How video games are changing the economy, the story behind the mythological toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, and the merits of being grossed out.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that 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.

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How Videogames Are Changing the Economy This fall, the Chinese National University of Defense Technology announced that it had created the world’s fastest supercomputer, Tianhe-1A, which clocks in at 2.5 petaflops (or 2,500 trillion operations) per second. This is the shape of the world to come—but not in the way you might think.

Playboy Mansion Is ‘Squalid Prison’ A key part of the Playboy image involves the Playboy Mansion, the enviable setting of star-studded parties. But some of Hefner’s so-called girlfriends have started talking about the inner workings of the place, revealing it to be more like a prison than a palace of love.

How the Saddam Statue Toppling Sparked a ‘Victory Myth’ The New Yorker details how the toppling of the Saddam statue turned from a glimmer in the eye of a Marine sergeant to a media moment of outsized proportions.

WHY BEING GROSSED OUT IS GOOD FOR YOU Maggots. Rotten meat. Pus-oozing sores. Grossed out yet? Probably. The emotion of disgust is universal, strong and easy to invoke. But there’s a good reason for instinctive disgust: it can keep us alive.

Vatican Works to Change the Subject The Catholic Church appears to have concluded that the best way to keep everyone from talking about sex abuse is to change the subject — to demons.

The Elements of Clunk A whole new strain of bad writing has come to the fore, not only in student work but also on the Internet, that unparalleled source for assessing the state of the language.

Internet Gains on Television as Public’s Main News Source The internet is slowly closing in on television as Americans’ main source of national and international news.

Man Busted For Building ‘Vibrator Bomb’ A Minnesota man is facing felony charges after police discovered that he had retrofitted a vibrator, turning the sex toy into a homemade explosive device.

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