Company buys up 1.7 million 1-800 numbers, uses many for phone sex lines

AP reports that PrimeTel Communications has, for the last 13 years, been buying up every desirable 800 number on the market. They behave not unlike domain name prospectors who do the same with web addresses, only they convert many of these numbers into phone sex lines.

The company now controls 1.7 million toll-free numbers, which represent about 25% of all 800 numbers in the U.S. and Canada. Among them: 1-800-Metallica, 1-800-Cadillac, 1-800-Minolta, 1-800-Cameras, 1-800-Worship and 1-800-Whirlpool.

AP reports that the connection between the speculation activity and the phone-porn activity is this: A-1 Advertising, an actual phone sex business, shares a building, owners, and executives, with the company doing the 800 number buying. More:

Critics of the company say it isn't the sex that bothers them, but the acquisition of so many numbers. Bill Quimby, whose company, TollFreeNumbers.com, specializes in helping businesses obtain easy-to-remember digits to connect with customers, said it can be a challenge to find a good match because PrimeTel has gobbled up such an outsized share of the supply.

"They started by getting numbers for phone sex, then getting good numbers in general, then they started taking all phone numbers," he said.

A spokesman for the FCC, David Fiske, would not comment on whether the agency had ever examined PrimeTel's activities but said the commission is actively enforcing rules on number hoarding. PrimeTel appears to have benefited by grabbing numbers associated with famous names, like 1-800-Beatles, or numbers that have recently been canceled but are still advertised widely.

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Richard Metzger: How I, a married, middle-aged man, became an accidental spokesperson for gay rights overnight

Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds (you may know him as founder of Disinformation, or as a BB guestblogger, or as the counterculture "Charlie Rose"), writes in with the odd story of a Facebook photo ban, and the media misinfo frenzy that followed.

Since just last Friday, the above photo, a publicity still from the popular BBC soap opera "EastEnders" has become the emblem of an utterly unnecessary Facebook scandal. One that's already gone international and one that I, personally, I am tangentially involved in. I say unnecessary because it never should have happened in the first place, but let me state this at the beginning of this for those of you--you know who you are-- who'll just read the first two paragraphs before zipping off to write something snarky in the comments: I do not personally believe that the Facebook corporation is in any way homophobic. Not even in the slightest. Okay?

Now that I've got that out of the way, here is what happened and why some people might think that they are:

On Friday afternoon, one of my fellow bloggers at Dangerous Minds, Niall O'Conghaile did a quickie cut-n-paste blog post about a "kiss-in" protest scheduled for that night in London at a pub where two young men had been asked to leave earlier in the week because they were kissing. You can read Niall's post here. He decided to use the above photo because he felt that it was inoffensive (Some outlets have reported that this photo came from the London "kiss-in" page on Facebook, but this is not true, it was Niall's choice and he found it on Google Images).

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Playboy Mansion legionella outbreak traced to hot tub

Health officials in Los Angeles used blogs, Twitter and Facebook to track down the source of a legionella bacteria infection that sickened more than a hundred Playboy Mansion visitors. The verdict: "a whirlpool spa" at the iconic mansion. I think they mean the famed grotto (I've been there on a reporting mission once, fully clothed!), but the article doesn't specify. (LA Times) Read the rest

Why does Android marketplace link apps for gay men and apps for sex offenders?

Mike Ananny, a postdoctoral scholar at Microsoft Research and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, writes in the Atlantic about a strange Android app discovery:

As I was installing Grindr on my Android phone yesterday, I scrolled down to take a look at the list of "related" and "relevant" applications. My jaw dropped. There, first on the list, was "Sex Offender Search," a free application created by Life360 that lets you "find sex offenders near you and protect your child ... so you can keep your family safe."

I was flabbergasted. How and why was this association being made? What could one application have to do with other? How many potential Grindr users were dissuaded from downloading the application because they saw this listed as a related application? In essence: Who did this linking, how does it work, and what harm is it doing?

