For years, I've been amused by amazon.com's Purchase Circles. Not only can I find out what books are being bought by employees of various companies, but by geography (including Dallas); military branch; charities; etc. Since amazon.com doesn't list individual purchases, they're not subject to privacy laws (such as the Robert Bork-inspired Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 [VPPA]).
I thought about this as I read a posting about sites which cater to the technical book market: nerdbooks.com (Roseville, California); Opamp Technical Books (Los Angeles, California); and of course, the Big Dog: O'Reilly. There is no dedicated technical bookstore in Dallas (of which I'm aware); Taylor's Technical Books has long since gone out of business (effectively killed when Border's moved in, down the street). Now, the best selection of technical books is at MicroCenter (BTW, their location across the freeway from Texas Instruments will keep them in business, versus the ever-expanding Fry's Electronics chain). For used (pre-owned?) books, there's also bookfinder.com (meta-search engine) and another Really Big Dog: eBay.
Last night, I attended a meeting of the North Dallas Neighborhood Association, and one of the topics was water conservation (water restrictions are 4 months long here). There's a common misconception that the storm drains are part of the sewage system (they're not). Allowing organic matter (grass clippings, etc.) into the storm drains is not okay (they use oxygen as they rot and result in even more organic matter in the system).
Related Item #1: smoke testing is being done to locate leaks in the "sanitary sewer" lines. The Dallas Police notified the neighborhoods, so the smoke coming from vent pipes on our homes wouldn't scare anyone. A private company called RJN is doing the work: their Upper White Rock East Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study eventually led me to the Water Environment Federation, which has been around for more than 75 years.Unrelated Item #1: CardWeb ("Tracking Bank Credit & Payment Cards for the American Consumer") has various trivia for those of us who carry faux money (aka plastic) in our wallets. For the year 2004: January | February | March | April
Related Item #2: scorecard.org had some great information to see the sources of [USA] pollution - just feed it your ZIP code and voila! I was surprised to see that the #4 polluter in an adjoining county is an ice cream manufacturer.
Unrelated Item #2: CarbWire ("low carbohydrate news") points to Low-Carb Losing Steam (free registration required). Pity the VC who funded a low-carb business with the idea that a fickle America could focus on something more than 12 months at a time.