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  1. Fathoming the Hugeness of Amazon [Infographic]

    Like outer space, Amazon.com is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. Besides being the number one online retailer, and having successfully launched a line of branded eReaders when everyone was pretty much just twiddling their thumbs on the whole eReader thing, the company has square footage and enough space and money to put it on par with nations. Not bad for an online company. Read on after the break for more on just how huge Amazon really is.

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  2. Will You Soon be Paying Sales Tax at Amazon?

    For years, online shoppers have enjoyed shirking sales tax for their purchases from websites like Amazon.com. Thanks to a few Supreme Court decisions, retailers that lacked a physical presence have been immune to sales tax. But a new piece of legislation in Congress could change all that, and possibly bring an end to tax-free shopping online. The Main Street Fairness Act would  require retailers to collect sales tax on purchases wherever the consumer resides. This would seem to shift the physical presence requirement for taxation on to the purchaser, rather than the seller. Currently, sales tax on online goods is supposed to be reported by consumers on their state income tax returns, but very few actually report all their purchases. A study carried out by the University of Tennessee estimated the loss of revenue to states from unreported online sales tax at around $10.1 billion in 2011 and $11.3 billion in 2012 nationwide. In a time when state governments are particularly strapped for cash, that kind of money might be too hard to pass up. Interestingly, some major retailers are pushing for changes to the way sales tax is collected.

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  3. [UPDATED] Amazon Deletes Some Books From Kindles Because of Their Content

    Amazon has had a rocky history with censorship and apparent censorship. There was the time that they took a great number of books regarding homosexuality out of their sales ranking system, flagging them "Adult content" without regard to their actual sexual content (included were "children's books, self-help books, non-fiction, and non-explicit fiction"). And there was the time that they caved to public pressure and stopped selling a book on pedophilia, while maintaining that despite their actions they did not condone censorship. Now, Amazon.com appears to have pulled a number of self-published fictional erotica titles from its virtual shelves because they are incest-themed. Not only have they pulled them from sale, they have also deleted them from the Kindles of any user who purchased them. This has gone largely unnoticed, except, of course, by the authors and readers of the books. The biggest problem with this, if it is true, is that Amazon just finished a lawsuit last year where it agreed, in legally binding terms, that deletions would only occur because of "failed credit card transactions, judicial orders, malware, or the permission of the user."

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  4. Geekolinks: 11/20

    Prepare Your Wallet: Steam Now Recommends Games For You (That Videogame Blog) Why The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Don't Use Their Weapons (CollegeHumor) The Trailer for Source Code (Bleeding Cool) The LAPD's Stolen Art Database (BoingBoing) Mr. Peanut Speaks, Is Product of Impressive Stop-Motion Animators (Motionographer) The First Page of Watchmen Goes For $33,500 (Bleeding Cool) Amazon Expands Its Game Downloads Service (Joystiq) (pic via Reddit.)

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  5. New Evidence Narrows the Window for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Release Date

    Rumors about the release date for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm abound, mostly from Amazon.com, which keeps hedging its pre-order bets.  But some information from a more solid source has surfaced, or rather, been laboriously uncovered by data miners. Evidence hidden in the files of the latest patch to the Cataclysm beta servers indicates that Arena Season 9 will begin on December 14th, which indicates that Cataclysm will launch around December 7th. Does that sound insidery as hell?  Don't worry, it is.  Allow us to explain.

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  6. Did Amazon Leak the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Release Date?

    As some of you may have noticed, yesterday evening Amazon.com sent out an e-mail to anyone who had pre-ordered World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Its purpose was to inform them that the game would take three to six days to ship, because it was going to be released two days before Thanksgiving. So, Amazon might have some inside info that would make them confident that Cataclysm was being released on November 23rd. However, Blizzard has neither commented on the Amazon e-mail, nor, more importantly, announced a release date. In other words, we'd be surprised if this was the actual release date, for a number of reasons...

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  7. An Inflatable Car to Play Mario Kart Wii In

    Ok. I've never owned a racing game, never spent much time playing Mario Kart, and am simply not a car person in general.

    But this inflatable peripheral for your Wiimote is totally awesome. It takes the idea behind a car bed to a completely new level.

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  8. Well, La-Di-Dah: Algorithm Detects Online Sarcasm

    Well isn't this just delightful: A team of super-clever computer scientists at The Hebrew University's Institute of Computer Science in Jerusalem will be presenting their findings on an algorithm that detects online sarcasm at next week's International Conference for Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) in Washington, D.C. They call their algorithm SASI, short for "semi-supervised sarcasm identification algorithm." Essentially, it works by taking a handful of sentences that have been tagged by humans as sarcastic (hence the "semi-supervised" part) and employs machine learning to make guesses as to other sarcastic sentences. The algorithm has been tested out on Tweets and Amazon product reviews, and it's done pretty darn good (no sarcasm intended!): SASI achieved a precision of 77% and recall of 83.1% "on an evaluation set containing newly discovered sarcastic sentences, where each sentence was annotated by three human readers."

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