(via danah boyd) Read the rest

Unicorn Pasties

Only $8, from nikkilipstick.com. (thanks, Susannah Breslin!) Read the rest

ICANN okays new .XXX domain

ICANN's Board of Directors today gave the organization's CEO permission to execute a proposed registry agreement for the .xxx sponsored top-level-domain with ICM Registry. Now, more than ever, the internet is for porn. (Domain Name Wire) Read the rest

NSFW science

The Skeptically Speaking podcast has a fascinating episode all about the science of semen. It includes a long interview with blogger Scicurious, covering some of the sex-related stories from her Friday Weird Science series. From post-sex selection of semen by females, to everything you ever wanted to know about testicles (42% of men hang lower on the left), this podcast has got it all. Read the rest

The koala says ...

So. That's the sound a koala makes. Huh.

It's not really very cute, is it?

But it does get the job done. Specifically, this is the call of the horny male koala—and this sound is such an effective mating technique that simply hearing it can cause female koalas to go into heat. (Insert your own Koala Justin Bieber joke here.) Scienceline explains the importance of koala "bellowing":

The timbre of a koala's bellow seems to have something to do with its size, age and androgen (a sex hormone) concentration. Older males bellow more, bigger males bellow longer, and those with more androgen have deeper bellows. One study found that when the male koala is 2-4 years older than the female, the mating is more likely to be successful, leading some to suggest that females use male calls to gage their relative sexiness.

Via Bora Zivkovik

Image courtesy Wikipedia user Quartl, via CC

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How did dinosaurs do it?

Pictured: A sexy beast. Photo courtesy EvaK via CC

You know. It.

Sexual practices don't really leave much of an imprint in the fossil record. And dinosaurs, themselves, are not, shall we say, the most nubile-looking creatures. According to paleo-blogger Brian Switek, you aren't alone in your confusion. He says scientists have been pondering dino-sex for more than 100 years. (Like you do.) In fact, until recently, paleontologists weren't even totally clear which dinosaurs were girls and which were boys.

And, once that mystery was solved, there were still a lot of other obvious questions. Such as: How did pointy, heavily-armored Stegosaurs get amorous?

Soft-tissue preservation is very rare, and no one has yet discovered an exquisitely preserved dinosaur with its reproductive organs intact. In terms of basic mechanics, the best way to study dinosaur sex is to look at the animals' closest living relatives. Dinosaurs shared a common ancestor with alligators and crocodiles more than 250 million years ago, and modern birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs akin to Velociraptor. Therefore we can surmise that anatomical structures present in both birds and crocodylians were present in dinosaurs, too. The reproductive organs of both groups are generally similar. Males and females have a single opening--called the cloaca--that is a dual-use organ for sex and excretion. Male birds and crocodylians have a penis that emerges from the cloaca to deliver sperm. Dinosaur sex must have followed the "Insert Tab A into Slot B" game plan carried on by their modern-day descendants and cousins.

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Technology and porn: San Francisco's 1969 rise as 'Smut Capital of America'

NSFW: clip contains nude-idity. Mikl-Em at Laughing Squid has an excellent post today about how San Francisco became the epicenter of the professionalization of America's pornography industry. Sex and early adoption of technology are always closely intertwined, and many new technologies become widely adopted because they improve the means of production and/or distribution of pornography. San Francisco's mix of hippies, recently discharged Vietnam veterans, burlesque halls, and shuttered film houses created a perfect storm of opportunity in 1969 for amateur stag films to evolve into a nascent film industry. I can't wait to see the full-up version of this documentary.

Documentary On When San Francisco Was Smut Capital of the USA (via laughing squid) Read the rest

Is it OK to write about Tim Cook being gay?

Photo: Brendan McDermid

Apple's Tim Cook has become a role model: brilliant, hard-working, and now running the world's sexiest consumer electronics company.

