sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2018-09-10 06:11 pm

My letter to the London MEPs

Dear Claude Moraes, Charles Tannock, Seb Dance, Mary Honeyball, Gerard Batten, Syed Kamall, Lucy Anderson and Jean Lambert,

I am writing to you all in the hope that you will be voting to block Articles 11 and 13 that go to vote this Wednesday. They will be devastating to free speech, education and unbiased news reporting as well as ensuring unassailable advantage to pre-existing media companies, preventing any new competitors from rising.

Even if we make the assumption that Article 13 were a good idea in principle, which under it's current terms I do not accept, the closest existing system for automatic content detection is the one used on Youtube, which is both universally disliked by content creators for being both inaccurate and almost impossible to fight back against without going to court. To the best of my understanding, the system created by Youtube cost somewhere in the region of 60 million USD to create. The system that article 13 would necessitate any online media provider, regardless of their size, to create would need to be several magnitudes more complex and expensive to create and maintain. A small media startup does not have half a billion dollars to spend on an automatic enforcement engine. It will firmly put all media ownership under the control of Google and Apple, the only companies that will be able to hamfistedly step into this role on others behalf should it go through, and put copyright enforcement in Europe soley in the hands of American businesses.

Please do not allow these companies that are already actively disrupting the political landscape to have final say on who is permitted to say what with no legal recourse an individual can afford.

Likewise Article 11 is farcical. The idea that, under current amendments, no one can use more that two consecutive words from a news headline without paying a licensing fee is ludicrous. The suggestion that parody and other "fair use" doctrines will be exempt does not actually exist within the document itself. And as an aside, satire is something a machine cannot yet detect as might be required for Article 13.

As an engineer I tell you these policies are technically unenforceable. The only thing they are good for is being selectively abused, as and when it suits the powers that be. For all other purposes they fail. They will only obstruct business, market and social growth. They will be chains that people fight to break. They will make half the world the enemy of those few who embrace it.

Yours sincerely,

Peter William Turpin
sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2017-12-30 07:03 pm

Planning for 2018

A few words for 2018.

Have a plan. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, and your goal is to rearrange your life to survive that. You need to stop being distracted now, or you won't have the option later.

To those in the UK, we have Brexit to look forward to in 2019. This means 2018 is the last year we have of relative abundance. Our last year to prepare ourselves for the outcome. And even if it is brought to a dead stop on January 1st, the UK economy has already been dealt a serious blow. We can expect higher prices and fewer resources. We can expect the cost of just existing to rise.

Even if you're the most faithful advocate of the idea that the UK is better off outside the EU somehow, we still have the slow threat of climate change starting to bite. And even if all the world were to instantly follow all the recommendations to prevent it, how many decades have been wasted bickering over whether it's worth the effort to have a world that isn't toxic? Climate change now has those decades of additional momentum. We've been adding a little extra push to that pendulum every year and now it swings further and harder. And that momentum means we can expect the climate to become more extreme for decades to come. We won't see the environment of our childhoods until the childhoods of our great grandchildren. And the time in between is going to become violent.

As a species we have mitigated it to some degree by lessening our reliance of fossil fuels and their associated resources. But we still grow our food in the open, and rely on the patterns of nature to do so reliably.

The effects on humanity from climate change are still the same. We can expect shortages of food & other essential resources, resulting in civil unrest and mass migration, with associated conflict and disease increases. We can expect the same again as large areas of land become too harsh to inhabit, battered by storms or drought. We can expect transport and resource costs to increase. Things that were easy to buy cheaply from the other side of the world will continue to rise in cost.

The UK is now geared for service industries. It is debatable whether it is capable of producing enough food for its entire population from its own farms. And even if it is, the cost of it's goods are held artificially low by government subsidies intended to make them competitive with EU markets. Without that, food is likely to become much more costly. And with our manufacturing industries largely sold off and relocated to overseas investors, household goods can also be expected to increase in cost.

There's a lot of society where capability and worth are equated to the ability to perform violence and survive on their own. And these same societies are ones where those acts are punished if performed. Many, particularly men, as such have essential to the survival of their ego plans and beliefs for what they would do in case of sudden disaster, where the legalities of society are gone and they can freely prove their personal worth. And as long as the legalities are there, they will never be called to do so. It's a safe, unprovable, fantasy. The sort of wish fulfilment that it's easy to bolster with expensive catalogue purchases for equipment you'll never have to prove you have no idea how to use, but the ownership of which must demonstrate your competence.

