View our reviews on Hot Scripts You can now obtain our example scripts and/or vote for them at Hotscripts. To visit Hotscripts click here.



Recently ClearSpring widgets announced that their widget platform will be going offline. This has devastated some small businesses who built their apps on the ClearSpring platform.
As ClearSpring widgets merges with AddThis, or really I should say, as ClearSpring widgets morphs into AddThis they leave many of their previous developers in the dust...

ClearSpring executives have stated that they will continue to serve all widgets until Jan. 2011. This gives all publishers one year to make what ever changes must be made so it's not a total loss for most of us. As I was reading the forums at ClearSpring I noticed that some developers are really scrambling to find a decent alternative to host their container files et cetera.

If this recent ClearSpring issue has you scrambling for another spot to host your widgets then be sure to check out WidgiPedia and WidgiLand.
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Today we released a few new daily quote widgets. The persons represented in this series so far are George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Mohandas Gandhi.

These widgets have not yet been submitted to the widget directories so I don't have embed codes for your websites and blogs as of yet.

Add these widgets to your iGoogle page


To get the embed codes for these widgets (once they are released) make sure to visit Widgipedia!
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We have just released a new music player widget. For more info and embed codes simply read the rest of the story!

If you would like to get this widget then feel free to visit the following sites:
To add this gadget to your iGoogle page click the below link:
http://www.google.com/ig/adde?synd=open&source=ggyp&moduleurl=widgets.clearspring.com/cscallback/gallery/4b2c1e3f35851bd5/googlegallery.xml

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The global economy is in a spin and apparently there are not too many areas left untouched by this serious situation. Although the advertising budgets of many companies have suffered financial cuts, online advertising is still a viable means to earn a living.


This year we did not see the growth we were hoping for, but due to the circumstances, any growth is favorable. Both of our flag ship sites http://scripts.tropicalpcsolutions.com and http://widgets.tropicalpcsolutions.com are approaching a million monthly visits each.













Our other sites received 250,000 combined monthly visits. Although we have doubled our traffic as of last year at this time, our earnings have taken a slight dip. This downward trend in earnings is most likely due to the economic strains on the advertisers budgets. With all things considered our Adsense earnings have held their ground much better than expected. Although most single-click payouts are in the 5-10 cent range we still regularly see single-click payouts in the $2-$3 range .

This year we mainly focused on expanding into ad networks other than Adsense. We have established accounts at dozens of ad networks and found a few of them to be worth the additional efforts. Currently the ad networks we work with are:We have also begin experimenting with the different CTR's and payouts of Kontera and InfoLinks in-text advertising units. Although we like Chitika we didn't find their in-text links to be very targeted/relevant. Both Kontera and InfoLinks seem to be fairly relevant but the payouts to-date are very low compared with Adsense.

NOTE: If you rely on online advertising to pay your bills and business expenses then be sure to check this out and get involved!
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We have recently doubled our Text Link Ad earnings since our last post regarding TLA.

If you have been following our progress with various 3rd party ad networks you will likely be familiar with our last post regarding TLA. As mentioned in the previous article; when compared to a similar Adsense link unit, the TLA link units seriously outperforms the Adsense units.

November TLA earnings:


December's projected earnings:


So, in a matter of a few months we have doubled our TLA earnings. We believe this increase is simply due to updated site descriptions. You see, when we first set up our account out TLA we wrote our site descriptions as if we were writing a normal site description. We failed to write the descriptions specifically for the only folks who will actually read it...the advertisers. We made a few changes to our descriptions including other information the advertiser might be interested in, such as the location of the ad placement (above the fold etc...)

I am hoping that this rate of progress continues into the new year and we can reach our original TLA goal of $400 monthly.

Last post on TLA:
http://tropicalpcsolutions.blogspot.com/2009/09/text-link-ads-great-service-for.html

Sign up for an account at TLA and start making money today:
Join Text Link Ads
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If you run a small to medium size website and depend on 3rd party advertising your business plans may change if this bill passes!


This is being proposed under the guise of privacy concerns. Now, I am getting tired of fear mongering by those in charge! A stupid cookie (that your browser can be set to ignore) should not be a valid reason to potentially ruin online businesses.

If you depend on advertising revenue to pay your bills then be sure to visit Keep our web free and learn more about what you can do!
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Our PHP email form ContactMe has been updated to allow for Russian alphabet characters.

Thanks to a note from a Russian user, we have modified the contact form to allow for the usage of Russian language characters. To get this newer version click below:

PHP email form with Russian language support
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A few users of our PHP guestbook program have written me in regards to the random number feature and asked that we remove it.

