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A.V. Flox
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A.V. Flox

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The wrestler Hulk Hogan sued Gawker Media for invasion of privacy after the famous blog published his sex tape, and a Florida jury recently awarded the wrestler $140 million.

What the jury — and the public — did not know until yesterday was that the wrestler had a secret benefactor paying about $10 million for the lawsuit: Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook.

A 2007 article published by Gawker’s Valleywag blog was headlined, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” That and a series of articles about his friends and others that he said “ruined people’s lives for no reason” drove Thiel to mount a clandestine war against Gawker. He funded a team of lawyers to find and help “victims” of the company’s coverage mount cases against Gawker

It is not known how many cases he's bankrolling, but we can bet they're all against Gawker. Thiel has vowed to destroy the media organization.

Nick Denton, who founded Gawker Media, wrote in 2007 a comment on the post that started this all: "[Thiel] was so paranoid that, when I was looking into the story, a year ago, I got a series of messages relaying the destruction that would rain down on me, and various innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, if a story ever ran."

He might start believing it now.

Both Denton and the author of the piece outing Thiel, Owen Thomas, are gay. Rather than homophobia, the intent of this piece and others hinges on the belief in the importance of the visibility of gay people, especially those in positions of power. But the methods are difficult to defend: Gawker has a terrible history of outing gay men, including Apple's Tim Cook and CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Only last year, after Gawker outed an executive no one had ever heard about in a lurid piece, and both the publication and its founder received condemnation from all corners of media, did Denton's commitment to kicking people out of the closet relent.

Denton took that last post down, acknowledged "the media environment has changed, our readers have changed, and I have changed," and promised the media empire would be gentler and kinder from then on. It might have been too little, too late.

Gawker's history of outing people:

The outing that made Gawker vow to be nicer:

More on litigation financing:

Here's why this is bad for journalism:
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A.V. Flox

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Amnesty International has published its policy on sex work: it calls on governments to take several critical steps to protect the human rights of sex workers, including: decriminalize consensual sex work, ensure that sex workers are protected from harm, exploitation and coercion; include sex workers in the development of laws that affect their lives and safety; and end discrimination and provide access to education and employment options for all.

Amnesty International’s policy is the culmination of extensive worldwide consultations, a considered review of substantive evidence and international human rights standards and first-hand research, carried out over more than two years.

It recommends the decriminalization of consensual sex work, including those laws that prohibit associated activities — such as bans on buying, solicitation and general organization of sex work. This is based on evidence that these laws often make sex workers less safe and provide impunity for abusers, with sex workers often too scared of being penalized to report crime to the police. Laws on sex work should focus on protecting people from exploitation and abuse, rather than trying to ban all sex work and penalize sex workers.

Extensive research, including four geographically specific reports, shows that sex workers are often subject to horrific human rights abuses. This is in part due to criminalization, which further endangers and marginalizes sex workers and impedes their ability to seek legal and social services as well as protection from violence.

Amnesty International’s research shows that sex workers often get no, or very little, protection from abuse, or legal redress, even in countries where the act of selling sex itself is legal.

The research makes a strong case against the "Nordic model," or the criminalization of buying sexual services, as it's been implemented in Norway and Sweden, and as many "end-demand" campaigns are hoping to modify the systems all over Europe, including countries that previously had less abusive legal frameworks for sex workers.

This is an important step for sex workers, as well as for health and the rights of gay and transgender individuals, who most often face the brunt of initiatives to combat prostitution.
Amnesty International today published its policy on protecting sex workers from human rights violations and abuses, along with four research reports on these issues in Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Nor
Gary Walker's profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photoAntonio Borunda's profile photo
Good news +A.V. Flox, found it and it even comes with a transcript! They had three/four guests with differing view points and the show is pretty civil... and it is recorded in D.C!

I actually heard it live on my way to work and one of my thoughts was to link it over to you since it would be to your interests... but I got in and work took over.
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A.V. Flox

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Meet Dan Savage.

No, not the famous columnist and LGBTQ activist known for his influential and nationally syndicated sex column “Savage Love” — the other one. Specifically, the other queer white male writer named Dan Savage. Who also happens to own the Dan Savage Gmail address.

A 27-year-old native of Shavertown, Pennsylvania, Savage moved to Los Angeles a few years ago, like so many before him, to break into screenwriting. Unlike many, though, he’s done well for himself since, keeping the lights on with rewrite gigs on feature films while working on his own directorial debut.

