Amazon Reviewers

According to the New York Times, Amazon suffered a glitch for about a week that showed the identies of those that had provided anonymous reviews. (See the article.) They made it sound quite common for authors to offer 5 star reviews of their own books and for people to rate their enemies books very poorly. Hopefully, Amazon.com books get enough reviews that one or two don’t sway the overall ratings too much. (I have to say that if I were going to do that something that morally wrong, I’d create a whole new Amazon.com login, not just mark it anonymous!)

Online Dating and Criminal Checks

I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about criminal check services for online dating, “Online-Dating Sites Unveil Self Background Checks.” They listed a couple of sites (like VerifiedPerson.com) that already provide the service. While definitely a great service, I don’t imagine many people will want to think that their potential date might NEED to be background checked. It’s a scary thought. The sites offer everything from height and weight verfication to criminal backgound checks. I was wondering if you could have some sort of “certify” button, so if you go out with someone, even if it doesn’t work out, you can click that you certify that they looked like their picture. My boyfriend said it wouldn’t work because people are too vindictive. I think people are too worried about what might come back at them to be mean.

I’ve used Match.com, but I like the sites like Friendster and Google’s new Orkut that allow you to meet people through your friends. You set up your profile and then you identify everybody else on the network that you know. Then when someone is looking at your profile (say one of your buddies who wants a date), they can see all of your friends. You can always see how a person traces back to you (so-and-so knows so-and-so who knows …), and you can see how their friends rated them in different categories. I had great fun seeing who all I knew and how the spider web spread out from there. You can also specify whether you are looking for dates, business contacts, friends, etc.

Fantasy Hunt

When my boyfriend first told me about the Fantasy Hunt website, I told him there was no way people would pay $5/month to watch a video cameras of fields. I was wrong. The first time you catch glimpse of a zebra or big buck and you spend 10 minutes trying to keep it in camera range and focus long enough to get a good picture … you’re hooked. So don’t say I didn’t warn you! (The best time to check out this website is at dawn or dusk, as that’s when the animals come out.)

Update: It looks like Fantasy Hunt is no longer around but here’s a similar site, BNC Ranch.

Audible.com

My absolute favorite toy right now is my Audible Otis. I listen to audio books and NPR while I’m running errands, running with my dog, working out in the gym, cleaning the house, … Right now I’m listening to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. It’s funny hard core science fiction.

Check out Audible.com. If you sign up, let them know “storming” sent you!

Neal Stephenson wrote one of my favorite books ever, The Diamond Age : Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. It takes place in a future full of nanotechnology. A young girl gets ahold of a book that acts as her tutor, modifying itself over time to meet her needs. It examplifies the notion that education can make a person, giving them opportunities they never would have had otherwise.

US Sugar Industry attacks WHO’s healthy eating guidelines

The new diet guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) state that sugar should account for no more than 10% of the calories in a daily diet. The US Sugar Industry wants the Bush administration to pull funding for WHO unless WHO agrees to remove its recommended limits on sugar consumption!
Talk about a conflict of interest! I don’t think the person with the most money should decide what’s in a healthy diet. You can read more about it here Sugar Industry Threatens to Scupper WHO and here Sugar Industry Threatens WHO Budget Over Dietary Guidelines.

Intro

This is a blog to share all those good books and websites that I discover. If you like one, maybe you’ll come back to see what else I’ve found.

Addall.com

If you buy a lot of books, addall.com can save you some money. It searches a huge number of online book companies, adds shipping, and displays them in a nice table sorted by price. I’ve found it very useful for text books – it’s usually cheaper to buy my textbooks from Amazon in the UK, including shipping, than it is to buy them in the US!

Trading Up: The New American Luxury

Trading Up: The New American Luxury
I really like this book because it offered explanations for what seems like irrational behaviour. Have you ever noticed that you’re willing to drive all over town and comparison shop at Target, SuperWalmart and the mall in order to save $3, but then you’ll spend $3 more for organic frozen dinners. Or Starbucks coffee. Or a Panini sandwich instead of Subway? Well, this book explains the characteristics of the Panini sandwich that make you willing to pay more for it: the homemade bread, the intimate local, etc. Warning! The authors are writing to business people – giving them ideas on how to leverage your willingness to pay $3 more. But the book is very interesting and uses examples that really back up their theories like BMW, Panini, and Victoria Secret.