Thrilling for a new author – my latest Mars colony story earned a top 5% in its Amazon Best Sellers Rank category. I want to share the story with my blog readers – download a free copy today. Go to Smashwords and use coupon code LL42T. If you’d like to say thanks, leave a review – if you have an Amazon account, a review there helps readers find me – Amazon is The Big Dog in book selling.
Thanks everyone! 🙂
If the price of a can of cold soda from a vending machine varies with the outdoors temperature… are you being cheated in July? Or given a bargain in December? (Or the other way around if you’re down under.) Is a higher price okay when the vendor meets you in the park?
- If my shopping history says I’m cheap, should I be offered a lower price than you – a person known to splurge?
- Should the price of pumpkin pie spice go up as Thanksgiving nears?
- If you got 50% off the list price of $999 for a patio furniture set, would you be angry to find Walmart’s everyday low price sticker on the box – reading $247?
- Major brick-and-mortar stores like Borders, Blockbuster, Circuit City and Radio Shack are going bankrupt.
Welcome to the world of shopping in the digital age.
Since about the 1860s, a standard asking price replaced haggling in industrialized countries – in part because Quakers and other groups felt charging different prices for the same item was immoral. (In the USA, the 1860s was our Civil War and maybe we were too distracted to haggle – I don’t know what the rest of you were doing.)
But the endless arms race between buyers and sellers takes on a new urgency in the internet age. Is it fair for buyers to view items in a brick and mortar store, then buy cheaper on-line? What do you think of stores that jack up list-prices so sales look better?
Online purchases peak during weekday office hours, so retailers are commonly advised to raise prices in the morning and lower them in the early evening… [Today] Big Data could discern every individual’s own personal demand curve—thereby turning the classroom hypothetical of ‘perfect price discrimination’ (a price that’s calibrated precisely to the maximum that you will pay) into an actual possibility
Perhaps all this confusion will drive people to rent-not-buy everything from a car ride to party supplies.
Personally, I’m retired in a small rural county of New Mexico – definitely not affluent. I’m a few sigmas off the average American.
- I have the time to spend days researching large purchases.
- My last pair of jeans cost $5 at a thrift store and that was a splurge for me – I usually wait until donations overwhelm them and they sell as much as you can stuff in a bag for $1.
- I never go to a mall for entertainment – the closest one is a 2 hour drive! I go for a walk in the forest instead.
- I notice my neighbors are more likely to set out their own hand-made lawn art than anyone would in suburbia.
I’ve withdrawn from the battle, but what will you do?
Read a fascinating article at theatlantic.com on shopping. Did you know one reason for ending prices in 0.99 was to force cashiers to open the drawer to make change – thereby recording the sale and stopping them from pocketing the money?
My new collection of short reads has rocketed to top 6% of its Amazon Best Sellers Rank category in only five days. That’s crazy for a new author like me 😉
Thank you 🙂
This collection’s only available on Amazon and is included in Kindle Select / Unlimited / Lending Library / Amazon Prime. If you’re a subscriber you’ve already paid for these stories so why not give them a read?
Miners plunder Jupiter’s atmosphere – and finds more than expected. An angel has a photo op on Mars. A time traveler leaves a lonely woman behind. A desperate man seeks help from a witch. Vignettes and excerpts from the On Mars series – the first colony on Mars.
These stories and more wait for you, short reads to fill a break in your day or an afternoon curled up in your favorite chair.
Astronomers have captured the first image ever of the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the universe (maybe) but we can’t see. And it looks like…
The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Sorry – it’s goingto take me a while to turn that into a poem.
In some places, I wonder how plants find water
Water – fresh and clean – is something we humans need. Without it we’re sick or dead. Drilling deeper wells will work for a while, but that’sexpensive and once we use up deep aquifers they’re gone for our lifetime. Desalination sounds like the perfect answer – but it’s also expensive and if the salty concentrate is dumped near the intake (as it usually is) the water becomes harder to treat.
Oh, for nature’s pure water, freely given from the sky. Ten percent of Earth’s fresh water is floating around in the air at any given time – so close at hand but so hard to reach. Maybe until now.
You can’t squeeze blood from a stone, but wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from air, even in low humidity… homes in the driest parts of the world could soon have a solar-powered appliance capable of delivering all the water they need, offering relief to billions of people. sciencemag.org
The device is powered by solar energy – abundant in poor dry communities. It requires zirconium-based, porous organo-metallic crystals pressed onto sheets of copper. Hmmm, that sounds harder to come by. Indeed, it’s too expensive right now, but researchers at University of California, Berkeley, are
Designing future water harvesters cheap enough not only to slake the thirst of people in arid regions, but perhaps even supply water to farmers in the desert.
Too often, scaling up a lab success proves disappointing. That’s why a lot of the “breakthroughs” you read about in the popular press are never heard from again. But so many people need water. I hope this idea works out.
Here’s my ode to a champion desert dweller, the desert watermelon. I hope this new idea is an effective.
Three platypuses in Australia were ‘deliberately killed’ in the last few weeks, and two of the animals were found beheaded in what wildlife officials are calling a ‘horrific act of cruelty.’ time.com
Horrible! In honor of the platypus, I’m reposting an old favorite.
Victorians called her primitive,
A mammal under-done,
Chimera of cold austral streams,
Life’s ladder, on a lower rung.
With lizard bones and otter fur
That’s waterproof and soft as silk.
Laying eggs as lizards do,
Then nursing babes on milk.
She hunts her prey in bottom mud
With tactile snout exquisite;
More delicate than human touch,
She senses nerve cells with it.
Life branches out a thousand ways,
Ignores our human urge
For categories neat and trim.
Nature’s on a splurge:
Formed a creature that’s most elegant,
Beauty’s her attraction.
Admire now the platypus,
A honey of adaption.
by Kate Rauner
More science inspired poetry
Passenger pigeons by Audubon
Once upon a time,
Once there was a land
Where one bird
out of every two
Was gray with throat of cinnamon.
Their flocks eclipsed the sun
When migration season came.
One shotgun blast would bring down
Without the need to aim.
With numbers in the trillions,
A breeding colony
Might blanket fifty miles
With its sovereignty.
And we killed them all.
They could lay waste to fields
But someone must have seen
Their numbers falling fast
And known what that would mean.
It took us several decades,
Less than a century
Of ruthless persecution
Of this farmers’ enemy.
To kill them all.
Do any mourn today
An action so draconian
While viewing stuffed remains
Of the last one
In the Smithsonian?
The last passenger pigeon.
By Kate Rauner
The last passenger pigeon
Thanks to karlshuker for his post on the passenger pigeon. Visit http://reviverestore.org/ for a fascinating look into de-extinction. Reconstructing the passenger pigeon is their flagship project.
Their aim is to increase forest health and biodiversity, especially what’s been lost since the 1700s. Like wildfires, passenger pigeons were a major source of beneficial forest regeneration in eastern North America for tens of thousands of years.
Revive & Restore’s goal is “to hatch the first generation of new passenger pigeons by 2022 and begin trial wild releases ten years later.” Genome sequencing is already underway. Wow.