30.6.17

instructions for magnetic node procedure available

i finally fucking finished them. there were some ethical doubts but i still believe in freedom of information, as well as bodily sovereignty, and i hope i've written the introduction to it in a way that mitigates those problems. for those new to this: these are step by step instructions that tell you how to install your own magnetic fingertip nodes. they're at this Google Drive link, as a plain text file you can download and read anywhere you want.

link in plaintext: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxZXy_80YNwBZ0d3dy1yd2JkOG8/

just do me a favour and don't start messing with this sort of stuff if you have helicoptering overprotective American parents who are going to look for someone to sue when you have to go to hospital with a septic finger wound. i am taking a bit of a risk by putting these instructions up for anyone to read and while i wouldn't do it if i thought it was that bad, i really don't want anyone who is still the legal responsibility of their parents doing these procedures. please wait until you are 18+ before you try to do anything like this on yourself that risks another person's livelihood if you fail or if your parents decide you deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced while doing it (if you were experimenting de novo you might be alright, but in this case you're following published instructions that have a definite author to point at as the person who gave you the idea / told you to do it / "misled you" / etc.) you can of course decide i'm a patronising arsehole and disregard that entirely, but if you're that young and you want nodes that badly, the best thing is to save up for a bit and then convince your parents that you're going to do it whether they agree or not so their best bet is to agree and take you to a professional piercer to have it done. make it your birthday present or something.

if you are of age, i hope this shit helps. make sure to do your utmost in terms of pre-procedure sterilisation and post-procedure aftercare. i've said this a lot but please keep a close eye on the wounds after you've successfully got the nodes in, and if there's any sign of infection at all - excessive redness, a throbbing feeling, pain that doesn't recede or stop, any sort of clear (early infection) or yellow (pus; more established infection) discharge - please go to a doctor. at the least, go to a pharmacist and get them to tell you whether they think you ought to take it to the doctor.

stay safe, have fun, if anything's not clear in the file or you've got stuff you'd like to add to it like links to good places to buy things that i didn't include, extra information that applies to your country that i didn't know about, any typo corrections, etc - leave a comment below or email me at my trioptimum address (in the sidebar) and i'll update the file to include them. feel free to throw a euro/pound/dollar at me via paypal.me/lepht if you really enjoyed them or they helped you install your nodes. or you can find me IRL and physically throw coins at me. that's good too.

carpe corporem!

L

15.6.17

upcoming


i figured i should probably let you all know what i'm actually doing so you can poke me if i don't seem to be alive anymore. there's three things that have been on the back burner for way too long due to crappy health and crappy IRL stuff that i'm now working on as "resurrected projects":

- an implantable haptic compass (the 'Southpaw' project). an extremely kind person has helped me get enough together that i can now start looking around for hardware and a microprocessor - i know i've said this before but to that person, thankyou from the bottom of my shrivelled up little heart. you have helped so much & i would not be able to get any prototyping off the ground without you. to the engineer that commented re. what components might work best: thankyou also! that was really useful info & i will post a proper reply to you soon.

- proper instructions for how to manufacture / acquire / install nodes. i've had to hold back on this one because of some ethical problems brought up by two different people irl: the issue was more or less, is it right to give people these instructions when they don't have any experience with this sort of thing & may therefore do serious damage to themselves? i.e. if someone uses my instructions to try and install their own, fucks it up hardcore, loses a fingertip to sepsis and then blames the fuck out of me, is it actually my fault in a moral sort of sense? legally i am pretty sure it wouldn't be (but not completely sure, to be fair) but i have had to have a couple of long discussions about the whole thing (i also mentioned it to Kevin Warwick, whose take on it was pretty good advice.) in the end i decided it goes against my principles to withhold information deliberately, even if that info could possibly be dangerous. i believe we all have the right to use our bodies as we choose, even if that means we get hurt. i'm going to release the procedures with as much "safety information" as i can come up with - meaning i need to put in a lot more stuff about possible pain control, spotters, aftercare, what to do if it goes majorly wrong, etc etc.

- i'm also screwing around with this new XNT chip. nothing really new there but could get some videos up for you all or something. i'm not sure what apps exist for NFC devices - i've got a phone that's compatible but all i found so far is Dangerous NFC for protecting the tags and TagWriter for messin' with em. there's probably a lot more out there. it'd be nice to have something protecting my logins again, been a long time since i had that keyboard that required my tag to be present before it would let Windows log in.

