Sex Blogging, Gratuitous Nudity, Kinky Sex, Sundry Sensuality
May 21st, 2013 -- by Bacchus
I feel like I’ve been caught up in the Tumblr story for most of the last week. So it’s time for simple pleasures! How about some naked girls, wrestling?
Funny how narrow the line is between wrestling and energetic sex, isn’t it?
Pictures are from the most recent update at Ultimate Surrender.
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May 20th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
As promised in my last post, this is the post in which I tell you how to make a full and complete backup of your porn Tumblr blog (or, really, any Tumblr). My goal for you is a set of files on your own hard drive that contains all the text and all the links and all the pictures (even the full-sized high-res click through ones) that you’ve got on your current Tumblr blog, all linked together in a way that you can open the site in your browser and browse through it just like you would online. This can be done. It’s not even very hard. And once you’ve got it done, you’ll have all the raw material you would need re-create your tumblr blog on some other hosting, if anything should happen to Tumblr or to your porn blog on Tumblr.
But why should you worry about that? Why might you need a Tumblr backup?
Well, as I write this, the news is official: Yahoo has purchased Tumblr for more than a billion dollars, cash. (Tumblr shareholders did not want any stinky Yahoo stock, which should tell you something.) The business press has been pointing out for awhile that Yahoo will need to deal with what the suits in the corporate/financial/advertising world consider to be Tumblr’s “porn problem“. And Yahoo itself has a terrible reputation for buying cool, trendy, successful websites, running them into the ground or neglecting them to death, and then shuttering them. (Remember Geocities? Shaddup, it was cool once. A long time ago…) As Violet Blue puts it in her Sex Tech column at ZDNet:
Yahoo! is well-known for misunderstanding the user base of properties it acquires and ruining – then scrapping – once-active and beloved properties.
But if Flickr’s rep [under Yahoo's ownership] with poorly policing ‘art nudes’ is any hint of Tumblr’s fate, then we’re likely to see lots of once-happy users forced into confusing self-rating protocols, having their accounts banned and years of content deleted with no recourse, and a new content policy practically written by trolls who want the easiest path to shut down people they don’t like.
I, myself, have been speculating for a couple of weeks that Tumblr would soon start cracking down on its “porn problem”, starting with an idle prediction in my The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All post and expanding on it when I discovered (apparently before pretty much anybody else noticed) that Tumblr had started trying to hide all the porn blogs from Google. At first the specific reason was not clear, but in the last few days the drumbeat of anticipatory news about the Yahoo purchase began to make the pieces fall into place. It’s safe to speculate that Tumblr began trying to minimize its “porn problem” while the sale was being negotiated, and there’s a strong basis for concern that (swiftly or eventually) Yahoo will continue that process and attempt to rid the Tumblr ecosystem of porn blogs. Even if they don’t, their track record of failure with acquisitions is such that there’s a good chance that all of Tumblr will have failed or shut down within a few years. And, for people who aren’t following Bacchus’s First Law of The Internet, backups are really important.
Enough nattering. You want tools and instructions.
I’m going to show you two ways to do this, a best-but-somewhat-complex way and an easy-but-somewhat-incomplete way.
Complete Tumblr Backup Solution:
First, the good way, the one recommended by my friend and prolific Tumblr-user Dr. Faustus. I’ve tested this and it works. When you’re done, you’ll have a complete copy of your Tumblr site on your own hard drive that you could navigate with your internet unplugged.
The program you want is: HTTrack/WinHTTrack Website Copier. It’s an open-source free-software general utility for copying and mirroring websites, available for most current versions of Windows as well as for a wide variety of Linux/Unix flavors. The Windows version presents a fairly old-fashioned interface with a bunch of cryptic options, but most of them come pre-set with sensible defaults that you actually don’t need to mess with. Plus, there’s good documentation. (Note well: there are many other programs out there that can accomplish this job. I’m recommending this one because it works and because I’m aware of it; I’m not claiming it’s the best or the easiest.)
