She & He – The Sprinty Mint

She walked into the bar. She knew he was there. It had been two weeks. She tried to see what he was doing, who he was talking to and what he was drinking. He always seemed at ease on his own.

Was he with friends or on a date? What would happen if he saw her? It would look so bad and he would probably suspect the worst. All these questions racing through her mind, all these variables and scenarios, now and in the last two weeks. One thing, vital questions she hadn’t asked herself in that time, and now. Why did she care and why did she need to know?

She positioned herself at the bar to order a drink, as far away from him as possible.
The place, the “Sprinty Mint” was somewhere they used to frequent, and one of their favourites, especially the “Happy Hour” for cocktails. Although positioned far away from where he was, she was sitting close to the entrance to the lavatories. He would have to walk past her to use them.

She checked her phone to see if he was on his way. Glenn, the guy from work she hardly knew, might do the trick. She’d constantly resisted his advances, both during her relationship and since it had ended. His persistence in pursuit of a date had finally paid off, or so he had thought. He was five minutes away. She ordered a glass of Shiraz. Glenn could buy his own drink. She sat by the window, facing the direction she knew Glenn would be coming from.

She pulled from her bag her diary and notebook, a couple of pens and some lipstick. She took a sip of wine that turned into a gulp. Nervous, but with resolve she was here for a reason. Movements and motives predetermined and calculated. She wanted a reaction and she was going to get one, no matter what. She didn’t want to make a scene, but if the situation developed, she would go with it.

There was no grand plan as such, just a determination to seek solace and find, what her friends called closure. She saw Glenn walking up to the entrance and forced on a false smile.

“Hi, how are you doing? I knew you’d say yes eventually.” Glenn put his hand on her shoulder and tilted his head towards her, and lingered, as if expecting a kiss. There was not one forthcoming. Glenn had the smooth mulchy arrogance that some women admire, but many more detest. In sales for most of his life, all he wanted was the deal and the commission. He made everything a game, in to him she was another prize. Someone else he could boast about down the pub. Another he could lure into a bed with tales he’d told hundreds of times, to any women that would listen or whom had consumed too much drink to care or complain. Men who worked with him gave the impression they approved of his womanising and wanderings, the dodgy deals he closed for the company and the cash he threw about. Behind his back he was despised, pretty much by all who knew him.

She turned away as he bent down. To most, this would have been a sign of disinterest, but not to Glenn. “Shall I get you another?” Glenn suggested.
“I’ve got a full glass, get yourself one.”
Glenn went to the bar and ordered. While he was waiting he turned round and looked at her, expecting her to be looking up, gazing at him. She wasn’t.

Mark Scotchford © 19/12/2017

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He will never know you
From now to when you’re complete
Towers over you
He will be at your feet

He doesn’t even try
Doesn’t know your favourite band
Never notices you cry
Why won’t he understand?

How can he be?
So useless at this game
One day you’ll be free
He should hang is head in shame

Why doesn’t he know?
What he’s destroying in his wake
All those memories to have
Dreams he cannot break

I know it is so tough
Trying to make some sense
Never knowing where to stand
Atmosphere so tense

Keep on going
And keep being you
In spite of him
With others you’ll pull through

07/10/2017 © Mark Scotchford

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The Escorters

Predictably we were gently moved to the woods. As we walked with the others I tried to glimpse their faces. I wanted to see who they were and none of us had talked. The atmosphere, as you’d imagine was strange to say the least. Surrounding our group as we walked were five tall, heavy set men. Well they looked like men. My friend, the only one I knew in the group, was very different in demeanour to how I had known him before.

I guess this was a very different situation. That being a very weighted understatement, all things considered. Why were we here? Why us? I don’t know but I was determined to find out. Perhaps we’d asked too many questions. I was beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable with the situation, but what could I do? The sense of trepidation was palpable, although I didn’t feel it from all of those who walked with us. Strange isn’t it? How we talk about how we feel sometimes, yet often forget we or others have feelings at all. Also odd how we can use them to gain an advantage, or to win an argument or gain sympathy. They also can be seen as weakness.

My mind focussed back on why I was here, in this situation, and perhaps I was too curious, asking questions and not stopping. Well, and perhaps to the detriment of my survival, I wasn’t about to stop asking them now. I was summoning up the courage to speak to the woman walking along next to me and then I saw it overhead. It came from behind us and I heard the trees move which made me look up. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known it was there.

So quiet, akin to the sound emitted from a good quality vacuum cleaner. It had the footprint of a small block of flats, silvery grey, five circles of white light emitting from what must have been thrusters as it descended lower and out of sight. I knew that wouldn’t be the last time I saw it and the next time would be up close.

At this point, I wanted to get out of this situation, in any way I could. It all felt so completely like nothing I had ever experienced before, and so out of my control. I had none. What else would be taken away from me tonight? Have you ever felt that a situation had become so desperate you’d close your eyes and open them again? Hoping against all hope that you’d wake from a dream or that things were not happening. Options so limited this was in fact the only one open. The inevitability of whatever would happen next would be so harrowing and traumatic, you would never be the same again. I felt like that now, I knew how it felt.

I could smell the wood from the trees and foliage around me, feel the wind against my face and skin, more so when “it” flew overhead. This was happening and there was nothing I could conceivably do to stop it.

Mark Scotchford © October 2017

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Each droplet
Represents a world
Lost or discovered?
A lie or truth unfurled

It soaks
Way beyond skin
Coat or cloak?
Sin or begin

Changes with wind
Not unlike the mind
Droplets become streams
Lives entwined

Mark Scotchford 11/09/2017

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Why is developing AI dangerous? Why we should give up on it? And why we won’t?

