Pinned toot

If life is a river:

- you can't push the current.
- we need our meanders.
- don't build on your mental flood plains.

Pinned toot

I guess I should introduce myself as well. I am a geek, free range philosopher and occasional coder who lives in the North West of the UK. I am not sure how to describe my interests, but it seems to involve thinking a lot, which is generally something I like to do. Sometimes I even like to talk to people, which is what I am doing here. ;-)

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I've just found out that a foil lined Doritos packet works as a Faraday shield for my phone, but only for the mobile signal. The WiFi signal goes straight through. I asked a friend to message me in a few minutes, then put the phone inside the (cleaned) packet and tried to ring it from my landline. The call did not get through, but my friend's message was received a few minutes later via WiFi.

Some laser etched coasters I made. I etched the design into acrylic sheet on a laser cutter, then painted silver paint into the etching and took off the excess with a squeegee and a paper towel. I'm really pleased how well it's worked.

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Mastodon culture is a direct result of its non-monetization. No need to artificially add weight to voices strategically determined to hold your attention and make you see more ads. No algorithm feeding you posts designed to stoke your outrage, keeping you engaged with the platform for longer than you otherwise would have been, longer than you would have liked. No AI gatekeepers preventing important posts from people who care about you showing up in your feed.

The medium is the message.

You are all my comrades.

When I post here, I feel more that I can just say something and leave it and see whether people reply. On facebook it takes me into an emotional drama about 'do people like me, how many likes will I get, etc.' I think this is a consequence of design decisions on the part of facebook. This seems a 'cooler' and more reflective place, so safer for me emotionally.

Wandering around a maze of fears and fantasies. There are actual people here too. It gets confusing at times.

A star walks into a bar. The barman says 'I hope you don't mind our pet cat, Cassiopeia'. The star says 'no, I quite like cats'. The barman says 'you cannot be Sirius!'

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The Galaxy, the Jet, and the Black Hole

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration #APoD

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Social kneejerk

Words bounce around my head,
balls in a pinball hyper maze.
Memes fly past in a broken haze.
Social displays.
Always on stage.


For more see:

This is an essay I wrote back in 2003, a few years after I had a mental breakdown, about my ideas on the ways in which the medical model of mental health care fails to do justice to the experiences of those considered 'mad' or 'mentally ill'. I have just re-read it and I am actually surprised at how well I was able to express myself at that time. I still hold to a lot of the same ideas but tend to feel more inhibited in putting them forward in this kind of way.

It's not that I don't want to get to somewhere better in my life, but sometimes I need to know that its okay not to be okay, and to be able to just rest and take care of myself without feeling under pressure to make myself into someone who can survive in the world of work, and also that the process of recovery is something that I can engage in at least to some extent on my own terms when I am able to do so.


This article on how to set boundaries at work by going on a 'mind strike' is interesting. Sometimes I want to go on a 'mental health recovery strike' by asking myself what are the pressures on my life (such as the assessment I just had for personal independence payment) that make me feel I have to try so hard to 'get over my problems', often at the expense of my own emotional integrity, and how I might be able to resist those pressures.


Giving each instance responsibility for the behaviour of its users on the network also seems to me a reasonable compromise between free speech and protecting people from online abuse. If you feel that the moderation guidelines on your instance are too restrictive, you are free to move to another one. However if a given instance is consistently publishing abusive content, then other servers can block it from contacting their users. see:

To which I would add that with a decentralised network, if you are not happy with the way your instance (independent server on the network) is operating, for example because you have found out they are selling user data, you have the option of moving to another server on the network without losing touch with all your contacts, as you would if you moved from one centralised network to another. This makes the network as a whole more resilient to bad actors.

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Today, when I found out the person who planned the mosque shooting had planned to do it in #Ōtepoti (#Dunedin), I thought of the Syrian men who carted away all our unwanted furniture when we left town, sharing it with other families, who had also fled the violence engulfing their home and made a new one in #Aotearoa, #New Zealand. I thought of the scarves my wife gave them, for their wives and daughters. I remembered how much they smiled, as they struggled with their new English to thank us.

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No matter which social network you're on, following a diverse group of people helps you taking a peek at the other side of your personal filter bubble.

You don't have to agree with everything and everyone, but please, at least try to listen to people and their opinions.

It will help you appreciate your own life, and may just make you a little wiser.

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One of the first Mastodon instances, there is no specific topic we're into, just enjoy your time!