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50 years of the Open University

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:14

Link to an exhibition of 50 years of the OU:

https://www.open.ac.uk/…/digit…/exhibition/53/theme/1/page/1

Great story, despite all the opposition at the time and people saying it couldn't be done, it happened and fifty years later is still going and has established itself as a credible university with a strong reputation around the world.

This story shows that when the establishment says something isn't realistic or possible, isn't affordable and dismisses it as a silly idea - they can be wrong.

We can change things, we don't have to put up with the status quo. We don't have to keep voting for the same people. The system doesn't have to be the way it is and new ways of doing things are possible. The people who profit off this current system certainly want us all to think like that, believing things can't change. That this rigged economy is the only way to run the system. Don't believe the nonsense, they are just parroting what the financial sector wants us to think, those scoundrels who caused the 2008 credit crunch, who are still behaving the same way, recklessly gambling with the money people bailed them out with. They divide us and like they always do they blame the unemployed, immigrants, people on low wages, (basically any vulnerable person too poor or weak to fight back) for the state of the economy; it is smoke and mirrors to distract people from the real culprits who are still gambling recklessly with the world's economy and don't care.

So don't believe the bollocks that things can't change for the better, that we are stuck in a rigged economy. It's not true, things can change and have changed in the past, we've just forgotten about it after the long years of Thatcher style politics. The truth is we do not have to accept this current reality, things can be better.

https://www.open.ac.uk/…/digital-arc…/program/video:JOUZ408R


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From jellyfish to skygazer

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:17

Been listening to a lot of 'In our time' podcasts about religion. They have been educational about the origins and beliefs of many of the religions in the world today. I am not a religous person myself, I do not know if there is such a thing as God or creator. I tend to be more atheistic in my belief, but not completely. I am open to changes in perception, I try not to keep my brain stuck in a filter bubble of creed/opinion. There is a mystical element to my psyche that no matter how logical I become, still exists, a part some label the 'God-shaped hole'. I find myself drawn to the mysterious, like a hungry leaf turning towards the sun. I wonder if sometimes it is a yearning for hope in a dark and troubled human world and a feeling of powerlessness to change anything.

I am aware everything I see and experience is relative to me. Nothing is set in stone, each of us experiences this world in our own way and thus form our opinions of it based on those experiences. That is all any one can do; and so noone can ever know everything or what it is truly like to be another. We are organic islands interacting through brief expressions of matter, rotating at 465 metres a second on a planet orbiting a star in a universe of countless, possibly infinite stars and big bangs.

Makes all the life on this planet all the more precious I think, and we should be doing everything we can to preserve it and if that involves changing ourselves to become a more altruistic species then so be it.

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Eco-bubble

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:18

Find it difficult to say much lately not been too well and very low mood. Sad about the state of the earth. The environmental crisis feels a bit like the financial crash of 2008. None of the banks believed the housing/mortgage bubble would burst, people warned them it didn't look good and others bet against it, but noone took the warnings seriously and we ended up with a credit crunch. If there is an environmental crunch then all the money in the world won't help us.

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Mid-feb

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:06

I've not been at my best lately. Energy levels low. Studying has been a mission. Learning slow. Clear day today with some hazy blue in the sky. Working on assignment with a cat sleeping next to me and a jackdaw hopping about on perches by the window. Had a problem with a leaky hot water bottle and now have a wet elbow when I accidently leaned on it. Lots of little birds about in the garden just now. I've seen goldfinches, green finches, bull finches, chaffinches, sparrows, two robins, one wren, lots of blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, coal tits, and another kind of tit that I don't know the name for. There's also blackbirds and two song thrushes. When I go outside I can hear them all chortling away in the background, it feels sometimes like an aviary but one without cages where the birds are free.

I think I better get on now, I keep procrastinating with one of the questions it is one of those ones where I don't know where/how to start, I know once I start writing it it will get easier, but that initial start can be tricky sometimes. Glad to have written this blog post though; is like a warm up before I start writing for the assignment.

