NEOTOY.INFO/2016.HTML
2016-12-15 Never Knows Best

It's funny how predicting the downfall of civilization can start to feel nostalgic. As I read yet another novel obsessing over the ruining & what can be done to un-ruin everything; I am once again struck by the absolute absurdity of it all. Introducing the "what if?" premise to end all 'what if?' premises: What if it was already too late? And not a little too late, but like FIFTY years too late (by conservative estimation), or alternately about 300 years too late if you're being liberal. Civilization sealed its fate when humans innovented mechanized agriculture – end of story.
This happened in the 1700s! Now about 266 years later we face the consequences of effectively thoughtless actions taken by people who were merely trying to escape the drudgery of the conventional labor into which they were born. You cannot fault this, perhaps. You can however fault the preexistence of a culture that inexplicably could not relate to the most intrinsic forces of nature. Let's call these people the "Europeans" because that's exactly what they were. Not to say or suggest that mechanization in one form or another had been in practice all over the world for centuries – as a tool to make life easier, not as a way to turn life itself into a machine.

So you have to ask yourself, what's the key difference? Why didn't India or China hyper-mechanize agriculture first? Why Europe? And furthermore who were the Europeans really? Descendants of nomadic warlords and their slaves? And how much is finding some kind of definitive answer to that question worth? In the end you're just left with genes, random mutations that recursively improve their chances of their own multiplication and hence iteration; a feedback loop of the most primitive sort.

The "European" genes could best be characterized as extremely analytical, methodical, mathematical. The wild "World" as it is, when perceived and hence interpreted by these genes becomes a repugnant chaos that must be tamed and exploited at all costs, it must be brought to a state of "Civilization" which in this case merely means greatly simplified in organic complexity so that it may be effectively analyzed and computationally reduced into the absolute language of numbers which are then expounded upon to produce new non-organic complexity that is entirely theoretical in both utility and efficacy. This is analogous to "Understanding" in respect to European sensibilities.

Let me point out that this way of thinking, flies in the face of everything has has come before it: centuries, nigh millennia of actual civilization that proceeded it. The genetic foundation of human beings is turned upside down by a handful of new genes. Once again, the value of knowing how or why these mutations occurred is dubious. It's better to be practical, to just accept that they did, and that other similar mutations could occur at any time. It is equally important to acknowledge that these genes are completely nihilistic in nature; they have all but assured the extinction of our species, and may turn our entire planet into a barren wasteland like mars.

Like all genes there is only one thing that can ultimately stop them: the hard physical limits of reality. Once organic complexity cannot be reduced any farther without compromising the core systems that sustain life on earth. Because you see life – actual, real, life has been continuing on despite the European insurrection. Nature has remained more or less the same, because it cannot afford physically to reinterpret everything that makes it work. It is not a conscious thing, it merely is. So when the ecosystem is unable to produce clean drinkable water or pure breathable atmosphere, there is no time for reconsideration or an adjustment in strategy.

Do you think genes can be reasoned with? This is a really crucial question. If history is any example the answer is "no". Every time in recorded history that a specific genotype has risen to power and threatened all other genotypes the only solution has been for the threatened civilizations to unite and then crush the offending actor. This phenomena however happens over and over again, the genes are never fully extinguished, and even if they were it is doubtful that this would reduce their capacity to reemerge organically. Clearly this is a function of the very organic complexity that certain genes strive to eradicate!

In what is perhaps the final evolutionary form of the European genotype "Western" civilization has flipped even this rote cliché on its head. The threatened genotypes of the world were assimilated and transmogrified into the very thing that threatened their survival. The civilizations of the world have become their own worst enemy, the outrageous fascism of the past has become the status quo of the present. And the most ironic thing of all is that no one seems to know. The Fascists do not realize that they are the victims of their own success. This is because fascism has been sublimated into commerce, and commerce has become the unassailable scope of existence.

The mathematicians have finally won, the European dream of reducing everything "meaningful" to numbers has been realized. And yet, all the meaning in the universe lies outside our numerical system. All of nature that is meaningful, all of the indescribable organic complexity that maintains our existence is as inscrutable as it has always been.

2016-11-23 Torrents

This is about a hundred years too late, as I continue to suck ever harder, adding new empty directories willy-nilly... I present torrents! Super ironic considering I got into bittorrent before it was even mainstream and have been torrenting for IDK over a decade. Yet it was really only a few years ago that I finally got around to creating a few of my own torrents. Incidentally they did not contain any of my content, predictably they were rare things I had scrounged up and decided needed to be shared with the world. Anyhow, I was seeding all of them on my server for awhile but ended up discontinuing after several years for reasons I cannot remember.

I was getting so many requests recently for one that I decided to start them up again; hence the creation of the new directory. Moving forward I will be placing copies of all ACTIVE local torrent files in torrents. That way visitors will always be able to get what they want without having to sift through all the bullshit I like to post. There are only two torrents in there right now, because that's all I'm willing to seed at the moment. I'll also add a direct link on the main page which should make it even easier. You're welcome.

2016-11-01 Humpington

Out of ruin comes beauty, out of ruin comes life. The tenuous thread the soon to be dead the drifting instead. Here is to washing up on some habitable white sandy shore. The year is almost over it seems. There is always so much to say, especially after three months of relative silence. I tried writing a short post a few weeks ago, but it was terribly nihilistic. Feeling a little better right now, floating above the despair. That is true nihilism I guess, no attachment to desire, no suffering, only foggy indifference. I aspire to such a state, as much as I fear and flee from it. World's a wreck, but dwelling on such things only instills impotent misery.
I've always dreamed of making peace with these emotions, but progress is piecemeal instead. An undulating waveform of alternating between the gnashing of teeth and dubious consignment. Perhaps this merely parallels the fluctuating statistical models generated by my subconscious. It's convenient although possibly fictive to metaphorify one's emotions. Talking about them excessively just seems masturbatory anyway.

Had an unexpected 'week off' from non-profit work last month, so I've been furiously updating my 'app'. I guess I'm proud of it, proud of what I've accomplished, even though it's not exactly impressive. I had a salient moment a few days ago while I was struggling to encode a specific function (fullscreen toggle button), I thought: "A real programmer could do this in seconds from memory with half the code, twice as elegantly." It was not demoralizing as you might expect because it was accompanied by the thought that while it was certainly true, there are infinite combinations resulting in each specific outcome, my app would not exist without me; even though it may only be another clock in an already crowded marketplace of clocks: it is statistically unique. It is an improbable freak of sorts.



I think I've had 53 downloads since it launched on September 8th. The analytics are in fact awesome. As with Second Life one of my greatest thrills with releasing a 'product' online is the international nature of the marketplace. I've had acquisitions from Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Finland, Croatia, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, & the United States. I know it's actually pretty stupid, but I just think that's super cool.

Work on neotoy itself is functionally stalled, aside from occasional think-tank sessions that revolve loosely around the theoretical mapping process. I have become convinced that if I can just crack the mapping problem, everything else will fall into place. This is probably just a white whale, but for now it's all I've got. As usual I am attempting to do the impossible: subdivide the entirety of a demi-sphere into equal domains; with additional conditions: structural consistency & intrinsic orientation. This has never been done as far as I know, because spheres themselves are not structurally consistent and do not have an orientation.

The earth has a magnetic field, a set rotation, a set orbit; these three fundamental attributes are what allow us to navigate here on earth. Neotoy however is many magnitudes more sophisticated than an accidental ball of mud mucking about in space. I find myself questioning the wisdom of the IVM, of the sphere. What is definitive under Newtonian & terrestrial physics may end up being irrelevant to me. The surface of a true sphere is inconsistent with its internal super-structural composition, geometrically speaking.

I feel that in all likelihood the abstract mathematical flexibility of physical solids, in addition to the haphazard physical forces that act upon celestial bodies, both have to be done away with. This creates a break however, once I go this route neotoy will no longer be backwards-compatible with terrestrial systems. It seems very clear why the Cartesian coordinate system is so popular, and why games like minecraft are so manageable & extensible. With the IVM you are always stuck with the tet/oct dichotomy, with cubes or voxels there is only ever one universal building 'block'. Although the problem with tet/oct is not that there are two distinct geometric solids, but that these solids align inconsistently in relation to the super-structure of the matrix.