- Paul's documentary is still chugging along as ever & will be available in late September this year. it ought to be pretty good i think; he's a damn good filmmaker.

i'll be at my parents' over the weekend coming up (Fri 16.6 to Mon 19.6) but will probably drag machine with me. have fun on Father's Day

cc

L

12.6.17

captain cyborg strikes again


really interesting day today. Paul and i met up with Prof. Kevin Warwick - yeah that Kevin Warwick, it was utterly bizarre that someone so important would be willing to come and talk to me for an hour in a Starbucks. but he was great - a really friendly, genuine bloke who pretty much seems allied to the biohacker community in that he's aiming for knowledge via self-experimentation just as we are (the difference being obviously that he's got access to facilities and surgeons and all that). he pointed out that while there's a lot of things he can do that one of us couldn't, there's also a lot of things we can do that he isn't permitted to - we're not bound by ethical committee approval, we're not going to get in potential trouble with professional associations for experimenting. because research scientists and biohackers each get different kinds of experiments done, we can learn from each other's results and share the information which will benefit future experiments on both fronts.

it was only a short chat but i was really pleased to be able to talk shop with someone genuinely interested in the biohacking world who can also give as much tips and information as i could (a lot more in fact). i would love to be able to share information, resources etc with the research world - even if that means not having very many resources to share that are material, i think biohackers could definitely share a lot of experiential information (what did not work as well as what did work was one thing KW mentioned as being useful, in that it lays a groundwork for someone who has access to good medical facilities to improve on the procedure). i would really love for there to be more of this sort of (even informal) info-sharing in the future. i think we could have a real effect on the research world, and vice versa.

on the documentary side of things, Paul travelled up to Reading University to do a filmed interview with Prof. Warwick a couple of days ago - he says he is disappointed about the slightly fuzzy sound quality but the actual interview content is great. we were sort of expecting KW to be on the "biohacking is a bad idea" side of things owing to some articles i remembered reading but this turned out to be wildly inaccurate. he did say he routinely gets misquoted, badly edited or misunderstood by various media sources (i remembered one newspaper thing in particular more or less telling readers that his Brain Gate project enabled him to communicate telepathically with his wife, so in all honesty i probably should have expected that) & assumed this was probably the reason i was horribly misinformed about his stance. so there will be a segment with Kevin Warwick in the documentary, plus some very kindly donated archival footage of his prior experiments - i've seen the interview already & thought it was pretty boss so hopefully you all do too when it eventually comes out. all in all it was really good getting to talk to him, i really appreciated it.

carpe corporem

L

2.6.17

healing time

everything seems to be more or less healed up now - only a little redness and dead skin left around the incision sites for the nodes, and of course the xNT site is just a little pink scar dot now, bruising's completely dissipated. here's how the node & chip sites are looking:



i'm still having a little bit of trouble typing because the node on the outermost finger is still giving a tiny amount of pain when i use it to strike a key but i can't really avoid that & i don't think it's doing any damage so it's pretty much good as far as i'm concerned. the other one is further along the path, with less redness & no pain, and its scar has already gone white. as before there were no concerns with infection & i'd happily recommend the piercer who did them, Jenova, if she hadn't sadly moved to Spain just recently. she should be practicing again at a later point from what i heard so if you're gonna be in Andalucia or can get there once she's all set up, go for it. seems like there's better chances of getting stuff done on the Continent than there is here in the UK, what with Trust & other places, but the scene seems to be expanding slowly. you've got a better chance of getting stuff done by piercers now than you did ten years ago by far.

i'd also really like to thank a particular person for a generous donation on the 22nd of May - thanks to this i will be able to start messing around with chips for the compass doohickey, once i poll a friend of mine on potential microprocessors. if anyone knows a microprocessor which is small and could potentially take input from a compass module or even better, has the capability onboard, that would be fukken sweet - otherwise, i'll grope around in the dark and eventually come up with one myself. it'd also be great if i could just plug the eight or sixteen different electrodes for output right on into the processor but i don't think that's actually going to be that easy. i'll figure something out.

documentary is on track - it will feature not only me, but also some other UK transhumanists - Paul is currently working on some interviews, and i know he's filmed others already - Jenova and various other individual biohackers, plus Vicarious is also collaborating with him. he's also working on getting H+ people from further afield to send in video interviews so there will be a bit more interesting content than just my views on stuff and films featuring my screechy little "this hurts" voice. you will have to put up with a fair bit of those though. the finished film will be available on Youtube and here in late September.

cc

L

22.5.17

upgrades

okay this is super late since it was very hard to type with fresh implantation wounds all over one hand but last Thursday night i had a couple of upgrades at Jenova Rain's studio in Leicester, for Paul's documentary project - got a couple of nodes put in so he would have something to compare to my own procedure, both in terms of the surgical procedure Jenova used vs. the one i've developed and in terms of the atmosphere of a professional piercing studio with legit equipment / supplies vs. ...well, my place and whatever shit i can get hold of. as you all know though the other major difference is that piercers are expensive as FUCK since they have to pay for their studio rent, huge expensive bits of equipment like autoclaves, a constant flow of sterilisation stuff, needles, jewellery, aftercare stuff etc etc etc so of course it took a big fat chunk out of the funds i had saved up. to be fair it was two nodes plus an XNT chip from Amaal that i got offered on the night and couldn't say no to, plus the train fare to and from Leicester and an Uber to the studio on the way which turned out to be fucking stupid because the place was ten minutes from the station and it was city centre rush hour so the fucking thing charged us about twenty quid for this tiny little journey.