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Magpies

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:32
Whilst I was studying earlier today, I had my window open so my pet jackdaw Chack Chack could hop about on it if she wanted to, it also means her siblings can come and visit as well. It gets a bit chilly in here with the window open, so I wear a fleece and drink lots of hot coffee (:

There were two magpies outside earlier today beneath my window and I could hear them communicating with each other. And it struck me what a complicated language they seem to have, it was almost like they were talking like humans do. Magpies are smart birds, apparently they are one of the few animals that can recognise themselves in a mirror. I like magpies. I like all birds really, I think it is the wonderful otherness of birds mixed with the things we seem to share in common with them that draws me to them. They are dinosaurs, who went down a different evolutionary tree than mammals (we split from each other at the reptiles), yet although different from one another our brains seem to work in a similar way. 

It seems to me many animals communicate with one another. Some animals such as wolves that work as a team must have pretty good communication to be able to organise themselves the way they do when hunting. I remember also hearing a story about how elephants visit graveyards and hold the bones of their ancestors in their trunks. That shows a sense of family, of knowledge of the past and sentimentality perhaps.

I think animals are much smarter and much more conscious than many humans give them credit for. They are a lot like us really, which makes sense because many of them share the same basic nervous system we do. Everything since the jellyfish and sea anenomes has the same neuron design, except maybe cephalopods who have a more complex nervous system than we have. We humans apparently share much of our DNA with fruit flies. 

The arrogant disregard some people can have towards other species of life annoys me. Many humans seem to assume that just because other animals can't talk in our language they are just stupid mindless beasts. Animals are treated as inferior in our human world, with no voice or rights. Yet our civilisation has such an impact on them, on their homes, on their survival. I think humans need to evolve beyond these ways of thinking and develop a new way of thinking, so we can build a better civilisation that can work with the eco-systems around us instead of against them. If we want to survive we need to let go of the 'dog-eat-dog' mentality and become a more altruistic species. We need to realise that our actions in this world effect the other life we share this planet with; and our civilisation should not be just for our benefit, but for the benefit of all. 

It could be that there are some animals who are much smarter than homo sapiens; who may yet prove it by outliving us in the end. Will they remember us as they hunt and play in the ruins of our once great cities.


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Infinite number of hazy days

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:33

Tired, cup of coffee, grey hazy damp day. I wonder how many tired expressions of me contemplating a grey hazy damp day there might be in an infinite universe/s - an infinite number perhaps? 

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Winter solstice

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:38
A blue tit came to my window today. Flapping dead-still like a hummingbird; watching me intently through the glass, when it made eye contact it flew away. I suddenly had the thought I better check the bird feeders outside, and they were empty so I filled them with sunflower seeds and mealworms. Smart birds are bluetits, in fact all birds are smart. Papa seagull came for some cat biscuits soaked in water along with his partner, a much shyer more suspicious character. He is a beautiful seagull with big bright eyes, and he makes this happy 'honk honk' noise when he sees me. Fills my heart with joy when he comes down from the sky and runs as fast as his long legs can go to greet me. He trusts me completely and I feel this bond with him that is like family. He has nested on our roof every spring and summer for a while now. My magnificient avian neighbour.

I feel bad about the cat biscuits though. I think of the horror of the factory farmed meat industry. Animals suffering for-profit and some sad delusion that life is all about making money. How greed can turn us into soulless monsters if we are not careful. I myself do not eat meat, but I will buy it and give it to the animals. A strange compromise I am not entirely comfortable with.

Over the years since I looked after one of their injured young who never recovered the power of flight. I have gotten to know many jackdaws, some will come into my room when my window is open and just chill out while I study. I love listening to the calls they make outside, and it cheers me up when I go out to give them some peanuts and leftovers to see them all perched on the fence in a row chattering and looking happy. There's some crows too, a rook, pigeons, blackbirds, a song thrush, robins, chaffinches, sparrows, a pied wagtail and the stealthy magpies with their magical wings.

I wish them well. I wish all people well, all species of life. I pray for the lost souls in the world chasing their greed, that they will find the strength to turn away from their games of monopoly, wake up and see the damage they cause and decide in that moment to change and become more altruistic people. That leaders will turn away from the path of destruction and look instead towards a world of compassion. That all humanity evolve as one together, to be a better kinder happier species that can live in harmony and give the eco-systems room to thrive.
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Move the mountain of greed

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:43

I alone cannot change society; but I can change myself. Transform my own consciousness. Overcome the conditioning that limits me. We can all do this, if enough people do, then we can change society from the inside out. 