Download the software and install it, then run it. You’ll be presented with a welcome screen where you need to click “Next”. Then, this screen:
The arrows show you the two fields that need your attention. All you really need to do is give this backup project a name and tell the software where to save the backup. Then hit “Next”:
On this screen you need to type in the URL for the Tumblr you want to back up. It will be something like: http://yourtumblr.tumblr.com — and there’s one vital reason you need to press the “Set options” button. When you do, you’ll see this:
I’ve pointed arrows at three optional settings tabs that you may want to adjust, and at the one mandatory options tab where you must change a setting. I’m going to ignore the optional ones for now, except to say that you would tinker with these if you wanted to change the sorts of media files you’re saving beyond the basic .gif, .jpg, and .png (you’d need to do this if you were saving a Tumblr that had .wav files or .zip files or .mp3s), or if you need to limit this program from slamming your internet connection too hard. It’s the mandatory “Spider” tab you really need to click:
See the box where it says “follow robots.txt rules”? That robots.txt they’re talking about is the very same unwelcome bugger that got us into this mess in the first place. As a general proposition, one should usually instruct one’s electronic robot spider minions to follow robots.txt rules; unruly robot spiders are a menace to the internet and to web servers everywhere. But this principle of polite internet behavior assumes that you haven’t had your own data locked behind the hostile barbed wire of some corporate data-silo forced-labor camp where the robots.txt has been put in place to hide your porny visage so that the corporate camp commissars will look prettier in the pages of Forbes Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. When it’s your data, you’re perfectly within your moral rights to ignore the robots.txt in order to extricate it; and so that’s what we’re going to do here. Change it using the drop-down menu to say “no robots.txt rules”.
Yay! We’re almost done. Hit the “OK” button, hit “Next”, hit “Finish”, and your site copying should begin.
How long it will take to finish depends on the available bandwidth of your net connection, the memory and processing speed of your computer, and on whether you tweaked any of the options that control things like how many simultaneous connections your computer is making and how many files it’s trying to download in parallel. It also depends on how many pages there are on the Tumblr blog you are backing up, and on how big the images are. The default settings seem to be fairly gentle about not maxing out your internet connection or putting an unruly amount of strain on the server at the site you are trying to copy. Using default settings and a fairly crappy internet connection, I downloaded a test adult Tumblr blog (with permission of the blogger) in about two hours, that had roughly a thousand posts and took up about three-quarters of a gigabyte of room on my hard drive. Your mileage may, and probably will, vary.
What does success look like? You’ll have a folder on your hard drive with the name you provided on the first options screen. If you open it, you will find many sub-folders, and much that may seem mysterious. You should also find a file called “index.html” — and if you click on it, it should open in a new browser window where you’ll be looking at your backed up Tumblr site, using nothing but the files on your hard drive.
What have we not accomplished? Well, you’ve made what should be a full and true copy, but it’s not a nice clean export in some standard format that you could use to easily import all your posts into another content management system or blogging tool. HTML files and related images are scattered through a system of directories and subdirectories that, while logical, may not be the simplest thing to work with. Using the data you’ve got, a clever computer person could generate an XHTML document (or something similar) that could be semi-automatically imported into (say) WordPress. But it would take parsing; it would take work. Figuring out how to take the copy you just made and turn it back into a non-Tumblr website is a solvable problem, but how easy or hard it might be to actually do it depends on your access to computer expertise and tools. For now, you’re safe in the knowledge that you’ve got all the posts you’ve made this past however-many years. You’ve got the images, you’ve got their metadata (any tags you set for them and any credits you may have reblogged or included) and you’ve got the clever things you said about them, all, safe on your hard drive.
Now would be a good time to back up your hard drive. I’m just sayin’.
Partial/Easier Tumblr Backup Solution:
Perhaps all the above is too involved or too complex for you. Or maybe you tried, and failed. For you, there’s a simple little web tool called Backup Jammy where you just type your desired URL into the box and press “Go”. That’s it. A single huge web page appears on your screen with all your Tumblr post content in a simplified format. Then you can use your browser’s “Save as web page” function to save it to your hard disk.
I don’t really recommend this tool. It doesn’t save nearly as much data as HTTrack/WinHTTrack does. In particular, all you seem to get is the standardized Tumblr 500-pixel versions of your images, and none of the higher-res versions that you may have posted. And if you have more posts than will fit in the memory of your computer at one time, you will have to do this in chunks, and save the chunks with appropriate names so you don’t overwrite one with another. It’s a less-complete solution. However, it’s also much easier, especially if your Tumblr blog only has a couple of hundred posts. And it might be enough for you. Certainly it’s better than nothing.
