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Sat, 14 Oct 2017

A surprise situation

The doorbell rings. My front door opens onto some spectacular sunsets. I am surprised that Enya is at my front door. Enya tells me that she is my mother. I invite her to have a delicious dinner from the slow-cooker. We talk about so many wonderful things. In a moment of sadness I ask Enya if this means that the mother I knew is dead. Enya smiles and tells me that my mother is not dead: she has been my mother all along! I am confused by this. I tell her that the mother that I have known until now has done many horrible things, but if she has ceased to exist then it would still be quite sad. I ask Enya if she isn't sad to have become my mother. Enya tells me not to be silly. There has never been any becoming, nor any unbecoming. The mother I knew is, and always will be, as real as Enya. Enya will live forever. I ask her if she will be sad to see me die one day. Enya just smiles and gives me the biggest hug.

19:32 | /humans

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Fri, 13 Oct 2017


You can guess some good recipes just from John Denver songs.

13:14 | /food

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A quick note on free will

Free will as it applies to bodies is not absolute, and the amount can be wilfully increased in an uncertain universe. Free will can be described in the disjunction between two similar universes of which one is determined and one is uncertain.

Assume a universe that is uncertain, and in which outcomes vary in terms of their probability. Assume that this universe is the familiar one: you might bump into acquaintances in very unlikely places, but an oil tanker is almost certainly never going to fall out of the sky. Additionally, the cat in the box is probably neither alive nor dead.

Lets say that free will is that which is experienced in such a universe, which would not be experienced in an absolutely determined universe. In a Newtonian universe that is certain outcomes still vary in terms of their observable probability. What would be the difference in experience between a thinking body exposed to a given set of circumstances within a deterministic universe, and a thinking body exposed to the same set of circumstances within a non-deterministic universe? I aim to answer this question quite quickly.

In both universes, a body has varying degrees of freedom. For example, you might be looking forward to a sunny day on the beach. I know I am. Unfortunately, it is raining! Bloody Nora! A set of contingencies could be imagined that either led you to bring a good book or a board game, or no. Moreover, they can be imagined similarly in both universes as chains of causal events. The degrees of freedom with which you act in this circumstance are increased by having a good book with you, and increased further by having brought a board game. The possibilities for action are again expanded if you have a good conversational partner bent on mischief. Knowing this, you can strive to expand your freedom to act in arbitrary situations. I think that this is what some people mean by the German words 'Geist' and 'Wille' (+/- 'spirit', and 'will').

What difference does it make to our body whether it finds itself in the determined, or in the uncertain universe? Aren't we constrained by our circumstances in any case? By acting in the uncertain universe, we change the universe in the sense in which by acting in the determined universe we do not change that universe. If the determined universe was the movement of a clock then the clock's movement would be certain across all time and the individual action of a toothed wheel within that movement would not change the clock-as-universe. Changing the universe is just that which would happen differently in an uncertain universe because it wouldn't happen in the fantastic clock-as-universe. Nietzsche spoke of a will to power, possessed by everything that is. In the uncertain universe, the action of a dumb toothed wheel imposes this will to power by resolving an uncertain state. This doesn't seem absurd, since the toothed wheel doesn't need to know about its own freedom.

So! The more degrees of freedom we have for action, that is to say the greater the number of probable actions under our command (roughly speaking, the greater the unpredictability of our actions), the greater will be the magnitude of our will as imposed on the universe. By exercising the extent of this unpredictability, the number of things that we can probably do at any given moment, we exercise and increase the freedom of this will. The sensation of this changing of the universe, and of the varying of the scope of our will across a lifetime, I am calling 'free will'. I don't know if this has already been said, otherwise I'd have been able to write: 'when it comes to free will, I agree with X!'. Something similar is alluded to in the Sun Tzu, but not for the same reason---so perhaps this is a Taoist thing, too. And I don't know if Schopenhauer said it.

13:08 | /substance

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Tue, 03 Oct 2017

Some of my inventions

Here is a list of some of the things that I have invented:

Gravity toilet

The ground floor or a basement level of a building is connected to the sewage outflow. Then, columns of lidless and bottomless toilet bowls can be arranged vertically above each other on successive floors, such that human waste emptied into any of these toilet bowls will fall through the ceiling below and through the space in each lower toilet in turn until finally reaching a collector toilet on the lowest level, where it may be automatically or manually flushed away. This would greatly simplify plumbing, and only requires a basic system of signalling, and appropriate training of building users to use the toilet on only one floor per given toilet column at any one time. Moreover, persons able to urinate while standing will be able to urinate into a toilet on any lower floor than that on which a person is defecating or urinating into the column. Obviously, it follows that standing urination may not be carried out on a floor higher than that on which somebody is defecating into the column, and only one person may defecate into the column at one time. Seated urination could be enabled by a trough that empties into the main bowl of the toilet, in the manner of standing urination as described above. Moreover, by connecting a clean water supply to such a trough, a concurrent defecation system is achievable by flushing anything deposited into the trough into the main gravity fed waste stream. Even without such an amenity (for instance, where the gravity toilet is employed wholly or partly to save clean water), it is easy to calculate the necessary number of columns to employ in a building with a given maximum occupancy, from the natural frequency of the need to defecate, and given that it is arbitrarily simple to deploy full-length toilet columns on all floors. In this way, the calculation need not take into account distribution of occupants across floors in the building. Since outflow plumbing is confined to the ground floor, it is trivially easy to provide enough toilet columns so that a person on any given floor can find a free column---rather than going through the design hell of multiple outflows on each high-occupancy floor.