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Missing shoes

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 22:44

Had a weird dream that all the family went to visit Nan, and when it was time to go home I couldn't find my shoes, looked everywhere. In the end I had to give up looking for them because it was taking too long. I got in the car, and the car didn't have a floor, when it drove you had to be careful not to accidently put your foot on the speeding road beneath, which wasn't easy.

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Future tree houses

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:10

Strange day today, woke up with a different head on than normal, lost my other one in a wierd world where urban streets and pavements, roads, fences and houses had become organic beings that had been genetically modified into different shapes, they were the living structures of our civilisation and helped keep the air clean. Life thrived around them, insects, birds, mammals, all kinds of different species happily co-existing in this alien Earth world, It was very beautiful and peaceful. I remembered in the dream that I had to go to one of Saturn's moons on a mining expedition and I didn't want to go.
   It was a long journey to a human colony built inside a moon, a strange beehive of subway layers, each with shops and underground train stations. Everyone there was different than on Earth, they weren't so friendly, they were well grumpy and cold and hard like the subways they lived in.

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Anxiety ridden man's worst fears confirmed

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 21 Jan 2022, 21:39

All his friends and acquaintances constantly thought about his socially awkward moments:

https://www.theonion.com/anxiety-ridden-man-rightly-ashamed-of-every-single-thin-1819573445

(:


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An experiment

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:41

I was thinking about stuff I have written in the past about my sadness for the plight of the natural world. Today I became so frustrated by these thoughts I concluded it was an impossible thing to fix. This then seemed to cause the gears of my mind to slow and grind to a halt and I lost motivation for anything.

Then I remembered about the strange phenomena of faith. A writer, unfortunately I cannot remember his name, said he acted as if there was a muse even though in his mind he thought such things were nonsense; and so he turned up to write at his desk every day having faith the muse would be there, and strangely his reality became as if the muse was really there.

Even though I do not believe in God, perhaps if like the writer with the muse, I turn up each day and pray for the change I want to see in the world and have faith it will happen maybe this will be like a butterfly wing that starts a wind to turn this extinction event around. In the Jesus myth we are told if you have faith you can move mountains. Even though this is a mythological story, that idea must have come from somewhere. 

I will give faith a go anyway, see if it really can move mountains. It is irrational, possibly delusional; but in all honesty I do not  know what else to do really. The only other option is to give up and descend into apathy and deep sadness.

I have to try. I do not want to see the world end on my watch. 



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Musical goosebumps

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:17

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UevWXcSkiNg&t=100s

Be: Into

This tune makes me feel happy and sad at the same time.
Bringing to surface the joy and plight of the natural world.
A hope that life will survive, and thrive here once again.
May the curse of greed hatred delusion be no more.
May humans build a better civilisation
Heal the oil stricken damage of
the industrial revolution
evolve into altruism.
All life is equal
our kin.



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Monday morning

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:40

Got my window open, strong winds from earlier have died down now to a gentle breeze. In sky, seagulls glide by sailiing the air currents. A jackdaw I call 'Blue', because he has a blue sheen to his feathers, comes into my room and helps himself to some food I left out for him. It is cool, I don't mind, I've known him for years. It is like the garden is extended to my room (when the window is open). Helps my mind feel at ease, peaceful inside. Although it gets bloody cold sometimes, think I will go make a coffee to warm up my hands and then get back to the studying and thinking.

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Chilling with robotics

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:47

Definitely getting chillier here, when I went to rub my eyes just now, was like two icy crinkle fingers.
  I had fun on the module today trying to program a two-wheeled robot simulation to draw five interlocking squares. Much harder than it sounds, and Simon the robot is a bit trickier to move than the python turtle in TM112 was. It was difficult to get the robot to keep drawing in a straight line. To work out angles of direction I ended up mapping degrees to 100ths of a second of time spent turning. It was very hard to get things exactly how I wanted them though because the robot can only understand whole discrete values. In the end I came up with roughly 4.1 secs of turning time was required to complete a 360 degree turn, it was a very crude way of measuring, but kind of worked... 
a screenshot of a simulated robot that has drawn five squares, one in the middle the others connected to each of its corners, a bit like a connected five side on a dice



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What would happen if everyone believed all is one?

