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Current Affairs Posts - Page 31

Teenager dies after 40-hour Diablo III marathon

Taiwan-based United Daily News has reported that a Taiwanese teenager collapsed and died at an Internet cafe after an insane 40-hour Diablo III marathon. The man was only 18 years old, and identified by last name only, Chuang.

 

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Chuang booked a private room at the Internet cafe in Tainan, southern Taiwan, at around 12pm on July 13. He proceeded to play for 40 hours straight without eating. On the morning of July 15, an attendant entered the room and found Chuang resting on the table. The attendant then woke Chuang, who stood up, took a few steps and then collapsed.

 

He was taken to the local hospital, and pronounced dead shortly after. Police are investigating the cause of death, with an autopsy being carried out. The report speculates that the long hours in a sedentary position created cardiovascular problems for Chuang. The people behind Diablo III, Blizzard, have come out and said that it's important that people play in moderation.

Watch the 2012 Olympics live on your iOS or Android-based device if you're in the U.S.

If you want to check out the 2012 London Olympic games, and don't fancy sitting in front of your TV, or want to take the games with you at all time, then here's your chance. Thanks to the technology improvements in mobile devices, apps, and everything in between, this year you can stream the games live to your smart device.

 

 

All you need is an iOS or Android-based device, and you can stream the entire London Olympics to your device. NBC and Adobe have announced a partnership which will see them bringing the Olympics to mobiles. There is one problem, you have to be in the United States.

 

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If you're based in the U.K., don't worry, the BBC has 24-hour streaming. The apps are very social, where you can share things with Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

WikiLeaks set to unleash 2.4 million Syrian e-mails

WikiLeaks are back in the news this week, with reports saying the whistle-blowing website is set to unleash 2.4 million e-mails from Syrian officials and government accounts. The e-mails would likely reveal communication between the Syrian government and Western companies, that would put them in a spot of controversy over the alleged collusion between the Syrian regime and its supposed "enemies".

 

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Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks told journalists that the leak will cause embarrassment to both Syria and its opponents, with e-mails dating back to as far as August 2006, and as recent as March of this year, with some of the e-mails originating in Syria's Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

 

Of course, the source of the leak hasn't been confirmed, but Harrison claims that WikiLeaks is confident that they are genuine. WikiLeaks have begun posting some of these e-mails online, with the rest of them to follow.

Facebook adds gay marriage icons, Apple follows suit with iOS 6

Up until the weekend, if you were to declare you were married on Facebook, it would show the traditional cake-topper style icon of a male and a female together. Well, with the whole gay marriage debacle going on across the world, Facebook have gotten with the times and updated the options for marriage.

 

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Considering the social networking site features more than 900 million users, it is a move that should've been done a while ago. In the U.S. over the weekend, users started to notice new icons, either two males, or two females. James Lazar, a 38-year-old Chicago man was married to a man, but refused to change his status due to the male-female cake-topper style icons. He says "I don't like being forced into typical gender roles -- because we aren't. I think it's offensive".

 

Eventually, he changed his relationship status on Facebook to married and shortly after his icon changed to two men. He said in an interview with CNN, "I honestly didn't realize it was going to show up in my feed. I have 80,000 people 'liking' it and congratulating me and I'm like, 'Well, it was seven years ago!'"

Continue reading 'Facebook adds gay marriage icons, Apple follows suit with iOS 6' (full post)

Anonymous announce #OpBlackout Phase 3

While most American's are sleeping off yesterday's July 4 festivities, Anonymous have just announced a new operation. Anonymous' goals aren't really known, but we're getting closer to their end game it seems with the newly-announced #OpBlackout Phase 3. I've just sat here and watched the 18-minute video, and it should really hit home for not just Americans, but for any human on this planet.

 

 

Anonymous use the video to reiterate that they do not want chaos, they do not want anarchy, they just want to restore power to the people. The power that has been taken out the American citizens' hands, and into the corporately-owned governments. Anonymous say that over the coming months, they'll be releasing videos detailing their reformation plans.

 

The video goes over various topics, with footage from various events, showcasing the power the police, military and government use to surpress the people. It covers the bankers, and Wall Street who have all but fleeced the United States, and even features celebrities chiming in with their words toward the end. Check it out and let us know what you think. #OpBlackout Phase 3 is a go.

Continue reading 'Anonymous announce #OpBlackout Phase 3' (full post)

Amazon EC2 outage happened because of the "leap second" bug, affected Netflix, Instagram and more

Over the weekend you might have noticed that a few of your popular sites weren't working, such as Instagram, Netflix, and more. This is thanks to a huge storm which took down most of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. Clients that are on this cloud are Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

 

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What caused the downtime? The "leap second" bug", which International time keepers adjusted, adding one second to the global time standards in order to offset differences between our ultra-precise atomic clocks and the natural rotation of our planet, a rotation which is ever so slightly irregular. Sometimes, such as back in 2008, there's a second that is added to adjust time as needed.

