San Francisco's annual Arse Elektronika events sees the sexiest of the geeky (or the geekiest of the sexy) trying to outnerd each other with fabulous sexual inventions that are impractical, implausible, and exactly what you want for Christmas. It's also a great way for tinkerers of this sort to experiment with new and wacky ideas. Like, say, a vibrator that's hooked up to the U.S. Geological Survey and only buzzes when there's an earthquake somewhere in the world: you just plug it in, turn it on, and ... wait for a completely unpredictable natural disaster! Only trouble is that when your own "Big One" finally arrives, it's tempered by the realization that a building might have collapsed somewhere with people trapped inside. Talk about a buzzkill.
If that's not depressing enough, try the dildo that puts you on a self-imposed sex strike based on the measurements of certain political and social facts. For example, if you set a "tolerance limit" of two Iraqi civilian deaths a day, then on any day where civilian deaths in Iraq exceed that number, the vibrator is locked out and you can't use it. No one dies and you're free to jack it! Awesome! Also creepy!
Obviously, these inventions are more Statements than useful masturbatory devices--it's probably better to imagine how a 8.5 quake would rock your hoo-hah instead of waiting for one. But the attempt to tie your daily orgasms to events affecting other people on Earth is a fascinating concept.
Both of these projects are being developed by a group called Cho-Yaba to compete for the "Golden Kleene" award at the next Arse Elektronika this fall. We're very interested in seeing the final results, even if given what we've seen so far their third as-yet-unveiled project--something called the "Perpetual Erection Machine"--is almost too spooky to contemplate. Even for us.