We didn't remove this feature from the main program as we feel it is a good idea overall. We did create a patch file you can use that will eliminate the need to enter the random number. This patch file can be found here:

PHP Guestbook patch file
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We are currently in preparation mode; laying the ground work of next years plans. Much needs to be done here and we look forward to the potential for growth.

We plan on publishing our monthly statistics for the consideration of various advertisers and other persons of interest. We will also publish our findings on various aspects of the advertising companies we use. This page will be hosted off of one of our main domains and a notice will be sent out each month via email/rss when this file is available.
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NoBull widgets has just joined our advertising network. With the success of our TPCS web widgets domain I am left with high hopes for this little up-in-coming site.


NoBull widgets is gaining more traffic by the day! Since we have started using this domain for hosting our widgets we have found it to have a good deal of potential for widget based advertising.

  • To visit NoBull widgets click here.

  • To visit our advertising section click here.
    (If you want to advertise on our network use the above link)


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We are currently in the production phase of 25 new gadgets and web widgets that are scheduled to be released before the arrival of the new year.


The details of these new widgets are still under wraps. We have made some definite improvements to some of our more popular widgets and we have a few new ideas we will share with you too.

New Advertising ideas?

Yea, sort of. We recently saw a publisher using a common ad unit in a not so common manner. This is a great way to include effective advertisements into web widgets without them being such obvious advertising. We will include this idea in a few of our new widgets for testing. We will closely monitor the performance of these widgets and compare their financial outcome to other similar widgets.

I think the idea is a sound one and when we get a little more details we will share this idea with others for further input.
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"Windows-7x-large Microsoft has toned down the intentionally annoying User Account Control security feature introduced in Windows Vista. UAC is the feature that frequently prompts Vista users for permission to do something, sometimes more than once."

"But security experts say the streamlined UAC in Windows 7, launched Thursday, is being shipped in a configuration that may do more harm than good, in terms of leaving your Windows 7 PC vulnerable to cyber criminals looking to take control."

Read the entire article:
http://blogs.usatoday.com/technologylive/2009/10/windows-7-security-settings-may-leave-pcs-vulnerable-to-cyberattacks.html
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Recently Microsoft included a plug-in (bundled within their security updates) that caused complete system compromise to Firefox users.

That's right, true to their prior merits, Microsoft seems to have found a way to take a jab at their toughest competition. They have included a Firefox plug-in that has since been found to lead to complete system compromise simply by visiting a malicious website.

Firefox responded by blocking the plug-in and notifying Microsoft. Microsoft has since corrected the issue. Read more:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9139459/Sneaky_Microsoft_plug_in_puts_Firefox_users_at_risk
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Google has long been one of the top contenders when looking for web based advertising. One of the reason for Google's overwhelming success is their targeted ads. Google has recently taken their targeted ad network to an entire new level. This, as all too often is the case, is a two edged sword.


In itself this is a good idea for both the publisher and advertiser alike. The problem enters the equation when you add the 'Joe visitor' variable. You see, in order for Google to display ads to Joe that he will like, Google has to know what Joe likes. How do they gather this information. Simple - They have recently teamed up with many 3rd party advertising networks and created quite an infrastructure. Now, they place tracking cookies to track where you go, and all the data from these various companies are compiled together for a pretty complete profile of you.

How do we stop this?

Fortunately you can disable these cookies from the source. Google has even provided a Firefox add-on that will make sure your browser always remembers to block this cookie.

  • To opt-out of the Google/Doubleclick tracking cookies click here.

  • To opt-out of many 3rd party ad networks via the NAI (Network Advertising Initiative) click here.See below screenshot




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Gadgets for iGoogle and other homepage sites (start pages) are getting ever more popular. I seem to get a good deal of email asking about how can a beginner easily make these gadgets, so I decided to write this small article to describe the easiest and quickest way to get started making your own gadgets.

Before we begin making gadgets there are a few things that must be in place first.

  • You must already know how to make basic HTML content.
  • You must have access to a server in order to host your content.

Now, if you already understand these two areas then you are as good as done! So let's begin building our gadget:

Let's make some content

For this example we are going to make a simple IP display gadget. So, let's find some code to do this:


<script language="javascript">

var ip = '<!--#echo var="REMOTE_ADDR"-->'
document.write(ip);

</script>



Now, we enter this into an .shtml file. Note the S in shtml, this is necessary to process the SSI code that displays the IP address.

