Showing posts with label that is illogical captain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label that is illogical captain. Show all posts


in other news here is my dog

i love my dog. her name is Frankie. she is my best friend.



lazarus tl;dr's

i'm not dead. anymore. i feel like i have been. didn't move, didn't eat, didn't talk or communicate with anyone but Muad-Dib, barely even that. i couldn't remember what month or year it was or when anything was. i didn't go to the doctor or the psychiatrist except to mindlessly collect drugs. i didn't open my planner or my logs. i couldn't touch my phone. i don't even have any real memories from beyond about a fortnight ago, not since finding this place last-minute in early March and the rigmarole of getting it paid for and putting enough shit inside to make a house.

i had to stop there and go puke my guts up again. that's been happening for a while now but once again, the NHS thinks i am a skaghead and besides i already have a fuckton of antiemetics. the bowl under my bed is full of blood and all this green bitter shit i think is bile but might be stomach weeds or something since i haven't eaten the last few days. it's fucking gross, but it's better than being dead.

i also have some tramadol (legit!), which, predictably, has fucked me up. not in the good way either since i can't keep it down. i wish i had some goddamn intravenous doses. can't get the cyclizine to stay in my system long enough to take action.

veering off track again - apologies. my mind still isn't what it was yet. i'm losing the struggle to even fucking name what happened. i'd like to say depressive episode, but never in my life has it been that bad, never has my whole consciousness been reduced to catatonic coma like that. it's been so much longer than a normal episode, too; i can't really tell but i know i've been like that for months after i should have surfaced. i know i planned to die after i realised it was eating away at my mind, because i wrote it in an file i found amongst my documents about a week ago; i had the tools close at hand, but i didn't even try this time. in hindsight that's probably good, since what i built was more or less foolproof and does not allow for second chances. one breath would have deoxygenated this carcass in milliseconds and wiped me from its shell like rain off goretex. i shudder to think how close i came to this, and how close to its effect i was in life regardless.

no, i dismantled the assembly, and i must have discarded the components, because none are here and Muad-Dib would have done something memorable even to me, i think, even then, had he found them. for the first time i had the capacity to do it quickly and cleanly, and as the cliche goes, i couldn't. or must not have been able to, i've no real record of what happened. i found myself shackled to life by the simple existence of the man i love, and by weaker chains to everyone else who gives a fuck, Unqualified and my blood kin and Max and Usul and everyone else there is, all of you.

Muad-Dib said at some point that he didn't want to be what kept me there on life support. i remember saying that there wasn't a choice in it, and remembering what he had told me when he first knew: that my loss would rip his life to shreds, and he wouldn't be able to end that pain by following me. a lot of the time when your mind is crumbling like that all you can think of is the easiest of the hard ways out, deleting yourself. you forget that it would leave a wake of destruction in the lives of those you know and care about such as you can't even imagine, such as would fuck them up permanently just like you, reduce them to the same state you want to escape so badly - only without that escape, because they saw what it did and they won't spread the damage out any further. i know what it would do to Muad-Dib, the strongest person i know. i don't even want to think about the crushing blows my suicide would have dealt to my mum, my nan, my dad.

so i lived, half-dead, and after a very long time i woke up. i don't know what did it. the week before, i was prescribed an additional drug, Seroquel, although i don't seem to have taken more than three or four doses. maybe it was that. maybe it was Muad-Dib's hard work finally paying off, since he's been doing literally everything for me since i fell into catatonia. he quit his degree, took a full time job with one of the giant zaibatsu corporations that run this city, left at seven every morning to come home at five and cook something with meat and bread and try to coax me to eat it. he'd download episodes of a couple of TV programmes during the day and put me in front of them in the evening and watch them with me, he installed simple games over Steam that he couldn't really afford and set them running to try and get me to play. he did the dishes and cleaned the house and took the rubbish out, talked to my mum when she couldn't get hold of me, filled out the council tax forms and doctor's letters and sent countless emails to Prof. V trying to explain what the fuck happened. i owe him everything, again.

shit, i type too much. tl;dr then - it seems i cannot be trusted not to disappear when this channel of communication is simply me talking at you. i'm pretty sure that one of the contributing factors to what happened is that this is the first time ever that i have had absolutely no friends at all while an episode is ongoing; even the presence of B, who didn't really understand the whole depression thing and thinks suicide is an act of "ha! now they'll be fucking sorry," helped a lot more than i thought. so, i'm asking anyone who still reads this for a favour. i would like you to remind me of... well, anything. life. since my anonymity is far more cosmetic than concrete, i am going to give you every possible means to do so. i need contact from people or, it seems, i really do go insane. the details i will place in a second post for visibility.

