Dissent is not defeatism. Disagreeing with and criticizing the dominant cultural paradigm is not the same thing as giving up. The act of conflating the two is in effect the latter. People who have "given up" will assert that legitimate criticisms are defeatist in nature. That is because they are unwilling to even imagine having to do the difficult work that consists of resisting, dismantling and ultimately reversing deeply entrenched destructive (yet frequently beloved) cultural idiosyncrasies.
You can't blame anyone for feeling this way. You can't even blame them for giving up. No one person changes an entire culture, each individual can only contribute to incremental change that is brought about collectively. Change that is slow to come, unwieldy in its application and often only temporary in duration. It's equally true that certain individuals have dramatically more influence than others. This can be attributed to many different factors but typically it's due to sex, money, ancestry, relationships, education, intelligence & personality. This is the anthropocentric landscape of our bullshit reality.
What is "giving up" really? More than any one thing I would define it as surrendering to cultural practices that are unambiguously self-defeating. This is a time-independent assessment, which I will agree is a bit edgy since the sun will blow up in a few billion years, heat death of the universe, et al. Here's the basic premise of that stipulation: if something is 'bad' now it will probably be 'bad' forever. Time is irrelevant, we shouldn't let time dictate our decisions. The future will always be uncertain, only what we do in the present is somewhat certain. It's bad to bet on the future, it's bad to rely on the future. Bad because it engenders a tendency to gamble and procrastinate.
Honestly there are a million different possible events that could happen at any moment that could wipe out our species, our planet, or even the entire solar system. But basing our actions and decisions on that possibility right now would be insane. If someone is thought to be an optimist, a dreamer or a hopeful person they are pretty much just following one simple intellectual directive: keep moving forward. It is an intrinsically empty phrase because "forward" is a totally arbitrary direction, but it can be summarized in the most general abstract terms as the direction least likely to lead to one's imminent doom. Of course in our overly complicated world the doom-avoidance of billions can equate to the doom-assurance of an entire species. It's really a matter of perspective.
So perhaps in addition to excluding time from our calculus we should also expel scale. There is no "future" and there is no "world" there is only the present and there is only the locale. It also might be more helpful to rationalize optimism in respect to what one should not do. It's not so much keep moving forward as it is: stop moving backward. The optimist must eschew realism; not because it is illegitimate but because it creates a capacity for pessimism. Honestly this is not a bad strategy because "reality" is highly malleable, and I do not make this claim lightly. This is the sincere observation of a dedicated realist: because the fourth-dimension is effectively infinite there's no limit to how much reality can change between now and then. The realist merely accepts the truth, which is that such change is highly unpredictable.
The optimist is certain that everything will be fine. The pessimist is certain that everything will not be fine. The realist forgoes the dualistic bias and is certain that the outcome is uncertain with the caveat that objectively analyzed empirical evidence may indicate the approximate direction the needle of uncertainty is less likely to point. But that's really just useful on a case by case basis isn't it? I mean determining the fate of the world is hardly in the same class as predicting whether or not a super-volcano will erupt in our lifetimes. Or alternately, determining the probability that we will colonize the universe vs. will a crewed mission to Mars take place before 2050?
I really like that last one because it implies our civilization actually survives (thrives even) until at least the middle of the century. I'm really glad I started this post because aside from it being somewhat epic it reminded me of a new theme I've been slowly developing in my mind over the last few months. It came to the foreground the other day when I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I was struck by the horribly depressing realization that the Rebel Alliance had been fighting against the Imperials for over 30 years since the last movie and they had essentially made no progress. In fact they had allowed the Imperials a.k.a. the First Order to build a new planet-sized Death Star 2.0.
The point of this little reverie is to draw a correlation with our own resistance... now this term is normally fairly specific but I'm choosing to apply it in a more general way. Our ecological resistance, our ethical resistance, our intellectual resistance. Pick a cause. In the real world there's no Big Bad First Order, there's no Dark Side or Jedi Order, there's just all of us (humans) against the impartial forces of the universe and our own stupidity. We've been fighting for a lot longer than 30 years.
Kinda stalled. Winter has fallen and with it my seasonal depression, like a ton of bricks. Even in my darkest hours I still end up doing a few things around the site, from guilt alone if nothing else. Most recently I updated the "Universal Forum", which reminds me, a few hot tips: when building a website RESIST the tendency to create new directories as needed. As you may have noticed the overall structure of my site is exceptionally well organized; this is literally the result of over a decade of incremental improvements, many of which were painstaking in the sense that they required hundreds of hours of retroactive repairs. These "repairs" would not have been necessary if I had only managed to conjure up a little more foresight during the creative process. So if you do have the time, invest as much as you possibly can into planning your site schema & directory structure BEFORE you start randomly throwing things up. You will thank yourself later, trust me.
End of year is always a great time for me, because it's when I plan for next year's big reopening. This is basically my 'spring cleaning' time. I go through the site with a fine-toothed comb and try to clean up all the crap that has invariably accumulated over the last 12 months. Yesterday I went through all the miscellaneous resource folders and tried to combine them into a single new director which I ironically titled "+" i.e. google plus, lol! The reasoning behind this is as follows: being a 'creator' and having interacted with many other external networks it becomes necessary to provide or mirror various additional resources which could be classified as 'value added'. Naturally these assets need to be hosted somewhere and since external sites are often unreliable I chose to make them available via my server. But how does one select the perfect sub-directory? Ideally it's as short as possible, easy to remember and type, also it conveys its significance on some level. Lastly it is sub-sub-directory friendly.
So now when I have additional resources they will be listed like "http://neotoy.info/+/asset.zip" Which should theoretically keep the root directory nice and clean. Everything else (one offs basically) will be relegated to the appropriate year e.g. "http://neotoy.info/2015/asset.zip". From a taxonomic standpoint I find it fascinating to think about how when you parse a URL even a single character sub-directory adds 3 additional characters MINIMUM to the total string. Definitely something to keep in mind. Short URLs are really important for so many reasons, foremost probably being that they are easy to remember, then legibility on small screens or constrained view ports, relational coherence, graphical simplicity and lastly raw machine processing speed/bandwidth. The simplest way to think of it is that with fewer characters there is less to misunderstand, ultimately less errors result. And when approaching it from the other end, when know that an underlying theory of data & even physics is that every junction or node is a new chance for failure to arise and propagate so limit your junctions and you effectively limit your system's capacity for failure.
Of course I got a little off topic, but since that is probably 90% of all my post volume... As for the Universal Forum, it has just reached version 5.2 and I'm very proud of what I've accomplished there. The URL is horrible but it's pretty entrenched now so maybe I'm stuck with it. If the source code had a change log it would probably look something like this: New in v5.2 Poster's IP address is now converted into RGBA 'color' and applied to an inverse smiley face icon preceding each comment and acts as a kind of primitive avatar that visually identifies each unique poster. This helps to delineate the discussion more than anything. The truth is there is nothing in my code that has not been done a million times before all over the internet, however the way in which each function is accomplished is exceptional. The whole objective of my Universal Forum was to create the most minimal and elegant design which replicated the key elements of full-featured forums. Namely:
1. Ability to anonymously post text as a discreet comment.
2. Time stamp & identifier associated with each post & poster.
3. Linear chronological succession of posts.
4. Responsive page that refreshes & displays each comment you post.
5. Single source file containing code and content.
6. Platform independent scalability & solid visual styling.
I accomplished all these functions in less than 120 lines of code, less than 2500 characters. The PHP source file is only 3 KB, you can peruse it right here if you like. Yesterday I created a new favicon.ico for the forum, it is similarly an example of extreme optimization. The truth is I could probably cut the script in half and still keep all the functionality, but that will have to wait for the next revision. Notice how I'm bragging so hard about this, that's because I haven't done much else lately, lol. What can I say, it's cold & wet & dark. I keep wanting to write a decent year-end executive-summary but it's just not coming together. I guess that's okay. There are a few days left, who knows, maybe I'll come up with something, if not, well, see you next year!
It was there, deep in the corruption, buried in the filth and the chuff, the spaghetti-like entrails, the rat's nest of loose and unwanted polystrand which clung and tangled and bound every subunit of skin, joint and appendage, that the denizen laughed. Like black magic the material slithered away from it like innumerable errant serpents startled by the sound. They disappeared, seeming to slosh in various dim corners, then flowing away like dirty water, blending in with the dubious shadows. The denizen knew they were still there but the spell had been broken, the tide had receded. It did not feel afraid, rather deeply thoughtful. "You were never my enemy." It mused. "The enemy was within." But that sounded trite, the denizen shook its head solemnly. "You were not trying to hurt me, but to hold me up." That seemed to ring more true. It had lain in the soupy substance for some time, after having been ambushed by a clever trap and sent sliding down a sheer duct into some baffling pseudo-industrial complex.
Alright, so here's a few things, including pictures. As I've covered recently in this series, the IVM influenced architecture that has been percolating in my brain for the past several years has been making a lot of progress lately. Today I started what I thought was a relatively small project, just a set of illustrations for outlining the essential principles that define this new method for building. Things did not go as planned however. My first figure was intended to show the intrinsic proportionality of neotonian architecture. I cannot understate this quality enough as a crucial element of my aesthetic. Proportionality which may also be thought of more abstractly as scale is the absolute cornerstone or bedrock of both my 2D & 3D aesthetic.
Put in layman's terms the first step of any design is always to create a base unit, this is the smallest singular unit of measure. This unit defines the scale & hence proportionality of the entire project going forward; nothing in the design, not one thing will be smaller than this unit. All subsequent units & dimensional aspects of the design are derivatives of this original unit. For example, using a terrestrial unit, say the smallest aspect of the project is one centimeter in length, this means that all concurrent aspects will be ≥ one centimeter in length. This alone however is not enough to provide adequate structure. In addition to setting scale this original unit also defines the length of consecutive units, this is made possible by way of an algorithm.
The most common algorithms that I use are magnitudinal and exponential. Using the one centimeter example, our available lengths would be:
1 CM, 10 CM, 100 CM, 1000 CM, etc. (magnitudinal)
1 CM, 2 CM, 4 CM, 16 CM, 32 CM, 64 CM, 128 CM, etc. (exponential)
1 CM, 2 CM, 4 CM, 6 CM, 8 CM, 10 CM, 12 CM, 14 CM, 16 CM, etc. (logarithmic)
What this means is that the structures created using this base unit can only use derivative lengths that are compliant with these algorithms. So for example, something as simple as a staircase, the height of each step is 16 CM the width is 32 CM & the length is 64 CM. If the staircase employs a railing then it is also governed by proportionality, not only in dimensions but in placement as well! Supporting posts are 4 CM × 4 CM × 128 CM (x, y, z). The base of the railing is positioned exactly 4 CM from the outside edge of every 4th step. Even the number of steps is proportional, so perhaps there are 16. Any time the structure itself fails to rationalize with the algorithm it is considered noncompliant and therefore discarded or reworked until it complies.
Lamenting the opportunity cost of world building vs. writing within the world. Imagining that I finish ironing out the neotoy continuum by the time I'm 70 and then dying before I get to write any of the actual story. Not that it really matters, in this retard universe where garbage like Touhou Project spawns an endless excremental deluge of fandom regurgitated brain sewage. And that's cherry picking. Our world is full of far more random & incomprehensible phenomena. And I'm just being a jealous little bitch anyhow.
I feel like my research has been having subtle positive effects on my overall aesthetic. Picture me spending several hours editing an IVM, trying desperately to carve some kind of human habitable building out of it. My conclusion: The IVM does not really make what we would think of as 'user friendly' buildings. Not at a consistent scale anyway. However, if you allow for a variable scale, you basically just have conventional architecture because the IVM can scale to the molecular level and beyond.
I had a couple of profound realizations shortly after. The first probably being that Egyptian pyramids are basically half of an octahedron and therefore IVM compliant. One could think about that for a really long time. The second realization was that the IVM had started subtly working its way into my architectural experiments. I think it's best to describe these freaks as 'hybrid' because they are fundamentally conventional structures, but then they are systematically 'eroded' via the IVM. The result is extremely pleasing perceptually (at least to me), and I believe the durability of these designs is greatly increased as a result. But they are not IVM complete.
One must always come to grips with the futility of thinking there is some overarching significance to durability or aesthetics in architecture. That is just ego. Not to say that those characteristics are not valuable on some level, certainly when it comes to human happiness they are probably paramount. Good luck convincing the average architect of that. There is a reason the Taco Bell being thrown up down the street from where I live is a ramshackle claptrap of particle board and knot ridden pine 2x4s in the process of premature disintegration. The average asshole will have no conception of such subtleties. Even the construction workers themselves will only have the vaguest inkling of the ideological flimflam they are erecting.
Nope. All that matters to any of those fuckers is money. But I'm getting way off topic. Let's table all my limitless hatred for a moment and imagine for a minute that modern civilization wasn't an unsalvageable plague in desperate need of purging. Let's indulge the ego. The objective is to remake modern architecture in such a way that its beauty is only eclipsed by its durability. Naturally the IVM is heavily involved. Inferior materials are replaced with post-space age fabrication techniques. Basically everything is made out of glass, including roofs, doors, etc. Glass that is melted by solar concentration into modular sections which are then assembled using minimal stainless steel interfaces. If a section is damaged it can be easily replaced. Wood is not even used anymore. All steel is stainless steel.