Given the existential threat that the adult Tumblr ecosystem is facing, I hope that smarter people than me will soon take some of the many fine website copying/mirroring tools that are out there, and meld them with friendly idiot-resistant interfaces and powerful parsing tools in a way that provides a seamless Tumblr export in a standardized format that’s ready for import into other blogging tools and posting on other social media platforms. I very much hope so, anyway. But that won’t happen today. A crufty backup you make today is worth a thousand times more than a perfect backup you never make before the platform goes down or is nerfed into uselessness or puts up filters to prevent the users from spidering their own content.
I’m painfully aware that the adult Tumblr backup solutions I’m offering here are messy, imperfect, and incomplete. All I can say in my defense is that they are the very best that I could find and test and describe and put up on the web in a single working day. For many of you, the Tumblr backup options listed here won’t be satisfactory or sufficient, and I apologize in advance for that. But if even a few of the great porn Tumblrs that went dark to public searching in the last few weeks are saved now and preserved on a hard drive and someday returned to the public web because of today’s effort, I’ll count it a day very well spent.
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May 19th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
The full implications of Tumblr making adult-flagged porn Tumblr blogs non-searchable, and hiding their content from the search engines, are only just starting to sink in for people.
For instance: if you have an adult tumblr, now you can’t even search your own blog to find an old post.
I’m getting panicky emails from people with huge adult Tumblrs, thousands of posts. Apparently internal Tumblr search has never worked well (you can search for one tag, or for blog names, but not for post content and there are no multi-keyword searches) and it’s impractical to scroll back very far in your own Tumblr dashboard. So they were in the habit of typing [keyword] [their own tmblr url] into Google, and hey presto! There would be the post they were looking for.
Now their blogs have a non-consensual robots.txt file that excludes Google, and all of those search results are gone from Google.
Worse yet? Tumblr blogs flagged “adult” aren’t searchable even with Tumblr’s own internal search. You can test this yourself. Log into your Tumblr dashboard, go to your settings, and make sure you haven’t checked the “Browse tag pages in Safe Mode (Hide content from NSFW blogs)” setting:
Unlike the one that doesn’t actually “allow search engines to index your blog”, this checkbox appears to actually work in the narrow sense that if it is not checked, you can search for blogs flagged “NSWF” within the Tumblr tag search interface. But this checkbox lies by omission. You’ve got the option to search tag pages of NSFW blogs (or not) but opting to search them does not let you search blogs that have the deeper-level-of-perdition “adult” flag.
My test for this is to search for a recent post at Wicked Knickers, which I used as my “adult” flagged example in the Thou Shalt Not Search Adult Tumblr Blogs post:
The post we will be looking for in the Tumblr dashboard tag search has a time stamp of 9:30pm yesterday, May 18, and is tagged “ziegfeld” which makes it a nice handy and recent thing to search for.
We already know that Google no longer has access to the posts on an adult-flagged Tumblr like this:
So, what happens in the Tumblr tag search interface? If you’re logged in, this is what you see when you search for tumblr posts with the “ziegfeld” tag. The posts returned are listed in date order (most recent first) and dates are visible as tooltips on the live page, so I’ve added them in the margin with red arrows and white text. You’ll see that the Wicked Knickers post is not returned by the Tumblr search:
Interestingly, that logged-in Tumblr dashboard search result is displayed at a URL ( http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/ziegfeld ) that returns something very different (but still no sign of our Wicked Knickers post) if you navigate to it as a not-logged-in person:
Try it yourself if you’ve got an adult-flagged Tumblr blog. Log in and try to search for your own posts in the search box on your own dashboard. You will, sadly, fail.
So, what is to be done? How can you search your own Tumblr blog?
The answer is, quite simply, you cannot — not while it’s on Tumblr’s server behind their robots.txt that you do not have the power to alter or remove.
But, all is not lost. Be ye not in despair. If you could only back up your adult Tumblr blog — make a complete copy of it, on your local hard drive — you could search it there with any file searching tool. Or, if you have a web server of your own, you could upload that copy (mirror it) onto your own web space, where it would once again be indexed and searched by Google.
