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China's Animated Sex Ed Videos Just Went Viral, And For a Good Reason

A collection of sex education videos have just gone, ahem, viral on the Chinese Internet. On Oct. 29, a three-person team calling itself the "Nutcracker Studio" released three one-minute clips addressing tough topics in childhood sex education, such as "Where Do Babies Come From?", "Why Are Boys Different from Girls?", and (the far less lighthearted) "How Minors Can Prevent Molestation." Funded by the popular Chinese tech site Guokr, the "One-Minute Sex Ed" videos rose to become the second most popular search on Baidu, China's largest search engine, and have drawn over one million views on Youku, China's YouTube.

These slickly produced videos, which depict a hand drawing cartoon figures, are likely not aimed at young ones, but instead at parents searching for narratives to pass on to their children: The rapid-fire voiceovers use some high-school level vocabulary, including two bleeped cusswords hopefully outside most primary school students' lexicon. Given a widespread reluctance to talk birds and bees -- in China's version of the stork story, parents often tell children that they were picked up "out of a garbage dump" -- the video's narrator is something of a myth-buster for the young and for the ill-informed. The language and visual illustrations have amused adult viewers with hilariously off-color comparisons: In the first video, the narrator explains insemination by comparing it to an injection received at a hospital. The second clip, "Why Are Boys Different from Girls?", addresses anatomical differences by likening male and female reproductive organs to electrical outlets and plugs. (The caption on the photo, from the second video, states: "Why does that boy have a little pee-pee and you don't?") 

Because of China's long-standing need for accessible, accurate sex ed, young adults might also find the videos edifying. On Sept. 29 Hu Zhen, an academic specializing in sex education issues, told China's largest state-run news agency, Xinhua, that sex education in Chinese schools lagged "at least 60 years behind" Sweden and other developed countries, and emphasized that only about ten of China's 180,000 primary schools, and only 500 to 600 of China's approximately 500,000 secondary schools, were providing sex ed. Three short video clips, embedded below, won't hasten the plodding progress of sex education in China's state system. But given the dearth of frank discourse about sex in China, Internet users there may be happy to take what they can get. 

 

Youku/Fair Use

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Why Does the Pentagon Love Toasting You Like a Bagel So Much?

In a shopping channel-worthy video released late last month, an excited Lance Corporal Clayton Filipowicz sets off with a huge, goofy smile to "figure out what it takes to get toasted like a bagel," or, in other words, to test out the Pentagon's Active Denial System. The non-lethal weapon shoots out a ray of energy that causes a sensation described in the past as "as walking into an open oven" or "being blasted by a furnace." The "denial" in Active Denial System means preventing targets from remaining in a specific area, and is primarily meant to be used to disperse potentially hostile crowds. As the pain ray penetrates your skin 1/64 of an inch, it forces you to immediately jump out of its way, giving it the power to shift entire crowds where desired.

Recalled in 2010 after being deployed in Afghanistan for several weeks, the controversial technology might just be making a cautious comeback. 

Military experts say that the beam, the "Holy Grail of crowd control," has no long-term effects on the target's health. Lance Corporal Filipowicz who tested the blast said that as soon you get out of the heat, you feel fine, normal.  "I really like that about the system," he gushed in the video, which was posted to the Pentagon's Armed with Science blog. It was as if speaking about a new model of a tanning bed. 

Filipowicz is also a big fan of the small ("furreal, it is very, very cramped")  ADS control room that he tours on his video. For him, the "coolest thing about this little getup is the Atari-like joystick that they use to operate the system." Giggling, he points out that he would be qualified to operate the system because he is "preeetty good at Call of Duty," a popular shooter game, and that he would have to ask whether you could play split-screen.  

The Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is developing a smaller, more efficient version of the original beam-emitting device --The Solid State Active Denial Technology. According to The Army Times, this time around, they are being extra-careful with the way they frame the technology. A project officer said that they were avoiding calling it a "pain ray," he also emphasized that the blast does not feel like being burned.

Tested in the first half of the 2000s the technology was faulty from the outset. It guzzled enormous amounts of fuel and its potency was compromised by unfavorable weather conditions such as rain or dust. Though targets largely came out unscathed from the testing, one accident where an airman got severely burnt by the ADS revealed some of the technology's crucial shortcomings.

But it was highly coveted by the Army as a crucial tool for dispersing crowds without using lethal force and was eventually deployed in Afghanistan in 2010. On the orders of General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of the armed forces in Afghanistan, it was promptly shipped back to the U.S. after it became clear that an American weapon that "microwaves" crowds was perfect fodder for Taliban propaganda. Though it was never actually fired, reports would claim that Americans were giving Afghans cancer and making them sterile. If you really want to use medical terms, the U.S. military would probably describe it more as a "hot flash." That you can't bear for more than five seconds.