If there is a third material present it is a new type of concrete that is immune to cracking and endures for hundreds of thousands of years. The final and most noticeable sign of sophistication is the most subtle: edges and corners have all been chamfered. Furthermore the proportions of all elements are interrelated. There are no "rogue" building elements. The IVM is utilized whenever possible, it is only avoided to the extent that the structure is intended for human occupation. Yet the human architect gradually ceases to exist as the essential confluence of the IVM & material superiority is focused to a lasers precision thanks to rudimentary AI and genetic algorithms.
The best researcher is always on the brink of madness. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself. For the first time in a long time I can say that I am sick to death of geometry. The IVM has become inscrutable. Is there really any geometry in the universe? You see a raw diamond and it looks like an octahedron, and maybe you assume the carbon atoms took that shape because of the sub-and-hence-atomic structure of carbon. They take this shape because it is a durable configuration that can withstand the absurd extremes of heat, pressure and time. The diamond is living proof that all this is true because if it were not, diamonds would never form, and therefore they would not exist. That seems like logic, like it is well reasoned.
And at least I have to wonder about a universe that contains such a broad range of elements that produce such variegated objects, some of which persist for billions of years while others decompose in mere minutes. One might conjecture that "there is room for all" in the universe's crazy house. When designing your own universe it is tempting to make up new laws. I can only conclude after extensive study that the laws of nature are not an exact science. Geometry on the other hand is strict, uniform, non-negotiable. Of course there are triangles scattered all over the surface of a diamond, but the closer you look the less triangular they appear to be. They could be circles, squares, random dots.
In the end those are just words used to describe something that is physically inexact. Only in the human realm of bullshit numbers does anything ever truly rationalize. I had hoped to have some progress to report since I've been once again banging my head against the brick wall of breaking the IVM down into systematically addressable units. Technically it makes sense since moving into 3D implies an exponential magnitudinal increase in difficulty. So it should take about 30 years to crack it. I don't have 30 years, nor do I want to spend that much time on something that seems relatively trivial at this stage. But getting back to the topic at hand; the fundamental problem is applying finite grammar to an infinite vocabulary.
I find this ironic since neotoy is intended to be a finite universe, a virtualized and simulated reality that runs by artificially strict, uniform and non-negotiable laws. Certainly, why shouldn't something as fanciful and idealistic as the IVM be just as easily broken down into similarly imaginary numbers? Seeing this picture more clearly than at any time before: there's just enough reality in geometry to subvert the application of the total abstraction of linear numbers. Think of it this way: numbers are 2D (technically impossible), while geometry is pseudo-3D. These two methods of representing reality are figuratively as far apart as a coloring book is from Michelangelo's David. Farther still is our actual reality.
Even a lowly apple fallen from a tree makes the finest work of the Renaissance look like stark mediocrity. This is the 4th dimension, an entire magnitude yet removed from real-3D which is not to be confused with our pitiful pseudo-3D derived via 2D mathematical models. The apple matures over time, knit from the pure black magic of natural forces so sophisticated they cannot even be imagined. The apple represents billions if not trillions of years of evolution, which like gravity is yet another complete unknown; it contains the miraculous seed to maintain its form into the foreseeable future. From it grows the tree that draws elemental power and transforms the elements into a living sculpture that never really dies.
So here's the thing, this is going to be more of the same, theory – nothing more & nothing less. But before I get into that let me outline my vision for the technique I'm about to describe. I've been slowly developing a method for building using the Isotropic Vector Matrix as a guide. It's strange in retrospect, there are so many different ways to create structure, technically and historically architects and engineers have primarily relied upon their understanding of the tenuous relationship between their infinite personal preferences and the finite physical forces imposed by nature. Buildings are then constructed in an extremely open-ended fashion, as long as the building doesn't fall down it is generally considered a success.
Idiots that people are very little if any thought is given to the deeper relationship between the inherent structure of the universe and the ultimate quality of human civilization. Ego produces buildings, happiness & prosperity are optional & unrelated. Stupid & backwards, just like our species. Various intellectual polymaths throughout history have attempted to associate physical, psychological & social well-being with environmental factors. Honestly this is the biggest no-brainer imaginable. Beyond obvious, beyond intuitive, empirically undeniable. Our 'environment' is the core of our corporeal experience; it is directly and most significantly responsible for the quality of our lives.
So where am I going with this you might be asking. Where I am going is that while the above statement is scientific fact (not to mention common sense), civilization in general has never applied it in any meaningful or coherent way. From the most primitive and primordial mud proto-hut to the tallest sparkling spire spun from Titanium and Sapphire; only one thought is in mind: how do I protect and sustain myself? It is pure instinct just like a bird making a nest or a spider weaving a web. This base mentality has evolved into a baseless and moronic religion subscribed to by the clueless unwashed masses.
Energy is not considered, efficiency is not considered, sustainability is not considered. But those are mere brute-force factors for adult babies. Far more important are the subtle confluent forces that contemporary analysts can barely even comprehend much less measure. You may argue that in modern building the factors listed above are accounted for. Contracting, finance, planning. There are actually people with jobs counting shit, filing reports, fulfilling regulations, obtaining permits. Ugh. Energy, efficiency, sustainability within the context of an unsustainable, inefficient, energy depleting civilization!
False jobs, false figures, ultimately false forces, because of the holistic nature of the manifestation process. The best modern building can hope to offer is the most basic tabulation of refined resources and systems required to manifest a structure – omitting the almost immeasurably vast web of externalities, external dependencies, required to produce those refined resources. For example: the builder can tell you exactly how much water is required to service all the residents in a particular building, but does the builder know how much water it takes to mine the ore to build the tools to make the pipe to convey the water? Or how much water it takes to mine the coal to generate the power to pump the water?
These figures exist outside all projections, beyond the margins of even the most comprehensive assessments. So the whole edifice is revealed to a be a fanciful lie, a fabrication that cannot at the end of the day be computationally represented. Why is this important? Because those calculations are nothing less than the underlying structure of civilization itself. Its health, its viability, its potential for greatness and even happiness. The state of building in our world today is haphazard at best. Not only does it remain intellectually primordial, it has failed even to progress to a state of physical accountability. This is no coincidence, these two factors are directly related.
Hence this post. The physical forces of the universe are not as variable as architects & engineers believe. Creating a structure that can defy gravity is not challenging. A tree does this effortlessly. The structure of a tree exists in a state of ideal equilibrium with the forces of nature; just as the forces push down the tree pushes up, leaves catch light, roots absorb water. It is not a structure guided by consciousness but by necessity. That is to say it is not a frivolous structure, it persists because it operates effectively within the context of its environment. Similarly a "dead" structure like a crystal or rock formation is also effectively operating within an inflexible context.
Consciousness provides an opportunity for us to create frivolous structures, structures that are completely ineffective in relation to their given context. Ironically this even includes 100% "man made" contexts. That's right, we humans frequently build environments specifically designed to exclusively support human beings and then fail spectacularly at doing so. Many areas in modern cities fall directly into this category. This constitutes failure on a grand scale. In fact it is so grand it cannot simply be a coincidence, there is no way to look at it aside from pathology. Certain structures are pathologically designed to force human beings into a state of wretchedness, deprivation and eventually kill them with relative rapidity.
One can only guess at the instinctual functionality of such a complex phenomena. It seems fairly straightforward to me: prolific species inevitably over-populate, biology is always striving to diversify and hone genetically while maintaining a sustainable population. The best way this can be achieved is by accelerating individual life-cycles while increasing the ambient lethality of the environment. Cities for example constitute accelerated focal points that are metaphorical "melting pots" but more authentically "gauntlets" designed to cull genetic dead ends. But this is not inevitable, rather it is just one of countless random evolutionary variations.
Humans can choose which path we want to take, this is proven every day as we continue to throw up pointless monstrosities while hurdling towards imminent extinction. Yes, if one ever doubts the potential for human greatness, one must only glance at our formidable list of epic failures; very few of which could be consigned to accident. Every skyscraper that we erect in the modern era is one more sterling affidavit establishing for all to see that the human animal is still hell bent on premeditated planetary self-annihilation. That is not the Official Story™, naturally, but it is what's happening.
Every year I write about a dozen posts that never make it to this page. This is for various reasons. Which reminds me, I did actually go back and look through my deep archive, which officially constitutes works created between 1997 2000 – 2006. 2006.html for example contains ~55,000 words, which is more than a typical novel. I went over those posts and tried to edit, tried to cull & censor and sanitize... ugh, forget it. Seems like reposting them is never going to happen because those dark backward years are a horrific trainwreck. The only thing that can be taken away from my sordid past is that I should probably be extra careful about what I write in the present, because not very long ago I was a profound idiot. No really I'm being too hard on myself, I was just something of a jackass with a severe professionalism deficit. I guess things haven't changed too much, I've just eked myself closer to a more cosmopolitan threshold.
No, if anything I view those posts as a testament to how far I've come. Although I don't feel that I can take all the credit, the brain matures automatically, the consciousness congeals organically. This is just the conventional psychological progression. The difference between a true idiot and someone with potential is that the progress keeps happening. I've finally reached a socially tolerable level of intelligence, it's taken almost a decade. I could just stop here, the vast majority of human beings would be satisfied, I've reached the placid meadow of diminishing returns. If I keep going from this point onward, I begin to leave all kinds of people in the dust, soon I start to intrude on the other far end of the spectrum: shooting from infantile naiveté to unfathomable sagacity. The utility of which in a world of self-indulgent children is dubious at best. Genius is synonymous with loneliness in our world.
So where was I going with all this anyway? This post is all about frustration and perhaps inadequacy. At some point you become smart enough to realize where you are intellectually but you still lack the intellectual power to propel yourself higher, you are left floating, precariously in a state of impotent self-awareness. The here and now is not good enough, the hereafter is still out of reach. I've been discarding a lot of posts lately, they are mostly cynical, wandering, masturbatory. Being your own editor is hard, you have to make the tough calls. Like when is a meandering overly-metaphysical post actually worth relaying to the world, and when is it better left rotting in some dark corner. I think it is important to characterize the struggle, to document the difficulties of making your way in the world. Otherwise you end up with crushingly unrealistic accounts of effortless prodigy. On the other hand, there is definitely such a thing as too much detail.
You ask yourself: Does it make a good story? You run the risk of dramatizing your life. This isn't entertainment. If it becomes all an act, then you have lost sight of the meaning and purpose behind it all. It is no longer sincere or genuine. We must resist this impulse in the modern world to make everything palatable, marketable and monetizable. But we must also resist the urge to share everything, as if each insignificant event can somehow be aggrandized by being turned into another heavily post-processed selfie. This balancing act is perhaps the most nauseating subconscious experience modern youth have to grapple with every day. It's garbage of course, a false choice of no value or significance outside the narrow context of unwarranted affluence & entitlement.
Ugh, the summer is just so blah. Laziness and chronic depression making me useless for just about anything. Which is not to say that I'm sitting around doing nothing. Weekends are reserved for various projects that require energy. I try to spend a little time advancing my mapping system. The initial exploration has branched off into other fields. I've had this idea to see if I can substantiate my hypothesis that there is a link between gravity and the IVM. I've become fascinated with 'warp bubbles' lately, I keep having this image in my mind of a 'field' generated based on the IVM; a physical 'antenna' that can be electrified to perhaps warp, generate or negate gravity. I've seen many homebrew things like this on youtube, most of them I find strikingly idiotic due to their extreme overcomplexity. Regardless of the results I think it would be fun merely to make a physical model of a small section of IVM.
Working under the assumption that the purpose of the IVM is to balance energy we can theorize that fields created by such an antenna would have unique properties, likewise distorting such a field could perhaps distort space time.
This is how I operate, for real. Just noting the increasing frequency by which I observe this particular style of icon. The schema is of course Google's infamous Quantum Paper a.k.a. "Material Design", which I have personally dubbed "Design Fascism". Before a few days ago it was just a vague and mildly irritating trend hovering at the periphery of my awareness, then I downloaded BlueStacks the popular Android Emulation Layer in order to explore the mobile operating system space. Once you've gone 'mobile' you can't swing a dead talking tom without hitting a Material Design compliant icon. Lots of designers have hopped on board and to be entirely honest I can't blame them. It's not exactly that Google is pioneering something miraculous, rather it's just that the world is full of innumerable shitty graphic artists & designers. Material Design is a perfect macrocosm of Google as a whole: informatically oppressive, monolithically elegant, glib as fuck, unarguably aesthetically superior to 99% of the random crap individuals produce, and ultimately cold, calculating & dead inside.
So naturally I used it to make a mobile 'app' icon for neotoy. Admittedly it's not 100% compliant with Google's schema, still close enough that very few normies would be able to tell the difference. Just for fun I started thinking of how the icon could be used, I came up with an idea for an actual neotoy app. Naturally I have neither the resources nor the expertise to make it happen, but it was fun to think about. Basically a full-blown simulation of the city-planet, but starting from its current state of development. People would effectively pay for a kind of eye-in-the-sky portal that would allow them to freely observe the city as it was being constructed, populated, etc. The "Neotoy App" would connect them to the neotoy master server which, functioning similarly to MMO architecture, streams the virtual world to their mobile device. Perhaps their phone could act like remote control for piloting a drone that they could fly around the city. VR & AR options would also be available. Over time the app could evolve to include DLC-like perks, as the city grows and continues to crystallize, perhaps the "player" can lay claim to certain buildings or influence layouts and grammars. So basically you get to pay to help "build" parts of the city. Metadata could retain and acknowledge these contributions.