the XNT is healed up, more or less, just a bit of extremely light bruising around the area where the chip settled and a tiny scab from the needle hole:


and the incisions for the magnetic nodes have also scabbed up. they're still just barely noticably redder than normal because of the internal damage done when creating a "pocket" inside the fingertip for the node to fit in (this is inevitable, more on the procedure differences in a sec) but there are no signs of any infection or any non-essential damage and they are now secure enough that they don't require a tight binding dressing and can just be protected with medical tape and a bit of gauze or melolin dressing. this is them an hour ago, taken at the same time as the chip:


of course there has been no sensation from them as of yet - it seems to take a week or so in a person who has never had any installed before, and about five days in someone who already has some. i think this is because if you already have some, your brain has already got some connections associated with receiving that sort of input, whereas if you didn't, it needs a bit extra time to make those in the first place. a couple of things have set them off magnetically which as i remembered before is super mondo uncomfortable with the internal wound still healing. the pain is gone completely, although it probably helped that i had heavy pain medication, so idk if that's typical or not. yesterday was fine too in that regard, it was mostly Friday and Saturday where it really hurt and Saturday wouldn't have been that bad if i hadn't fucked it up trying to type stuff.

re. the actual procedure i found that Jenova was using a 1.7mm diameter cannula needle - the ones i use are 5mm diameter and they're not cannula ones, meaning they are sharp on only one edge of the tip, rather than both (and obviously the ones i use are way bigger.) the actual incision she needed to make was just as wide as the one created by the needles i use, and she also needed to remove some tissue from the centre of the finger pad in order to make a big enough pocket for the node to fit in, which is something you don't need to do if you're using the great big ones as they just punch a big fuck off hole by themselves. because of this need to make a pocket, i think using the 5mm one is faster overall; Jenova's procedure is a lot more delicate, though, since i have to use a considerable amount of force behind the needle to make my incisions and she didn't need to do that at all. i think her way is a lot less likely to come up with complications like the needle potentially going all the way through the finger pad and out the other side or making a much deeper hole than was needed (i've never run into either one of these myself but they're possible i think.) i'm not sure which one would hurt less - sharper, smaller needles would hurt less with ordinary piercings, but the larger one is also probably faster and doesn't need any excision of flesh. as ever i said fuck a lot and felt awful - didn't white out though like i usually do with my own stuff. i am gonna guess they're probably about the same when you take it all into account, although Jenova's obviously a professional so it would be way safer to have someone like her do it if you can afford to pay for it.

overall, it was a perfectly fine experience, and pretty nice to have the luxury of someone else doing it for a change. Jen herself is a lovely person, it was really nice talking to her and another biohacker from France who showed up for a small meetup, and Paul did a full interview with both of them so you will get to hear from other people than just me in the finished film (also others too, he is not finished getting content / contributors). he got some good nasty footage of the installations too, & if the film people at UoB complain that it's too gory i'll get him to upload it to a Google drive or Megavideo or somewhere so you can all see it (would go youtube but it deleted both my older surgery videos last time i tried that so i'm not even gonna try this time. fuck youtube) pretty much the only bummer is that she's moving to Spain within the next week, so i can't make it a regular destination. would fucking love to go see once she gets set up in Spain. i also nicked half a tube of EMLA cream. result.

cc

L

18.4.17

lights camera hacktion


firstly i would like to thank anyone and everyone who donated to me recently, especially one person who i won't name for privacy reasons. thankyou. i now have funds enough to acquire the nodes and equipment i need to complete my array of 8, and i should also be able to get some anaesthetic provided i can find somewhere selling it (topical, there is little chance of my acquiring any injectable lidocaine - that said, if you know someone that sells it and ships to the UK, or you would be alright with me sending you money so you could buy some on my behalf and post it to me, i'd be much obliged.) i will let you lot know what goes down with buying it, using it etc: i've got to source certain things - i'm not sure where exactly sells the gauge of needle i need or what G size the 5mm width ones are, i need a new box of latex gloves and some other crap, and i need to buy nodes - i'm gonna go with Amaal's ready-made ones instead of making them this time round, since that's just easier and they have a nice gold coating for an extra layer of bioproofing that i wouldn't be able to add myself. this will all get filmed too so you'll be able to see whatever i do directly.

more importantly: documentary stuff. it's still in production (in case anyone thought it had died or whatever) - 20min long, looking at my stuff and the biohacking world in general, produced entirely by my friend Paul Turrell (a film Master's candidate at the University of Birmingham, you can find some of his work on YouTube. Voxis Productions is his one-man production company.) the teaser for the documentary is here. Paul has asked me to put out a call for any biohackers, grinders, transhumanists etc in the UK - he is looking for secondary contributors to the documentary. anyone with implants, or who has done any surgical work on themselves as part of experiments, or who is really interested in the philosophy of transhumanism - written blog articles or books, spoken in public about it, that sort of thing. for that last one you don't even need to have any modifications yourself, just if you can speak well about the philosophy and get the idea of it across well for laypeople you would be perfect. he would like to include short little interviews with this kind of person in the documentary. he says he is not sure whether he wants to travel to the contributors to film them, or bring them to him in Birmingham, or do Skype or whatever yet, but he'll think about it and i'll let you know when he's decided what would be best. i am guessing it will probably depend on how far away you are - he prefers to film things in person because the quality of webcam footage is apparently usually too shitty to use for film work and will look really bad. (but if you come to Birmingham, i will buy you a pint and you will get to hear a big pile of transhumanist ramblings.) anyone that contributes will get their name in the credits (and i think also when the viewer first sees you in the film), you won't be an anonymous soundbite unless you'd prefer to be.

