August 18

Break the Spy Cameras!

The world is flooded with cameras taking your picture and video recording you every day. Road cameras, Store cameras, WIFI laptop, cellphone, bank, etc. The list goes on. Everywhere you look these days, and many hidden places where you cannot look there are cameras.

And with these insidious cameras are new software technologies to perform facial recognition. This can then be used to link to massive databases of information on you, your browser history, your purchase history, your “criminal” history.

An criminal is in the eye of the beholder. To many of the elitists in government, everyone is a criminal in one way or another. They have seen to that by enacting so many different laws that there is nothing you can do alive OR dead without breaking some of them.

What is a freedom loving individualist to do?

How about not being recognized in the first place?

First lets get a very brief understanding how this technology works. Basically as can be seen from the following diagrams, the software maps a set of points on the face and has algorithms to detect a variety of facial changes as we do such things as eat, laugh, grimace, scowl, etc. Another set of algorithms allows the face to be mapped from any angle. Putting all of these together allows the computer to create a basic “Facial Fingerprint” unique to you.



Facebook has upped the anti by making every post able to map multiple faces and even map those faces as they change with age.


This is scary stuff. Not only can retailers and ad people use this to target us to buy their products, but most intrusivly it allows a government with far too much power to infiltrate and basically control our lives.

How can we combat this obvious intrusion into our private lives?  Well a company in Japan is working on an idea – one that those individuals with some basic DIY skills can certainly emulate!

The key is to conceal or inject “new” points into the facial map so that what the computer thinks it is seeing is something completely different.  Short of making a mask of someone else, a la “Mission Impossible” what can be done is to confuse enough of the face so that the computer cannot make the link.  Here is a picture of the shades they are developing


And Here is the Link: Fooling the Facial Recognition Camera

The key appears to be the ability to reflect white light back towards the camera and at the same time, confuse it about where to place the eye points and the eye-line to nose begin line (see earlier mapping pics). Without this data, all the camera has to go by is the lower nose and mouth lines.

Now, when the software builds this database of your face, what it is doing to create the facial fingerprint is to first determine these various points and then, and this is key, to create a set of “distance lines” between each of the points that represent a dynamic measure based on your current facial response. In other words no matter what your face is “doing” (laughing, crying, shouting, anger, happy, smiling, etc.) the dynamic distances between these lines stay within a specific set of ratios. This set of measures is unique to you so that by knowing all of the points, and all of the ratios of the lines connecting those points, the computer can guess that you are who you are within an astonishing degree of accuracy.

But only if it can get those points and ratios.

If you can devise ways to flummox the software (And I assure you, you can) then this recognition goes out the window.

Ultimately you could just wear a entire face covering bowl with a one-way see through mirrored surface. But then you would attract attention. “Hey look mommy, a manikin is walking down the street!”

These white shades, while rather bulky currently, won’t attract that much attention!

Good Luck out there!

May 4

Steampunk Lightning Detector MARK-II

So I have been building not one, but two new Lightning Detectors similar in some respects the my original “MARK-I” unit.

These use a new circuit from Charles Wenzel, that is somewhat simpler than the original, however does not have all of the neat options that the original possessed (namely the sound, metering, etc.) These detectors however had a more exotic and Steampunk feeling mixed with some “Alchemy” and Ghostly detection capabilities..

Magick, if you will.

Anyway, To the pics and circuitry. I wont bore you with too much text about how the build progressed, it was slow going just like before.


The completed Alchemical Steampunk Detector.


The two detectors partially built.


Frontal view of the completed Detector.


Side View.


Close up of the “Ghost Crystal”


Side View showing Hermetic Symbols of Alchemical Knowledge…


Winding the Basket Coils.


The straws make it simple to slide off. Remember there must always be an odd number of winding spikes (nails in this case).


A little hot glue at the crossover points and the coil slips off in 1 piece. Ready for matte black paint.

Finally, here is the circuit I used for the detector. As mentioned above, it is a bit simpler than the MARK-I, but has less capabilities.


That is all for now! If you want one of these you can buy it from my Etsy Store unless they are all gone, then you will have to have me build you one – which will take some time I’m afraid….