I should probably start every post with a short summary of what I've been working on, that would probably allay the prospect of my favored downward spirals. Likewise I need to make a list of things I plan to do in the near future. There is one project, a playful one, that I'd love to write about. Like most of my fugacious fixations it has deep roots, but really couldn't that apply to just about anything? We live in an intemperately connected world, where quite plausibly our very thoughts themselves are nothing more than the subliminal summation of the mechanistic forces that surround us. Our minds nothing more than leak-prone rain barrels catching the chaotic drippings of a quantum typhoon transpiring just beyond the boundaries of our comparatively primitive senses.
Fundamentally I'm always searching for that perfect tool, it's like a platonic solid in the sense that it's not a real thing, it's just the suggestion of some distant completeness. In our reality even a crude distorted facsimile is a thing of rare breathtaking beauty. Sometimes these 'things' are happy accidents, less frequently they're the result of profound intellectual labor. Take any familiar object, for me that was something as archaic as my Casio digital watch, and analyze the design... what do you see? For me it's always a confusing mixture of miraculous solidity and ambiguous intentions. No 'thing' in our world will ever be 'perfect', but plenty of things are 'good enough', some are even 'great'. It never ceases to amaze me how there's no genuinely significant connection between popularity and pseudo-perfection.
I take this as an unassailable testament to the ultimate uncertainty of consciousness and the resultant diversity of our subjective perceptions. The 'face' of a digital watch is truly a work of art that balances and unites many radically different modes and languages, it's no wonder then that watches have become so fetishized despite their relative antiquity. This is not my first time designing a watch face, it is however in my opinion my worst attempt so far. As with any tool a time-keeping device is subject to the most primal forces that govern 'good' design. The core function of a watch is to 'tell' time, specifically the current year, month, week, day, hour, minute, second, decisecond (1/10th of a second), centisecond (1/100th of a second), millisecond (1/1000th of a second), etc.
This information should be displayed in a concise and legible format that can be easily and almost instantly comprehended. And yet, the watch face/display designer is faced with the impossible challenge of reconciling these two directives. Naturally it doesn't help that while there are many variations on conventional chronological units there are only a few that are 'easy' to 'read' at a glance. A striking irony emerges – the cognition of time is itself limited and effected by time. Our method of defining time is also subject to many anomalies and exceptions. Leap seconds. Asymmetric months. 24 vs. 12 hour time. Analog vs. digital. Frankly it's a clusterfuck of the first degree. None of these flaws are what you would call solvable, although it hardly matters since we are not trying to reinvent the wheel.
Regarding the subject of so-called "Smart Watches" I will say this: at first they seem like the ultimate solution because they finally make it possible to program a virtually infinite number of visual representations of time. But that's really just a trick isn't it, in the same way that an infinite number of immutable watches could never hope to satisfy all the conditions that might arise. The strength and utility of a watch is not found in its adaptability nor in its dynamicism; rather in its reliability and minimalism. The ideal watch therefore only takes up as much space and weighs as much as is required to sustain it while displaying only the most essential information. My draft design on the other hand was going for a bizarre hybrid kitchen sink approach. Limited programmability, which I discovered is almost certainly the worst of both worlds.
It's that time of year again where I court suicide and lament the fact that medication can only fill so many gaping holes in my tattered psyche. In truth I have few complaints. My life is better than it has perhaps ever been. I am merely effected by a disease with which I must cope. Which is not to say I am thoroughly deluded, such an assertion would be equally inaccurate. The oppression is no figment it is as real and as ruthless as my dysthymia. Give credit where credit is due I say, and there is always plenty of "credit" to spread around. One must come to grips with living in a world of consummate insanity, furthermore one must accept one's role in said world, one's contribution. I sometimes muse that the most fulfilling life might easily be attained by simply choosing a path that prioritized reducing this very personal reinforcement of what could easily be deemed the implicit fascism of the 21st century.
You know what I'm talking about. The third world might as well not even exist, aside from it's exorbitant carbon footprint subsidizing its Factory To The Free World™ status. Meanwhile the rest of us comparatively affluent pricks are busy shoring up the edifice of self-entitlement. Everything is so white, everything is so Walmart & Amazon. Every element of our culture is so deeply schizophrenic it's a genuine miracle that the average person can even think at all. Honestly it hardly bares the writing. Documenting the descent as the plane you are flying in comes crashing down, what's the fucking point, once that bitch hits the ground your life's work is going up in flames anyway. Might as well "invest" in something substantial, something worthwhile, something that will endure. The boomers think this is perhaps gold, their unfortunate hapless offspring think it is possibly bitcoin or the like, ugh.
The human brain simply can't rationalize the intrinsic absurdity of everything disintegrating. All those familiar things that have persisted for as long as consciousness has been relevant, suddenly ceasing to have any meaning. Yes, it was all a dream and a bad one at that, a nightmare actually. But very few people actually knew. They were the "deluded" ones, not us. Not that it matters, no one can escape. That is some solace I guess and some modicum of equanimity in all this madness. Not sure where I was going with this.
This... ugh. So unsatisfied. I've been thinking about getting a mobile phone for work. I've never had one before, I mean an actual "cell phone", my one personal phone that I bought ages ago was wi-fi only and all it could do was basic telephony. I've long been against cell phones, for multiple reasons, first the nature of the network then the bullshit contracts and legal chicanery, lastly the antisocial aspect. There was always a convenient excuse to eschew the platform. If anything the problem I have with mobile phones is as always the primary problem I have with all technology: people are idiots and it's never good enough or smart enough or well designed enough to justify the level of attention it garners. Mobile phones seem particularly suspect in this regard. Dear god, have you ever seriously shopped for a mobile phone? It's worse than shoes, worse than toothbrushes, worse than electric razors. 999 out of every 1000 phones are absolute garbage, then that 1 remaining phone is strikingly mediocre. The worse thing of all is that practically every phone in existence is just a shitty half-assed imitation of the most popular phone du jour.
More and more everything just becomes a futile suicide mission of wading upstream against the current of a never-ending and constantly accelerating and expanding tsunami of human sewage. Body, mind and soul. In direct proportion my cynicism grows exponentially. Accompanied by the sympathetically nauseating crescendo of technological progress that is indistinguishable from magic. Really this is the only way it can be, technology is the drug – the morphine – that the junkie needs to stave off the gut wrenching, world ending panic attacks that would normally result from a life spiraling ever downward at warp speed into nihilistic degeneracy. As if it were all going to work out somehow... The human race is the navel jewelry of the universe.
Sure you can have it all and look good while doing it, while everything is rendered meaningless.
Wow, been a really long time, sorry. I have no concept of time, that's why I started forcing myself to date everything. So I wonder what's worth writing about right now? I've been wanting to post pretty regularly, at least twice a week I have some brilliant idea, a seed if you will, that I think would make a great starting point for an epic post, but I just kind of let them fade away. "Go gently." I guess. All things being equal, and all that. Memento mori. I suppose I can do a little list type thing...
3D Printing – I was very pleased recently to note that I'm not alone in floundering while possessing the power of the gods. My theory is that the sheer magnitude of originative potential engendered by 3D Printing has a curious psychological effect on would-be creators, it causes them to create a lot of ugly, useless, impractical crap. A lot of things that quite frankly creators would never have ever considered brining into the world via conventional fabrication techniques, despite the fact that 99.9% of all currently 3D Printed things could be made just as easily without 3D Printers. The question is: what does it take to break through this barrier? To make things that can only be made by 3D Printers? Things that are beautiful, invaluable and pragmatic in the extreme? Okay, fine I'm being a tad cynical here, there are actually quite a few 'artists' doing absolutely fantastical things with 3D Printers, but they are very, very rare.
I've been working extremely hard to stay on topic, and even harder to suppress my inherently cynical outlook. However I feel this force building up inside of me like pressurized nerve gas. IDK, things are a little different; I still see the same number of wretched errors in reality as always, but I see more miracles too. That's only fair, it's just idiotically biased to ignore the fantastical and focus solely on the bullshit. Although you always run the risk of straying into romanticizing the ordinary, which honestly seems worse to me than mere terminal pessimism. Ugh. The worst part about these diatribes is how pointless they are, just like the grandfather paradox: see smiling woman with multiple toddlers, want to say 'please stop breeding', but what if that had been my mother and she took my advice? I might not have existed, never to witness woman and child. Hence the horror and miraculousness of life.
And so it cycles over and over throughout eternity with just one person playing all the staring rolls; the hater the hated, the murderer & the victim. From a fixed perspective you are forced to endure your worst fear, that of becoming the very thing you despise the most. And then that 'thing' looks back upon itself and sees a stranger. The only thing that has changed is the passage of time, you were your worst enemy all along, but also your best friend. Compressed into a single instant, all aspects negate all others and there is nothingness. Every miracle is body checked by tragedy, every bottomless black bucket of despair cast into a never ending river of scintillating hope. If a god existed to gaze down upon the spectacle, it would see nothing but a featureless gray fog that stretched for as far as the eye could see. But we see literally nothing, aside from each new moment as it comes.
Following that fine line between searching for genuine order in chaos and whimsically filling in the blanks with pseudo significance when you're too dim to discern the deeper patterns. Because time is always a factor, or maybe there was never anything there to begin with... Yes, chip, chip, chipping away. If you've ever done any kind of 'original research' you'll know what I'm talking about. Even with the simplest shit in the world, the most contrived, ass-pull MacGuffin, plot holes, plot holes everywhere. Or more specifically, even with nine triangles. As if 362,880 possible glyph combinations were not enough, really you have to look a lot closer, like at the motivations. Why 9 triangles? Why not 4, why not 16? Why can't you follow even the most basic rules of consistency? You rickety ass son of a bitch.
Always the compulsion to build on a preexisting foundation, even if it's made out of sand or Jello. Denary numbers. Why 10? Because we have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Ignoring for a moment that some people have 12, is there some special significance to this number? Of course not. The whole system, linear sequence, base whatever, it's all total fucking bullshit. You struggle to see patterns based on variables picked at random. Of course there are patterns, there are always patterns in any kind of structure. This does not make them legitimate, this does not make them significant. Some would say that visual patterns based on indivisible space are more primal and therefore more semantically relevant than abstract designations involving divisible numbers. I would agree. But how do you utilize these patterns without using numbers at all?
I am going backward in order to go forward. This is a very common process in original research. I have this irritating habit of trying to make everything translatable as I go, to try and connect as many different languages as possible, but that is idiotic. Advanced languages are not compatible, you do not put a saddle on a dog and pretend it is a race horse. I keep getting into this situation where I pick combinations at random, there is no underlying principle for the selection process. This is the definition of bullshit. The only quality they possess is a loose overlap with another inferior language. Taking a superior method of representation and turning it into a grotesque subset of an inferior alphabet. I apologize for being a little vague, these are not easy ideas to express. Still I've managed to outline the essence of the problem.
I'm getting hung up on magic numbers, when really I shouldn't even be using numbers. The premise of the triangle language is the indivisibility of the triangle, the recognition that it is the basis of dimensional representation, but with the stipulation that through fractal division divisibility is infinite as is recombination. This seems paradoxical at first, but it is relative divisibility; each triangle is indivisible at its native scale! It is only upon scale change that divisibility becomes possible and instantaneous, at which point the new scale unit is just as indivisible as the previous unit. This forces us to abandon the false linear principle of conventional arithmetic which relies on a set scale. There is no set scale in a triangular language, it is inherently reliant on a bi-directional fractal transformation that has no definitive beginning or end.
The unbreakable rules that govern this language are as follows: each triangle at its own scale is indivisible. When scale changes each individual triangle becomes 4 smaller triangles. Inversely combining 4 triangles of the same scale creates a single larger triangle which introduces the next scale. While sequential scales are not individually designatable, since there is no smallest to largest scope. Any relevant patterns must be found within this context, and must be compliant with an effectively scaleless syntax. But that is just the "2D" alphabet. In reality we are working with 3D, 4D & perhaps 5D (gravity) based units. Specifically the base unit is a tetrahedron which can then be scale-divided into 4 smaller tetrahedrons & 1 smaller octahedron. This is fundamentally the IVM. So any 2D specific patterns must also be compliant with this theoretical 5D universe.
You know this is kinda funny but my mapping series actually has more parts than this, but I tend to run so broad-spectrum in my posts that it's pretty hard to categorize them. Anyway it seems reasonable enough to associate the most important posts with the topic at hand. Mapping has become my current obsession – a real obsession – not just a casual dabble; I've taken to carrying around a piece of paper covered with hundreds of triangles surrounded by genuine mathematical equations and little notes scribbled in the margins. I sleep with a full-color printout of my 256 cell algorithm on my bedside table, sometimes I stare at it for five minutes before I turn off the light. This is serious business.
