Photos of These Bolivian Salt Flats Perfectly Reflect the Night Sky

Since finding a perfectly dark sky is rare in our electrically-powered world, we at Gizmodo like to highlight the areas that still remain and the photography projects that explore them. This week’s photo series comes from the Altiplano salt flats (Salar de Uyuni) in Bolivia, where a team journeyed to the site and captured some amazing images.


Why London’s Blowjob Cafe Is Never Going to Happen

A promotional image for Fellatio Cafe

This post originally appeared on VICE UK.

Keep track of sex-cafe openings, and you'll have seen reports that a cafe that offers blowjobs with your coffee is set to open in London in the near future. Everyone got very excited about it yesterday, but many failed to ask the obvious question: How could such a place exist in the United Kingdom, where laws against brothel-keeping are so restrictive they don't allow two sex workers to share an apartment for safety?

Called Fellatio Cafe, the business would offer coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and blowjobs, with a condom applied by the sex worker. Customers—promoters seem to presume all these to be cisgender men, although they promise to open cafes for women if there's any interest—could enjoy a coffee and a 15-minute blowjob for about $65.

" is an extraordinary moment not just for London, but for the entire country," said a spokesman, who wishes to remain anonymous. But solicitor Myles Jackman, a leading sexual-freedom advocate, disagrees: "While I have campaigned for and support the movement for sex workers' rights on the basis of protecting sex workers' safety," he said. "I am struggling to see how multiple sex workers operating from the same premises does not constitute brothel keeping under the current legal framework prohibiting organized prostitution."

The founders, however, are optimistic. "In many ways, our cafe will bring sex into the mainstream, and onto the high street, for the first time," said the spokesman from BumPix, the escort "social network" that hopes to launch fellatio cafes in Geneva, where brothel-keeping is legal, and London by the end of the year.

Violating the brothel-keeping law could land owners in jail and wreck the lives of those working there. The strict law certainly prohibits a cafe serving blowjobs alongside lattes and biscuits, and while brothel-keeping itself is only illegal for the brothel's organizer, the sex workers selling services are not themselves charged. But that doesn't mean they don't face any legal risk from working in a fellatio cafe; sex workers working in brothels that are raided by police can get arrested or detained, beaten, outed to their communities, or deported.

If the founders were to launch today, they'd also be breaking other laws. The cafe website advertises coffee and fellatio for a set price of around $65. If the London cafe were to set prices for sex acts, owners and managers could be prosecuted for controlling the sex workers involved. And if the owners were to receive any financial benefit from the sex work at the cafe—like a cut from each sale—they could be breaking the law against profiting from "immoral earnings."

BumPix's spokesman described a planned online contest to choose the cafe's sex workers: "In order to work at the cafe, the sex worker has to send us her application," he said. "This application would be submitted to the vote of the BumPix community and regular customers. If the sex worker gets more than 50 percent, yes, she's hired!"

He didn't fully answer my questions about legal issues; issues around work status, price setting, and profit sharing, he said, would all be addressed with unspecified "changes in legislation." BumPix is working with a lawyer, he said, and the cafe would not launch without legal clearance. But even with recent positive developments on the UK legal front—last month, Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee recommended the repeal of laws prohibiting sex workers working together—it is unlikely that all the laws the cafe breaks would be changed in time for its scheduled launch.

Just as concerning is that BumPix doesn't seem to care about creating an environment where sex workers feel safe and in control of their working conditions.

I asked the spokesman several times about how the cafe would screen out dangerous potential clients. In our email interview, he said only that customers could choose their preferred sex worker—and she would greet them before beginning fellatio so they'd know she was the one they picked.

Sex Worker Open University, a campaigning group led by sex workers, was also concerned about the cafe's business model. They said in an emailed statement:

"As a sex worker-led collective, SWOU's main aim is to defend the human and labour rights of sex workers. Whilst our preferred models of workplaces are sex workers-owned cooperatives, at the moment, the majority of sex workers work either (legally) in isolation or together for safety (and can be still arrested for brothel-keeping).

"When working under management or for a third party, sex workers have little opportunity to denounce exploitation or abuse. Sex workers have been organizing and advocating tirelessly for the decriminalization of sex work—now widely recognized as the best way to protect sex workers' access to health and justice.

"However, supporting decriminalization of sex work also means being intensively aware of exploitation happening in the sex industry. Whilst we doubt the business will be authorized in the UK, we hope that sex workers in Geneva or Thailand or wherever else sex workers work under management have the resources to self-organize against their exploitation. This means proper health and safety, decent pay and working conditions, ability to form a union and support from unions themselves to engage in industrial actions such as strike."

When sex workers gather, sometimes we might talk about what we would do under decriminalization. Many of us imagine innovative brothels serving delicious food and drink—but the proposed Fellatio Cafe doesn't resemble our dreams, which involve much more than a coffee and a blowjob. In our dreams, we're running the brothels ourselves, and if we're serving coffee, we're not just pulling the shots—we're calling them.

Follow Margaret Corvid on Twitter.

The VICE Guide to Right Now: Cops Shoot at a Moving Car in the Latest Chicago Police Killing Videos

In this frame grab from a body cam provided by the Independent Police Review Authority, Chicago police officers handcuff Paul O'Neal, suspected of stealing a car, after they fired into the vehicle he was driving and then pursued him through a yard on July 28, 2016, in Chicago. (Chicago Police Department/Independent Police Review Authority via AP)

Last Thursday, Paul O'Neal led Chicago police on a high-speed chase while behind the wheel of a stolen Jaguar. When he came close to striking an officer's vehicle, cops proceeded to shoot at the fleeing car from behind, which didn't stop until it crashed into another cop car. That's when the teenager got out and ran behind a house.

He never remerged, and a medical examiner has since said O'Neal, who was just 18, was shot in the back, as the New York Times reports.

Nine videos depicting the moments leading up to O'Neal's death on July 28 were released by city officials Friday. On its face, the tragedy seems like just the latest instance of an unarmed black man dying at the hands of trigger-happy American cops, though speed of its publication does hint at meager progress in how one city plagued by police violence is addressing officer conduct.

After all, a Chicago cop shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in late 2014, and it took more than a year—and a judge's order—to produce dash-cam footage of the incident. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with first-degree murder and is set to go on trial soon, though there have been disputes about who exactly should serve as prosecutor. The comparatively swift turnaround time in the O'Neal shooting could be viewed as progress in terms of transparency—or as just the latest example of Chicago cops' relentless assault on the city's black community.

Eddie Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent who took over not long after the McDonald footage went public, was quick to say his officers seem to have violated departmental policy. (They have been deprived of their official powers as the investigation unfolds.) He may have been referring to the fact that the footage clearly shows officers firing at O'Neal's moving car, even though it is the sole threat in play—a practice that's been discouraged by the Department of Justice and barred by Chicago Police Department rules, if not US case law.

Perhaps less heartening is O'Neal's family and the public still don't have footage of the teen's actual death—instead, the footage catches up to him after he was shot and is being cuffed by officers. (The cops can be heard talking about O'Neal as if he shot them, even though he was unarmed: "They shot at us, too, right?" one asks.) The officer who fired the fatal bullet was wearing a body camera, but the official story is that it did not record.

For his part, Michael Oppenheimer, the attorney representing the O'Neal family, claims this lacuna represents a deliberate cover-up by the department, but that the missing piece doesn't detract from the horror of what we've already seen.

"We just came from watching Chicago police officers execute Paul O'Neal," he said Friday. "It is one of the most horrific things I have seen, aside from being in a movie. These police officers decided to play judge, jury, and executioner."

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.