i'm going to be giving a lecture at the 27th Chaos Communication Congress! the topic is "cybernetics for the Masses", of course. i originally only applied for a 5min lightning talk slot, but the coordinator who emailed back with the acceptance offered me thirty minutes to speak properly, since it sounds interesting (apparently.)

i am actually fucking shaking. i can't believe i'm gonna get to speak properly about all this, in front of an actual audience of real hackers. i've gotta get slides and stuff together, and find a logo and a photo of myself from somewhere... man, this is going to be fucking awesome.

the only problem is, of course, that after this you will all know what i look like, what my biological gender is, and who i am in meatspace every day. i'm a little afraid this will compromise my credibility as a biohacker. of course, i am also flat shit broke, and i honestly have no idea where the funding for this trip is gonna come from. i think it might be family-begging time.

holy shit, though. i never expected this would happen.


Ian said...

holy shit, that's amazing. i hope you do well there.

as for knowing what you look like, well, it can't be helped. i can assure you it won't compromise your credibility as a biohacker in any way, though. I'm hardly pseudonymous myself, with no worries whatsoever (though i did freak out a little bit when i started criticizing islam and getting death threats in response).


Lepht said...

i know, right? i can't stop shaking. i have no idea what i'm gonna do about the nerves, but i can't miss an opportunity like this - i can't imagine how many people would be at the Congress, and if even five or ten of them see the talk or read the abstract and get into biohacking themselves, i can die a happy human. i'd do anything to see biohacks develop into a real underground community, one that isn't regulated by money.

also, i do look really, really silly irl, and my gender isn't what people expect it to be physically.

(death threat count: 3. yourself?)

Ian said...

actually, it seems biohacks have developed into, if not completely unregulated, then at least pretty close. some examples of such groups can be found at the BioCurious wiki, the BioBricks Foundation, and BioBricks Foundation.

death threat count: including the ones with very bad grammar, 6. excluding those, 0.

i've also been called a "jewish lesbian," and one person even threatened to "mutelate" my "genitels."


Ian said...

oops; that third one links to project Smartlab. damn copy-paste.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, want to meet up at the 26th or so?
I owe you a Club Mate ;)

Also you can restrict the publication of the recordings, but at least in my opinion that would suck as you would reach most people through those. Also about your credibility, I don't think your gender/looks have anything to do about it, if people think otherwise they aren't intelligent enough to get the message anyways.

Looking forward to meet you. Was happy as fuck when I read about the talk ;)

PS: Fucking awesome debut, having a talk at your fist visit to the congress, glad I told you about it :)

Max said...

Holy shit. That, my friend, is truly fucking awesome.

If I manage to get a hold of a ticket, I'm so going to Berlin. I live in Karlsruhe atm and just started my CS bachelor, so it shouldn't be hard to find someone (or, more likely, 20 people) who also go there.

If this happens, I'll supply you all with Club Mate. I'm addicted to that stuff, but it helps me through the day/night/whatever time it is now.
Now where to get a truckload of Pimm's and a top hat from?

I still don't get why you choose to conceal your gender/looks. The kind of people who care about gender or looks, or think those things are necessary for being a complete human being aren't the kind of people you'd want to talk to, nor the kind of people whose judgment you care about. One way or another, your identity /will/ be unveiled, except if you're to restrict the use of the recording (which wouldn't be very constructive at all).

Max said...

Oh right, also: any avid reader of Sapiens Anonym (tm) has long since figured out your biological gender and probably has an idea of what you look like. You've dropped hints here and there ;)

You're gonna get some badly-spelled death threats, though.
I wish I got some of those. It shows you're causing a stir.

Lepht said...

