Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ticked off at Amazon

In order to avoid paying sales taxes under Connecticut's new law, Amazon has severed its business relationships with all CT-based web associates. That means Amazon will no longer pay us the small referral fees we used to receive when our websites drove customers to the bookseller.

For me, referral fees never amounted to a huge amount of money. (Though Amazon made tens of thousands of dollars from my web visitors each year.) But they did help make my various websites viable. I will likely be joining Barnes and Noble as an associate in the near future in an effort to make up the lost revenue.

Very discouraging.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Re-reading Hawking

Had a few minutes of spare time recently and used them to go back over some of Stephen Hawking's works. I was re-reading the very basic descriptions of the relativity principles. While a lot of the subject is still challenging, I feel like I am least able to identify some of my own mental block. The notion of Time as variable just doesn't fit with human experience. I mean, it may make sense in the mathematical equations, but it is as unimaginable for me as additional dimensions of space.

I suppose it could be easier to accept Time as a variable and Velocity (of light) as a constant if velocity was not always expressed in terms based upon time units. Maybe we should refer to all velocities in relation to the light speed constant and leave off the "per hour" part of the description.

Mafia forum sets new record

The American Mafia discussion group I moderate hit a new record for message posts last month. During the month of May, 347 new posts appeared on the group. The previous record was 237 posts, set back in April 2009. The group now has more than 100 members.

Recent discussion topics have included Joseph Bonanno's kidnapping, the 1928 murder of boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila, the Castellammarese War, and Allessandro Vollero's warning to Joe Valachi.

The discussion group is hosted by Yahoo! and can be accessed at this web address: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/americanmafia/