Tag Archives | Identity

Face Substitution in Realtime

Not long from now, you'll be able to pick the face you want to wear--perhaps purchasing several different options (Julia Roberts, Mickey Mouse, et cetera) for 99 cents apiece. For his Faces project, artist Arturo Castro developed a face substitution technique and let people try it out:
This is a technical demo for face substitution technique. The application works in real time. Most of the "magic" happens thanks to Jason Saragih's c++ library for face tracking FaceTracker. The face tracking library returns a mesh that matches the contour of the eyes, nose, mouth and other facial features.
Continue Reading

Barack Obama Is Our First Gay, Female, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish President (According to the Media)

First Gay PresidentBill Clinton only got to be America's first "black" president. Interesting take from Eric Randall in the Atlantic Wire:
Newsweek's cover this week declares that Barack Obama is the "First Gay President," playing on the reader's knowledge that Obama isn't himself gay, but his support for same-sex marriage earns him an honorary rainbow halo. The headline obviously calls back to 1998, when Toni Morrison declared Bill Clinton the first black president in The New Yorker, which at the time was edited by current Newsweek editor Tina Brown. "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas," Morrison wrote, laying out the formula for how to declare a President has attained the identity of someone else through actions and behaviors. Newsweek's cover has been called "controversial" and "pretty shocking," but it's merely the most recent in presidential firsts that weren't for the country's actual first black president.
Continue Reading

So Then Who The Hell Are We?

Dan DeWalt writes at This Can’t Be Happening:

The latest PR catch phrase from business, administration, military, state and local officials after some atrocity or other is that whatever happened, it is certainly “not who we are,” a phrase appropriately initially uttered by the Vietnam War commander, Gen. William Westmoreland, with reference to the My Lai slaughter of 400 women, children and old men, all civilians, by a group of US soldiers.

Yet if all these abominations are not “who we are,” then why do our business, police and military and government institutions generate so many examples of obscene, horrific or criminal behavior?

If we examine the culture that guides our young men and women in battle, our public safety employees in their duties, or our business class in its pursuit of profit, it’s easy to see how shameful and reprehensible episodes such as these have become as routine as they have.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Why Are So Many People Renouncing United States Citizenship?

241px-United_States_penny,_obverse,_2002There’s been a massive amount of fretting over the ethics of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s renunciation of his U.S. citizenship (which the Brazilian native gained roughly 15 years ago).

Various scandalized headlines have mentioned that he’s just one of 1,800 other Americans to give up citizenship last year, up from 235 in 2008, while others have speculated that it’s a cynical move to avoid taxes resulting from a massive capital gain when Facebook shares become publicly traded. Saverin has been savaged in the media and on the social web, but in fact it turns out that this cannot be a tax-saving move. Any ideas as to why Saverin and the other ex-Americans gave up the benefits of Uncle Sam’s protections?

Tom Worstall explains why Saverin will actually owe more taxes in Forbes:

Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders and major shareholders in Facebook, has renounced his US citizenship just before the company’s IPO.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers

Praying HandsVia ScienceDaily:

“Love thy neighbor” is preached from many a pulpit. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

On Being Forced To Be ‘Your Real Self’ Online

tumblr_lvqvfsXiSU1qzll1yVia an interview with Pixel Union, head of Tumblr’s mobile division Buzz Andersen on the problem of being forced to be your real identity online — isn’t the internet supposed to free us from that?

One of the things that fascinates me is the way a lot of young people seem to use Tumblr, which is basically as a positive, aspirational alternative to the social networking institution they’re accustomed to: Facebook.

Rather than forcing them to represent themselves as they are, which I think is Facebook’s major goal, Tumblr allows them to represent the romantic self (or selves) they wish to be. I think this is a big part of the intense emotional attachment a lot of people seem to have to Tumblr.

Facebook is currently #1 in terms of time spent online, but Tumblr recently became #2. I think this is because they both appeal to intense human desires, but I would argue that off the two Tumblr appeals to the more positive …

Read More: Pixel Union

Read the rest

Continue Reading

NYPD Scanning The Irises Of Arrested Occupy Protesters

5124897880_8d89bbe4dbThere’s no law requiring an iris scan if the police cuff you — it’s just “policy.” From the Village Voice:

But protesters and their legal advisers were surprised yesterday to learn that the size of their bail was being affected by whether defendants were willing to have the distinctive patterns of their irises photographed and logged into a database.

The idea of the state collecting distinctive biometric information from people who haven’t even been charged with a crime yet, much less convicted of one, makes civil libertarians nervous. Unlike fingerprints, no law was ever passed to require iris photographs — it’s just a policy.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Facebook Personal ID Cards

fb_id_tbx_740Created by German artist Tobias Leingruber and available via the hypothetical government agency the FB Bureau. Why wait until these become mandatory? Get yours now:

With more than 800 million users Facebook is the dominant identity system on the web. When signing-up for new services around the open web it’s quite common to use Facebook Connect instead of creating a new user account. People stop ranting on blog comments because they only allow comments connected to your “real name” aka “Facebook Identity” (till the end of time).

For the good or bad we are losing anonymity and Facebook Inc. is establishing order in this “world wild web” (for profit, not necessarily for the good of society). A future where a Facebook Identity becomes more important than any governments’ doesn’t seem unrealistic.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Freak Accident Turns Macho Rugby Player Into Gay Hairdresser

changeA tabloid-y tale from the U.K.’s Metro, but one that raises a host of interesting questions: Could a completely opposite person (with a different sexuality, even) be waiting, hidden, inside each of us? And can an injury really bring on this sort of change?

Former rugby player Chris Birch suffered a stroke in training and woke up to find he was gay. Mr. Birch was straight and engaged to be married when he suffered a freak accident in the gym. The 26-year-old tried to impress his friends with a back flip but broke his neck and suffered the stroke.

When he woke up, he underwent a drastic personality change that included an attraction to men. ‘I’d never even had any gay friends. But I didn’t care about who I was before, I had to be true to my feelings,’ he said.

Mr Birch broke off his engagement and found a boyfriend.

Read the rest
Continue Reading