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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

stop crying kindle fanboy

Some are calling it the "Kindle Killer". (Demo launch video at engadget.) Plastic Logic's new e-reader, expected to be out in the first half of 2009, does promise to offer a lot that Kindle and most other other popular e-readers don't, like a larger display, big enough to provide a newspaper or magazine layout; touch-based markup and annotation; the ability to read standard documents and other file types without conversion; (promised) Wi-Fi connectivity (including the ability to transfer documents between readers); and last but not least, a screen display that you can hit with a shoe, and isn't that something we've all been waiting for during these tense times? [more inside]
posted by taz on Sep 13, 2008 - 85 comments

I.O.U [next to] noooooothin'

"'49:00' is a 43-minute-long album in the form of one long recorded track that claims to be six minutes longer, and insists in its subtitle on grabbing exactly that portion of your time/life." To commemorate his upcoming 49th birthday, ex-Replacement Paul Westerberg released his first digital album on 'June 49th.' He's worked out an exclusive arrangement with Amazon, selling it at a price that's all shook down: $0.49.
posted by scarylarry on Aug 1, 2008 - 21 comments

Pluribo

Pluribo is a way-cool Firefox extension that automagically summarises Amazon product reviews.
posted by matthewr on Jul 1, 2008 - 25 comments

Zoomii.

Zoomii. An interesting interface for Amazon. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jun 19, 2008 - 31 comments

"They are almost certain not to understand what the plane is -- perhaps a spirit or a large bird."

"Skin painted bright red, heads partially shaved, arrows drawn back in the longbows and aimed square at the aircraft buzzing overhead. The gesture is unmistakable: Stay Away. The apparent aggression shown by these people is quite understandable, for they are members of one of Earth's last uncontacted tribes." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on May 29, 2008 - 88 comments

Amazon's Cookie Tax

Whatever the market will bear. Did you know that Amazon.com charges you different prices for the same goods depending on who you are (and what your browser cookie shows?) This was news to me, but the WaPo and CNN reported it in 2005. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Apr 15, 2008 - 72 comments

The Standard Oil of Books

Amazon.com dropped a bombshell on the publishing industry with the announcement on Friday that they will no longer allow print on demand books printed by vendors other than Amazon, to be sold directly by Amazon. In other words, use our print services or lose your listing on our site. This decision effects over half a million books listed on their site and could be a defining moment for both publishing and the future of online retailing. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Apr 3, 2008 - 43 comments

Influenza in the Amazon

A British TV crew have been accused of spreading flu to a remote Peruvian tribe of 250 members, leading to 4 deaths. [more inside]
posted by roofus on Mar 27, 2008 - 17 comments

Philip M. Parker writes and publishes over 85,000 books on Amazon

Philip M. Parker[1][2] has written and published over 85,000 books on Amazon in the past few years, although by his own count the total published is over 200,000. He is like a writing machine - in fact, he has created a machine that churns out an original book about every 20 minutes. A few sample titles: [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Feb 8, 2008 - 46 comments

Who is Grady Harp?

The murky demimonde of Amazon's Top Reviewers. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, but I had imagined Amazon's customer reviews as a refuge from the machinations of the publishing industry: "an intelligent and articulate conversation ... conducted by a group of disinterested, disembodied spirits..."
posted by farishta on Jan 28, 2008 - 44 comments

$8.00 for shipping or.... $0.87 for some batteries

Straight from the Department of Things Everybody But Me Probably Knew About Two Years Ago, it was only yesterday that I discovered the mind-boggling usefulness of the Amazon Filler Item Finder, which allows you to enter the exact price of the item you need to pad your order up to $25.00 for free shipping. Happy postage-free holidays. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Dec 4, 2007 - 54 comments

Get a Glow on Tonight

Earlier this week this story about illegal uranium sales was in the news. Had they been thinking they could have ordered online here and here. BTW, check out what else customers are buying.
posted by Xurando on Dec 1, 2007 - 28 comments

Your favorite book sucks, and is un-American

So, whatcha readin? The John Ashcroft Alberto Gonzales Michael Mukasey Book Club wants to discuss your latest reads. Amazon thinks it's none of their business. So does your librarian. While it may seem that your reading list is safe, fact is you're actually just one National Security Letter or subpoena away from full disclosure. Want to change that? One step in the right direction would be to contact your Senator about getting S.2088 out of Committee and on to the floor. Oh, and tell them to vote for it. And then to override the veto.
posted by Toekneesan on Nov 28, 2007 - 19 comments

The future of reading?

