At Guantanamo, a costly confinement
Every day, the workers in the Guantanamo Bay kitchen cook three squares for the detainees held here. And every day, up to 100 of the 166 inmates send them back. They're protesting their ongoing imprisonment by going on hunger strikes for what is now 100 days. Not only has Guantanamo Bay become a lightning rod for America's critics -- it's no prize for America's taxpayers, either. Running the prison camp costs the Pentagon more than $150 million a year -- just over $900,000 for each of the 166 detainees at the facility, located on a Navy base on the eastern end of Cuba. By comparison, costs for a typical federal prison inmate run about $25,000 a year; at the "supermax" prison in Colorado that holds domestic terrorists Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski, it's about $60,000. And despite calls by President Barack Obama himself to close the 11-year-old facility, the military is about to spend millions more to upgrade the prison camp.
Video appears to show Toronto mayor smoking from crack pipe
Toronto's mayor has purportedly been filmed on cellphone video smoking crack cocaine, the Toronto Star reported.
The footage appears to show Rob Ford "sitting in a chair, wearing a white shirt, top buttons open, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe," the newspaper says. Two of the newspaper's reporters were shown the footage May 3 by someone who claims to have supplied the crack and shot the video. This person told the Star that they have previously given the mayor crack. The reporters watched the video three times. The newspaper reports that the 90-second video allegedly shot last winter shows Ford "incoherent, trading jibes with an off-camera speaker who goads the clearly impaired mayor by raising topics including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the high school football team Ford coaches." "I'm f---ing right wing," Ford seems to mutter, the report says. "Everyone expects me to be right wing. I'm just supposed to be this great ... "
Valve Introduces Trading Cards
Valve has announced a new trading card system currently in beta for the steam community.
Participants in the new Steam Trading Cards beta will receive special virtual cards themed after their games. Cards can be collected to craft badges, advance the player's Steam Level, and earn coupons, along with other cosmetic features.
Currently there are several titles that will have these cards. Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Apart from Valve's titles, Klei Entertainment's survival game Don't Starve will also be included in the trading card beta.
If you would like to find out more about the cards as well as sign up for the beta click here
Nintendo Enforces Copyright on Youtube Let's Plays
Nintendo has started claiming ad revenue on user-created Youtube videos featuring its games, according to reports from Youtube users.
Nintendo does not want to block videos containing content that it owns from appearing on Youtube (as many film and music publishers have), but it wants to place ads at the beginning and the end of videos featuring Nintendo games, such as Let's Plays, with that revenue going to Nintendo as opposed to the creator of the video.
Prolific Youtube channel owner Zack Scott has posted on Facebook
about the demands. "I think filing claims against LPers is backwards," he writes. "Video games aren't like movies or TV. Each play-through is a unique audiovisual experience. When I see a film that someone else is also watching, I don't need to see it again. When I see a game that someone else is playing, I want to play that game for myself! Sure, there may be some people who watch games rather than play them, but are those people even gamers?"
Nintendo has issued the following statement to GameFront
on the matter: "As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a Youtube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the Youtube database.
For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips. We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on Youtube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property."
Nintendo's right to protect its copyright is enshrined both in law and in Youtube's copyright guidelines
, which state that just because you purchase something, it doesn't mean that you have the right to upload it. But this sets an uncomfortable precedent for Youtubers who make their living from Let's Plays and other self-created game content: they are now unlikely to feature Nintendo games, and if other publishers were to follow suit it would be a monumental shake-up.
EA Reveals Fantasy MOBA Dawngate
EA has revealed its latest project; a fantasy MOBA called Dawngate.
The game's official site
reads, "Dawngate is a new MOBA, built from the ground up to look and feel familiar while offering a whole new way to experience MOBA gameplay. Dawngate empowers you to forge the champions you love for the roles you want in a competitive arena, shaped by ever-evolving, community-driven content and story."
While beta sign-ups are open
, there's no word on when it'll start or the game will release. Additionally, the fact that the links to Twitch, Twitter and YouTube on the site are all dead suggest that it's possible the game has been revealed slightly ahead of schedule.
Good news for Dabe: You can buy Burger King with Bitcoins
Last week, bitcoin payment processor BitPay announced a deal with Gyft, a seven-month-old Google Ventures-backed software app that lets users buy and upload retail gift cards to Android-based smartphones.
The partnership will allow customers to use bitcoins to buy gift cards for stores such as Gap, Lowe's, Sephora, GameStop, Burger King and over 200 other retailers.
