lessons learned

what we learned from the pirate box experiment

- induction coils can work through skin to power a device

- the resin coating is bioproof

- it is possible to share wifi from inside yourself

- miniaturisation is very important

- the power pack is difficult to work with but functions well

- with some work this may be a great way to smuggle data

- its function as a source of cool data led various people to upload / download content

- chicks dig scars

i should also clarify that the docs are saying the damage to my ulnar nerve was NOT caused by the box or the surgery to remove it. they don't know what did cause it but i have been referred for a nerve conduction study to get an idea of what exactly's going on. will update as i get more information.


experiment failure

okay so the pirate box experiment gave its best shot but ultimately failed. things were fine from the installation in May 19 but at the end of December i whacked it on the door of a taxi, which hurt a lot but didn't worry me too much. however it got red and irritated looking and ultimately, i called the 111 service (free medical advice line) and they told me to go to hospital. hospital docs were pretty skeeved and clearly thought this was an utterly bizarre thing to have done, and immediately admitted me for removal. they insisted it be removed and at this point a hole had opened up over one corner of the device, through which a lot of nasty goo was issuing, so i went with their opinion and let them take it out.

so i spent New Year's in hospital, and now i have a second badass scar to show off. there's also a bit of nerve damage to my right hand which will hopefully heal up over time (it's pretty damn irritating, i have lost the grip strength in those fingers and it makes it very hard to type right).

so, cautionary tale. don't put enormous devices in your arms, folks.


grindfest 2019 and the big ol prototype

it's been a long time since i wrote anything for you guys. i will get the health stuff over with first: i'm having the Mental Health Fun Time, basically. things have escalated pretty badly in the last couple of months, & when this happens i pretty much can't do anything else. once again, i'm really sorry if you've been contacting me & didn't get a reply. the bigger my inbox & DMs get, the worse it is, and stupidly i know i'm making it worse by not checking them but that doesn't make it any easier to break through the barrier. right now the biggest problem is me, really. i shan't go into gory details, but it's been rough. i am very grateful for the access i have to doctors, psychiatrists, hospitals etc. - but also for the care & support i get from everyone in the biohacking community who knows me. you have all been fantastic.

as for Grindfest: it was incredible. i haven't been as happy as that since i was a kid. i got to travel to a beautiful place - the desert was gorgeous, and the butterfly migration we saw was like something out of a fantasy novel (a river of thousands of red and black butterflies all flying towards wherever their destination was. it was awe-inspiring.) i also got to meet Cassox, and see many friends, and everyone was lovely. we had a BBQ, we learned some useful practical techniques, there were electric knife fights, i tried every American junk food item i could. it turns out Twinkies are weird, but tasty. i brought back Lucky Charms too.

more importantly, i also had an experimental device installed. for legal reasons i'm not going to go into which of us did what during the actual install procedure, but it started off when my friend Mixael brought this little "pirate box" device in. tiny little guy, has USB storage and wifi antenna, users just connect to it via their phone or PC and they can download / upload files, anonymously chat, etc. we started to think about taking the cover off it, and at that point we all sort of looked at each other because it was immediately clear this might make an interesting subdermal device. so over the next few days it got gutted; more talented people than me took off any extraneous components, replaced the battery with a wireless charging coil, soldered the USB storage down, and filed off the corners. because we took the battery out, the device is now operated through use of a wireless charging pad held close to it on the skin; that's not ideal, but this is a prototype after all. Cass coated it with about a hundred layers of resin-type stuff (it's proprietary, i'm not sure what exactly it IS but it performs like a dream) to bioproof the device. after that had cured it was time for the installation.

there's film of this somewhere around, but the op was done very professionally in Cass' lab. the lab is an absolute dream - spacious, easily cleaned, with two main working rooms and one sort of clinic room. it's all organised to perfection and has pretty much any equipment or supplies you could possibly want for a biohacking project, from weird cell biology shit to full on opening someone up and stuffing in large electronics. the latter, obviously, being what we were doing.

we chose to put the device in my upper right arm, rather than the thigh as intended, due to worries about chafing. then we injected shitloads of lidocaine, and made a horizontal incision in the arm, which was then held open with retractors while a pocket big enough to hold the device was carved. at some point i recall we had to stop and put more lidocaine in, i think because the corners hurt more to carve out than i thought they would? anyway i bawled like a big baby at some point but it got installed in the end, and stitched up with a drain to help get rid of some of the fluid. i went off home (via a missed flight, but friends helped me sort it out & it was all OK in the end) and once i got back, pulled out the tube. this caused a large backup of about 50ml of fluid to spurt from the incision, completely overwhelming the little bit of sterile gauze i was trying to clean it with, which in turn surprised the hell out of Paul and kind of ruined the rug. was worth it if you ask me.

the incision healed up well, but slowly. this is probably due to me smoking or something rather than the quality of the work done, which was excellent. i took the stitches out a couple weeks later with no problems. the fluid buildup did cause the implant to look very raised, but this has subsided over time & didn't require draining like i thought it would. overall the install went pretty smoothly, i think. it's all healed over now, save one corner that's still a little red. no idea what's up with that but if the device fails, it fails, & we've gained some valuable information about how long these devices can last, positioning, usage and things like that.

here is the device while it was healing up:

looks pretty dramatic, no? it's all gone back to the right colour now, & there's a badass scar where the incision was. this is what it looks like today:

kind of gnarly still but i wasn't a beauty queen to begin with, ha. hopefully the device remains in situ for a good six months or so, i'd consider that a success. (and the scar is cool as fuck.)

speaking of gnarly, the janky finger was also fixed at Grindfest, much to my surprise. a lot of weird shit came out, all tiny pips of neodymium scattered throughout the white tissue making up the lump. the incision wasn't too big, probably about 1cm length, and sealed up perfectly. i took the stitches out on the plane home & had to explain what i was doing to the poor woman seated next to me. i don't want to get the person who did it in trouble so i'll just say that this procedure (and the installation of the device above) were done with superlative skill and care, and i'd recommend them any time.