if you're up for this sort of contribution, you can email me - lepht trioptimum.com or Paul - voxisproductions gmail.com. i'm just going to forward messages to him about this, so it's probably easier to send them to him directly, especially if you have questions about the film, contributing to it, etc etc. please don't be shy, the more of these little interviews the better. the only other contributor is me and i'm not exactly a fuckin movie star.

cc

L

2.4.17

brokehack mountain

i'm completely broke, sadly. this month my partner is no longer employed so much much more of my income needs to go on food and bills and rent, which leaves a lot less than i usually have for unneeded things like experiment materials, the subscription fee for the MMO i play when i have the money, treat food and alcohol, meeting friends etc etc. so unfortunately that means i can't afford to complete my node array this month, although there ought to be enough scrimped up by the end of the month so i can get some good video / photos of a multiple node install for the documentary (they'll also go up here prior). i had hoped to be able to do it this month, but underclass gonna underclass.

i'm also gonna be seeing a psychiatrist tomorrow to see if they think any more talk therapy would help with my depression. as previously mentioned (i think) they don't think i have an autism spectrum disorder anymore, nor BPD - currently i just have "major depressive disorder" and "chronic back pain from spinal lordosis" as the things the government is paying me for while i try and get some qualifications together. i am really hoping it helps but trying not to get too hyped up for it because they might say no, or it might not do anything, you get the idea. more as it happens

L

25.3.17

small update


i need to use this blog more. i kind of stopped because it felt like a biohacking-only blog and while i've been ill there's been fuck all to say about that, but it is actually my personal blog so i might as well update it for my own sake. there was a comment on youtube that said something along the lines of "this used to be a good biohacker now it just whines on its blog" and that also had a lot to do with not feeling like i could update this unless it was to say something really ~*good and positive*~ that could in no way be interpreted as whining or off topic. of course there is fucking nothing that i can say that fits these criteria so whatever, i should never have broken my "don't read youtube comments" rule (i ended up doing it as part of a "people do too say nice things about you!" conversation a good friend was trying to have with me a couple of years back, and lo and behold i was right.)

anyway this blog doesn't have any followers so i can write what i want. i'm not going to stop writing about biohacking stuff, but right now all i'm doing on that front is gathering money for components (i made a savings account for it! like an ADULT!)

i'm aiming to finish my array of nodes first, since i've been mostly screwing with chip stuff since last i did anything. i'm thinking i might break the rule of not putting them in your index fingers, although the thumbs are definitely still out, but these will go last if i do install any there since it's gonna be hardest to heal those. including the indices i'll need five nodes (i know, i know, that's shameful) but one particular site is filled with keloid, encapsulated debris from a prior experiment & this will require its own extensive operation to remove that shit. i'm not looking forward to that particular procedure but it's necessary for a complete array and besides it probably should come out anyway. my mess, my problem. this operation will require a nerve block at any rate since otherwise it will be too painful and i won't be able to do any decent excavation work on it, i'll just end up shakey and probably won't be able to take it for very long. hopefully not too much of the tissue is compromised, i'll be annoyed if it doesn't leave me with enough to work with for nodes later (especially since i'll have to come up with some sort of compromise where i maybe install the node at the same time as i remove the mass, which of course will require some additional pain and lengthen the procedure).

i also need to consider potential other projects, whether that's things i stopped doing in the past because of ill health or new ideas i couldn't pursue during that time. i'm well aware that i have utterly fucked myself over by not being available for years on end, but i am still trying to climb out of the hole, after all this time failing and falling back down to the bottom again.

lastly, if you tried to contact me in the last while and never got a response, please feel free to try again now, and please accept my apology for leaving you hanging. i am trying hard now to not do this to people anymore.

L

24.12.16

the winter feast


it will probably be christmas day by the time most of you read this, or later. i hope you have or had a good day wherever you were or whatever you were doing. may 2017 be less shit than 2016 was.

if you sent me email in the last year, i'm really sorry for not replying to you. i do read most of what arrives but there's a high volume of spam plus a similarly high volume of legit emails, so it's hard to reply to them all when you have no motivation to do ordinary day to day tasks and even less to interact with people.

my partner is looking after me - he's doing a good job. i have not been very well this last year, and it didn't help that i spent about six months trying to do a networking qualification that was too advanced for me and not actually relevant to my eventual CEH qualification since i already know basic networking (it turns out that the one i was trying to do, the CompTIA Network+, is actually quite high level and involves a LOT of background reading for someone who has been on the programming or security side of things rather than the network engineering side. it's probably a fantastic exam to take if you want to be able to understand the logistics of every network everywhere and be able to engineer the perfect network for the situation your clients are in, every time, but it is way too in depth for a hacker to learn from scratch.) i've contacted the training provider about this & luckily they were really understanding - they apologised for having suggested the Network+ to me on the phone, and reset the time i had paid for so that i didn't pay for six months of wasted training and stress that got me nowhere. i'm currently working on the CompTIA Security+ & should be going back to that after christmas. i haven't done lots and lots of it but it seems like it's a lot closer to what i've been teaching myself for all this time than the Network+ was.