So we now have a file called ip.shtml on our computer with the above code in it. We need to upload this file to our web server. In my case the address of the file is:

http://www.tropicalpcsolutions.com/ip/ip.shtml

So, we now have our basic web content up and running. Now we need to make it into a gadget. For this you will need some XML code. The XML file is in a sense, the gadget. Another way to look at this is that the XML file is a portable container/wrapper for your html content.

XML code used in this example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Module>
<ModulePrefs

title="IP Example Gadget"
title_url="http://www.yoursite.com"
height="50"
width="200"
author="ME"
author_location="HERE"
author_email="nospam@nospam.org.com"
screenshot="screenshot.png"
thumbnail="screenshot.png"
description="Example IP display gadget"
category="tools" />

<UserPref
name="IP_DISPLAY"
default_value="0"
datatype="hidden"/>

<Content type="url" href="http://www.tropicalpcsolutions.com/ip/ip.shtml" />

</Module>



Notice this line:
<Content type="url" href="http://www.tropicalpcsolutions.com/ip/ip.shtml" />

This will have to point to YOUR content on YOUR server. You also will need to change the variables to say what you want them to say! For starters you can just take the code as is and change that one line to point to your content.

Now save this file as ip.xml and put on your server in the same directory as your ip.shtml file. My example xml file is located at:
http://www.tropicalpcsolutions.com/ip/ip.xml

Now, we go to Google GGE (Google Gadget Editor) and test our gadget. To load the gadget choose "Open from URL" on the drop down list to the left.



Once we have loaded the xml file we click the preview tab and test our gadget/content:



Once we have determined that all is working we then go here and submit the gadget. Once the gadget is submitted you will be given a link and embed codes that allow you to offer the gadget to others. Example:


<a href="http://www.google.com/ig/adde?synd=open&source=ggyp&moduleurl=http://www.tropicalpcsolutions.com/ip/ip.xml" target=_blank>Add to iGoogle</a>


The above code would create the below link:
Add to iGoogle

Once the link is clicked the gadget will be loaded into your homepage:



There, you have made your first iGoogle gadget. I hope this helps you guys out...For more info on this topic then sign up for our email newsletter and get a free eBook that goes into greater detail.

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Are you a fan of the Essential Reader? If you are then you can now add the Reader to your homepage or blog!

If you would like to add the reader to your home page or blog just use the below links:



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Many now days are looking to make some extra money online. Working online is still a viable alternative if you know where to look and don't mind putting in a little effort. We have dealt with many advertising networks and found that TLA (Text Link Ads) is one of the most flexible and robust.





Whether you are looking to sell ad space on your site/blog or you are looking for an advertising network in which to advertise your product, then Text Link Ads is a company that you owe it to yourself to look into.

Text Link Ads often times runs great promotions in order to help new advertisers and publishers get started. Right now they are offering $100 worth of free links to all new subscribers.

Advertisers

TLA offers a very robust platform in which you will use to launch your advertising campaigns. If you are interested in advertising on the TPCS network then click here.

Publishers

If you run a blog or website it is possible to sell ad space on those sites. If you are looking to make money online then I would seriously look into Text Link Ads. It is very easy to set up and once the plug-ins are installed the entire process is virtually hands-free.

How much can publishers earn with TLA

As with all ad networks this depends largely on your levels of traffic. I have heard of sites making thousands monthly from TLA alone (problogger). We on the other hand aren't quite that big but we do manage to make over $100 monthly through TLA (Our main earnings are generated via Adsense):

August earnings via TLA:


This months earnings (so far):


This is not a substantial amount of income but you have to think in terms of income generated via a particular allotted space. For instance, look at the below images. You will see a section entitled "Helpful Links".












The links in these sections are generated via Text Link Ads. Now notice the similar Adsense units next to the 'Helpful Links'. Do you think those little Adsense units generate $100 monthly? Not a chance! With Text Link Ads you can earn decent revenue from a small amount of space.

Visit the Text Link Ads main site to read more.

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Blogging has become very popular in the last year or so. Even we have made the move to turn our feeds (originally set up for newsletters) into 'Blogs.' If you are new to blogging then there are a couple of places you need to visit.
Blogging is largely a social activity. A lot of what bloggers do is build communities of like minded folks and they work together or simply share information.

We have found two communities to be very active, and they both offer their members nifty little widgets etc...

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I have been a big fan of Hawking for quite some time. Recently I have put together a list of some of his more popular books and where to get them for next to nothing.

If your interested in astronomy, cosmology, or astrophysics then I'm sure there is something on this list you will appreciate.

Stephen Hawking Book Reviews/Deals

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Many of you are probably wondering how all those websites seem to know where you are located. You go to some random site and it mentions where you live. Is this a privacy concern? For many it is and I will explain how to remove this option from Firefox.

