Tag Archives: identity


One of my hardest jobs as editor here at Futurismic is trying to write the introductions to our new fiction pieces that actually do them justice. This month, I’m not even going to try – all I’ll say is that Eric Del Carlo‘s “Fluidity” totally blew me away when Chris sent it over for me to look at, and that I’ve not read such a strong yet sensitive treatment of gender politics in science fiction for some time. See for yourself.


by Eric Del Carlo

Some prim Prior in Xen’s childhood had made a pulpit-pounding fact of this statement:  “To interrupt one’s Cycling is to throw oneself off a cliff!”  So often and with such spittle-spraying vehemence was this preached that it had locked in Xen’s mind.

And so when he pulled the braided sash and his burgundy robe heaped the ground around his bare ankles, he stepped forward over the ice plants with that Prior’s fervor guiding, not warning, him.  The ocean’s salt-tart wind handled his slim naked body carelessly as he came to edge of the bluff.  Cascades of ice plants turned to dark rock below, then colorful sand.  Xen paused to touch his exterior genitals.  It was a wistful gesture.

Off a cliff…

He went, making instruction of that long-ago thunderous remonstrance.  When he struck the dark rocks, he crushed numerous bones; when he bounced and tumbled out onto the beach itself, he lived only long enough for a group of startled concerned bathers to huddle over him. Continue reading NEW FICTION: FLUIDITY by Eric Del Carlo

Personas: vanity searches as unique digital artforms

Ever Google yourself?

C’mon, we’ve all done it a few times – just to see what’s out there that might be about us. Or what might be mistaken for being about us…

Well, a chap called Aaron Zinman at MIT’s Media Lab has made an installation called Personas which takes your name, does a vanity search on those terms, and then scans the resulting pages for keywords to make a visual representation of what the search results for your name are actually about. Here’s mine:

Persona results for Paul Graham Raven

Reminds me somewhat of chromatography experiments in chemistry class. The results aren’t incredibly accurate (I have no idea why the term ‘legal’ features so prominently in my results, for example), but what should be obvious immediately is that everyone’s chromatograph is going to look different (unless they have a particularly popular name; unlucky for the John Smiths of the world).

As pointed out by Jason Fitzpatrick of Lifehacker, Personas wouldn’t be of any use for producing a genuinely unique fingerprint per person for identity purposes. But as web technology advances (and if the Semantic Web ever coalesces out of the hot air of its strongest advocates), perhaps something like it would become a badge of honour or status.

Imagine some sort of QR barcode format for the results, jazzed up with colour and maybe some iridescent effects (because black and white is so stark, y’know?); when you met a new person, you could scan the barcode with your handheld and check it against a database that assessed its degree of uniqueness. Social standing as a function of internet footprint… the value of having a unique moniker would increase hugely, everyone dubbing themselves with a new identity as yet uncolonised by the average and uninteresting. And next would come (inevitably) the spammers, coat-tailing on the names of the rich, the successful, the famous and notorious…

RFID wardrivers can ping your passport

Just in case you’ve not clocked this already, it’s time to break out the tinfoil: using equipment sourced from eBay, a bunch of hacker types have built a proof-of-concept system that can be used to scan the unique RFID number from the biometric passports of pedestrians… as they drive past them.

Come on kids, repeat after me: everything can – and will – be hacked. [story via grinding.be, among others]

Navigating the Metaverse

Mac Tonnies - Loving the AlienIf you were wondering why Mac Tonnies’ latest Loving The Alien column is a little late, here’s the answer — it turns out he’s been lurking in Second Life. What might the fluid nature of identity in the metaverse mean for our posthuman successors? Continue reading Navigating the Metaverse

Mixed-reality Manchester – Second Life meets real life

This should give your head a pretty good twisting for a Monday morning.

Mixed reality Manchester

I’ll let Wagner James Au explain it, because I can’t condense it any further and still get the story across:

“… last October in Manchester, a big screen display was set up in All Saints Gardens; the park was also recreated in Second Life.  Meanwhile, video cameras in the real park record people who are there, and that live footage is merged in a chroma mixer to video captured in the SL version of All Saints. 

The result is broadcast on the Manchester screen, so people there can watch themselves interact with avatars.  But that’s just the beginning: the mixed reality video is also broadcast into the virtual version of All Saints Gardens in Second Life, so avatars can watch themselves interact with people in the real park, too.”

As Au points out, there’s a whole lot of reality layering going on right there.

“Liberate Your Avatar” was a public art installation by Paul Sermon designed to “expose the identity paradox in Second Life” – you can read more about it at the project’s website (which is where the image above has been borrowed from).

[tags]metaverse, augmented reality, Second Life, identity[/tags]