i am trying to be more accessible this coming year. my immediate plans are to attempt to restart my haptic compass project, and to complete my magnetic implant array. this will eventually also involve removing the failed experimental debris left in my right small finger (this debris is what you could see in the short BBC3 documentary, for those that asked - it is the encapsulated remains of a node whose experimental covering i was testing. it no longer works and will have to be removed before i can use the space to install a new node but this would be a long and involved surgery with a lot of pain and for this reason i have been avoiding it.)

merry christmas to you all, and many happy winters to come

cc

L

22.4.16

THAT'S A PROBLEMATIC TITLE

okay, several questions have been floated at me regarding wot i fink about gender issues, etc. and i figured well i do have the word "genderless" on my sidebar so i ought to at least explain what i mean by that rather than spit a tumblresque EDUCATE YOURSELF SHITLORD at you and be done with it. by the way when i was first learning the ins and outs back in like 2004 that really was the recommended way to deal with strangers, friends and family asking you questions. It's not my problem to educate you about this, it's yours, fuck off and google it!

first up just so we can get the basics out of the way: i'm not talking about biological sex here. i have XX sex chromosomes, normal female secondary sex characteristics, no chest hair here. i'm not denying that this here meatshell is a female-type one rather than any theoretical "neutral" type (i dunno, like a genetically modified construct shell or something.) i'm on about gender, as in, the social roles expected of men and women respectively. this is what people mean when they throw around "gender is a social construct" - they mean there's no brain difference between men and women that makes us behave in "masculine" or "feminine" ways, just differences in our upbringings and culture. (some people are using it wrong because they confuse gender with sex, but w/ev.) i'm of this opinion too, which makes me very unpopular with some people who are invested in the concept of having been born with a "male brain" or a "female brain" for whatever reason. [there's some cool recent neurological research relevant here also.]

having got that out of the way, i have no problem whatsoever with people who are fine with their gender or the concept in general. if you wanna behave in line with the social role you're prescribed and the ways you're expected to behave, you do dah. same if you wanna take on the other role cause you identify deeply with that gender. i don't think doing these things makes you "wrong" or "a bad person" or "oppressive" or whatever. i'm just one of the people that doesn't like either one. for this reason, i'm not a transman, as some people assumed (which is pretty strange honestly because i have tig ol' bitties that i don't try to hide and i wear bungloads of makeup and stuff, i'm not sure where you'd get the idea i was uncomfortable with a female body / considered myself a man unless it was "you do man things like coding and biohacking, you must really be a man" which is... er, a faulty conclusion with flawed premises, let's say.) sometimes expressing this set of opinions and preferences over and over is a bitch so i just go with the associated labels, which would largely be "agender" or "genderless". it's the same reason i refer to myself with "it" pronouns.

speaking of these, i really honestly will not get my arse in a tangle if you don't use them. some people don't like neutral pronouns. some people find "it" to be dehumanising and would rather say "they". some people think the whole thing is stupid and will refer to me with female language cause of my obvious physical sex, and so will strangers who have no idea about what kind of thing i prefer. this is fine! it's just something i do to make myself feel better. i massively appreciate the people who do use the same language i do, but this is pretty much going (very far) out of your way to alter your normal writing methods as a kindness to me, so i'm not asking you all to. you don't have to worry if you see a text that talks about me "misgendering" me (that is, using different language than i prefer). it's not going to upset me or set anything bad going in my head. in fact, i don't google myself and will likely never see it.

hopefully that more or less straightens people's questions/concerns out? hit the comments if not.

L

12.4.16

documentary is up


it's up on the BBC3 iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/item/8ca601f1-2d4f-412a-8c94-ad0b3497ac4e

this is a BBC3 professionally filmed documentary rather than the semi-amateur one Paul is working on (that one will be done by the end of the next academic year, since it'll be his graduate thesis). this one is also free to watch for anyone and should work fine for anyone outside the country (i think, i never tried.) it's also on youtube, on BBC3's channel. Paul's documentary will be a lot longer and more in depth than this one, which isn't all that long, about five minutes i reckon. it won't take you long to get through. i did a lot of interview-type talking for this one in various different places, and upgraded my RFID chip on camera for them. the film crew were great and really decent people to work with, and have been all the way up to its release.

also some of you have been asking me about various gender and pronoun related things on twitter, which i can't explain in tiny little tweets, so i'll try to do that in another blog post. enjoy watching me forget how to talk properly whilst being filmed

L

18.3.16

recent escapades


recent experiments seem to suggest the possibility of using acetone to dissolve various RFID and contactless devices to gain useful components. i also found the local Rag Market selling 100% acetone for cheapsies, which is always good. by "useful" i do of course mean "useful for installing beneath one's sliced open and surgically retracted flesh in order to further one's admittedly bizarre experimentation". biggest problem right now is making coiled-copper antennae, which are very delicate, suitable for implantation (i.e. bioproof) whilst still retaining functionality. it seems that a square shape, not filled in in the middle, with the chip connected to the coil on the outside (and the whole thing coated in whatever) is the best proto-dealio to be manufacturing, as it seems like that's the most stable construct that maintains the original shape of the device somewhat but also has the smallest surface area. as everyone probably figured out by now, items with a small surface area are far more likely to take beneath the skin than larger ones, and for related reasons, stuff with holes in is better than stuff without, so long as the holes don't compromise the bioproofing (whatever it is you've used for that). but i've had a few failures (conceptual and otherwise) & now need further supplies to fuck with. i'm going to be messing around with a contactless, refillable bus pass they sell around this area of Birmingham this time (sort of like an Oyster card if you're familiar with those). more as it happens / doesn't happen / gets horrifically infected and results in loss of limbs.