Ian - indeed; in fact, i was almost part of a team this summer to generate more of those biobricks. my roommate, B, was on the modelling side and it looked pretty goddamn fascinating (alas, better pay elsewhere).

oh, wow. six? damn. and all you have to do is point out the filthy misogyny, hatred of outsiders and all the rest that's so obvious in that nasty religion. (..."jewish lesbian?")

phryk - indeed, it would be an honour to meet however many of you are in the vicinity at the time. i've no intention of restricting the publication: that's totally contrary to my views on copyleft, information freedom etc. in addition, it'd be fucking stupid, since my primary goal in life is to disseminate this information to a wider audience.

you'd be very surprised the massive chasm in how i'm treated in meatspace versus how it is here. it sucks, but i guess it was gonna happen sooner or later.

seriously, i fucking owe you one. if there's any awesomeness, it's only because you guys told me about the Congress in the first place.

Max - it's happening, baby :) i don't care how i get the money or what it does to my personal rep, i can't pass this up. it's an opportunity to educate people about biohacking that i might never have again.

re. external physical appearance / biological sex: people don't mean to do it, but we treat certain groups differently. if i was black i'd be just as uncertain about telling you that. of course, i'm pretty obviously Caucasian, but you see my point. in any case, it sort of fucks with my actual gender identity, which is "none".


Lepht said...

:) orly? hit me with what you think i look like, and whether you think i have a cock or not, and i might as well let the cat out of the bag. i'm interested to know how much i've managed to keep out of the blog and what i haven't.


Anonymous said...

Max: Contact the RaumZeitLabor, they are in your vicinity. I have seen threads about getting to the 27c3 on the mailinglist. You might even be able to get a ticket before the third contingent is available on dec. 4th.
There also is a 99€ ticket from "Deutsche Bahn" for the way to and from the Congress.

I also know a guy in Karlsruhe who might go to the congress (at least i think he is going to) I'll ask him and patch him through if you give me your email/jabber/whatev.

Lepht: A friend from Sweden wants to get an implant done. Piercing guy in Berlin dropped the contact (gonna call him next week), would you maybe do the implantation? (I'm not sure if he really considers a homebrew implantation, showing him the video of your last one…)

I am pretty sure that no one will judge you by your looks and/or gender on the congress :)

All foreign visitors might also consider celebrating new years eve in Berlin. I was at the biodiversity party in the C-Base last year, was quite nice. No hard partying though.

Lepht said...

phryk - that is not a problem; if you and your mate trust me, and if you can provide your own materials (e.g. a sterile piercer's needle, 4mm diameter, preferably two of them in case of failure; a neodym component; anaesthesia and sterilisation gear; necessities like gloves, dressings and the like) then i will be glad to help.

the only stipulation is that i will need to get there, so if possible we should do it while i am at the Congress.

try Markus in Mannheim (trust-mannheim.de) first though, he's much more legally sound than i am.

urgh. i wish there was a way to not reveal it, but it's gonna have to be that way. maybe i'm just paranoid, but i'm very used to not being taken seriously solely because of the shell i'm in, its sex chromosomes and what i do to it for decoration.


Anonymous said...

Ah and you are male, dress a bit like a girl.
I'm pretty sure you're not a "real" crossdresser, though.
When reading your profile, I first thought you were a male->female transsexual.

Explicitly I think you are wearing black gothic-style phat-/flare-pants, the type that are tighter around your waist.

I think the stereotype built by my fucked up head might be about 40% correct :P

PS: I'm also the kind of guy that gets funny looks all the time, even though for about 3 months not anymore, getting back to that next week :D

Anonymous said...

I had mine done at Trust by Markus and Steve.

The guy is only over while at the congress, that's exactly our thought. There is a piercing guy in Berlin (naked-steel.de, guy called Dirk) who does the implants, too.

But like I said, he dropped contact, so I'll try to contact him again next week.

for at least 25 minutes now.

malces said...

First, super-duper awesome Lepht! Don't fuck up and embarrass yourself! You'll link to the conference materials, I hope.

Second (and all due respect to your lack of gender), I'm betting on an XY humanoid who looks pale, skinny, unhealthy, on the shorter side, and poor. Like a chav or hoodie minus the bling and Burberry, plus a poorly maintained hairstyle that involves shaving and bright colors... also lots of scars :]

No 'fence intended, of course.

