Holiday travel alerts
With the holiday weekend upon us, the weather has returned to normal (as in cloudy and rainy) and all the usual travel alerts (crowded ferries, jammed freeways) and pleas (safe driving) are out. WSDOT was quick to remind this morning's weekend travelers, lulled by a week's worth of sunshine, that rain really does cause slick highways.
Your weekend weather report:
But there could be more inviting choices to the East. — J.C.
Amazon won't sell book about Bezos
As of last night, Amazon has stopped selling the paperback edition of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. Author Brad Stone’s book exposed some of Amazon’s heavy-handed publishing tactics. The retail giant is currently locked in contract negotiations with Stone’s publisher, Hachette Book Group, the smallest of New York’s top five houses. Last week, Amazon started delaying shipment of Hachette books and blocking preorder buttons for the publisher’s new novels. (Amazon is also delaying books published by the German company Bonnier in another dispute.)
According to The New York Times, Wall Street is pressuring Amazon to boost profits, which is prompting the hardball tactics. But hardball is the Amazon way. This isn’t the first time the e-tail giant has punished publishers during heated price talks. In 2012, it pulled over 4,000 titles from its Kindle Store during a battle with the Independent Publishing Group. In 2010, Amazon blocked purchases of Macmillan’s e-books. — M.L.
The end of cable?
Look out, Comcast. According to Seattle’s 2014 Information Technology Access and Adoption report, your subscription base is shrinking. Cable TV subscribers are down 13 percent since 2009, based on the intel from 2,686 residents surveyed, and the downward spiral is even worse with the 18- to 25-year-old, aka customers of tomorrow, crowd. Only 48 percent of Millennials are cable subscribers, compared to 74 percent of Seattle’s (65 and up) seniors. Fully 75 percent of 18-25-year-olds surveyed by phone – and 86 percent queried online – said they watch their favorite TV shows on the web (YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc.). So it’s probably not surprising that roughly 46 percent of those surveyed are at least somewhat likely to abandon their cable TV service within the next five years. Gulp. — M.B.
Skagit, say what???!!!
Remember when that Canadian truck and its oversized load clipped a steel truss on the I-5 Skagit River Bridge and kerplunk! the bridge and three cars went swimming? Well, that was a year ago, and according to the The Tacoma News Tribune the state still doesn’t have a good way to alert drivers to the clearance heights for each of the state’s 3,100 bridges. WSDOT wants to create an interactive map. You know, click a bridge, get a clearance. But there are two obstacles in the way. First, WSDOT needs to double check all the clearance heights. “Some of them haven’t been updated in 20 years,” WSDOT bridge engineer Chris Keegan told TNT. Then the department has to find some funding. No money, no map. — M.B.
Mind your fish, Canada!
It seems wild salmon in British Columbia aren't getting the support they deserve, and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation wants to know why. The NAFTA-established watchdog group wants a formal investigation into why Canada isn’t effectively enforcing its own Fisheries Act, which aims to keep harmful pollutants, viruses and parasites out of waterways used by wild salmon. The culprits are the Norwegian industrial salmon farms setting up feedlots along wild salmon migration routes and releasing chemical nasties that pollute the water and kill the fish. Apparently, Canada’s own Cohen Commission recommended relocating these farms, but the commission never pushed for the change, and gave no reason for backing off. Fishy business. — K.L.
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