Boing Boing 

The WELL is bought by its users

The WELL, the online community which started out life more than 20 years ago as the Whole Earth Lectronic Link, has been sold to a company founded by some of its long-time users. It has had many owners in its storied history, but its most recent owner, Salon, is the first public company to own the WELL, which raised numerous questions about whether Salon could legally sell the site to the users without trying to realize greater value for its shareholders, including through the sale of the domain name.

Many WELL users have pledged money for a user buyout, and a group of them negotiated with Salon to make the purchase.

I have been a WELL user since the early 1990s, and have enormous affection and respect for the community there. Though I don't often use it actively any longer, my experiences there were formative to my understanding of the online world. Congratulations to the Well Group folks for navigating these waters. Below the jump I've included the press-release.


Read the rest

Lunatic SUV driver harassing cyclists

YouTube user Dfriel1 and a pal went out for a Sunday bike ride on a road east of Longmont, CO, when a driver in a Ford Explorer (license plate Colorado 893 EKG) pulled up behind them and rode their tails for five minutes*, blaring his horn and holding up the traffic behind them. Despite their having pulled into single file, and despite the ample room for passing, the driver appeared to either want to express a general displeasure for cyclists, or believed that cyclists should actually pull off the road in the presence of cars. They Colorado State Police have received a report, and Dfriel1 says he's located other cyclists who've had run ins with this driver.

As a Founder of I encourage everyone to get out and ride bikes as part of a healthy lifestyle. Everyone no matter what their age or where they may live should have the right to feel safe when riding whether it be for health, fitness or simply commuting to work.

Insane Driver who obviously doesn't like people on bikes (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

*Only two minutes are recorded here; in the narration, Dfriel reports that his camera ran out of memory at that point.

Leader of Amish sect convicted of hate crimes in bizarre beard- and hair-cutting assaults

And his name is "Mullet." (NYT)

150 years of photos of American lesbians

Autostraddle's Riese has collected an astounding gallery of photos of American lesbians, spanning 150 years, from 1850 to 2000.

I really threw myself into Herstory Month, in June, eating every accessible herstory archive on the internet and spending hours in the library, accumulating massive stacks of borrowed books which I stored at the foot of my bed. My girlfriend was not a big fan of the stacks of books at the foot of the bed.

I was looking for words but eventually, also, for pictures. Honestly before tumblr it was difficult to find very much lesbian imagery at all online — it was always the same ten or twelve stock photos — let alone pictures of lesbians taken prior to 2000. I wanted to see an evolution of our community, how we'd grown and changed over the years — and not just in a montage of famous out actresses and models, but pictures of actual people, pictures of women who were active in the community — regular human beings, writers and social activists.

Epic Gallery: 150 Years Of Lesbians And Other Lady-Loving-Ladies (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

(Images: Top, "1880s"; right, "Evelyn “Jackie” Bross (left) and Catherine Barscz (right) at the Racine Avenue Police Station, Chicago, June 5, 1943. They had been arrested for violating the cross-dressing ordinance.")

The Art of Web Design (Video)

[Video Link] I enjoyed this video created by PBS's Off Book, called The Art of Web Design. The "8-bit style" soundtrack is a treat, too.

The explosion of the internet over the past 20 years has led to the development of one of the newest creative mediums: the website. Web designers have adapted through the technological developments of html, CSS, Flash, and JavaScript, and have mastered the balance between creativity and usability. Now with the advance of mobile, the greatest websites have taken user experience and responsive design to the next level, and continue our evolution from print to a digital world.

Dinosaur Art: The World’s Greatest Paleoart -- exclusive excerpt

There are many forms of art –- still life, abstract, landscape, digital, cubism, marine, aviation, splatter, modern, photography etc but chances are, few people know what "paleoart" is. Well, simply put, it is the illustration of prehistoric life. Its practitioners combine an understanding of such broad disciplines as anatomy, geology and botany to open windows onto the ancient past, bringing to life as best they can organisms from across the planet’s four billion-year history. Everything from jellyfish to trilobites to mammoths to the first single-celled organisms – and, of course, dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Art is a collection -- and celebration -- of some the finest purveyors of paleoart. My primary reason in assembling this host of talent was to give them a voice. Generally their work is seen in books running the gamete from children’s to the most serious academic volume; from National Geographic’s website to illustrating a report on a BBC News feature. However, I couldn’t help but notice they rarely got to talk about themselves and their art. I hoped to rectify that and in doing so bring together a collection of amazing art that you don’t need to be a dinosaur enthusiast to enjoy -- although that helps!

