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Playboy releases complete archive on 250GB hard drive

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Following in the footsteps of the New Yorker and National Geographic, Playboy is releasing its full archive on a 250 GB hard drive, spanning the fifty-seven years since Grandpa Hefner started the thing in 1953. Though Playboy's cultural cache has diminished in recent years (with the rise of internet porn and the general lowering of taboos), this might actually be a pretty fascinating historical document, charting mainstream ideas of sexual desirability for six tumultuous decades.

I remember a few years ago, a site illicitly posted scans of every Playboy centerfold from the first issue's famous Marilyn Monroe spread up. (Actually, you can see some of them here, still.) The gradual progress of style was remarkable, from the bust-and-bouffant look of the '50s to the sun-lit fauns of the '60s and '70s to the depilated and fake-bosomed '80s. (One observation: "ideal" breast size seems to increase in conservative times. It must be some kind of anxiety about abundance, safety, maternal comfort… God, there's a whole grad-student thesis in there.) In any event, you can pick up the Playboy archive for a mere $300. As a Christmas gift, it could free up a lot of your dad's drawer space.