Why is developing advanced artificial intelligence so dangerous?

Let’s just jump straight in and get to the point here. In order to develop something, create it, you have to understand it, what you are designing, the end result, and what is for. When designing a tin opener it is easy for a number of reasons, as I am sure you can appreciate. There will still be the usual restrictions including materials used, manufacturing, budget and the fundamental design but the principals are there.

Now this is all fine but when you are designing something much bigger, then so much more is involved. All this is obvious, but bear with me, there is a point. A ship or plane for example, requires a monumental design and development effort to bring a boat that floats or a plane that flies to fruition.

Again, obvious but…… when we take things further we have to go back to the fundamental aspects of design and ask what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve.

When we look at anything us as humans design and build, we have to remember basic principles of design but also, everything that influences them. There are so many aspects of design philosophy, but I am more concerned with ones we overlook.

Us, who we are, our experiences, our lives, ourselves, everything we design is a reflection of that. Everything. If 80% of communication is nonverbal, then how can other aspects of our being be so simple or appear to be. Answer being that they are not. We are by definition incredibly complex, and no one seems to know why.

Getting back to the point here, my question is really simple. If we do not totally understand ourselves, and I mean everything about ourselves, how on this earth can we create something so diverse, so versatile, as unimaginably powerful as we are contemplating right now?

In order to answer this question completely, we must also be able to rationalise the answers, in accordance with the inherent basic human instincts which have got us to where we are today. And they are? Well primarily to survive and procreate. Agreed? With this in mind, and when we consider the fragility of our existence and our ability to detest others over the slightest thing, alarm bells should ring, shouldn’t they?

We are collectively arrogant as a species, we have an ability to hate, to destroy, to fail, and most of us have ‘forgotten’ how to survive. In short, we are flawed, because we are human.

A shocking statistic for you to digest while you are contemplating how silly this all sounds.

In one certain US state, so far this year, guess how many people have died by being shot?

The answer is 1800, but that’s not as bad last year, because by this time last year, in that same state it was over 2000.

What am I trying to say here? Well quite a lot actually. We have to reevaluate ourselves and each other. We have to realise the consequences of our actions and we have to fully understand our history, our evolution and our brains before we move on.
Why? Because…. If we don’t we are in grave danger of destroying ourselves, and there are many ways it can be done.

Conversely, if we create something else, if we empower computers with our thought processes and our ingenuity we may also transfer our inherent subconscious subroutines too. We may build into the systems our flaws, but perhaps, something else as well.

If, and yes it is a big if, …. If we are successful in this and we will be, we will lose control of what we create. This will happen if what we create, learns what we as a species have forgotten or don’t seem to value any more.

Let me give you two really simple situations to contemplate:-

1) You have a car with a satnav and you have programmed in to it where you live. You have a car fob and keys and house keys and like most people you keep them together. You have no PIN security with the cars on board ECU because it works in wireless connectivity with your fob. You have not thought of any risk this could potentially pose and why should you? If you are in a pub or far away from home, and someone takes your keys….. Then what? All they have to do is get in your car, turn on your satnav and enter ‘home’ and they now know where you live. Yes they could have a lot of information if they took your wallet but there is a difference. With a wallet the danger is apparent, it is tangible and real and immediate. With the technology we are using, developing and pursuing the threats are not immediate, they are hidden, or part of a chain reaction.

2) You buy a games console which works with voice activation. It can respond to basic commands and has a default name that you do not change. The software is setup to respond to the commands and not your voice. One of the commands for example could be “Wake Deatra and go to Escapement game online forum.” This could be an advanced command for when the console is ‘asleep’ and you can use a command to wake it and direct it to do something. An advert comes on the TV advertising the games console you bought and using the commands the device is programmed to recognise and respond to. During the advert to demonstrate the product the same command is played. Can you possibly fathom the implications of what someone could do knowing this information? Imagine when commands become more advanced. Imagine the advert being played and a number of units hearing the same command and reacting in the same way. Imagine how dangerous this could be.

And this is simple basic stuff, where the implications are huge. Elon Musk wants to merge a human and computer brain to help cure disease. This is not science fiction, he has started a company dedicated to it. He also wants to have humans on Mars within 20 years. His goal is to ensure the survival of the human race.

Dear Elon, you are a hugely successful and incredibly intelligent man, but I have to interject. You may wish to ensure the survival of the human race, but you could potentially and inadvertently be rather more involved in our demise. That’s of course if Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Trump doesn’t beat you to it.

To be continued….

Mark Scotchford © 07/07/2017

Posted in Articles, Neurology, Psychology & Psychiatry | Leave a comment


Obsessed with flying
Knowing we are dying
Never stop trying
Ignoring the lying

Staying true
Me, them, and you
Knowing what to do
Will pull us through

Cannot give in
Knowing we have to win
Never end but begin
Although the odds are thin

Feel it in the air
Knowing that you are there
Show me how they care
Cannot only stare

Mark Scotchford © 20/06/2017

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Whenever You Want

Will never be more
Than an inch inside
Easier to notice
If trying to hide

Wasn’t an intention
Trying to keep it clean
Know you’re craving
What I’ve already seen

Your incredible beauty
Hides the wonderment beneath
We’d keep mouth closed
Unless exposing teeth

Now wide open
Split in two
Know there will never
Be me and you

I’m good with it
A pleasure to know
I’m a rock in your hand
So please throw

Wherever I land
You’re in my heart
In another lifetime
This story can start

Will sometimes walk in rain
So they can’t see my tears
This is for us
And those never had years

Mark Scotchford © 09/06/2017

Posted in Love, Poems | Leave a comment