The problem with “prepping” is that nebulous definition on when it's finally time to act. When the shit hits the fan, you'll be ready. How far does the world have to fall before then though? When do you stop playing along and start acting out? How long before you're willing to see if you can act on your fantasy? How long before you're willing to be the first to risk your life?

The problem is there is no defined point. There is no starting flag. Society is a massive interconnected machine, and while it may fail in parts or locations, odds are there'll still always be enough functioning for you to hold back on actually putting your fantasy to the test. Because most of those fantasies run the risk of getting you killed. Society, for all it's flaws, is safer than anarchy.

I mention this because the sort of world we have ahead is a slow disaster. One where things will keep getting worse in multiple ways and there will be no hard defined point where it's suddenly time to make a single massive change to your lifestyle, throwing yourself unpractised and unfit into an alien environment. It's not a movie. Things will change slowly and you will get used to most of them. It may get worse, but never to the point you are willing to risk what comforts you have left.

What I'm planing is mitigation.

There is in the next couple of years the threat of essential resource shortages to the entire UK population, where one in every two hundred is already homeless. And beyond that an even more certain threat of the same thing, but on a longer timescale.

2018 is the year you have to prepare and practice. It's the year you finally get around to growing your own food, or cooking your own meals. Where you get into the habit of doing so before you're forced to do so clumsily later without a safety net.

It's the year you finally get that mini lathe, or learn to repair your own household goods instead of replacing them every time the fuse blows.

It's the year you get around to taking a self-defence class, or installing CCTV.

It's the year you get to know your neighbours. Those strangers always ominously present in your life. You will learn if you can trust them, or at least know them enough not to fear them. You will form community.

2018 is the cram-session before the exam. And if you pull it off you'll have better odds of surviving what comes afterwards.

  • If you've been saving to build a small home workshop and are waiting for prices to come down, don't wait. Prices have been increasing since about 2008, roughly coinciding with the first suggestions of Peak Oil. It's not likely to get cheaper again all of a sudden.
  • Invest in a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. A slow cooker can make better use of poor cuts of meat and allows very low-involvement cooking, giving more free time. Pressure cookers can allow food to be cooked very quickly, but also make it easy to get more from meats by cooking off scraps from carcasses and making stock.
  • Make sure you have a dedicated freezer. Cooking has economies of scale. It's easier and cheaper to make a moderate amount and freeze meals for later than make multiple small meals on demand. A freezer also gives you the option to take advantage of food opportunities as they occur.
  • Look into permaculture. It's not for everyone, especially as it requires growing space. But due to the often layered planting and complimentary soil chemistry, layouts tend to require far less active maintenance than farming techniques that result in needing crop rotation, as well as producing more for a set land area.
    • Hydroponic food may be another option, but has a higher financial/material barrier to entry. I'm not yet convinced it's able to provide a financial benefit compared to shop-bought plants.
  • Try to eat less meat. Moral choices aside, meat is less energy efficient. Veg will always be cheaper, and seeing meat as a luxury food item helps put that in perspective. You'll save money.
  • Work to make yourself functionally fit. You're training for a job, not a race.
  • Diversify your income if possible. It often won't be in the time remaining, but multiple trickles can be enough to live on if one main source fails. Diversify your savings too if possible.
sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2017-09-11 02:11 am

A debris field

I had intended to purposefully avoid relationships for the foreseeable future, as I feel I do not value my own desires enough and so I ignore them in relationships, breeding resentment. It is not anothers responsibility to draw that out of me.

What desires do I even have? I feel dead.

I feel embarassed that some months back, despite this I flirted with a friend of mine because I thought they were attracted to me. I think myself so inherently worthless that I cannot pass up any chance for a relationship, because what are the odds someone else will want me. No matter how bad it might be.

I feel old. I feel guilty for finding people younger than me attractive. I justify it by the rationale that relationships with notable age differences are ripe ground for abuses of power from relative levels of life experience, income or personal utility as well as life goals. But as someone who has always been introspective, learning more than most from experiences, who for his age is of limited utility, income and maintains a close connection to current events, I wonder if I'm not just using it as an excuse to avoid people thinking I'm some sort of predator.

I feel miserable. I do not currently have the capacity to feel emotional investment in anyone. Every learnt-response to go to someone in pain is now fear and revulsion. Every bit in the last few months has been painfully forced. I wonder how this would combine with my inability to form long-term relationships anyway.

I was always told it's what's inside someone that counts. And I still beleive it, but it makes me feel guilty for not finding men attractive. Knowing so many people in varying stages of transitioning between sexes is helping determine what it is about someone that makes them appear attractive to me and how much of it is gendered.

