The non-future of homelessness

Generations to come will not know homelessness.

They will look back and read homeless stories like we read Dickens novels talking about children sweeping chimneys.

This is my dream.

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”

Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism.

As I live and shall die, always this.


Ending currency

Actually, I want the transition to a post currency economy to start now.

Money already has lost its meaning – if it can be argued to have ever had one beyond power hierarchies and control, which I’ll concede was possible back in our history.

Automation is reducing employment rate below what is possible for currency to have meaning.

When employment rate reduces whilst scarcity of resources reduces, currency begins to lose all meaning beyond abuse in order to maintain power over others.

Universal income is a quick fix – a band aid for capitalism faced with rising unemployment due to a lack of scarcity and need for human labour.

The most worrying thing is that the more we try to pretend a currency based economy is the only way, the more we force people to either face poverty or become snake-oil salesmen. And beyond those two choices, we force people into jobs that do nothing except prop up an economic system that has no purpose – selling people insurance for things that can be easily replaced, or banking systems that circulate currency that has no value beyond its circulation.

Gene Roddenberry was right about one thing:

The economics of the future will be entirely alien to a currency based culture.

Whether we like it or not, our great-great-grandchildren will live in a world without currency, or at least one where it only exists to promote an artificial division in society.

Beyond that, our great-great-great-great-grandchildren will live in a world where currency literally makes no sense to them at all.

Unless we blow this world back to the Stone Age before then.

We are already at the point where currency is becoming obsolete.

It’s about time we embrace it and work towards a world without it.

If this seems alien or unimaginable to you, think of how your ancestors in the Middle Ages considered serfdom ever becoming a thing of the past.

You’re poor? Fuck you!

If I work 40 hours a week and spend my wages buying 4 beers a day (even adding a Weekend’s worth of drinking in between), with a high enough paid job to not go bankrupt, nobody blinks an eye.

If, however, I work 40 hours or more a week and spend my wages buying just 4 beers a day, without a high enough paid job, and I go bankrupt, it’s my fault.

Addiction isn’t just excusable and sustainable if you’re rich. It’s actually celebrated.

If you’re poor, then even lower levels of addiction are enough to condemn you.

Why is that?

(Hint: it’s because we’re conditioned to hate poor people and blame them for their poverty, whilst ignoring the economic system that both makes them poor and happily punished them for the same behaviour we absolve rich people from displaying.)

Royalists should choose their arguments more carefully

To those saying the UK should keep the monarchy because they generate tourism:

I don’t think you really want to go down the “tourism dollar” route.

For starters, France beheaded their whole aristocracy and still has a roaring tourist trade – even looking at the old palaces and castles.

Secondly, ok, let’s talk dollar.

We behead the monarchy in Trafalgar Square and put it on pay-per-view live.

I guarantee that billions would pay to watch it – probably enough at the right price to more or less wipe the national debt.

Then we still get tourists flocking to the old palaces, and even re-enact the event in Trafalgar Square every anniversary to crowds of people who will definitely turn up to watch such a historic event being re-enacted, and have tourists flocking to re-enactments of old monarchy-days traditions with cheaper actors instead of expensive royals playing the roles.

We’ll make way more out of them that way.

I’m not saying we should do this at all.

But if the tourist dollar is all you care about, then I’ve just used your argument to demonstrate that executing the royal family is fiscally responsible.

So why not try to come up with something meaningful, rather than an idiotic idiom?

Hey, you’re argument was pure capitalism.

By pure capitalism I’ve come up with a better and more lucrative argument for getting rid of them.

Don’t blame me if your argument was so flawed.

Rule #78

Every true statement regarding how lies are perpetuated and maintained, and how those deceived will react to people who debunk those lies, will be used by those perpetuating and deceived by lies against those who debunk them, and to maintain or justify their lies.

Rule #78(b):

Even this one.

Systemic homeless starvation – the next step in street cleansing

There’s a contentious argument that has existed for centuries over whether it is morally correct to give money to homeless people.

I’m not going to get into that argument here. I will do do elsewhere, but it’s not relevant for me to do so right now.