Lepht said...

denied. i'm biologically female. 5'3", UK dress size 6-8, green eyes, short spiky black hair (currently), covered in fucking tattoos and piercings (face tattoo), E cup. more kohl eyeliner than you can smear an Egyptian in. filthy old lo-rise baggy jeans and tank tops every single day and i only wear monochrome, no colours ever (looks dumb).

i'm not a "real" crossdresser, you did get that right; i get a lot of my clothes that don't need to fit from men's shops because frankly the women's fashion over here is disgustingly femme and i can't stand being seen in anything even remotely feminine that isn't lingerie.

i'm not transsexual so much as genderqueer - i'm attracted to everyone anyway no matter the gender, so it just seems an irrelevant construct to me. especially when i see what "real women" are supposed to dress in and how we're supposed to act. of course, since my Muad-Dib is a regular vanilla het man with no such issues, i suppose i look straight right now.

alas, no gothpants. i did own a pair like that once though, back before i learned how to dress myself.

anyone who stares at you before they get to know you is a jackass. there's a metric fuckton of them here. shitsux.


PS. i swear to Gibson i will ban anyone who refers to me as "she". i'm an "it".

Lepht said...

malces - well, you're sorta right about the hair - changes colour every month or so. you're fucking spot on about the general quality of my clothing. i don't exactly have a lot (one pair of kid's skate shoes, two pairs of baggy jeans, a fuckton of tanks, a couple jackets and a massive collection of black lace underwear) and it's all ripped and fucked up and shit cause i always forget to get new stuff, and when i remember i also remember i'm constantly broke...



malces said...

Ouch, didn't mean to remind you of uncomfortable circumstances during your moment of triumph.

As far as your sex chromosomes and derivative traits are concerned... I figured that I'd have something witty to say, but I'm drawing a blank. I guess you'll always be a fag to me XD

Max said...

It's a shame I wasn't fast enough to post, but that's pretty much exactly what I imagined you like. The fact that you've been concealing your gender and that you think it compromises your credibility made it obvious you're biologically female (male hacker? normal. female hacker? ZOMGNOWAI. Sad but true.). Also, your voice in that video. Also, I figured if you were openly homosexual, it'd be more of an issue for your parents, and that would have shown in that post you made back then about them coming to visit. You've posted about the crazy and ever-changing looks of your hair before, and seeing as you're "flat shit broke" and hate gender-based categorization (and the bullshit ideals people adhere to these days, hurr hurr), I imagined your clothes to be in a fashion similar to what you said.
I Didn't have a pointer for your physical height but I figured you'd be around 1.70m, which is pretty close.
I did however imagine you as skinny and small-breasted, but I guess that image stems from your being chronically broke and your self-assigned lack of gender.

Of course you don't have to believe me that I figured this out on my own (hell, I wouldn't believe me), but I'm still proud of having figured you out.

Thanks for the pointers, I'm definitely going to be able to find someone who goes there, since yesterday 5 people have told me they're considering going there. Didn't know about the RaumZeitLabor until now, so thanks for linking me! Some people from entropia also already posted they were going, so I shouldn't have a problem finding companions. Now to get the money and time...

melladh said...

Grats, dood!

I realize this is extremely biased and prejudiced of me, but part of me can't help but feel being physically female might make you even more credible as a biohacker, because due to how the masses apply different pressures on people born without a dick, it's less likely to be a cultural point scoring thing. Women in tech are assumed to know less, but they're also assumed not to cut themselves up because they want all the other guys to see them as robocop. Of course, there's always people who will just dismiss you for not being the perfect age, color, gender and build, but when people are actually interested in a subject (not just because they're supposed to be), what you have to say is all that matters - and possibly how good you are at saying it... :)

I only really have experience of programmers and linux geeks, but I read a line in a book about programmer life once that I've found to be very true about most of the real IT world. "We respect knowledge, not authority." That includes the ability to put aside physical prejudices.