that's pretty much everything. i won't be able to make it to Defcon, for those asking, but may well be able to come to "Please Try This At Home" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September. i'll figure that out in time. meanwhile love and best wishes to you all, especially D, Vicarious, Mixael & Cyberlass. you have all been wonderful people.




i've been back for about a week and i miss BDYHAX a lot. i did have some travel problems getting in - there were 3 flights to get in and 3 to get out. the first flight was no problem but at the end of the transatlantic middle flight, there were thunderstorms over Atlanta, Georgia which stopped us from landing on time. after that the security queues to check our documents for entry to the USA were more than an hour long and the combination of those things made me miss my connecting flight on to Texas. i ended up sleeping on the floor of the Atlanta airport then taking a flight to San Antonio (instead of Austin), then getting a paid-for taxi to Austin to find my hold baggage. the taxi man had no idea what was going on and kept asking me questions in Spanish and saying he didn't like the looks of my airline taxi voucher, and in the end i had to ditch him at baggage claims and run around looking for another taxi to take me to the hotel.

America was so strange. the taxi rides showed me a barren, mostly empty desert wasteland with many abandoned construction projects, ones in progress, and land lots for sale; but then we crossed a bridge and suddenly we were in a fully built-up city centre. i found the hotel and checked in to what was absolutely the nicest apartment i have ever stayed in - bigger than mine, with better amenities, and it even had a little terrace on the balcony outside. a dear friend had even sent a package with some Sergio Aragones cartoons to distract me from my impending panel appearance and some delicious gourmet biscotti. it was amazing to arrive in this beautiful place - the kind of place i'd never be able to afford on my own - and not have to worry about money.

that day some Austrian TV crew wanted to meet for an interview and even paid me for it, which was ace and never usually happens. there was a pre-meetup thing at a sausage restaurant where i got to meet some friends, which was pretty chill except i got lost when i went for a smoke and missed like half of it.

the panel the next day went well, i think. people on Twitter seemed to like it, even though i kind of thought my responses were kind of just fancy ways to say "gender isn't relevant to me" or "i don't know enough about that" or "that isn't really my conversation to have". but the rest of the con was incredible. i met so many amazing people doing amazing things, and everyone was so friendly. i never got used to being recognised by people i didn't know, so i ended up just saying hi and talking with absolutely everyone and anyone. i had some really interesting conversations, then and at the Wormhole after party thing that night which was also pretty chill.

my talk the day after was called "Fun with Self-Surgery", just a basic overview of how to keep things as sterile as possible and relatively safe while you're working on yourself. it was packed, as was my longtime friend Vicarious's talk just before that on RFID programming, which i think is an indicator that it went well. there were a lot of questions at any rate. i used the money i got from the Austrian crew to get a VivoKey Spark implant installed, and spent the rest of the day just hanging out smoking and talking to everyone. i went for a burger with Vicarious and the lovely Anastasia Synn (at Hut's Hamburgers, the tastiest burger i have ever had in my life, no joke.) i met Tim Cannon of Grindhouse Wetware, who was completely lovely, and acquired a Northsense unit i need to install sometime soon. c00p3r let me have a couple of prototype magnet implants to test out and promised i could test out something truly revolutionary if i managed to get to Grindfest - more on that when it's installed. i had dinner that night at a vegan place with a huge collection of fellow grinders.

mostly, i was just amazed that the community has become so big and achieved so much. i was told i'm "the spark" that set everything off - if that's true, i am so proud of you all that it hurts my heart. all i ever wanted was to pass on knowledge and ideas to smarter people than me, who'd do better things with it than i was capable of doing, and it's come true. people are doing so many utterly amazing things. i'm so proud of all of you and so happy, i ended up having a cry when i had to leave. it felt like i'd found "my tribe" and i truly didn't want to leave and go back to crappy Birmingham. but i have some things to be getting on with now, and i've booked my tickets to Grindfest thanks to some lovely people crowdfunding last year. at least i can meet up with friends again come May.

i know i keep saying it, but i am so so proud of you all. this is exactly what i wished would happen fifteen years ago.



the road to America

applying for passports turned out to be quite difficult the first time i ever did it, way back in the day, and it also took a ridiculous amount of time. i remember taking really ugly pictures for it in a photo booth which was jammed into the side of a corridor in the mall. luckily, you can now do it online, so the only problem was the pictures. i did all my makeup and headed out to get some from a similar little booth in the enormous Bullring Mall. it didn't go well since i had neglected to plan for my absolute loathing of reflections and/or pictures of myself. if you have zero self esteem, it's hard to keep taking picture after picture of yourself all unexpressive and unemotional and not just give up and exit the booth shamefaced at your own ugliness.

after the second booth had taken its max allowance of three pictures and they had all been marked as "not passport compliant", i was beginning to get a little bit irritated. i had to pay for both sets of failed pictures, of course, and the whole reason i was out here was that i'd already tried to get regular pictures taken with my phone to work with no success. i took my two sets of crappy pictures and went home trying not to cry like a little bitch.

of course when i got home, more phone pictures wouldn't work either. eventually someone suggested to just try putting one of the failed photobooth ones in. it worked. i sort of sat there surprised for a while, like a dog after you bop it on the nose for being bad. but it worked! my application was away! there was no need to cry over crap photos!

in a couple of weeks my brand new passport made its way to me. the picture does of course make me look less "bright youthful tech person" and more "Baba Yaga bought a new liquid lip colour" but it's so good to have an in-date passport again. now i can actually accept invitations to travel, maybe go see friends and fellow biohackers who live on the Continent or in the States, anything. it's something i wanted for a long time & thanks to kind, generous friends i can go anywhere now, within budget.