Here’s a selection of some of my favorite images, from the book. -- Steve White, editor of Dinosaur Art


Douglas Henderson

I love the lighting on this. What filmmakers call ‘the Magic Hour’ – beautiful twilight colours. It is also preludes the event that heralded the demise of the dinosaurs (and untold other species) – the impact of a massive object, in this case illustrated as an asteroid but possibly a comet or meteor, that slammed into the area of what is now Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, unleashing a global catastrophe.

Read the rest

The dumb "No on 37" campaign to defeat labels on genetically engineered food

"No on 37" is a campaign to defeat "California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food," which is up for a vote in the November election. I ran across the ad shown here on the LA Times' website and didn't find it particularly persuasive.

When I visited the site I was impressed by processed food conglomerates' desperation to defeat this bill. Monsanto is one of the corporations spending money to defeat 37 (According to Yes on 37, Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, BASF and Syngenta have donated $19 million to No on 37). Why does it care? Could it be because a peer-reviewed health study revealed massive tumors in rats fed Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn? (UPDATE: Thanks to the commenters who linked to articles critical of the study. The study sounds very problematic, I mainly thought the ad was dumb.)

Here's a list of companies in favor of Prop 37.

Knott's Berry theme park ride strands riders 300 feet in the air for hours

A husband who wanted to "train" his wife to lose her fear of heights got his wish granted when a Knott's Berry Farm ride stranded riders for the second time this month.

"The first half an hour was pretty rough on me. I have a fear of heights,” rider Donna Garrison told KABC-TV. “I was on it because my husband wanted to train me to get over my fear of heights.

“By the end,” she added, “I was."

Knott's WindSeeker shut down after passengers left hanging in air

Dried riverbed reveals stolen architecture, unexploded artillery shells

When Sweden invaded Poland in the 17th century, the Swedes made off with pieces of marble lintels, columns, and other architectural details from the Polish royal palace.

Hundreds of years later, Nazis invaded Poland, carrying with them deadly, modern weaponry and a system of violent repression aimed at the country's Jewish population.

Now, thanks to a severe summer drought, evidence of both these invasions is turning up in Warsaw, beached on the dried riverbed of the Vistula.

Low rainfall over the past few months has brought the Vistula, Poland's longest river, to its lowest level since regular records began 200 years ago.Navigation along the river has already been affected and officials say if water levels do not recover soon, power stations in Warsaw that use river water for cooling may be forced to close down.

Unexploded World War Two ordnance was found on the river bed in one part of the city at the weekend. Kowalski said on the stretch of river bed he had been studying, a few pieces of Jewish matzevah, or gravestones, had been discovered.

Read more about what lies at the bottom of the Vistula at Yahoo News

Flash Gordon's football fight (1980)

Discussion with Mrs. Beschizza about Ted conjured up fond memories of Sam J. Jones's post-10 epic role as Flash Gordon in the 1980 British-American film adaptation of the classic comic strip. Yes, the one with the brilliantly bombastic Queen soundtrack. Adds Mr. Beschizza, "Flash Gordon is why America should get to make a Doctor Who movie."


Android on eBay

This post is sponsored by eBay. From the new to the hard to find, when it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.


There are those who are dedicated to the fruits of Cupertino and those who, well, aren't. As we saw previously, there are plenty of Apple deals to be had at eBay. Three of the latest-and-greatest Android devices are available at discounts that may surprise you. The Samsung Galaxy S III is listed for various carriers and in both white and blue. If the S III is out of your budget, try the HTC EVO 4G at half the price. And if it's a non-iPad tablet you're after, the Google Nexus 7 won't leave you wanting. Check eBay for all your Android needs.

What does the $1000 genome really mean for you?

The cost of genome sequencing is starting to sink into the affordable range. (In comparison to its previous cost. We're talking "within reach" the same way Design Within Reach uses the phrase.)

Companies are starting to claim that a $1000 personal genome sequence is on the horizon. But what does that mean for you? Should you save up and get one? Can it really tell you anything meaningful at all? Who is going to sift through all the information your genome represents — and how will they do it?

Tonight, starting at 7:00 Eastern, Science Online New York City is hosting a round-table to discuss these issues, especially the problems associated with collecting, making sense of, and protecting a massive new stream of personal data. The live event is sold out, but you can watch whole thing streaming online.