Many of those who state that they won’t give money to the homeless say that they will give food to them. Again, I’m not going to go into the ethical conundrum that this can entail, I’ll deal with that elsewhere.

The main thing here is that, if you want to help someone in need, and you feel the best way of doing that is by providing them with the things they need right at that moment as you see it, rather than the ability to get those things – because you fear that they may “squander” that money instead of looking after themselves – hats off to you.

I don’t fully agree, but you do care and you are giving directly (and I hope ethically, taking their dietary needs and limitations into account) to someone you see in a desperate situation.

So let’s talk about Nottingham

According to the city of Nottingham’s new “Public Spaces Protection Order” (PSPO), it will not only be an offence to obstruct a doorway (homeless people often need to sleep in doorways to protect themselves from the weather), but even to give food to homeless people.

That’s right. You won’t be able to even give food to homeless people.

So I’m intrigued as to how those who want to just give food feel about this. Because now a city in the uk is seeking to make it an offence – by which you will be punished – for giving to someone in need, even in ways that you feel are morally fine and necessary.

This doesn’t just affect the public individual donating a kebab after being kicked out of a pub. It affects outreach teams, who take it upon themselves to ensure the homeless population are well fed and well clothed throughout even the worst months of the year.

This order will criminalise grass roots networks who do nothing more than provide warm clothing and food to people who are denied the ability to procure those things. At a time when services open to homeless people are in decline (from housing to welfare to mental health).

How does it feel to know that if you try to help someone not die, you will face a criminal sentence?

In reality, this is just what councils have been doing across the country – criminalising homeless people, and attempting to brush them under the carpet in a manner close to genocide by negligence, to “sanitise” the economic heartlands they perceive as being inconvenienced by the existence of poor people.

So even if you only want to give food to homeless people, surely you see this as an attack on both yourself and the homeless?

In reality, it’s just the latest progression in attacks against homeless people, that has continually attempted to de-humanise us. That’s obvious to most ex-homeless people, who are still stigmatised by society for their homelessness, even after the fact.

Since not only is the right of homeless people to ask for or accept food being taken away, but also your right to give food to someone you see as being in desperate need, will you finally agree that we live in a country that hates homeless people and is willing to pass anti-homeless laws that will have a catastrophic impact on our homeless population?

On anti-homeless policies and prejudice

You all realise that you can fuck the homeless over as much as you want, but you’re fighting a people who have no fixed address and can appear out of nowhere, and who have nothing left to lose, right

I mean, I’m no military expert, but that has historically been the shittest idea ever.

On evolution, how we talk about it incorrectly, and when humans will speciate

Many people today think of evolution and natural selection entirely incorrectly.

We often repeat the idea that individuals compete to pass on their genes and through this process, coupled with advantageous mutations passed down to their offspring, those individuals or their offspring “evolve”.

It’s painted as “survival of the fittest”, whereby only the healthiest and strongest individuals get to pass on their genes and either become or create “evolved beings” – a fallacious view of Darwinian evolution that is at the foundation of “Social Darwinism”.

The problem is that this isn’t at all what happens.

Evolution doesn’t care about individuals.

Two major driving factors of evolution are genetic drift and gene flow – the former occurs when populations become isolated from each other, allowing them to diversify and speciate; the latter occurs when species populations interact, preventing speciation as the population breeds indiscriminately, which dilutes the gene pool instead of forcing it to diverge for the original population.

Genetic drift typically takes a long time to result in speciation, and gene flow can very quickly halt any progress towards speciation even after prolonged periods of isolation between populations.

Hence why genetic drift in human populations largely isolated from each other for millennia didn’t result in speciation, in the main due to the relative small timescales of the isolation and the effects of gene flow whenever that isolation was eventually broken or punctuated.

Evolution doesn’t happen to individuals, and not just in terms of a person evolving during their lifetime. *Populations* evolve, not individuals or their immediate offspring.

Evolution is about the changes in allele frequencies in a population over time. It has nothing to do with individuals beyond a most minor level.

Speciation doesn’t occur because of one or two mutations getting passed on to a family’s offspring.

It takes *many* mutations from *many* different groups in a population, which in turn must be isolated from the larger population or other population groups.

As such, it isn’t actually about individual competition, and it has nothing to do with the survival of the fittest.