i understand that maybe nobody except spammers will take me up on this, but the data haemorrhage is worth the risk to me. i'm fucking sorry i didn't do this before. i'm sorry i left you all. i'm sorry i didn't answer your messages. i'm sorry this has happened so many times, and that i wasn't good enough to stop it. i'm sorry i wasn't awake before. i promised you knowledge and i have not yet delivered.

it is my goddamn duty to hold up that promise as well as my life.



crisis averted

erm, sorry about that last post there. it did let up after a while and i was able to sleep after trying the whole (Internet videos + hot bath with sleeping aid oils) thing suggested here. i'm pretty sure the cause is just stress since my first exam is tomorrow, the rest all happen in the same week and i am totally unprepared for any of them. i guess at least it gets them all out of the way quickly. after they're done i can start focusing on what to do about housing.

regarding "get to a psychiatrist rite nao!!!", i already have one and his office is shut at 2am no matter how crazy i am. i didn't want to call NHS 24 after the result i got last time, which was the on-duty staff insinuating that i was a crackhead, refusing to believe that i wasn't in treatment for heroin use, and repeatedly telling me they would not give me any morphine or methadone (i had not asked for any kind of drugs). i will let Dr. D know what went down when i see him next on the 24th.

i really appreciate the comments from people trying to help, too. it helps to know people are out there and they're not all judgmental dicks. there's not a whole lot of people i can call or whatnot when this kind of shit happens - my parents are too far away to do anything about it, so all it would do would be scare the crap out of them for no reason, and i didn't wanna wake either them or my one other friend Feoa up at that hour of the morning just to listen to Cracky McGee blabber on about shadows and imaginary singalong time.

gotta go "revise" now, but will be connected for the rest of tonight up through the morning if anyone writes back. carpe corporem



crap news

we got a letter a few days ago that said we're being evicted, again. the new outdoor second-floor beer balcony that the pub's owners (a company called Belhaven) have been wittering on about apparently requires the destruction of my home. B and i have been given two months to get the fuck out before they want to start construction, which means ball-wrecking our flat to make room for a little atrium and stairway where customers will come for about twenty days of the year max, to "enjoy" the "sun" of the City. we haven't even been here for the year we said we'd be.

Muad-Dib and i are gonna try and get a one-bedroom place to live in that we can share, and B is gonna find someplace to live by herself before she moves to Southampton (southwest England) in September. i have no idea where we're gonna live or what it's going to cost, but at least we can pool our resources. i'm still pretty stunned that he's cool with that kind of commitment.

the stupid thing is that this beer balcony is a shitty business decision. there's one right next to where they're gonna put it that gets all the sun in the courtyard, literally two metres away from their one. there's also an existing beer garden for this pub that's well liked, and a pub next door that has a proper roof terrace, twice the size of the balconies and heated with proper shelter for the rain and a 360-degree suntrap all year round. to boot, customers of our pub will have to climb several flights of stairs and go round to the back of the building to reach this balcony, unlike the other balcony. they will not be arsed to do it. it's not gonna make Belhaven any fucking money given the cost it will incur to build the damn thing. B wants to write to them and ask them to postpone construction but i doubt they'll agree.

i can't do fuck all about it yet, although at least we have a plan (exams are first priority right now). just thought i'd let you know that once again my landlords have turned out to be cunts.



google before you post

i am seeing lots of reactions, mostly on io9 where they reprinted the article about me on Wired, that have misconceptions. i would very much like it if the uneducated masses who like to call me an idiot would disavail themselves of the following precepts:

1. that i cost the NHS money without contributing to it.
no, i pay taxes just like you do, and fund the NHS just like you. some of my experiments have led to hospital, one to an overnight stay; i've never been in ICU, and the service is meant to help all people, not just people with tragic accident-related injuries.

2. that i sacrificed all or some of my sense of touch. i did not. next.

3. that you are just as much a "cyborg" as i am because you use an iPhone and wear glasses. fuck off if you are going to tell me that what i do is pointless, and i do not want to debate the definition of 'cyborg' with any normal.