Tech writers, however, avoid talk of Mr. Cook's sexuality. When they do discuss it, it's often to declare how unworthy of discussion it is, and how doing so is discriminatory, sensationalist, or invasive. But Joe Clark isn't buying the idea that this is just about protecting Mr Cook's privacy. Read the rest

Berlusconi's "Rubygate" in Italy: Private Vices, Public Virtues

(image: a shot from the movie "Private Vices, Public Virtues")

Many years ago, I took part in a movie directed by Miclos Jancso, called "Private Vices, Public Virtues." It was a dissolute story of sex drugs and rock-n-roll, anachronistically set in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

In the film, the rebellious heir to the crown of Franz Joseph gets murdered by his own father, the Emperor, for a criminal public display of orgiastic excesses, which involve the nobles of the court, plus the many less noble participants of the collapsing empire.

I remember vividly when a group of girls arrived from Rome to participate in the film. "Il gruppo Max," they were called, and they brought their film assignment with them: "pronte a tutto," ready for anything. Meaning ready to do anything requested by the film production, ready to dance, to sing, to strip, to have sex on camera. Ilona Staller, who later became the famous Italian parliamentarian Cicciolina, was one of that group.

And they perfectly performed that task: it was in the seventies, make love not war, hippies, free love, with men and women, among men and women, kings and beggars, friends and foes...

The movie was a commercial flop, and an artistic failure.

However, from today's perspective, that film was clearly a futuristic experiment. These days, all the Italian dailies have headlines which are paraphrases from that Movie: "ragazze pronte a tutto," "vizi privati pubbliche virtu," "il re perverso e triste," papi of the nation....

Of course they refer to the Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, and his endless squalid story with underage girls, professional paid escorts, TV stars who become deputies and government officials, all thanks to his protection. Read the rest

Museum of Sex exhibition about sex and comic books

Here's my buddy Craig Yoe standing in front of a giant reproduction of Wally Wood's "Disney Memorial Orgy" poster at New York City's Museum of Sex , which was originally published in Paul Krasner's The Realist in 1967. Craig is the curator of an exhibit there called "Comics Stripped."

From the show's description:

As Tom of Finland famously said, "If I don't have an erection when I'm doing a drawing, I know it's no good." Whether produced as an individual work of art or mass produced, comics are a reflection of society and sexual fantasy where every sexual act that can be performed or imagined can exist.

In showcasing the coquettish to the most sexually explicit "dirty drawings," Comics Stripped will examine the history and cultural significance of the images, icons and illustrators that have entertained, educated (as well as equally misinformed) on the basics of sex and created a realm of sexual fantasy unlimited by the constraints of reality for generations.

Craig is also the editor of two books about comics and sex: Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings, and Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster.

Museum of Sex exhibit: "Comics Stripped" Color version of "Walt Disney Memorial Orgy" Wally Wood Disney Memorial Orgy Disney gags on "Ho White" beer Interview with comic art historian Craig Yoe The sad fate of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster Book review: The Art of Ditko Jetta: cute space girl from the 1960s by famous Archie artist Dan DeCarlo Read the rest

Simpsons porn parody finally out; is so super brain-hurty

"SIMPSONS -- THE XXX PARODY!" [Video Link, work-safe other than groaning porny sounds]. You can order it here. I am no stranger to porn and am no prude, but this is so unsettling on so many levels. I need to go be alone for a little while with some hot tea and a kitten.

(via The Daily What) Read the rest

Sperm Wars (BB Flickr Pool)

An illustration contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader Phil Jones (website) Read the rest

Lady Gaga Kathy Griffin end-of-DADT fan homage art: "I Won't Tell if You Won't"

Paul Richmond writes,

I am writing to share my new painting inspired by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (and featuring diva allies Lady Gaga and Kathy Griffin), which will be on display at en exhibit in NYC opening this week.
More here, including the un-cropped NSFW image (frontal male nudity). Read the rest

Man Eater sex toy: offer of a product review sample

Today, I received the following email from Mae Schultz, marketing campaign manager of Good Vibrations.
Hi Mark,

Would you be interested in reviewing Good Vibrations newest male sex toy the "Man Eater from Outer Space"? Feel free to write whatever you'd like about it, I'd be happy to send you a sample.

Have a great day, Mae

Man Eaters From Outer Space Waterproof Vibrator: $29.00 Read the rest

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