Senior Editor Jacob Sullum tackles the twin topics of porn and public health in this issue. In "An Epidemic of Meddling" (page 22), he looks at the ways public health activists are eroding our liberties and asks: What Would John Stuart Mill Do? Elsewhere in the issue, Sullum reviews a book that was a gag gift from his wife, The History of Girly Magazines (page 62). Sullum sees a link between the two subjects. "Some people try to treat porn, like everything else, as a public health problem," he says. "They condemn porn and pretend it's all about addiction and disease. They say they are scientifically studying an epidemic when in fact they object to porn on moral grounds."
Contributing Editor Mike Godwin, a Yale research fellow, calls himself a "reflexive Googler" of facts and figures. "Anyone who reached adulthood prior to the computer revolution is startled about the extent to which it has revolutionized day-to-day life," he says. Godwin thinks we may be on the brink of the Singularity, a concept he discusses with Hugo Award–winning science fiction writer Vernor Vinge in "Superhuman Imagination" (page 32). Vinge's novels and essays deal with the possible results of an unthinkably fast acceleration of technological change. Godwin says he is looking forward to the Singularity, which, he drolly notes, "some people call 'The Rapture of the Nerds,' that critical moment when all the geeks can upload their personality to orbital computers." Whether that ever happens, avers Godwin, "the future is coming at us more rapidly than we assumed."
Photo Researcher Julie Wolf Alissi has been selecting images for Reason since 2003. She also runs the photo department for the Connecticut-based children's magazine the Weekly Reader. "One thing I love about working for reason is that it's a total switch from working with children's publications," says Alissi. After spending days with images of "ladybugs and kids in kindergarten," she really "enjoys getting into politics and culture. I love the challenge of thinking differently."