My sense of attraction is fragmented. I'm attracted to styles, expressiveness, personalities and certain physical characteristics. But they are all seperate. One or another, never together. And as such it feels shallow and broken. I do not currently know how to bring them together.
sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2017-08-07 02:04 am

(no subject)

I understand why cities are such hateful places.

To whatever tolerance, something like Dunbars Number exists. We can only know so many people. And by even the highest estimates, walking down the street you will see more people than that.

By our nature we treat strangers with caution. And every day we have hundreds upon hundreds of strangers pressed up in our intimate space. Our caution is present with each, and our need for safe distance and bodily autonomy is denied by the nature of the city. And we drive ourselves frantic with the continual pressure of potential threats weighing on us.

We are sick and our cities are making us that way. It is their nature.
sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (pic#181874)
2017-05-20 11:35 pm

(no subject)

Tied Semagic to Dreamwidth, and it seems as good a time as any to start using it again.

Two years ago today, Lara died as far as I'm concerned. She was found on the 22nd, but the 20th was the last I heard from her. And it's been a horrible couple of years.

All the geopolitical shit that drags you down more each day, the number of people who ran for the hills when I most needed them and the realisation of how far I'd go to bring her back if it were possible has left me walking in a world of ghosts. Every person I smile at, talk to, see, is just a ghost. Nothing is real anymore.

But then we've also got, what? Four different extinction-level events scheduled in the next few decades? And the organised disruption of the only agencies capable of preventing or even mitigating them.

I'm just in a sort of relaxed nhilism now. I'm not getting stressed anymore because nothing matters. I'd like it to be different, and maybe it will in time, but for now I'm just finding a new balance. I'm doing things because I want to, which as someone who historically hates themselves is a hell of a change from waiting to please other people in the hope they'll like me.

Right now my goal is to make money to fund the satisfaction of completing some old things. I've cleared a lot of dead weight from my life in the form of three weeks just cleaning. I've been consolidating my tools and projects. Soon I think I'm going to reach a critical mass of the correct equipment to do some pretty cool stuff. But I also need money, so I'm making up for two years of business apathy too.

Low socialisation is making continuous work somewhat difficult, but it's getting there. Personal fittness is also sub-par and something I'm working on.

The change in outlook has changed what hormones I produce, and my body feels more toxic. Everything is a bit harsher, and I feel a lot older.
sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (pic#181874)
2014-09-29 04:56 pm

Good uses for the VR metaverse, #2

Another Tumblr repost. More thoughts on things multi-contributor VR could be used for.


Dynamic news reconstruction

You have some users managing a stand-alone world with a one-way viewing “plane” for observers to watch what’s going on and submit contributions to the editors as a newsworthy event is happening.

Let’s use the first Furguson protests as an example.

The room is black and of indeterminate size. There are a series of glassy squares in a circle overhead, as might be arranged in a hospital surgical gallery. There are multiple channel-rooms viewing from those virtual windows, but no rooms physically behind them in the main reconstruction room. They are one-way portals for imagery.

The room has no distinct light sources yet and the avatars of those present are rendered in flat shadowless colour.

First someone pulls the most recent satelite image of the area they can get, probably from Google maps if not a seperate public depository. Someone quickly maps that to a geographic height map to get the lay of the land. The observers get an overview showing items being event-tagged into it, but individual editors are already subjectively zooming back and forth through the document timeline, scaling and applying incoming photos and videos to the physical model.

Nearby buildings are crudely extruded up out of the ground and detailed with projections taken from the hundreds of photos and snippets of footage. Locations in 3D space are calculated from converging pieces of footage, offsets between individual time-stamps are noted and corrected for. What starts out as a crude mismash quickly becomes a four-dimensional scrapbook of stills, video and other data.

An extra wave of specialist editors join the reconstruction as word of the story spreads, looking at faces and outfits and noting who is where and where they are at each stage of the event. Police vehicles are identified, their VR render tagged with information on the makes, models and public histories. Multiple footage angles on the rifle-weilding police alow a targetting overlay to be added, calculating the line-of-sight down each gun barrel (in the form of an extrapolated probability cone). The arcs of tear-gas canisters are calculated back to their probable launch-points and the officers at that location using the in-world physics engine.

Someone tries to add information about guerilla warfare tactics to the map, but it’s spotted and wiped off quickly as irelevant and dangerous. Someone petulantly starts a #conspiracy channel for viewers to add optionally.

As the confrontation moves, the piecemeal map grows in different directions. Some people dedicate themselves to sitting on the livestreams, matching it’s broadcast location and viewing angle as best they can as it moves. Others follow them, popping up crude representations of the buildings to fit and making minor positional adjustments to this smear of imagery through virtual space-time. Others follow using events in the most uninterupted footage as a solid backbone to syncronise their own finds to.