Still, trying to make a name for yourself when another guy with your name is six steps ahead of you, even dipping his toe into TV these days, can be a pain — even if it does come with a perk here and there. MEL magazine met up with Dan (or “D. Madison Savage,” as he now prefers to be known professionally) in West L.A. last week to chat about living in the shadow of a famous sex columnist.
Living in the digital shadow of a nationally syndicated columnist and TV producer
God Emperor Lionel Lauer's profile photoOlav Folland's profile photo
One was my grandfather, and the other died before I was born ;)
Thankfully my first name is nicely obscure tho. It's not a common spelling, but there's that king of Norway dude.
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A.V. Flox

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Brace yourself for the latest internet craze: dick-shaped lipsticks.

A writer at Buzzfeed saw them on her Instagram feed and since then, the item has been flying off the digital shelves on Amazon, all the way up to first place in the coveted Best Seller list under the Sex Novelties category.

Pipedream Products, a mega-brand in adult novelties, has been manufacturing lipdicks under the name Diamond Dream for over a decade for the bachelorette audience. They come in multi-colored packages of twelve, and retail for around $30, though you can find them (or their imitators) on Amazon for half that (the second link in this article has a box for $16.50).

If the manufacturer name sounds vaguely familiar, it's because Pipedream, founded in 1973, is a mega-brand in the adult novelty industry. It made news for being the first company in the space to secure private equity funding and again when it bought the luxury sex toy brand JimmyJane and condom manufacturer Sir Richard's Condom Company.[1]

Other manufacturers in the space are Princessa USA (which sells Mushroom), and Hen Night HQ (which sells Silly Willy). That there's this many companies in the space should probably tell us something.


Olivier Malinur's profile photoGod Emperor Lionel Lauer's profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photo
+God Emperor Lionel Lauer, it really isn't. 
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A.V. Flox

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The idea behind "love languages" is that we all express and register love differently, and understanding that can make us more effective at communicating love in relationships.

This concept was developed by relationship counselor Gary Chapman. His book, _Five Love Languages,_ is not the worst example of writing you'll find in the self-help aisle, but it comes close. The core idea, however, is actually pretty useful, and the good news is that you don't need to read the book to put the information to work for you.

The five languages are pretty straightforward:

Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
Physical Touch: It can be sex or holding hands. With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.

And here's a quiz to help you find out what your primary languages are:
Ever had an argument with your partner and wished they could just read your mind? If they only knew how you were feeling, they’d stop putting up a fight. That’s sort of the idea behind the concept of love languages: they let you in on what makes your partner tick. The idea is: we all express and feel love differently, and understanding those differences can seriously help your relationship. In fact, it’s one of the simplest ways to improve it.
Brooks Moses's profile photoKee Hinckley's profile photoJusten Robertson's profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photo
Top three for me:
1.) Quality time
2.) Service
3.) Touch
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A.V. Flox

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This is a short, concise, and extremely clear talk on decriminalization of sex work. It's about the different legal approaches different countries use, and why many of them are a bad idea. It's about why people want to criminalize or eliminate sex work, and what the consequences of that actually are. And ultimately, it's about the most important question in such a situation: what are the laws that the people affected actually want?

You would think this would be the question about most kinds of laws, but the laws around sex work tend to be constructed rather spectacularly without the input of any of the parties affected – with a few key counterexamples, such as New Zealand's 2003 legal reform.

I'm not normally in the habit of sharing TED talks – the tend towards the self-congratulatory and/or asinine. But this one is worth a watch or a read.
TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript: Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) ... but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Toni Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. "If you care about gender equality or poverty or mig...
55 comments on original post
Denis Wallez's profile photoMacey “number 1” glass's profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photo
+Macey glass, I didn't write this. 
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A.V. Flox

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But there’s a difference between compulsion and addiction. Addiction can’t be stopped without major consequence, including new brain activity. Compulsive behavior can be stopped; it’s just difficult to do so. In other words, being “out of control” isn’t a universal symptom of addiction.
A psychologist explains why sex addiction therapy is more about faith than facts
Dogmatic Pyrrhonist's profile photoCarl Revine's profile photoColin MacRae's profile photo
Having a go at the addiction 'therapy' industry is laudable - most of it seems to be snake oil. The way the author has done it, however, leaves a lot to be desired.

Firstly, he hasn't shown that sex addiction is a myth, he's provided some evidence, which is far from conclusive, that people don't become physically dependent on sexual stimuli. Addiction and physical dependence aren't the same thing, nor is physical dependence required for an addiction classification in the DSM.

