. . . and monopolies:
Microsoft to Take Stake in Nook Unit of Barnes & Noble
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) – North Korea is armed with "powerful modern weapons" capable of defeating the United States, a top military chief in Pyongyang said Wednesday amid increased speculation abroad about the nation's missile arsenal and nuclear ambitions.
. . .
"The Korean People's Army is armed with powerful modern weapons … that can defeat the U.S. imperialists at a single blow," he told party and military officials, using familiar descriptions of the country's rivals.
Universal Pictures has set David Levien and Brian Koppelman to write The Rockford Files, a feature adaptation of the memorable series that ran on NBC from 1974-80 and featured James Garner as the down-and-out private eye. The studio will develop the film as a star vehicle for Vince Vaughn to play Rockford, and Vaughn and Victoria Vaughn will produce through their Universal-based Wild West Picture Show Productions banner.
Iran 'has not yet decided' whether to build nuclear weapon
The commander of Israel's armed forces offered a measured appraisal of Iran's nuclear ambitions on Wednesday, saying that Tehran had "not yet decided" whether to build a nuclear weapon.
The ERB [Engineering Review Board]concluded that the “most probable cause of the HTV-2 Flight 2 premature flight termination was unexpected aeroshell degradation, creating multiple upsets of increasing severity that ultimately activated the Flight Safety System.”
Based on state-of-the-art models, ground testing of high-temperature materials and understanding of thermal effects in other more well-known flight regimes, a gradual wearing away of the vehicle’s skin as it reached stress tolerance limits was expected. However, larger than anticipated portions of the vehicle’s skin peeled from the aerostructure. The resulting gaps created strong, impulsive shock waves around the vehicle as it travelled nearly 13,000 miles per hour, causing the vehicle to roll abruptly. Based on knowledge gained from the first flight in 2010 and incorporated into the second flight, the vehicle’s aerodynamic stability allowed it to right itself successfully after several shockwave-induced rolls. Eventually, however, the severity of the continued disturbances finally exceeded the vehicle’s ability to recover.
Despite a landmark settlement that was expected to increase coverage for out-of-network care, the nation’s largest health insurers have been switching to a new payment method that in most cases significantly increases the cost to the patient.
. . . .
Insurance companies defend the shift toward Medicare-based rates under the settlement, which allowed any clear, objective method of calculating reimbursement. They say that premiums would be even costlier if reimbursements were more generous, and that exorbitant doctors’ fees are largely to blame.
But few dispute that as the nation debates an overhaul aimed at insuring everybody, the new realpolitik of reimbursement is leaving millions of insured families more vulnerable to catastrophic medical bills, even though they are paying higher premiums, co-payments and deductibles. . . .
Breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay of Herrin, Illinois was put in debtors' prison over a $280 medical bill that was sent to her by accident
On Monday, the North Korean military said it would act “soon” and named its targets, including the government of President Lee, several South Korean newspapers and television stations, and “ratlike” elements that it said were “destroying fair-minded public opinion.”
“The special actions of our revolutionary armed forces will start soon to meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors,” the North Korean military command’s “special operation action group” said in a statement
NEW DELHI -- India successfully tested its most advanced long-range nuclear-capable missile to date on Thursday, a launch which New Delhi hopes will serve as a deterrent against China, its regional rival.
Experts say Agni-V is the most advanced missile in India's inventory and places the country on a footing with Beijing, which already has missiles capable of striking deep into Indian territory.
Its range of over 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) means it could travel as far as Beijing and Shanghai. Earlier missiles had a range of up to 3,500 kilometers, falling short of many of China's major cities.
