Cur­rent­ly I’m read­ing Vac­u­um Flow­ers, by the inim­itable Michael Swan­wick, for about the eighth or ninth time.  In it, peo­ple’s per­son­al­i­ties can be tem­porar­i­ly altered by a type of pro­gram­ming called “wet­pro­gram­ming”, since you’re pro­gram­ming the wet­ware of the per­son, ie, the brain.  You don’t need spe­cial train­ing to be a den­tist, or a body­guard, or a couri­er.  You just need some­one with a wet­ware pro­gram­mer and the right set of wafers to imprint the skills you need on your persona.

In the nov­el, peo­ple’s faces are paint­ed to indi­cate what they’re cur­rent­ly pro­grammed as.  Sur­geons might wear an orange but­ter­fly, couri­ers a green tri­an­gle, pier­rots a har­le­quin mask.

Today I saw this pho­to on Flickr:

The Definition of Beauty

…and part of me thought, I won­der what that paint might indicate.