I hope I'll be able to find the publications once they're available. This sounds awesome.

Anonymous said...

About the videos:
just check in at media.ccc.de from time to time, should pop up sometime in the beginning or middle of January.

If there are recordings up while the congress is still going on, I'm pretty sure *someone* will link to those. ;)

Lepht: If you really feel harassed because of your gender at the congress, there is always the 'Haecksen'-group, which is especially for female Hackers. They have an own area in the Hackcenter and have breakfast everyday at the congress iirc. But as you define yourself as genderless it might not what you are looking for.

Lepht said...

ha, genderbomb.

malces - it's not really an uncomfortable circumstance so much as an irritating one; were i in fact a real faggot and had no titties, i daresay i'd never have had any problem with showing my face.

Max - precisely. XX hacker? disbelief. XX hacker doing things other than repeat other XY hackers' security experiments? NOFKNWAI.

indeed, i was expecting a flurry of such idiocy after i released each video; i would have imagined that from my height, body shape and the fact that you can see my goddamn chest in the first one, i'd be screwed by now.

i've never come out to my parents, or any of the rest of my family. it would make the already shitty situation ten times worse.

i'm not skinny so much as just not a very big human... one of the saving graces when you are, in fact, fucking broke. size 6 is pretty damn small and that's what i usually fit these days. congratulations. you get a sape point.

melladh - ty. to be honest i don't even know - sometimes the more traditional/acceptable aspects of the meat, like being small and having boobs without being fat, seem to work in my favour. that's still incredibly bad, though, since my aim is to be treated no better or worse than if i were not one of three XXs in the academic year.

...you do realise i don't do this because of how i want anyone to see me, right? it's for actual knowledge gain.

i'll be linking to any published materials as soon as i'm notified of where the fuck they are; i seem to be rather behind on the schedule, since a few of you knew i was going before i did. hell, i might even give you all advance copies.

phryk - aw fuck, i seem to have miscommunicated this. i'm not afraid of harassment; i'm pretty sure that specifically dumping myself into a gendered group of hackers will only segregate me further. you know what they say, if you wanna run with the big dogs you gotta piss up the tall trees, which i wouldn't be doing by hiding from the "men's hacking" in a "women's hacking" group.

of course, it's probably different for the victimised, or people like Quinne Norton who get stalked, but it's a bad idea from here.

you're correct - i don't think of myself as either male or female, just human. if there were a group for genderless hackers, that'd be a fucking refreshment.


Johnny Ennui said...

Two things:

1. Although you have revealed your physical attributes here, if ANY venue is going to be fine with you doing a talk with a mask up (or, my personal favorite, a Daft Punk robo-helmet: http://hackaday.com/2010/07/24/daft-punk-helmet-replica-finally-completed/ ), it's going to be the Congress. Maybe look into it.

2. I didn't want to say anything about it earlier, but I had figured out your XX chromosomes pretty early on. In the comments of one of your earlier posts, you revealed that you had a hormonal contraceptive implant. (At least, I think it was you who said that.) I happen to know that these do not yet exist for XY use.

Also, congo rat ululations! Berlin is a bit far for a trip from east coast US, but I will be sure to catch the video.

Lepht said...

Johnny - yeah, it's shit like that i probably ought to learn not to fucking say. still, game over.

i did think about the mask, but several things (money, audio, sheer arrogance) got in the way. i'm not important enough to be able to make those kinds of demands, i think. still, thanks for the tip.

keep an eye out for the footage; if possible, i don't ever want to hear my own voice again, so i'd rather avoid going through videos.


melladh said...

Well I don't think anyone who's actually read your blog would think you're doing this to impress people ;)

Director X said...

Congrats Lepht! You will do fine.