Hence on the surface of an icosahedron there are both pentagons & hexagons; making it impossible (or at the very least inelegant) to apply a universal recursive linear algorithm capable of addressing every conceivable point, area, volume & time. Naturally this is the exact criteria for mapping neotoy.

O = Primary Octahedron
T = Primary Tetrahedron
T = Secondary Tetrahedron
O = Secondary Octahedron
t = Tertiary Tetrahedron
o = Tertiary Octahedron
∙ = Origin, Core, Center
↓ = Front
→ = Right
← = Left
↑ = Apex

T { O∙ T↓(o∙ t↓ t→ t← t↑) T→(o∙ t↓ t→ t← t↑) T←(o∙ t↓ t→ t← t↑) T↑(o∙ t↓ t→ t← t↑) }
If "O∙" is zero, then T↓ is one, T→ is two, T← is three & T↑ is four.

O∙ = 0
T↓ = 1
T→ = 2
T← = 3
T↑ = 4

2016-10-25 Food Pack Part 1

The "Food Pack" is a symbiotic (some would say parasitic) organism that is both highly-intelligent and highly-eccentric. Food Packs were first discovered living in an isolated crater located deep in the bowels of the Borneo rainforest. Explorers first documented their discovery in 2016, the following is a short excerpt from Marteen Johansen's journals.

"We stumbled across the crater entirely on accident. Our geologist Reggie Morebund had accidentally fallen in a narrow ravine while conducting a routine survey. Extraction seemed impractical since he had ended up landing on a ledge with a significant overhang. He was able to communicate he was relatively unharmed and after a brief consultation we agreed that it would probably be both safer and easier for him to continue down to the bottom and then hike along the ravine floor to what we assumed was the probable exit. The local topology lead steeply downhill from his position and at least visually the ravine appeared to widen continually from the point of the accident. Following his progress from the ridge line above we kept in contact with our two-way radios. The ravine did indeed widen and as the surrounding landscape dipped down on either side we realized it would not be very long before we were able to rendezvous in person.

By the time we reached the natural termination of the ravine, it had in fact expanded into a dark yet expansive bowl shaped valley which split into two distinct tributaries that encircled a massive dome shaped barrow like giant verdant arms. Amy Minekirk, our biologist, botanist and occasional field medic treated Reggie for a few mild scrapes and one benign yet bloody gash running from his left knee down the full-length of his calf. Once bandaged up, he insisted he was otherwise fine and after a mild safety lecture, guiltily took a couple of ibuprofen and promised to take more precautions in the future. These sentiments however were almost immediately proven false as he began a mad dash for the nearest incline, citing the "Truly fascinating aggregation." of the embankment of the apparent barrow. Grudgingly Amy herself had also become distracted by the remarkably unfamiliar vegetation that seemed to spill over the top of the presumed mesa towering high above our heads.

An excited shout from the edge of the barrow was my last rational memory proceeding the descent into madness that was to follow. "Get up here, everybody, get up here right now!" The urgency and wonder in Reggie's voice will be with me for the rest of my days. The four of us scrambled our way up the steep wall of vines and understory. Thankfully there were dozens of massive trees growing almost diagonally upward, their mighty boles half-buried in the embankment as though the entire structure had been in the process of collapse for hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years. The trees made it relatively easy to stagger our ascent, while their plentiful trailing vines provided ample handholds. In this way, just like Reggie had minutes earlier, our entire group manged to reach the top of the berm in under twenty minutes. My most salient memory from that experience was the litany of mystify exclamations from Amy as she periodically discovered yet another completely unknown specimen she wished to stop and catalog.

When we reached the top however, all the mysteries of the ascent seemed to fade away, nothing could have prepared us for the sight. Below, and I say below because the barrow was not a mesa at all, but rather a massive and incredibly deep crater, below us shaded heavily by the darkness of the canopy of ancient trees that seemed to dangle like a thicket of broken fingers curling ever inward; a crack in the very fabric of the universe. A pale green haze bubbled out of this alien wound in the earth, paler milky wisps of mist swirled around the glowing void, it was like looking into the eye of a hurricane, on another planet. Minutes later, huddled in a tight mass on the rim of this terrifying chasm, we traded between us our two sets of high-powered binoculars. In seconds it became obvious that we had encountered something far beyond the ordinary, of which the geological centerpiece was merely the most dramatic feature. "Look at the boars. Did you see the boars, did you see them." Michelangelo (not his real name), our guide, stuttered out in his thick accent. The way he said the word 'them' spoke volumes. He was not talking about the wild swine. "On their backs." Amy mumbled, her voice sounded high and hoarse, nearly a moan.

The only form of terrestrial life we had so far identified in the basin below, the ubiquitous wild boars, in unusually high concentration and far more unusually, exceptionally large specimens. While the average boar might weigh two to three hundred pounds, these animals were clearly gargantuan in proportion. And if anything else in the surrounding basin could be used to determine their relative size, they must weigh close to a ton each. But yet again we were forced to confront the fact that we were just scratching the surface of the mystery before us laying nestled like a glimmering fist-sized emerald in a bed of wilted lettuce. These boars had riders, each swine was cloaked in what at first appeared as a ratty mottled mane, but quickly revealed itself to be both independent and alive. Small bat-like heads, pointy hairless translucent ears, a narrow fox-like snout, dark brown eyes that gleamed with intelligence, wide flat bodies reminiscent of flying squirrels, bushy yet oddly tapered tails. But most of all, their most distinguishing feature: long spindly arms that looked more like the branches of a dying tree than flesh and bone. Each ending with a remarkably, disturbingly human-like hand, replete with opposable thumbs. "What are they doing to them?" Amy hissed. Reggie who had the other pair of binoculars, uttered almost nonchalantly. "Isn't it obvious, they're feeding them." And that was how we discovered the "Food Packs." but it was just the beginning.

2016-10-10 Watch, Retire, Erase

What is "neotoy" really? Is there really more to life than sex? Thirty-seven years on this planet and I know less now than I did when I was born. Instinct has been overwritten by idiocy. As I struggle in the garden to even understand the essential fertility around which all activity revolves. The endless recycling of raw materials, the miraculous transmutation of elements. Sustainability is not an abstract concept or marketing rhetoric; it's something I confront every day and shamefully accept I am nowhere near. How long would our food system last without ceaseless immeasurable pillaging of the environment, only rivaled by the quantity of unconscionable waste that accompanies it? Not even a nanosecond.

Only the poorest most destitute cultures in the world would be left standing, the so called 'subsistence' peoples. And many of them too would be instantaneously killed, for they too are mere derivatives of "civilization". No power, no chemistry, no water, no wood, no iron, no fire. And yet nature would go on to some degree. What's left of the wild animals. Prepping is pointless, you can't even conceive of the gaps in your perception of modern living. Most of us will not go one second in one day of one year without total dependence on a vast and invisible supply chain that has been chugging along for centuries. Not one thing in your immediate vicinity would exist without millions of other things that you have never seen or will ever even know about.

Modern living is an absolute dream. You are not alive, you are sleeping, and you will die without ever waking. And the longer it goes on the less real it will be, until even the surreal seems less absurd, it will become familiar and then eventually it will become the status quo, and people will lose all sanity, they will be utterly insane, and they will not even know that they have lost their minds. And all manner of random senseless tragedy will occur, but it will not be recognized or even observed. But I am not talking about the future, or even five minutes from now, I am talking about yesterday and the day before and thirty or forty years ago. We are living it right now, and we are nostalgic for it at the same time. Our species is already dead, extinct many times over, nothing we do has any impact on this fact.

