Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Amazon Tax

The US Constitution clearly prohibits states from taxing interstate commerce, as SCOTUS confirmed in the Quill decision. Unless a business has a physical presence in a state, that state cannot tax transactions between that business and a resident of the … Continue reading

Posted in business, government | 5 Comments

Writers despair

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has an excellent post up about the despair prevalent among traditionally-published novelists. Even recently bestselling authors are being dropped by their publishers and those who are “lucky” enough to continue being published are being paid peanuts. Publishers … Continue reading

Posted in ebooks | 1 Comment

Rinderpest is no more

The New York Times reports that, for only the second time in history, humans have eradicated a disease in the wild. The first one, of course, was smallpox, which now exists only in a few government laboratories. This one is … Continue reading

Posted in biology, science, science reporting | Comments Off on Rinderpest is no more

More chemistry kits

The chemistry kits are selling well enough that it’s almost time to order more components. I really don’t want to have to backorder the kits, particularly between now and September. I dithered about how many kits’ worth to order, and … Continue reading

Posted in science kits, The Home Scientist | Comments Off on More chemistry kits

Netflix outage

Ironically, just as we changed our Netflix service from 3-discs-at-a-time to 1-at-a-time, intending to watch more Netflix streaming, the Netflix streaming service collapsed. We’re able to see our instant queue on the Roku box, but pressing the button to start … Continue reading

Posted in netflix | 7 Comments


One frequently sees newspaper articles and news reports deploring the high rate of illiteracy in the United States, the wealthiest country in the world. Certainly, literacy is fundamental; if one cannot read or write, one’s ability to learn is crippled. … Continue reading

Posted in culture, essays | 17 Comments

Ereaders blowing away tablets

A couple of months ago, I commented in passing that dedicated ereaders like the Kindle and Nook were outselling tablet computers like the iPad. Several readers called me on that, but they were using old figures. And, when it comes … Continue reading

Posted in ebooks, technology | 12 Comments

Open thread

By popular request, I’m going to try posting “Open Thread” posts periodically to give readers a place to post ongoing off-topic discussion threads. Have at it.  

Posted in open thread | 40 Comments

Figures lie and liars figure

Most of us frequently read mainstream media “science news” articles that make startling assertions about this or that. And, with very few exceptions, the assertions made in those articles are not supported by data included in the article, nor even … Continue reading

Posted in mainstream media, science reporting | 37 Comments

Science kits for religious versus secular homeschoolers

When we announced the CK01 homeschool chemistry kits on the MAKE blog, Geek Dad, and so on, we immediately started getting critical responses and emails about how we positioned the kits. The relevant part of the announcement was: “The kit … Continue reading

Posted in homeschooling, science kits, The Home Scientist | 7 Comments