after the passport the next step to BDYHAX was the ESTA application, thankfully another thing you can do online. i'm not gonna lie, i was bricking it filling the form in. images of American bureaucrats with guns stopping me at the border filled my head, in case i'd inadvertently lied about my details or they considered me a disgusting drug addict who shouldn't be in their country or something. but i paid for the application and three or four days later it came back as approved, to my relief. now i need a travelling prescription for some of my meds, which is in the works, and a letter from the doc to show why i need them (i have an appointment to see them in early December.) it's all in progress which is both exciting and terrifying to me.

i'm really looking forward to BDYHAX, and Grindfest too which i still need to arrange. it's so good to be doing something after being ill for a long time, & i'm so excited for all the people i'm going to meet at the event itself. even just the plane ride makes me excited. more as it happens



Manchester Science Festival

so Thursday 18th i was at the Manchester Science Festival's "You Have Been Upgraded" event. it was absolutely fantastic. i was part of a panel of speakers talking about the various facets of transhumanism, alongside the futurist Ghislaine Boddington and the Spanish cyborg artist Manel Munoz, both of whom were great to share a conversation with - many other awesome people were there too. it was really good to get out and talk about my shit with some other weirdos. the highlight of the evening was a live chip implant done by Jenova Rain (someone i really highly recommend if you want magnets done or xNTs put in!) but it was also ace to hear from the prosthetics and futurist bits of the panel, and watch a gorgeous tattoo being finished by the amazing scientist-tattooist Rebecca de Cadorette. it was such a good night.

in other news, i'm also gonna be at BDYHAX 19, a conference in the States about body hacking (obviously.) it will be a bit of a bitch getting a passport and visa sorted but as soon as my payment for the last event comes through, i'll be sending a passport renewal off ASAP. i'm really looking forward to it and there's also Grindfest 19 so a lot of things are kicking off from my point of view. it's all good.

carpe corporem



personal update

i promised a personal update so here we go, i'm doing my best here. i hate sounding whiny which is definitely something i've been guilty of in the past so i'll try to describe what's been going on without sounding too much like a "oh woe is me my mental health is bad" sort of thing

so that is the major roadblock here, mental health. i am under care of a psychiatrist now rather than just a therapist, which is really good - the psych is a lovely person who seems very understanding and can screw with my medication as & when required rather than having to constantly request someone else to. something horrible has been happening for about a few months now, that requires me to keep seeing the psych, but it's not really something i want to be talking about. the main thing is that i got to the psychiatrist eventually, they put me on an additional new medication, and it seems to be working (the horrible shit is decreasing in severity as well as in frequency). i've been suffering a lot with this shit, to be honest, but that's gotten much better over the past fortnight.

i just saw the shrink now and they've changed my meds further - they're also hopeful this new regime will slowly remove the shit that the previous one didn't. i'm inclined to just trust their expertise and do whatever they tell me tbh so i'll follow this new routine and hopefully have less bad shit going round my head. i really hope this doesn't worry anyone b/c they're taking good care of me, i've got a nurse's phone no. that i can get hold of at any time of the night or day and also i've got Paul and my family here, they're all doing their best.

family shit is the same as ever, sadly. Z is in hospice 24/7, tho she's home for a week of "holiday" right now. my bro and his girl are taking good care of both her and her big brother G, and my ma & dad have agreed a sale on their house so they'll all be moving back to the Bristol area soon. my sis & my ma have set up a shop there to sell yarn and plants, they want me to move to the town they're setting up shop in too but i'm kinda spergy about change so i'm dragging my heels until i've gotten more stable mentally. Paul is doing OK.

this has been a personal update. i hope you are all doing as well as you can be doing. my love to those you love



bringing home the bacon

here is a quick guide to something a lot of people have asked about: the bacon test. this is a quick test to see if something you've made or bought is a good candidate to be implanted inside you somewhere. it's a way of checking how good the bioproofing on whatever you're testing is - so you can use it to test items you've bought from wherever, especially if they're not generally meant to be implanted anywhere, or on items you made yourself, which is where the test becomes much more useful and important. there's no need to bacon test something like Steve Haworth's magnets or Amal's chips, for example, but i wouldn't skip testing on things i've made or modified myself. i did that once and it's resulted in a weird janky looking giant lump on the finger i put the component in, plus a completely broken implant of course. (more on failures at the end of this post.)

passing this test doesn't mean your implant definitely will succeed in vivo, but it means it's worth trying. once again i am no doctor and none of this constitutes either medical advice or me telling you to go put things inside you.

things you need before you can do the test:
- your component
- your coating material

okay so first up you coat up your component. here a busted RFID field detecting LED sticker from Dangerous Things is standing in for ours, which in your test can be anything you want or are experimenting with, really. i'm coating it with plain old hot glue.

things you need for the test:
- a piece of pork or bacon that you don't mind throwing away (this here is a gone-off pork steak, but normally i use bacon.)
- hand sanitiser / gloves
- tweezers if your meat piece is very thick
- sharp knife, ditto
- cling film

here's the coated up component, ready to be inserted.

sanitise your hands or put your gloves on and get your piece of meat ready. it might need washing or cleaning off or whatever. here's mine - it's a pork steak, and if it hadn't gone off it would've been delicious.

make an incision as shown. if you're using a bacon rasher, that might not be possible. with those you just roll up the component inside the rasher, putting it at the centre of the layers so it's as deep inside the meat as possible (hurr hurr.)

put the component inside using your tweezers if you need them. if you've a thick bit, it helps to make the cut at an angle so you can put the component under the little flap it creates.

once this is done, you wrap the meat up in cling film and store it in the fridge for a week or so. after enough time has elapsed, you get it back out, unwrap / unroll it and have a good close look at the component. if it's rusty or discoloured under the coating in any way, it's failed. if nothing looks wrong, it will need re-sterilising before you put it into yourself anywhere, so i recommend doing this test on a second device or failing that, doing it only once you've sorted out a good means of sterilisation such as Milton solution, ethanol, etc. failure means that if you do implant it, it's likely to get encapsulated; as i said, i did this years ago in a really dumb kind of "nah, it'll be fine" moment with a homebrew magnetic node implant.