2016-07-31 Midyear Executive Summary

Changed main post font back to Adobe Source. Dyslexie was easier to read (for me), but never worked right with
@font-face
, also typographically I was getting pretty sick of it. I think it's probably best used as a "display font", for headlines and such, rather than a primary for body text. Although personally I'm done with it. Also changed a minor function in the CSS, was using
calc(100vw / 50)
and changed it to
calc(100vmin / 20)
my understanding being that this is an average of the viewport area, rather than just the width, so the scaling (especially on mobile devices) should be a lot more legible now.

I started a rather big project two weeks ago: the development of my first Windows 10 "app". I'm using Visual Studio Community 2015 for the 'mastering', although in all honesty I wrote all the code in EditPlus. The app is incredibly simple & basic, this is by design; it is just a clock with an analog & digital display. By itself this is nothing remarkable, I only think the technology involved elevates it above most clock apps. The visual elements are all SVG, the text elements are scaled & centered via advanced CSS, the extremely minimal JavaScript backend that powers the movement is unparallelled. While the app creation process is somewhat bloated & tedious, viewing the source is not, since I crammed the whole contraption into a 69 KB HTML file that you can view online right now.

My work on neotoy (the city-planet) grinds ever onward. Just last week I finished what I think is my third or fourth "IVMC" (Isotropic Vector Matrix Complete) artifact. This object is just a simple chair. The interesting thing about building everyday objects that are compliant with the IVM is how much you learn about complexity & the basic structure of the universe. Would you believe that I probably spent an hour refining a single corner junction? In terms of basic construction this aspect of the chair is only comprised of the seat, one leg & the bottom corner of half the back support. If these parts where reduced to lines or rays, it would just be 4 intersecting at a single annex. This is the kind of composition that any idiot could cobble together in minutes; however when you attempt to remove all the right angles, minutes stretch into hours.
On the flip side, as I build using this technique I develop a vocabulary (or 'grammar' as the experts say) of structural components that can be applied over and over again. Once again this introduces a fascinating revelation: did you know that there are at last three totally different ways to resolve this classic 4-way junction with the IVM? Being the kind of person who doesn't believe in multiple, equally valid, solutions to a single structural problem I was deeply vexed by this dynamic. Each solution provides unique value from a thermodynamic standpoint. Intuitively I can select one as the "best" because it is the most elegant of the three, but it really superior in all scenarios: absolutely not!

Still I couldn't help but admire the end result. My long-term goal of producing at least one artifact that I could confidently claim as authentically "neotonian" seems to have been achieved. But I also have to ask myself: at what point does the neotonian aesthetic merely dissolve into perfect energy stability. That is to say, is neotonian design indistinguishable from perfect design? If so, then I do not think it will have very much character or personality. One could argue for cosmetic embellishment upon a functionally perfect base model to create a sense of style, but I feel like that is similar to Mark Twain's quote about cats: "If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.". That is how I feel about perfect design.

Right now it is summer in the garden, so maintenance & production is in full swing, that is why I haven't been posting much. I often work 8 hour days and come home exhausted, fit only for napping. Which reminds me, one low-energy objective I have for the rest of the year is to upload as many neotoy-related 3D models as I can. I have hundreds by now that would could be valuable & adaptable by others, specifically everything from my 'trioptimal' line, they just need to be made available. If you have any particular requests please direct them to the Universal Forum.

Ironically one of the biggest challenges I have with getting this done is my tendency to do all my work on two different computers. I am still weary of the "cloud" and tend to store as much of my data as possible locally. My workstation where I do my modeling, imagery & rendering is usually off, while I do most of my writing and web stuff on my laptop. So I end up in this situation, right now I would add these models to this page, but that would mean moving to another computer, moving a bunch of files, etc. The friction however small it may seem kills the whole process. I will experiment more with the cloud soon, but I'm guessing it won't be very feasible with many of my assets which routinely span the multiple gigabyte range. Also, not really practical to leave all my computers on all the time. If you have any insights regarding this problem, I'd love to hear them.

2016-05-29 NEOTOY: polystrand

The two mini-posts below are provided 'as-is', they were too short for their own index slots, and they are essentially introductory or supplemental to this post.

2016-05-12 Flashbacks Had this flash of inspiration while researching 3D printers. Inevitably the study of "filament" becomes necessary, then I realized that polystrand is filament, that polytoy is just plastic, literally a polymer, FRAME are 3D printers, or at least their arms and legs are extruders. They take damaged structures, gather up the 'filament' and then rebuild them according to internal blueprints which are effectively stored in the 'cloud' that is the city's supercomputer "CORE". This is totally a feasible future scenario for our actual world wherein mobile, perhaps anthropomorphic, robotic 3D printers roam the countryside converting raw materials into some kind of composite (POSIT) filament that is then used to build and maintain architectural elements & urban infrastructure. So basically I saw all this coming about 20 years ago.

2016-05-04 Para-Industrial "para-industrial" can be defined as anything that is clearly of industrial origin yet its purpose cannot be determined with confidence. In the para-industrial age the statistical proportion of industrial artifacts possessing this quality outnumber those that do not. Often these 'appliances' are at first glance highly familiar, but on further inspection prove to be functionally incomprehensible. Analyzing the psychology and metaphysics behind this phenomena we find that it is predominately a side effect of super-scale. The 'marketplace' has become so large, the 'customer' base so broad that entire segments of the population had developed into esoteric sub-cultures with highly specialized wants & needs. While these wants & needs do not diverge dramatically from the sociopolitical baseline, they diverge just enough to vex their nearest neighbors.


It has been far too long since I last wrote a deep predictive post. Just like I knew that blue lasers would eventually replace red for optical data storage & retrieval, when I was 12, before CDs were even ubiquitous; the writing is on the wall with 3D printing and how that will ultimately play out. Interesting thing is that we live in a fascinating split universe, one where science dictates the logical progression of technological advancement, and then our actual reality wherein profit motive & capitalism warps that Platonic ideal, resulting in a bizarre retarded version of how things should actually be. The phrase "This is why we can't have nice things." comes to mind. Although the situation is slightly more complex as you might imagine... it seems like without greed, without rampant consumerism, we'd have next to nothing. Not because those characteristics are somehow fundamental to human nature, but because our species is so base.

The conventional wisdom (i.e. propaganda) is that without some powerful cattle-prod-like impetus driving humanity forward, we'd all pretty much just sit around on our asses doing basically nothing. So we need to rape the ecosystem, and we need money, and hardcore pornography, otherwise, well... it would still be the middle ages, or something. Greed and money give everyone a reason to get up in the morning, to keep hustling. And out of that repugnant sewer of primal angst people go to university and buy computers. This is their natural compulsion, but without that essential little spark of incentive, it would all fall apart, the trains would grind to a halt, we'd all die of boredom and gout. Yes this magical synergy between intrinsic curiosity and creativity empowered by lust & vice, this is the cornerstone, the bedrock, of modern civilization.

Perhaps. More or less uninteresting to me. I am only inspired by the pure science & beauty which I believe underlies the whole wretched system. In that Platonic world where people are creative, innovative and productive because they are in love with life, everything is solar powered, we have limitless holographic memory, cities are immersed in continent spanning food jungles. All the corruption and ugliness that holds us back and knocks us down simply doesn't exist. It was such an eternal fountain of youth from which neotoy itself sprang. That stainless shining city, glittering in the distance, I have never lost sight of it, and it will always be visible to me. As its premiere evangelist I must tirelessly advance its utopian agenda.

Polystrand has been discussed before, I have written cmap entries about it, but they were never truly complete. But now I've finally realized the truth that my subconscious was trying to promulgate all this time. Firstly FRAME are the general worker units that maintain the city-planet, but they are a lot more important than I have ever explained in the past. FRAME are effectively mobile 3D printers, their hands and feet are basically super-extruders comprised of 24 individual 'print heads' which are able to dynamically extrude & configure polystrand on the fly.