4. that i don't do this voluntarily, and it's some sort of compulsion; also that because you can buy topical anaesthetic creams for stings and burns, that must mean those would work fine for surgery and would definitely go deep enough, so i must just "like the pain". do your goddamn research.



i am an idiot and an asshole.

my parents informed me with less than enough harshness that actually they don't mean their comments on TV literally. it turns out that in actuality it is i who doesn't think things through, so not only did i misunderstand what they meant and vent about it without asking for a clarification of whether i was actually correct, i insulted and upset them both in the process. i am lucky my ma still fucking speaks to me.

i removed the post not at my parents' request but at my own embarrassment. should you have said anything important in the comments please do repost here, and accept my apology for publicly venting frustration about people before checking to see if they really were deserving of it: they aren't, and i was totally in the wrong.

other news:

i will be writing up a full account of the 27c3 talk and answering your mails and comments as soon as i can, and will let you know if i find the stream anywhere important. there are several articles about it, or me, which i'll also link to.

someone got into my Blogger account earlier today and i am installing analytics to allow better tracking of who did it if it happens again. i'm not a proper hacker, so i can't stop you, but you fucked me over for a good few hours and made me cry because i thought you had locked me out permanently. good going, asshole, you upset a stressed civilian.

in short: my mother is a good person to whom i owe more than i ought to, including a lot of my finances for Berlin; i know nothing like as much as i like to think i do about normal people and their reactions to simple entertainment; i am not a good person myself; and you shall have your 27c3 article later.

carpe corporem



fightan good

(title stolen from the SCP Foundation's guidelines of things they don't want any more of, which is appropriately enough also what i don't want any more of.)

this, gentlehumans, is a rant. it is not directed at anyone in particular; rather, this thing that pisses me off is a whole fucked-up paradigm that colours all of our thinking and seems to come from society itself. that thing is fightan good.

it seems like every time you go looking for information or discussion on a particular technology, some fucker is looking to use it to fight good. usually, i expect this as a matter of course: TV and cinema, for one, seem to be saturated with the idea of combat, gaming even more so. everything's about fighting. every protagonist in anything i play has to fight something. i wish this weren't the case, because it bleeds over into science; nice tech, now how will we weaponise that? transhumanism suffers from it every bit as much as biotech and physics do. everyone wants embedded weapons, or enhanced reflexes, or super-speed, all for fucking fightan good. cyborgs as portrayed in common culture are almost all soldiers or mercenaries or bounty hunters. you can't get away from it.

this annoys me to no end. technology is so beautiful, knowledge even more so - and hurting other humans is not its intended use, nor is merely defending oneself from other equally violent motherfuckers who can't think of any other way to enhance the human body. what about your brains, people? what about longevity, or quality of life for the elderly? what about improving our capabilities to learn, to enjoy, to experience?

i'm not saying the species doesn't need defence capabilities: i hope one day it won't, but right now that's not the case. i'm just very sick of seeing people prioritise harming others over anything and everything. that's not what transhumanism is about. i won't help anyone weaponise themselves no matter how many times you ask me.

omnis moria, especially me, and i want to leave this planet a tiny bit better than i found it. you can't do that by making the world into a game of System Shock.



exam results

well, i fucked over my 1:1 average. bastard Languages and Computability class. results for this year, all out of 20 (18 or over is a first-class):


man, i would've had a perfect first if it weren't for the fact that i hate computability theory (by which i mean that i am shit at it). on the plus side i'm informed that most people got about a 5-7 on it... musta been pretty harshly marked, especially seeing as this is the year where we don't get to retake exams. if you get CAS 4 the first time, you can resit, sure. you get a 20 the second time and it still goes down as a 4 on your record, and that's what they use to determine your final degree class. you don't like it? fuck you, you can retake the entire year.

you know what's particularly lulzy about these results? i studied exactly once for each exam, the night before. sometimes i slept, sometimes i didn't; i just couldn't make myself do anything any earlier than that. depressive episodes are a cunt - or apparently, a magical blessing from the gods of depressed lazy assholes.

also lulz at the full marks in Distributed Systems and Security. HURR I AM A HAXOR DURR



note on positioning

something i should warn you guys about: when placing nodes in the fingertips, they have to go on opposite sides of each finger than the one next to it. for example, if you were starting with your left hand, you would (for practical reasons) only use the three fingers starting with the little one and ending at the middle; you would put the nodes on the left side of the middle finger, the right side of the next one and on the right side again in the little finger.

