Date: Wednesday November 30, 2011
Time: 8pm
Location: Genna’s Lounge (map)

Smut and Sluts: How Reading Novels Will Turn You into a Sex-Crazed Maniac

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Summary: New reading practices and the rise in popularity of the novel caused 18th century moralists to panic that novels might be transforming docile and virtuous women into hysterical nymphomaniacs with no regard for societal rules. Meanwhile, libertine authors were writing—and illustrating—erotic novels with exactly that goal in mind. Can reading really turn you into a sex-obsessed madwoman? Is the novel the first step toward total collapse of civilization? Is this talk just an excuse to display historical porn in public? Discover the dangers of fiction before it’s too late!

Presenter bio: Rachel Tapley is getting her PhD in French literature at UW-Madison. She is writing about seduction and the dangers of reading in 18th and 19th century novels. It is too late for her to benefit from her own warnings.


Sweeeeet! Science! The Chemistry of Candy

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Summary: For milennia, one “spice” has stood tall against the rest, and rightly so. Without sugar, there’d be no candy, which means no Halloween, practically no Valentine’s Day, and thousands fewer good reasons to be obese or diabetic. It’s true, candy has imposed its will upon the weathered fabric of society and taken hold. Issues examined will include the awesome things that candy can do, mechanisms for killing someone with sweetness and how to mitigate chocolate-induced guilt.

Presenter bio: Nick Myllenbeck is a chemistry graduate student at UW and candy enthusiast (he says the sour ones are his type!) Nick enjoys thinking about chemistry that will solve the world’s problems and how Madison should be in California.


The History of the Vibrator

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Summary: Half of Americans have used vibrators during their lifetimes, but few know the history of these pleasure-producing devices. In this talk, you’ll learn that Wisconsin played an important role in the history of the vibrator, while also seeing (and perhaps touching) a 100-year-old working vibrator manufactured in Racine, Wisconsin.

Presenter bio: Hallie Lieberman is the world’s leading (only) dildographer. She’s writing her dissertation on the history of sex toys. To learn more about the fine art of dildography, read her blog at