March 12

Making a Commonplace Book of your own…

Please read my post on what a commonplace book is before you make one, or you will turn into a toad.  Read it here

(Okay you rebel, I like you… besides, I’m not wasting that kind of magickal energy on you…)

There are a couple of ways to create a commonplace book that has the look of a real Victorian leather commonplace that would have been carried by a man or woman of letters (A woman or man who had the desire to further their intellectual capabilities and keep their musings, ideas, and creative juices flowing through the use of such a “rememberal”).  A leather-bound book of the size that would fit in a pocket or purse – large enough sketch and write comfortably, but small enough to keep easily, perhaps of a flexible nature.  You can buy books like this at your local hobby and metaphysical stores, or you can make one.


I choose to buy an unlined “mini-journal” from my local “Hobby-Lobby” and then customize it to my liking by creating a leather logo and affixing it to the front cover.  Here’s a pic.


My Commonplace Book.

By the way, for those who are interested, my logo is the Alchemical symbol of the Ourobors combined with the Triquetra, and the triple crescent moon which is actually the Celtic goddess symbol of Brigid in union with the horned god (Cerrunnos). My ancient ancestors would have appreciated it anyway… 🙂

This technique can certainly be used to make yourself a very inexpensive commonplace book, this one costing me about 10 bucks when all was said and done.


March 6

The “Commonplace” Book… The true Pensieve.

Okay… it has been a verrrrrrry long time since I have posted.  I could give the usual blather about being so busy, etc – and it would be true, but does anyone really care. No, they don’t.

So onward then.  Today’s topic: The commonplace book and how to make and use one.

The Definition: A Commonplace Book was/is a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.

Sounds like the internet, or a note taking feature on your phone.  The difference is that if you drop your commonplace book in the bathtub, you dry it off and move on…not so much with your phone.

The truth is, the commonplace book is a real life thing that collects and stores your memories in a way that actually reflects you and your personality – it is, in a real sense, the pensieve of the Harry Potter Stories.  By reading the commonplace book of a thinking man or woman who may be long dead, you will in fact be transported into their thoughts, time, and ways of thinking. You will be holding in your hands a physical object they in fact once owned, and wrote perhaps things more intimate than anywhere else except within their own minds. If your are sensitive enough, then for the briefest moment you will be them – just like the pensieve of Harry Potter, well… perhaps not quite as magical.

The fact is, when you write with your hand using a pencil or pen on paper… something magical happens that is just not the same as when you “type” it or speak it into a recorder.  When you sketch ideas, while describing the scraps and tidbits of your thoughts, poems, etc. you create something that is more than just a book of notes – you create a part of yourself.

The reason, of course, lies in the way the book is put together – it is not chronological, in fact you may write things on any page at any time. you might stick things in the book like a real scrap book as well (although it is supposed to be portable so you can take it with you, you probably want to put “thin” things in it).  Typically commonplace books use headings and are sectioned, but the fact about them is that they are supposed to represent your own memories.

Susan Wise Bauer (A historian)–in her book The Well-Educated Mind: A guide to the classical education you never had–describes them as “artificial memories,” says this about keeping such a book:

When we sit in front of Plato or Shakespeare or Conrad, “simple reading” isn’t enough. We must learn to fix our minds, to organize our reading so that we are able to retain the skeleton of ideas that pass in front of our eyes….How is this done?  By keeping a journal to organize your thoughts about your reading.  What we write, we remember.  What we summarize in our own words becomes our own.

I could not say that better, so I didn’t. In fact I bold faced stole this from another bloggers article about commonplace books that you can read here.

By the way, when those who practice the magical arts (witches, wiccans, wizards (oh my), sorcerers, etc.) make a commonplace book, it is usually termed a “book of shadows” or perhaps a “grimoire” – albeit a rather unorganized one perhaps…

So here are some pictures of some real commonplace books… then we will discuss ways in which to make our our own.

9_Commonplace_Book_Page_No__1_by_Madelei 1345106783941.cached example_cpb_1

April 11

Taser Proof Clothing…

Just read a report about the rancher in Nevada whose son was tasered by the Feds (read about it here ) for being on their own land and on land that the state of Nevada has allowed ranchers to use for grazing for years.  The Feds have come “swooping” in to protect some stupid turtle.  Another Fed grab of lands that should belong to the people.

Now, to be sure, I do not think all government personnel are thugs… however the less local they are, the more thuggish they seem to act.  You local cop or even your state police are probably people you know, and are at least people who live where you live.  But in this case we are talking Total Thuggery and Total Unconstitutional action.  Your essential Jack-Booted Federal Agent with a superiority complex.