here's the result as it looks today: you can see the dark mass of where the implant used to be, which is the neodymium core all broken down from where my tissue reacted and attacked it. it's very much bigger than the original implant too, which is because your body doesn't just break substances like Nd down but also coats them in a giant ball of scar tissue if it cannot push them out of the site. you really don't want this to happen - not only will your device not work, but the place you put it in could potentially be ruined, especially if it's a sensitive site like your fingertips. also it's not exactly aesthetically pleasing to have big giant lumps of stuff stuck to you. they don't hurt, but they do look pretty gross. learn from my mistakes, sibs. i am the biohacking Goofus to your Gallant.

hope this has helped a few of you perform your own weird experiments. thanks to everyone who helps make mine possible - i know you've wanted personal updates, so these are coming in a separate post. carpe corporem



the man with the shit sprayer kicks open the fan factory doors

not really sure where to start talking about any of this shit anymore. i think i half told you guys about what was going on with family last time. if not, a tl;dr is pretty much this: my blood family mostly lives in Wales where my ma moved out a couple of years ago to the country, along with my dad, his one-man business & its office/workshops, my bro, his girl K, & their 2 small kids G & Z. as some of you might remember, last time i tried to update anything the family had just had shitty news involving Z - she's two now so you can imagine any bad health news at that age will fuck them up - but we didn't know what exactly was the problem or what the prognosis would be.

that's progressed (kid has been through 1001 medical tests, seen a geneticist etc) & a couple months back they sat my bro & everyone down and explained Z has metachromatic leukodystrophy, which is incurable and genetic. it's a disorder where the brain can't produce myelin, which is what "insulates" neurons sort of - so the system can't protect those cells, and slowly but inexorably they degenerate. it's terminal, within two to five years in her case, but most of that time she will not really be there exactly - like a dementia patient, it seems like these kids lose all higher brain functions fairly rapidly, including shit like speech, language recognition, walking, eating/swallowing, use of hands, recognising familiar faces, up until there's nothing there and the patient is just vegetative. right now Z has none of those things except maybe recognising people, and continues to degenerate (it's been really rapid, this all took place since Christmas when she was crawling, talking, emotive etc etc), which you can prob imagine is fucking my family up pretty hard, which in turn screws with me pretty badly. everyone is grieving.

...fuck, that was also tl;dr. i apologise, this might be a textwall.

the double shitter is that this is a genetic disorder which my bro and K are definitely carriers of, meaning that there's a 1 in 4 chance that any other kid they may have will die too. i don't know if G has been screened but i worry bc the Wiki says sometimes it doesn't start showing symptoms until "between 3 and 10 years of age" (he's 4 now.) it's extremely likely that my sister and i are also carriers - as you can prob imagine this wasn't good news for my sis or my ma, in terms of future plans getting squashed, but didn't really affect me since there was about a (less than) 1% chance of anyone ever getting me smashed long enough to agree to procreate anyway. not good news for Paul however since he was sort of hoping to be that dude with enough alcohol to do it, has always wanted to be a dad, etc so it still took a toll.

in terms of Z's medical care, we're extremely lucky to live in a country that takes care of that stuff if you can't, plus there are charities and that involved, so her care will be funded as long as necessary no matter how expensive it gets including home equipment / hospital beds / home nurses / hospice care etc. this is good because my folks are as broke as i am. there's even been a gofundme to take her & G & parents to Disneyland in Paris, so it's not like she will be suffering for lack of medical attention or anything. it's purely emotional fallout. i know my bro is seeing a grief counsellor, so hopefully there's some mitigation there, but i wish they'd find some way to send people like my mum or my nan to someone too. they're not having fun with this.

in addition they're also moving house - after all the pain and work it took to move the family out there, this medical stuff plus some other problems they're having mean they've decided that they'll be selling up and moving to two smaller houses back where we came from, near Bristol. my ma has had to get rid of a lot of her pets cos of this, like her alpacas, her 2 little mini goats, most of her chickens and others, & strangely that's been getting to me too, i really liked seeing all those animals when we visited.

so yeah irl pretty much sucks right now. i hate even typing about it to be honest. Paul's still not 100% - i thought he was getting better for a good while & it really seemed like he was but over the last 2mths or so he sort of backslid until we were back at the multiple hospital trips sort of stage, & his last X ray pretty much showed the same problem as like back in November. right now the GP & etc are trying some meds, no way to know if they will have worked without another X ray but hopefully they will until we can see the actual gastroenterologist again. i would even be OK with him having to take these forever if it staved off the weird gut valve problem, or kept him not in pain. i'm hoping there's some kind of one off surgery or something if that's not possible, some corrective thing.

there's the standard cavalcade of shit apart from that (no different to anyone else's problems i don't think): bills suck, overdraft sucks, depressive disorder has shitty timing and gets exacerbated by all this which makes me even less functional which makes everything even worse, etc etc. ngl i have not been doing fucking anything except worrying and [actually i typed the and before i realised no i've just been worrying, that's pretty much it]. i realise this is not a productive use of time. the worst thing is you can realise that and even then still just sit there staring at a screen for weeks/months at a time.

possibly the only good thing i guess: people have been asking about drugs etc - i'm actually not anything like as cool underground rebel as some of you seem to think, sadly. i haven't touched anything not-prescribed for about twelve years (even that was just more of the same shit i was getting prescribed, plus some weed and what not, i am actually very boring), & right now the medics are like 75% of the way through taking me off one long-term painkiller and onto a better one? i think? it's one of those deals where they gradually reduce the dose of one while increasing the dose of the other.

