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The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

Typography and the Kindle platform

Typography is about reading – and so are ebooks [via]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 30, 2011 - 65 comments

The curious case of the Amazonian Chernobyl

An Ecuadoran court has issued a landmark $8bn judgement against Chevron Corporation. [more inside]
posted by clarknova on May 27, 2011 - 40 comments

Ebooks overtake print books in Amazon sales

Like the death of Mark Twain, the demise of the printed book is greatly exaggerated, although the latest news from Amazon – which announced that it is selling more ebooks in America than print books for the first time – might suggest the nails are being readied for the coffin. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 19, 2011 - 137 comments

Unsightly money cluttering up your house?

The Amazon Used Deals Finder [more inside]
posted by jtron on May 16, 2011 - 50 comments

Vanguard of American Journalism

Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2011 - 24 comments

Your price is lifting mine higher—

A $23,698,655.93 book about flies.
posted by kipmanley on Apr 23, 2011 - 58 comments

The wreck of the web.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) crashed yesterday, taking with it popular sites like Reddit, Quora, Foursquare, Hootsuite, Act.ly, and about 70 other sites. Amazon.com was affected, as was some functionality of the New York Times. Amazon Web Service's Health Dashboard indicates that there are still major operating disturbances. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Apr 22, 2011 - 135 comments

It's raining bytes

As Amazon and the RIAA go head to head over the Amazon Cloud Player (esentially Dropbox with streaming) it seems like a good time to recap the turbulent history of the humble MP3, upender of the music industry business model.
posted by Artw on Apr 4, 2011 - 83 comments

That's an awful nice box you got there.

Best-selling author Seth Godin has launched a challenge to traditional publishing with The Domino Project, the first publishing imprint to be powered by Amazon. [more inside]
posted by crackingdes on Mar 15, 2011 - 42 comments

Amanda Hocking, self-publisher

Amanda Hocking is 26 years old. She has 9 self-published books to her name, and sells 100,000+ copies of those ebooks per month. She has never been traditionally published. ... And it’s no stretch to say – at $3 per book/70% per sale for the Kindle store... there is no traditional publisher in the world right now that can offer Amanda Hocking terms that are better than what she’s currently getting, right now on the Kindle store, all on her own. (related)
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 1, 2011 - 244 comments

Amazon takes a shot at Neflix.

Amazon's Prime Streaming service has gone live. The online retailer is adding this to its free 2-day shipping service gratis.
posted by boo_radley on Feb 22, 2011 - 118 comments

Borders bankrupt

Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, announcing it would close about 200 of its 650 or so remaining stores.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 16, 2011 - 212 comments

Don't Mess with Taxes.

Amazon.com's state sales tax fight took a dramatic turn as plans were announced to close the online retailer's Irving, Texas distribution center by April 12. Amazon would not confirm the total number of employees who worked at the fulfillment center, but did announce plans to offer positions in other states to employees willing to relocate. Amazon blames the closure on Texas' "unfavorable regulatory climate." [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Feb 11, 2011 - 218 comments

Uncontacted tribes of the Amazon

Amazing footage of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil. These tribes are threatened by the encroachment of illegal logging activites. "I know this footage is the only way to convince the rest of the world they are here."
posted by stp123 on Feb 4, 2011 - 60 comments

Cryptoforestry: Inner City Reforestation in Utrecht and the G/Local Amazon; Psychogeography is involved

Cryptoforestry is a heady blog that covers cryptoforests of all sorts, from feral forests that thrive next to heavily developed urban environments without human assistance, land in limbo and "states of vegetation for which lay-language has no name", incognito forests that hide in plain view, precognitive forests that are about to become forest or are forest Fata Morgana, and unappreciated forests that are considered wastelands. The scope of the blog covers local Utrecht sites to the "g/local" Amazon basin, and lands in-between. All this is filtered through the lens of psychogeography, emphasizing "the psychological effects of a forest rather than canopy cover or land use as of importance for classification." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 12, 2011 - 24 comments

We regret to inform you...

'Illinois wants Amazon to collect 6.25 percent sales tax and send it back to the state.' Amazon fights back. Under current law, only companies with a physical presence in the state have to do this, but the new bill declares that even having affiliates in Illinois counts as "presence." 'An e-mail sent from the company to all of its Illinois affiliates this morning warns that, should Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sign a just-passed tax bill, Amazon is cutting off every affiliate in Illinois. "We regret to inform you that the Illinois state legislature has passed an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that, if signed by Governor Quinn, would leave Amazon.com little choice but to end its relationships with Illinois-based Associates," said the e-mail.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jan 7, 2011 - 149 comments

Ugly sweater interceptor.