Gravity shower

The gravity shower employs the same principle of outflow rationalisation as the gravity toilet, however its use is not limited in terms of the number of concurrent users---a potential drawback of the gravity toilet system. Each showering unit in the gravity shower column can be imagined as a mildly sloping bath or trough, with the shower outlet at the higher end, and the outflow at the lower end. All outflows are vertically aligned. The user showers at the higher end. The operation of this system is quite easy to imagine. It is important that only greywater passes through the system, and users must be appropriately trained to the effect that it is unacceptable for human waste to be discharged into a gravity shower column.

The following inventions are somewhat more whimsical than the gravity amenities described above.


Mosquietos are mosquitos that have been genetically and aerodynamically modified to have quiet flight characteristics. Sometimes, the noise of mosquitos is quite annoying and worrying. They would be distributed in the form of dried pellets of mosquito eggs, in biodegradable packaging. They would be reconstituted in a body of still water---in this sense they are very user friendly and easily deployable.

Hairy dildo

It would seem quite realistic.

Hepatitis X

This is a hybrid cyberweapon-bioweapon. It is the most fear-inducing type of hepatitis. It would be small enough to fit on a floppy disk (remember those?!). The virus is spread computer to computer, from computer to human, from human to computer contact, and/or by human to human contact. The micro-replication technology required for the computer--human vector mode does not yet exist.

23:10 | /stuff

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Thu, 09 Feb 2017

what requires protection?

convention does not require protection

15:38 | /stuff

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fruit product

i thought that i had successfully made caramel out of fruit juice, but when i tasted it i established that it was quite similar to jam

15:37 | /food

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Tue, 20 Dec 2016

the responsible game

okay listen up kids and people near kids! in this game you ask a question like "what is the WORST thing?", or "what is the BEST thing?", and the other player only has 3 seconds to reply. their reply is then regarded as truth for a whole week by all players, and all spectators. everyone has to behave appropriately and there's no getting out of it. so for instance, if somebody said that the WORST thing was "um i dunno expressed emotion?" then nobody would be allowed to do any single thing that a vulcan wouldn't do. obviously this game could have effects like making a number of people very racist for a whole week, or whatever the polar opposite of racism is (depending on the question). that's why it's called the responsible game

23:28 | /games

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Mon, 07 Nov 2016

the interface between Ti and PET

a polypropylene (PP) container, such as a cup noodle cup, would be a lightweight holder for boiled water before it cools enough to go into a PET bottle. people who get prissy around their own karma should check the bins near an ambulance station: used noodle containers abound

15:53 | /things

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message to future days style rag researchers

i don't waste a lot of heat over credit getting, but modern shirt-over-sweater wearing started here and now. Cresson Kearney is the inspiration, and i'm putting cotton where newspaper would have sufficed

14:23 | /self

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Sat, 22 Aug 2015

what it be

you eat a banana boat
travel by ice cream float
and ever be upside down and wrong

18:19 | /jaunt

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magic, that's why

why would gnostics be more into sex than, for instance, i would be?

18:18 | /sex

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Thu, 11 Jun 2015


mum doesn't want to see birds and squirrels in the garden because they might eat her shoes

10:42 | /humans

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Tue, 09 Jun 2015

what happened when the astronaut done a big fart?!

she had to Apollogise!!!

00:51 | /jokes

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Mon, 09 Mar 2015

it's that time!

lunch with the bunch!
lunch with the bunch!
snarf it all up, eat your munches,
with the bunch that munches lunches!

lunch with the bunch! yeah
lunch with the bunch!
oh you'll never be alone through the
smooth or the crunch!

12:33 | /names

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when's a dude ever called Farquhar these days?

12:32 | /names

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"Whose Shoes 'R Neat'R?" is the fun "game show" where you simply can't lose... your shoes!

contestants vie for the eponymous award as a panel of "hilarious" judges consider their cleats and make witty remarks. any contestants not deemed to be wearing shoes are treated to an expertly fitted pair of hard-wearing pumps live on stage!

so burnish those boots and tune in to the only show where the winners are several!

12:32 | /games

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the game of Pingo

Pingo is a game for two or more players. at the start of each round players are issued a number sheet with an array of randomly-chosen whole numbers that is different for each player and arranged in a grid on the sheet. one person, the caller, calls out randomly chosen numbers with no replacement, from the same range as that printed on the number sheets. every time a number is called, players with a corresponding number on their number sheet must draw a penguin at the location of that number. as soon as any player has drawn as many penguins as they have numbers on their sheet, they must share the delight of so many penguins by shouting "Pingo!". there are no penalties for players sufficiently overwhelmed by emotion before this point as to exclaim prematurely.

the non-competitive version of the game is played by issuing each player with an identical number sheet.

12:31 | /games

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it's okay not to like Pulp Fiction

12:16 | /humans

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