Most experts who have studied the evolution of the book publishing industry in the last half century agree that the steady winds of creative destruction now seem to be accelerating up to gale force. Some suggest that the 20 largest publishers would be likely to consolidate, i.e. the whales would eat the whales. There are some, and I among them, who believe that the likely acquirers will probably come from outside the traditional publishing industry
The counterargument to the publishers’ position runs like this: why should consumers be saddled with paying an extra few dollars just to keep competition alive? In the short term, the answer seems clear. But Richard Epstein, a professor at the New York University School of Law, pointed out, “it is not clear that lower prices are necessarily in the long-term interests of the public at large.”
He said that lower prices work both ways, spelling “low costs to consumers and low royalties to authors.” Anyone who has written a book, including me, can tell you that book publishing has always been a bit of a clubby business, with uniform practices in realms beyond pricing. Among many other standards: sell your book to any publisher you wish, but you will never get more than 15 percent of net royalties on the hardcover edition.
. . . a confidential NATO assessment paints a sobering portrait of the alliance’s ability to carry out such campaigns without significant support from the United States.
The report concluded that the allies struggled to share crucial target information, lacked specialized planners and analysts, and overly relied on the United States for reconnaissance and refueling aircraft.
Scott Turow on Justice Department’s Proposed Settlement
April 12, 2012. The proposed settlement is a shocking trip through the looking-glass. By allowing Amazon to resume selling most titles at a loss, the Department of Justice will basically prevent traditional bookstores from trying to enter the e-book market, at the same time it drives trade out of those stores and into the proprietary world of the Kindle. The settlement provides a gigantic obstacle to Amazon’s competitors in the e-book business by allowing Amazon to function without making a profit, something that leaves that market forbidding to anyone else who might think of entering, and a bad business for those already there.
Today’s low Kindle book prices will last only as long as it takes Amazon to re-establish its monopoly. It is hard to believe that the Justice Department has somehow persuaded itself that this solution fosters competition or is good for readers in the long run.
For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It’s their show not mine.
That said, I won’t be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N’ Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/04/12/axl-rose-wild-wacky-letter-to-rock-hall-fame-declining-his-induction/#ixzz1rs0kxCVK
As soon as the Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it was suing five major publishers and Apple on price-fixing charges, and simultaneously settling with three of them, Amazon announced plans to push down prices on e-books. The price of some major titles could fall to $9.99 or less from $14.99, saving voracious readers a bundle.But publishers and booksellers argue that any victory for consumers will be short-lived, and that the ultimate effect of the antitrust suit will be to exchange a perceived monopoly for a real one. Amazon, already the dominant force in the industry, will hold all the cards.
“Amazon must be unbelievably happy today,” said Michael Norris, a book publishing analyst with Simba Information. “Had they been puppeteering this whole play, it could not have worked out better for them.”
THE TRIPLE FOOL. by John Donne
I am two fools, I know, For loving, and for saying so In whining poetry ;But where's that wise man, that would not be I, If she would not deny ?Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,I thought, if I could draw my pains Through rhyme's vexation, I should them allay.Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,For he tames it, that fetters it in verse. But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain ;
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read.
Both are increasèd by such songs,
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.
HOLY SONNETS. X. Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ; For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow, Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be, Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well, And better than thy stroke ; why swell'st thou then ? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.
After two sittings, now our Lady State
To end her picture does the third time wait.
But ere thou fall'st to work, first, Painter, see
If't ben't too slight grown or too hard for thee.
Canst thou paint without colors? Then 'tis right:
For so we too without a fleet can fight.
Or canst thou daub a signpost, and that ill?
'Twill suit our great debauch and little skill.
Or hast thou marked how antic masters limn
The aly-roof with snuff of candle dim,
Sketching in shady smoke prodigious tools?
'Twill serve this race of drunkards, pimps and fools.
But if to match our crimes thy skill presumes,
As th' Indians, draw our luxury in plumes.
Amazon.com, the world's largest Internet retailer, currently collects sales taxes from customers in just five states, including Washington, giving it a price advantage of up to 10 percent in most of the country. But the days of tax-free Internet shopping appear to be coming to an end, something that Amazon itself has conceded in recent months.