the new one is called pregabalin (Lyrica, in the States) - i thought it was gonna be shit tbh but it's actually pretty good. it's also an anti-anxiety, and helps you sleep - sort of a wonder drug for anxious depressive insomniacs - which means i've been able to come off the beta blocker i was taking for anxiety and the melatonin i was trying to KO myself at night with. i'll be down to just pregabalin and a couple of antidepressants sooner or later. so health-wise i'm physically better than i was, & will prob remain so in future. a lot of my physical problems have been complicated by stuff like painkiller tolerance, where you get less and less sensitive to a drug's effects over the years, and the pain doc said this one doesn't have that problem so it should basically work forever. to be honest i'm really grateful they started me on it when they did, since the shit that is currently flying all over the fan factory in a fine, feculent mist would be even harder to deal with if not for its effects. maybe i should change the blog's catchphrase to "pregabalin fucks you up".

this is way too long already & i apologise again for the text wall but i did just want to say thankyou again, to everyone that's written to me via here or email or my Twitter. i'm really sorry if i screwed up people's deadlines or anything while you were waiting for me. it's been really hard to face communicating with anyone, irl or not, & i know that's been frustrating for people. D, thankyou especially; you've been kinder than i could have expected anyone to be. Paul is helping me try and get on top of all these mails now but i wanted to write something first so i'd be able to link people to a longer explanation of what's been going on. i'm still trying. i'm really sorry about all this continued fuckup.



crappy news re. Grindfest 2018

it looks like i'm not going to be able to get to Grindfest this year guys. i am so gutted. i've been looking at requirements for travel today and it seems like there isn't any way to get all 3 of what's needed within a week from now (that's a renewed passport, a travel-permitted prescription for my painkiller, and an American visa.) there is a fast track visa system but its terms seem to be saying that if you're a "drug addict" you can't travel, and i don't know that i'd be able to prove to them that i'm not: i've never taken heroin or whatever but currently i'm being taken off methadone, which is primarily used for treating heroin addicts and is basically unknown outside that use in the States. the people on the phone agreed and said i'd really want to be using the regular non-fast-track visa system which would take far far too long. i could get the doctor to write a note maybe but i don't know if that would suffice either given that the doc doesn't prescribe the methadone, the fucking methadone centre does, and again its primary use is to rehabilitate fuckin heroin addicts (i'm one of two people in the centre who weren't given it for heroin addiction)... incidentally this is my main reason for switching painkillers to a non-opiate called pregabalin, it's something that doesn't require a specialist to monitor you and can be overseen by the GP, plus doesn't have a main use for addicts & therefore a massive stigma that stops you travelling to places you really wanted to go.

i'll be able to get to it next year, if there is one next year. by that time i'll have been on solely pregabalin for a long time, & will be taking much less medication overall (a lot of it is for side effects, managed to ditch a fair bit already), plus i will have time to get a passport sorted and do the long form visa if they want.

the main thing i'm worrying about here is that people started a GoFundMe - that wasn't actually me that started it, i don't like asking for money & i actually only noticed it when the organiser sent me an email about it and a couple friends alerted me to it on Twitter. please don't put any more donations into it, as i won't be able to use them this year. if anyone sent me anything via PayPal (i've checked & there's nothing in it so far, thank fuck) that hasn't cleared yet, i'll return it to you as soon as it clears into my account. i'm gonna email the guy organising the GFM to ask if he can return your donations to you all, if that's not possible, maybe he can hold it in trust for next year. if anyone has any preferences about that, maybe email him or put comments on the GFM page. i don't want anyone to go out of pocket because of this.

sorry in addition if i've not been great at contact this last month or so (as if i ever am). as i've said on twatter, there's been a family tragedy involving my brother's little 3-year-old girl Z, who's been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder. she's very fundamentally disabled now and the docs don't know whether the degeneration will plateau off so that she lives a shortened life as a person with a profound disability (around the physical/cognitive level of functioning of a 6mth old baby, right now, and ofc it continues to degenerate), or whether it will not and she will die. naturally this is fucking horrible for my bro and his partner, for their other kid G who's only 4, and for my parents, who live in the same place and do a lot of surrogate childcare for them (my bro and his girl live with their kids in like an annexed house that's part of my parents' place in rural Wales.) i'm worried about my mum in particular since she's trying to hold all this together with no support for herself. this clusterfuck has been 50% of my attention for a good couple months now, alongside trying to look after Paul (he is thankfully getting better, it's just slow, which is exactly what the last gastroenterologic specialist guy we saw said was gonna happen, so no huge medical worries there just a lot of caring to do.) i've been neglecting my actual work so to speak, & i'm sorry.

so once again, bearer of bad news. heartfelt apologies to those of you who got your hopes up for hanging out and listening to a talk at Grindfest, i know i sure as fuck did too. i'll let you all know what happens with the GoFundMe, & i'm gonna try to get in touch with the actual organisers of the fest to see if i can like reserve a place for next year or something. if i organise stuff far ahead enough in time, i can make it happen.

take care sibs



handy guide to RFID type chip implants

(handy. do you see what i did there)

this is a short overview of what i've learned over time about the various identification and/or data-carrying implantable chips: regular RFID ones, rewritable ones, NFC chips etc etc. these chips are all very similar: the basic idea is you have a little microchip encased in some outer object (like a card or keyring), alongside a little copper coil of antenna that lets a powered reader cause the chip to power up and burp up its ID, or its data, or start up an authentication process or whatever. the chip itself has no power source, but it works on the principle that when a copper coil comes into contact with an electrical field, the coil will resonate with electricity of its own. it's that electricity which powers the chip and allows it to give out its ID as long as it remains within the field. there are many, many different types of tags both NFC and RFID, long-range variants, different frequencies and outer forms, some come with onboard sensors that they can report the data from, etc. i'm going to concentrate on the ones we can use as implants, which are the glass ampoules. they're very useful in my opinion, but most require a little bit of further programming and/or hardware setup before they can really be used for something.