In the recent reclassification of gambling addiction from an impulse control disorder to an addiction, a specific pattern of dopaminergic activation was sufficient. As well as that, physical dependence as addiction doesn't hold up in the real world. Take opioid based painkillers for instance - addiction is rare when opioid analgesics are used appropriately[1]. By the author's measure, every person in the linked study would be an addict, as they're all physically dependent - which is ludicrous.

At the same time as gambling addiction was being debated, sex addiction was offered for inclusion in the DSM. It was rejected because there was limited evidence of the specific dopaminergic activation they're currently using to categorise addictions. However, if we look at behaviours, reasons for those behaviours, and brain areas that are affected, dopaminergic activation is arguably irrelevant. In fact, treating addiction as a distinct condition, rather than as a symptom of something else is highly suspect (this argument has been going on for decades, though, so I wouldn't expect a resolution any time soon).

Most importantly, for treatment purposes it's largely irrelevant how the condition is classified as the treatment protocols are the same. Delegitimizing people's experiences, as the author has done, hinders people getting the appropriate help - and sex addicts, or however you want to label them, need help.

In short, go after the snake oil peddlers by all means, but do so without hurting ill people. It's really not that difficult.

[1] Edlund MJ, Steffick D, Hudson T, Harris KM, Sullivan M. Risk factors for clinically recognized opioid abuse and dependence among veterans using opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. Pain. 2007;129:355–362.
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A.V. Flox

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The campaigns for the U.S. presidential election this November are well underway, and with them, the respective issues at their center. Though that of businessman Donald Trump is a campaign based primarily on national socialism much in the style of the European right, some additional elements have come to the fore, in particular, those that would strive to define what it means to be a man.

One of the favorite insults hurled by Trump supporters is "cuck," or -- when applied to conservatives who don't show enough grit, "cuckservative." The word comes from "cuckold," which is derived from the name of the cuckoo, a bird that lays its eggs in nests of other birds, which -- unless the eggs are discovered -- proceed to rear those hatchlings. The word has been with us a long time, appearing in English as early as 1250, though rather than refer to a man responsible for the deceit of another, it explicitly refers to the man deceived.

The female term, "cuckquean," appears in 1562, though unlike cuckold, cuckquean is more in keeping with biology, and refers to a woman who is deceiving her husband regarding the origin of their child.

In the Trump campaign, a man described as a cuckold is a man who has no value, as evidenced by the suggestion he cannot keep "his woman" in line.

It is a word that expresses a longing for a time in which women were controlled, if not emotionally and physically, then socially and financially. At the same time, it is a word that enforces as the only acceptable option sexual behavior that is monogamous and heteronomative, with the man firmly in the role of dominance.

This is evidenced by the group's loathing of the prefix "sub-" -- even when referring to subcategories of message boards, such as the subreddit where Trump supporters discuss politics. Since the prefix implies submission (a submissive in BDSM culture is often referred to by the abbreviation "sub"), Trump supporters refer to the subcategory of the messaging board Reddit as their "domreddit."

This characterization of masculinity as dominance denies those who enjoy submission sexually the right to identify as men. It is, unfortunately, par for the course when it comes to national socialism, to have gender roles and sexual conformity baked into it from the get-go. For America to be "great" again -- for any national socialist party, you see -- sexuality and personal freedom must be policed.
With seemingly little effort, Donald Trump has built one of the biggest and loudest Web campaigns ever.
A.V. Flox's profile photoPaul Duggan's profile photo
+A.V. Flox It depends what "-old" and "-quean" mean. They may be more "-ee" then "-er."
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Meet Stephanie Sarley, an artist who fingers fruit on Instagram. In this interview, she talks about how she came up with the concept, people's response to her work, social network censorship, copyright infringement, and the tragedy of becoming a meme.
Filip H.F. “FiXato” Slagter's profile photoDaniel Estrada's profile photoJohn Poteet's profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photo
+Filip H.F. Slagter, that's what I thought, too. Though if I made fan "art" and the artist whose work I was using told me that my creation was not what she wanted to see developed from her work, I'd probably remove it. 
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"There’s some invisible thread that has kept photographers enamored with the oldest profession for so many centuries," the article notes. "Whether pure fascination, an obsession with defiance, camaraderie, compassion, or corrupt curiosity, we may never be certain."