to my annoyance, i discovered weeks ago that i'd failed to observe this, and thus the nodes in my left two outermost fingers set each other off every now and then when i'm trying to sleep or type or what have you. another fuckup for general education.




me: So I was wondering if you had any green Chartreuse.
gourmet shop d00d, standing directly in front of several bottles of Chartreuse verte: What's that? I don't think so.


ed. someone asked about what i sound like. you have two options: read the blog either in my actual husky, slurred monotone, or read it in a Dalek voice.


what do you want, Lepht, a fucking medal?

i was informed today that i won an honest-to-goddamn medal, the University's "Quincentenary Prize". you know what comes with the medal? a fucking grand, awarded "on a basis of academic merit, personal qualities and needs". they had to pick one person to give this fucker to out of all of the schools of sciences, engineering and medicine, and it was me. that's awesome, if kinda fucked up.

translated: Hey Anonym - you're poor, right? Well, we feel sorry for your crippled, Government-subsidised ass. Have a medal. And get a suit at Primark for the award ceremony, will you, you fucked-up little cueball.

upshot: free rent for a couple months, and whenever anyone asks me "what do you want motherfucker, a medal?" i'm gonna flash that bitch like it was a fuzz badge.

all of this only lends more weight to my hypothesis of being incarcerated, heavily medicated and just making all this up to fool myself into thinking my life is awesome.



i am a stupid stupid motherfucker

the idea came to me on the bus, before i'd remembered exactly how much this sort of shit hurts; i spent last night carving one of the stored/experimental Nd-60s out of my wrist and implanting it with a large-gauge needle and Muad-Dib's help into my left little finger. i don't remember much of the night, since i spent the evening with my hand taped into a ball apart from the victimised digit (which was taped to the table), covered in iodine and HiBi-scrub, drinking Laphroaig and taking pills. at some point i woke to discover myself in bed, having apparently untaped my drugged self and retired three hours prior. i hadn't completed the operation, although i had gotten the stored node out of the back of my wrist, incredibly messily - the wound is huge, since i used a silly little disposable Swann-Morton that wasn't exactly effective. i appear to have overcompensated slightly and made a giant gaping opening too far from the implant, then a secondary one crossing it and a massive fucking hole where i recall having to pull the node out, scraping the surrounding tissue back with the end of a spare blade. turns out the meat doesn't like giving up things that have been placed anywhere but the loose skin of the hands. lesson fucking learned.

having awoken covered in blood and with no memory of the self-mutilating events before like some kind of fucked-up Sleeping Beauty, i shuffled back into the Kitchen of Pain to finish the job. it took me an age to work up enough guts to do it, and that's for a reason; i woke up about an hour ago (fuck yeah, steak for breakfast) and it's still motherfucking throbbing - even with the drugs and the whiskey it was agonising last night. i screamed so hard through the kitchen towel i was biting down on that i woke up my flatmate B, who didn't appreciate it. musta taken us about half a fucking hour - it sure as shit felt like it - to get the fucker in, and when it was done, i don't even remember how i got back into bed. i even dreamed about pain, all these weird-ass visualisations of it.

i woke up this morning to find all my face paint on my arm where i rubbed it off bawling, some unidentified substance on my shirt, my lip split from the screaming and my dressings already filling with blood. Muad-Dib is a little traumatised as well. i'll keep y'all posted on whether the implant takes or not.

trufax: i need to find some better hobbies.



i'm not complaining, but

some shit i just don't understand. viz.: your average bus driver; paid cashmoney to be at the public's service, answer questions about public transport and interact reasonably politely with plebs; universally surly, often to the point of assholery.

tech guy Navid: paid to admin the University CSD's bigass new Sun Beowulf, does not have to deal with anyone who doesn't make it to his hermitage of an office. when accosted in the corridor by yours truly, jibbering excitedly about clusters and research institutes, not only does not tell me to fuck off, but gets other tech guy Nikhil to install two machines with the Sun Grid Engine in the public labs expressly for junkieface to play with. i'm just an undergrad. i don't know if it's because i'm president of CS or because i look like a cancer victim, but that was done purely out of Navid being awesome.

i fucking love university.



choose personal control: surrender it to us.

so i was chatting with a couple straight edge kiddies, and got pointed to the sXe faq over on MIT's usenet archives. i noticed that the movement keeps describing itself as about standing up to the peer pressure and taking back personal control.