That’s all I got. It’s the only way. It’s also a very good idea, because eventually The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All, and because Anything Worth Doing On The Internet Is Worth Doing At Your Own Domain That You Control.
Your next logical question is “But how do I do that? How do I back up a Tumblr blog?”
It’s not a simple question. The answer isn’t simple either. But, it can be done. So, that’s my next post.
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May 17th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
As Tumblr users leave comments on my Thou Shalt Not Search Adult Tumblr Blogs post, it’s becoming clearer that the new robots.txt that prohibits search engines from indexing adult Tumblrs is quite new. But nobody seems to know precisely why Tumblr is newly trying to hide all its adult blogs, and Tumblr still hasn’t responded to my inquiry.
Well, here’s a Time report that Tumblr is in talks to be acquired by Yahoo for big bucks. A potential acquisition like that would certainly explain the urge to scratch kitty litter hastily over the porn that made your system big enough to sell in the first place:
Internet icon Yahoo! is in talks to buy New York-based social blogging platform Tumblr for as much as $1 billion, according to multiple reports. At that price, Tumblr would be pretty expensive, given that it reportedly only booked $13 million in revenue last year, but the deal could still make sense for Yahoo! That’s because Tumblr is extremely popular with the 18-to-24 year-old-set, precisely the demographic CEO Marissa Mayer is targeting as she attempts to turn the purple-hued Internet pioneer around following a multi-year slump.
It’s like I said in The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All:
But Tumblr is, famously, a popular platform in search of a revenue-generating business model. And we’ve learned that the suits have no loyalty to the porn users who made their platform popular. So, my bold prediction is that as Tumblr casts about for a business model, one of their steps will be to “clean this place up” (for the VCs, for the advertisers, for the potential buyers, for somebody). A lot more porn tumblrs will go away when that happens.
The pornocalypse comes for us all.
Note well: Yahoo itself is no friend to adult content. As early as 2001 Yahoo started hiding adult Yahoo Groups from its own directories and site search, making them very hard to find. And adult Yahoo Groups used to be (it’s been some years since I stopped paying attention) frequently deleted, seemingly at random and without any notice or hope of appeal, forcing the group members to reconstitute themselves on other services or in new, temporary, Yahoo groups. If Yahoo buys Tumblr, the adult Tumblr ecosystem is in for a rough ride.
According to sources close to the situation, the Yahoo board plans to meet Sunday night to decide whether to approve a $1.1 billion all-cash offer for New York-based blogging site Tumblr.
Update, via Violet Blue’s sex news:
If Yahoo Buys Tumblr, What Will It Do With All That Porn? (Businessweek)
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May 17th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
Looking through the new sex toys at The Stockroom is often an eye-opening and educational experience. Never has that been more true than when I saw their page for The Studfinder Prostate Milking Stick:
The sales copy is perhaps even more eye-opening:
If you were ever curious about whether you can milk a bull, this device answers with a roaring “YES!”
The Stud Finder™ is newest addition to our stable of prostate stimulation devices, but unlike the more conventional silicone, rubber, or plastic p-spot toys, this massive metal bad boy is daunting to look at as well as feel. 12 inches of solid stainless steel end in a heavy curving bulb designed to activate the male prostate gland and get your juices flowing, whether you want them to or not!
Prostate milking is a technique permitting the expression of fluids without necessarily triggering male orgasm, so this device is great for keeping your male slave healthy without offering him orgasmic relief – though using it doesn’t exclude pleasure at all! This heavy duty rod is destined to be all up in your arsenal for years to come!
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May 16th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
If this article in The Atlantic by Conor Friedersdorf is any guide, there’s a sort of debate going on in the intellectual press, triggered by this article, which is a more-detailed-than-usual and fairly sympathetic exemplar of the increasingly-common “I went to a Kink.com porn shoot and had some deep thoughts about it” genre. From my fast skim-reading pass, it appears that the ensuing debate consists of a conversation where various persons disagree with each other about precisely why they ought to hate and disparage kinky sex and porn. It’s all somewhat interesting, but The Atlantic piece deserves quoting, because of some paragraphs on the value of consent as the lodestar of sexual ethics:
My generation doesn’t treat consent as a lodestar merely because consent permits pleasurable sexual activity that more traditional sexual codes would prohibit. The ethos of consent is regarded as a lodestar because its embrace is widely seen as an incredible improvement over much of human history; and because instances when the culture of consent is rejected are superlatively horrific. The average 30-something San Franciscan has had multiple friends confide to them about being raped, and multiple friends confide about participating in consensual BDSM. Only the former routinely plays out as extreme trauma that devastates the teller for decades. Little wonder that consent is treated as the preeminent ethos even by many who suspect that transgressive sex like what Witt describes is ultimately unwise or even immoral.