Whether you survive to pass on your genes or die before you get the chance, has practically zero bearing on the process of evolution, because your children will not magically be a new species – your genetic mutations don’t magically code for “new species of human”.

Speciation is a cumulative and emergent effect, not a sudden over-night phenomenon.

Whilst your genetic mutations can play a part in that cumulative and emergent process, it will happen with or without you and your role in it is as close to negligible as to be practically irrelevant.

Again: evolution happens to *populations*, not individuals or their immediate offspring.

It isn’t your genes that will magically create a new and/or better species of human, or in any way create a “more evolved” human.

To put it clearer, even in isolated populations, the genetic mutations you pass on may very likely be overridden or diluted by others. So the genetic mutations of you and your partner have statistically little affect on speciation.

Individuals don’t matter, it’s the *collective process* that determines speciation.

It should also be noted that evolution is environmentally led, not individually led.

If your species needs a certain amount of oxygen in the atmosphere in order to breathe properly, and the level of atmospheric oxygen drops, it doesn’t matter how fit or strong or intelligent you are – you die out.

And you personally can’t make the many genetic mutations occur for you and your offspring to evolve the body plan capable of surviving with lower levels of atmospheric oxygen. Unless you are lucky enough to play a part in a long and fortunate process of cumulative mutations that result in such body plans evolving over a necessary long time period, you die out.

Game over, thanks for playing.

And this gets to another piece of annoyingly incorrect terminology often used in relation to evolution – the “evolutionary arms race”.

This term typically describes the process by which both prey and predator adapt over time to either avoid getting eaten or become better hunters.

The problem is that it implies some kind of intent or agency that doesn’t exist.

In an arms race, both sides actively engage in research and development projects, intentionally designing new weapons to defeat the enemy.

There is no intention in evolution. It’s a blind process in which population groups gain an advantage due to environmental factors completely outside of their control and without any individual or collective agency guiding that process.

It’s not an arms race. Neither side is purposefully trying to “out-evolve” the other. Environmental factors and changes in allele frequencies in population groups lead to new species emerging with different characteristics, which in turn define the dynamics of the food chain and the success and potential of the different species involved.

It doesn’t sound as sexy as an “arms race”, but it’s a hell of a lot more accurate and doesn’t readily lend itself to “Social Darwinism” on either an individual or global scale.

Gene flow is also the reason why human beings won’t speciate until we colonise new star systems, when those populations will be necessarily isolated enough from each other for genetic drift to take hold.

Whilst we’re only colonising our own solar system, movement of people between the colonies will be too simple and frequent for speciation to occur, as gene flow dominates over genetic drift.

It is only when we create colonies vastly isolated from each other, where movement between colonies is extremely rare and difficult – such as between star systems – that genetic drift will take over, and speciation will become an inevitability.

Secularism isn’t the enemy of religion

For those still confused by this:

Secularism isn’t a push for an atheist agenda or an attack against religion and god.

Secularism is merely the idea that no beliefs have dominance or will be given special treatment.

It’s the antithesis of theocracy, which tries to make a single belief system dominant.

So if you’re religious or spiritual or neither of those things, secularism is in your interest – because it means your freedom to believe in what you do will not be violated.

No laws shall be passed that deny your beliefs, criminalise them, or offer preferential treatment to others who believe something else.

The opposite is theocracy, where a select group and their beliefs are given preferential treatment, and all other beliefs are marginalised, denied or criminalised.

Chances are, that will end up including your beliefs – even if you hold to the dominant religion of the theocracy, because “heretical offshoots” (those groups who on any way challenge the denomination favoured by the state), are treated in the same manner as non-believers. In fact, they’re often treated worse.

So, if you’re religious, secularism is in your interest, because only secularism guarantees your freedom to worship and practice your faith.

Theocracy prohibits it, even for those who are part of the dominant religion.

Stop pretending secularism is the enemy.

It’s only the enemy of those established groups who now have to give ground to all of us who don’t share their beliefs (whatever our personal beliefs are), and fundamentalist cults who fancy themselves creating a theocracy in the future (who would all be dead by now if they didn’t have a secular culture to thrive in – oh irony!).