Panelists: Ronald Crystal, the Chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College, who has had his genome sequenced and analyzed it himself. Virginia Hughes, a freelance author who has written about her experience with the 23andMe genotyping service. Manish Ponda of Rockefeller University, who has experimented with other -omic type analyses.

SoNYC's livestream feed

Via Lou Woodley

Munson typewriter, a beauty from 1890

The Martin Howard Typewriter Collection has a new treasure to show off: a Munson typewriter, with horizontal rods that control a hammer that strikes the page from behind:

The Munson typewriter is a remarkable piece of engineering, with a complex and original mechanical design packed into a small frame. Its inner workings are largely exposed, so the machine comes to life with moving rods and levers when being used.

The Munson does not have type-bars but uses a horizontal type-cylinder (about the size of ones finger) that slides from side-to-side and rotates to have the correct character move into place. Then a hammer strikes the paper from behind, pushing the paper against the ribbon and type-cylinder. Type-cylinders with different fonts were available.

With two shift keys, uppercase and figures, only three rows of keys are required.

The Munson was introduced in 1890 and did quite well on the market; however, today it is hard to find. The Munson became the Chicago in 1898 when the enterprise was bought and the typewriters were manufactured by The Chicago Writing Machine Co.

Munson 1 (Thanks Martin!)

Outstanding accounts

Phil Plait — who writes the Bad Astronomy blog — still has not been paid for his contributions to the Great Global Warming Conspiracy. For such an organized cabal, you think they would have a better accounting department.

Amanda Palmer will pay volunteer musicians who play her gigs

In an update to Xeni's post yesterday about Amanda Fucking Palmer asking her musician-fans to play on stage during her tour. Palmer has written a long, thoughtful note about the non-monetary ways in which musicians compensate one another, replied to critics, reshuffled her project budget and freed money to pay the musicians who came out to her gigs.

for better or for worse, this whole kerfuffle has meant i’ve spent the past week thinking hard about this, listening to what everyone was saying and discussing. i hear you. i see your points. me and my band have discussed it at length. and we have decided we should pay all of our guest musicians. we have the power to do it, and we’re going to do it. (in fact, we started doing it three shows ago.)

my management team tweaked and reconfigured financials, pulling money from this and that other budget (mostly video) and moving it to the tour budget. 
all of the money we took out of those budgets is going to the crowd-sourced musicians fund. we are going to pay the volunteer musicians every night. even though they volunteered their time for beer, hugs, merch, free tickets, and love: we’ll now also hand them cash.

i hope this does two things: i hope it makes the volunteers surprised and happy (they’ll be getting some dough they had no idea was coming) and i also hope it makes our family circle feel good about speaking out.

when we handed the musicians their surprise cash backstage in new orleans the other last night, they laughed like mad and said “after ALL THAT, you’re going PAY US??!!”

Palmer also includes the welcome news that her single Theatre is Evil is #10 on the Billboard chart.

what we’re doing about the crowdsourced musicians. also: we charted at motherfucking #10.

A Medieval Bestiary: When a book breaks your heart

This review is cross-posted on DownloadTheUniverse, a group blog that reviews science-related ebooks and discusses the future of the written word.

An illustration from the The Royal Bestiary, depicting a unicorn laying its head on the lap of a lady. Presumably, the illustrator had never seen a unicorn, nor (one suspects) a lady.

A Medeival Bestiary is just not that into me.

We should have gone so well together. It was a scanned copy of The Royal Bestiary, a 13th century manuscript stored in the British Library, enhanced for the iPad with text and audio interpretation on every page. I was a giant nerd. Clearly, a match made in heaven.

But I don't think it's going to work out.

It's not that the book is terrible. In fact, parts of it are, objectively, pretty damn cool. We are, after all, talking about an opportunity to virtually thumb through the pages of a very old book. And the scans are excellent. You can see stains on the vellum, and the margin lines drawn by the scribe or illustrator to make certain that text and images were put into just the right place on every page. You can zoom in on the beautiful, colored and gilded drawings of bees and eagles, lions and centuars. On every page, there is, indeed, a little tab that you can tap to learn more about the animals you see in the pictures – especially helpful for the book's many imaginary animals, such as the leucrota. Leucrotas, you may be interested to know, happen when a male hyena mates with a female lion. The result of that partnership looks, for some reason, rather like a horse, but with a forked tail and a creepy, Jack Nicholson smile. The Medieval Bestiary assures me that the leucrota's "teeth" are actually a single piece of sharp bone, curved into a U shape. If I tap the "Listen" button, this information will be read to me by a soothing, female, British voice.

