How Heinlein went from socialist to right-wing libertarian


A review in the New Republic of volume two of the authorized biography of Robert A Heinlein takes the biographer, William H Patterson, to task for his uncritical approach to Heinlein's famously all-over-the-place politics. But there is enough (uncritical) details in the book that the reviewer feels able to parse out Heinlein's swing from socialist to right-wing libertarian (here's my review of part one).

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The woman who lived (and had sex) with a dolphin

In 1964, Margaret Howe Lovatt, working with psychedelic dolphin researcher John Lilly, began to live with one of the animals full-time as part of a NASA-funded study about interspecies communication; a new documentary about Lovatt, titled "The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins," airs on BBC4 later this month. Above, a clip of Lovatt talking about how she developed a deep intimate relationship with Peter the dolphin that veered into the sexual. At the time, a sexploitative article in Hustler, the high weirdness of the experiments itself that included giving LSD to dolphins, and myriad other unpleasant issues, brought the project to a very sad end.

"The dolphin who loved me: the Nasa-funded project that went wrong" (The Observer)

Orgasms from the shoulders up

Untitled

At the subscription-only Beautiful Agony site, people submit videos of themselves having an orgasm, shot from the shoulders up; Vice interviewed the founders.

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Saga Volume Three: weird all the things!

It’s been nearly a year since the publication of volume two of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ spectacular Saga comic; but at last, volume three is at hand. As Cory Doctorow discovered, it was well worth the wait.

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Women who'd never seen their vulvas given a mirror and a modesty screen

Women who'd never seen their vulvas were offered a modesty screen and a hand mirror and given the chance to have a peek. They liked what they saw, and were sweetly affirmed by it. (via Dan Hon)

What if we admitted to kids that most sex is for pleasure?

Alice Dreger works with intersex kids, and takes an admirably frank approach to talking about sex with her own kid. She's noticed lots of differences between her approach and that of other parents, but the biggest one is that she tells her son that people have sex for pleasure. Her piece about this, precipitated by her kid bringing home a notice that the class would be talking about sex and HIV/AIDS, is a kind of model of rational, sex-positive parenting that made me want to clip it out and stick it on the fridge for future reference.

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Interviews with & portraits of sex-machine makers


In Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews, (previously) veteran photographer Timothy Archibald explores the people who make, use, recommend and perform with homebrew sex-machines (NSFW, unless you W somewhere that's cool with sex machines). Design You Trust has a long and fascinating excerpt from the book, and it really gives a flavor of the work, especially Archibald's photos, which are a brilliant mix of commercial photography (he's previously shot ads for Apple and Ikea) and newsy, stylish portraits that make it clear why his work shows up in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

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New poll on sex with robots

NewImage

One in five people in the UK would be willing to screw a robot, according to a new survey cited in the Daily Beast. That's all? The question was part of a study, by Middlesex University (seriously), that asked 2,000+ people about their views on technology. Apparently, 46% of those polled said they'd either have sex with a robot or at least not judge others who do.

Kids are mostly sexually solicited online by classmates, peers, teens

The respected Crimes Against Children Research Center reports that one in seven children is sexually exploited online. This figure is both credible and alarming. But the context is vital: as danah boyd writes, the average predator isn't a twisted older man trawling for kids; rather, "most children are sexually solicited by their classmates, peers, or young adults just a few years older than they are."

Now, it's absolutely possible for a child to sexually exploit another child, so this isn't to minimize the potential harm to kids. But for so long as we model the threat to kids as being weird, strange grownups, rather than the young people they know and see every day, we will fail to prepare them to comport themselves wisely and safely.

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Kickstarting a film adaptation of "Dark Side of Disney" - guide to getting high, drunk & laid while on Disney vacation

Ricky sez, "Director Philip B. Swift has announced a feature-length documentary film called 'The Dark Side of Disney' based on Leonard Kinsey's travel guide of the same name, to feature topics like finding and buying dirt cheap park tickets and time shares, drinking around Epcot, having sex in the parks, obtaining and using drugs while on an Orlando vacation. The film has just hit Kickstarter, trying to raise $20,000. Last year Swift released 'The Bubble,' a documentary about the Disney-created town of Celebration just outside Walt Disney World."

The Dark Side of Disney [Amazon]

“The Dark Side of Disney” documentary film to explore adult side of theme park vacations, hits Kickstarter for funds [Ricky Brigante/Inside the Magic]

(Thanks, Ricky!)

Army comes clean about its recruitment AI, accidentally discloses info about pedophile- and terrorist-catching chatbots that roam the net

Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "Not too long ago, Boing Boing covered EFF's (at the time) unsuccessful attempt to retreive records about Sgt. Star (the Army's recruiter-bot) using the Freedom of Information Act. We've now received the files and compiled our research: It turns out Sgt. Star isn't the only government chatbot -- the FBI and CIA had them first.

The information about the terrorist/child-abuser bots only came to light because the spy agencies failed to fully redact their responses (the type was legible through the black strikeouts).

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Rope removed from urethra

Shanghai Daily reports that one Dr. Dong successfully removed a knotted length of rope from an adventurous fellow's urethra.

Squicked out alien describes human sex

Here's a nice use of science fiction's trick of describing cherished human behaviors and institutions through the ironic distance of an alien observer: Mallory Ortberg's short story Erotica Written By An Alien Pretending Not To Be Horrified By The Human Body:

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Danish travel company offers "ovulation discount" for couples, rewards if you conceive on holiday

Spies Travels, a Danish travel agency, have conceived of a promotion to help reverse Denmark's plummeting birthrate. They're offering a discount for couples who travel during one partner's ovulation period, and if you can subsequently prove that you conceived a child on the trip, they'll give you three years' worth of baby-stuff and a family holiday.

Do it for Denmark! (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Judge tells porno copyright troll that an IP address does not identify a person

In Florida, District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro has dismissed a suit brought by notorious porno-copyright trolls Malibu Media on the grounds that an IP address does not affirmatively identify a person, and so they cannot sue someone solely on the basis of implicating an IP address in an infringement. This is a potentially important precedent, as it effectively neutralizes the business-model of copyright trolls, who use IP addresses as the basis for court orders to ISPs to turn over their customers' addresses, which are then inundated with threatening letters. The porno copyright trolls have a distinctly evil wrinkle on this, too: they threaten their victims with lawsuits that will forever associate the victims' names with embarrassing pornographic video-titles, often with gay themes.

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