{this is a Dangerous Things NFC implant in its sterile container, picture from just before it was installed in my right hand by the lovely Jenova Rain}

these are the three types you'll be most likely to encounter:

plain RFID chips
these are exactly what i described above. they're fairly old as a technology, generally cheap, and very simple - they're just a chip with a coiled copper antenna, encased in a variety of coverings that enable the chips to be used in various different settings: stickers, identity cards, wristbands. just about anything can contain one of these so long as the object isn't dense enough to block the electrical signals, and there are long-range versions for use in things that are too thick for the standard ones. some come in bioproof glass; these are called ampoules, they're generally suitable for implantation (though you should always test it first) even if they have to put a disclaimer on the packaging that tells you not to implant them. all of these types require a powered reader to detect them, as the chip isn't powered except by its coil and therefore doesn't do anything when no reader is present. i like the Phidgets reader, which works for older and newer tags and just plugs in to your machine via USB.

this basic, oldest type contains no other data than its unique ID number. they're guaranteed to be unique and they're set in the factory, so you can't change the number or use the chip to carry any other data - more on this further down. they're simple and very easy to start working with in your projects. you can get them from many robotics, hobby and electronics shops online - a shop called Atlas stocks loads of them & ships worldwide, and there's hundreds of them on Amazon. if you wanted an entire starter kit, Codegate sells some in the UK.

there are various subtypes of these, using various different radio frequencies and able to read across varying distances, and also some which can send sensor data (like temperature, or movement) alongside their ID, but for implant stuff you are basically only going to want the short-range little glass ampoule tags like these. other, longer-range tags exist but are too large to consider putting under your flesh in my experience.

these ampoules have some downsides: they're old, and therefore they are vulnerable security wise. they have no defences whatsoever and will ping their ID number whenever any reader comes into range of them. that means if you were using the ID as a key for something important, anyone can walk past you with a reader in their pocket and grab that key even if the chip is embedded into your hand; all they'd have to do is get close enough, snatch the ID number and copy it onto a rewritable RFID tag for access to whatever you were using your tag to secure. the plain chips are also limited in terms of what you can do with them, since they can't carry any extra data and can't be altered.

rewritable RFID
later chips' ID values are re-writable, so you can do stupid things like grab the ID from your access card for a building using your own reader, rewrite that ID onto the chip in your hand, and then go to work and ~magically telekinetically open doors with your miiiind~ or whatever. (it will amuse the security guy if nothing else.) they're also what you'd use to duplicate existing RFID tags' numbers so you can back them up, or as part of an attack on someone else's tag-secured system. other than this they're the same as the regular RFID tags: they still can't carry extra data (it's limited to just changing the tag's ID value usually), they're still relatively simple and easy to learn your way around, and they're still grabbable by rogue readers.

you get these from the same places as the regular ones; here's some from JM Prime. i used to get mine from Core RFID, too.

NFC (Near Field Communication) chips
these are the next generation of implanted chip technology after RFID. they work in a different way but the basis is still the same: whenever they come into contact with a reader, the chips are passively powered up and can interact with it. they're a lot more complex than RFID - this allows for things like passcode protection (example: you can't access anything stored on the NFC chip in my hand without my 4-digit code) and proper data storage (like contacts for your phone, vcard data, custom hex or binary or whatever for your projects, etc).

the biggest advantage with these in my opinion is that you don't need a separate hardware reader in order to interact with the tags. you just use your smartphone, provided it's NFC capable (most are nowadays i think, but you can check your model online to see if it is.) you just install an app like tagInfo / tagWriter which then acts as a reader and can write info to tags, etc.

these can also be bought from the places i suggested up there, but the easiest thing to do if you are wanting one of these for implant purposes is just to buy an entire kit from Dangerous Things. Amal crowdfunded these kits for biohackers, they contain everything you'd need to install the chip as well as the tag itself preloaded into a syringe for injection (i'd definitely agree that needle installation is superior to scalpel use if the thing you're installing is that small). you can even buy a patch with topical anaesthetic to numb the site if you're worried about pain (but don't be, it's less painful even than having blood taken for tests or getting immunisation jabs.) the Android app Dangerous NFC is made to secure these tags once you have them installed, but currently doesn't function as a reader/writer (you'd need tagInfo and tagWriter for that as usual).

other cool Dangerous Things developed tags
Dangerous Things are actively developing new kinds of tags for implantation all the time. you can see their kind of "beta testing" stuff and possibly buy some here. their regular shop contains stuff they've already done, and there is some really nice gear in there: i personally am coveting the temperature sensing one (due to medication side effects i still have trouble sensing how cold my body is or isn't, and i no longer have the implant i cooked up to do the job) and i also love these little NFC light-up sticker guys except i would stick those suckers in some hot glue and put them on top of the long bones in my fingers i think.

installation of ampoules
if you didn't get a preloaded syringe kit for your tag, the easiest way to put them in is with a sterile piercer's needle. it's a very minor wound and the process is pretty simple:

1. find the best place to put the tag. this is generally the triangle shaped part of your hand made by the thumb and index finger bones. use your non-dominant hand if you can and place tags far apart from each other if they use the same frequency (e.g you can put your NFC tag right next to an RFID one, but don't put two of the same kind close to each other or they will confuse the reader.) mark the place with a biro dot or tattoo pen.

2. sanitise everything, your hands, the work surface, fuckin everything. bleach for your surfaces, Milton for your tools, Hibiscrub for your hands (because you can't wear sterile gloves when you're working on your own hands, tho i do sometimes put one on the hand i'm not installing anything on).

3. numb it up with whatever (ice, lidocaine cream) if you like, although the process is so easy that i honestly don't consider it necessary at all.

4. make a hole where you marked it using a fresh needle. get that sucker like at least 3 or 4cm in, it needs to pierce right through the skin and into the gap below. you don't want to actually pierce the stuff underneath, though, so be careful with it and push the needle in at an angle of like 45 degrees. it takes a surprising amount of force to do these things btw so again, be extremely careful and go slowly if it's your first few times.

5. retract needle, push tag into the hole. make sure the tag is all the way underneath the skin.