Read the rest

Every NFL quarterback as a Muppet

I want to applaud the efforts of BuzzFeed's Ben Rosen for taking the time and doing the research for this very special and important thing: all 32 quarterbacks in the National Football League if they were Muppets. This is brilliant, and you have to look at it. That's right, Tom "Pepe the Prawn" Brady, you lobster wannabe. (via BuzzFeed)

Jenny Slate is writing an adorably wacky Looney Tunes movie for us

Looney Tunes is slowly making a comeback, having debuted their reboot on Cartoon Network last year and earned themselves an Emmy nomination this year, and now, Warner Bros. is going to have another go at the big screen. But it's the writer they put in charge of the screenplay that has me pretty giddy. Jenny Slate, creator (and voice) of Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, has been chosen to write a full-length Looney Tunes movie that will be a combination of live-action and CGI. So, it will be like a hipper, more internet era-friendly, less '90s version of Space Jam. Hopefully moreso than 2003's Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which resulted in very little box office action.

Read the rest

"39 Lashes" from Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

"39 Lashes" from Andrew Lloyd Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). Those visuals! That groove! On Halloween 1992, I saw the Afghan Whigs open with this song and it was sublime. Speaking of the recently-reunited Afghan Whigs, they rocked it on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.

Fresco "restorer" wants a royalty from the church

Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian Spanish amateur art restorer who dramatically refashioned a 100-year-old Jesus fresco at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, has declared that her botched effort is copyrighted (probably true as a matter of law), and is demanding that the church cut her in on some of the donations that come from people who visit the church to marvel at her handiwork.

Old Lady Ruins Fresco, Claims Copyright, Demands Money (Thanks, EeeyoreX!)

House with a skate-ramp

The Skate Park house was custom built for a Shibuya, Tokyo couple, integrating a skate-ramp, a piano studio, and many lovely design flourishes. I think the stair-rail looks like it'd be awesome for grinding, too -- or at least soaping.

The owners of this house, a young married couple, made a special request in regards to the design of their house, located in a quiet residential neighborhood in Shibuya ward. They wanted both a skateboard park and a piano rehearsal room to reflect their own individual interests.

There was no need for a car park on the site, so to take advantage of space a private entrance courtyard was designed. The sliding glass panels of the first floor open up onto this enclosed area and allows for the workshop and studio to expand outwards. The studio has a skateboard bowl imbedded into the floor with multiple angles for plenty of different interaction.

The piano room, located at the back of the studio, is raised about 2 feet from the ground to help with the sound-proofing of the room as well as creating an inherent stage performance space. When the doors open up onto the studio, the expanded space with the bowl transform into guest seating and completely changes the atmosphere from a mere practice room to a public concert hall.

Skate Park House (via Core77)

Oliver Sacks on drugs

SacksssssOliver Sacks was a 30-year-old neurology resident when he had his first psychedelic experiences. During the 1960s, Sacks explored LSD, pot, opium, morning-glory seeds, and the downer chloral hydrate. Recently, the New Yorker published a fascinating article by Sacks about his early experiences with drugs and how they informed his life and work. Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, but it was actually an excerpt from his forthcoming book Hallucinations. Below you can listen to Sacks share trip reports. (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012


This is M51, the "Whirlpool Galaxy." The image is by Martin Pugh who won the Royal Observatory Greenwich's Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012.

"Nurse Chapel with Tribbles," by Barnaby Ward

Artist Barnaby Ward, who designed our Boing Boing Beetle T-shirt, recently posted his commissioned drawing of Star Trek's Nurse Christine Chapel with some tribbles at at her feet. A dead-ringer likeness!

Barnaby Ward's Deviant Art Gallery

Article about human billboards who bear tattoos of defunct company logos

Buzzfeed has an article about the desperate people who cashed in on the skinvertising craze of the mid-2000s.
Golden palace Then there’s the case of perhaps the world’s most famous skinvertiser, Karolyne Smith (now Karolyne Williams), a young, blonde Utah mother who took her turn on the morning talk show circuit when she sold ad space on her forehead in 2005 to online casino for $10,000. She said she needed the money to finance private schooling for her young son. It’s unclear how long that money lasted, but Facebook photos show that the tattoo, now slightly faded, remains between her bangs. She wrote in a recent post that she’s been forced to move into the basement of her father’s house. (Smith didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article.)