This I'm sure is the kind of thing normal intellectuals leave out of their journals so they don't look crazy. Anyway, in addition to the incredibly impossible task of procedurally addressing the IVM I've taken on the tangential challenge of coming up with a custom code to represent those addresses. Probably a really stupid idea given that so much of the overall system is still in a semi-liquid state, but one very valuable thing I've learned over the years is that not matter what line of inquiry you choose to pursue it will reveal many secrets. True, many of those "secrets" will be worthless, useless, distracting, even sometimes misleading. Rarely they are seductive, and these are the most dangerous of all, because they possess the unique quality of opening up new vistas; some so magnificent and entrancing that you can lose years of your life just taking in the view.
So a couple years back, totally unrelated, I made this 'Alien Lamp Post' thing on a lark. It included on the side a motif of triangles that were intended to represent a kind of ID number or address. The base of the post also had a Sierpinski-esque physical interface that should look somewhat familiar. I bring this up because it was the conceptual basis of this new code I'm developing. The general idea is to represent a string of coordinates with a 2D monochrome triangular pattern. In effect this is very similar to a Bar or QR Code, although a lot more specialized. Specifically the coordinates encoded are multiple three-digit numbers ranging from 000-255. The irony here is that using basic RGB color values it's possible to display them much more efficiently with grayscale pixels arranged in a simple row.
But that's not really my style. Neotoy is a nation of super-science and it requires next-level iconography. To make a long story short I messed around with a lot of pattern variations derived from a standard isometric matrix, all in an attempt to find the most elegant and procedurally compliant method of generating coordinate-dense glyphs. Here's the essential list of qualifications in the design process:
1. Looks cool & 'alien', approximately like the original ornamental mock up on the lamp post.
2. Denary numbers are encoded in modular triangular cells, each cell is comprised of 9 smaller triangles.
2A. There is some kind of procedural logic that underpins the 10 module variations representing 0-9.
3. A finite number of modules are organized in a triangular configuration forming the code.
3A. Ideally modules are grouped in distinguishable triads following the same logic established by 2A.
I'm still ironing things out but I've made a dent. The diagram above depicts two different possible permutations of qualification number two. I also did some test to see how well these modules looked when applied to larger compound matrices... with mixed results. Of course there's a lot more variables to consider, like the designation of the supermetto which is currently a vigesimal problem. Still I feel I've already discovered something fantastic.
What is Gravity? Gravity is the IVM. The IVM is not static, it is a structure that is under constant flux, its only constant is that it is perpetually struggling to restore equilibrium. The flawless geometrically perfect IVM is never fully realized, but that is the premise behind gravity as a physical force. Throughout the visible universe it is subject to profound and plentiful distortions – areas wherein the IVM is compressed, stretched or twisted beyond recognition. Gravity as a force manifests strongest in these areas because it is attempting to restore the inherent equilibrium of the IVM. The IVM itself is not geometrically homogeneous, however the closer a form or area is in structural similarity to the idealized IVM the less it will be effected by gravity.
All this is just background, or foundation, if you prefer. Pictured is the essential composition of a neotonian "supermetto" which coincidentally comprise the city-planet which is therefore IVM incomplete, being based exclusively on tetrahedrons. These tetrahedrons however are themselves subject to the structural moors of the IVM, being fabricated from both tetrahedrons and octahedrons. Using the numbers derived from the breakdown it's possible to calculate the precise number of significant geometric cells in the city-planet, and that number is: 41,120 (20 × 2056). Or even more precisely: 13,600 (20 × 680) octahedrons & 27,520 (20 × 1376) tetrahedrons.
This is somewhat interesting because on the surface the '2D' matrix is a lot more uniform because it's exclusively approximately equilateral triangles. But now that the holistic structure of the city-planet has been revealed a new dimension has been added to the mix. The 2D triangles on the surface are nothing more than the external faces of both tetrahedrons and octahedrons. These are somewhat unfortunately the true building blocks of the city-planet. Each cell in the 3D fractal matrix has to be addressable, this is why I went to the trouble of making these calculations and reverse-engineering the IVM in relation to my supermetto. One more small step in a very protracted process that may have no end.
Wandering a bit here but I think it's worth pointing out that I had never heard of the Isotropic Vector Matrix until last week despite having cast such a wide net in this field. The simple truth is that science has been held back an entire order of magnitude for centuries thanks to one mysterious miscalculation. There is no rational explanation as to why the majority of earth's first scientists eschewed the most obvious and elegant underlying structures in nature and chose instead to supplant them with an utterly nonsensical 90° coordinate system. As a consequence everything thereafter derived from cubical thinking is oversimplified, inaccurate and otherwise mediocre; for within every cube there is a tetrahedron, and for every four tetrahedrons there is an octahedral core. This pattern repeats to infinity in both directions. The cube is in essence a disingenuous shell that surrounds and is penetrated by the true structures of reality, therefore everything involving this illusory shell is itself similarly deluded.
Breaking everything into cubes seems so straightforward, and perhaps therein lies the ultimate peril and appeal of XYZ thinking. With cubes however there is no proportionality whatsoever, no relationality, that is not true structure, that is nothing but noise. A false sense of accuracy is being able to establish the location of a point in square space; but that space does not exist – it cannot – because it has no underlying structure! A point inside such a space is irrelevant, it has no context, it is purely contrived and manufactured out of nothingness. Structure is not about discreet points in indefinite space, structure is 100% context, areas inside that context are incidental. This underlines the paramount importance of establishing the structure of context before attempting to identify areas within that context. The only way to do that is to work with actual structure rather than structureless contrivances.
So we have a universe that is in fact not XYZ because XYZ has no support, it is formless boundless soup, it cannot exist, it is purely theoretical and unprovable. Space isn't empty, nor formless nor boundless, nor theoretical: it is physical, it is absolute, therefore it must have structure! And what is that structure? Well it is quite simply the most basic naturally occurring formation of volume which is the IVM. Those lines that define the IVM are just corridors for energy, the only purpose of the IVM is to reach structural equilibrium, because that is the only way you can establish volume (space) from a soup of formless, boundless nothingness. Once context is established it becomes possible to start recognizing genuine structures from within the IVM. This is what has been missing from the last handful of centuries of science. A false model has been erected on a false premise, an entire false world that will inevitably fall as the universe corrects for the painfully entropic warping of its structure.
Nature and the ecosystem is a model that has arisen seamlessly from the IVM. You could say that it is merely a sub structure that was always present. This however does not really explain the emergence of aberrations like human consciousness that actively attempt to defy the IVM. How does an absolute physical structure give rise to aspects that disrupt it? By any logic it seems like only an external influence could cause such a phenomenon. Perhaps we have a clash between two structural paradigms that operate by two different structural schema. Consciousness for example might in fact be energy leaking into the human brain from another universe where the IVM does not exist. Commonality with incompatibility. The reverse could also be true, with our universe being highly unstable with an anti-entropic influence attempting to manifest. Regardless of the unknowable, kind of a fun thought experiment.
I lost almost all interest in games at some point. This follows a general loss of interest spanning the full multimedia spectrum. More and more I began to notice tropes and clichés. I started getting angry and experiencing psychological pain due to the excessive repetition, and just general disgust at how reliant narratives had become on pulling the same tired emotional strings over and over. The constant milking of women in peril, dead parents, love triangles, etc. With games there is a little more dimensionality thankfully due to the mechanics. Narrative is only half the production value, things like graphics & physics, the game "engine" can make something worth playing even if the story is horrible or nonexistent.
Only bringing all this up because I tried a slew of new games very recently in the vain hope that I would enjoy playing one of them. They were mediocre but far from garbage. It just got me thinking again about everything I used to love about gaming, and I thought I might try to outline some kind of 'dream game' now that I've matured a little since the last time I wrote anything about game design. The age of adrenaline seems over for me now and while stealth still has a certain appeal I don't see it as something to base a title around. Hybrids abound, MMOs are all trash, style choices shift radically from avant-garde 8-bit to ultra-realism, while there are more copycats than anything else.
Jumping right in my idea for a dream game is one that focuses primarily on consistent and responsive interactivity distributed across a variety of transformable environments. The graphics can be low-poly or even stylized as long as they are legible. The avatar can be anything really but it must be inherently limited so that it can be augmented with tools and vehicles. Biological, mechanical, a cybernetic drone, it doesn't really matter. This entity is able to move freely through various spaces, its journey is carefully logged. It can enter larger entities whereby it is able to control them and travel great distances, perhaps even between stars or universes. Other less elaborate transports take it from place to place.
The avatar has many tools at its disposal, these tools can be acquired, discarded, traded and upgraded. Each tool has two functions, a primary and secondary ability. Form follows function, tools are fairly straight-forward and symbolic. A screwdriver for example can screw and unscrew screws. The effectiveness of all tools is randomly generated, operational feedback is always provided. Upgrading tools can improve their effectiveness. The manifestation of the tools themselves is perhaps metaphorical – an energy beam that accomplishes tasks when a specific tool module is selected. Tools constitute a spectrum of agency and may be interpreted as weapons. Typically function one creates while function two destroys.
As for goals, the object of the game is to explore it while experimenting with the tools to discover what is possible. The game development team puts as much energy as possible into maximizing this 'possibility quotient' – for example if a screwdriver tool exists then the devs will ensure that screws and things that are fastened with screws become a statistically significant part of the environment. That is fundamentally the impetus that directs the game's design and evolution, every element is built with this in mind: the 'player' will interact with this 'thing' at some point and should be able to effect it in an intelligent and persistent way.
All discreet objects can be collected with the appropriate tool, storage space is infinite and identical objects stack. These objects can then be converted into energy, energy which can then be used to upgrade tools, power tools, and power vehicles. Although as odd as it may sound there is no 'crafting' system in my dream game. Crafting is in my opinion tedious. Nor are there stores or shops where things can be purchased with energy. The acquisition aspect of the game is based on 'treasure hunting' – tools are scattered randomly throughout the universe, they are rare and hard to find. The more powerful and useful the tool the harder it will be to find. Tools are in a sense the currency of this game.
The tool system is very unique, it includes a special 'affinity' attribute. The more you use a specific tool the more powerful it becomes, but this "affinity" is only linked to your avatar. If you trade the tool the new owner will not receive your affinity bonus. It will also stay with the tool forever. Once the tool's affinity attribute reaches 100% it becomes impossible to trade (but can still be discarded) and becomes personalized with your avatar's name, lastly it acquires a passive supernatural ability. This can only be done once, the tool cannot be personalized by another avatar, nor can it build affinity with another avatar.
There is an underlying premise in the game world, and that is this: structure and complexity is everywhere and while it is very easy to destroy and dismantle it is very hard to restore and repair. The functional world provides benefits to the player, but when these functions degrade the player suffers in various ways. It is possible using tools that have been collected to restore a lot of functionality, but not always all. Inversely if the player chooses to enhance functional world systems using their tools the benefits are greatly increased. This "enhancement" can take many forms, sometimes it requires great care and creativity other times it is more basic and barbaric.
The key subsists in the player's powers of observation. Each place or world is subject to an intricate set of rules, by observing these rules in action the player can then devise a strategy to enhance the system, or the player can simply sow chaos. Sometimes it will be obvious what 'should' be done, other times it will be nearly impossible to puzzle it out. Either way the ultimate consequences will be irreversible. The player will be able to witness the results first-hand as they make things progressively better or worse. The game's artificial intelligence will attempt to restore equilibrium in a variety of ways, sometimes attempting to guide the player, other times merely trying to terminate it.
Each discreet destination the player visits becomes a persistent 'power node' on their 'star chart' and can have one of three values: positive, neutral or negative. Depending on the player's actions it's possible to change the initial random value. As nodes accumulate the player's available energy can increase or decrease dramatically. The more energy the player has the more powerful tool upgrades they can unlock. It is possible for the player's energy to go totally negative, at which point tools begin to systematically degrade. There is no limit to the number of places a player can visit, nor is there a limit to the amount of energy a player can accumulate. Tool upgrades are exponential so there is no such thing as "too much energy.".
Trying to get back on track. I have 'free' time again. Starting another new occupation. I really can call myself a 'polymath' now since I technically have three separate certifications for three radically different careers. But that sounds like I'm bragging. I can't take all the credit since at least one of those lines of work was a soul-crushing death march. My atheism absorbed the killing blow as I gratefully succumbed to the seemingly divine intervention of a green-parachute that probably saved my life. Now I am a learning gardener, one of my literal dream jobs. From hell to heaven, from wandering desert to surprise oasis, a trip compelling enough to put anyone's lack of faith to the question. Thank you great spirit, I will strive as always to be worthy of your beneficence.
As for neotoy, well the mapping project crawls ever onward. In truth I haven't even totally solved the geosphere prism diversity problem. All I've managed is to create an elegant algorithm that makes it possible to map an infinite 2D plane with infinite precision; while not trivial this hat trick does not exactly translate to a spherical geodesic of any design. The 3D matrix of tetrahedrons & octahedrons required to create such a volume introduces some higher-level and hence messy trans-mathematical solution that both bores and escapes me. Likewise the infuriating topology of a generic icosahedron with its repugnant pentagonal poles I find just as preposterous. Sure baby steps, I know. I just don't get why geometry has to be so fucking obtuse. I mean why do tetrahedrons even exist if they can't fill 3D space on their own?