6. hold clean cotton wool over the hole and press down gently until bleeding slows, which it will do quickly because you only made a tiny teeny baby's first biohack hole. put a wee dressing of some sort on the little hole, maybe a steristrip under that to hold it closed if you're worried. a plaster will do, anything as long as it came from a sterile package. keep it clean and change dressings each day over the next week or so and it should be healed and ready to go.

remember always to be as over-the-top careful with this shit as you can be. infections suck, they ruin your projects, and it's better to spend a little bit of extra money on sterile dressings, wound cleaning spray with chlorhexidine, etc and use up a little bit of extra time sterilising everything and cleaning up all the wounds, than it is to spend a fuckload of money sorting out a raging infection. as usual, i also ask you not to do this if you're under 18, or you're not completely responsible for yourself legally; i don't want to mess anyone up and i don't want to get anyone (including me) in a mess with the law.

the bigger question once you have your tags and reader set up is usually what to do with them. the book Amal wrote, RFID Toys, is an old but good guide to the sorts of things you can do, but in general you can use implanted tags to make your machines only log on when you're present, you can connect them to home security systems as disarm tags, you can use NFC ones to carry important data or unlock your phone only when your tag is nearby. you could use a secured Dangerous Things tag to hold your private PGP/GPG key. Maplins also carries a few different pre-made RFID home security and other implementations you can have a look at replicating or adapting.

the tags are endlessly useful and probably will get more so as time goes on. you lot are also endlessly smart, and i know you'll come up with some interesting shit and/or already have. i hope this screed was slightly useful to any of you considering installing one, or working with them. let me know in the comments or on twatter if you have questions, or additions/clarifications you think i should make to this article. and tell me about your own tags, i love hearing what others have done!

carpe corporem



red carpet premiere

Paul finally finished his Master's degree and got the mark for it last Friday - a Distinction overall, since all the individual marks he got were also Distinction grades - so i can pass around the documentary he made now (embedded above).

huge thanks to everyone who helped make the film: Kevin Warwick, Jenova Rain and Vicarious for their interviews, Meredith Thomas for the vintage portrait sketch that was used for the title card, Klayton (of Celldweller) for allowing the use of his music for the soundtrack, and the biohacking community at large for ideas, feedback and suggestions. i apologise if anyone sent content to Paul or me and it didn't end up in the film - there was a very strict limit on how long the film was allowed to be, meaning that a lot of things we wanted to feature couldn't be kept in without it being too long. i actually do have a dusty youtube channel somewhere, however, so i plan to upload the interviews as separate films; that way you can see the full unedited versions as well if you want.

[aside: i read the feedback sheet that Paul got handed and was extremely surprised to note that his tutor, Richard, actually uses "they/them" to talk about me even when there's like zero chance i will see what he's writing which is generally not how it goes down and is also very sweet. you're a diamond Richard - even though i would probably get into academic slap fights with you over postmodernism ("is it a crock of shit? discuss.") you can learn my pronouns any time, shitlord. sorry about pretending i was not schtupping your star pupil.]

in other Paul-related news he is still kind of fucked. a CT scan showed there is a problem with his intestines, but some more... invasive... tests are required before they know exactly what that problem is or what's causing it. the next test is coming up in a week or so but until then he still can't eat solid food and is in quite a bit of pain and discomfort. i've passed on all the messages you sent to me about him, so he knows there's well wishers out there. hopefully Ganesh sends some good luck Paul's way and gets him back to health soon. (Ganesh is the god of biohackers, obviously.)

amusingly enough, Paul has needed to take some Tramadol, which you all know will fuck you up.

in any case, the homebrewed documentary i first heard about from a cute and enthusiastic Goth boy five years ago is finally actually filmed and released - he titled it "Lepht Anonym: Biohacker", so if my embed up there isn't working or you for some incomprehensible reason don't like my eye-watering tiny white text on a black background, you can find it on youpoop at his channel, Voxis Productions. you can also watch some offensive puppet humour if you're bored (i recommend it!)

more to come. i am still working on a quick guide to the various chips/tags you can buy to put inside yourself - types, what em do, installation, etc etc. i have also gone back to my online security course after having to take a break for mental health reasons, which worries me a lot, but i can't take breaks forever. i might put digests of what i've been studying up here, since it's hacking-related stuff. watch this space if you like that sort of thing.

carpe corporem



didn't even have to use my a.k.

pretty weird day today, but good all the same. as i've already been on about, a crew from Peacock Alley TV, in Canada, came to Birmingham to interview me for the second series of their Cheating Death programme - we managed to wrangle Bacchus bar, in town, as the interview location, which was amazing. it's this wonderful underground place that used to be some sort of wine cellar as far as i can tell, all painted up with mock Renaissance frescoes on the stairway down, ceiling murals of the night sky, replica Ancient Egyptian art and heiroglyphs in one section, pretty oil paintings in another. there's a suit of armour, there's a whole modelled Garden of Eden scene on a ledge near the ceiling as you come in (complete with snake slithering part-way over the edge), there's Grecian stone columns and carved wooden furniture and mock candle lighting and velvet curtains. it's amazingly over the top, & easily my favourite place to eat and/or drink in Birmingham. it was a bit last minute, but i was chuffed when i got the email saying we were going to be doing it there. i got up super early and managed to fake a decent complexion, attempt to control my hair and do some reasonably attractive paint (i also put glitter on my cheeks because fuck it.)

the actual interview was great - the host, Tim Caulfield, was genial & ridiculously easy to talk to, especially since it turns out he shares my preference for evidence-based healthcare and dislike of / disbelief in woo of any kind. great bloke. i'm looking forward to seeing him interact with Kevin Warwick when the episode gets out, although i have no idea when that is. we talked for about 45mins & managed to cover a lot of ground, mostly top-level stuff about biohacking in general - the philosophy of transhumanism, how biohacking fits into the greater h+ sphere, about the biohacking community and what the term means and what sort of things in general we do. he also asked a fair bit about me personally, what got me started, my own philosophical convictions & how those informed my experiments, what implants i have and what they do, all that sort of thing. the crew was absolutely lovely from start to finish too - they were so helpful in telling me what exactly they needed, bringing water and coffee, and tolerated a lot of dumb questions from yours truly about their extremely impressive camera equipment (they let me clap the clapperboard!) they even bought us lunch in the bar, so everyone ate there & then went back to my flat to film "b roll" for extra visuals that the audience will see over some of my talking.

