News

The 3D-printed clitoris opens the door to sexual revolution

Over the past three decades, 3D printing has expanded from modest origins—a stereolithographic prototype designed by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. in 1984—to being hailed, in 2012, as the vehicle of a third industrial revolution. In the past few years alone, we’ve 3D-printed Van Gogh’s ear, a hi-tech waterproof bikini, some synthetic rhino horns in an attempt to stop poaching, and began to make real inroads into the world of 3D-printed prosthetics. At this year’s Paralympic games in Rio, Denise Schindler became the first Paralympic cyclist to use a 3D-printed prosthesis. Oh, and you can also turn your child’s latest drawing to sculpture for a modest-ish fee.…

News

How scientists are using MMOs to study sexism in videogames

For the past few years, one of the more common debates to be found on social media has been over whether women are discriminated against within videogames. This can relate to a number of factors, including skill, female presence in the community, and how women are represented within games, but conversations in these topics are often noticeably hostile and difficult to conduct. However, recent scientific studies on the topic have provided new insight into if and how discrimination presents a problem for women in and around videogames, as well as what difficulties sexism in games poses for women in tech in…

News

How computers find naked people

We are all just collections of limbs and appendages, naked before the Internet. Some of us—or some of our devices—just may not know this yet. Curiously, it’s our devices that lag that lag behind in this regard. The Internet, as was correctly noted in Avenue Q, may be for porn, but identifying nudity is not technology’s forte. As such, content moderation is still a tedious human labor, and as Adrian Chen documented in his excellent 2014 Wired feature, it’s a soul-crushing search for dick pics—among other things. So, here we are. It’s 2016, and as Clarifai “data scientist and NSFW enthusiast” Ryan…

Zaha Hadid
News

An appreciation of Zaha Hadid, modern architecture’s greatest woman

The architect Zaha Hadid, who died in Miami last Thursday at the age of 65, was one of design’s great optimists. Only an optimist could dream up the billowing curves of Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Center, which sprout from the ground, rise like sine curves, and blend into one another without ever meeting at right angles, and think “Yes, this building can live unburdened by earth’s gravity.” Only an optimistic could spend decades drawing fantastical jagged futurescapes—impressive works of art in their own right—while breaking ground on precious few projects. Only an optimist, one imagines, could make headway in a male-dominated…

Two Interviewees
News

Two Interviewees takes aim at employment inequality

Two interviewees, both alike in aptitude, both attendant on the Internet where we lay our scene. One’s a man; the other’s a woman. You know how this goes. Two Interviewees, a narrative game created by Mauro Vanetti, does not flip the script. That’s the point, really. Equality would be a shocking narrative turn. Fairness would be truly revolutionary. Equality and fairness are not to be found here. What can be found is a split-screen: a male candidate is on the left and a female candidate is on the right. They have identical CVs. You watch over the shoulder of an…

News

Sigh, FIFA 16 can’t avoid the systemic inequality of women’s soccer after all

Kadeisha Buchanan, the best young player at this summer’s Women’s World Cup, is a fantastic talent, the kind of player you can only dream of being. That’s why the news that a select few female soccer players would be included in the latest edition of FIFA was so exciting. That’s also why the news that EA has removed Buchanan and 12 other female players from FIFA 16 for fear of compromising their NCAA eligibility is so disappointing.  This is, on the one hand, a decidedly old-school story. A videogame developer sets out to make a sports game but has a…

News

In how many ways is Varg Vikernes’s white supremacist game the worst? Let us enumerate

Where, if anywhere, is the line between casually offensive videogames and transparently hateful videogames situated? How many white, male playable characters and tokenized female or minority NPCs does a game need before we declare that the whole enterprise is rotten? These questions come up with alarming frequency when examining videogames, yet for all the tropes and slights—or, to use a mot juste, microaggressions—the line separating “problematic” games and hateful games is usually seen as incredibly difficult to cross. It’s never been easier to create a stupidly offensive game, yet it’s not getting that much easier to declare the whole edifice rotten to…