I would have thought it would be simple. Women's bodies being so thoroughly policed throughout history, the only ones who would be willing to be a model, given the profession's scandalous reputation, would have to be women who'd airway forfeited "respectability."

But anyway, this article names some names of people who photographed sex workers, and it helps explain, for those interested, what it takes to photograph them as human beings, rather than props. 

Content warning: This link contains images that are not safe for work.
Bob O`Bob's profile photoOlivier Malinur's profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photoJasper Janssen's profile photo
Rembrandt, Rubens... Most of their models (other than portraiture) were either their wife or prostitutes.

And you can't help but feel that if Jeroen Bosch used models for the Garden of Earthly Delights, well..
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It's been a particularly brutal year for queer characters on television. In response to outrage from fans tired of seeing LGBTQ characters killed off, a group of television professionals and LGBTQ activists have drafted a pledge to do right by the LGBTQ community.

The “LGBT Fans Deserve Better” pledge, dubbed #TheLexaPledge on Twitter, was created by Noelle Carbone (writer and co-executive producer of the Canadian medical drama _Saving Hope),_ Sonia Hosko (producer on _Saving Hope),_ Gina Tass (Trevor Project Fundraiser Creator), and producer, director, and writer Michelle Mama.

The pledge contains seven tenets for positive LGBTQ representation, and the eight industry members who’ve signed it so far promise, among other important points, to “refuse to kill off a queer character solely to further the plot of a straight one”; to “recognize that the LGBTQ community is underrepresented on television and, as such, that the deaths of queer characters has deep psychosocial ramifications”; to “acknowledge that “the Bury Your Gays trope is harmful to the greater LGBTQ community”; and to “never bait or mislead fans on social media or any other outlet.”

Read the full pledge:

What is Bury Your Gays?

What does the pledge mean by "baiting"?
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As fate would have it, I'm watching TV right now, and "Without a Trace" had just come on, with a story line of a lesbian woman being murdered. This trope is everywhere.
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In 1960, math gave the monogamous a way to increase their odds of settling with the correct partner. The "fussy suitor problem," popularized in an issue of Scientific American that year, tackles the question: "is this person the best choice to meet all your needs?" Though the problem ignores that individuals are dynamic and needs change over time, the math is sufficiently interesting to merit taking a closer look.
This number could be your best shot at finding love.
Mz Maau's profile photoWalther M.M.'s profile photoA.V. Flox's profile photoDAVID Edwards's profile photo
Given I havent even dated a girl since 2012 I think I'll hold off on settling down

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Velocitus delectibus.

I'm AV -- that's pronounced like the letters A and V. Most people call me that, but a few prefer the less familiar Flox, which is pronounced like you would if you were talking about various flocks of birds (see? it only looks complicated). You may call me either of these things. 

I'm a writer. I've written for a variety of publications, including the Village Voice, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Gizmodo, and Vice. My main focus is sex -- the norms around it, the organs we use, the health issues that affect it or are a consequence of it, the way governments and private companies want to control it and the way we express ourselves around it, the markets that exist to cater to it and the labor issues within them, and so on. Sex touches everything. You would be amazed how many incredible disciplines I get to explore writing about sex. Not too long ago, I was buried under a stack of papers about 16S rRNA and metagenomic sequencing! (Why? Because vagina. You can read the piece on Vice.).

Besides writing, I have edited blogs about relationships and science for the Village Voice and, a women's network that was reaching 90 million monthly visitors by the time it was acquired by SheKnows Media last year for a reported $35 million -- more than AOL paid for TechCrunch just four years prior. 

My content here on Plus will reflect my beat, but please note that in general, my posts and shares involve more analysis than titillation. I have analytics, I can see how many of you browse on the clock! No judgment -- I'm honored, actually. But because of this, as a rule, I do not publish images or articles that contain preview images that are not "safe for work" (that is, anything that may make a colleague feel uncomfortable in a workplace) and I strive to let you know when a link I have shared contains this type of imagery so you don't click it without knowledge.  

I am not opposed to pornography, but I do believe in consent -- I do not want to expose anyone to visually sexual content unless they explicitly opt-in to see it. So if sexy imagery is the sort of thing you're looking for, you won't find it here. However, feel free to visit my NSFW love letter to desire on Tumblr. It is overflowing with various degrees of graphic depictions of cisgender, heterosexual sex that I find pleasing. (If cis/het isn't you, try a Tumblr-wide search for a keyword that better speaks to you. Some of the best gay yiff I've ever seen is on Tumblr. And if you do not know what that is, don't look it up at work!)