Amazon has patented a system that would allow gift recipients to return a gift before they even get it. [more inside]
posted by special-k on Dec 30, 2010 - 75 comments

Amazon Banning Books that Discuss Fictional Incest

In a more recent action of book banning, Amazon appears to be banning books about incest that are not top rated titles. Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein is available, for example. Covered here as well.
posted by dibblda on Dec 30, 2010 - 156 comments

Google Trees + Amazon Drought

We've discussed the "once in a century" Amazon Drought of 2005-06. Five years later and we are seeing another once in a century drought in the Amazon. How serious are the effects of these droughts for global climate? The science appears to be mixed. Helping monitor is the newly released Google Earth 6.0, which can track individual trees within a section of the Amazonian forest, and 80 million other trees in 7 cities around the world (video).
posted by stbalbach on Nov 30, 2010 - 10 comments

Follow Me to the Hedge Clippers

Hgiyiyi (hgjhjh, hjhk) by JJJJ and JJJJJ, has been praised by reviewers as "more majestic than Aslan, more intoxicating than Rappaccini's daughter, and more magical than Abcar." But there has been some controversy about the translation, and some critics are angry: "Jjjj can just vdb off." [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 15, 2010 - 61 comments

Goodbye to pedophilia guide

The disappearing act of a pedophilia how-to on Amazon shines a spotlight on Amazon's shaky content guidelines.
posted by morganannie on Nov 11, 2010 - 68 comments

Newly weird

Jeff Vandermeer discusses Amazons top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year, which he selected in consultation with Amazon editors : Part 1, Part 2.
posted by Artw on Nov 4, 2010 - 28 comments

The Most Isolated Man on the Planet

The Most Isolated Man on the Planet.
posted by homunculus on Aug 21, 2010 - 71 comments

Put Your Nook Back in Its Crannie

Noted literary agent Andrew Wylie has made a deal with several of his authors - including Saul Bellow, John Updike and Phillip Roth - to release their e-books exclusively on Amazon. Macmillan's John Sargent and Tyler Cowen react.
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Jul 30, 2010 - 46 comments

e-e-commerce-commerce

Today's woot: Woot.
posted by jayCampbell on Jun 30, 2010 - 39 comments

Another one bites the dust?

Beloved Toronto independent bookstore This Ain't the Rosedale Library is at risk of closing. A rallying of the community might stay the execution, but what happens next? [more inside]
posted by Felicity Rilke on Jun 23, 2010 - 69 comments

"Screw You Guys, I'm Goin' Home"

How to Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites Also: Delete Your Account. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2010 - 25 comments

Lap Stop

Ridiculous product for sale. Ridiculed on Amazon, in comments and in pictures. It causes a stir at NPR. Borked by Jalopnik.
posted by chavenet on Jun 3, 2010 - 82 comments

Kindle popular

Amazon is sharing the books and passages that Kindle readers highlight the most. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on May 4, 2010 - 81 comments

Sayre's law, Amazon edition

The professor, his wife, and the secret, savage book reviews on Amazon 'An extraordinary literary "whodunnit" over the identity of a mystery reviewer who savaged works by some of Britain's leading academics on the Amazon website has culminated in a top historian admitting that the culprit was, in fact, his wife.'
posted by Abiezer on Apr 19, 2010 - 52 comments

The price is write

Cory Doctorow gives a talk at Bloomsbury on book pricing in the internet age (47min video)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 2, 2010 - 132 comments

Amazonian tribe and maths

Does a group of indigenous South Americans hold the key to our relationship with maths? Still, I thought it odd that numbers larger than five did not crop up at all in Amazonian daily life. What if you ask a Munduruku with six children how many kids they have? "He will say, 'I don't know,'" Pica said. "It is impossible to express."
posted by selton on Apr 1, 2010 - 63 comments

"When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." — Kikuyu proverb

The announcement of the iPad earlier this week has prompted a lot of discussion about ebook prices among publishers and their sales partners. That discussion took a major turn yesterday when Amazon pulled the buy buttons for Macmillan's books off their site. Many of Macmillan's titles are still available through Amazon, but only through third parties. Right now, one of the largest publishers in America is no longer available from Amazon because they can not agree on ebook prices. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jan 30, 2010 - 306 comments

Picturing Climate Change

Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 10, 2009 - 3 comments

when you need that unusual gift ...

Amazon: wtf
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 22, 2009 - 121 comments

Did they use one-click?

People adore Zappos. Will that continue now that Amazon has bought them for nearly a billion dollars? In a battle of new wave corporate communication, Jeff Bezos announced it on Youtube while the Zappos' CEO posted his letter to the employees on their blog. (Previous Zappos posts: 1, 2)
posted by smackfu on Jul 22, 2009 - 80 comments

How Much Is The Fine When It's Overdue?

Kindle is coming soon to a library near you. Amazon is sending mixed messages about the concept. Librarians are having an online conference to the discuss the issues.
posted by Xurando on Jul 10, 2009 - 61 comments

The earth has no price.