Secularism is this: the acknowledgment that your survival to hold your beliefs (or lack of them) and follow your beliefs freely necessarily entails others to be able to hold and follow their beliefs freely. Because without that universal freedom, your freedom to hold and follow your beliefs is not guaranteed. In fact, the criminalisation or persecution of your beliefs is guaranteed, unless you accept and promote that universal guarantee for all beliefs (or lack of them) to be respected.

You can either stand with secularism and the tolerance of all religions and those who aren’t religious, or you can – out of a zealous philosophy – sow the seeds of your own destruction.

By the way: society is overwhelmingly choosing secularism, because the majority of people understand how rational thinking works.

So if you’re still confused, I suggest you catch up. Whatever you do or don’t believe.

Transience on our own terms

Being a transient person means that I reject and am unable to live under a static frame of reference.

However, neither am I able to live under a semi-transient frame that is forced upon me.

Whilst my transient nature allows me to adapt to new living conditions and locations, even when those conditions are semi-static (ie, living in a house for 6 months, where my existence is tied to remaining there because I have little autonomy to find or sustain my own transient existence), I can no more than subsist and survive there – never feeling truly transient (because I can’t move on under my own steam or security) and never feeling at home (either through my lack of ownership over my personal space being made explicit, or through social pressures continuing to remind me that I have no ownership of my personal space – usually because I often have no legal safeguards when entering temporary accommodation at urgent short notice. When it’s going back to the street or taking a short term residence with no contract, it’s not even a choice – but it’s one that reminds me that society feels comfortable to neglect any ownership I should have over my personal space, which itself feeds into a spiralling ennui and psychological inability to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And static life is a long and dark tunnel for me.)

I’m placed in a horrific state of limbo, where my transient lifestyle is both rejected and used against me, by the social structures and institutions, even if not always by the persons involved.

Transient people are forced to merely subsist and survive, when our transient status is used against us to enforce our imprisonment in a life that subjects us to temporary static accommodations within which we have no spatial autonomy.

In order to thrive, we require as a necessity our transient lives to be dictated on our own terms.

We require the ability to take ownership of our spaces – including a space we can take with us to new locations.

But we are most often denied both by the political and economic systems, and social structures, we find ourselves in – constantly being denied space we are legally recognised as having ownership of, and constantly being forced into spaces that entrap us and within which our spatial autonomy is not protected.

Temporary insecure accommodation without spatial autonomy being guaranteed, is the reality of many transient people today. But it isn’t what actually defines transient people or our lifestyle.

Our lifestyle is defined by the spatial autonomy we can guarantee for ourselves as we move – a spatial autonomy that is rejected by the system in which we live, which perceives us as an existential threat at worst, and a minor quirk of economics at best (an acceptable sub-market with rules and restrictions imposed upon us as a community, that encroach upon our ability to exist, but which we’re allowed to live within so long as we don’t disrupt the system with our transient autonomy).

That’s why you have the problem of disillusioned and apathetic “economically successful” transient people rejecting or refusing to recognise the plight of their community – even rejecting or failing to recognise their community’s existence and their existence as part of that community.

An “I’m alright Jack” attitude, which only serves to curtail and destroy the community, instead of form a cohesive political, social and economic force willing to fight for the rights and needs of all its members.

It’s an attitude that is at odds with the traveler movements of the 80s and 90s, during Nostell Priory, the battle of the beanfield and the passing of the CJA. But all those events led to the ability of this attitude to exist and persist, eroding the community – until today we find almost no real traveler community outside that which is defined ethnically, at least in terms of a social movement happy to fight for the struggles of its membership.

None of this should or could ever diminish the plight of – and very real and very specific injustices – experienced by the Roma community, or any other ethnically defined transient group in the UK or beyond.

And neither would I define my transient status as someone who shares the injustices felt by the Roma community, or count myself among their community except as a brethren of a larger transient community – which defines itself both with broader ethnic identities (from the Roma to the Bedouin to the Masai and beyond) and without ethnic identities (in terms of all those of us without traditional ties who yet reject a static frame of reference).

I would do a disservice to all if I equated the two, but also if I denied our greater community, and how any attack against one part of our wider community affects us all.