Polystrand as has been described is a 'monofilament' comprised of polytoy. Polytoy is fundamentally programmable matter. In the real world (our world), it is inevitable that 3D printers will advance to this level: specifically they will include what I am calling a "Super-Extruder", this is very similar to a conventional extruder with one key difference: in addition to melting & reshaping filament it possesses presumably electromagnetic information exchange capabilities. This allows it to "program" "Smart Filament" as it passes through the 'print head' to be deposited in layers. Smart Filament is inert programmable matter that has been formed into spooled wire. It looks just like any other conventional filament, however it can be "programmed" via electromagnetic impulse and thereby converted into a nearly unlimited number of pseudo-substances. In neotoy these are referred to as Synthetics or Simulants, typically by way of a prefix like 'Poly-water' or 'Poly-stone'.

Imagine if you will a standard modern off-the-shelf consumer-grade 3D printer. It comes with a 1Kg spool of Smart Filament which initially appears no different from plain gray PLA. The printer is instructed to print a fully functional microscope which includes crystal lenses, metal frame, plastic dials, conductive circuitry, solar battery & light-emitting element. This is six or more distinctly different materials and they will all be generated from a single base material. As the Smart Filament is being fed through the Super-Extruder it is also being programmed – effectively transformed at the macro-molecular level into a variety of synthetic materials that possess the requisite properties of transparency, conductivity, structural rigidity, photovoltaic capacity, etc. Just as easily the final product – this "microscope" can be put inside a microwave sized recycling appliance and at the push of a button transformed back into a nondescript homogenous gray ingot.

But all of that is just terrestrial speculation. In neotoy this is science-fact, and the material foundation of an entire continuum. Everything is made of polytoy, which is 3D printed polystrand, which is nothing more than a very long chain of programmable polytoy macro-molecules composed of "Toy" mattergy (matter+energy), which incidentally is sentient thoughts. FRAME are merely able to take polystrand, either structural or ambient and then program and extrude it through their hands and feet. Using this simple technique they are able to create almost anything, although... FRAME being almost exclusively just avatars of the city's core, are expected to follow and enforce the city-planet's preexisting blueprints. If a building or other complex infrastructure is damaged, FRAME will automatically home in on that location, they will then gather up the necessary polystrand (typically reclaiming the local damage) and rebuild / restore whatever was altered using the city-planet master plan created by the core.

April 30, 2016 Neo Garden Hose Quick Connects v09

You can watch my unnecessarily long youtube video detailing the development of the model included in this post if you're at all interested in US Garden Hose compatible “quick connect” coupling systems. This is I believe a better design than what is currently available. Although it has not been 3D printed yet or tested in the field. Still I'm confident it will operate as designed.
As an added bonus this model features a fully optimized male GHT (Garden Hose Thread) hose end fitting. I spent six hours scouring the entire damn internet looking for “official” technical specifications for this piece of shit. I downloaded no less than 15 different 3D models created by other 'makers' to find a quality version. They were all crap, and you will not find the tech specs for GHT anywhere.

I ended up painstakingly cleaning up a horrifically sloppy model downloaded from thingiverse and then augmenting all of its numerous shortcomings via the exceedingly tedious measurement of an actual GHT cross-referenced by dozens of high-resolution photos of fittings. Here is the bottom line: attention idiots, you do not need 10,000 polygons or a freaking 3D scanned point cloud to make a fucking GHT fitting. For Christ's sake.

This is 1522 polygons, it could even be a lot less without compromising functionality. No wonder your 3D prints come out looking like shit. Also every additional polygon makes the slicing process slower. No one has time for that shit. So please feel free to steal the hell out these models, especially the fitting, which by the way is a piss-poor design that isn't compatible with anything else & nobody even knows who the hell came up with it. Fucking Imperials, fucking America.

2016-04-30_neo_garden_hose_quick_connects_v09.skp


April 4, 2016 Omnibit Part 3

Whelp, I 'screwed' up again, har har. I have lots of thoughts on this topic but not really the desire to write an abstract at the moment; sufice it to say here is the latest & most correctest version of the "omni-screw", formerly known as the "omni-bolt".
This model is at the correct scale and features several new fantastic improvements designed specifically to take advantage of the unique capabilities infered via 3D printing; including a cruciform self-tapping head & automatic countersinking flanges! Dat topology tho.

2016-04-12_omni-screw_v2_scale.skp


March 27, 2016 Omnibit Part 2

Made a classic noob mistake with the previous version. I got the 3D print in the mail a few days ago and noticed immediately that the shank looked too thin. At first I thought this was a printing defect but measurement confirmed that the interface was dead accurate. Then I realized what had happened: when you create a hexagon in SketchUp it rationally scales it point to point rather than edge to edge. Unfortunately when I took the measurements for the shank I measured edge to edge, which gave me 6 mm, while in reality the shank is 7 mm point to point. This 1 mm difference may not sound like much but it does in fact make a huge difference in functionality. It also more importantly breaks compatibility with the standard "¼" shank width of most bits.
Long story short, I updated the model & ordered a new print, along with the addition of a prototype threaded 'bolt' that will hopefully work with the bit. The account above was a valuable learning experience, primarily because it reminded me how different 3D models are from 3D prints, and how easy it is to think you know the dimensions of something until you hold it in your hand. It also got me thinking that I probably made some other mistakes due to overconfidence, specifically my standard practice of designing interlocking parts with ~0 tolerances. Once again I won't know until I have the actual physical proof, but my guess is that the bit & bolt may not connect properly due to subtle flaws in the casting process.
But whatever, anyhow "sorry" for the mistake. The new models are posted below, I'll no doubt be releasing yet another version once I get them in the mail. That reminds me, I also created a new svg icon for .stl files:
Basically I couldn't find an official icon and all the generic ones I found were crap so I thought I'd make my own. Please let me know what you think. Also if you wouldn't mind giving me a little feedback, as for 3D models, what format would you prefer? The current choices are listed below. Ideally I'd like to only upload a single file, but I'm not sure which one offers the best options for users.

.skp (SketchUp)
.blend (Blender)
.dae (Collada)
.stl (StereoLithography)


2016-03-27_omnibit_v2.skp
2016-03-27_omnibolt_v1.skp

March 10, 2016 Omnibit

Ugh. Don't really want to write a long post about this, but if I don't give a reasonable amount of details no one will now what the hell it is. So, if you're any kind of builder at all you will inevitably end up doing some kind of construction... now there are many types of construction but probably the most common is wood & nails; or wood & screws if you have any sense of professionalism. Full disclaimer here, no way I would have even made this thing if it hadn't been for a Kickstarter I came across a couple of years ago: Outlaw Fasteners. Basically this guy reinvents the deck screw, and I'm not gonna lie, it's a solid design. Literally light years ahead of what's currently available. Problem is... they're pretty much impossible to get your hands on.
Right away I made my own 3D model of the Outlaw "unibit", at the time I'd decided to 3D print a copy out of Titanium for my own personal use, I had everything ready to go and then as I continued to try and acquire some actual screws I started to get the impression that Outlaw was basically vaporware. It's not exactly, but it's also not like you can go to the local hardware store and pick up a box of unibit screws. Fast forward a year or two... I'm doing a lot of construction, going through pounds of screws. I have all the trappings, drivers, boxes of bits of every size and length, quick change sockets, extensions, torque absorbing cyber shafts, you name it. I can't help it, I have a major tool fetish.

Anyhow, I just kept thinking about Outlaw because honestly contemporary screws are terrible & even Torx which is unarguably, hands down, the single best ubiquitous fastener interface currently on offer, still slips, still strips. I though it was about time I revisited my own "Outlaw Analogue", only this time I was determined to make something purely for my own amusement. I must have spent 18 hours screwing around with all kinds of different interface prototypes. I'd downloaded so much geometry into my brain since way back then I assumed I'd at least have a few fresh ideas. Geodesic dome bits, chaos based friction-dependent flange clusters, IVM complete octahedron motifs. I dug deep.