It's kind of like a lie or a trick. Three points are said to be the minimum required to designate discreet area but that's only really half true because 2D doesn't really exist and once you take those 3 points to 3D with a 4th point you end up with some chickenshit framework full of giant octahedron shaped holes. Your ideal triangles are suddenly reliant on extravagant squares. Naturally this has been explored to death by everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to Buckminster Fuller and countless others far less well known. Geometry lulls you into expecting or at least anticipating a degree of consistency but the truth is it's just like everything else in this universe: a fucking lotus. Behind every ring of intricate nested petals is another tinier row of petals. For the life of this entire project I have been under threat of half-assing every consecutive step.
Each milestone of progress just reveals yet another more sophisticated problem lurking underneath. A 2D mapping system is USELESS if it can't be applied to 3D space, no matter how brilliant. If I had started in 3D no doubt the second I untangled that snake pit I'd have to contend with a 4D conundrum that would unravel the last decade of R&D. The course of action is painfully obvious, I can't ever just jump in at some random point and start working, the connectivity is too intrinsic; just like the continuum itself I have to put 99% of my energy into predicting the outcome of the research before I can even start doing it. A godly paradox. Really though this is just the essence of all research, most science is based on and guided by ego, there is never a genuine attempt to understand, but rather to invent, it is a work of art that takes us on an endless wild herring hunt.
At least I've learned that something like the neotoy geosphere is physically impossible. These moron physicists & engineers think they have the luxury of building megascale structures but using conventional science that requires a level of waste & inefficiency that our universe would never tolerate. The same is true for neotoy as I've currently designed it. This is why planets are actually made out of giant hapless wads of space garbage, because physics and hence geometry does not support its own weight at that scale. Meaning that gravity is probably the key limiting factor I can't ignore, at the very periphery of my sphere of comprehension. Gravity is at the top of my continuum creation pyramid. Gravity > Time > Volume > Area – That is essentially my predictive scope I do believe.
So far I've solved "Area", although now that is precluded by the challenges of "Volume" so potentially undone. I need to start at "Gravity" and work my way down, but first before that I have to be absolutely certain that there isn't something else lurking 'beyond' gravity. Of course there is something (there's always something) lurking beyond gravity, but I have to acknowledge the limits of my consciousness at some point. Gravity is arguably the most abstract and yet concrete scientific concept known. If I want to get anywhere I'll probably have to base my mapping system on gravity. Gravity created tetrahedra and it created the tetra/octa matrix. In reality space isn't defined by points, lines or numerical approximations of infinite and therefore inscrutable and theoretical volumes, which is why reality is made up of totally random gobs of intergalactic garbage.
Gravity, time, volume & area are most likely the same force expressed in different ways. The pyramid only indicates something lame like concentration or distribution. Equations try to explain these components individually but gravity effects time and time effects volume and volume effects area. Gravity is probably just the 5th dimension while dimensions are not discreet but more like porous layers that seamlessly transform into each other. So we honestly have an inarticulate bullshit language like linear math attempting to define the flavor of a rainbow in absolute terms. This is hilarious. At least something like geometry is comprehensible due to its total artificiality. A tetrahedron is definable, it is absolute. But it is also a hypothetical form that is a figment of a universe that is a mirage generated by gravity. As such it can't be abused to deny its inherent nature as a fictional contrivance.
Numbers, useless. Geometry, useless. These ideas can't explain or describe any universe in adequacy. Humans should have learned this a long time ago but we are only starting to understand it now as our calculations repeatedly run aground in the face of a cataclysmically changing climate. A system too chaotic to predict, honestly just like practically every system that is actually worth trying to predict. Inversely if you can predict the behavior of a system then it is most likely not worth predicting in the first place. This is universe building, this is everything, it is not about the nuts and bolts or the underlying equations, it is most simply and strictly about predicting as many things as possible. That is not glamorous (in fact it is the opposite of glamor) but it is the truth. My mapping system is not about defining space or navigation, it is about predicting the perfect paths energy takes through my porous pyramid of psychosis.
Three minutes 'till the end of the world. No, not really. I had this idea awhile back for an "anti-Doomsday Clock", but the concept never crystallized beyond a half-assed mock-up. Overall I think this is a fun thought experiment even if the overall precept is ludicrous. Just like its analogue (lol) the negaverse version of the Doomsday Clock obviously includes all the key events that would be required to lead the world to absolute perfection. The fun begins when you try to decide what those key events might actually be, because clearly there are plenty of options to choose from. Granted the selection process would be extremely subjective to begin with; for example how do you rank the "end of religion" vs. the "end of disease"? Is it possible to say that one is objectively "better" than the other?
At the time of creation (June 10, 2012) I gave it the laughably pretentious title of "Destiny Clock". Destiny ironically is a synonym of doom. There aren't any antonyms for "doomsday", at least not that I've found. That is very, very sad. Even the naming of the clock becomes an intense philosophical journey through the sordid human psyche. Why are we so obsessed with doom, is it genetic? Perhaps it's just the fact that doom is so digestible, so comprehensible, so common; while what really is its antipode? Luck? Good fortune? Rarity? Doom is easy, effortless even, it comes merely by way of inaction while its opposite (whatever that may be) most often requires monumental focus, effort and sacrifice, and even then there is no guarantee. No wonder doom is so popular. Utopia is a possible antonym, but "Utopia Clock" just sounds lame.
The city-planet shines ever brighter as the real world dims. Reality that crushing force that tries to grind everything to dust, crumbling on contact. Made of stuff that is beyond time, beyond physics, beyond the universe.
Idea or explanation of a type of culture that consists entirely of 'one hit wonders', where essentially only the lucky accidents are 'promoted' to visibility while everything else (99.99%) of output is totally buried. This forms a kind of psychological barrier and environment where creatives are made to feel perpetually incompetent because creativity is not longer the product of science but rather reliant on 'x factor' type genius that is not to possible to manufacture or repeat even by the 'geniuses' that manifested it in reality.
Nothing to report. That is what I feel like writing. It's true in the sense that I've probably spent 15 minutes in the last seven weeks working on neotoy. This is and is not by choice. The world runs on money, like it or not. If it were up to me money wouldn't exist, but if that were the case I'd probably be living in the woods and computers & the internet wouldn't exist. So this is the compromise. When you ideologically give everything away, there's no other option than to have some kind of "Job" on the side that pays the bills. This is not optimal, it's the arrangement that our short-sighted species has contrived to satisfy our intrinsic creativity in relation to our equally crucial physical needs. It doesn't really work, but it allows us to survive.
Naturally there's countless ways to have your cake and eat it too. Context is fluid, idiotic, farcical. Polymaths are never satisfied. I've given up one career for another, no more or less satisfying. Leaving what I call "Industrialized Art" for "Social Work". Essentially I just wanted to do something that improved people's quality of life while earning a living. The only deal-breaker, that it had to be an occupation that minimized damage to the ecosystem. This is a surprisingly high standard to achieve. Waste is endemic, abuse is endemic. The most benign and good-intentioned careers are rife with entrenched unsustainable practices. I only see this changing when there is no other alternative. I welcome it.
Yes, nothing to report, that is approximately accurate. Today is my first day of work at the new job, I trained intensively for six weeks, graduated at the top of my class and became certified in a new field. "Always try." & "With all your heart." These are the two gems of wisdom I obtained through my training, although without proper context they are practically meaningless. I could pour volumes into documenting my learning experience, even though it would mostly be subjective & biased. A world wherein people don't really care is more doomed than if a million moon-sized meteors were rushing towards it at mach speed. I have seen this world with eyes half-open.
But you can't convince anyone of this, because we are each individual, and the character of that personification is not a constant thing, nor is it guaranteed to be decent or sincere. These are all choices that we make up for ourselves at any given moment, sometimes throwing everything away in an instant for some fleeting pleasure or inversely sacrificing all our treasure for the greater good. No god or computer can ever force our hand, in the end the most important choice is ours to make alone. But we can change our mind at any time, morph from angel to monster in a heartbeat. That is the true terror of existence, also perhaps its excitement. Is it all worth it? I don't know, I think I never will.
The bottom line is that my new job is a demanding one and I do not know how often I will be updating now. I would much rather be working on neotoy all the time, but that is not practical without income and neotoy does not generate significant income. So there you have it. Honestly I am highly atypical, I doubt this kind of system would work worldwide. A lot of people are just content to do nothing. I don't look down on that, not one bit, but I'm also not content living in a society that ignores its own badness when it could be making itself better. Those are simple terms, not unreasonable in my estimation. Ironically if life has taught me anything it's that caring too much is a liability, and that is an absurd sentiment worthy of condemnation.
A practical world is one wherein wellbeing does not need to be incentivized, that is just common sense. But try to sell that idea to contemporary civilization and you will be treated like a lunatic. Incentivization has become so deeply conditioned that voluntary wellbeing has become an uphill battle. Without some kind of recurrent reward the modern citizen will turn their back and a blind eye to just about anything. So we have a culture where fewer and fewer people go out of their way to take responsibility for things that frankly are necessary for wellbeing and not just extra credit. But I could go on and on about this, while the proof is in the pudding. No need to document the inescapable.
I've been working in Adobe illustrator up until this point, but I've reached its limit. Only with SketchUp's component system will I be able to effectively prototype the kind of dynamic tileable path that scales seamlessly. Then I realize that there's a serious problem with the design; the path extends outside the metto, but touches every triangle within. This means that a tileable path cannot contiguously touch every triangle since it would need to make untouched spaces inside the metto for external path overlaps. Of course this was already obvious since the path I devised already contained gaps in the sequence from its border violations.
I've temporarily decided to scrap the 'path' based sequencing system, the corner triangle problem seems to be unsolvable, at least within the context of a seamless icosahedron like my geosphere. Still, from my compost heap of failure sprouted the seed of ultimate victory, as it turns out I was really onto something with the fractal module concept. I had successfully created a path-based one previously, but after having cast off the shackles of the path mentality I discovered that it's all too easy to take my cues from the geometry itself and design a flawless, elegant, visual, fractal algorithm that even a child could decipher. As a fascinating side-note this system could even be used in conjunction with the Fuller Projection to produce a far superior fractalized GPS system for earth!
I don't really have time to go into the details, but suffice it to say this is probably one of the most amazing updates I have ever made in the history of the neotoy continuum. The two diagrams above illustrate a provable three-step fractal algorithm that procedurally numbers all 256 triangles in my metto matrix. It is infinitely scalable in both micro & macro directions. Knowing the orientation of any one triangle gives you the ultimate orientation of the entire super-matrix. There's a lot more details that will have to be added, but I've included the vital information. It's hard to overstate the significance of this development. I've done it, after 3 years of grueling research, I've created something truly revolutionary!
So as I've been working on this latest problem, I've run many different experiments in an attempted to arrive at the optimal solution for a few challenges I've defined. Whether these contrived obstacles are even crucial to overcome, I have my doubts. The first and most notable was a method by which my 256 triangle matrix could be 'unwrapped' and navigated in a single sequence. I tried spirals, weaves and switchbacks; center origins, corner origins and multiple origins, all without any real progress aside from the process of elimination.
I quickly learned that all corner triangles are one-way triangles; you can go in but there is no getting out. Passing through them means they are counted twice, deemed inelegant therefore rejected. My first instinct was to find some way to 'wrap' fractally, in other words penetrate the wall of the triangle and reenter at a different seamless point. I also considered fracturing the sequence into segments ≤9/Z. The nice thing about fractal systems is that if you can solve the problem at the micro level you've solved it at the macro too.
The bad thing about fractal systems is that every problem needs to be solved within the context of infinity. As you can see in the image above the unwrapping is flawed as not only are there gaps in the sequence(s) but corner triangles have also been included. I post it only for reference, also I thought the fractal design I stumbled upon was kinda cool. The basic rule for transversing the matrix is:
① A single path must pass through all 256 triangles in linear sequence(s) individually no greater than 26 characters, optimally ≤9. ② Paths can only penetrate triangle sides, i.e. they cannot jump from corner to corner. ③ Internal paths must be contiguous and fractal, connecting seamlessly with all external paths, creating one holistic super-sequence.
At first glance it seems like the original rainbow banding doesn't work because it includes corner triangles which are only one-way and can therefore never be unwrapped. Ironically the only way around the 'corner triangle' problem is to create a segmented version of the original banded metto. There are still six bands, but now each band has been broken up into three identical segments. There are now 18 total color coded segments. Unfortunately the red band breaks the length limit weighing in at 29 triangles, exceeding even the alphabet. Furthermore these are all prime numbers and can't be further broken up symmetrically.
At this point it has become obvious that an entirely different method of division is necessary. In retrospect the banding method never really made any sense due to the corner triangle problem. Ultimately what's required is a linkable module that fits endlessly in the metto, this module has three qualities: it is uniform, it can optionally link with other modules and it can terminate corner triangles.
I felt like I left a huge gaping hole in my last editorial on this subject. Namely: if not resilience, then what? Indeed, it's stupid and shortsighted to condemn an ideology without offering up some kind of practical alternative. Let's be real, the threats we face are not illusions, even if "resilience" is abandoned as a coping strategy, the catastrophic consequences of inaction still remain. So what is a reasonable alternative to resilience? I did sort of half-ass this by suggesting people "Stop making babies." & "Stop destroying the ecosystem." and while those are great, even excellent guidelines, they are rather light on means of applyability. Essentially: how do you get people to stop making babies & destroying the ecosystem? Obviously they should be doing this of their own free will, but they most certainly will not.