I also use content warnings, since some of the things I share touch on things that you may not want to read about right then (assault, unsettling health conditions and accidents, etc.), and spoiler alerts. 

A lot of people follow me as a resource on issues of sexuality, so I try to keep my social media channels focused, but people are multidimensional and I am no different. Google Plus is where I am most focused. If you want a slightly more varied feed with more snippets from my life, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter

My Instagram has first publishing rights to much of my life's imagery, so if you like pix, I strongly recommend you find me there. (My Instagram account does not disseminate sexual imagery, but I do post images from events I attend and sometimes these events are adult industry conferences. Don't follow me just for that, though -- I am not all work and no play, so, yeah, you may get to see awesome candids of porn stars, but you'll also have to suffer through, like, a million videos and pictures of an octopus trying to make an escape from its tank at the California Academy of Sciences, or the bacula collection at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Also, bugs. I love bugs.)

Pinterest is where I put cool stuff that I find online. A number of my boards are dedicated to cool products -- and, yes, one of them is devoted entirely to sex products. Go take a look and see if there is anything worth following. (I also have a community here on Plus called The Desire that I hope to develop into a destination that combines relationship resources and awesome products. If you are interested in that, go ahead and request to join.)

I maintain a complete list of my profiles across the social networks I use on About.Me. If you need to reach me, though, your best bet is to mention @avflox on Twitter. I only receive messages from people in my extended circles here and on most other social platforms, so I may not even see that you tried to reach me if you private message me. On Twitter, though, I see everything -- and it's more reliable than taking your chances with an e-mail web form. But if you don't tweet or you want to stay on the DL, you'll probably want to take your chances with that web form or the e-mail option on About.Me (you don't need to create an account to use it).

I never thought I'd have to mention this, but seeing how many users on this network believe the existence of my profile indicates my sexual availability, allow me to clarify: I am not here to sexy chat with you. I don't usually flirt, even with people I like. I consider joking around an intimate thing so unless we have interacted a few times, I may not respond to your joke. Or at least, I may not respond well. I hate compliments. I reserve the right to delete comments that veer off topic or otherwise blemish my stream. Repeat offenders are blocked and immediately forgotten.

Regarding the many nude photos of me that exist and are said to cause so much "confusion" -- I took them, had them taken, sent them to someone, or posted them myself for my jollies. Personally I think that they represent a woman who is comfortable in her skin, in touch with her body, unashamed of her femaleness, and unwilling to censor it. I am flattered if you have derived some pleasure from their existence, but please note that their existence has nothing to do with you. I did not take them for you. I did not post them for you. I probably don't even know you! They're not for you even if I do know you! (Except you, Grandma, because you made me read Simone de Beauvoir when I was, like, seven and I owe you everything.)

So please -- do not wander onto my spaces online and expect that behaving in an overly familiar fashion is going to endear you to me. We do not have a deep meaningful connection because you saw me naked. Everyone has seen me naked. You are a unique snowflake, but it is not for this reason. 

Nothing I wear or don't wear is license for anyone to treat me like I am a thing that exists solely for their personal entertainment. I am a living organism -- I exist for myself. Just like you. And like you, when I post about something, I want people to comment on that something, not wax poetic about what they want from me. 

I mean, look, I get it. We all have urges. I understand this. I too have seen a picture and thought, "OMGWOULDBANG!!!1!" You are not damaged or monstrous for this. What I am saying is that writing this out as a comment on a person's social stream is not a successful strategy, and doing it when that's not even the topic is outright maladaptive. As someone who writes about getting laid, I feel I am uniquely positioned to speak on this topic, so you should pay attention.

Anyway, if for some incomprehensible reason you should wish to seduce me: go for my brain. Flattery is boring. Negs are like little gnats. The biggest compliment you could pay me, the most disarming level attention you could bestow upon me, requires that you only take the time to read something I've posted and have a brilliant conversation about it.

You don't need to be witty or "alpha" or otherwise a perfect specimen of the gender you identify with. You just need to share your views and tell your stories. Treat me like a human and show me your human. Hottest thing ever.

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Some muses inspire artists. I prefer scientists. "You know what you are? You're an idea Hydra. Discuss one idea, and two more grow." -- Fraser Cain
Journalist; columnist; editor
  • Village Voice Media
    Web Editor, 2010 - 2011
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    Contributing Editor, 2008 - 2010
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    Section Editor, 2011 - 2012
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