I’m not here to wedge myself in to such communities as the Roma or Bedouin, but to state my allegiance with those communities and the wider traveler/transient base.

How many of us shared solidarity with those at Dale Farm? How many of us shared solidarity with the Palestinian Bedouin at Khan Al-Ahmad?

Are we not kin? Is their plight not part of our own? Can we justify our existence whilst ignoring the struggles of those who share our transient identity, however it is defined?

As well as – and maybe beyond – our rejection of a static frame of reference being the ultimate goal of our lives, we must reject any semi-transient/semi-static life that is forced upon us, which rejects our spatial autonomy and uses our transience against us.

Our transience can only – and must only – be acknowledge on our own terms.

We cannot be forced to accept a form of transience imposed upon us by the state, specifically designed to reject or ignore our spatial autonomy, and to dictate our transience in terms which we have no control over and under which we cannot thrive, but instead barely subsist.

Transients stay when they want to and move when they want to. Not when it is decreed acceptable by a state constantly trying to diminish their existence or deny their humanity.

And whilst I have no known ties to ethnically defined transient groups (believe me, I’d shout it proudly if I did), I nevertheless stand in solidarity with all transient peoples, however they define themselves, against all injustices they face.

An attack on one is an attack on us all: Because wherever we come from, however we define ourselves, and however we became transient, the threat we pose to the states that abhor us and the policies they employ to dehumanise and attack us, are universal and affect us all.

We need to build a community again which recognises who we are. A community that recognises the different members and groups in that community, that recognises the value their existence has in promoting our community and it’s diversity, and which dedicates itself to the struggle of each and every member and group as equals.

That’s why I happily work on vehicle conversions for next to nothing.

I want our community to grow and to become empowered, and to feel a collective identity that ensures we look out for each other.

For over 2 decades, that community has been eroded to the point of almost nonexistence by the state and the complicity of some travelers (most notably those of us without an ethnic transient identity, who have been happily apathetic to both the struggles of the Roma community and the struggles of the “non-economically successful” transient community, such as the transient homeless).

We can no longer ignore our community, our shared identity.

We can no longer allow our community to become an exclusive club, whose members only consist of those who have somehow succeeded in thriving within the political and economic and social system that envelopes us – a system that dictates which transient people are acceptable and which are not, on terms that we don’t get to dictate and which are designed to deny us of that self-determination, terms designed to conquer our community through division. We cannot countenance a club whose members can turn their backs on those who didn’t have the advantages others have had, or who can demonise or neglect those who struggle for transience against a system built to imprison them.

As Lincoln said (forgive the static use of language): “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.

If you have succeeded in a transient lifestyle within this system without fighting for those transient people who are struggling, you aren’t succeeding: you’re only contributing to a system that denies others their humanity, and will ultimately deny your own.

Before the turn of the millennium, and shortly after, we still had a strong transient community in the UK.

We still have pockets of that strong community.

And to my delight, we even have new pockets growing within that strong community – from Brighton to Bristol, all the way up into Edinburgh and the highlands of Scotland, we have pockets of the transient community who recognise each other and fight for each other.

But we still fail to stand by each other. We still fail the transient homeless, and we ignore their problems and their shared identity with us. We still fail to accept our shared community, ironically beyond the small villages we make for ourselves.

And many still fail to even acknowledge their place within that community, pretending that unless those injustices affect them personally, they can ignore them or put the blame on those members of our community who are affected by them.

If we want spatial autonomy, if we want transience on our terms, we are obliged to fight for all those transient people who are denied transience on their own terms.

Otherwise, what does our transience stand for, other than an individualist – almost solipsistic – approach which guarantees nobody, even those who hold to it, any guarantee of freedom and self-determination?

We’re a diverse and resourceful community, capable of facing extreme odds whilst struggling for our autonomy, our freedom, our self-determination.

That’s literally what defines each and every one of us.

We need to make that intrinsic strength of our community a force to bond us and to fight for each of our kin.

Whoever you are, however your transience is defined, we must stand together. We must acknowledge our community – both the successful and the deprived, the accepted and the reviled.

We are transient. Together.

Our community cannot fall.

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