Amazon and other companies have rebranded once taboo sex paraphernalia, thus starting another sexual revolution; public libraries aren’t free, per se, but they’re an absolutely important investment; meanwhile, is the fact that college athletic directors get paid more than $1 million a year justifiable? These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Amazon Sells 60,000 Sex Toys and Related Products? Welcome to Sex 4.0 When was the last time you used a sex toy?

How We Got to the Supreme Court Twenty years ago this July, Michelangelo Signorile went to Hawaii to cover the lawsuit that launched the first salvo in the current war over marriage equality, ultimately leading to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Proposition 8 and, this week, arguments before the Supreme Court: Several gay and lesbian couples took the then-extraordinary step of suing the state of Hawaii, claiming gender discrimination because they were denied marriage licenses.

Winning and Whining, or How to Get Your Just Desserts in America The phrase “American Exceptionalism” has a long, convoluted, and too often tortured track record.

Obama Ignores the Ugly, Brutal Reality of Occupation and Colonization on His Israel Trip Round after round of tear gas was shot by a group of Israeli soldiers on a hill overlooking a protest of about 100 Palestinians in support of a hunger striking prisoner.

There Are No Free Libraries Over the past few months, an image has been making its way around social media to underscore the value of libraries.

Religion Without God The familiar stark divide between people of religion and without religion is too crude.

Why is Science So Obsessed with Beauty? Scientists have been musing about beauty, order and natural symmetry since Pythagoras.

Science-fiction Turns Real: Genetically Engineering Animals for War Scientific advances have us on the verge of being able to control and manipulate animals. Should we use that power?

Mistakes, Excuses, and Painful Lessons from the Iraq War Ezra Klein has admitted he made a mistake in supporting the Iraq War. And he’s sorry.

The ‘Canonical’ Image of a Drone Is a Rendering Dressed Up in Photoshop The media of the drone war is not like the media of World War II or Vietnam.

Introducing Brics From Above, And Brics-From-Below In Durban, South Africa, five heads of state meet on March 26-27 2013 at the International Convention Centre, to assure the rest of Africa that their countries’ corporations are better investors in infrastructure, mining, oil and agriculture than the traditional European and US multinationals.

College Athletic Directors—Why is the Pay So High? We’ve just learned that nine athletic directors of major college-sports programs make more than $1 million annually, with an average salary of about $515,000.

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