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 well.com 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.

The WELL

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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 TrainingPeaks.com 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

ASTEROID

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.

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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."

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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.

Phonesssss

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.