A fight for the Amazon that should inspire the world. "Army helicopters opened fire on the protesters with live ammunition and stun-grenades. More than a dozen were killed. But the indigenous peoples did not run away. Even though they were risking their lives, they stood their ground. One of their leaders, Davi Yanomami, said simply: "The earth has no price. It cannot be bought, or sold or exchanged. It is very important that white people, black people and indigenous peoples fight together to save the life of the forest and the earth. If we don't fight together, what will our future be?" And then something extraordinary happened. The indigenous peoples won." Via A Tiny Revolution: Latin America, World's Moral Political Leader.
posted by shetterly on Jun 24, 2009 - 26 comments

10 years is just a blink of the ever-watching galactic eye

Inspired by its 10th anniversary, the Earth Observatory has pulled together a special series of NASA satellite images documenting how the world has changed. From these images, Wired Science has made 5 videos, presenting convenient time-lapse views of the world changing (mainly) because of human actions. Watch the urbanization of Dubai, specifically the growth of Palm Jumeirah. See the Aral Sea dry up - once the fourth largest lake, down to 10 percent of its original size (marked by the thin black line in the video) by 2007. View the clearing the Amazon, as observed from above the state of Rondônia in western Brazil. Behold the return of Mesopotamia's Wetlands, now in the process of being restored from near total destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Witness the impact of drought on Southern Utah's Lake Powell, where water level dropped from 20 million to 8 million acre-feet from 2000 to 2005.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 4, 2009 - 12 comments

Just SIP the book

According to Amazon, this is the "essence" of Ulysses: matrimonial gift, quaker librarian, charming soubrette, editor cried, retrospective arrangement, pike hoses, pensive bosom, seaside girls, absentminded beggar. At least, according to their SIP algorithm. Too obscure? How about: barn cellar, famous pig, grey spider, old sheep, egg sac. Pretty easy, right? Now consider: shock shop, seclusion room, least black boy, bull goose loony, big black boys, wicker bag, ward policy, tub room, drug room, red capsules, dorm door, two black boys. Catching on? Now try the quiz.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on May 23, 2009 - 10 comments

Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt, Available in Various Sizes

Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt, Available in Various Sizes
She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt ... There is one thing, though, and that is that whenever I wear the wolf shirt I have a lot less issues with involuntary urination ... You are the wolf pack leader ... If you like it then you better put a wolf shirt on ... If you are planning on spending exactly $9.14 on yourself this year, this better be the purchase ... Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.
posted by swift on May 19, 2009 - 64 comments

Maybe I'm missing something, but...

You Can't Please Everyone is a collection of one-star reviews of classic movies, music, and literature on Amazon. It contains reviews of The Odyssey and many others. From Cynical-C [via]
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin on May 7, 2009 - 47 comments

AmazonFAIL

Within the last few hours, a trend on Twitter has emerged in response to Amazon's removing the sales ranking of books they consider to have "adult content," which also keeps those books from appearing in search results. However, while seeming to unilaterally de-list any books with gay themes and characters, many books with adult heterosexual content were left untouched. [more inside]
posted by TochterAusElysium on Apr 12, 2009 - 311 comments

Nothing To Do With Wonder Woman

"Percy Harrison Fawcett ... convinced himself, based on a mix of archival research, deduction and clairvoyance, that a large undiscovered city lay hidden somewhere in the Amazon" Greg Grandin of The Nation talks about the allure of the Amazon in history and the repeated attempts made to domesticate, colonize, control, or explore it. previous discussion of failed Amazon ventures here ( via )
posted by The Whelk on Mar 31, 2009 - 21 comments

Midair collision at 37,000 feet

The sky is a really big place, right? So how did a Boeing 737 and a Legacy 600 private jet manage to collide head-on at 37,000 feet over the Amazon jungle in Brazil? William Langewiesche's detailed analysis of the 2006 crash--which killed all 154 aboard the 737--provides some answers. [more inside]
posted by flug on Mar 27, 2009 - 22 comments

light it on fire?

How will the Kindle change the publishing business?
posted by Pants! on Mar 9, 2009 - 130 comments

The theory of Z

Percy Harrison Fawcett disappeared in the Amazon in 1925 whilst searching for the City of Z. Some believe that he is alive and well and living in a subterranean world with Extra-/Intra-Terrestrials.
posted by tellurian on Feb 25, 2009 - 28 comments

Just how long can that tail be?

10 out of 13 million tracks available for purchase online didn't sell a single copy. Jut how Long can that Tail be, after all? Is the length of the tail mentioned in the article down to piracy or the state of the music industry as a whole? Is it possible to make a profit or break even on a niche website based on sales alone, and not on advertising revenue?
posted by Grrlscout on Dec 23, 2008 - 56 comments

More fun with Scientology!

Recently, everyone who pre-ordered a certain book on Amazon.co.uk received a letter notifying them "This item has been removed from sale for legal reasons." Amazon.com claims the book is temporarily out of stock. The book? The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology by John Duignan. Interestingly, on November 5th, Tom Cruise attended an "all hands" meeting of Amazon.com bigwigs. Photos. A random coincidence? What about all those one and two-star reviews that kept disappearing from books like Dianetics and Science of Survival?
posted by changeling on Nov 13, 2008 - 76 comments

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