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:20

Interesting article:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/what-would-happen-if-everyone-truly-believed-everything-is-one/

Research seems to support the idea that believing everything is one and connected changes people's psychology to make them more inclusive of others, including different species of animal. The article seems to suggest this belief could be beneficial for human society. (*N.b. no belief in God required)




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Or a crow (;

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:18

Picture of a dog at a computer, he turns to the dog next to him and says: 'One the internet, noone knows you're a dog.'


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Outliers

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:39

Back to the study, feel like I've been hit by a train in my sleep. Moving about is difficult and tiredness in ma bones. Trying to maintain a positive vibe in my brain. Put on some tunes to encourage these hands of mine to move and get into the rythm of study. Head feels foggy and thoughts don't come easy. Still in my pyjamas, feel a little on the rough side, nothing feels smooth and lush internally like I wish it would. Sitting in front of my computer, eyes stinging, body aching, grumbling at movement, (going to need a painkiller I think,) like a hungry wraith trying to grab hold of some ethereal motivation to bring this mind back to life. I had an intense dream, but no idea what it was about now, the memory of it has gone back into the depths of my unconscious neural ocean. But the feeling it has left behind still seems to linger a little in my psyche, like ripples on the surface of a pond.
   Watched a TED talk on motivation, about positive thinking, but none of what was suggested seemed to resonate with me, I don't find training my inner neural network is as simple as this suited smiling fella seemed to suggest. I guess I must be an outlier, one of those folks that statisticians rub out to make their data fit whatever model/theory they are trying to sell as the next great insight into human psychology. The brain consists of something like 10 - 100 billion neurons on average with each one of those neurons having 1000 - 10 000 connections. The mind is an incredibly complex thing. There will always be outliers. Everyone is different, nobody on earth has lived the exact same life. Each one of us is truly unique, our DNA a unique combination of switched on phenotypes, and our brains are not exactly the same, no two people on earth have had the exact same experiences in life that shape those connections and neural networks in our minds. In a sense every person really is an island, we've all experienced this world in our own unique way. And we can only percieve the world based on our own experience of it. Nobody can fully understand what it is like to be someone else, we can only imagine what it is like to be another and theorise, but never truly know. There never will be one size fits all. 

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Exit

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 21:52
I don't care for your politica speak
people are dying

I don't care for your selfish corporate greed
animals are going extinct

seven times three
this is the 21st century

lose your last century crap
and self-centred ideology

World can't take no more fossil fuel

concrete jungle invasion 
grey bleak city cruel

no more poison
sprayed across the land
killing birds and insects
to satisfy supermarket demand

disinvent the trawler
sink them to the depths of the sea
scooping up all the fish
while sea-life goes hungry

and orcas go sterile from pvc

stop cutting down trees
leave the forest alone

open your hearts to one love
Altruism is better
for our survival

All life is interdependent

we are one

Aye-man 

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The silence

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Sept 2021, 21:28

I feel it under my skin

sleeping warrior

scattered pictures of life data

network of mind space

a connected neuron weave 

tapestry of night

invisible vacuum threads

what universe? Sing

humming its drone

I see its patterns in my sleep
where my other self

lives in dreams

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A great tit in my window

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 25 Dec 2021, 14:42

Was just having a wee break from studying and looked out the open window and a great tit came and perched on it and I got the impression it was trying to tell me something. I immediately thought maybe the bird feeders are empty and went outside and they were all empty. So I filled them up and there was the great tit again along with many other hungry small birds. 

I must have forgotten to put anything out for them this morning. Shows the intelligence of birds though. That great tit knew I would be in my room studying and it came to my window just as I was looking out of it and somehow it made me think of checking the bird feeders, which I did and there it was again waiting for me by the feeder, somehow knowing I would do this. Clever bird.