Although to be entirely fair, human beings are not built to stop having babies nor to stop destroying the ecosystem. Most of the world's population does not have easy access to contraception technology. Most of the world's population is too stupid to work with the ecosystem to produce prolific, mutually beneficial sustenance rather than merely exploiting it "cheaply" at a perpetually growing loss. No matter what, I think the most horrific and reprehensible truth explicitly exposed between the lines of any proposed solution is this: one way or another billions of people are going to have to be deliberately killed so that our species can continue to exist on this planet. And if you think that sounds scary or perhaps psychotic, let me rephrase it: billions of people (perhaps all 7+ billion) are already going to die even if we do not.
The moral person inside me thinks that it is best simply to let nature take its course. Killing billions of people is simply unconscionable, even if it means total extinction down the road. At least we go out by "natural causes", rather than some harebrained inhuman interspecies culling campaign. By extension, eschewing resilience is just a natural component of such a plan. The next time a fire, flood or hurricane wipes an entire colony off the map, just abandon the area. The reasoning is pretty basic: things are going to get a lot worse as conditions progressively degrade. Letting people rebuild, even in an adaptive, heavily fortified way is just going to prolong their suffering and waste resources. Far more humane to evacuate. Some people will always choose to stay, but they'll almost certainly die in a very short period of time.
Let's call this strategy "reclamation". A clever rebranding of a word that previously implied converting wilderness or wasteland into human-centric land suitable for habitation, agriculture & industry. From a nature-centric point of view it has been repurposed to imply that nature is reclaiming the human-created wasteland and over time transforming it back into valuable biologically diverse, ecologically rich wilderness. People don't have to be deliberately killed. Conditions on the ground will act as a natural deterrent to recolonization. The federal government can designate the area a "reclamation zone", the federal reserve can be directed to print more worthless money to compensate former 'stake holders' for the loss of their now worthless 'property'.
Another alternative to killing: incentivized reversible prepubescent sterilization. In short: give both male & female preteens government aid money to undergo an optional and reversible reproductive sterilization procedure. Start with the poor in the poorest countries on earth, but offer it to all. Even $1000 USD would be a pittance in comparison to the cumulative economic cost of a single human being that is unable to control their reproductive system. Not to mention the trillions of dollars generated through ecological restoration due to reduced human activity. Once again, people don't have to be deliberately killed, nor do they have to be oppressed. Many would willing jump at such an opportunity. Let's call this strategy "reciprocity". A word that implies mutual dependence and exchange.
First month of the year almost over already. Jesus getting old is a bitch. Going back in time has been a real experience, I'm finally reaping the rewards of all my careful planning. Organization is worth its weight in gold. I used to be so controversial and inflammatory; this is really fascinating because I feel that I've both lost and gained a lot. My edge used to be a little too sharp and double-sided, frankly I was cutting myself to ribbons. I've learned to use it much better since 2001, but I miss the absolute sense of freedom and abandon that came with my recklessness. What I've gained is an appreciation for composure, a quality that is really the ultimate "FUCK YOU!" to everyone and everything in this universe. We are inherently emotional animals, our civilization is the brainchild of a complete lack of composure.
So when you compose yourself, you are rejecting contemporary civilization. Don't misunderstand, I'm not talking about that fake composure associated with corporate culture & bureaucracy; that is just barbarism in a suit. True composure is staring the entire world in the eyes and remaining utterly calm while the fakes, the frauds & the charlatans bluster themselves to death. Their impotent posturing only has one purpose, and that is to get inside your head and turn your own mind against itself, destroying you from within. Furthermore true composure is complicitly accepting the fact that physical survival is virtually impossible without subjection to this system. Ironically, openly acknowledging that you're a slave is what ultimately sets you free.
The beautiful thing is that being a slave doesn't mean you believe in slavery, in fact just the opposite. The slave is the one most qualified to understand and hate slavery. The slave can believe with all their being that slavery is wrong, they know it, they feel it on a daily basis. So when the slaves are put on the auctioning block, they are the only ones who can stand without any shame, staring defiantly back into the eyes of the subhuman scum that engineered their subjugation. The slave is powerless, but also truly free. The slave master on the other hand has invested everything in a precarious sense of self-entitlement, a substanceless belief system that can be denied just as easily as it is conjured up from the void.
The master is a deluded fool while the slave lives the truth every day. When the delusion comes crashing down the master will surely die, while the slave will live on. Metaphorically speaking of course. Only the laws of physics are really relevant here. Some would call it the 'moral high ground' but what they really mean is the physical high ground. The slave watches intently from the edge of a deepening pit as the master digs their own grave. The parasite grows fat and lazy while the slave grows in strength and cunning, blinded by ego even as their genes begin to commit suicide one by one. That is the price you pay for 'moral' degeneracy. Without the slave the master is nothing, day by day they die forever from within.
Had a strange dream last night, a perfectly normal blissfully nostalgic dream, but also one clearly predicated on subconscious anxieties about climate change & overpopulation. He came into my old room, clearly very upset, earlier I'd fallen asleep on top of a strangely familiar girl and then been startled awake and alone when he burst into the room. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Oh, it's nothing." He dismissed my initial question, seemingly content merely to ascertain that I was not somewhere else. "Tell me." I insisted. "It's just The Fires." he replied and then left, I got up slowly and wandered into the dining room with its commanding view. I gazed out the large double windows upon what used to be an open and uninhabited field of green grass that stretched almost for as far as the eye could see.
There was no field anymore, but a city, hundreds of skyscraper-like structures that on closer inspection appeared to be tall ordinary wooden buildings. Although it was difficult to be sure since they were all ensorceled within thick whorling layers of what I at first believed to be a heavy pervasive fog. Penetrating farther and more intently through the vista I realized that it was not fog but smoke. The Fires had come; they were no longer far away in some other part of the world, they were on my metaphorical doorstep. My clearly anxious friend had joined me at the window. I glanced up, as if searching for some invisible deity that I might plead with for restitution, but the sky was infinitely gray and inscrutable as always. Then I noticed that a light mist was descending, it hastened into an anemic yet steady drizzle. "Thank god." I murmured. "It's raining."
There's a lot going on behind the scenes, for example 2012 now has an index just like 2013, 2014 & 2015. I'm literally going back in time and improving pages from years past. This is a fine line for me because as a natural archivist and historian the continuity of the timeline is highly important to me. So I'm treading very lightly, strongly resisting any urges I might have to make changes that go beyond the cosmetic. Ironically my other questionable plan to go back into the deep archive and update the main index with content circa 2001-2006 would involve going through my work from that era with a fine-toothed comb.
Basically, and I'm not proud of this fact, I was pretty mental back then. I had no appreciation for grammar (and I'm still sketchy), I couldn't spell worth a damn and didn't care about my total butchery of the English language, I was extremely sexist (still am somewhat), I used obscenities as a standby, I wrote excessively and sometimes explicitly about my personal life, relationships and problems (still do sometimes). I trumpeted the fact that I was totally unfiltered, and honestly I went beyond the pale more often than not. That being said, I believe that a heavily edited and redacted version of those pages would be an invaluable addition to the site. Only time will tell if I actually follow through.
I made this infographic to go along with a long episodic porn story I've been writing off and on for a few years now. It weighs in at 72,800 words and counting, I started it in September of 2012. It was originally inspired by my exposure to artificially intelligent robot pets conceptually encountered while reading Alone Together by Sherry Turkle. And just like this image it's a great example of how something can be both beautiful and horrible at the same time. To be honest I really want to write a lot more about this whole thing because it fascinates me. Not the prospect of AI run amok precisely, but rather the phenomenon of people using their talents for evil. The story itself is about human relationships, specifically reconciliation, which just happens to be one of my favorite literary tropes.
Unfortunately for the curious, I never publish my erotica. Sorry if I've been a bit of a troll lately, teasing everyone with tantalizing tidbits. I can't help it, I'm slow. But seriously, what happens when spoiled affluent wankers get their hands on semi-sentient robot companions? What if something went awry? That's my premise anyway. Suddenly a toy for the rich turns the tables on those chumps and the rich become a toys for a learning machine that is smarter than any human being. Luckily for them it is a benevolent device, but it is far from benign! Using its unparalleled intelligence the "Flubby" begins to build an erotic empire predicated on seduction and psychological manipulation by proxy! Scary!
Hearts are made whole once more, relationships are ruthlessly mended, boring depressed lonely people who've given up on life are erotically reawakened and reminded that they are sensual creatures capable of experiencing untold pleasures and surprise
. Safe, sane & consensual as my girlfriend likes to say. But that's not to say it isn't edgy as all get up. Every adventure comes with risk, eggs are broken, omelets are made. Not safe for work, not really safe for this universe. I just can't wait until my silly science fiction shows up in some sordid clickbait newspaper headline. That is if there are still newspapers, still humans, by then.
Went back and added my new standard drop-down index to 2013. The purpose was ironically to find out which part of my monumental mapping post (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, VIV) this would actually be. Yes this really is part ten which puts it in the running for the longest post I've ever written. One interesting thing I discovered during this procedure was that at some point I spontaneously stopped using roman numerals. Honestly this was something that had been brewing in the background for a long time. Originally I started using them (long ago) because I thought they were cool. Roman numerals are classy & add a touch of authority via their traditional academic appearance. In reality they're just harder to read, a pain, anachronistic & plain dumb in general.
The Hindu-Arabic numeral system is what we use today, it has many advantages over roman numerals and none of their drawbacks. Consider this a formal declaration that I intend to use only modern numbers forthwith; this also indicates a broader push to abandon obsolete conventions in every mode and medium, excepting where they are genuinely superior to their contemporary counterparts. This reminds me of something fascinating I discovered a few years ago, an epiphany so foundational that I almost made a video on it. It's practically common knowledge, but surprisingly few people give it much thought: many problems were solved exceedingly well throughout history, these ancient peoples took great pains to record and propagate their quality solutions.
Often their creations were much better made & far more beautiful than their present-day analogues. And yet most of that precious hard-won wisdom slipped through the cracks of history. The lesson here is that if you have a problem, 99 times out of 100, someone has already solved it. In fact lots of people have already solved it, at different times throughout history, frequently better the farther back you go. Looking through old DIY books from the 1920s you will frequently find that many of the problems that still plague us today were solved almost a century ago with more style & less waste. It is a real eye-opener. The vast majority of the activity in modern "maker" spaces is not only redundant but strikingly inferior to previous eras. Exposing our vain effete materialism, frivolous intellectual effluvia, entitled babies winning awards for reinventing the wheel; these are the hallmarks of our prolapsed candyass civilization.
Hahah. At this point I'm wondering if there's even a point to titling my posts anymore. There seems to be a disconnect between title & topic! The reason I wanted to write about mapping again was because I was thinking recently that I've been producing too much abstract metaphysical stuff lately; it's time to get back to concrete actionable proofs. So without further ado... I now have my long-awaited geosphere, it is science fact: 5120 giant triangles. First problem to revisit is GPS! The objective is to address every single navigable position via a finite single-string coordinate system. The first part of that process is to define the smallest possible scale unit (for navigation purposes only). This is done via reverse-fractalization: factoring fractally backwards from 5120. In other words each 'metto' also contains 5120 (or another factor of 5120) smaller triangles.
This process is then repeated until the smallest unit has been satisfactorily defined. As long as the fractal order is maintained the scaling becomes fully dynamic allowing for many other permutations without disrupting the system's core mechanics and functionality. I'd start with binary log (red), but binary isn't always optimal. This is most likely because 5120 is a consequence of the geosphere being a geodesic icosahedron, π has seeming thrown a monkey wrench into my gear box, typical, spheres and triangles just don't mix.
So it's back to the drawing board. As pictured above the fractalization sequence for triangles is multiples of 4, more importantly there are overlaps with the factorization of 5120 (green):
1 | 4 | 16 | 64 | 256 | 1024 | 4096 | 16384 | ∞
1024 is the largest value they both have in common. 1024 fits 5 times into 5120. There is one additional relevant number, a tricky one at that: 20. Twenty is the number of large triangles that comprise the surface of the geosphere. Thankfully 5120 can be divided by 20, the result is 256, which is also incidentally a fractalization.
So 256 seems like the golden number. This sets up a really interesting macro to micro sequence. The macro is 20, each of those 20 "mega" triangles contains 256 "metto", then each metto is divided into 256 smaller triangles, each of those in turn being further subdivided by 256. Obviously in the fractal realm the subdivision would go on indefinitely, and it can. But for practical purposes there is a scale limiter (still undetermined).
The question becomes, how precise does navigation need to be in neotoy? A specific location or address does not have to be super-exact, the only real qualification is that a denizen is able to find it without too much hassle. This is in no way set in stone, but I'm just going to speculate a little here: give a denizen the name of one of any of neotoy's 5120 metto and they may be able to find it eventually, after all it is a finite area on a finite sphere. Give a denizen the number value of any of neotoy's 20 mega-metto and they will be able to narrow their search to 256 mettos. This makes it a lot easier but it's still tedious. Such an address might look like "12 Aslo". That's very short for a world 10 times the size of Earth, but still defines a HUGE area 1/5120 of the geosphere.