has anyone else noticed how fucking ironic that is?

we, the drug-using tribes of counterculture, don't tell you what to do. if you hang with the alt.crews here, you don't get a spliff shoved in your mouth; i pop pills, i don't make you pop pills or imply that you're not cool if you don't pop pills. they're my pills. chacun a son gout; we're all about bodily autonomy here, which means we can all choose to do or not do whatever the hell we like.

so explain to me again, sXe kids, how joining a movement that emphatically tells you what not to take is about taking back your autonomy?


edit: from the FAQ, 1.7 Why do kids get into straight edge?
"It doesn't FEEL good to OD."

look, you screeching pseudomoral moron. it does feel good to OD, something you'd know nothing about because you've never been in any real physical pain and needed real medicine. it feels incredibly good to overdose on an opiate - it is being pulled down into deep cushioned sleep as your pain dissipates and your mind clears into void. that's why people OD on it in the first place. that's also why it's called the white angel.

oh, but what would you know? you're too hardcore for pain meds. you can take it. you stand strong.

let's see y'all stand strong with CP. let's see you have abdominal surgery and still 'resist drugs', you sanctimonious assholes.


straight edge

my crappy, can't-handle-finals-week immune system can't fight off glandular fever, so i've been pretty damn sick this week. illness kinda sucks ass: a week on your ass, losing ridiculous amounts of weight because your throat hurts too much to even swallow liquids, not being able to breathe properly (it was that that made me call the NHS, contra to my advice to other people about not being an over-macho i-can-take-it asshole and letting yourself get horribly ill), dehydration because you can't drink and if you do you vomit and you've got diarrhoea, yada yada.

the plus side was i got an entire stash of Kupkakes* - 30mg cocodamol, an excellent little drug that works excellently for pain.

that got me thinking. i don't use the Kupkakes recreationally, though i sure as hell could - aside from their analgesic/antipyretic effects, they'll calm you down and make you walk around floating on a cushion of chill, but they're far too valuable to me as a chronic pain patient to waste on chilling. i was looking at one the day before yesterday in an attempt to psyche myself up for swallowing it (yesterday was the first day i could eat solid food, and since then i've been fucking golden), and i remembered the stash of Rx Kupkakes one of my exes has.

i have a few ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, but most have been from my side of life - alternatives, sort of. i think i'm just attracted to that willingness to try anything; well, this ex - call him Will, names changed to protect the fucking guilty - was sort of an anomaly. had ink and piercings, sure, less than me but a few, and weird hair like yours truly - but Will's a straight edger.

this was sort of a shock to me when i found out, after we first started dating, but i figured hey, if the man doesn't tell me what i can and can't do with my own meat, i'm not gonna tell him what he should do with his. it was only after we had a conversation in which it transpired that if i got seriously ill and resorted to cannabis for pain relief, he'd leave me no matter how ill i was, that i realised there's something kinda fucked up about this straight edge philosophy.

for a start, i reject the argument that the philosophy bans things because they fuck you up. the SxE list of 'banned' substances is... well, sorta arbitrary. tobacco, recreational drugs, alcohol. some of them are also vegetarian, some don't approve of any drugs at all - no fucking paracetamol with one kiddie i heard about on the grapevine - some just stay away from those Big Three. but why just those three? just because they're common? why doesn't SxE doctrine ban fried food, standing right in front the speakers, skinny dipping, high heels or not taking your insulin on time? personally i believe people have a right to fuck themselves up, and to make their own judgements in what's acceptable levels of fucked-up. it's called bodily autonomy.

there's another thing. i see no reason to make an entire militant philosophy out of not doing something nobody is making you do. you don't smoke? well, i quit too. now i'm more stressed, less broke and no lung cancer. grats. you don't drink? welcome to the United Arab Emirates. i just don't get it why it needs a symbol and vigilantes and a movement.

third, i reject the idea that drug use is always bad and the only reasons people have for taking are peer pressure and thinking it's cool. i don't know a single fucker who's ever used anything because they wanted to be one of the cool kids; the cool kids don't even need to do that shit in my experience. the people i used to hang out with had the same problems as i and the rest of the city did: some were in pain, some had survived awful shit in their lives, some were addicts, some wanted the rush. using whatever was just one solution. all of us did some stupid things, but we sure as hell weren't doing it for acceptance in the goddamn playground. to reject drugs on that precept is over-simplifying to a ridiculous degree.

