The evolution of birth control in pictures

history of birth control.png has a gallery of images that shows the evolution of contraception (or what we believed to be contraception at the time), from olive oil — recommended by Aristotle in the 4th century BC — to the hormone-releasing options that we can get at the gyno today. The History of Birth Control

Green Pink Caviar: Marilyn Minter

Susannah Breslin pointed me to Marilyn Minter 's latest video months ago, but I didn't get around to blogging 'til now. Green Pink Caviar is described as

A lush and sensual voyeuristic hallucination. Filmed with macro lenses, the video was inspired by a photo shoot where Minter directed her models to lick brightly colored candies while she shot photos from underneath a glass plate. The models' tongues mixed the colorful sugar with saliva, slurping and pushing color across the glass surface to simulate painting.
More:, some viewer reactions, Los Angeles Times interview with the artist, NBC LA, and apparently there's some controversy over the billboard installation in Hollywood.

Scientist: Hugh Hefner Owes Everything to the Evolution of Color Vision

If we humans weren't so bare, we would probably not wear robes. And then there would be no reason to disrobe. If there were no bare skin, there would be no Hefner as we know it.

And, according to Mark Changizi from the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the reason we're bare is because we can see in color.


More talk of nudity and other dirty things after the cut...

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Alligators Sing! (But Not to Attract Mates)

Chinese alligators like a good sing-a-long, but they don't worry about carrying a tune. They also don't much care what the opposite sex thinks of the song choice, according to a story on National Geographic News.


Researchers with the Chinese Academy of Sciences ran some tests to see whether alligator "songs"--it's really more like sustained, extremely loud croaking, which the researchers compare the sound to thunder--attracted mates to the singer. Surprisingly, it didn't work quite that way.

More story and a video of singing alligators after the jump!

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Yahoo hires lap-dancers to entertain at its open, inclusive Hack Day event

Yahoo has apologized for paying lap-dancers ("Hack Girls") to grind against attendees at its Hack Day Taiwan open event. For the second year running.

Because, you know, it's the kind of thing that you can just accidentally do, hiring sex workers to come to your everyone's invited, inclusive Hack Day event. Two years in a row.

What a blot on technology culture this is. As a father of a young daughter whom I hope will be excited about technology, hacking, and making stuff, Yahoo's vile behavior makes me want to puke purple exclamation points. For shame.

I wanted to acknowledge the public reaction generated by the images of female dancers at our Taiwan Open Hack Day this past weekend. Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our APIs and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the "Hack Girls" aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose. And it's certainly not the message we want to send about our values here at Yahoo!. Hack Days are about making everyone feel welcome, including women coders and technologists.

This incident is regrettable and we apologize to anyone that we have offended. Rest assured, it won't happen again.

Regrettable? I can think of some choice words to describe this, and regrettable is so far down the list that you'd need to scroll for a week to reach it. Love how this is all in the passive voice -- "the incident" is regrettable. As though it occurred in a vacuum, untouched by human hands. A kind of lightning strike of ghastly, stupid, boorish thoughtlessness. An act of God, perhaps.


This shouldn't be the image of Hack Day

How Safe is the HPV Vaccine?

I was about to say that I'm just one of those people who understands things more fully once I see them in visual form, but I think that, when it comes to statistics, "one of those people" really just means "most of us".

Case in point, this great visualization of the facts about HPV vaccine safety and cervical cancer risk put together by the Information is Beautiful blog. For me, this really bridged the gap between knowing the facts and intuitively understanding them. Follow the link to check it out.

Alice in Wonderland nudes

Comics artist Frank Brunner has done a series of Frazetta-esque Alice in Wonderland nudes that are sexy, retro, and lovely.

Nudes (via MeFi)

XKCD: the limits of anti-static wrist-strap protection

Today's XKCD webcomic examines the limits of protection offered by the talismanic anti-static wrist strap that RAM companies send you with your purchase.


Beauty and Brazil

What do you think you know about Brazilian women?

When Racialicious blogger Wendi Muse lived in Brazil she found that the first question her American friends would ask was, "Are the girls hot?"

It turns out, the answer is a little more complicated than you might think. Understanding beauty in Brazil means understanding how the concept intersects with gender, race, and ways that are often very different from how the system works here.

...what we would consider "high maintenance" in the United States is the accepted norm for women's appearance. A woman must always be "bem arrumada." This means that even when one goes grocery shopping, heels, nice clothes, and styled hair is the norm. One of my students once told me that she felt absolutely dirty when her nails were not done, and another informed me she would never leave the house with wet hair because that was super "pobre" ("ghetto").

All three issues affect Brazilian's women's concept of themselves and our concept of them from the outside. Very interesting stuff and worth a read. Check out the posts on Gender, Class, and Race.

Arts, Crafts and Hoo-has

Regretsy is a blog that chronicles the more special craft projects for sale on everybody's favorite handmade products Web site. The bit I find most interesting about this blog (and, by extension, Etsy, itself), is that there's a whole, separate category for vagina arts/crafts.

Yes, vaginas.

At present, it includes the felted placenta shown above, plus knit tampon cozies, celebrity-inspired uterus dolls, and a few other things. (Elsewhere on the site, you'll find a catnip toy in the shape of a fetus.)