Let us imagine that, 50 years hence, we have a society where the ethos of consent and attendant norms of sexual conduct have triumphed so completely that rape is as rare as cannibalism. Everyone would regard that as a civilizational triumph. Would it be a bigger or smaller triumph of sexual mores than a culture where consent was valued exactly as much or little as it was in 1950, but BDSM and kink, extreme or tame, was so widely rejected as to render it as rare as cannibalism? That I’d strongly prefer the former triumph explains why I cannot agree with Alan Jacobs when he writes of the San Francisco pornographers, “I do not believe that it is possible to be more uncivilized than they are, though one might be equally uncivilized in different ways.”
I think rapists are far more uncivilized, and that every champion of consent, however myopic they are about other moral norms they ought to follow, are trying to build “structures of thought and practice that harness humankind’s sexual instincts and direct them in socially up-building ways.” Consent isn’t, after all, entirely separable from other widely accepted norms of civilized behavior. Taking it seriously means refusing to watch certain types of porn (the hidden up-skirt camera, for example); it means being forced to conceive of every potential sexual partner as an autonomous individual with inherent worth and desires so important that they frequently trump yours; it means, in at least that one respect, treating other people as you’d want to be treated.
None of that means one must approve of the acts described in the San Francisco basement. I happen to think it doesn’t in fact threaten civilization, that transgressive sex cannot, by definition, become the norm. Others may differ, and I’m just guessing there; but it is to say that, whatever you think of the porn shoot, the scattered, unconsensual sex that went down in the Bay Area that night was more worthy of condemnation, more uncivilized, more destructive and less moral.
To me, the fact that Friedersdorf felt consent culture needed defending in the conversation says rather a lot about the conversation itself. Friedersdorf himself is at pains to disclaim any suggestion that his interlocutors “are insufficiently horrified by rape” — but how else are we to parse that “impossible to be more uncivilized” remark by one of them?
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May 15th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
If you’ve got an adult blog on Tumblr, there’s a good chance Tumblr uses robots.txt to exclude the search engines from indexing it. Did you know that?
Two weeks ago in The Pornocalypse Comes For Us All, I wrote:
Who is next? My guess would be Tumblr. Tumblr is, of all the big platforms, perhaps the most porn friendly; there’s lots of porn on there and the Terms of Service do not prohibit it… But Tumblr is, famously, a popular platform in search of a revenue-generating business model. And we’ve learned that the suits have no loyalty to the porn users who made their platform popular. So, my bold prediction is that as Tumblr casts about for a business model, one of their steps will be to “clean this place up”…
And now, guess what? I’ve discovered that Tumblr uses robots.txt to bar all search engine access to blogs flagged as adult. If you’ve got an adult Tumblr, go look at your own settings. Do you see that first checkbox, the one that says “allow search engines to index your blog”?
That checkbox is a lie. It’s nicely checked, it’s not greyed out, but if your blog is flagged “adult” it’s a lie. Do you see the “Learn more about what this means” link under “Your blog was flagged NSFW” selector? It leads to this page, where Tumblr requests users to appropriately self-flag their blogs:
Please respect the choices of people in our community and flag your blog as NSFW or Adult from your blog Settings page.
- NSFW blogs contain occasional nudity or mature/adult-oriented content.
- Adult blogs contain substantial nudity or mature/adult-oriented content.
If you’re not sure if you should flag your blog you can leave it unflagged, but keep in mind that we might flag it later if we see a lot of mature/adult-oriented content.
To answer the question “What happens to blogs that are flagged NSFW or Adult?” Tumblr offers this handy chart. The key piece of information is the white space indicated by my red superimposed arrow:
That’s right — where the “Blog indexed by Google” row intersects the “Adult Blogs” column, we find a ringing silence.