the lifetime commitment thing bothers me, too. i respect people trying to make a commitment to something, but i worry when i see them trying to make a promise for life. like a marriage, i think you can't enter into a contract like that knowing for sure that you're never going to feel any other way, even if you really don't think you will; so when you've got an X tattooed on the back of your hand and you find that, shit son, you can't pay the NHS for your pain pills and you've got nothing to keep that tide of hurt away, i don't think you can honour a lifetime promise never to do drugs without putting yourself through pain for no real reason.

last up, the militancy - i don't have a problem with SxE kiddies who just don't drink, smoke or do drugs themselves; they wanna protect their meatshells, and we disagree only on the best way to do that and the acceptable tradeoff between protection and other benefits. i have a problem with those like Will, people who look down on friends having a drink together, people who decide to make you pick between them and relief from the screaming abyss of agony where your guts used to be. my personal choices are mine alone; if you think they're wrong, we'll have a debate, but sneering straight-edgers with a squeaky superiority complex aren't good at that sort of debate. if you think my choices should be restricted because people around me are emotionally hurt by them, you can think again. everyone has the right to do legal things without fear that they'll hurt or offend others and be thrown in jail; what i don't have the right to do is physically, actually hurt someone.

if my pain control makes me go off the rails and kill someone, it's my fault and i deserve to go down for it, because i should've been more responsible in choosing better drugs and locking my arse away while i was on them. if i take acid because i wanna know more about myself so i take a bungload of PCP and i freak out and gouge out one of my eyes, i don't get to the top of the waiting list for a new one any time soon, and that's fair. but if i'm not hurting anyone, i don't need a lecture from some sanctimonious, cleaner-than-thou punk.


* Kupkakes are called that because they say KAP|AKE on the pill, as well as because when you're feverish, your muscles are screaming and you can't sleep, four of them are the sweetest thing in the Universe save the white angel.


Maxwell's equations, or when to shut up

Professor James Clerk Maxwell, 1831-1879: dude united electricity and magnetism in Maxwell's equations, and taught pretty fucking close to where i live, at Marischal College, part of the University of Aberdeen (wasn't at the time, but whatever.) his equations for electromagnetism are based on Gauss, Ampere and Faraday's work; Maxwell synthesised their ideas into a unified theory. smart dude.

so i'm sitting in Physics 2512 a while ago, learnin' about said smart dude and how he's ONE OF US SILVER CITY SCUM and therefore even smarter by comparison, surrounded by physics majors whose intellectual acumen for the subject far exceeds mine (mine's limited to generating overly verbose descriptions of lessons rather than actually absorbing them.) luckily, i've sat next to dumbfuck, who would've made a good gymnast or something but is definitely not a physicist - beautiful, thin and clearly not getting it. even more luckily, i'm none of that there triad.

"I don't get how an electric field and a magnetic field can be the same." dumbfuck shuffles her papers in disgusted bafflement at the very idea.

"It's not," i say (i talk like i type, monotonously and drug-addledly.) "Electric fields generate magnetic fields, vice versa." it's a tutorial class, so to my excitement and everyone else's chagrin, we're allowed to talk, which means i'm allowed to inflict my shit on other people. "If you make a magnetic field change, it makes an electrical field. You make an electric field change, you get a magnetic one." i am of course paraphrasing Wikipedia's Maxwell's equations, but she doesn't know that. she sorta nods. cool, i think, you're teaching, Lepht!

so i carry on. "That's how this RFID chip works," i explain, and i poke the chip under my skin (you can see it move, and it's visible at rest too since the anaemia got bad.) "Reader emits an electrical field, generates a magnetic go-between field, generates another electrical field in the chip. Chip sends an identification value to the reader - no batteries," and i must've sounded pretty proud of that, i guess, even though i didn't have fuck all to do with creating it. "It's passive power. Never runs out."

i coulda stopped there, since dumbfuck was looking pretty freaked out (she turned out to be one of those doesn't-like-subdermal-stuff squeamies), but no, my stupid ass decided to carry on. "That's how all these neodyms work as well," and i continue my in-your-face poking of various non-flesh body parts. "You get near an EM field, it generates a little current in 'em, makes your hands tingle. Like this," and i hit Ctrl-C on my notes, point to the spot under the backtick key where the HDD is, "you can tell if the hard drive is active that way. It's cool, no?"