I always pictured you as your profile picture, crouched under the bridge of dee eating a bottle-nosed dolphin. I also thought you were a dude. I think I even referred to you as "he" at one point so forgive me. I figured that anyone who was doing their own homebrew procedures without pain killers must have balls. Hell, I still picture you with big glorious balls.

Good luck at the conference!

jimbles said...

Bisoprolol helps with nerves.

spoon said...


Seriously though, I thought you were a dude.

Mydalon said...

I am really looking forward to hearing your talk!
I was thinking about getting an RFID implant from a local vet, but I am not sure whether that would work out.

I hope you will tell us where we can get the stuff needed for transforming us into cyborgs.

Lepht said...

melladh - yeah, i read your comment wrong, i apologise.

X - thanks. pronoun-wise, i'd prefer if people said "it" like i do, to be honest. i'm not a "he" or a "she". (my ability to withstand pain comes directly from my slavery to Morpheus, rather than any innate mental toughness.)

jimbles - noted, will be asking doctor. thanks.

spoon - of course you did. even when you saw me walking around in my boxer shorts and t-shirt at Hatton.


Lepht said...

Mydalon - thankyou. however, i must squash your hopes that i will tell you how to turn yourself into a cyborg. i'm not a cyborg, and neither is anyone else.

animal RFID tags are a very bad idea. they're not re-writable, they need special readers because they use their own protocol, and they contain fixed information specifically designed for animal identification, like a form inside with slots for "dog name" and "immunity to rabies" and "owner's phone number". don't do that.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't 'cyborg' just imply embedded technology? I'd say anyone with a pacemaker, cochlean implant or even just steel plates for broken bone is a cyborg.

spoon said...

I'd argue the connotations of a word are very important when considering its meaning, and 'cyborg' is littered with implications from so much

Kuro said...

Woah. Fucking woah. I go to the c3 every year, typically, but I'll have to miss this year's due to a business issue; I've been in a foul mood regarding it, and now that I find you're going I'm split between congratulating you, repeatedly shouting "this year's is going to be awesome", and descending into a mood even fouler.

I'll try and pull things together by saying 1) "congratulations" doesn't even begin to cover this and 2) someone tape his speech.

Lepht said...

phryk - i dunno, i've had lots of pretentious conversations about it. they all boil down to me using "cyborg" to mean a very heavily modified organism, such that it depends on its mods, and everyone else using it to mean... well, pretty much anything as far as i can tell. i'm pretty sure the word's become useless if it's used so widely.

Kuro - i've got a very large suitcase. can you fit in a suitcase?


Kuro said...

On the issue of the use of the word "cyborg", I recall an article last year by a student claiming to be a cyborg because he carried a smartphone in his pocket; he stated that if a human with an implanted robotic eye, hence a cyborg, could remove its eye and move it around while still seeing through it, it was no different to a human carrying a peripheral. That argument's flawed on so many levels, so I've probably recalled it incorrectly. I'll paste over the link if I find it again.

as for the offer of suitcase travel, how large is it?

hans said...

I did not read through all your postings neighter here nor on your blog. But reading the bits I did, I AM irritated that you actually judge people by their afilliation to their environment. Although you yourself are soo scared that others might judge you by your appereance or gender. You are not beeing fair/honest.

Trying to read through that stuff on your blog is pretty difficult. All I wanted to know was if the "Cybernetics for the Masses" talk of yours is more interesting than the Lightning talks. You should separate them. (I still did not get any clue about your cybernetics work, been reading for over an hour) Or at least tag better.

Also separate your private life from your work life. I guarantee you that you will get along better. I also do not understand myself as part of the role I was born into. Instead of whining and complainig about it, as soon as I discovered I was "different" I stopped beeing different in public. No one -of my "work" life-really knows what I do and what I don't. And after I get home I am free. I don't see this as self denial, it's just the easier way to live with it my preferrals, and in my case -what im doing- is a preference, I could drop it.

I hope this last part did not get lost in translation (completely incomprehendible) since I'm not native with english and had to look up some words.