In the end I became obsessed with a particular characteristic that had hounded me in the past: 3D symmetry. I'd cracked this code already with "Omnilink", but it didn't occur to me initially to just recycle the design. Instead I started at square one and spent about 8 hours morphing a cubic puzzle into oblivion. Honestly I came up with some pretty neat configurations, but try as I might they all fell short in one area or another. The more I "evolved" the design the more I ultimately reduced the initial complexity. I finally had to accept that I wasn't making it better, I was just reinventing the wheel. The more I worked it the more I realized that it was gradually being distilled down into an Omnilink.
And yes, that is exactly what I ended up with. This bit may look familiar because it is exactly the same as Omnilink, aside from one negligible adjustment to Z scale. The "Omnibit" had been born. In accordance with my new policy I'm providing the Public Domain 3D-Print-Ready SketchUp file at the end of this post. The bit is designed to conform with US standard hex socket drivers. Since the bit is fully 3D symmetrical, you can take the template and insert it into the fastener of your choice. Naturally these would also have to be 3D printed... unless you were planning on some kind of industrial mass production. If so, be my guest, although it would be cool if you could let me know so that I could eventually acquire some.
The Omnibit head measures 6 × 6 × 3 mm – this is specially scaled due to the constraints of 3D printers, but in all honesty the 2 × 2 × 1.5 mm couplings probably wouldn't work very well if they were made any smaller. The obvious implication being, the head of your screw, or preferably bolt, should be at least 8 × 8 × 4 mm to ensure optimal structural integrity. I already sent the model to Shapeways to be printed in Stainless Steel, so I think you can expect a supporting video in a couple of weeks as well.
2016-03-10 omnibit v1
2016-03-10 omnibit v1
February 24, 2016 Reciprocal Bondage

This is more of an observation than a unique idea, although after having done some research I couldn't seem to find much specifically topical information. It seems like the bondage scene was most innovative during the 1920s, since some of the most interesting imagery is from that time period (proximity to slavery perhaps?). First let me start off by saying that I come by my perversions honestly, I'm not doing this for hits or anything like that, I'm genuinely obsessed with sex, especially weird sex. Don't get me wrong though, I definitely have boundaries, some of which are shockingly conservative, bordering on puritanical.

So there's this thing, a bondage thing, and it doesn't really have a name yet (at least that I can find) so I'm trying to give it one, the term I tentative came up with is "Reciprocal Bondage" but I think the term may require more words because that paints a very plain picture. Here's the basic description: two or more people are 'bound' together, this is done in such a way that their individual actions, i.e. movements, cause reciprocal impacts and/or ideally sexual stimulation. The core of the technique is that a degree of freedom is granted for each participant but it comes at the cost of limiting the freedom of the other participants.
For example: you are able to move your arms 'freely' but the consequence is that each time you exercise this freedom your partner (or partners) become actively restrained or adversely effected in some way. A great visual example would be two people standing on either side of a stone wall, there is a hole through the center of this wall, a relatively short length of chain passes through this hole, each person is cuffed to an opposite end of the chain. One person can pull their end of the chain and move away from the wall, but this forces the other person to move towards their side. The two people are forced to share the chain otherwise they both suffer. They may decide to take turns with a longer length or just stay where they share an equal length. They are both able to cause each other discomfort but also relief, so selfishness is punished while cooperation is rewarded.

That is the basic premise, but 'Reciprocal Bondage' takes this essential principle to the next level. Say the end of the chain is not just attached passively to each person, say it is attached in such a way that by pulling one does not merely limit the other person's movement but also causes them sexual stimulation! This is accomplished fairly easily by positioning the chain so that it puts pressure on the willing victim's genitals even as it increasingly restrains them. So now we have a far more sophisticated dynamic: as freedom is lost pleasure is gained, but the beauty is that it can only be sustained if the participants are willing to work towards their mutual advantage.

There is of course also the potential to cause discomfort, but hopefully this can be minimized through good design. Another critical element is the 'experimental' spirit of each scenario: participants are given the most primitive of mechanical problems to solve and the crudest of tools to accomplish their goals, they are however gifted the luxury of time. Hands, feet, arms legs, neck, etc. they're all connected together in various ways, perhaps other objects are involved: posts, blocks, rings, balls, gears, pipes, etc. Each arrangement presents a unique puzzle that can only be comprehended by way of cautious experimentation. By moving slowly each participant quickly comes to understand the extent of their freedom and the consequences of every movement.

Meanwhile the other participants are also in motion. Initially there is just the chaos and confusion of misunderstood cause and effect, but slowly the participants begin to coordinate their efforts, to collaborate in solving the puzzle. I think ideally verbal communication is restricted with a comfortable yet effective gag, perhaps sight as well if the puzzle is sufficiently simplistic, but probably not both at the same time. Communication of some sort is essential. It's no good if the participants are prevented from discovering that they can improve their situation via planned interactions.

Once the puzzle has been solved, the greatest challenge yet remains: exploiting the puzzle to achieve the most pleasurable outcome for everyone involved. Ideally the system as a whole is not benign, each scenario is designed in such a way that causing sexual stimulation to your fellow participants is unavoidable. Essentially it should happen on accident in response to inevitable movements. I am strongly in favor of shifting the 'bondage' element deeply into the cerebral domain: the idea is never to passively and totally incapacitate participants – they are not bound by the trappings, they are bound by their relationships with the other participants! This is absolutely crucial.

What I am saying is that participants retain basic mobility: they can most likely move their arms and legs, sit, stand, lie down, walk around etc. However all of these freedoms can be indirectly denied by the reciprocal party. A burning question in my mind is: is there symmetry? The answer I think is: sometimes but not always. Maybe by moving my arm you lose the ability to move your leg, and maybe by moving your leg I lose the ability to stand up straight. But that is a complex scenario, more likely the basic setup is far more similar to the wall-hole-chain example above.

Having analyzed a lot of topical imagery, in addition to studying anatomy & many mechanical puzzles I've come up with a few principles that I think would aid in the design of ideal Reciprocal Bondage scenarios. The human body has six major "attachment points", these are mechanically-sound regions that can be used to limit movement while maximizing kinetic exchange without introducing significant physical risk; they are: neck, waist, wrists, & ankles. Incidentally & conveniently it's very easy to combine these attachment points to form closed loops, e.g. cuffing wrists together form a closed triangle formed by the arms and chest. Cuffing the ankles forms a diamond. Cuffing right wrist to right ankle forms another triangle. Cuffing right wrist to left ankle and left wrist to right ankle forms a far more topologically complex shape. Lengthening the links between these attachment points while looping them through each other in various ways creates a basic grammar of mechanical reciprocity between two or more human bodies.

These are the basics of Reciprocal Bondage. Calculating all the possible combinations of connection points, their local loops, their overlapping and interlocking mutual loops. Those are the essential scenarios. The second level introduces the erotic element: manipulating or orchestrating elements of the design so that it crosses over human erogenous zones. This is done with some focus, keeping in mind that the parts of the design that are statistically guaranteed to move most often are the most logical candidates for 'red lines' – loops, marked segments of loops, or zones of intersection that will unavoidably and frequently make contact with the aforementioned erogenous zones.

It's also necessary to ensure that there aren't any topological loopholes in your scenario. Although it would also be fun to create highly-sophisticated designs that incorporated layers of loopholes that could be gradually unraveled by the participants, perhaps increasing overall mobility or pleasure potential. This also has the advantage of giving them false hope that they can escape, exciting them by tricking them into thinking they've figured it out, only to reveal a new more intractable facet of the configuration. In terms of aesthetic, I think the genuine beauty of any scenario would be in it's ultimate mechanical elegance: the idea is not to just rope a bunch of chumps together, any idiot can do that, the idea is to artfully entangle people in such a way that they are forced to work together while individually confronting the fragile balance between human intellect and sexuality.

February 20, 2016 Plus

Feel kinda bad because I should have done this ages ago. It's pretty often that in addition to posts that I make there are associated hard assets that cannot be displayed inline as code snippets, images, etc. Proprietary formats like Adobe Illustrator, PhotoShop, SketchUp and a host of others. I've typically & historically defaulted to simply omitting these "source" files from publication, not through any malicious intent nor misguided "Intellectual Property" withholding policy; merely because I hadn't ever really taken the time to come up with a solid procedure for how to handle both the version inconsistencies and the structural incorporation of these extras into the site. Also their inclusion seemed at times inelegant & sloppy, just cluttering up the page without any true purpose, but...