While those stores won't handle the bitcoin transactions themselves -- that's done by Gyft and BitPay -- it brings the number of locations where customers can effectively pay with bitcoins from around 8,000 nationwide to over 50,000, according to BitPay co-founder and CEO Tony Gallippi.
"This really does open the door to retail use of Bitcoin. I think it will drive adoption." - Gallippi
There's no doubt that four-year-old cyber currency Bitcoin is attracting more mainstream attention. For evidence of that, just look at Bitcoin's soaring -- and volatile -- valuation. The worth of 1 bitcoin zoomed from $20 at the start of the year to $266 in April. It's now worth about $117.
What's harder to say is if people area actually using bitcoins to buy stuff.
Online community Reddit, another high-profile acceptor of bitcoins and fedoras, said about 5% of its premium membership sales are now paid via Bitcoin.
At Stomp Romp, a New Hampshire-based online guitar retailer, owner Zach Harvey said that a growing number of people are paying with bitcoins, but he estimated that it's still less than 1% of his businesses. He began accepting bitcoins in 2011.
Harvey -- a die-hard libertarian -- remains bullish on the currency. Another company he's involved with is working to help roll out Bitcoin ATMs. He attributes his lackluster Bitcoin sales at Stomp Romp to the fact that "guitar fans aren't really tech geeks."
Bitcoins have been a giant hit for at least one merchant: New York City bar EVR has logged more than $26,000 in Bitcoin sales since it started taking the currency just over a month ago. That's about 10% of the bar's overall revenue.
"I've been pleasantly surprised." - EVR co-owner Alex Likhtenstein
Likhtenstein said paying with bitcoins is easy. The servers present the customer with a bill on a tablet that has a bar code attached. The customer scans the bar code with a smartphone, and the amount in bitcoins is subtracted from their account.
He likes the fact that he gets paid faster with bitcoins than with credit cards. Plus, the processing fees are lower.
Lulzsec Hackers to be Sentenced for Cyber Attacks on CIA and Pentagon
"To a business owner, it has only positives." Likhtenstein
Four men accused of launching online attacks under the banner of LulzSec appeared in a London courtroom Wednesday for sentencing. Ryan Ackroyd, Jake Davis, Mustafa al-Bassam, and Ryan Cleary have all pleaded guilty to hacking offences.
They also carried out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on many institutions, crashing their websites. Ackroyd, 26, from Mexborough, South Yorkshire, has admitted stealing data from Sony.
To do it, they used a remotely controlled network of zombie computers known as "botnets", capable of being programmed to perform the attack. The botnet was written by Cleary and the court heard it may have been using up to one million computers to carry out attacks via the Internet without their owners knowing about it.
The attacks led to sensitive personal information being leaked online, leaving victims open to fraud. They even attack the US X Factor contestant database.
Ackroyd had been expected to stand trail at Southwark Crown Court in April, but changed his plea to a key charge at the last minute. He is the last of four members of the online gang, whose victims included the Pentagon, CIA, and the UK's Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), to be convicted.
In addition to the hacking offences to which all four have pleaded guilty, cleary alone has pleaded guilty to charges of downloading pornographic images of babies and children.
"It's clear from the evidence that they intended to achieve extensive national and international notoriety and publicity." - Prosecutor Sandip Patel
LulzSec only existed for a matter of months in 2011 but in that time it built up a huge international following, reaching 355,000 Twitter followers.
Apple-certified Mac Malware Captures and Uploads Screenshots without Permission
Earlier this week, new Mac spyware was discovered on a computer at the Oslo Freedom Forum, which is an annual human rights conference. Dubbed as OSX/KiTM.A
, discovered by computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum.
This Mac malware that has been used to spy on activists, targeted via spear phishing attack and had received emails that duped them into installing the malware.
The malware is a backdoor application called "macs.app" which launched automatically upon login. There are two command-and-control servers, located at securitytable.org and docsforum.info.
Interestingly, the malware is signed with an Apple Developer ID, which is designed to prevent the installation of malware, associated with the name Rajender Kumar and the use of the ID appears to be an attempt to bypass Apple's Gatekeeper execution prevention technology.
As of right now, F-Secure
is looking into the origination of the malware, and it doesn't appear to be widespread. You can easily uninstall the malware by deleting the macs.app entry from your machine's login items and uninstalling the app which could be located in a number of places including your Mac's home, applications, or downloads folders.