Partly a multimedia record unlike any other, partly a vicarious experience of the event itself as it happens in a depth never before acheived. With time the world-document is refined more and more and new pieces of record are submitted and patched in. False evidence shows up easily when it can’t be matched with the events in dozens of other synchonised and overlapping pieces of record.

If it seems extreme, think of this; making a cheap VR headset using a tablet phone and some cardboard is now readily possible. You can use these to watch 3D videos.

Some day very soon someone will be livestreaming 3D video from inside an assaulted protest like at Ferguson, or inside the next Gaza bombardment, or at the crash site of a freshly downed 747. It will no longer merely be video from the perspective of someone on the scene, it will be their perspective absolute. Your head will be jerked to one side as theirs turns from the splinters of flying concrete, your eyes will fall to the ground as that citizen coughs in tear-gas, you will stagger jelly-legged with them in a feild full of fresh corpses. You will be in their shoes, riding helpless in their body through these events.

The 2-dimensional, individualy experienced, static internet is not capable of doing that justice.

What might you the viewer get from this? Well if you were in one of the viewing channels conceptually overlapping each-other in the gallery, it would probably depend on the channel topic. One might have a channel moderator, zooming the viewing angle back and forth and looking for human rights abuses. Another might be a general chat channel filled with the same disgusted and shocked reactions found on any other social media, it’s viewing windows scaled huge to accomodate the heaving mass of avatars. Another might be doomsday preppers, engaging in fantasies of perceived SS tactics or false-flag rationales behind anonymised white-noise personas. More channels might be proactive, hunting down new sources of information and filtering it for submission to the document. Some humanist channels might just be filled with the others who need somewhere to break down and weep at the sight of it all.

In short, this is another possible way an interactive and unrestrained virtual environment could be used in a way no other medium currently allows, to acheive results faster and in more detail than before. And there as an imersive analytical document to the future instead a collection of disparate images and messages.

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.

sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (pic#181874)
2014-09-29 04:45 pm

Good uses for the VR metaverse, #1

Reposting from Tumblr, in response to a posting about Lucidscape‘s intent to produce a Metaverse framework for distributed physics simulation.


imagine Grand Theft Auto V as the Windows of the future

A combination of getting shot by violent thugs and having everything locked down by a giant corporation? Sounds delightful.

Seriously, a fascinating idea but an odd approach to my mind. If I understand it right it’s a distributed “back end” to handle the physics interactions of a virtual world that contains all connected services.

I’m not sure I like it being seamless. It feels like it enforces conventional 3D space constraints on an inherently hyperspacial data space. If a VR world engine can’t handle non-ecluidian spaces, it’s a pale imitator of what a virtual web could be.

It also breaks a basic rule of technological advancement; does it do something better that current methods? This seems to be pushing something people want to exist into being, but from bloodymindedness and fantasy rather than any real improvement.

What do I mean? Here’s an example; how do you switch tabs in a virtual world? Every major browser does this now and it was a wonderful step up from having dozens of different browser windows open.

Virtual worlds represent 3D spaces with avatars within them. It’s a live environment, an interactive world without the ability to pause. At best you could maybe leave an avatar in some sort of AFK mode or maybe get a bot to run it? Leave an answering machine message maybe? If you dare limit it to one instance at a time, it will be dead in the water no matter how pretty.

What I’m saying is that no matter how well it’s rendered or the physics are simulated, it’s still a worse way of presenting bulk information. It actively detracts from it.

If you want the fantasy of a VR metaverse to take off, find ways of using it that are better than using a browser or file explorer for the same ends. And do so in a way that can be applied to the existing data that’s out there.

Here’s an idea; a good virtual disk manager. You’ve got an extra dimension, so use it. I want a render of my hard-drive floating in front of me, I want to be able to display the physical locations of all the files on the disk, overlay the access times and highlight the bad sectors. I want all the partitions as clear borders, all the fragmented files pulsating in time with their individual fragments and the related I/O split counts bucking upward like a graphic equaliser. I want the wasted area to glow with the void of space and the wireframe case to strobe softly with refreshing SMART data tracing out in graphs either side of it. I want the sort of tool that would be an incomprehenisible mess in 2D but gives you every available facet of the dataset AT A GLANCE when rendered in VR. THAT is what I’m talking about! THAT IS THE POTENTIAL OF VR!

