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The rise of the selfie

A new study by researchers in Brazil and South Korea seems to confirm the obvious: Pictures are coming to dominate Internet interactions.

They studied selfies on Instagram, and found that the number of selfies has increased by 900 times from 2012 to 2014. Results are reported on Infodocket by Gary Price, and will be presented at a conference later this year at Stanford University.

Additionally, selfies with faces are much more likely to grab attention than images that don't have faces.

Who's shooting selfies? Kids, of course.

The researchers found that there is little difference in the propensity to shoot selfies in terms of gender or race and even nationality.

I'm guessing the only limiting factor is availability of smartphones.

In general, I think it's safe to say that images other than selfies have likewise grown in number with the advent of the cell phone, but I haven't seen any research on that.

In particular, I invite you to do a search on Google Images for Wimberley Flood. There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures there.

Amazon vs. Wal-Mart

Two stories in today's New York Times give us a good idea of the future of retail in the American marketplace.

One says Amazon is reporting profitability, and its stock is rising.

The other says Wal-Mart is finally trying to figure out how to beat Amazon in the online retail game.

Along with that article is graphic that tracks prices for the same items at Amazon and Wal-Mart. On every item, Amazon comes out ahead.

Wal-Mart has had since 1999, at least, to get ahead of the crowd in the digital space, and it's not done so.

My prediction is that it will not any time soon.

Amazon is not just a retailer. It's an aggregator.

And Amazon has a lot of folks locked in because of Prime and one-click buying. It's just too easy.

Plus, Amazon does not have the baggage Wal-Mart has when it comes to bad treatment of employees. The company's practices are enough to keep me away from the box store in San Marcos. I certainly won't be looking to buy stuff online.

I don't know how Wal-Mart can keep growing quarter over quarter, year over year. Dell decided to stop doing that craziness, and it's able to make rational marketplace decisions. Maybe Wal-Mart could go private, but I wonder if the board/leadership is strong enough to do that.


Prettyfying the place

The prettification project here at the library continues now that fall has (sorta) arrived.

Thanks to grants from Lowe's and Keep America Beautiful, our volunteers are doing more and more planting and watering.

Last week, we had help from Master Naturalists, the Wimberley Garden Cliub and Keep Wimberley Beautiful. Peggy Wilfong's gardening class at KAPS also came by to do some planting, and they are also watering.

The deer are finding some of these to be delicious offerings, but for the most part the plants are being left alone.

By the way, the library is looking for a landscape maintenance employee. We have packets describing the job.

I do read reviews

Amazon has no choice but to go after people who are paid to post bogus product reviews with all the force possible.

These people, some of whom make as much as $5 a review, deserve to be cut off at the knees.

One of the things that makes Amazon such a distinctively good place to shop is the reviews. I read them all the time when I'm thinking about buying something I'm not familiar with.

On the other hand, I would never trust a review posted by a retailer or distributor of a product or service. They have a vested interest in having nothing but wonderful things said about them.

Go, Amazon. Keep 'em honest.

Moving forward

Drive by our front entrance today, and you'll see that our master naturalists have really been at work to beautify the place.

There is a fence around our Bootiful Wimberley boot now, and flowers inside that enclosure, really fancying up the entry.

More is coming this week, thanks to the grant from Lowe's and Keep America Beautiful.


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