The more I use the internet, the more things I create & the more fields I explore; the more I have come to recognize the extreme value of hard asset inclusion (will elaborate on this a bit later). The process I ran through today is a perfect example: I decided that I would append my source SketchUp file consisting of the 3D model of my alpha beehive prototype. It's a bit extravagant but I wanted to class it up a bit with familiar icons. Since I'm using the most cutting-edge technology I was specifically searching for an SVG version of the official 2016 SketchUp logo. I did manage to locate the original post detailing the new logo design but unsurprisingly the only source files I could find there was a low-rez JPG!

Totally useless. And this is exactly what I'm trying to avoid with neotoy. I ended up having to trace the JPG in Illustrator & then convert that AI file into an Optimized SVG. It took less than ten minutes and it's 99.9% accurate, but it's not 100% and if Aidan Chopra had just included his source files along with his post, I could have generated that SVG logo in seconds. So that's a lot of chatter for such a small thing you're maybe thinking, but let's look at the results, I think you'll agree they speak for themselves: su.svg is 698 BYTES, not even 1 Kb. It scales dynamically while remaining crystal crisp at any size. I'll be saving gigabytes of data long-term while providing superior visuals.

When you read a post that features demonstrable work or proofs, going forward it will include source files at the bottom of the page in a neat little blue bubble. But not just any blue! That's right friends, I've also introduced another new innovation via this update: CSS3 now includes custom variables that you can define yourself, so I've defined my first spot color "Neotoy-Blue" which as some of you will already know equates to #ABCDEF in hexadecimal.

When you provide hard assets to visitors, you are giving them a lot more than just the "official" sources files that they may then use to replicate & expand upon the initial version. You are giving them a much deeper insight into your workspace, your creation process, your special tricks & techniques. It's like you are saying: here, don't just have one of these things I've made, come over to my lab and take a look around, see how everything is set up, watch me build one in person, see what tools I use and how I use them. You will end up learning a million times more than just being presented with the end product. This kind of full disclosure is what neotoy has always been about.

As an extra bonus there's always the chance that the learning process will be more than one way. When you let people in to take a look at your lab, sometimes they may say something like: Oh, this is different than my lab, I put my electron microscope right next to my quantum furnace, that way I can check the nanostructure of my composites in half the time. By opening up your workspace you invite new ideas and perspectives into your process, frequently this will result in improvement or optimization.

February 15, 19, 2016 Bees & Trees

Did like 40 hours of work in three days, that's how I roll: months of inactivity then hyper-intensive; I've started two new massive projects... at least one of which is directly related to the continuum. The other one, well it could be integrated at some point. In short I'm building a new kind of beehive which I am also designing more or less from scratch. I am also reopening and expanding upon the long-neglected cmap entry on sen-script. Specifically I'm diving deep into the actual glyph generation process and honestly, this is one of the most complicated things I've ever attempted. But why now, and why at all? Not sure really, it has just been on my mind lately. Perhaps I'm really just delaying my return to IVM architecture by focusing on the ornamental facade? The truth is they're equally important & equally entrancing to me.

They say architecture is just the language of building but from a practical standpoint most structures seem incomplete without an additional layer of actual language adorning them. Many of my monoliths have seemed as such to me, naked and missing that crucial X-Factor to finally push them over the edge into Alien territory. I feel that sen-script is the answer, the only problem is that it doesn't actually exist yet, so I'm having to create it! Sincerely this is pretty much the most enjoyable thing I can possibly do, call me a super-nerd or whatever but creating your own written language... does it really get any cooler than that? The best part for me is that sen-script is not conventional in any way, it is a true fantasy nomenclature with a totally impractical syntax.
Sen-script has always followed the original spirit I had intended for neotonian communication science (referred to long ago by the clunky moniker "PRECOM": namely, concise thoughts are conveyed telepathically as complete and unique organic/analog forms or payloads – each being a singular work of art. There are no words per se, no alphabet, but there is a primal grammar. Maybe the joke is on the denizens themselves, maybe none of it has ever, or will ever, make any real sense: the neotonian stands before a wall of script, absently nodding their head as though in solemn comprehension, but in truth there is no semantic coherence there at all, only a random internal interpretation of abstract modern art that is more emotion than meaning. Yet wouldn't that on some level be the ultimate form of language? Text that does not tell you what to think or imagine but merely unlocks your own latent ability to find the truth that is already buried in your own mind?

The scientist in me thinks those are the words of a lunatic, probably. But the absolute lunatic in me is in the process of taking total insanity and making it into a real visual language that can at the very least be generated procedurally on demand. I have made a little progress, I have outlined a few general rules, and these are getting some results. Already the latest iterations look much better than the initial experiments. Don't get me wrong, I doubt very much that it will be possible to transcribe any recognizable information into sen-script, certainly not English. It will however look fucking awesome and Alien as all get up. As for theoretical intent: sen-script was basically meant to adorn structures throughout the city-planet, possibly describing their purpose or significance. It was also intended as a kind of subtle psychological nudging system; an analogue to the Eastern (specifically Chinese) tradition of carving big-ass motivational or sagacious proverbs into random mountainsides.

But I also want the script to be used for small things too. I want it to be a ubiquitous part of the city, omnipresent but also mysterious and oblique. Honestly I don't want anyone to ever fully know what each script means, but when they see them it should always make them curious, even to the point of sometimes convincing them that some deep association or realization has been granted them as they continue to stare at each elaborate glyph.

My other project is the development of a new type of beehive. Can you believe the basic design of hives has not really been significantly altered in well over 150 years? Of course there are hundreds if not thousands of experimental hives, similar to my own, that have been tried. For the mainstream however there's basically two dominant models both of which are ancient. So I'm applying all my geometric & modular building knowledge to this problem: how to make a better mainstream beehive.
Make as many parts as interchangeable as possible. Use basic joinery for solid structure while establishing bee space at the same time. Work with the hexagon instead of against it. There's a lot more that went into this design so far, but it's very premature with a ton more to do and of course real-world testing. I am satisfied with the progress so far though. I plan on building the first prototype this coming weekend, expect future updates.
  2016-02-11_Neo-Hive_v07.skp
February 1, 2016 Lasers in the Jungle

Touched on this a little last month, but realized I really needed to go into more detail: first about the IVM Complete thing... there is a line of text running down the center of the seal that says "IVM COMPLETE · 1 METER" what does this mean you might wonder. Well the 3D geometry depicted in the seal itself is an octahedron, which if you place diagonally appears isometrically as a hexagon or alternately as a 'Star of David' inside a hexagon. This octahedron is essentially the basis of the IVM. While the IVM is technically comprised of tetrahedrons & octahedrons you cannot have the IVM without both and while tetrahedrons can fit inside an octahedron and comply with the unique structure of the IVM, the reverse is not true. I also discovered during my first attempts at building using the IVM that the octahedron is far more versatile than the tetrahedron when it comes to 'user-friendly structures'.

When building using an Isotropic Vector Matrix you are most likely going to choose either the octahedron or the tetrahedron portion of the matrix for your key lines. Essentially the octahedral aspect is just superior in almost every respect to the tetrahedral aspect of the matrix. But once you have an octahedron you have to choose some sort of base scale... this is a bit tricky because octahedrons effectively have two different key volumes that would be highly relevant: first there is the line-length of each segment connecting each vertex, let's call this the "X" dimension. Since the geometry is isotropic the "Y" dimension is the same as the "X". So this only leaves the "Z" i.e. the total "height" of the octahedron. I chose this as the 2D root of my base scale.