Would you have noticed? None of the adult Tumblr bloggers I know ever did. I knew from my porn researching that adult Tumblrs tended to be poorly represented in Google search results, but I chalked it up to the sheer scale of Tumblr and Google’s growing bias against returning porn search results. Nope, I found out the truth in one stark moment of astonishment, summed up by this image:
Let’s click the “See wickedknickers.tumblr.com robots.txt page” link:
From me: Aghast. Fucking. Gulp.
In robot, that means, roughly “All robots: stay out!” No search spiders allowed. No Internet Archive crawler. The Wicked Knickers tumblr is there, but you have to know about it, or you have to be linked to it. You won’t find it in Google, you won’t find it in any other search engine that honors robots.txt, and when Tumblr decides to stop hosting it, you won’t find the pages in the Wayback Machine — it will be gone for good, lost to humanity unless somebody with the technical chops and outlaw sensibilities of Archive Team finds a way to archive it anyway, robots.txt be damned.
Wicked Knickers is just an example, one that has some meaning to me because it’s one of the first Tumblr blogs I ever noticed, and I’ve been linking to it since 2010. That’s almost 6,000 vintage erotica posts since January 2009, and none of those pages are in Google or the Wayback Machine. It was only when I twigged to that anomaly that I finally understood what Tumblr is doing to adult blogs.
In all the years that I’ve been preaching Bacchus’s First Rule (“Anything worth doing on the internet is worth doing on your own domain that you control”), I’ll confess that I never considered the power of robots.txt, or what it means to be putting stuff on an internet site where somebody else controls what robots.txt says. Not only do they control your visibility to search engines, they control whether history will remember what you said. That strikes me as a high price to pay for a “free” blogging platform.
It’s worth noting that there’s still rather a lot we don’t know about the Tumblr robots.txt blockade on adult Tumblr sites. Unanswered questions include:
- Does Tumblr have any flexibility on this? Would their support, if asked, remove or modify the robots.txt barrier in specific cases?
- When did Tumblr start using robots.txt to block Google from adult blogs? Has it always been like this, or is it a recent innovation?
- Why does Tumblr display the misleading checkbox that falsely implies that search engines can see flagged adult blogs?
- What is the actual reason for excluding adult Tumblrs from search engine and (especially) archive crawls?
In an unusual move for me, I actually reached out to email@example.com, told Tumblr I was going to write this post, and asked them for answers to those questions. That was on May 11th. No response so far. If they ever do answer, I’ll be sure to update this post.
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May 14th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
The world needs a tentacle-monster tarot deck. And now it would seem that (if the fickle gods of crowd-sourcing be not opposed) one may eventually appear. Behold one of the Major Arcana, the Mad Scientist:
It’s a work in progress. A worthy one.
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May 14th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
This whimsical photo appears to date from the late 1800s. It exists in many small formats and heavily-cropped versions all over the web, but I failed at finding any genuine source information for it. This “best I could find” version comes from a page in the Wayback Machine archiving some sort of seemingly-defunct French-language MySpace clone; never let it be said that Bacchus does not go the extra mile!
In case you ever wondered how horn players have enough breath for the long notes, this is probably not the actual explanation. And you know the phrase “blowing smoke up her ass?” That operation probably looks a little like this.
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May 13th, 2013 -- by Bacchus
My father, who briefly attended Cal Tech and took Richard Feynman’s freshman physics class, used to marvel at the man’s skill on the bongo drums. But I never knew before today that he was also a fairly talented artist of the female form, and used that skill to illustrate some of the strippers of his acquaintance:
We’re looking at Dancer at Gianonni’s Bar, 1968. From here, with this to accompany it:
He started drawing at the age of 44 in 1962, shortly after developing the visual language for his famous Feynman diagrams, after a series of amicable arguments about art vs. science with his artist-friend Jirayr “Jerry” Zorthian — the same friend to whom Feynman’s timeless ode to a flower was in response. Eventually, the two agreed that they’d exchange lessons in art and science on alternate Sundays. Feynman went on to draw — everything from portraits of other prominent physicists and his children to sketches of strippers and very, very many female nudes — until the end of his life.
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