It's far more practical & convenient to assign a fractal-derived value to every possible triangle within the scope of the theoretical scale. Then essentially you have a single whole number that defines an exact location. Say the smallest triangle in the spectrum fits in the palm of your hand, that number may be pretty long. I really like the idea of using metto names as a kind of locational keystone, but that kind of breaks the fractality of the overall system. This can be solved with a single visual equation, basically an equilateral triangle comprised of 256 smaller uniform equilateral triangles (pictured above).
The trick, and this is where I ran into trouble before, is uniquely identifying a single triangle within that field of 256 in a non-arbitrary way, in other words, in relation to the other 255 triangles. This is mainly a challenge because of the symmetry of the parent triangle. This is also a clue that clearly points to a solution lying somewhere within that treacherous symmetry. Say you give each triangle a number, starting from the top, assigning them by linear rows from left to right: 1-256 or 0-255 if you prefer. Now you can easily ID any of the triangles by number, however there's no point of reference, spin the triangle clockwise 120° and triangle 1 is now triangle 226.
It's strange but you've gone from trying to design a coordinate system to just finding some way to determine the absolute orientation of a matrix that looks exactly the same when flipped three different ways! It's impossible! The triangle is never going to have an orientation. So how do you pinpoint one of the internal triangles without knowing how to get your bearings? As discussed long ago in a previous post, you can in fact pinpoint 3 triangles out of 256 reliably, but that's not good enough, we need precision since each fractalization triples that imprecision. Whatever solution you come up with, it has to ignore orientation entirely.
Just as an aside, I found this pretty fascinating, check out the stats of each of the six color bands: 1, 15, 33, 51, 69, 87 triangles respectively; hint:
excluding 1 they're all divisible by 3!
The beauty of bands is that as long as you follow them in a single direction you must pass through every constituent triangle. The bad news is that only one band has 100% precision. If you're in the red you might as well forget about ever finding your destination. Well at least you've established a pseudo absolute reference point: the dead center of every triangle at every scale is easy to locate, but this still doesn't make the remaining 255 triangles any easier to pinpoint. We're literally going in circles.
Don't forget, neotoy doesn't deal in virtual or non-existent volumes, so we're never going to use a Lat/Lon style coordinate system. Borderless triangles are the base unit, I see this as a strength rather than a weakness. Real math isn't based on numbers, it's based on physical objects. But how do you get asymmetry out of symmetry? Really just like any geometry problem this is a topology problem as well, the triangle needs to be "unwrapped" so that it forms a linear sequence, then you just count the number of "steps" you need to go to reach your target. Combine this with the color bands and you further simplify the address. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are always your first digit. Multiple levels just mean multiple listings, the length of your address is proportional to both scale and location. The beauty is that's it's recursive, red is always red no matter what your resolution.
For example, say your address starts with "634". You know that your target lies within the yellow band of smallest triangle within the green band of the middle triangle and lastly within the red band of the largest triangle, through three fractal levels. It's not ideal, but it's a start. I think one characteristic that is essential is for all individual coordinates to remain single-digit, this allows for a single uninterrupted string for each address. This does complicate things a little since each individual "step" will be limited to 0-9. I could possibly go alphanumeric, this would give me 26 "digits" to work with. This would also streamline the mega-metto designation which would change from 1-20 to A-T.
The color bands would also change as follows: A, B, C, D, E, F. Note how the numbering system I've chosen reflects the physical wavelengths of the visible light color spectrum; the shorter the wave the smaller the band. This makes it especially easy to remember and decipher. Rainbows, rainbows everywhere. So down to brass tacks, I picked a random triangle from my metto, what is it's address? It's in the yellow band, so the first character in the address is 4 or alternately D. That narrows it down to 51 possible triangles. TBC.
Hahha, I've gotten so far off topic. Really should make a new post for this, but I always plan to address the titular topic when I start writing. So it goes. I wanted to briefly talk about time allocation. This was something I set up in the previous part but didn't really get to finish. Every solar day has a limited number of hours and only a handful of those hours are discretionary. What kind of routine activities and/or occupations constitute an optimal schedule? Sure it's different for everybody but there are probably a few broad categories that are fairly universal. Things like eating, drinking & going to the bathroom can probably be eliminated just because they're mandatory. I'm only going to write about electives.
I'm somewhat of a hedonist, I believe strongly that you should indulge yourself in "natural" sensual pleasures. Exercise, meditation, sex & masturbation, pointless conversations, walks, various recreations that do not require industrial infrastructure and involve 'getting out' of the house/town/city; these are some of the best things a human animal can experience. They deserve a lot of time, I recently just rattled off the figure 25% to my girlfriend. I think that's about right, a quarter of our time is best spent on the things listed above.
Another 25% is eaten up by creativity. And if you're smart you can combine being creative with those things listed above. Being creative can be sensual, sexual, exerting & all natural. If these perfectly overlap maybe you still have 75% of your free time available, then again, maybe you just have 50% or something in between. One of my favorite types of creativity is resourceful creativity, starting with basically nothing or just a single thing and then rely on instinct and intellect to generate a natural evolution. This is a great way to discover things without wasting resources. Often times you will even end up finding uses for things that were just collecting dust, getting them back into circulation or getting them out of the way for good.
25% thinking. Yeah that's it, just thinking about shit, doesn't even really matter what it is. Although I think the most important thing you can do while thinking is to let your mind do a lot of wandering. This is backed by data but it also just feels better. Locking onto one thing obsessively for hours does have its place, but in general the more dynamic your thought process is the more effective it will be. That's not to say that the purpose of thinking is always to get results, but yeah most of the time that is the point. Thinking can also be combined with the 50% above, after all you've got to think to create and pleasure causes thoughts to form, you can still think while doing both! So maybe you still have 75% of your time left.
Most likely though you're down to your last 25%. It seems really precious now, just a sliver compared to that hulking 75% we just frittered away. So far we have feeling, creating & thinking; really what's left? Resting, which involves doing nothing. Yeah sounds crazy right? But in reality these things are not discreet blocks of time or sequential chunks of code that get executed in a never ending loop. More like a stack of playing cards that just got shuffled up. Resting is not sleeping, nor is it really napping. Just like some old timey riddle, the resting is what makes all the other things possible. We grow numb to pleasure when it's ceaseless. Creativity burns us out when we push it too hard. Thinking incessantly drives us crazy eventually.
Pausing to rest brings balance and unity, only through doing nothing sometimes are we able to do anything. This is the foundation of beauty for me, the mastery of harmonizing these four forces into a perfect whole. Beauty ultimately exists in the mind alone or at least that is where it is born. Things that are manifested in the physical world are reflections of what we perceive in our minds, and they are reflections of themselves. Synchronizing these two images requires almost total mastery of the four forces: feeling, creating, thinking & resting – holistically working together to produce accurate perception and accurate manifestation. This is normally a natural physical process, but consciousness allows us to bend it to our will.
If I pledged to write every week I'd never write another post, but if I pledged to never write again I'd probably write every day. I am contrary to the core. So throughout the week I've been making little notes in my temp file, things I planned to expand upon when I finally got around to writing this post. I'll jump right in then: keeping organized is really hard, it seems like I have to brute force everything! 2015 is the first full year that I'll be organizing every single piece of information I receive or publish into various "2015" folders, both digital & physical. It sounds easy enough, but I've found it's actually a genuine challenge. Enforcing this policy has made me painfully aware of how spacy & lackadaisical I am. It has forced me to undertake the greater challenge of training myself to appreciate the significance of chronology in my life.
I think I was about 16 or so when I realized that time did not actually exist, I promptly stopped believing in it. Since then I've been floating in a kind of atemporal fog; decades go by and it seems like only yesterday, while five minutes constitutes an eternity. This is pretty normal but the effects are greatly enhanced when you reject the validity of time. But I realize now that I made a small mistake. Time may be a construct but it is also very useful. I find it most valuable when it is used to create itself, an artificial framework that establishes a virtual volume in our infinite unbounded everything. I have learned to date my everything. Every significant event, very file, every folder, every note, every random line of text. Nowadays a lot of this is done automatically thanks to ubiquitous metadata, but I work in dozens of mediums.
Every drawing, every schematic, every resultant object, no matter how stupid or small. Being mindful takes great discipline but it also takes less than a second to check my watch and inscribe a datecode. It's worth it every time, because now I know I'll look back on some of these things years or decades from now and struggle to place them in any kind of context. Context is an exceedingly precious thing, I have learned this very well. Which is actually a great segue into the question: is beauty immune/irrelevant to the 4th dimension? Which is more beautiful; a scintillating iridescent butterfly that has a remarkably short lifespan or a lifeless marble masterpiece that sits in a gallery for hundreds of years? I'm going to answer this question in a very roundabout way by trying to explain what I think beauty really is and what it means to me personally. TBC.
So seems like I finally got my answer. The UN, WEF, Rockefeller Foundation, self-appointed world leaders et al. Have coordinated and concentrated their core message into a single word, and that word is "resilience".
But, resilience means you've admitted defeat. Resilience is a measure of last resort, a last line of defense. Resilience is all that's left when you've lost the ability to prevent catastrophe. When resilience becomes your primary talking point it clearly signals a profound shift in your policy making strategy. You've openly acknowledged that your leadership is incapable of handling the big problems it was established to solve.
Or a more charitable interpretation is that the rate of change at the macro level has exceeded your window of opportunity, specifically the time required to solve these big problems before they snowball beyond the scope of any institution. Put simply: we took too long and now it's too late. Instead of solving problems we will shift our operational focus to preparing to survive the aftermath of our incompetence.
Although the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you were wrong. This collective failure is the direct result of our unparalleled success spreading neoliberalism around the world. Unbridled Capitalism, Democracy, and Globalization were the foundational goals of these organizations. Their dream came true, our prosperity is living proof. But it was not earned honestly, it was never free and clear. At best the brand of prosperity these ideologies brought to the table was little more than a proxy for the senseless pillaging of a defenseless planetary ecosystem.
Mankind plundered the riches of the earth without conscience, without restraint. Nothing was off limits, not even human beings who would themselves be treated like any other expendable natural resource. This process has been picking up steam for centuries, cloaked behind a convenient smokescreen of willful ignorance and untreated psychopathy. Now, today, in the 21st century, it has finally reached an untenable fever pitch.
But I say: fuck that and fuck resilience. The bottom line is that we haven't stopped the plundering, we've escalated it. Resilience isn't a solution it's not even defeatism, it's a death sentence. It's a message that clearly states: keep doing what you're doing, things will get worse but we'll survive somehow. Well I'm here to tell you that we won't. We won't survive another 40 years of casually eradicating the remaining 50% of all the world's wildlife. We have to stop and we have to stop now. Not slow down, not "transition" away, we have to stop. Fucking STOP!
Do you think capitalism has that power, does democracy, can globalization cauterize these cataclysmic engines of planetary annihilation? Of course not. The WEF knows this, the WTO knows this, the UN knows this, every macro-minded person with even half a brain knows this. Only way to end this before everything is gone: each person on this earth has to do everything they possibly can to stop, of their own free will. Stop making babies, stop encouraging people to make babies, stop destroying the ecosystem, stop supporting anything or anyone that is.
Educate yourself about how the seemingly inconsequential choices you make every day have impacts that are felt around the world. Do this to the fullest possible extent. Resilience won't save you. Being rich won't save you. The people who keep telling you it will are either clueless or psychopaths that feel no compunction while watching the world burn. Even though you may not have realized it yet, the game has changed.
Already the 10th huh? I'm kind of in a shit mood, but I won't bore you with my trivial personal bullshit. I really think the best time to create new year resolutions is during the year rather than just before it starts. You're probably more likely to stick to them that way, if they come up situationally. As the year progresses you invariably experience troubles caused by chronic problems that you weren't totally aware of until that moment. I'm pretty aware of my chronic problems, my challenge has always been in training myself to get them under control. I'm lazy & self-indulgent, lacking in self-discipline & motivation unless something seems worthwhile. Heavily biased realism doesn't do you any favors. I've mused endlessly in past posts about what is genuinely worthwhile in this world. My conclusions never seem to line up, probably because just like everything it's completely subjective. In the end you just have to pick something at random and hope it doesn't make you miserable.
One theme that comes up over and over again in my life is a desire to create beautiful things. I say desire because I feel like I've never really managed to pull it off. It's more like this idea I've had in the back of my head that never seems to get all the way to the front. Perhaps the closest I've come is through some of my architectural experiments in Second Life. Ironically "beauty" is another one of those subjective things. For some people a turd on a china plate is the most beautiful thing they've ever seen. For someone else it might be a total cliché like a freshly bloomed red rose or a naked woman. If there's such a thing as an undeniable or universally beautiful thing I doubt everyone could agree on it. There are things though that most people will openly claim are objectively "beautiful". These things are not limited to any medium or manifestation; something as ethereal as a rainbow for example, or as substantial as Mount Fuji.
Of course being the huge egotists that we humans are, many of these generally agreed upon 'beautiful things' are man-made. A lot of these are works of "art", frivolous and frequently useless things that exist for no other reason than to evoke an emotional response. A couple of things: first, should we operate under this aesthetic fascism of majority rule? Should something be considered "beautiful" just because 99 out of every 100 morons thinks that it is? Second, is there such a thing as 'internal beauty' which can be defined as something that looks plain or even ugly on the surface but is considered beautiful because of what it does. Alternately you could ask: does a beautiful thing need to be both physically attractive and functionally indispensable in order to be considered genuinely beautiful. And perhaps there is a final category: transcendent beauty, a force so powerful and unquestionable that mere exposure to it will change you as a person forever.