Amazon's Jeff Bezos wants to change the way we read. Amazon's new e-book reader, Kindle, is not just a device, it's a service. With EVDO wireless connectivity you can download content to your Kindle any time any place. "This is not your grandfather’s e-book," said one publishing executive to the New York Times. "If these guys can’t make it work, I see no hope."
posted by sveskemus on Nov 18, 2007 - 132 comments

The future Amazon rain forest

The Green vs. the Brown Amazon. The future Amazon rain forest. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Nov 15, 2007 - 11 comments

Tax in the Age of Amazon

New York State goes after Amazon "affiliates." So if you, as a New Yorker, link to your book on Amazon, you are now an independent contractor and shall be taxed accordingly (PDF). [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Nov 13, 2007 - 32 comments

Harriet Klausner, Amazon reviewer #1

Harriet Klausner, 55, is Amazon's #1 book reviewer, with almost 15,000 book reviews in the past 8 years or slightly over 5 per day. Her coveted position in the highly competitive world of Amazon review rankings has earned her accolades from Time Magazine, a write-up in Wired Magazine, and more than a little snarky skepticism from other reviewers. If you like her taste in books, she keeps an archive of reviews.
posted by stbalbach on Nov 3, 2007 - 47 comments

Fly Jumpers Junior

Fly Jumpers Junior are a new product that give the wearer near-superhuman abilities, according to the promotional video on this amazon UK page. The vid also includes a surprising, albeit hilarious gory ending. The problem? These are Fly Jumpers Junior, aimed at kids. As one reviewer has already noted, isn't this a bit too much for advertising a product aimed at children?
posted by hnnrs on Oct 4, 2007 - 24 comments

CreateSpace, an Amazon on-demand self-publishing service, inks deal with National Archives for 100,000's of public domain films

CreateSpace is the new name of Amazon's on-demand self-publishing service for the super long tail of books, audio CD's and film DVD/Blue-ray. Products automatically get an ISBN number and are listed on Amazon.com, including "Search Inside" for books. The National Archives and CreateSpace will be publishing movies from its collection of over 200,000 public domain films, raising some provocative copyright issues.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 8, 2007 - 34 comments

Where is Jim Gray?

Wired presents an extraordinary look at "one of the most ambitious search-and-rescue missions in history," after one of Microsoft's researchers, Jim Gray, and his boat, the Tenacious, went missing in the Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco in January 2007. Cartography meets law meets 2.0 technology. "First the Coast Guard scoured 132,000 square miles of ocean. Then a team of scientists and Silicon Valley power players turned the eyes of the global network onto the Pacific." Eventually, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, the US Navy, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium jumped in – "as did astronomers from leading universities." To this day, Jim Gray has never been found, and his disappearance cannot be explained. Read Wired for more.
posted by BLDGBLOG on Jul 22, 2007 - 35 comments

Is that a parasite in your trunks or are you happy to see me?

Martin Strel finishes 3272-mile swim through the Amazon River. BBC has an FAQ, and here are videos of Strel passing various checkpoints. Thing to avoid while swimming in the Amazon: the toothpick fish, aka the candiru. [previously]
posted by phaedon on Apr 9, 2007 - 37 comments

The most expensive things at Amazon

The most expensive things at Amazon, by category.
$255,000 for a House Number?
How about a million dollar space suit from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin? Or maybe you just need a $40,000 Super Bowl XL coffee table book (Free shipping, of course) Don't miss the reviews...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood on Mar 23, 2007 - 32 comments

An Amazon-ian Warrior

Amazon-ian Warrior. An unassuming Canadian chap has been quietly submitting ludicrous reviews of products sold on Amazon.com for nearly 5 years. For example, his detailed commentary on George P Joyce's A Comparative Analysis of Two Alternatives to Chemical Aircraft Paint Stripping:

Joyce is an alchemist, taking the leaden medium of technical report writing, and transmuting it with his warm spirit, pouring his pen over the obscured voices of the chemical aircraft paint strippers like a mellifluous caramel gold; redeeming them in a universal chorus of aircraft paint strippers, their individual spirits vibrating like strings in a cosmic harp.

Part of the fun is seeing how many people rated each review as helpful; for example, he gets 100% approval for his comments on Flautist Angel Statuette (This 'flautist angel' is crude, eschewing classical representation to debase itself in the distortions of folk art. A freak frisson of masochism prompted me to order an item that believes human anatomy is modelled upon slurry running from a faucet. Look at it.) while virtually no-one was impressed by his analysis of How Conservatives Won The Heart Of America (Thought-provoking. I did not know that the "heart of America" is an actual item the Conservatives won in a game of squash in 1972; I assumed it was a metaphor.) Since Amazon started adding RSS feeds and enabling comments on reviews, he finally appears to be starting to reach an audience; those wishing to keep updated with his sporadic but fantastic work may appreciate this handy Feedburner URL.
posted by rhodri on Jan 22, 2007 - 56 comments

Review Revue

"I yearn for that kind of a backpacking trip minus the bears." "I was much the happy to know this man was tremendously eaten ferociously by the grizzly bear." "Not bad but not enough black chicks."