she did not think it was cool. i gotta learn when to shut the fuck up.


god damnit

i'm reading Dune again, because i'm meant to be studying for finals, but the fact that Paul is both the name of the main d00d and the never-used real name of a good buddy of mine is messing up my mental images. i keep visualising said /b/tard buddy saying things that would make him do the People's Eyebrow in confusion and making myself laugh.

stupid social circle ruins my nerd fun.


i'm a bastard

i am. i and a few other people made a guy storm out of our Grand Challenges of AI tutorial today just by questioning him.

the tutorials are pretty simple for GCAI, which is an introductory, non-technical artificial intelligence primer that i take for giggles (can't get any credit for it, for various reasons.) you get a source book of articles, you bring it to each tutorial, and each time, you read through one of them and a sort of informal town-hall debate arises around it. today it was Turing's seminal paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, from way back in 1950. it's basically the original introduction to the field of AI, where Turing defines intelligence, presents the concept of machine intelligence, and demos the common arguments against the possibility of deep AI. he then rebukes each one, apart from the last, which is (hilariously) the 'argument from telepathy'; at the time, it hadn't yet been discredited, and Turing was a firm believer. it shows in the paper, with a genius like Turing asserting the existence of evidence for telekinesis and telepathy which he doesn't provide and suggesting the necessity of 'telepathy-proof rooms' for testing AI in.

that wasn't the argument we had problems with, however. Turing's first cited objection to AI is religious, the 'Theological Objection'. people apparently didn't like AI, back in the day, because of their ridiculous conviction that only people could think because only people had souls. of course, a machine could never have a soul, so how could it possibly ever be intelligent?

i pointed out that this shouldn't even have been included in a scientific paper in the first place. it's just pandering to the deluded, pretending that their silly beliefs are legitimate enough to warrant consideration in a serious scientific journal, but it was the norm in Turing's time to pamper these people. i get that, but, i explain, you can't argue from God unless you've previously proved God, and you can't make arguments involving souls unless you've demonstrated their existence already. which nobody has.

crazy two rows down from me pipes up. "Just because it involves God is no reason to automatically say it's bullshit," he tells me sternly.
"It is," i throw back. crazy goes on to explain that we have souls, animals don't have souls, machines don't have souls, and that therefore we're fundamentally different from either one and the only intelligences possible.

why is this guy studying AI? it being pretty harsh to say that, i stick with asking him for evidence of his batshit claims, and with giving an explanation of neural nets and how the ones we have are tiny arrays of perceptrons compared to our trillions of neurons. we're not anywhere close to creating an analogy of the human brain, but if we did get that many perceptrons, there's no reason to write off the possibility that they might approximate a sentient intelligence. "If we can build nets as big as our brains," i ask him, "then how can you be so sure that they won't come close to intelligence?" somewhere in this i used the phrase 'biological machines' to describe us. it turns out this was a big fucking mistake. crazy didn't like that one bit.

"We're pointless then," he says, over and over. "We're just pointless then aren't we."
"We're not pointless. That doesn't follow at all," i cut him off when he starts to annoy me. "Knowing how our brains work doesn't mean we're devoid of all meaning. Or are you trying to tell me we need a soul to have meaningful lives?"

at this, crazy finally has enough. he turns round, points at me and the people who've been agreeing with me like we were witches, and goes, "I don't like this, this is just fucking shit. Fuck this. You're all getting so overemotional. Fuck this. Fuck," and he shoves his way out of the lecture theatre and stomps away down the corridor, leaving me feeling like a total asshole and my comrades giggling their asses off at this guy.

"We're getting emotional?" snorts the guy just in front of me as the crazy's footsteps die away. i still feel like a shit about it, but i can't just sit there in those sessions and let people spew bullshit unchallenged. i guess some people just can't cope with being asked to actually prove what they're claiming is true.


chillin' in 1954

i'm a transhumanist, someone who believes that technology can and should be used to improve the human condition, and specifically, the human body. this is why i have all these implants, and why i design more - i want to learn something about how to use technology to help me, and in doing that, maybe help someone else to improve themselves too, or even create something that helps millions of us.