If you use the latest Firefox browser (3.5 to date) you may be in for a surprise. A new feature in the Firefox browser keeps very strict watch on your location. This feature is called Geo Location.

How to get rid of Geo Location option in Firefox

To get rid of (disable) this option do the following:

  • In the URL bar, type about:config

  • Type geo.enabled

  • Double click on the geo.enabled preference

  • Location-Aware Browsing is now disabled

To read more about this click here to go to the official Firefox site.
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Google violates their own Terms of Service (ToS)! The outcome. Google banned Google! Hahaha.

I was looking around at the various features Google provides and I stumbled across the subscriber links:

http://www.google.com/coop/subscribedlinks/



I have seen some odd activity in my webmaster account in regards to these subscriptions so I was looking to ask some questions. I notice the links on the left and clicked the "Discussion Group" link...

...apparently the official Google group violated Google's ToS and was banned:

http://groups.google.com/group/google-subscribed-link



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We would like to thank you guys for helping us get our new widgets domain off the ground and making it a success.


NoBull widgets has recently been featured as a "Top Developer" over at WidgiLand.





As always, we love to hear your gadget ideas and try to implement them as we can. If you have an idea for a gadget and would like to see it on iGoogle, then let us know and we'll build it for you!
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It's always nice to run across other sites on the web using or promoting our widgets. Just today I ran across Mission To Learn. They have a section dedicated to language learning tools and they mention our Language Tool Widget (iPhone version).


This widget allows you to search multiple online dictionaries and it will also translate text into various languages.

Use the below links to read the article or get the widget:

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Are you looking for a great spot for discount domains and reliable web hosting?

If you are looking for a great spot to purchase and host your domains then I would highly recommend Name Cheap.

NameCheap.com offers the most reliable hosting at one of the best deals around!

It's true! We have used them for years now and have had a very professional relationship with them. Whether you are looking to host a small site or two or you need a dedicated server for your business needs, NameCheap has you covered.

We have our own servers and we also provide hosting to customers with various needs. Being this is the case we are in a unique situation as to our opinion on these matters. We know first hand what is involved with running a full-scale hosting business and we know the problems that can arise. We have been pleasantly surprised how NameCheap handles situations as they arise, which isn't often. In the 4-5 years that we have been using the services of NameCheap we have only had to contact their support line 3 times, and each time the situation was quickly cleared up.

What are you waiting for?

So, what are you waiting for?!? Whether you are looking to start an online business, host a personal site or transfer existing domains to a better hosting company then give NameCheap.com a chance.

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Today we released our newest version of the customizable guestbook. With this version you can place your guestbook anywhere with just one simple line of code.




There are many customizable features available. You can change the height, width, text size and color, background color etc...For an image of the available options click here.

If you would like to get a custom guestbook for your website or blog just click here!

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We would like to thank you for your ideas and ask that you keep them coming. If there is a particular person you want to see in our gadget selection be sure to let us know and we'll make it!

Today we released two daily quote widgets...



George Carlin Quotes
This widget will display a new quote from George Carlin each day.

  Embed Code:



Barack Obama Quotes
This widget will display a new quote from Barack Obama each day.

  Embed Code:



The permanent link to these widgets is:
http://www.nobullwidgets.com/?page=widgets-quotes

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New Conspiracy Widgets!

Posted by Dave | 10:20 PM | gadget , widget | 0 comments »

Today we released a couple of new conspiracy widgets. If you are interested in 'alternative news' and other like topics then be sure to check out these widgets.


These conspiracy widgets show the latest and most popular widgets as posted on Keep On Seeking.

Conspiracy Today
This widget will display the latest conspiracy theory posted at Keep On Seeking

  Embed Code:




Conspiracy Nut
This widget will display the most popular conspiracy theories posted at Keep On Seeking

  Embed Code:



The permanent link to these widgets is:
http://www.nobullwidgets.com/?page=widgets-misc
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Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

A classic by anyone's standard, Atlas Shrugged is a masterful work that will make you think about the system we live in. Are you interested in Ayn Rand Quotes?


We just released an Ayn Rand Quote of the day widget.




This widget will display a quote from Ayn Rand daily.

  Embed Code:



The permanent link to the Ayn Rand Quotes Widget is: http://www.nobullwidgets.com/?page=widgets-quotes

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I am sure many of you have seen those adsense ads that look different than the standard ad format. They blend much better and some folks even have mouse-over effects on their ads. How do they do this? Simple, they are 'Premium' publishers. So how does one get to be a premium publisher? That's a good question!