Interesting story... make a cube 0.5×0.5×0.5 Meters and then dissect it into a tetrahedron, then extrapolate those tetrahedrons into an octahedron, and you will have a "Z" height of 1 Meter. Incidentally the "X" & "Y" values of this octahedron is ~707.1 mm. Here is my really cool visual proof of that:
The reasoning behind this was partially pragmatic and partially nostalgia. For those who have followed me closely, you will be aware of my heavy involvement in the virtual world Second Life; at one time the catch phrase of which was "It all begins with a cube." well when you rez (manifest) your first cube in SL it measures 500 mm³. As it turns out that is a really useful scale for starting a build. IRL you could sit on it easily, right out of the box (please forgive the horrible horrible pun) you can put it to good use. So effectively the smallest unit of the IVM compound which is actually a tetrahedron is contained neatly inside an 0.5 Meter cube. The full-sized octahedron from which the majority of the structure will be established is a 1 Meter (max dimension) geometric solid ideal for taking measurements at its default scale. The utility of this becomes immediately obvious once you start slapping octahedrons together to establish your 'bounding box'.

Ironically however this post was actually supposed to be about my latest architectural project, i.e. "Prism Lab". Today I worked on it a little bit more, isolating the individual floors in SketchUp for the purpose of better UV mapping and the creation of infographics like the one below:
I was also hoping that breaking up the structure would give me a few more insights as to the ultimate feasibility of this new IVM-centric building technique I'm trying to develop. Although that's just technical jargon; from my point of view Prism Lab is more of a symbol that represents my current dream of establishing a facility where specific people can learn, design, research & create the future that we so desperately need. At first I thought it would just be a lab, but then I realized that it also need to be something of a super-university that was capable of producing Comprehensive Designers e.g. B. Fuller. Furthermore, since it is still all just at the fantasy stage I was envisioning an entirely matriarchal managerial structure, faculty, student population. Not to say that males would be barred from participating, just that the institution would have a female bias.

Maybe this flies in the face of our more modern 'equal opportunity' academic infrastructure, but considering how sexist society has been for so long, I can't imagine one little Jungle Pyramid derailing centuries of progress. Oh that's right, did I forget to mention that the core of the building is a 4032 M³ aquarium? That the facility is ideally located in the middle of a rainforest? That it provides all its own food and energy? Of course I forgot all that. I am never going to even get half of this in writing. The work continues.

January 27, 2016 Girls Girls Girls

A post long in coming. One of the greatest crimes inflicted upon the human race by itself: the outrageous treatment of women throughout history. If a single person could be viewed as a macrocosm of the human species they would look like a circus freak with an entire half of their body horribly shrunken and deformed, hobbling or perhaps slithering along like a pathetic broken thing. This is no congenital defect, no accident or grievous indignity forced upon the human animal by a hostile alien conqueror. This is a horrific self-mutilation that has been going on for centuries.

Today I learned about a new "Renaissance Man" but as I was reading his biography I started thinking about all the women that I've looked up to throughout my life, in fact I've had many if not more female role models than male. Everyone is familiar with the phrase "Renaissance Men" it evokes an instantaneous list of historical figures and personality traits: Leonardo Da Vinci, Buckminster Fuller, Benjamin Franklin, philosopher healer mathematician astronomer inventor architect physicist artist... the list goes on and on. Is there a female analogue? I asked myself. I Googled "Renaissance Women" and essentially got zero relevant results.

At this stage in this post I feel that I run the risk of giving the wrong impression, like I'm implying that women just don't measure up to men, but nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly I believe the opposite, and if it were up to me we'd live in a matriarchal society. Women have had to work much harder than their male counterparts and yet have still managed to make countless outstanding contributions to civilization. At every turn women are faced with overwhelming oppression and resistance and when they themselves protest this injustice they are all too frequently met with violence. Given the odds that women have had to overcome just to obtain basic human rights it's obvious that they're more intelligent, competent & resilient than men.

The intellectual woman of the 21st century is exactly what you'd expect: cold, distant, calculating. She has no choice, men are conniving pigs that can't be trusted. "Not all men." What a fucking crock of horseshit. How long have men been screwing women over? 40, 50, 100 thousand years? It's 2016 and women are still relegated to the backseat, even in the US they don't get equal pay, while in Saudi Arabia women get executed for being raped. Thinking about these things makes me so angry I can barely continue typing. Not just because it's horribly horribly wrong, but because it's unbelievably fucking stupid.

I could go into great detail regarding all my various theories as to why men have ruthlessly and systematically undermined and suppressed women throughout history, but honestly none of that matters because you don't undo centuries of evil in a single generation. I'm 37 years old, I've known and worked with many women, my boss is a woman, I live with a woman; and the true horror of being born female in a world dominated by men has been starkly revealed in every one of those relationships, it's etched so deep that it can't be overlooked or glossed over. I felt a crushing sense of loneliness and loss as I searched fruitlessly for a Renaissance Woman, mortified by the realization that millions upon millions of women who might have been Renaissance Women where denied even the possibility.

I imagined what the world today might look like if for every notable male polymath there had been a corresponding female. Theoretically we'd have twice the advancements, twice the breakthroughs, twice the benefits, and perhaps most importantly: holistic checks & balances. The alternative is a truly bleak revision of history, looking back we haven't had a Renaissance, we've had half of one, and it has brought us all to the brink of destruction. If women hadn't had a boot to their neck for the last 100,000 years we probably would have unlimited energy, cured all disease, ended world hunger, poverty, etc... This is no exaggeration. Instead we face almost certain annihilation thanks to climate change, ocean acidification, overpopulation, etc. These could all easily be called exclusively male innovations. Mechanized agriculture & transportation, the 'Green Revolution', electricity, petroleum, unchecked breeding. No need to sugar-coat it, men have utterly fucked up the planet. Women could have possibly made the same mistakes but they were never even given the opportunity.

I'm willing to bet they would have been far wiser. Although I didn't write this post to point out what monstrous fuckups men are, I wrote it because I've long entertained the fantasy of men and women working together in a cooperative rather than competitive capacity. That is what the world needs now, that is what it has always needed. Hand in hand. Our species faces imminent extinction, I don't know about you but I don't want to die alone, I don't want to die a mangled circus freak, I want to die whole with love in my heart. No matter who you are there are women in your life, they aren't perfect (spoiler: no one is.) but they are human just like you; don't deny it!

Today we enter a new and uncertain age: sex, gender, identity, it's all dissolving. Perhaps this is for the best, maybe we'll be able to reconstitute some sort of civility from the swamp of human idiocy that has arisen from our unbridled self-loathing. The bottom line: sexism must die. There are three ways that it can, two of which do not require any choice or effort on our parts. The third and most difficult way is both the wisest and the most just. Despite all the damage that has been done, I still hold onto the hope that it is not too late. Reconciliation is possible. I say to myself. Women have never stopped trying, have never given up, even when they had every reason to do so. We can be that strong too. I'm sorry I didn't write all this sooner.

January 25, 2016 IVM Machine

Actually created this asset on the 23rd but per usual I tend to live in a perpetual time dilation. I'm calling this a "seal" of sorts, even though it has been drafted in the modern style of web 3.0 or whatever the fuck we're up to now. In many ways I feel as though the primary neotonian aesthetic is merging with contemporary information-age graphic design... although that's backwards: terrestrial graphic design is just finally approaching the refinement and sophistication of the neotonian gestalt. This is in reality just another facet of design inevitability but I digress. So a seal which is intended to certify (however informally) that a three-dimensional project is "IVM Complete" which effectively means that all structural vectors can be plotted on an isotropic matrix. The term is modeled after the phrase "Turing complete", which begs the question: is there an IVM Machine?
As previously discussed, I've speculated that the phenomena known as gravity is essentially the IVM of the universe as it is expanded and compressed beyond recognition. The universe is in effect an IVM Machine whereby all of reality may be 'run'. An IVM Complete entity is by extension a human-derived structural system that is able to simulate the IVM Machine. In other words a kind of fake little optimal universe. Or something like that. No just kidding, that's all basically nonsense. I rather prefer the word "complete" because it implies a sort of holistic totality to the design, which is essentially accurate, the IVM is a real artifact and it is possible to use it as a guide for construction projects. If a building is made using such a guide it is in theory structurally optimal (at least in regard to our understanding of Newtonian physics).

