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Self-published authors are doing better than you might think

This woman isn't even in the top 100 for her category and is pulling in several grand a month off e-book sales. Are More Authors Than You Think Making a Living Self-Publishing? | The Passive Voice
About this time last year, I wrote up a blog post detailing how I was doing, financially speaking, on my new e-publishing endeavor (I got my start in December of 2010). When it came to ebook earnings, my grand total for March of 2011 was $724. . . . . A year later, though, things have continued to pick up steam. I have two more novels out, two more novellas, and a new stand-alone short story. In March of 2012, I sold more than 4,000 ebooks, not including downloads of the freebies, and will earn over $5,000 (my ebooks range from 99 cents to $4.95). . . . . I’m tickled with the growth in sales (and readers!) over the last year. I decided to officially make this “the day job” in December, though I’d been neglecting the old day job and writing and promoting nearly full-time long before. I’m sure my earnings will continue to go up and down (as you’d expect, one tends to do best in the months that new releases come out), but I’m happy that, thanks to the current e-publishing paradigm, making a living as a self-published author (and not a best-selling one at that) is viable.

XKCD: Lakes and Oceans

This is the kind of science-y infographic with a touch of humor that XKCD does really well. Click thru to embiggen. xkcd: Lakes and Oceans

Tennessee set to pass bill attacking evolution and global warming in education

Creationists Switch Tactics In Tennessee
Could intelligent design finally be dead? The term is conspicuously absent from the latest antievolution education bill, which passed the Tennessee legislature in March and awaits action by the governor. The bill’s language reveals a new tactic on the part of creationists. They seem to have retired intelligent design and replaced it with a concept as sneaky as stealth aircraft. “These bills sound very innocent,” said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. That’s intentional, she said. The legislation has been crafted to be legally bulletproof. The Tennessee bill hijacks language from scientists and skeptics: Teachers are allowed to promote “critical thinking” in areas where there’s “debate and disputation.” That’s not unreasonable on the surface, since there are plenty of areas of dispute — the value of certain cancer screenings, the safest way to store nuclear waste, or what benefit feathers would have bestowed on dinosaurs. And critical thinking skills can be taught by examining bad science, such as cold fusion, or pseudoscience, such as homeopathy. But those aren’t the controversies the bill drafters care about. The bill singles out climate change and evolution. The summary says that schools cannot prohibit “any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught, such as evolution and global warming.” This is misleading. Some details of evolution are still not known, but there’s no scientific controversy over whether evolution or creationism better describes the world we live in. . . .

Woman Picking Fruit in Stock Photo Endorses Al Franken

Al Franken is taking fundraising tips from The Onion. Woman Picking Fruit in Stock Photo Endorses Al Franken | Mother Jones
Hello, I'm Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket. And I'm writing to you today on behalf of Al Franken—a Senator who stands up for real people (including those of us who make a living posing for stock photos). You've seen us shaking hands in business suits, posing together on college campuses, and laughing while we eat salads. You've seen us on billboards, in magazines, and on pretty much every political website. We are the people in stock photos. I know the people in stock photos don't typically write emails, but Al isn’t your typical politician—he's a progressive fighter who puts people first. Will you stand with us by making a small contribution to his grassroots campaign right now? There's a reason I'm standing with Al. You see, I'm not just Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket. I am also an actual woman worried about the right-wing attacks on my access to health care. And when Republicans tried to put my boss in charge of what health care treatments I can and can't get, Al stood up and fought back— just like he did when Republicans tried to destroy Planned Parenthood, and just like he has every time Republicans launch an attack on my rights. . . .