Are Books Disposable Objects?

The Practical Free Spirit

I was hanging out in the hallway at the Nebula Awards weekend last Friday when I ran into my friend Rahul. He proceeded to completely floor me by mentioning that he throws books away when he finishes them.

“But you don’t literally throw them away, right?” I couldn’t help asking. “I mean, you don’t put them in the garbage, do you?”

“Actually,” he said, “I put them in the dumpster.”

After a few minutes of spluttering, I said, “I’m totally going to blog about this!” So here I am.

As appalled as I am by the idea of actually throwing books away (as opposed to giving them to Goodwill or selling them to the used bookstore), my constant struggle to stay within my allotted shelf space gives the idea a certain shine. Plus, there is no denying it’s easier to walk down to my garage and chuck some books…

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Growing some nuts

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Will Chinese “Recession” Join Europe’s Contraction?

24/7 Wall St.

108680884Manufacturing in China contracted this month, according to the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a preliminary reading of manufacturing activity. The figure came in at 49.6. Any number below 50 means activity is shrinking. At about the same time, research firm Markit reported its Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index was at 47.7 for May. These numbers show that the two economies are in recession, although the term applies much differently to China than to the eurozone.

Chinese officials expect its economy to grow at a 7.5% rate this year, based on gross domestic product (GDP). That is extraordinarily low in the context of the double-digit improvement that has marked most of the past decade. Even during the 2008-2009 global downturn, China’s GDP defied gravity.

However, China’s businesses and its huge middle class may have begun to adjust to a new reality, which is one in which an appetite for…

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The 46,000-Pound X-Wing: How LEGO Built The World’s Biggest Star Wars Toy

NewsFeed

It’s a toy! It’s a plane! It’s…an X-Wing made entirely of LEGOs?

That’s right: almost 30 years to the date after the release of Return of the Jedi, LEGO is stoking Star Wars fans with a life-sized replica of the iconic aircraft, which just debuted in Times Square. Some 5.3 million LEGO bricks were used to build the 46,000-pound model, besting the Mecha Robot to become the largest LEGO creation in the world.

(MORE: WATCH: The World’s Longest Working LEGO Railway)

How’d they do it? “Very carefully,” quips Eric Varszegi, a LEGO “master builder” who consulted on the project. And yes, that’s his actual job title.

Planning began roughly 18 months ago, at a LEGO facility in the Czech Republic. Execs knew they wanted something big and Star Wars-y to promote their new toy-inspired animated miniseries (The Yoda Chronicles, premiering May 29 on Cartoon Network), and recreating…

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24/7 Wall St.

nokia-lumia-920t-yellowIn a battle that has really just been joined for the third best-selling smartphone platform, Windows Phone from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has wrestled away third place from the precursor to BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY), Research in Motion Ltd. The latest data from Strategy Analytics notes that this is the first time Microsoft has ranked ahead of BlackBerry since 2006.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) have locked up the top two positions. Last month Strategy Analytics said that Google’s Android platform took 70% of global smartphone shipments in 2012, while Apple’s iOS grabbed 22%. Android’s share of the total market is more than 50%, while Apple’s share is around 35%.

The new data was gathered before the release of BlackBerry 10 in late January, after Microsoft’s platform had been on the market for about two months. So the comparison…

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