i went a bit mental cleaning up the flat the night before, so thankfully it was crazily tidy and clean when they got there, and the crew managed to get the various bits of film from various angles they needed (stuff like me showing how an RFID reader plugged in to my laptop can detect the RFID chips in my hand, me typing nonsense and trying to look serious, showing them bandages and needles and whatnot, and also for some reason making tea.) the crew grappled their big heavy cases of equipment around the tiny little rooms pretty impressively, clipping cloths to the curtains and carefully angling furniture and standing on chairs and using my makeup mirror to get a cool shot where the camera was using the mirror to film me typing nonsense. they were all just really nice people, everyone was friendly and accommodating and they even tipped us. it was actually kind of fun and definitely a lot less stressful than i imagined it was going to be (although a big part of that was due to Paul, who is not only experienced with all the film-related stuff but also ridiculously, amazingly supportive.)

slight aside/apology: yes, Paul & i are together romantically, as a lot of you knew anyhow. sorry for having to hide that and leave questions about it unanswered, & i'm sorry if it got confusing over the last two years. we've been having to hide it whilst he was doing his Master's course because we were worried they wouldn't let him do the documentary as his dissertation otherwise; the course's ethics panel were already wavering over whether he could or not because of the self-surgery maybe encouraging other people to do the same, and the footage of it maybe being traumatic for people, and the grey legal area biohacking occupies, and it being against the rules for Paul to be "encouraging" someone he's filming to hurt themselves (and their kind of nebulous ideas of what exactly "harm" and "encouragement" mean) that we figured if we also threw in a big fat loss of objectivity for them, they'd nix it. so i had to scrub some blog posts of their ~endearments~ etc and try to stay out of his personal space when we were on campus, and Paul had to pretend to be an eligible bachelor (lul) / only ever talk about me in a professional, journalistic way (i am purely in this for the interesting documentary matter! we have in no way fallen in love! i have definitely not got any carnal knowledge of this person) etc etc but the thing being submitted now and with little chance of anyone from his faculty reading my blog anymore*, normal lovey-dovey service shall now recommence.

my love to those you love



useful video

courtesy of Dan Campbell: a video by the Thought Emporium. it's called The Complete Guide to Magnet Implants - should be pretty useful for any of you fine people looking to make holes in yourself for fun and science. enjoy! -L

(video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aVwvJn7vpo if anyone needs a direct url)

...and the fugly

some things have happened! some of them are good! some of them are shit though.

Paul has finally finally finished and submitted his documentary. it's been handed in to the course at the University of Birmingham & the tutors say it will be a few months before it's marked, so i won't be able to tell you what they think of it very soon. Paul is gonna upload it to his YouTube channel within a few weeks though so you lot will see it first (it says, as if its blog has any readers. HI GOOGLE SPIDER) i'll put the link to it up here & on twatter when i get one.

thankyou to everyone who contributed help to it, of any kind. Jenova Rain and Kevin Warwick were both lovely people, and there are so many other people who contributed or offered videos, interviews, etc etc - there was lots of extra material that Paul couldn't cram into the 25 minutes he was allowed for the film, so i will be putting up this stuff for you all on my own YouTube (once i fish it out from behind the sofa and dust it off, obviously.) there's full interviews that Paul did with Jenova and Kevin Warwick face to face, plus a long-distance one with Vicarious, and one with me although you should probably not watch that one because i could not have worse hair if i fucking tried, goddamn. i'll put these up as soon as i can.

less good: the Student Loans company called yesterday, asking for £4200. apparently this is the soonest they decided to tell me after i had to leave university the second time, which (can't remember if i wrote about it here or how much) was also because of the SLC - they wouldn't pay the tuition fee, which at that time was £9k per year, but they were cool with giving out some maintenance money. could i get family to pay the nine grand, they suggested? every year for a total of twenty-seven thousand fucking pounds out of pocket? i explained that even if we sold everything we collectively owned and one of my (valuable!) kidneys, we wouldn't be able to come up with that kind of money. oh, said the SLC. well, you'll have to fuck off out of that uni then. they did not at any time mention that this meant they'd be wanting that money back DIRECTLY - i figured i'd be paying it back as part of my regular student loans, i.e. when i'm earning enough to justify repaying it, and they were happy to let me think that for several years up until now when they suddenly decided not to.

didn't make any difference on the phone to them that i have zero income apart from benefits, and those go completely on food/electric/gas/internet/rent/travel/course tuition etc etc - perhaps you should go to a debt charity, said the SLC. i don't have any debt (apart from this one that i suddenly have...) so i'm not sure how the hell they'd be able to help. i tried to explain this & that no matter how you wrangle my finances, i can't afford to take anything out of that budget to pay these guys. welp, we need something, said the SLC. you've got until Monday to come up with something, we need you to ring back on the 11th and go through all your incomes and expenditures with us over the phone and decide how big a chunk of that we're gonna take.

i'm trying not to think about it until then. this weekend a film crew will be here - they want to interview me for a TV series about "cheating death", which has an episode about h+ (or it might be biohacking, i'm not sure). they're also interviewing Kevin Warwick, though not at the same time, so the finished episode will probably be quite interesting - it's going to be a BBC Worldwide thing, i'll put links up as i have them. i'm also waiting for an interview i gave up in London for a Turkish TV show to be published on their website. unfortunately i am not famous enough to actually get paid for this kind of stuff.

fuck, the future came and i didn't get my jetpack OR to be rich and famous. where's my goddamn jetpack?!



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!




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




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



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.





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.