in other recent escapades i went with Paul (the documentary bloke!) to the Circus of Horrors a while ago. it was pretty amusing, although the posters led me to expect less than the quantity i actually witnessed of midget cock, balls and/or arsehole (how does he lift that weight, even with what are proportionally rather large tools?!) we accidentally bought VIP tickets and thus Paul calmly appreciated the artistry while i drank both of the little bottles of red wine we were given, plus a complimentary vodka lemonade, and spent most of the evening thinking a mixture of "HAHAHA WOW YAAY" and "I LIEK FISHNETS, I LIEK CORSETS" which i'm pretty sure is exactly what you're supposed to do anyway. it was immensely fun, they gave us free snacks and a tiny box of delicious truffles, and we even got to talk to the ringleader/owner afterwards (i did not say anything retarded, surprisingly.)

while that has exhausted my "fun stuff" budget for a while, i have got some cash left saved for experiments, so worry not. i'm not spending scalpel money on drink like some sort of *crazy person*.

cc

L

28.2.16

research statement

gleetings ferrow humans

this is the research statement for Paul's documentary, slightly edited to remove personal information etc. it's on the blog Google Drive so you can freely spread the link around (anyone with the link can view it). a research statement is pretty much an outline document saying what we want to do with the documentary, what's in it, what Paul's intentions for it are, etc. it might be interesting to some of you.

here it is: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxZXy_80YNwBamVnazNLM0lYNlU

cheers

L

31.1.16

chip upgrade


hey all. recently i upgraded my RFID chip to a writable version of the same basic protocol type (close-range passive and if i remember right it's still an EM4102 chip.) it's one of the ones from Dangerous Things (Amaal Graafstra's shop), which i'd happily recommend - he was able to arrange fast shipping, the chip arrived very well protected, etc. i also managed to source a newer, sleeker USB tag reader, although its range is awful compared to my old Phidgets one so i might just carry on using the old one. i even got hold of some topical benzocaine cream which is a first. that stuff was extremely useful & i might have to try it the next time i do any fingertip installations, since a lot of the difficulty with those comes from the pain and the toughness of the fascia in that area - having the area numbed might well mean i can go a bit slower, be a bit more precise with the depth of the needle puncture incision.

i did the chip installation at home, with my standard bleach-and-alcohol treatment for the table i was using and hibiscrub to sterilise the hand alongside sealed tools and glove for the other one. i figured out a long time ago that it's better to use a needle than a scalpel, so in the pix i'm gonna share here you'll see me making the incision with a 4mm sterile piercer's needle blade. i did also acquire two of the weird pre-loaded needle syringes a vet would use to install an animal's ID chip, but those turned out to be difficult to unload (you can't use an animal ID chip on a person cause they're specialised things that hold animal-specific information, can't be overwritten with any other info, and require a specialist reader and software what is very expensive.)

so here's some pix:

the needles and the reader. you can see some of the other gear in the background like the dressings etc.
the anaesthetic cream tubes i was using
preparing to do the incision. i don't have a static photo of when i actually put the bastard in unfortunately but there is video which will be released in one form or another later (see below).
this is the dressed wound; you can see the incision site by where the dot of blood is. i used a steristrip wound closure under there as well just to hold the site as closed as i could but it was pretty much overkill, it was a tiny hole that healed up exceptionally well.

the whole thing is very well healed now, had no healing problems whatsoever, changed dressing daily for a week and then it was pretty much done. the whole procedure was filmed too, by both Paul and some professionals, but i don't know what's happening with that footage so i can't release it to you yet or talk about what it's for. in all likelihood nothing will come of it and i can put Paul's video up here or on rutube for you after i get the go ahead, so watch this space or my twitter & i can let you know what goes down. i'm also currently working on something else, but no point posting about it until i know whether it's a viable experiment or not. if it fails spectacularly i'll post pix of that too just for the lulz.

carpe corporem

L

15.11.15

talk results

woefully underattended! it was like a paedophile's funeral, as my cameraman said. about six attendees and one of them was the poor guy organising the event in the first place. it took place in the lower floor of a nice little indie-type cafe place, and having tried in vain to recruit the two sweet old ladies who occupied the lower bit and the small collection of Hallowe'en hating hipsters typing on their laptops in the upper half, i ended up giving a talk to the organiser and five or so people who weren't doing anything for Hallowe'en.

