Archive for February 2nd, 2009

The value of reading (Part C — $1,754,383.00)

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Investigator James S. Tyre writes:

Your item on BlackWind was mildly entertaining. However, if you really want to talk value, you need to discuss “Spon’s Mechanical and Electrical Services Price Book 2009: Multi-user licence (Unknown Binding).” At $1,754,383.00, it is a complete steal!  (If you don’t believe me, read the Customer Reviews.) [And see the screen-grab below]

The book’s rather corporate author, Davis Langdon Mott Green Wall, describes itself as “the market leader in its field.”

Further investigation finds that the publisher offers a version of this book for just $290, and explains that “Prices have been overhauled in line with buoyant market conditions.”

The multi-user version is still an excellent deal if you plan to purchase more than 6050 copies of the cheapo edition.

Big where-are-they news for science fiction writers

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

For science fiction writers who want to get things right — to know and observe the actual constraints imposed by the universe, rather than just make things up — there’s possibly big possible news. The physics ArXiv blog reports:

We have little to guide us on the question of the existence intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. But the physicist Enrico Fermi came up with the most obvious question: if the universe is teeming with advanced civilizations, where are they?

The so-called Fermi Paradox has haunted SETI researchers ever since. Not least because the famous Drake equation, which attempts put a figure on the number intelligent civilisations out there now, implies that if the number of intelligent civilisations capable of communication in our galaxy is greater than 1, then we should eventually hear from them.

That overlooks one small factor, says Reginald Smith from the Bouchet-Franklin Institute in Rochester, New York state. He says that there is a limit to how far a signal from ET can travel before it becomes too faint to hear. And when you factor that in, everything changes.

Reginald Smith’s paper — “Broadcasting But Not Receiving: Density Dependence Considerations for SETI Signals” —  is available on arXiv ( Smith’s institution, the Bouchet-Franklin Institute, like his theory, is of his own devising.

The value of reading (Part B — $8,539.00)

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

One of the more expensive books offered these days is Chemical Shifts and Coupling Constants for Silicon-29, by by R.R. Gupta, M.D. Lechner, H. Marsmann, and B. Mikhova. This is Subvolume F in Springer’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Data series, slightly pricier ($8539.00), though not by all that much, than the preceding volumes.

Here’s where to find and congratulate three of the authors:

R.R. Gupta, Department of Chemistry, Rajasthan University, Jaipur-302004, India

M.D. Lechner, Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Universität Osnabrück, D-49069 Osnabrück, Germany

B.M. Mikhova, Institute of Organic Chemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Science, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria

(Thanks to investigator Mark Dionne for bringing this to our attention.)

The value of reading (Part A — $72,999.99)

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

One of the most expensive new books offered on is Charlotte Boyett-Compo‘s BlackWind, which is not entirely about meteorology. Amazon offers this book for $72,999.99, an approximately 27% savings, it says, from the official list price of $99,999.99. The screencapture shown here documents the price as it appears on Sunday afternoon, February 1, 2009.

Scholars can debate how this price will endure the current economic turmoil. They can also investigate whether this price was set as a result of (a) irrational exuberance or (b) technical error or (c) something else.

UPDATE: The mystery is at least partly solved. Charlotte Boyett-Compo explains:

I am the author of the book you mention and it is not a new book as such. A new copy, yes, but not a new book. It is actually a book that is out of print from a publisher with whom I am no longer contracted. The book has since been broken down by my current publisher into two books: BlackWind: Sean and Bronwyn & BlackWind: Viraidan and Bronwyn.  You can no longer get this book unless it is used or….as I suspect…Amazon found it in their warehouse from six years ago.

My guess is because this is now considered a collector’s item that is why the extreme price. I have had other books that have since been released be offered for as high as $999.99 but never one this high.

May the Wind be always at your back,
Charlotte “Charlee” Boyett~Compo

Creator of the Old West Reaper werewolf novels since 2005
Official Webpage:

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!