I recently looked into what it takes to become a premium Adsense publisher. I have googled this and have come up with various answers. Pretty much all of the answers were from those who were not themselves premium publishers. This just begs the question...

So how does one become a premium Adsense publisher?
I got tired of reading guesses from those who don't know and decided to find out the criteria from someone who IS a premium publisher. What did I find?

For starters, NO ONE knows the actual criteria as Google does not disclose this information. In any event I did get a possible answer:


Like all else in the Google "black box," the actual criterial is unknown. ;)

But the consensus is that sites with sustained high traffic, solid AdSense performance, and (likely most important) provides good value to AdWords advertisers eventually get the invitation to be a premium publisher.

In our case, after the 12th month of consistent traffic of more than 1 million absolute unique users, we got the invite. [italics added]

Hope that helps.

Bill


We are currently getting around 7-8 million pageviews a month. So by this right, we have a ways to go! If YOU are a premium publisher I would really like to hear your story and tips if at all possible.

UPDATE: Another great site for information regarding Premium publishers is:
http://labnol.blogspot.com/2007/04/privilege-of-being-adsense-premium.html
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Have you ever wondered if a machine can truly think? Could all those AI movies actually come true? Truth is, the future is probably closer than we think. The concept of artificial intelligence has been around for some time now, but now days, many things that were once considered science fiction are every day reality.


I have recently started looking into programming AI (artificial intelligence). The concept is an interesting one and I would like to know if any of you have worked in this field.

Prolog: Language of AI

For starters I was looking into ProLog as a base language. I have seen some pretty interesting projects built using this language. One of the projects that gets the most airtime is the webbot program. I can't say I am ready to call AI based programs 'prophets' but I do see promise in the technology.

Any interesting ProLog projects that you know about? I would love to ear about them!
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Over the past year or two we have experimented with various Adsense alternatives. There are two companies that seem to be better than the rest in regards to payout, support, interface and network.

We have worked with a number of Adsense alternatives over the past couple of years and have come to a few conclusions...

1) Most ad networks are a waste of time
2) Most ad networks payout is less than desirable

Of all the Adsense alternatives we've tried, only two really seem to stand the test of time. These being Adbrite and Chitika.

Good Alternatives, Less payout!

Both Adbrite and Chitika are viable Adsense alternatives, and in our experience they are fairly comparable with one another. In fact, for us Adbrite and Chitika are equal performers across the board. But, overall they can't compare with Adsense in performance, targeted ads, or payout.

Early this morning I took some screenshots of "comparable" statistics. First is the Adsense screenshot. Notice how by the time I had reached 77 clicks, I was almost nearing $20 in earnings.



Now, in the below images you will notice that even with more clicks, the earnings from both Adbrite and Chitika are simply not as robust as with Adsense:





So, as you can see, the payout is substantially less with both Adbrite and Chitika, but if you are looking for Adsense alternatives then these two companies are two that you should use a base as you get familiar with what else is out there.

*Note: We use Adsense as our primary ad network due to the better features; however, we do run other ads on a small scale for statistical data.
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Over the next couple of weeks we are going to be building and releasing a number of daily quote widgets. If you guys have any preferences as to whom the quotes are from or direct quotes that you would like to see then contact us using the link below...


To contact us about this project please click here.
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We here at the Essential Reader we are big fans of reading. We realize the power of information and we would like to encourage others to read a book! We often times will write small reviews on some of the books we read. Today we are releasing three new book reviews.




Tragedy and Hope
by Carroll Quigley.




If you are interested in political science and the powerful influence the economic power structures have over the worlds political scene, then this book is a must read. Written by Georgetown University's history professor, this book has influenced many of our modern political and economic leaders. If you want to understand where our world is headed you need to understand the mindset of our leaders. If you want to understand the mindset of our leaders, then read what they do!






Web of Debt
by Ellen Brown.




Did you realize that our currency IS our debt? Are you concerned about our economic situation? How did this happen? What is fundamentally wrong with our system that would allow for such 'busts'? Did you know that if we all paid off our debts, there would be no money left in circulation, and we still owe them interest! Truly, we are trapped in a Web of Debt. I have read a few books on our monetary system and this one is by far the best at explaining the multi-layered complexities in easy-to-understand English. If you are curious as to why America has a central bank and how this has created an entire monetary system built on debt then you must read Web of Debt.






Paradise Lost
by John Milton.




Paradise Lost is a theological classic! Written in the 1600's, this publication has been read by every major theologian in the past 300 years. If you love reading about Biblical matters then this book is an absolute must read!

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