Tag Archives: Science

Best Sex Writing 2012

My article “Men Who ‘Buy Sex’ Commit More Crimes: Newsweek, Trafficking, and the Lie of Fabricated Sex Studies,” which first appeared at Tiny Nibbles, has been selected for inclusion in Best Sex Writing 2012 from Cleis Press.

On-sale date January 12, 2012!

It’s a huge honor to be included.

Thanks to Rachel Kramer Bussel and Susie Bright for noticing the piece and selecting it!


Porn-Induced Impotence? (NSFW)

Image: Underwood typewriter, by higginskurt on Flickr (Creative Commons).

I’ve started guest-blogging at my very good friend Violet Blue’s widely-read blog TinyNibbles.com. It’s NSFW — the site features lots of disrobed people, and lots of writing about sex. Be warned. Here’s a teaser to my first post:

My first piece of bad news is that if you’re male, web porn makes you impotent. This is courtesy of Faux News, which assures me that a presentation at the conference of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAM) proves it:

Researchers said Thursday that young men who indulge in “excessive consumption” of Internet porn gradually become immune to explicit images, the ANSA news agency reported.

Over time, this can lead to a loss of libido, impotence and a notion of sex that is totally divorced from real-life relations.

[This is] a perfect example of the kind of scientific information that gets turned into meaningless “proof” that porn is bad for you. In the absence of critical information, journalists, professionals and the general public point to studies like this as fact, rather than data. But the information delivered by Fox News doesn’t even qualify as an anecdote.


Russian Space Plane Prompts Talk of a New Space Race

U.S. Air Force image of the U.S. X-37B before launch.

Flight Global reported yesterday on Russia’s announcement of a new space plane to rival the United States X-37B, an unmanned orbital craft designed to deliver payloads but not ferry people.

The Russian program was announced by Oleg Ostapenko, “the head of the armed forces unit dedicated to military space operations.”

David Axe of Wired’s Danger Room…(READ MORE)

New Year’s Eve: Blackbirds Fall From the Sky Just Before Midnight

Courtesy of BuyCostumes.com

A few minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, thousands of blackbirds fell dead from the sky in Arkansas.

Occurring over the town of Bebe, Arkansas, in an area about a mile long and a half-mile wide, the phenomenon is, thus far, totally unexplained. In fact, the BBC’s story accompanying the article is just 54 words long. The local TV station, KATV, has a longer story that’s even more maddening for its lack of answers. The speculation is that lightning or high-atmosphere hail caused the deaths, but further speculation is that New Year’s Eve fireworks could have caused the birds to die of stress (which sounds unfeasible to me, but what do I know?)


A Techyum Christmas Part 2: Uranium. Yes, Uranium!

In case you didn’t know, you’ve always been able to buy uranium ore for scientific and educational use. “Always” being, maybe, a strong word for it, but…you get the point.

But whether it always came in a retasked Burt’s Bees container, I’m not sure.

And unless you want to look up one morning and see F-22 Raptors dropping daisycutters on your ass, don’t even talk about putting it in your yellow cake! As delicious as it would surely be…

And also in case you didn’t know, if your devious plan is to build some sort of, you know, a, um, sort of a “device,” or even power your next super-android Ex-Mr/s. Techyum Reader or fill your subterranean lair (ie, parents’ basement) with atomic-powered harem-girl bodyguards, we at Techyum do not approve of such endeavors. You’re MAD, we tell you. MAD!!

The truth is, if you wanna do anything really dangerous with uranium, you’ll need, at the very least, to put out a Craigslist ad. And did we mention you’re mad, we tell you, mad?

A Million Random Digits

One of the projects of the quasi-government think tank the RAND corporation shortly after its formation in the 1940s was research into the generation of random numbers.

This generated the publication of a book that seems like a great choice for any true weirdo on your holiday list: The 1955 hardcover A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.

…having primarily aesthetic interests, that’s not what I give a damn about anyway. What I love are the Amazon reviews of the book’s 2001 paperback reissue, like this one by “Roy“:

If you like this book, I highly recommend that you read it in the original binary. As with most translations, conversion from binary to decimal frequently causes a loss of information and, unfortunately, it’s the most significant digits that are lost in the conversion.


Take a Personal Voyage for Carl Sagan’s Birthday

Carl Sagan on Mars. Just kidding; he's in California. NASA photo.

Corduroy-jacketed übernerd Carl Sagan shuffled off this mortal coil in 1996, but today would have been his 76th birthday.

The Brooklyn-born child of Russian Jewish immigrants, Sagan first illuminated my childhood with his thirteen-part educational series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, in which he traveled the universe in a dandelion floof, delivering Vincent Price monologues about Heaven and Hell. While doing so, he shied away neither from apocalyptic pronouncements of potential doom nor dopey optimism about humanity’s future.

He managed to get most famous for incessantly saying something he never said, “billions and billions” with a couple of over-emphasized B-sounds hurtling at you like a pair of double-ought loads from a twelve-gauge coach gun or a couple of massive — okay, let’s not take this metaphor too far.

In fact, just the one “billions” usually got the point across, though he sure could work that initial B sound.

He wrote and cowrote a number of truly amazing books I loved including (READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON TECHYUM)