Saturday, July 4, 2009

Eve Online Bank Robbery

The BBC reports on how an administrator of the EBank in the MMPORG Eve Online traded billions of credits for real money to pay for real world deposits and medical bills, causing a run on the bank. This of course is not unlike some of the banking woes experienced in the UK in recent years. Needless to day the character Ricdic broke the online game´s rules and got kicked out.

Asteroids: The Movie

Ars Technica reports that Universal Studios are to make a computer game movie spin-off, but this time it´s not based on an adventure or characters from a shoot-em-up but on the 1979 Atari vector graphics classic Asteroids! Considering there are no characters and no plot, this can be seen as either a blank sheet that could go in any direction or an enormous challenge. Interesting note at the end of the article as to whether this could mean that Hollywood are finally out of movie ideas.

Air France A330 Atlantic Crash Broke On Impact

Although the flight data and cockpit recorders have not been found, evidence from the parts recovered from the plane indicate that the plane broke up after belly flopping at high speed, according to the BBC. Compression tears from the recovered parts indicate upward pressure on the bottom of the aircraft, rather than breaking up in all directions. It was already known that the plane was giving erroneous speed readings and reports of subsystem failures like the autothrottle and auto pilot before the crash, with initial suspicions pointing to the air speed sensors.

Happy Birthday: Sony Walkman 30 Years

An article from Sony Insider covers the invention of the Sony Walkman and the start of the portable music revolution. The tale involves Sony co-founder Ibuka who regularly used the TC-D5 portable cassette player on business trips but found the device too heavy. After contacting the head of the tape division, Ohsone, requesting a play-only, stereo version of the TC-D5, the first step was set in creating what would become the Sony Walkman, which spawned a miriad of copycat devices and lead top the prtable MP3 players so popular today.

Harlequin LadyBird Threat To 1000 UK Species

The Harlequin Ladybird which has spread to the UK after first being introduced in mainland Europe for pest control, could threaten the 45 native ladybird species and other insects if it is not controlled, according to the BBC. Ladybirds have few enemies, other than parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside them. Hope rests on a sexually transmitted mite which could be used to artificially infect the ladybird and accelerate reduction of the insects numbers.

People Reject Free Money For Fairness

Ars Technica reports on a The Ultimate Game, in which human behaviour is studied with regard to fair shares of money splits. Apparently even if a minority cut of a pile of money is offered without further financial consequences to either party, the offers are more often regarded as unfair if they are less than 50/50 and are rejected, even if the net result would still mean the person would be in pocket. The gut feeling of making sure everyone within a small group cooperates in a fair manner seems to have an overwhelming effect.

Max Butler Superhacker On Trial

Max Butler, one-time elite security consultant turned computer fraudster has admitted to hacking banks and running up $86 million in fraudulent charges according to Wired. He was paid to hack by acquaintances he had met while in prison serving 18 months for a cyber attack on the Pentagon in 2001. The Feds caught him through their honeypot site DarkMarket, after he´d taken over another hacker trading site. He could potentially get 60 years.

The Pirate Bay: Sold!

Ars Technica reports on how The Pirate Bay has been bought by Global Gaming Factory X. The new owners who run internet cafes and gaming booths say that content providers will be compensated for copyrighted material, which to many will probably sound like TPB finally sold out. The $8 million the new owners paid will also nicely cover the fine that got slapped on them by the Swedish courts. Curiously there appear have to been signs of share rigging, with information about the sale probably being leaked before the official announcement that sent the share price. Not a good start. The Global Gaming Factory X have issued a press release here.

The Pirate Bay: Going Video

Ars Technica reports on a new development by The Pirate Bay involving online streaming video. The site will offer HTML 5 streaming capabilities without copyright restrictions (they don´t stop do they). There are of course many sites that offer streaming video, so how this is really going to offer anything different to other site, other than the famous brand name of course, we´ll have to see. One of the new features of Firefox´s new 3.5 offering is HTML 5 support without the need of a separate plugin, so this is certainly the way to go, with Dailymotion apparently in the process of converting video and audio to support the standard.

Madoff Gets 150 Years

Bernard Madoff who headed a $65 billion scam has got a 150 year jail sentence. The BBC reports that he has pleaded guilty, though he has 10 days in which to appeal the ruling. To be honest I´m glad. Some think it´s only money, but I compare this to the Enron scandal in which a great many people at the bottom of the pile, who in good faith believed their money was safe came away with nothing. This ruins lives, while those at the top very often often get away with a heavy fine that they easily have the means to pay or a short stint in jail, which given the backslapping and buddy culture means they´ll still come out relatively unscathed. Bernard deserves all he gets.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ulysses Solar Mission Ends

The Ulysses mission, launched in 1990 to study the sun´s poles, will officially cease on 1 July 2009, according to the BBC. The lifetime of the craft is 4 times longer than originally designed, but now it is struggling to run on backup systems only and the benefits no longer justify the costs. The final commands will be given on 30 June GMT after which no more communications will be made.