This, of course, is not the first time Fed thugs have used tasers on innocent people – now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of criminals who need to be tasered.  It would be nice if the Feds would spend their time and resources going after real crooks, for example the Mexican cartels that are crossing our borders – but instead they keep going after the people of this country.  But I digress…

It is time we put a stop to innocent tasing.  To that end lets explore Tasers and Taser-Proof clothing and how to make them both yourself.

This post will look at some interesting projects others have done – I’m not saying one way or another if I have done it. 🙂

The basic principles are simple – just short out the taser by making an electrical pathway that is much more conductive than the human body.  Tasers work on the principle of injecting a high voltage square-wave Alternating Current (AC) into the body by 2 contacts  so as to disrupt the central nervous system.  Shorting those terminals out removes the offending voltage from the body, while also possibly destroying the taser device (if it is cheaply made).

So first we need to know what we are dealing with… what is a Taser?


I said, hand over that doughnut!!!

Here are a few circuit diagrams so you can make one, take one apart, and basically understand what they are doing.

stun-gun-schematic stungun Stun-Gun-3a stun_gun1 dazer stun-gun-schematic-555

And here is an offending bit of description of the following taser device that is shown in block diagram:

An electronic disabling device includes first and second electrodes positionable to establish first and second spaced apart contact points on a target having a high impedance air gap existing between at least one of the electrodes and the target. The power supply generates a first high voltage, short duration output across the first and second electrodes during a first time interval to ionize air within the air gap to thereby reduce the high impedance across the air gap to a lower impedance to enable current flow across the air gap at a lower voltage level. The power supply next generates a second lower voltage, longer duration output across the first and second electrodes during a second time interval to maintain the current flow across the first and second electrodes and between the first and second contact points on the target to enable the current flow through the target to cause involuntary muscle contractions to thereby immobilize the target.

Remember… if you disagree with your government, you are the “target”.


This paper was written about using 40Hz square waves compared to the 19 Hz square waves of the “TASER(®) X26” device…

Conducted energy weapons (CEWs) (including the Advanced TASER(®) X26 model produced by TASER International, Inc.) incapacitate individuals by causing muscle contractions. In this study using anesthetized swine, the potential incapacitating effect of primarily monophasic, 19-Hz voltage imposed by the commercial CEW was compared with the effect of voltages imposed by a laboratory device that created 40-Hz square waves. Forces of muscle contraction were measured with the use of strain gauges. Stimulation with 40-Hz square waves required less pulse energy than stimulation with the commercial CEW to produce similar muscle contraction. The square-pulse stimulation, at the higher repetition rate, caused a more complete tetanus at a lower energy. Use of such a simple shape of waveform may be used to make future nonlethal weapon devices more efficient.

© 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A.

Just from that we know that TASER uses 19 Hz monophasic (single phase) frequency in their devices. They have claimed in the past (as have others) that the specific “shape” of their devices square waves also help in making their devices more “impactful” – however I suspect that all they do is build a circuit (or use a micro controller) to induce a steep pulse at the beginning, ending, or both sides of the standard square wave pattern.  It really does not matter as the prior paper and this next one show that the most efficient pulse is a 40Hz Straight Square wave.

Electronic control devices (including the Advanced TASER(®) X26 model produced by TASER International) incapacitate individuals by causing muscle contractions. To provide information relevant to development of future potential devices, effects of monophasic square waves with different parameters were compared with those of the X26 electronic control device, using two animal models (frogs and swine). Pulse power, electrical pulse charge, pulse duration, and pulse repetition frequency affected muscle contraction. There was no difference in the charge required, between the square waveform and the X26 waveform, to cause approximately the same muscle-contraction response (in terms of the strength-duration curve). Thus, on the basis of these initial studies, the detailed shape of a waveform may not be important in terms of generating electro-muscular incapacitation. More detailed studies, however, may be required to thoroughly test all potential waveforms to be considered for future use in ECDs.

2010 American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Published 2010. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A.


So, if you want to create a “taser proof” vest or clothing, you have to essentially short out the taser electrodes in a way that does not allow the power to go into your body.  Remember, your body is essentially a bag of somewhat salty water which makes it a rather crappy conductor, unless there is nothing else better.  Typically you don’t wear conductive clothing so you are essentially going to become a conductor… unless you have prepared.  A simple way to do this is to take your favorite jacket, tear out the lining (carefully and in 1 piece) and install carbon tape.


Tasers are no match for a real conductor!

Here is an instructable for using carbon cloth tape to create the Taser-Proof Jacket...

After doing that, just make sure you are wearing your jacket whenever you get tased.