Boing Boing 

Neal Stephenson talks REAMDE with lawyers, security experts

Here's a video from a recent U Washington Law School panel discussion with Neal Stephenson regarding his video-game crime-thriller REAMDE. The law school assembled cyber lawyers, security experts from the computer science department, and Stephenson himself, and discussed the real-world implications for the sorts of business, technology, security and crime described in the (excellent) book. This video would probably work better as an MP3 -- there's not much in the video track beyond a nearly static image of the panel -- but the actual content is fascinating.

Update: Here's the MP3, courtesy of U Washington.

2012 10 18 LTA Bookclub Neal StephensonHQ

Faithfully replicating a World of Warcraft realm in Minecraft at 1:1 scale

Here's a MMO-Champion thread in which Ramsesakama sets out to recreate the World of Warcraft realm of Kalimdor in the maker-friendly game/environment Minecraft, in faithful 1:1 scale. Using procedural tools and a lot of skull-sweat, the task is undertaken, with awfully fabulous results.

I'm trying to create a replica of Kalimdor in Minecraft, and I want it to be the correct scale. I'd like to create the terrain first, so I need to compute the relative distances (in Minecraft blocks) between the different locations in Kalimdor.

If a Minecraft character is approximately two blocks tall, and if we assume the male Orc model is equal in size, then how many blocks is "one yard" in WoW?

Thread: WoW to Minecraft coordinate space conversion (via Wonderland)

Cory coming to Hamburg, Berlin and Munich

I'm heading to Germany next week for a series of school visits and public appearances to promote the German edition of my novel For the Win. I'm doing public stops in Hamburg (Nov 7, 10AM, Hamburger Kinderbuchhaus im Altonaer Museum), Berlin (8PM, Sankt Oberholz), and Munich (7PM, Lovelybooks, livestream available). Full details at the site.

In-game Ponzi nets US$50K

Two players of the Eve Online MMORPG pulled off a Ponzi scheme that netted them over 1 billion ISK (Eve Online's currency, a sum that can be exchanged for about USD50,000). They ran the Ponzi scheme like any other, soliciting customers for "investments" that paid out better-than-market returns, but those returns were generated out of the "investments" of new suckers. The con was both legal and within Eve's rules, and it's not the first or even the second massive (lawful) in-game fraud to hit Eve. The scammers have published a long postmortem on their effort, including some accounting information and ruminations on the hard work it took to hoover up their billions in virtual skiffy funny-money.
Why did we do it?
We had a lot of reasons actually, but above all there is one thing that's NOT the reason. Most probably we will disappoint a lot of people, even make more than a few a little angry for a while. That, in itself, has never, ever been our purpose. We consider that to be a collateral matter. However, enough about what wasn't the reason for doing it.

The main reason why we did it is; because we could!
But, of course, we don't do everything we can. One should imagine that we have a lot of people with an account on That account will be secured with probably the same password as their EVE online accounts. We could have easily run all these accounts through our EVE client and stolen a lot of assets as well as ISK. But we didn't do that, simply because it is illegal - not allowed by the game rules. We don't want to go there.

That brings us to the other reason: What we did is allowed!
It's allowed, even encouraged people say, by the game rules as defined by CCP. We find that to be very important. We didn't want to go into any cheating, or illegal area. We wanted to play the game, and beat it in a different way than with PVP. And, there's another reason. Contrary what we made people believe, we are actual PVP players on other accounts. We have been in the game for a while and have our share of killmails (since 2004.) We now wanted to beat the game in another area. Unfortunately for some, that means beating other players at this game.

The last reason we want to mention is: It brings us a lot of ISK, obviously.
We don't have to worry about ISK for a very long time, now. No ratting or trading to earn ISK to pay for ships and ammo. Just hunting with our friends. When we founded Phaser Inc. we set ourselves a goal. We wanted to break the trillion border. The total profit of this project was aimed to be over 1 trillion or ISK. We already gave away that we've reached that goal. Some financial details are published below.

Eve Online Space Heist – One Trillion ISK (

Phaser Inc. Eve Financial Services

(via /.)