my view of the future of such implants is completely bottom-up, in that i'm for creating implants that can do a fraction of what i want an entire transhuman body to be able to, and then combining them in my research subject - yours truly - as science and i progress, to eventually add them together and get closer to what i want. hence the tiny, homebrew components i've sited and had sited are simplistic and monofunctional; but an array of tiny, monofunctional devices is what we call a computer, and i hope the whole human who has many modifications like these will be better than the sum of their parts.

a lot of people don't agree with me. go to a discussion on transhumanism like the ones started by my buddies at Atheist Nexus, and you find people wanting downloadable silicon brains, full-conversion robotic bodies, cybernetic jacks into virtual representations of the Net, ad nauseam. now these are wonderful dreams, sure, but we're not living in a manga or a game, we're adults alive in 2008 and we're probably not gonna live to see this shit. i see so many people totally unmodified, hanging around in cyberspace waiting for Masamune Shirow's prosthetic robot bodies and electronic ghosts. it's not gonna happen in your lifetime, awesome as it'd be if it did. it's like we're sitting around in 1954, waiting for our robotic house servants and our flawless machine translation, before any of us has even taken a look at a neuron.

so we don't get ageless, beautiful super-cyborg shells, and we don't get mathematically enhanced solid-state brains to put in them. what we do get is various electronic components that aren't averse to being immersed in a wet environment, soldering guns, electronics knowledge readily available to anyone who can get to a library, and curious, inventive, spectacular human minds. what we do get is the curiosity and the resources to start creating those dreams.

so if you're a transhumanist as well, and you always wanted a cyberdeck, you can't have one yet. sorry. but don't sit on your ass waiting for someone else to invent them. experiment for yourself. design a few circuits, try an RFID security system out, see what today's technology can do for tomorrow's dreams and see what you can do to bring about some tiny part of that transhuman species you wanna see. get the fuck out there and put our philosophy into practice.



that's the Golden Rule

i just have a simple point to make. the other day i was sitting calmly on my ass in the labs, listening to the excellent Fresh Body Shop, when i was surprised by a guy doing his PhD thesis who wanted a hand working MS Office. glad to help, and knowing Office and as well as the next guy, i spent a few hours showing him how to work the flowcharts, draw diagrams and import/embed objects into Word. after a while, it transpired that said PhD involved the "faith equation", about which i decided to keep my mouth shut, despite the fact that you can't do algebra with religion and get the same answer twice, never mind a meaningful one (it's like trying to do algebra with anything else that isn't numbers - it's just not gonna work.)

after a while, he asked me if i was still okay with the length of the words and their spellings (at this point i was doing the typing, having taken the keys off the noob in a fit of bad teaching several minutes beforehand.) i was, yeah, i replied, since i'm eidetic, but i wasn't used to seeing so many theological terms in a mathematical context; i said the last person i saw doing that was Behe, and that wasn't good. i went on to add that even if i was a theist i'd still have been able to see the holes, and enquired whether he too had read said bad tract.

"Atheist?" he repeated, obviously perturbed and evidently never having heard of Michael Behe. "You're an atheist?" it was as if i'd accidentally let slip that i was a vampire or a leper. he actually shifted away from me in his seat like he might catch heresy and asked me, bewildered, "Well, why are you helping me then?"

teeth clenched, i explained that you don't have to be Christian or even theist to be good. i put it to him that there is a basic human moral code that exists above holy books and word-of-god, and that we use it, for example, in deciding not to follow the rules in the Qur'an that tell us to stone heretics and behead unbelievers, or the ones in the Bible that involve bull sacrifice and pigeon-killing and the whole gay-hating thing.

unconvinced, he wanted to know what had made me an atheist. i've always been an atheist, having never been convinced by the state religion, the mainstream alternatives or the new-age dross of my hometown as a child, and i said so. i pointed out that i follow the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have others do unto you - and that i was helping him because of that. i'd like to think other people would help me with, say, Maya if i wanted to do some 3D modelling, and so i help people out with what i know.

i think i managed to convince him eventually that we're not baby-eaters, though he might have thought it was just me. that's one of my aims in life - to show that most atheists are not assholes, and most Christians are not assholes either. just because we're either side of a debate doesn't mean that Hitler represents all Christians, or that Stalin stands for all atheists: we're all human, and humans should help each other out regardless of who believes in Yahweh and who doesn't.

that's why i'll help Christians, Muslims and anyone else that can't work a compiler, and that's why i'd expect anyone else to help me if they see me passed out in the lab. that's the Golden Rule.