Relive World War I Day by Day

Home FrontWould you like to know more about World War I but are nervous about getting bogged down in weighty nonfiction or possibly flawed fiction reads?

Do you enjoy listening to a good yarn that wraps historical fact around a great narrative story?

If you do, then I urge to tune into BBC Radio 4's Home Front.

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Just Say No to Plot Spoilers

The other day I learned that an author I like has a new book coming out. Of course I was interested and planned to pre-order the book. I also wanted to read any pre-publication reviews to see what the pros think about it, whether they feel it lives up to the author's previous high bar. I also wanted to learn a bit more about the story - but not too much.

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What Do a Pedophile, a Polygamist and a Tattooed Girl Have in Common?

The Girl With The Dragon TattooWith the recent release of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" I've been thinking about some of my favorite fictional characters. Because, naturally...or not, Lisbeth Salander ranks right up there as one of my favorite female fictional characters of all time. I know that Stieg Larsson's gritty series with its share of graphically violent content doesn't suit everyone's taste. Furthermore I imagine the movie image of the dark, pierced and spiky-haired Swede might leave many folks cold, wondering what there is about her that could possibly appeal to anyone. And yet, several months after I finished reading Larsson's trilogy this married, advanced-age mother of two grown men still sometimes wonders what Lisbeth might be up to.

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Amazon's revenue larger than the GDP of half the world's countries!

Did you know...

  1. Amazon's $34 billion annual revenues are larger than the GDPs of half the countries in the world.
  2. Amazon's web sales are five times the combined web sales of Walmart, Target and Buy.com.
  3. Amazon serves 137 million customers a week, 33% more than voted in the 2010 USA elections. That's 19.5 million customers daily - equal to the population of Beijing, or the number of Americans who live on less than $6000 a year.
  4. The average amount brought in by one of Amazon's unique users is $189. That's almost five times as valuable as Ebay's average ($39).
  5. Amazon owns 1/10th of North America's e-commerce pie.
  6. If Amazon's active users were a country, their population would be twice that of Canada.
  7. With 50,000 preorders, Kindle Fire is set to double the launch of the iPad.
  8. Amazon's current cloud platform could store 82 books for each person on the earth.
  9. Amazon's warehouse space has grown from a 400 square foot garage in 1995 to 25 million square feet - equivalent to more than 700 Madison Square Gardens.

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How my father inspired me to read banned books

When I was a kid I brought home a paperback book that my parents didn't think I should read. Mind you, this was during an era when our neighborhood drugstore's book racks never sported anything but the most innocuous (by today's standards) sorts of pulp fiction, from detective stories to romance novels to true crime. So you can be assured that my selection was about as tame as, say, a Disney animated movie. But it had a lurid cover photo and a rather suggestive title, suggestive, at least, to my 12-year-old sensibilities. Also to my mom because when she spotted it on my nightstand she freaked. She asked my dad to speak to me about it and confiscate the book.

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The Simple Brilliance of Liter of Light

Millions of people live in shantytowns across the world, many in corrugated-iron-roofed shacks with no windows. This leaves the residents with the choice of living in complete darkness or running expensive electric bulbs (if electricity is even available to them).

Liter of Light has a solution which is so mind-bogglingly simple that it is pure brilliance:

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