Mark Coker: Smashwords Year in Review 2015 and Plans for 2016
Contrast the conventional print book with today's self-published ebooks. Self-published ebooks are dynamic, living and immortal creatures, constantly evolving with new metadata, new cover images and new book content, as the author or publisher iterates to make their book more visible and more desirable to readers. Indie ebooks never go out of print. Ebook stores will stock them forever.
Mark Coker: 2016 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Myriad Opportunities amid a Slow Growth Environment (Smashwords)
1. Indie ebook authors will gain market share at expense of large publishers.
Paul Krugman: Soaking the Rich - Slightly (NY Times Blog)
Still, it's now a fact as opposed to a mere projection that Obama significantly raised taxes at the top - and the hit was especially big at the very top of the scale. And my point that the economy's pretty good job growth despite this tax hike - raising taxes on job creators! - refutes right-wing doctrine continues to stand.
Paul Krugman: Privilege, Pathology and Power (NY Times Column)
Wealth can be bad for your soul. That's not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it's a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder.
David Wong: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person (Cracked)
#6. The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You
David Wong: How 'The Karate Kid' Ruined The Modern World (Cracked)
When I am fired as the Editor of Cracked and run out of ideas for penis-based horror novels, I want to write this up as a self-help book, probably titled F[**]k The Karate Kid: Why Life is So Much Harder Than We Think, by Dr. David Wong. I also have to become a doctor at some point.
John Cheese: 5 Reasons Life Actually Does Get Better (Cracked)
In the last year you've probably heard "It gets better" used as a motto to encourage gay teens who've been the victims of bullying. This is not a rebuttal of that, because I am not an asshole. What I do want to do is expand that message to everyone that age, whether you have a bully problem or not.
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
Astro Column For January 2016!
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
TRUMPY FEELS THE BERN!
MAMA BEAR TAKES A WALK.
THE PUSHER MAN!
2015 IN REVIEW!
GOD HELP THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY BABBLE!
"MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" HEE HAW!
THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP!
CLIMATE, CLIMATE CHANGE, WHERE THE TEMPERATURE SETS A NEW RANGE.
THE CRAZY REPUGS!
"WHAT COULD GO WRONG IN 2016?"
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Still sunny, but brisk (for these parts).
Skywriters Target Rose Parade
Five Six planes flew over the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, on Friday writing messages in the sky that included "America is great! Trump is disgusting. Anybody but Trump, US," as onlookers craned their necks for a view.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the airborne protest, targeting Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, which coincided with the end of the New Year's Day event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Pasadena, north of Los Angeles.
Many of those in the crowd looked skyward as the aircraft left their short-lived statements against a deep blue backdrop.
The planes circled for almost an hour after the parade of flower-adorned floats and marching bands finished, writing variations on a theme that included messages such as "Trump is delusional," and "Trump is a fascist dictator."
Many parade-watchers turned their cellphones to the sky to try to record and share images of the event on social media. It was not immediately clear if any of the television cameras that covered the procession live caught the protest.
"America is great. Trump is disgusting," was one of the many anti-Trump messages written across the sky, bought and paid for by millionaire real estate developer Stan Pate, a big time backer of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. Pate also owns own the website "anybodybuttrump.us" which at one point was also visible. Other messages stated "Trump loves to Hate," "Anybody but Trump," and "Putin eats Trump for breakfast." One of the harshest comments was when one referred to Trump by saying, "Fascist Dictator."
Diary Goes Online Despite Rights Dispute
A French academic and an MP published online Friday the famous diary of Anne Frank, despite a dispute with rights holders as to whether the work is now in the public domain.
The duo claim "Diary of a Young Girl" became public property on January 1 as 70 years had elapsed since Frank's death at the age of 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.
"In regards to this book, this testimony and what it represents... I bear the conviction that there is no greater combat than to fight for its freedom, no greater tribute than share it without restriction" wrote University of Nantes lecturer Olivier Ertzscheid, who posted the work online in its original Dutch.
The Anne Frank Fund, based in Basel, Switzerland, holds the rights to publication and told AFP previously that it had sent a letter threatening legal action if the diary was published.
The Fund argues that the book is a posthumous work, for which copyright extends 50 years past the publication date, and that a 1986 version published by the Dutch State Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) is under copyright until at least 2037.
Magnitude 4.2 Earthquake
A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck north Oklahoma City early on New Year's Day, the latest in a series of temblors in the area in recent days that's prompted state regulators to call for more restrictions on oil and gas operators.
No injuries and only minor damage were reported with the quake, which struck at 5:39 a.m. Friday near Edmond, about 16 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The temblor is the latest of at least a dozen since Tuesday when a 4.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded.
Oklahoma has become one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world, with the number of quakes magnitude 3.0 or greater skyrocketing from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 800 so far this year. Many of the earthquakes are occurring in swarms in areas where injection wells pump salty wastewater - a byproduct of oil and gas production - deep into the earth. As a result, state regulators have begun reducing the volume or shutting down disposal wells in response.
Expelled French Journalist
A French reporter forced to leave Beijing after she criticised government policy in violence-racked Xinjiang arrived home Friday after warning of dark days ahead for journalists working in China.
Beijing accused Ursula Gauthier, the China correspondent for France's L'Obs news magazine, of supporting terrorism after she wrote an article questioning official comparisons between global Islamist violence and unrest in the homeland of the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.
It then refused to renew her credentials, obliging her to leave on December 31 when her visa expired.
France and Europe should be "concerned about what is going on here, not because it is a journalist, not only because of the freedom of press, but also because it is about China and what China is doing to its minorities, and even its majority, the problem is the same," she added.