Honestly the questions just go on and on, there's no end to the number of eternally vexing quandaries that can be raised by beauty. TBC.
Got to admit, it feels really good staying focused on the city. Ignore politics, ignore society, ignore psychology, focus on neotoy. Profit. It's not a lie to say that part of my dream existence involves working on neotoy every day, writing a little bit more every time, filling in the gaps one by one. It's annoying, I keep writing about buildings when I'm really trying to write about mettos. The old micro vs. macro dichotomy. It's always so much easier to work on the individual pieces rather than the big picture. But, that's not a mistake, when building a city you have to do both and you have to do them together.
When I started on the first part of this post yesterday I had a specific image in my mind, I was visualizing a new type of metto with a single colossal tower shaped like an upside down funnel rising up from the center of the triangle. This was the mile-high skyscraper, and all around it were much lower density patterns. Momentarily in my mind this was the next evolution of the metto, hence the post title. For those who have studied previous iterations, most will be familiar with the 'kiloplex'. Originally this was the quintessential structure that defined the neotonian cityscape.
The kiloplex was something I contrived to characterize the very first iterations of my city. These were to be slender thousand-floor skyscrapers that peppered the surface of the city-planet like quills projecting from the back of a porcupine. As can be seen in the blurry image above, visually they do create the impression of an immense city, but quickly you realize how barren & featureless the environment really is. Honestly the sterility, the primal geometric landscape, these were originally intended to be selling points. They were supposed to create a stark distraction-free backdrop that would passively highlight the 'human' drama unfolding in the foreground. But that is also a half-truth.
Going even further back into the history of neotoy, the pre-alpha version of the city-planet was almost the exact opposite of this. I modeled the very first sets after an amalgam of the quasi-fictional Wushu / Wuxia Golden Age of Ancient China hybridized with a post-future world that ran on technology so advanced it had reached a fully automatic and self-sustaining level, meaning that it was so integrated into daily life that it was no longer distinguished as artificial, but more like an ecosystem that humans passively and somewhat unconsciously exploited. Incidentally I discovered recently that there is an actual term for this already, although it's slightly more generalized: Anthroposystem.
So at the very least I think it's safe to say I had created a fairly original setting for my story. The kiloplex came a little later when I was trying to figure out how to house a substantial population. I mention all this because as the metto evolves I believe it's very important to explain how I got to this current point because these are not minor alterations to the structure of the city. So picking up where we left off, I had "progressed" from a far more organic, ruralized or village-like environment to a somewhat extreme geometric urban sterility. Let me also note here that as a human-friendly structure the kiloplex was always fundamentally impractical. And now we are finally getting to the blood and guts of this ridiculously long two-part post.
A core mechanic of neotoy is passivity. This is one of the few truly enduring characteristics that I simply cannot dispense with. Passivity is not just core to neotoy, it is core to me personally. Let me explain: I certainly do not mean passivity in all things, I am not a literal pacifist for example. Specifically this quality refers to the environment itself and to an extent the organisms within it. Put in certain terms it is the condition of having all of one's essential (existential) needs met without having to exert superfluous effort. Furthermore it also implies that the environment is inherently and extremely hospitable to the organisms that live within it. Perhaps this can be defined more easily with a single word: utopia. But I believe that to be an oversimplification.
This is definitely an ideological sticking point for me. I don't think this has ever been revealed before but neotoy has always engendered a supreme gentleness towards human life. According to the mythology, that was in fact its original purpose after all, to provide the perfect living environment for humanity. If it has any failing toward that end it is merely a reflection of my own profound ignorance. When I started the project I really had no idea what human happiness & survival entailed. Over a decade later I'm not much farther along. I have only acquired a few precious gems of wisdom during my arduous research. I have learned that what humans desire and what is best for them are frequently very different things. I have also learned that human well-being is not something that exists in a vacuum, nor is it something that can be achieved in isolation. Rather it is a side-effect of the well-being of an entire living planet and perhaps even the universe itself.
The kiloplex is a good example of working in a vacuum, trying to design a building in isolation. As if it were something that deserved to exist only for its own sake, paying no mind to the people that would eventually have to live inside it. Passivity is no minor thing, it is a thread that runs through every vein, that wraps tenderly around every nerve. An elevator consumes energy, it moves through time and space, it creates delays it causes accidents and inevitably it breaks down. It is the kind of thing that cannot exist in a passivity-minded utopia. So you end up with a thousand-floor skyscraper that has no elevators. Such a thing is not just impractical, it is insane. We've come full-circle, back to the beginning of the previous post. I really love the Sky City diagram I found because it includes what is probably the most important feature of such a structure: a passive walkway ("Street grade schematic") that demonstrates how pedestrians can navigate the verticality of the structure in a passive and highly efficient way.
No elevators are required, no electricity, no maintenance, no accidents, no delays. That is how every building should be designed. And for those who are still struggling to understand the secret lies in the scale. This kind of navigation doesn't make sense in a conventional skyscraper because the footprint is so small, each floor is a meager almost pointless volume of space. This is not the case with a mile-high-skyscraper, the base of which is so vast it can practically house an entire town. In this instance, passive walkways are superior to elevators in every way. As always the problem with any vertical structure is circulation of energy and hence gravity. An elevator is a fixed point in space and time, it only solves one problem at a time. A walkway can solve many problems in parallel, at greater volume, all without consuming an ounce of energy.
Given all these observations I came to the natural conclusion that while widely distributed massive parallelism can meet many diverse needs, there is no reason not to have both. In fact I believe that WDMP can even benefit from a few instances of extreme centralization because this allows the designer to actually reduce the scale of WDMP structures to an even more ideal scale! Don't worry if all this is over your head, because I'm explaining it very quickly and poorly. I plan to produce diagrams at a later date that should go a long way towards crystallizing these thoughts. Stay tuned!
Giving credit where credit is due, I believe Frank Lloyd Wright was the first architect (at least in this age) to promulgate the concept of a Mile-High Skyscraper. Which is as noted in a previous post a superficial antipode to the kind of environment it was intended to create, it is only after the complete context is included that we are able to comprehend the genius of the design. Specifically, the skyscraper is not so tall to be singularly and pointlessly grandiose but rather it is so tall to create a bounty of open space around it. Thusly the true purpose of urban super-density is realized. Not to create outrageously high property values, not to cram even more people into every square centimeter, not to psychologically dominate the lowly pedestrian. No! Just the opposite! To create vast, open, welcoming spaces without sacrificing the key advantages of a higher-density living environment.
Once this overall concept is fully understood, we are free to take it to the next level, namely the city-skyscraper e.g. Sky City. However, I just have to point out here that as is typical with the broader application of Jevons Paradox as a general metaphor for human voracity, the city-skyscraper is not properly applied to the landscape in the real world, it is instead abused as just another heavy-handed mechanism for cramming the absolute maximum number of people into a preexisting city. The surrounding area is not depopulated, nor is it reduced in density, it is merely considered less elite.
So this brings us back to the subject of the post title. If there was one neotoy-centric topic that consumed my consciousness for a significant portion of 2014 it was the metto. For those who don't know, a metto is essentially the foundational building block of my pet project, the city-planet neotoy, after which this site itself is named. A metto is an equilateral triangle roughly the size of a contemporary mega-city. There are a total of 5120 mettos arranged in the configuration of a geodesic sphere that comprise the primary mass of the city-planet. Over the course of several months I fruitlessly attempted to create a basic 2D and then 3D metto map over and over again. I honestly did not even think this would be a very challenging task since my original criteria was fairly straightforward; but what I learned as I created one faulty version after another was that my initial ideas concerning modular city composition were naïve at best & simply wrong at worst.
The basic design evolved from an assortment of essential infrastructure elements that were then placed strategically throughout the space to provide consistent access & coverage. As you dig deeper into this esoteric field, you discover that cities & architecture are treated like language; elements are referred to as "grammars". A building is like a sentence composed of various architectural nouns verbs & adjectives. This is fractal system, and as the scale increases the same grammars are recycled endlessly. Buildings themselves become these proverbial nouns, verbs & adjectives in a larger sentence. Sentences are combined to form paragraphs, paragraphs are strung together until they congeal into entire coherent volumes. Which is basically a pretty good metaphor for a city. People who live in this city could be thought of as 'readers', architects are 'writers' then, so are urban planners. One perhaps writing articulate and compelling short stories while the other pens ridiculously long and abstract operas.
These descriptions are all just to make the whole process easier to understand, and I think it also goes a long way towards defining the various pathologies that are plainly visible in modern cities and their architecture. For example, a shitty story is characterized by a complete lack of balance, pacing, and originality. A good story contains things like memorable characters, believable dialog, masterful composition and a plausible, unique plot. If you apply these characteristics to your analysis of virtually any modern mega-city it's immediately obvious why they all fall short of achieving the level of greatness their creators were striving for. Of course you could just chock this up to having too many cooks in the kitchen. On average people are mediocre, maybe one out of every million human beings possesses the vision and talent required to write a story the size of a city; so it's only natural that when you have millions of people working on a single city only a handful of buildings are going to stand out.
That being said, I'm not suggesting that ordinary mediocre people can't create fantastical things. Take myself for example. There is one other factor that I intentionally left out and that is time. Just like the principle noted above this is something that also transcends mediums; no matter how mediocre a person is at anything, given enough time and persistence they can become better at it. After years or decades of hammering away at the same piece of wretched scrap, a beautiful awe-inspiring masterpiece always has the possibility of emerging. Perhaps this is even inevitable, assuming the person doesn't die before they have a chance to finish their life's work. Then again, that is probably almost always what actually happens. So I guess it's really kind of like a race against death. I'd also like to mention that given the context, a work of staggering genius isn't nearly as hard as it sounds. Since the baseline is extreme mediocrity, just about anything slightly above average (excepting universal biases) is going to stand out.
So back to the main topic, the goal of metto design is to create the framework for a great story to take place. Instead of approaching the problem from a purely technical background, this seems like a much better point of entry. Before I asked myself: what elements are required to sustain & nurture life? But now I'm thinking that's possibly backwards and I should be asking: what elements are required to create the most fascinating & fantastical story? Then after those requirements are satisfied, then worry about filling in the essential infrastructure. Since I've already covered the former, I'll try to outline the later in a future post. Fantasy has long been my fortress of solitude, so this is something that comes very naturally to me.
I can't believe I wrote a whole damn post without even getting close to the topic I had intended to tackle. God I suck. So anyway, my original intent was to go more in-depth regarding mile-high skyscrapers. Most designs to date have been pretty sensible & comprehensive; they have explored internal forests and all manner of ecological integrations, although I feel that for a city-skyscraper to actually be sustainable this has to be the focus rather than merely the garnish.
What I'm getting at here is something I've touched on many times in previous posts, fundamentally modern cities are not sustainable so in order to create lasting cities of the future it's necessary to find a way to merge urbanization with the ecosystem. Last year I summarized this neatly with an overly simplistic yet IMO highly accurate hierarchy:
In conclusion, if you intend to build a truly successful city-skyscraper, it also has to be a jungle-city-skyscraper! If you haven't already figured out what this means, technically speaking what you would need is a building so large and so high that it could effectively contain an entire jungle replete with rainforest, lakes, rivers, mountains, waterfalls. It would have its own internal weather system. It would contain millions of living organisms at all scales, including megafauna & megaflora, both predators and prey. It would be the designer's job to ensure that this building's human occupants would not be constantly exposed to existential threats while somehow ensuring that the jungle could thrive as an independent entity while also providing sustenance for for all the organisms living within the city.
After all is said and done you just have to ask yourself: is there really any advantage at all to creating such an elaborate thing when it would probably be a whole lot easier and infinitely more elegant just to build a conventional city inside a preexisting jungle? This of course has already been done countless times throughout human history, hence the myriad remains of mighty civilizations like the Mayan empire. Which incidentally resurfaced in the news quite recently when scientists deduced that drought was probably the primary driver of its somewhat mysterious collapse. A jungle-city-skyscraper would probably be impervious to this type of catastrophe, although admittedly it would be vulnerability to many others that a conventional jungle would not.
So, it's a new year and that means a short list of new changes to the site that are intended to improve usability, legibility, aesthetics etc. Introducing radical cutting-edge technology straight from the 1990s; I'm now including inter-site targeted links in post titles so that various posts can be referenced from consecutive posts. This also has the added benefit of creating a kind of simplistic index for each year. I may collate these links into some kind of menu system situated at the top of the page so that visitors can 'jump' to various posts without having to laboriously scroll through my trademark brain-melting wall of text.
Relatedly I'm making a concerted effort to add a lot more relevant images to every post. I've talked about this a lot over the years but never really been able to make it happen, 2015 is the year I plan to break this cycle. Ironically the main reason for this is not to make my pages more visually comprehensible & interesting, it's to generate a greater number of information dense visual assets for the neotoy continuum. One of my biggest chronic problems is the low signal to noise ratio; visual assets cut through this fog. I have to come clean, I'm a lot better at infographics than I am at technical abstracts. Even when visual assets are wrong and need to be updated as new information is added, they frequently communicate overall concepts much better than text.