not that the organiser didn't try to publicise it, mind; he was pretty apologetic about the crap turnout, and about the (egregious) mistake of having scheduled the talk for the biggest party night of the month thereby almost guaranteeing that nobody would be interested. you live, you learn. he was a really nice guy & a good host, and the group he's set up seems like it's probably going to be a decent little H+ group once it's matured a bit and attracted some more members, so if nothing else i spose this was an OK talk for those five or so people and a pretty good lesson for me (in that i should have realised much earlier that the date was a bad idea and warned the guy so he could change it).

we did film it, both as something to share if people wanted it and as food for the documentary, but owing to the location lighting and the interference of sound from the floor above us, the film's not of very good quality and will apparently need a fair bit of editing to make it watchable. i'll put it up for sharing as soon as it's finished.

as requested, here are the slides to the talk, entitled "Biohacking 101" on Google Drive. they're free to view for anyone, so feel free to spread the link around. i think the talk contains some decent info for beginner biohackers or people just interested. it also has some stuff on ethics, etc that i didn't go into in the 27C3 "Cybernetics for the Masses" talk, although they're similar to each other.

film will follow when i have it. might post the raw unedited stuff if the edited one takes ages, though it will be godawful.

also as a few people suggested: if any group around wants, i'm happy to give similar talks to whoever wants them & can be arsed to arrange them, like university societies, interest groups etc. if you want a specific topic that's fine too. i don't charge money, just a drink and a toke if you're having em.

cc

L

24.10.15

talk on 31st October, Lee Rosy's Tea Room, Nottingham

i have a speaking engagement coming up on the 31st of October, at Lee Rosy's Tea Room, 17 Broad St., Nottingham NG1 3AJ. it will be a short-ish talk about transhumanism and biohacking (as i see/practice it personally of course). it begins at about 6:30. as far as i know members of the public are welcome to come along & there's no entry fee (i'll update this if i'm wrong.) there will be a LibreOffice presentation and everything. i will be discussing past and present projects, basic steps to basic implant procedures, risks and ethical qualms, etc., as well as taking any and all questions (i plan to leave a fair bit of time for an extended Q&A session, since that's not something i normally get to do.)

it would be awesome to see any readers there. i invite you all if you can be bothered / are in the area / have an unhealthy interest in my intimate personal life!

cc

L

9.10.15

rebooting

it begins! (again.) i think living independently is good for me. i feel like a burden when living off other people, and having my own place is always nice. more or less settled in now, all the account information has been updated, bills set up etc. had a slight hitch on Thursday (08.10.15) when my old Fedora laptop finally gave up the ghost. the HDD made an ominous, bomb-like ticking noise for a few minutes, the system abruptly stopped responding, then the power died and refused to power back on. no luck with diagnostics/repairs that night or the morning after, until one last Chinese reboot convinced the machine to power on and load GRUB. from here i was able to get into Fedora, but only after about seven or eight minutes of loading and fan noise... when i actually got the window manager up, i found it responding slower than if i were sending commands via satellite from the fucking Moon. the terminal was no exception. i'd click or press a key, and literally several entire minutes would go by before the machine reflected what i'd pressed by opening a menu, showing the typed character onscreen, switching windows or whatever. with this excruciatingly slow method, i transferred my WIP novel to an SD card (it was the only irreplaceable file, i'd lost its backup on USB in the moving chaos). the machine itself is unusable and not worth buying a replacement hard drive for, so i haven't lost any data this time, but i have lost that. a new one's coming in a few weeks. it's one of these nice cheap preloaded Ubuntu ones for poor people so it should suit me fine. i don't need an SSD or fifty terabytes of disk space or 16G RAM, i just need some form of Linux laptop so i can function.

and meds. i also need lots of pain meds so i can function.

this Hallowe'en i will be speaking about transhumanism and biohacking in Nottingham, not sure of the exact place and time yet. i'll put up a post and a twatter update when i do, it shouldn't be very expensive if anyone wants to show up.

other news: next planned work is to upgrade my first ever implant, the little RFID ampoule tag i used for the various access hacks i took out of RFID Toys. it's very old and not writable or secured, so i've been wanting a replacement chip for a long time & am now in a position to replace it. (i say "replace", i really mean "install a new one and just stop using the old one because it's a pain in the arse to get things back out from under the skin of the hands and i can't be bothered".) i have a few ideas re where to source a suitable tag. will update you all as i get there.

cc

L

2.10.15

it doesn't even have a title!

once again i find myself apologising for the lack of blog-related content. the last two months or so have been utterly hectic: as you know, i was still staying with my folks after my attempt to do a second try at a University degree failed for lack of £27,000 in tuition fees, and when i last updated i was still there. since then my parents embarked on a massive house move: they decided to move to a different house in the same little town, someone else snapped it up, then their house was still on the market, they started looking further and further afield and ended up buying this tiny smallholding near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. (it turns out you can buy a lot more in Wales for the money.) there was a lot of drama whilst all this was up in the air: house viewings all the time where we'd have to scrub the whole place and hoover everything and hide all the personal stuff and take all three of my mum's dogs out of the house, the stupid old bat who eventually bought the place requiring four of said viewings, showing up unannounced, constantly threatening to pull out of the deal, etc. the move also necessitated my mum selling her wool shop business, my dad moving the whole premises of the little business he ran to an office on their new property, my brother (who works for my dad) and his partner and their two very very young kids also moving to Wales to live in the annexe attached to the new house, my great-grandma moving in with my Nan for health reasons, and my parents (and their large collection of animals) living in her empty house for a month or so with all their stuff in storage before they could even get to Wales. during all this, i wasn't sure where i could go or what would happen. eventually, after a massively stressful search for housing that would take itinerant losers as tenants, i found a flat.