Which reminds me, I also just completed the draft of my Prism Lab Research & Development Facility which uses the IVM in every aspect of its structure. It took me approximately 24 hours of intensive drafting to produce this concept architecture. It is hardly original, it does however contain many unique innovations, notably: as previous mentioned it is IVM Complete. It is fully accessible despite being an inherently passive enclosure with no stairs, doors or moving parts. It is derived from four identical modules. It is one of the largest and most complex structures I have ever designed. Although I feel like I'm talking it up a little too much since this is just a bare-bones draft, still I believe it is the basis for something great.

January 6, 2016 Materials

One of my favorite monologues from some movie that I forget the name of is about how materials define technological progress; with each new discovery of a wonder material (alternately, fabrication technique) a new tier of industrial advancement is unlocked. We see this proved out time and again throughout history: the stone age fell to the bronze age, then the iron age, then from iron to steel. Now in the "Space Age" or 'post-space-age' to be more accurate, we have insanely exotic materials available to almost anyone, from titanium foam to aerogel, carbon fiber, graphene and all sorts of 'nano' structures, the list goes on and on and on. Only one truly remarkable fact emerges from the soup of material availability: despite having all these miracle materials at our fingertips industrial advancement has comparatively plateaued.

Please note my use of the word "comparatively", this is very important because significant industrial progress is still happening, but when compared to the quantum leaps that came in previous eras it very much looks like the law of diminishing returns is in full effect. A new miracle material is discovered, the world barely takes notice. The overall dynamics are far less fundamental. The discovery of bronze is very easily interpreted and linked to the rapid revolutions that followed. The discovery of graphene has lead to a myriad of articles outlining how it will revolutionize everything from energy to computation but here's what I've learned from architecture:

In the early 19th century the ubiquitous use of steel in structural building changed the face of the world forever, but guess what? That was good enough. Over the course of the next 100 years building basically hasn't changed at all. Meanwhile we've found countless new materials that could have replaced steel, materials that are superior in every conceivable way, except for perhaps one: economically. You see steel is just iron & carbon & combustion; it can be made almost anywhere in almost any quantity at strikingly low cost. It's not the best building material, it's not even that great, but when it comes to the critical utility:cost ratio there is just no beating it.

There is also the famous phrase: the future is already here, it just isn't evenly distributed yet. This has never been more true, but that clever axiom should really have a second half: the more futuristic the world gets the slower that futurism spreads until it comes to a complete stop. This should be confused with saturation however; you could say that steel has reached saturation but that's only possible because steel is in reality so extremely low-tech. Literally any random determined person can make steel in their backyard. As long as there is iron rich dirt and organic matter. Now take something like graphene, you can still make it yourself but at the very least you need graphite and tape. Handling and utilizing it is another matter entirely.

Take some steel or even iron and you can easily turn it into something highly useful: a cutting edge, wire, a hammer, a nail. Take some DIY graphene and you have a highly specialized material that can only truly be fully utilized within the context of numerous other technological contrivances. In other words you have something that is inherently useless by itself. Steel on the other hand is immediately useful in the most straightforward sense of the word. So as the future comes closer and closer we have more and more of these fantastical developments but when it comes to their ability to penetrate civilization and reach a level of ubiquity they are slowing down.

Graphene I think is a really excellent example because it is still an extremely low-tech material but almost all its applications are extremely high-tech so here we have the perfect illustration as to why: even when a material is cheap and plentiful with a potential that can only be described as "miraculous" its proliferation may be exceedingly slow. It's a clear indicator that we are looking at the whole landscape from the wrong side. The materials themselves are irrelevant, it's utilization alone that defines their value, not their inherent physical properties. Utilization however is an abstract and temperamental thing: for one person a giant ruby rod might be just what they need to make a laser to write their name on the moon; for another person it's just a mediocre rolling pin. If the purpose of something isn't immediately obvious it is probably not very useful.

That probably seems like an outrageous generalization and it is. Today you flip a switch and electrons flow through an array of light emitting diodes and for just a few watts your room is brightly illuminated. This is unprecedented, but without obscure and unintuitive elements combined in dozens of almost unimaginably complex configurations, just a fantasy. If you asked a random person on the street to build a single LED they would think you were crazy. And yet the humble LED has become so ubiquitous that there are probably 10 or more in the room with you right now. LEDs have become similar to steel, the utility of artificial light at the lowest possible cost (in electrical energy) is undeniable.

Yes, anyone can appreciate light or a sharp sword that won't shatter when you need it most; these are abstract values that transcend time. In the post-modern era it would be possible to build a skyscraper out of carbon fiber but no one will. It would be cost-prohibitive, but assuming it wasn't, say for example carbon fiber suddenly became cheaper to produce than steel; what do you think would happen? I think you could safely assume that there still wouldn't be many carbon fiber skyscrapers. Why do you think that is? Because we already live in that world, that distant future scenario; utility isn't relevant anymore either.

Or maybe it never was. Look at brutalism, it's kind of both sides of the coin: extreme utility on one side extreme economy on the other. But it was a failure. It was ugly. Sure it was also beautiful in its own way, in its ugliness, but that is beside the point. It failed because there was no ultimate goal or end-game to architecture not as a functional system nor as an art form. Architecture just like every human endeavor is in essence a dream, never fully realized or grasped. Our creations are like faces materializing briefly in some roiling cauldron of emotion. In this age we have access to materials that are themselves dreams, we could be erecting dream buildings spun of dream diamond but we're building skyscrapers out of wood instead.

Why? Because we can? Or because in the end a room is just a box, and if it's warm and dry, well-lit and stocked with food & water, does it really matter if it's made of diamond or cardboard or shit bricks? Another adage: home is where the heart is. Architecture that supports the heart, protecting and sustaining it, can be chimeral, imagination is its only limit.

January 1, 2016 Preoccupations

If your browser supports it you will notice a [somewhat free] new font, it is called "Dyslexie Regular" and it allegedly makes text easier to read for people like me who have dyslexia, you can learn all about it here if you're interested. I'm still testing it out but my general impression so far is that it does indeed work, in fact the first time I used it I was blown away by how much easier it was for me to read than more conventional fonts. The disadvantage being that it's a little on the ugly side.

Oh, I almost forgot, happy New Year! There's always so much to talk/write about, it almost seems ridiculous to even try. Although the only reason people even come to this site is because of neotoy itself and yet more than half the time I end up prattling on endlessly about irrelevant externalities. So what about neotoy? Things have slowed down a bit which I think is only natural since I started working for a phenomenal nonprofit and my 'job' is fairly demanding. You have to make certain choices in your life when it comes to making ends meet, and if you can, pick something you love because there's a good chance it will be replacing something else in your life that perhaps you love more.
Had a cool conversation with my common law wife yesterday, about what we wanted to be when we 'grew up'. I realized that I had never answered that question, despite having three different careers plus neotoy on the side. The truth is you don't have to decide, ever. You can be whatever you want to be. I did however remember the general direction I was headed, this was from when I was under ten; I decided I'd be a mad super-scientist and build an underground pyramid base powered by perpetual motion machines and build UFOs to take over the world and turn it into a utopia. That was my dream. Nothing at all has changed since then, aside from a general lack of motivation.

I'm not even joking. It's something you're supposed to grow out of, but I never really have. Even neotoy is to some degree both a product of and a means to that end. Sadly I doubt I'll ever summon the focus required to start that ball rolling. Probably for the best, since I've lived long enough to learn that no one person possesses the wisdom necessary to rule the world, quite the opposite in fact; a world full of well-educated and intelligent people hardly possesses the sagacity required to rule a fucking playground. Still, if somebody is going to take the planetary reigns... I can certainly think of a few less qualified candidates.

I've been doing a little more building using my octahedron based ruler, the results have been very encouraging. It's just another one of those things that takes practice and feeling out before you begin to develop an affinity. Is this the future of building? Especially once 3D printing becomes the norm for habitable structures? I don't know, it certainly could fill a niche. The unembellished structure pictured above began as a simple challenge: could I even build a single 100% IVM complete building for neotoy? The single limiting condition being that it didn't look like absolute uninhabitable shite. Still a work in progress... I'll keep you posted, as always. Looking forward to spending an awesome 2016 together. Neotoy, out.