Tax advice comes in many forms: from IRS forms, accountants, and tax preparers. So do you need a computer to fill out your forms? Most low- and middle-class Americans qualify to use tax software for free. But if you have to pay for it, is the software worth it? Here are a five questions to help you decide:
From post-war England to the streets of contemporary New York, here are the nine books that have caught the eye of editors at online bookseller Amazon.com.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Ivory Coast’s long-anticipated Nov. 28 presidential election was meant to help the country move beyond its deep divisions. Instead, the vote fueled a political stalemate that sucked the country back into civil war.More than four months after voters elected President Alassane Ouattara, renegade incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo still refuses to step down even though rebel forces have now confined him to a bunker beneath the presidential residence. Hundreds of Ivorians have died in increasingly heavy fighting that included attacks this week by the United Nations and France. How did a simple vote turn into this? There are a number of reasons that go back years, even decades.
Targeted attacks are the trend in cyberspace. Six months ago, the world's first cyber superweapon – Stuxnet – was discovered to be targeting Iran's nuclear facilities. This week millions of e-mail addresses were reported stolen from Epsilon, a firm that supplies e-mail marketing to BestBuy, Disney, and many others. The two highlight a trend toward precision among those that create malicious software. Epsilon's information will help hackers craft very specific "phishing" e-mails that are far more subtle, experts say. Here are five emerging targets for precision attacks:
The Bugaboo Donkey stroller is being released this month in the US. The Dutch-made stroller has up to a $1,660 price tag and a long waiting list of customers. But it's not the only high-end buggy on the market. Here are five boutique strollers that make a fashion statement for the mothers who can afford them:
The famous Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei hasn’t been heard from since his arrest Sunday by Chinese authorities. The disappearance of Mr. Ai, who uses his art to express political dissent, is just one of a slew of recent arrests by the Chinese government in what seems to be a bid to prevent protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings to China. Ai has long been at odds with the Chinese government, and this isn’t the first confrontation. What has made Ai a marked man in China?
House Republicans are attempting to shape US environmental policy by attaching to their 2011 spending plans so-called "riders" that would target regulations ranging from greenhouse gases to mining. The White House and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada oppose the riders, making it unlikely they will become law. But they remain in play as the House and Senate negotiate on spending and try to avoid a government shutdown this week.
The controversial Goldstone Report, the result of a UN fact finding mission following allegations of human rights violations during the 2008 to 2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, is under scrutiny again. In a column published April 1 in The Washington Post, Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who led the mission, retracted one of the most contested findings of the group’s September 2009 report. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” he wrote. What findings makes this nonbinding UN report such a flashpoint?
For the second consecutive season, ticket prices stayed relatively flat in Major League Baseball, according to a new survey by Team Marketing Report. The average ticket price across all 30 teams is $26.91, which is only a 1.2 percent increase from last season. That percentage represents the lowest year over year increase since the company's Fan Cost Index debuted in 1991. Here are some of highlights of which teams charge the most and the least for tickets, hot dogs, and parking:
April Fools' Day tends to be a bonanza for tech pranksters – from Twitter-only newspapers to upside-down YouTube pages and browsers that read your facial expressions. This year was no different. Click through for a look at the funniest Web gags of 2011.
Nonprofit group TED asks some of the world's most fascinating thinkers to share both ideas and reading lists. Here's a list of the 12 books recommended by entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin.
April Fool's Day history has been marked by many good pranks, but here are five of the most creative ever.
Unemployment has fallen to 8.8 percent, the lowest rate in two years. In March, the economy added 216,000 new jobs. But the recovery is leaving some US metros behind. Already mired in above-average joblessness, their unemployment rate is now higher than what it was when the recovery began in June 2009. Here’s a look at five of these wrong-direction metros:
Travel might be broadening, but in this case, it changes the course of three people's lives. The three main characters in this month's fiction roundup were born 100 years apart and on three different continents, but they all end up in the same place – the United States. Two are brought against their will as children and one makes the journey as an adult, 24 years later than she had planned.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
"A Game of Inches" by Peter Morris takes present-day readers on a tour of baseball's origins. Here are 10 interesting glimpses into the game of the past – and how it impacts baseball as we know it today.
Every April Fools' Day, tech-savvy pranksters jam up the Web with a range of gags and jokes. We survey some of the best online April Fools' pranks, from upside-down You Tube videos to the promise of real, live Facebook pokes.
The concept of emergency rule has been at the forefront of much of the Mideast unrest. Some countries have been in a “state of emergency” for decades, long after their citizens felt any threat still existed. Others have only recently implemented the emergency laws, in an effort to quell uprisings turned too large and violent for the governments to rein in. Although meant to help a country in times of danger, emergency law has sometimes been turned into a political tool.
We can only begin to imagine the depth of the political fissures once Congress seriously addresses our budget challenges as opposed to punting tough compromises down the road with last-minute, stop-gap spending bills. Just consider the intensity of the heat generated today over the Republicans’ continued resolve to cut “only” $100 billion from President Obama’s proposed budget for this year, which still would leave a massive deficit in excess of $1.4 trillion. Ultimately, Americans must consider a painful, indelicate balance of much larger spending cuts along with tax increases, coupled with the need for crucial investments in our nation’s future. In confronting these agonizing political choices, both parties, and the electorate, would benefit from advice from “Ike.” Such advice can be found in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s memorable (though little remembered) radio and television address on taxes in 1954. The address was delivered on March 15, which was Tax Day back then. Its value lies not in its details but in what he said about the government’s role domestically, about sound budgeting, and about being a “good American.” These words, from a Republican, challenged listeners then regardless of party, as they will challenge listeners today. Mount Holyoke College tax-policy scholar John O. Fox gives us Ike's four critical pieces of advice.
Bronx Zoo cobra run amok? The Bronx Zoo insists its missing Egyptian cobra is probably hiding on zoo property. But the Twitter account @BronxZoosCobra suggests that the Bronx Zoo cobra is involved in a little Big Apple high jinks. Here are the four funniest tweets.
Reports from Libya are a constant flurry of cities gained and lost by Muammar Qaddafi's forces and rebel troops, and it's hard to keep track if you don't know where these cities are or why they matter. Here's an quick explanation, with cities listed west to east.
After more than a week of debate about who should have what role in the international intervention in Libya, NATO is set to assume full command. The roles of other nations involved in Libya’s conflict are likely to change as well. What were those roles, and what will they be now?
The devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become the latest poster child for long-standing issues surrounding nuclear energy – issues that need to be resolved to reduce the risk of a similar nuclear crisis in the United States. These range from the seemingly eternal conundrum over dealing with highly radioactive spent fuel, to fire hazards, plant design, and emergency plans, say nuclear engineers and nuclear-safety watchdogs.
The finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award – sponsored by the Three Percent weblog – were announced last week. The winning works of fiction selected were translated from German, Spanish, Afrikaans, Czech, French and Swedish. To read these books is to travel the globe in extraordinary style.