And Elizabeth's Bookshop has a copy in stock !
TheÂ November 1972 issue ofÂ PlayboyÂ magazineÂ is the magazineâ€™s best selling issue of all time.
This is not because of the articles, but due to the proliferation of one iconic image from the magazine: that of centrefold model Lena SÃ¶derberg.
The original image was digitised by researches at the University of Southern California Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI)Â in 1973. Alexander Sawchuk, the assistant professor of electrical engineering, his graduate student and the SIPI lab manager were frantically looking for a new image for a research paper.
They had already exhausted the stock of usual test images. It was at this moment â€”Â according to legend â€”Â that a colleague walked in with the November 1972 issue ofÂ Playboy. Seeing the predicament that the researches were in, he tore a 5.12-inch strip from the top of the centrefold and fed it to their scanner. As it had a resolution of 100 lines per inch, the resulting image was the perfectly cropped head and shoulders image 512 x 512 pixels in size
This image has since been used widely in imaging processing circles. Thatâ€™s because the nature of the image makes it amenable for testing a wide range of image processing algorithms.
The image contains a mixture of detail, colour, shading, focus, textures, reflections and flat regions that allow testing of multiple algorithms. These algorithms range from edge detection to denoising and even include shrinking the image down to theÂ size of a human hair.
Pornography in the lab
Given the provenance of the image, its use is not without controversy. In a recent article in theÂ Washington Post, a student from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in the US, Maddie Zug, suggested the schoolâ€™s use of the image in her computer science course was evidence that the schoolâ€™s culture unfairly marginalises women in an already male-dominated subject.