Interview with Minecraft composer C418


Ziad sez, "I interviewed C418; we talk about Minecraft's early days, the purchase by Microsoft, how the gaming community has helped him become a self-sustaining, independent musician, and creativity in the gaming industry."

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Kickstarting a port of Glorantha to the D20 system


Rob writes, One reason that Glorantha, a legendary RPG world that has influenced designers like Sandy Petersen and White Wolf founder Mark Rein-Hagen, has been out of the mainstream is that its gaming systems (RuneQuest and HeroQuest) are not as familiar as D&D's D20-based system."

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Skinner-box rats trained to predict currency market movements


Viennese artist Michael Marcovici's Rat Traders uses reward, punishment and selective breeding to create a strain of lab-rat that can predict the movement of international currency markets.

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Cash-strapped Kansas auctions huge lot of seized sex-toys


GOP governor Sam Brownback's "experiment" in tax/spending cuts produced a $300M budget deficit; they're selling off a massive lot of sex toys and porn seized from a company that wouldn't pay its tax-bills.

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Class war meets the War on General Purpose Computers


The subprime auto-lending business -- writing car-loans to people who can't afford them -- is fuelled by GPS-enabled immobilizers that let lenders track and shut down cars whose drivers violate terms of service, from missing payments to fleeing the tri-county area in order to move into a shelter for abused women.

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Cops who use Stingray surveillance must sign company nondisclosure first

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Advanced cell phone tracking devices known as Stingrays allow police nationwide to home in on suspects and to log individuals present at a given location."

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Right to complain: fighting back against Roca Labs

Pissedconsumer, a website that's being sued by a supplements company called Roca Labs whose diet aids come with terms-of-service that prohibit complaining about them, has filed its opposition to Roca's request for an injunction -- it's quite a read.

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The Olive Garden: all-you-can eat for hedge fund raiders

You probably saw the hilarious critique of The Olive Garden that made the rounds last week; the hedge fund behind that critique is a major shareholder with a long history of shady financial deals that gut profitable businesses, destroy jobs, and line the pockets of short-term "investors."

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4,000 more DRM-free comics now available on Comixology

Following on the Amazon division's July announcement that publishers could sell their work without DRM on its platform, a huge collection of publishers have signed up to participate: IDW Publishing, Valiant Entertainment, Oni Press, Fantagraphics Books, Aspen Comics, Action Lab Entertainment, Th3rd World Studios, A Wave Blue World, Blind Ferret Entertainment, Caliber Comics, Creative Impulse Entertainment, Devil’s Due Entertainment, GT Labs Comics and Kingstone Media.

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Rightscorp cuts-and-runs as soon as it is challenged in court

Rightscorp -- a firm that asks ISPs to disconnect you from the Internet unless you pay it money for alleged, unproven copyright infringements -- was finally challenged in court by an ISP, Texas's Grande Communications; as soon as it looked like it would have the legal basis for its business-model examined by a judge, the company cut and ran, withdrawing its threats.

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Comcast blocks Tor (updated)

"Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal; we have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules -- Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast."

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Stephen Harper sells Canada: China can secretly sue to repeal Canadian laws


Under the terms of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, approved by PM Harper on Friday, China can sue Canada in secret tribunals to repeal national and provincial laws that interfere with Chinese investments, including laws limiting construction of the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline.

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Feds wanted to fine Yahoo $250K/day for fighting PRISM


We've known since the start that Yahoo fought the NSA's Prism surveillance program tooth-and-nail; but as unsealed court docs show, the Feds made the process into a harrowing ordeal, and sweet-talked gullible judges into dropping the hammer on Y.

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Elizabeth Warren asks why criminal bankers are too big to jail

There were 800 convictions in the S&L crisis, but the DOJ hasn't prosecuted a single banker involved in the financial crisis; as Matt Taibbi points out in the brilliant, essential book The Divide, if shutting down a huge bank would impose too many costs on society, then why don't prosecutors insist that the banks be split up as a condition of not dropping the entire C-suite into the deepest dungeon in the nation?

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Why the disgusting Red Delicious apple rules American grocery stores


It started off as a celebrated, gorgeous mutation in an Iowa orchard, spread across the land, and was then selectively bred to look redder, bruise less, and ripen on the truck -- all at the cost of flavor and texture.

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