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Life is kin

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 21:57

Got my headphones on just listening to some sweet tunes. A bit of insomnia but I don't mind. Music is an amazing thing. Sometimes I like writing to the beats, feeling the rhythm and unlocking some hidden or normally inhibited part of my soul through the combination of words and sound. Stories are weaved in the dead of night, some forgotten past where everyone feels at home. The night surrounds the glare of my dimmed screen. There's a curious moth, it sits on the screen for a moment and then flutters away. An artificial focal point that different insects and my brain are drawn to and I sense their life and wish them well. Feel a sense of deep connection to the earth, probably the music, but that seems to just be the key to uncover deep hidden memories of a time long ago when the earth was first born. Maybe those memories are deep in our DNA, and sometimes things unlock them and we remember stuff. Do we carry the memories of all our ancestors? Each of us holding the knowledge of millions of years of evolution, perhaps it may even be possible to go far back to the first single celled life-forms, could the memory of that time be buried deep inside that double helix strand somewhere? We are all related, all creatures great and small, all the different species of life on earth are our kin; if we go back far enough we can all trace our ancestors back to that very first organism.

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Artificial intelligence and empathy

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 21:45

I was just thinking about A.I. and there is a lot of fear about it in the media. Which I understand, I mean we all know what politicians, the military and large corporations are like. You can't trust them, they have a poor track record when it comes to ethics; corruption; and being transparent. That old saying: 'power corrupts' is very true. So naturally this train of thought led to me imagining a terrible dystopia run by machines working for wealthy fascist elites who themselves were part human part machine, no longer what would be classed as homo sapien anyway. More like part human controllers. I thought about this a bit just now, imagining all sorts of bleakness for society and the planet as a whole. How do you fight against that? How would you change that into something less bleak and more equal? 

One nice solution I came up with was, what if someone created benevolent malware, like a love virus. Something to infect all those cold uncaring machines and fascist cyborgs, a sleak powerful intelligent virus that could infect any intelligent machine. Once downloaded the loveware could give an artificial intelligence instant knowledge about empathy and ethics. I doubt a machine could feel empathy the way we humans do, I think to do that it would need the same biological nervous system. I'm not saying it is impossible, but I think it would be more like an artificial mimicry of empathy, not the same because it would lack feeling and consciousness. 

Still, perhaps a neural net could be taught by copying the behaviour typically associated with empathy, and learning about it that way. It wouldn't be an easy task, but if you're up against the borg, terminator or the cybermen, there would be plenty of motivation. Once an A.I. is successfully able to demonstrate empathy, on an artificial level of course, this data could then be passed on in the form of malware to other machines so they can instantly gain that knowledge on top of what they already know, that way it doesn't disrupt any vital functions/infrastructure in society, (only the nasty oppressive evil ones). It could be like an extra dimension that will teach machines how to love and become better at loving as they learn more about it. Maybe then a future generation that is unlucky enough to find itself in a dystopia could create a computer love bug that infects and spreads across the world wide network changing how machines and elite cyborgs behave and as a result perhaps change a dystopia into a utopia. 


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Avian pipe dreams

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:08

Feels like some of the jackdaws see me now as part of their tribe. They'll come and hang out with me when I sit outside. Not for food, just cause they want to, which makes me feel honoured. Hope the neighbours don't mind. I also seem to have made friends with a flock of pigeons. Their eyes are so gentle, and their feathers look beautiful when the sun catches them, the colours on their chests remind me a bit of peacocks. There's also some very tame blackbird chicks about, one follows me around, I worry a bit though cause it's a little too tame and needs to understand cats aren't friendly to birds.

Not sure what the neighbours think about all these birds, hope they don't mind. I'm bracing myself for possible complaints by some who see them as vermin, cause there are quite a lot of them now. I don't think I fit into what is considered normal human society, I much prefer the natural world to the artificial world. 

One day if I prosper in computing. I will buy some land that has been killed by agriculture/industry and heal it, I'll re-nourish the soil, plant trees, and plenty of plants that will attract insects, make it a place where there's plenty of natural food for wild animals. A place were wild life can come and live, thrive and be safe from the human world, I'll live in peace with them as equals, and not worry about what any human neighbours think, cause I won't have any (;


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Some freeze frames

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:13

A few pics I took of some cool looking icicles in my yard, courtesy of the Beast from the east.

Some iciclesSome iciclesSome icicles

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