The work of these online reviewers may not merit their own special edition, but they're special in their own way. Doc Savage reviews 200+ items on Amazon, most of which he hates, unless they involve black women and/or Carly Simon. At Netflix, HV from Duvall is not nearly as prolific, but gets 5 stars for sublimely anfractuous English. And DJAkin over at IMDB has written nearly 500 reviews, although most of them read like Jackie Harvey's Mad Libs. He (or she) may not be the next A. O. Scott, but if you can find me a critic with a more sincere and unsnarked love of cinema, I'll eat my britches.
posted by sonofslim on Jan 8, 2007 - 27 comments

Branding & Marketing. Top *BRANDS* 2006, 2005, 2004

Top 'BRANDS' 2006, 2005, 2004 - Current List and Achive Overview on How survey was done.... What BRANDS have the most recognition and are the most popular with Americans? Here are the results of the current annual survey and achives from the past two years "With the multitude of brand choices available to consumers, this survey is an important indicator of consumer activity and its correlation to social behavior .... Companies that can provide a clear and consistent brand to consumers, as well as harmonize with social changes will find themselves in a promising position, as illustrated by top-ranking brands..."
posted by Bodyguard on Jan 8, 2007 - 16 comments

Amazons in space?

Amazon founder test-launches spacecraft. Want to get a job at Blue Origin? For some reason, he didn't use the relatively nearby and somewhat innacurately-named Spaceport America...
posted by eparchos on Jan 4, 2007 - 36 comments

The Pororoca

The Pororoca is an Amazonian tidal bore that generates waves up to 12 feet high which can last for over half an hour. Surfers from all around the world have visited Brazil in order to ride this mega-wave. Here are some videos:
The Pororoca Phenomenon (4:28)
Pororoca 1 of 2 (3:11)
Pororoca 2 of 2 (3:21)
Pororoca (26 minutes long)

posted by jason's_planet on Dec 4, 2006 - 16 comments

Giant Amazonian Centipedes Need Love

Do not cuddle with the Giant Amazonian Centipede, no matter how strong the temptation may be. Fully grown they are as long as an adult human's forearm, and gleefully feed on small critters (youtube), going so far as to snag bats out of the air (google video) & devour them on the spot.
posted by jonson on Nov 21, 2006 - 132 comments

Audible Hemmorage

Gotta Love Amazon's Product Tags. Another milepost for the K-Fed meme.
posted by ambulance blues on Nov 3, 2006 - 46 comments

African dust storms feed the Amazon

African dust storms [pic] have been suspected of causing fish-killing red tide in the Caribbean, but also of mitigating the effect of hurricanes. Now analysis of images from NASA's MODIS satellite have revealed the Bodélé, a region of the Sahara not far from Lake Chad, as the source of more than half the material that fertilises the Amazon rainforest.
posted by ernie on Nov 1, 2006 - 10 comments

"We've been hit."

In a corporate jet flying 37,000 feet above the Amazon rainforest, I heard the three words I will never forget: “We’ve been hit.”
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Oct 3, 2006 - 70 comments

AmazonUnbox

Amazon launched a new video download service today. It claims to be simple to use and features some superb movies. But are Amazon and the other major vendors missing the point? Will consumers pay for legitimate content with severe limitations on use or will they simply find ways of creating their own unrestricted versions?
posted by bobbyelliott on Sep 8, 2006 - 37 comments

Bestest best of the web?

Websites that changed the world? This Observer piece lists fifteen websites that aught to be considered the best of the web. It's a bold claim and although the potted histories are excellent, I'm wondering the extent to which it mostly includes website that have broken the public recognition barrier in the uk rather than changing the world. How many are simply pioneers in their field? Where for example is flickr?
posted by feelinglistless on Aug 13, 2006 - 69 comments

Amazon Groceries

Effective Against Elton John. Amazon starts selling groceries online. People start reviewing their products. Hilarity ensues.
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 6, 2006 - 37 comments

amazon drought nearing climate tipping point

The Amazon rainforest becomes "a desert" after three consecutive years without rain - the trees die. Next year would be the third year of an ongoing drought. The forest contains 90 billion tons of carbon (or about 45 years of stored human emmisions at current rates) - 3/4's of the carbon is released within a year of dieing. The Amazon is "headed in a terrible direction".
posted by stbalbach on Jul 25, 2006 - 80 comments

If you miss Real Time as much as I do....

Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher Not quite as politically charged as Real Time or Politically Incorrect, it's Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher. Previous guests include: Jon Favreau, Dean Koontz, The Dixie Chicks and Josh Ritter.
posted by matkline on Jun 15, 2006 - 24 comments

Amazon Feed-builder

So. Paul Bausch of all sorts of fame rolled-out an update to his amazing Amazon feed-builder. What's the big deal? Well, I'm a big fan of Wendell Berry and Craig Thompson, of Naguib Mahfouz and books about New Urbanism... and now, with the help of PB's delicious feed-builder, I'll be notified whenever something new comes from any of these authors or meets the "New Urbanism" search criteria, so I can add them to my Amazon wish list... and I think that's pretty darn cool. Add that to Amazon's pre-existing wish list feeds, which let you monitor other people's wish lists for additions ( you can find a wish list's feed on its "home" page ), and I'm in heaven.

( As a direct result of the feeds I subscribed to this weekend, my Amazon wish list has grown from 1600 to more than 1800 items. I blame Paul... he's such an enabler! )
posted by silusGROK on Jun 12, 2006 - 17 comments

Disk keeps getting cheaper.

Amazon S3, now for the masses. Amazon S3 has been discussed previously, but several user-facing services have appeared in the last few weeks that allow ordinary non-programmer end users to take advantage of it. One of the most useful of these appears to be Jungle Disk, a free front-end (free beer!) that lets you use S3 as a webdav-mounted disk drive. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and there's GPL code available (free speech!) that lets other people develop alternative compatible front-ends.
posted by dmd on May 18, 2006 - 29 comments

Find your bearings

A9 Maps now combines Amazon's BlockView images in another ajax map interface (with the maps by Mapquest, interestingly). Amazon has been driving around major cities taking photos of each block and now as you browse the map, street-level images come up alongside. The interface isn't quite intuitive, but it is nice to see the idea coming together.
posted by pithy comment on May 16, 2006 - 17 comments

A9 goes 'soft

A9 gets MS? Amazon's search tool / portal, formerly powered by Google, is now using Microsoft's Windows Live search service. I first noticed when my image results went missing (which sucks, but I still use it for the incentive program). Does this mean MS is shifting out of the half-assery phase of its search strategy? What happens when its adCenter keyword program opens up? [commentary]
posted by grobstein on May 14, 2006 - 10 comments

Amazon S3: Unlimited Simple Storage

Amazon launched S3: Unlimited Simple Storage. Take advantage of Amazon's global infrastructure to serve content, store data, and serve bittorrents.
posted by ph00dz on Mar 15, 2006 - 30 comments

Remembering Beckett

'You really liked it, huh? You really thought it was good?'
He regaled one friend with memories of being in the womb, took another shopping for jerseys in Paris, and said he regretted calling his play Godot. As the centenary of his birth approaches, 'Beckett Remembering Remembering Beckett'. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 26, 2006 - 16 comments

"The saxophones would eat the same thing as Gene [Vincent]." - Now how do I mark this as best answer?

There is a new question asking website. It is powered by humans via the Mechanical Turk program. Said the Gramophone has a bit of fun with it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 18, 2006 - 16 comments

Mystery of The Top Sellers

Amazon's "Top Selling Videos" Here's a mystery: Amazon has a page showing their top selling VHS videos. It is "updated hourly." Before you look at what the top sellers are, take a guess. I doubt that anyone would think that the 1994 Richard Simmons "Sweating to the Oldies" video would be listed as No. 1 -- particularly in view of the fact that it is described as being "unavailable." The others in the top 10 are also interesting: #3 is the 1945 black and white "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Would you guess that #7 is "Fatso", a 1993 comedy starring Dom DeLuise? I may be wrong but I suspect that Amazon's ratings are not accurate. Now I wonder about their book ratings . . .
posted by AJ on Feb 10, 2006 - 24 comments

Smarkets are happy fun

"Buy Stock in Ipods. Or Da Vinci Codes." Steve Odom's Smarkets is a web-based stock trading game (and market experiment) based on Amazon.com sales rank. (via jayisgames)
posted by selfnoise on Dec 22, 2005 - 8 comments

Does your Qwert Shmarble juice emus?

The mystery of Qwert Shmarble--solved! If you've ever wondered how stunningly useful items like Qwert Shmarble end up on Amazon, here's the inside story, from the former Amazon temp who wrote the user manual to the NM-156 Reciprocating Emu Press.
posted by yankeefog on Dec 5, 2005 - 16 comments

ChevronToxico

From 1964 to 1992, Texaco (.mov, 20.6MB) drilled for oil in the northern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, known as the "Oriente". The company left 627 open toxic waste pits and other facilities which continue to leak highly toxic waste, affecting more than 30,000 local people. A higher incidence of birth defects, cancer, miscarriages, skin diseases, and death continues to plague people whose only source of water is a contaminated river. ChevronTexaco refuses to remediate the damage, claiming that they already "cleaned up" their share of the contract, by shoveling 3 feet of dirt over some of the open oil pits.
posted by mayfly wake on Nov 12, 2005 - 15 comments

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