so i am now in Kings Norton, Birmingham. truly a cyberpunk metropolis. please to not send anything to the previous address in Thornbury as the old bat will end up with it and frankly i would like to kick her in the ovaries rather than inadvertently give her gifts. if anyone would like the new address for sending letters, news, free anthrax etc., i'm happy to send it to you via email. my PayPal is still at a.mason.06@aberdeen.ac.uk, and i'm still at the same email address and Twitter page.

my parents helped move all the crap in & i have now sorted out rent, bills, council tax etc. & am fully set up in here. now that i have my own place rather than just staying in the spare room of someone else's house, i'm a lot more free to continue/restart projects, collaborate, talk etc. on biohacking stuff. you can't really do experimental surgery in a tiny house that has lots and lots of pets.

other things what is interesting: a while back, the people who make the graphic novel series Metal Made Flesh named a biohacker character after me (sort of, they called the hacker Leift Antonym). as you can see below, she doesn't look anything like yours fugly. it was seriously flattering though, even if she does get murdered horribly and forgotten over the course of the plot. it's a very well written book, i loved the art and the world they show is a sort of transhuman purgatory; i'd definitely recommend it to fellow weirdos.


the documentary is (still) an ongoing work, which had to go on hiatus while we were all running around worrying about somewhere to live. Paul's supervisor on his degree programme is on board, and his degree will be completed next year, so by that time the doc in its final form will be finished and ready to... go on YouTube i spose. he is working on it as his degree thesis project, which gives him access to pro equipment and editing machines plus other bonuses & will make it a better film in the end. he wants to make it clear that there's nothing to prevent anyone else filming whatever they want - i've not signed any bullshit non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality stuff, he's not paying me, and there's no agreed-on exclusivity, so anyone else who wants to interview and/or film stuff about my work is welcome to. if anyone still even remembers i had a blog.

health crap: it turns out that methadone in liquid form is not actually licenced for use with pain patients! so i had to switch to capsules instead. they're easier to deal with. this is a temporary thing: because methadone is a. massively stigmatised, such that pharmacists/nurses/etc tend to assume i am a heroin addict in treatment, and b. a pain in the arse to get hold of owing to the weird distribution requirements for pharmacies, i will soon be seeing a pain management consultant here to talk about switching back to a small dose of morphine or whatever. i found out there's a cool adjunct called nefopam which should potentiate the morphine allowing me to take less meds and have more pain relief, so i wanna ask them about that too. i haven't yet accessed any mental health services in Birmingham but i have a new antidepressant (lofepramine) which is more effective than the last one, and i have been a lot better recently than when i was on my own before.

so thanks for being patient, if anyone reads this, and i will be trying to post a blog on Fridays now i have a lot less stress to deal with.

cc

Lepht


EDIT 15.10.15: had to remove some personal details. feel free to email if you are confused. i apologise for editing but it was unavoidable. also clarified some stuff regarding exclusivity & the forthcoming documentary.

15.3.15

i missed that penguin

i finally got my arse in gear and installed Linux back onto this machine. amazing how much faster the OS runs than Windows, especially if you've been putting up with the latter for any longish amount of time. i use Fedora, which has always worked out of the box for me, but i found that GNOME 3 is a bit weird and required Fedy and gnome-tweak-tool to be installed before i could turn it into something resembling a usable GUI. maybe it's meant for tablets like everything else on the fucking planet these days. (in other crap news, i lost my Kindle :( )

medication wise i am thinking about coming off the Abilify/aripiprazole. my metabolism is still slow as a snail on Valium and i still weigh more than i should, although i'm down to 10st 10lb from 11st. i can't stand being overweight, so i gave up sweets and that seems to have helped some, but not enough. might have to give up alcohol as well, possibly also red meat.

no biohacking news, sorry. that's all for now sibs. carpe corporem

L

2.2.15

undiagnosis

so i've been waiting for months and months to see an autism specialist here in Bristol, and i finally got to see one for three sessions a few weeks back. i get called back in for a third about a week ago, only to find that they've undiagnosed me - that is to say, these specialists (and they're pretty much the experts) are sure i don't have a developmental disorder. so "what's wrong with me" has now gone from Asperger's Syndrome, to Borderline Personality Disorder, and now to nothing at all according to these ladies (apart from major depression.)

not really sure what to think of that. i trust their professional opinion, and their diagnosis was based on a pretty comprehensive test battery plus a massive arseload of history - interviewing me and my ma, pages on pages of questions about my life and my development (my ma's questionnnaire about me was 18 pages long) - so i don't think it's likely they've got it wrong. but if there's nothing wrong with me, officially, that sort of screws with my access to mental health services outside of severe depressive episodes. so i don't know if this is good or not.

anyone else run into anything like this? ever end up with a diagnosis that stuck?

L