I'll admit, I have a hard time getting these projects from any angle other than humor. But once I stop sniggering, I find myself fascinated by the decision to take a cutesy, "comfort food" medium--knitting, home-made dolls--and use it to illustrate parts of the body that (like most organs) aren't exactly the most visually attractive. In fact, I kind of wish the artists would branch out into spleens, kidneys, or maybe various glands. Or does the meme only work with ostensibly "dirty" organs? What do you think?

BTW: If you want to purchase your own felted placenta, you can find them on the real Etsy. They're made in Australia by user lumiknits.

(Re)cycler: YA science fiction that tackles sex, gender with a lot of smarts

(Re)Cycler: genderbending sf

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It's Time To Play...Is! It! Sinful!?

Say you're an average medieval Euro-Joe and you want to have sex with your wife. But first, you need to know, IS IT SINFUL? Digging through all those manuscripts of canon law can take forever (plus, as average medieval Euro-Joe, you can't read, anyway). Luckily, James A. Brundage has prepared a handy flow chart for sexual decision making the summarizes the medieval Christian church's take on when sex was OK (Think: In the dark, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays only), and when you were totally going to go to hell.

Unfortunately, I'm not cool enough to figure out how to gank a picture from a Google Books page, so you'll have to follow this link to see the flow chart in all its glory.

Arse Electronika sex/tech conference, San Francisco Oct 1-4

Johannes writes in with the news of this year's sex/tech Arse Electronika conference in San Francisco:

We may not forget that mankind is a sexual and tool-using species. And that's why our annual conference Arse Elektronika deals with sex, technology and the future. As bio-hacking, sexually enhanced bodies, genetic utopias and plethora of gender have long been the focus of literature, science fiction and, increasingly, pornography, this year will see us explore the possibilities that fictional and authentic bodies have to offer. Our world is already way more bizarre than our ancestors could have ever imagined. But it may not be bizarre enough. "Bizarre enough for what?" -- you might ask. Bizarre enough to subvert the heterosexist matrix that is underlying our world and that we should hack and overcome for some quite pressing reasons within the next century. Don't you think, replicants?
Arse Elektronika 2009 (Thanks, Johannes!)

Will a clean fridge get you laid?

Jesse Brown, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the host of TVO's Search Engine podcast.

My friend Corey Mintz is so proud of his well-stocked, spotless refrigerator that he sends pictures of its interior to girls he's wooing and has used it in place of a headshot on his online dating profile (high-rez link).

Now, this is no ordinary fridge- Corey is a chef and food writer (a good one, for the Toronto Star) so his fridge is filled with wonderful delights- top-notch doggie-bags, fancy mustards, homemade pickles and the occasional action figure. He obsessively packages and labels his sauces and glazes and eliminates any item at the first sight or smell of rottenness. He's actually indexed and published his fridge's contents (link).

So ladies, I put the question to you: does this fridge turn you on?

Conservative California legislator gives pornographic account of his multiple affairs (including a lobbyist) into open mic

Back in July, Michael Duvall, a second-term California assemblyman who "is the vice-chairman of the legislature's commerce committee and a member of its ethics committee, are married with two children and are known as a staunch defender of conservative family values" was to appear on a televised committee meeting. Not realizing his mic was already live, he began to brag about his sexual conquests.
Make sure your microphone is OFF before bragging about and giving disgustingly lewd details of your affair with a much younger woman who is also a lobbyist whose clients have business before your committee, and also laughing about the fact that you are simultaneously cheating on your wife and your mistress with yet another woman...

Not content with mentioning the fact he was having an affair, which would have caused problems enough, Duvall -- who I am now officially christening "Open Mike" -- launched into explicit details, many of which are too nasty to reprint here, and all of which were captured by his microphone. (Among them: tiny underwear, spankings, and the 19-year-age difference....

It gets better:
"She wears little eye-patch underwear," said Duvall, who is married with two children. "So, the other day she came here with her underwear, Thursday. And
 so, we had made love Wednesday--a lot! And so she'll, she's all, 'I am going 
up and down the stairs, and you're dripping out of me!' So messy!"...

During his political career, Duvall has unabashedly espoused conservative
 principles and is known as a partisan Republican with a knack for theatrics:
 He has noisily driven his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to functions. In 2008, 
Duvall blasted efforts to condone gay marriage. Legislatively, he has 
proposed bills to aid the insurance industry and government contractors 
feeding off the state's massive transportation kitty.

 He has offered a law to alter the First Amendment rights of Americans by
 banning anti-war activists from putting the names of fallen soldiers on 
T-shirts with messages such as "Bush lied" on the front and "They died" on the back; he observed that the dead soldiers fought to protect freedom, and "opportunists" should not be allowed to "exploit" the sacrifices with political messages opposing war.

Such thinking impressed certain constituencies. Earlier this year, the man who never graduated from high school received "100 percent" approval scores 
by the California Republican Assembly, the state's leading conservative outfit, and the Capitol Resource Institute (CRI), a fierce guardian of traditional family values.

And best of all? He's refusing to resign (though he's taken to actually running away from reporters).

Open Mike Likely to Close Out Legislator's Career

OC Assemblyman In Bed With Lobbyist . . . No, Literally In Bed

Update: He resigned.