Meet the human billboards that sold their skin to companies that don't exist anymore. (Via Cynical-C)

Fiona Apple busted in Texas for possession of hashish

[Video Link] Police officers in Sierra Blanca, Texas made the world safer by arresting Fiona Apple for possession of hashish. She was scheduled to play in Austin.

The “Criminal” singer had her bus stopped for inspection in Sierra Blanca, Texas, the same place where Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Armie Hammer have all been pinched in the past. Cops turned up the hash somewhere on the bus and arrested the singer for possession.

Fiona Apple arrested for hash possession, being a bad, bad girl

Two fun Little Archie comic book stories

NewImage Love and Rockets' creators Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez have mentioned in interviews that they loved Little Archie comic books when they were growing up. Little Archie was started in the 1950s and stars the characters from Archie comics as little kids. The earlier stories were written and drawn by Bob Bolling, and they're regarded by people who know and love comic books as some of the best stories in comic book history.

The Big Blog of Kids' Comics has two excellent Little Archie stories. Mykal Banta, who runs the blog, says:

Bob Bolling has that rare gift few cartoonists have -- his character design is just funny on sight. Howie Post (of Harvey fame) and Milt Gross had it, as does modern animation master, John Kricfalusi. It's a quality that can't be taught. Throw great scripting and wonderful layouts into the bargain, and you have classic stuff. Last time I checked, Mr. Bolling was still turning out high-caliber Little Archie stories for Archie Comics! These two Bolling stories come from Little Archie No. 3 (Summer 1957).

Read the stories here.

If you like these stories and want more, I recommend The Adventures Of Little Archie Volume 1 and Volume 2!

The cast of The West Wing reunites for a wistfully hilarious (and actual) campaign spot

While I don't officially endorse Bridget Mary McCormack, who is running for a seat on the Michigan State Supreme Court, I do endorse the viewing of the campaign ad she's running for her non-partisan race. As the sister of actress Mary McCormack, who played security advisor Kate Harper on The West Wing, she was able too hook herself up with her very own reunion of the cast of Aaron Sorkin's presidential series. Practically everyone is back -- McCormack, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Janel Moloney, Bradley Whitford (who has the best line in the video once he's done stumping for McCormack), Joshua Malina, Melissa Fitzgerald, Lily Tomlin (!), and President Bartlet himself, Martin Sheen (who is a little grayer than he was on the show, looking a little Clintonian). Apparently, Dulé Hill was busy, but I'd like to think that his character Charlie was sent by the Prez to go accomplish some ridiculous task in a vintage bookstore. (Also: Watch for Sheen's Apocalypse Now joke.)

As much as I like The Newsroom, there's just something about this group of people pedeconferencing that warms my heart. I wish they'd just make everyone happy and do a web series together.

Virtually the Entire Cast of "The West Wing" Reunites for an Awesome Campaign Ad [Pajiba]

Creator of "world's smallest book" raising funds for a large print edition

Robert Chaplin is a writer and artist, and he holds the world's record for producing the world's smallest book (he etched a copy of "Teeny Ted From Turnip Town" into the surface of a microchip using a focused ion beam and scanning electron microscope). Now he's raising money on Kickstarter to produce a "large print" edition that will be legible to readers who don't have access to scanning electron microscopes of their own.

Teeny Ted a wild rhyme by Malcolm Douglas Chaplin. It tells the tale of Teeny Ted and his triumph at the turnip contest at the annual county fair. The typography of the tablets looks like ancient cuneiform because I used the ion beam to carve the space surrounding each letter. Here are some sample tablets carved with a line resolution of 42 nanometers. A nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter.

One lucky $10,000 backer will get to own the original, record-breaking book-on-the-surface-of-a-chip.

The World's Smallest Book - a large print edition (Thanks, John!)

Law catches up with shoddy gunmaker

In 2011, we told you about Bryco Arms, a "Saturday Night Special" gunmaker which knew its products were unsafe, and which declared bankruptcy to avoid paying lawsuit damages to teenage victim Brandon Maxfield. This week, the gun company's proprietor, Bruce Lee Jennings, was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography: "Agents say Jennings even admitted he knew the children in the videos were 'real children who had been sexually abused,' but ... said he 'did not feel guilty'." [WFTV. Hat tip: Mike Harkins, who is readying a documentary about Brandon's case based on his earlier coverage]