extremely more common. Lucky for us, beauty industry isn’t as taboo as porn so we can talk to girls and explain to them to that beauty consists of good genes, staying healthy, projecting success and using photoshop. If only we could talk to our children about porn, perhaps we could’ve teach them to look at it critically and determine their expectation by other standards.
He also depicts porn videos in which the woman is crying or being chocked, or abused in some way. Yes, sadly there are men and women in the world that find the suffering of others sexually stimulating, but does the prohibiting of such porn will make them any less perverts? or maybe it actually provides them a substitute for committing these acts of torture themselves? The truth is that our society doesn’t know how handle perverts and prefer to shun them out as monsters, simply sweeping the issues underneath the carpet and hoping it won’t get back to bite it on its behind. There are all kinds of videos, for any kind of fantasy. if knitting gives you the tingle – I’m sure you can find videos involving knitting. It is important to remember we live in a capitalists market in which the offered products reflects the demands. Abusive pornography exists because there are perverts out there willing to pay money for it.
I should mention I truly don’y understand why would a person pay to watch sex videos when there are so many of them available for free and are easily-accessible, but the truth is that the porn industry exists because people are willing to pay (a lot of money) for it.
People watch porn for the very same reason they watch anything else – they enjoy it, it stimulate (not only) their mind and provides them with visual reference to fuel their fantasies (just like any other video). Apparently is makes masturbation more pleasurable.
People masturbate mostly to relieve tension. it also makes them feel physically good, like a drug. Unlike real sex, a person won’t say “I’m so happy right now I just want to masturbate!” but it doesn’t mean that the urge is anything less real. At least for non-religious people, masturbation isn’t wrong or bad, but yes, it might be as addictive as alcohol, drugs, fast driving or tv-watching, but it’s more less dangerous. Enjoying it should be a fundamental right just like any other bodily activity that we do. That only limitation we might put on masturbation or pornography is when someone is getting hurt because of it (Exhibitionism is a topic on its own, but not that interesting)
Albeit I tend to believe the majority of prostitutes got into this business from a certain point of despair, I don’t believe there is something inherently exploitative with prostitutions.
And even if it was the case – shouldn’t we help its victims to find other solutions for their despair rather to shun them from society? I believe that healthy society could offer prostitutes alternative answers to their problems and those who choose to stay with this profession over  than earning tenth the money working as a cleaning-person, we should respect and revere just like we respect our doctors, just like classic Japan’s Geishas were respected (This is not to say that all prostitutes earn a lot of money, but they’re in this business because it’s the best solution society could offer them). It is true no person would ever wish his daughter to become a whore, but let’s be honest – nobody wish his daughter to become a fast-food waitress either.
People are watching porn more than ever, especially because it became more available, but can we learn anything about human natural sex-drive from it? Did this sex-drive always existed and pornography only helps it take form or did pornography increased it? I suggest doing this extremely hypothetical experiment and compare between two teenaged boys – one with free access to porn and the other with free access to sex (and not limited to a single partner). Who do you think will exploit his freedom more often?
And if we have a control group of a teenaged boy who has access to neither – who will become more exhausted? more frustrated? more happy?
My guess is that the sex-boy will be much more active and happier than porn-boy and both  will be less frustrated than the control-group. but that’s my personal guess.
The most horrific argument Ran raised, that got me so furious to write this post was that girls participating in amateur porn are destined to ostracisation from society. Basically, instead of embracing the miserable girl that made an honest mistake and helping her re-build her shattered self-image, he condemns her to die before the age of 50 (as he states) while claiming abusively “look what you made me do!” (Ran, YOU are society. YOU are the one to decide the faith of that girl and not these imaginary “other people” you accuse in your behaviour). Our society treats women as sex-objects. Pornography is a very lousy tip of the iceberg.

In conclusion, I believe Ran’s religious-like condemnation of pornography is much like burying the head in the sand, ignoring the need that originally created this industry and rejecting that parts that are harmless and can actually help certain parts of society by deterring them from inflicting sufferings to themselves or to others.

I originally intended to write that porn should not be prohibited, rather than frowned-up, but now I think – “as long as everyone involved are free and happy, who cares? and moreover, who are you to claim to know better and  prevent someone from happiness?”