Braced For Global Warming While It Fought Regulations
A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.
"Let's face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil," the ad said. "Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur."
One year earlier, though, engineers at Mobil Oil were concerned enough about climate change to design and build a collection of exploration and production facilities along the Nova Scotia coast that made structural allowances for rising temperatures and sea levels.
"An estimated rise in water level, due to global warming, of 0.5 meters may be assumed" for the 25-year life of the Sable gas field project, Mobil engineers wrote in their design specifications. The project, owned jointly by Mobil, Shell and Imperial Oil (a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon), went online in 1999; it is expected to close in 2017.
A joint investigation by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Energy and Environmental Reporting Project and the Los Angeles Times earlier detailed how one company, Exxon, made a strategic decision in the late 1980s to publicly emphasize doubt and uncertainty regarding climate change science even as its internal research embraced the growing scientific consensus.
Director In Jail
The father of a film worker killed by a train during shooting of a movie about singer Gregg Allman said that granting the film's director early release from a two-year jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter would send a message "that Hollywood gets a break."
Former "Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller has asked a Georgia judge to set him free less than a year after he pleaded guilty to felony charges in the February 2014 train collision. A 27-year-old camera assistant, Sarah Jones, was run over by a freight train as Miller's crew filmed a scene on a railroad bridge without a permit from the trestle's owner.
Jones' father, Richard Jones, responded with a letter to Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison asking him to deny the director's request.
"There is a need to maintain a strong message to the film industry that those in charge of their cast and crew will be held responsible for their safety," Jones' father wrote in a letter dated Monday. "That such reckless disregard for safety will not be tolerated."
Miller's plea deal last March not only spared him from a possible 11-year-prison sentence if he was convicted by a trial jury, but it also included an agreement by prosecutors to drop criminal charges against the director's wife and business partner, Jody Savin.
Beheadings Soar In 2015
Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the kingdom in two decades, according to several advocacy groups that monitor the death penalty worldwide.
Coinciding with the rise in executions is the number of people executed for non-lethal offenses that judges have wide discretion to rule on, particularly for drug-related crimes.
Rights group Amnesty International said in November that at least 63 people had been executed since the start of the year for drug-related offenses. That figure made for at least 40 percent of the total number of executions in 2015, compared to less than four percent for drug-related executions in 2010. Amnesty said Saudi Arabia had exceeded its highest level of executions since 1995, when 192 executions were recorded.
But while some crimes, such as premeditated murder, may carry fixed punishments under Saudi Arabia's interpretation of the Islamic law, or Shariah, drug-related offenses are considered "ta'zir", meaning neither the crime nor the punishment is defined in Islam.
Discretionary judgments for "ta'zir" crimes have led to arbitrary rulings with contentious outcomes.
Flag As Table Cloth
Israel said it has apologised for the "deplorable behaviour" of a junior diplomat at its embassy in the city-state who allegedly used a Singapore flag as a table cloth during a party.
Local media said Singapore's foreign ministry had summoned the Israeli ambassador after a police report was filed about the incident on Sunday and the identity of the diplomat was revealed.
"The Embassy of the State of Israel in Singapore was appalled to learn of deplorable behaviour displayed by one of its junior staff members and expresses its sincere apologies," the Israeli embassy said in a press statement.
It said that the director general of Israel's foreign ministry "has instructed that requisite strong disciplinary procedure will be adopted against" the erring diplomat.
A netizen who posted a photo of the flag being misused said he was "shocked" to see a group of caucasians who "actually used our Singapore flag as a table cloth!"
Jean-Wearing Devotees Barred From Temples
Hindu temples in southern India began turning away devotees wearing western clothes Friday after a court order banning jeans and shorts as "inappropriate" for spiritual worship came into effect.
In December the Madras High Court ordered temple authorities in Tamil Nadu state to refuse entry to anyone wearing jeans, bermuda shorts, skirts, short-sleeves or tight leggings to "enhance spiritual ambiance"
Hundreds of staff members in the coastal state's 6,000 temples, ranging from small shrines to major religious sites, remained on alert Friday for people flouting the ban, which came into force on January 1.
The dress code applies to both locals and foreigners visiting the temples, some of which are major tourist attractions.
Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, whose biggest hit came in a virtual duet with her late father, pop legend Nat King Cole, of his decades-old hit "Unforgettable," has died at the age of 65, her family said on Friday.
The family's statement said Cole died on Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from "ongoing health issues."
Cole's career spanned five decades in the R&B, soul, jazz and pop genres. In 2015, she had canceled appearances citing medical reasons.
Cole broke out in 1975 with the hit "This Will Be," which won the Grammy for best R&B female performance and also earned her the Grammy for best new artist. Critics compared her to Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin but her career floundered in the 1980s when she ran into problems with heroin.
She bounced back, and her career reached the superstar level in 1991 when she recorded "Unforgettable ... With Love." The album contained songs associated with her father, the silky-voiced baritone who was one of the most popular performers of the 1940s and '50s but died before his daughter began her solo career.
Using technology that was cutting edge at the time, studio engineers merged her voice with her father's in the song "Unforgettable," which had been a hit for Nat King Cole in 1951. The result was a moving, sentimental No. 1 hit 40 years later, that actually sounded as if the two were singing a duet.
The song and the album it came from earned Cole three Grammy Awards.
Cole was only 11 when she first sang professionally, with her father. But she went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with no plans of an entertainment career. While in college, she performed with bands and set aside plans for being a child psychologist.
Cole's mother, Maria Cole, also had been a singer with the Duke Ellington and Count Basie bands.