Book of

The Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms, by Marcus Chown

Buy this out-of-print or public domain book at:

One of the best books out there on “why the universe is full of stuff, and where it comes from”.

actual post date: Nov. 16, 2009

I have to label this as “out of print” because it’s one that Amazon.com-associated booksellers are listing as “new” for absurd prices (at present, anywhere from $104 to $2400). This is a known hack of the Amazon business-ranking system. One of the factors Amazon uses in calculating whose product listings appear first in searches is how many different products an business has for sale. Only products that are listed as “in stock” count. One way businesses build up their list of “in stock” items is to list items they have no intention of selling, but to give them such absurdly high prices that no-one would ever actually try to buy them. Thus, they get better search placement for the items they actually plan to sell, without the bother of being asked for things they don’t have.

In other words, they cheat. Since all the vendors offering new copies of this book on Amazon.com are cheating, I’m not going to link to them. Sorry, Mr. Chown.

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