The sadest thing for me is logging onto something like SecondLife and seeing houses with stairs and doors. Stairs you don’t need to climb, because there’s no real gravity, where you have no actual feet to touch a ground that doesn’t exist. Doors meant to keep people out of an imaginary space there was no need to render or load if it was really undesired.

Stop rendering your avatar in one location and render it in another. The need for movement is bypassed.

Don’t block the view of something, just decline to render it at all.

Don’t step into one room from another, step out of one existance into a different one.

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.

sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-04-23 01:10 am

Attempting a return

I should start using these journals again.

Social media digests no longer repost here, as the plugins I used are now broken. And resetting them currently tries to repost my entire 35k Twitter history in one go. More importantly though, when I made the paranoid choice years ago to stop using my journals for personal things I removed the driving force for using them at all. I lost my primary outlet, and the friends I had were not using the other channels I had somehow expected they would. I cut myself off.

Things have not been going so well. The last few months in particular. I hit a sort of breaking-point regarding my personal identity and business stuff.

Firstly, "the business" isn't earning me anything. At best, it pays for itself. And I've gotten into the harmful mindset that if something isn't working, it means I haven't been sacrificing enough.
The business is broken, and it's taken me breaking too to realise it.

That I've mentioned it first is also a symptom of the other problem. I am utterly conflated with it. I am no longer a person, but an amblatory state of self-employment. It's all people ask me about, and all I am able to talk about. I have in a very fundemental way lost myself.

Since this realisation, I've thankfully had support from a few people who've previously been distant enough not to be pushed away by my change into this, but been close enough to remind me of who I used to be.

I have a little money in the bank right now. Only a couple of hundred, but no debts. It's enough to float along and take advantage of a few cheap train fares. Get myself social again.

I've closed to new orders while I work out how to handle the business stuff. Closing up entirely is an option, but I'd rather not let all the skills, equipment and good-will I've accumulated go to waste.

Primarily though I'm trying to clear-decks. Clear everything off my to-do lists. I've accumulated far too many things that are weighing me down in a swamp of incompletion, sapping any momments of free time into a state of "I should do that rather than waste time relaxing".

And relaxing is what I'm trying to do. I'm letting myself play games, go out, see people, just chat. I hope I might even find the will to read, write and draw again too. Reminding myself of my prior strengths has helped me lay a mental path of where I want to find my way back to, if back is really the word.

When I said I was lost, this is what I meant. I'm trying to remember the person I was, and get back to that sort of person. Maybe stronger, better, if I can.

I'm exhausted a lot right now. I can currently manage 3-4 tasks a day before I'm spent. Things are improving a little though.

I'll try to update with my current plans soon.
sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-27 01:36 am

Twitter Updates for 26-02-2014

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.

sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 07:31 pm

Anonymous asked: i’ve seen the brony documentary,…

Anonymous asked: i’ve seen the brony documentary, and that dad is uncomfortable bout mlp because he thinks…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 07:29 pm

Photo: bettywhite4ever: Suddenly my entire life st…

Photo: bettywhite4ever: Suddenly my entire life started to make sense…

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.

sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 07:26 pm

yeahwriters: referenceforwriters: Hemingway App th…

yeahwriters: referenceforwriters: Hemingway App thetrolliestcritic: Hemingway makes your writing bold and…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 07:24 pm

Photo: newtonandhermann: jackpowerx: fuckyesfemini…

Photo: newtonandhermann: jackpowerx: fuckyesfeminist: Average size mannequin with average size woman. The…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 04:56 pm

Photo: hometown-unicorn: My eye caught a dark form…

Photo: hometown-unicorn: My eye caught a dark form lying on the river bottom. It took me a few moments to…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 03:17 pm

Photoset: paisleypawpads: camerapits: rift-in-the-…

Photoset: paisleypawpads: camerapits: rift-in-the-warp: strudelgit: dytabytes: madsabroo:…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 03:14 pm

Photoset: onebigpear: blenderbender1811: moriarty:…

Photoset: onebigpear: blenderbender1811: moriarty: saunterdown: baruchsbalthamos: littleblueartist: never…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 03:11 pm

Photoset: ollivander: technicolorcrows: ♥ If you e…

Photoset: ollivander: technicolorcrows: ♥ If you encounter something like this, call animal control or the…

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sci_starborne: Sign of the Fox (Default)
2014-02-26 02:08 pm

RT @rainbowlemur: I’ve just realised that the Astr…

RT @rainbowlemur: I’ve just realised that the Astroboy movie is essentially the plot of Artificial Intelligence, except actually done much better.

Mirrored from The blog-hub for Peter "Sci" Turpin.