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Pornography in the lab?

Pornography in the lab?

Posted on: 03/05/2017

The November 1972 issue of Playboymagazine is the magazine’s best selling issue of all time.

This is not because of the articles, but due to the proliferation of one iconic image from the magazine: that of centrefold model Lena Söderberg.

The original image was digitised by researches at the University of Southern California Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI) in 1973. Alexander Sawchuk, the assistant professor of electrical engineering, his graduate student and the SIPI lab manager were frantically looking for a new image for a research paper.

They had already exhausted the stock of usual test images. It was at this moment — according to legend — that a colleague walked in with the November 1972 issue of Playboy. Seeing the predicament that the researches were in, he tore a 5.12-inch strip from the top of the centrefold and fed it to their scanner. As it had a resolution of 100 lines per inch, the resulting image was the perfectly cropped head and shoulders image 512 x 512 pixels in size.

This image has since been used widely in imaging processing circles. That’s because the nature of the image makes it amenable for testing a wide range of image processing algorithms.


Pornography in the lab

Given the provenance of the image, its use is not without controversy. In a recent article in the Washington Post, a student from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in the US, Maddie Zug, suggested the school’s use of the image in her computer science course was evidence that the school’s culture unfairly marginalises women in an already male-dominated subject.

Vintage pop culture ephemera. Add to collection or send as an amusing BIRTHDAY present.

Playmate of the Month
Lenna Sjooblom photographed by Dwight Hooker

Pamela Rawlings (Nude inside) photographed by Rowland Scherman

Jack Anderson by Playboy

What Dr. Reuben Doesn't Know About Sex
An Interview With Muckraker Jack Anderson
How They Hustle The Youth Vote
14 Pages On Sex In Cinema

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