Lepht said...

hans, buddy. what the fuck are you talking about?

my name's not Irritated. it's Lepht. and what are you on about, i judge people by their "affiliation to their environment"? are you trying to insinuate that i hate people who dress badly or something?

*being *so *appearance

if you have questions, why don't you just ask me instead of trying to read through three years' worth of my blog? why didn't you use the search tool?

i'm not gonna separate shit all. this is my personal blog - my H+ work is inextricably linked with my personal life, it's not my job and i didn't start this blog to document it.

sir, if you really think that "not being different in public" is a good idea, you are a moron. you think the way to deal with intolerance is to shut up and blend in with the crowd? idiot. if you think i write to whine and complain, why are you interested at all?

in short: up yours. please take your silly life advice elsewhere.


deny.conformity said...

I can go one better and say I've seen a picture of you, if you search up your presumed location and a certain award you received you do find a picture of your cheerfully smiling face :P (it's not hard to guess which one you are in the picture). My late reply was due to the fact I only drop in periodically to check up on how things are progressing for you and if you've found a new source for small coated neodymium magnets :)

Anonymous said...

Watching your talk live in saal 2. It's excellent !!
Thanks for presenting cybernetics !

Anonymous said...

Good speech. The subject fascinated me very much.

nil said...


I was there at 27C3. You were great and the audience really liked your talk. If I may repeat what other people already said, there is no credibility issue in this comunity. People are judged on what they do, everything else (age, gender, look, etc.) is irrelevant.

A side question popped in my mind during the show, given the number of times you mentioned the pain: how much of your "experiments" is due to curiosity about sensory extension, and how much is a "pain game"?

Alguien de Alguna parte said...

Hey, I've been looking around the blog (it's and adventure, I'm a little bit of a squeamie) and still don't find how did the story with the thermistor end up... Did you finally do it?

The 27c3 conference rocked, but as Obelix once said: Slides, slides, we want slides ;-)

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to say that in a positive, non-offensive manner, but: your 27c3 talk was fuckin' awesome! :o)

Peter said...

schould have been a full time talk with q+a! i'm really fascinated by the stuff you'r doing. but i'm too much of a pussy to even think about doing something like that myself.

i have a question about the neodym-thingies in fingertips - are there any situations, where this "new sense" gets triggered too much, so that you instinctively pull back like when you'r burning yourself?

Lepht said...

deny.conformity - yeah, i'm quite surprised nobody else dropped the bomb with that, to be honest. i guess you win the prize.

thanks for the support, all.

nil: say what? if i could do this painlessly, i would. i'm not a fucking masochist. jesus.

Alguien de Alguna parte - it failed, as i said in the talk, miserably. c'est la vie. i'll put up the slides with my conference writeup.

Peter - hm. not that i can think of. i don't really know, though, it's something i haven't had a chance to experiment with yet.


TIm Dobson said...

Your talk was *amazing*. Inspirational.

I've never been to CCC but I've been watching the videos of the talks online and yours is really really engaging and felt a lot more genuine and passionate than some of the others.

That doesn't mean I'm dying to have a go at inserting stuff into myself but seriously, it rocked; and I hope you're proud of yourself for pulling it off. :)

It's inspired me to investigate NorthPaw, which is a babystep at least. :)

TIm Dobson said...

oh, also whilst I was watching the video, my (apparently mega-squeemish) flatmate got so freaked out he left the room. This someone who will happily watch sci-fi horror etc.
For the mega-giggles that ensued I owe you a beer. :)
Are you on flattr.com? I'd happily flattr you. :)

Lepht said...

Tim - i am setting up flattr by public request. currently i still have to pay some Means into it and give someone two euros.

do you want two euros?


crypto said...

just viewed the video. not too bad at all, especially if that was your first time doing something like that.

i saw the article about "DIY H+" on Wireds' site and was very interested. i see why you were frustrated in the presentation, you really seem to be the only person pursuing this field, at least successfully.

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