 

Amazon's servers weren't the only ones that were affected, Gawker (Lifehacker, Gizmodo and others), Reddit, Mozilla and many, many more fell prey to this leap second bug. During the update, some software can't handle the unexpected change in seconds, and the effects are, well, the events of the weekend.

Alan Turing's breakthrough machine gets a loving Lego tribute

Alan Turing, a man you've probably never heard of and you probably couldn't live without his work, would have celebrated his 100th birthday tomorrow. Mr. Turing was the man who basically invented modern computing. He was also significantly important during World War Two due to his work in cryptography and code breaking.

 

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Now, one of his inventions has been rendered in Lego form as a cerebration of his brithday, which, for inventors, is like an actor being parodied on The Simpsons. It's a sign that you have really made it. The machine is really simple and the heart of the machine is a Lego Mindstorms NXT set, but the soul is Alan Turing's genius.

 

The use of Legos demonstrates just how simple his machine was:

 

It's very simplr, but describes the fundamental capabilities of practically all computers in use today. This means that if something can be done on a computer, it can also be done on a Turing machine. This makes it a great model for scientists to use to discover the limits of computers (e.g. complexity theory) and also to show to a broad audience how a computer fundamentally operates.

 

The Lego model is on display at Asterdam's Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica's Turings Erfenis exhibit. The only difference in the Lego version is the lack of an infinite tape. The Lego Turing Machine only has 32 positions. If you aren't in Amsterdam and are unable to see it, you can check out the video in the source link.

Oracle chief Larry Ellison buys Hawaiian island, price between $500-600m

If you're wondering what to do when you're worth $36 billion, take a look at Larry Ellison for ideas. The co-founder of Oracle is listed as the sixth richest man on Forbe's list of global billionaires and seems as though he knows how to live life to the fullest. Err, at least spend money to the fullest.

 

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The Hawaiian governor has announced that Larry Ellison is buying 98% of Lanai, one of the Hawaiian islands. The final price is not known, but the asking price is said to have been somewhere between $500 and $600 million. The island is 141 square miles and is currently owned by David Murdock. Lanai is also known as "Pineapple Island" as it was formerly a pineapple plantation.

 

It's not exactly clear why Mr. Ellison wants the island as it currently has 3,200 residents and several luxury resorts. The current company running the resorts and power, water, and other utilities is losing somewhere around $40 million a year. The remaining 2% is not owned by the same company who sold the other 98%.

 

Confiming the successful bid, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said on Wednesday: "It is my understanding that Mr Ellison has had a long standing interest in Lanai. He is also a businessman whose record of community involvement in medical research and education causes is equally notable. We look forward to welcoming Mr Ellison in the near future."

Google launches Endangered Languages to save 3,000 at-risk languages

Google has announced a new project to save endangered languages in order to prevent them from becoming extinct. The idea is to make sure that there is a record to keep languages able to be spoken so that they can be taught to future generations. Languages have many aspects which result from the culture they are spoken in, so this is important for people who study these cultures.

 

 

Google has an endearing story about one such language thought to be extinct, but revived through historical manuscripts:

 

The Miami-Illinois language was considered by some to be extinct. Once spoken by Native American communities throughout what's now the American Midwest, its last fluent speakers died in the 1960s. Decades later, Daryl Baldwin, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, began teaching himself the language from historical manuscripts and now works with the Miami University in Ohio to continue the work of revitalizing the language, publishing stories, audio files and other educational materials. Miami children are once again learning the language and-even more inspiring-teaching it to each other.

 

The new project by Google gives people working on learning and teaching these languages a place to collaborate research and share advice. This could include uploading audio files of spoken words so people can hear how they are pronounced, to other information about the language such as knowledge-sharing articles.

Continue reading 'Google launches Endangered Languages to save 3,000 at-risk languages' (full post)

Apple 1 computer and Steve Jobs Atari memo sold at auction

A rare, functioning Apple 1 computer was put up for auction by Sotheby's and set a new record for the price of the item. Only about 200 of these Apple 1 computers were hand-built by Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak, and only 6 are believed to still function. The original selling price of the Apple 1 was $666.66.

 

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The final selling price blew Sotheby's high estimate away. Sotheby's had said they expected the high to be up to $180,000 and the product more than doubled that. The hand-built, still functioning Apple 1 computer ended up selling for an incredible $374,500, partly due to it coming with the original manuals.

 

The other item auctioned off was a four-page memo handwritten by Steve Jobs. The memo detailed how the Atari World Cup football game could be made more fun to play and included circuit drawings and diagrams. It also included his Los Altos home address stamped onto the pages along with a Buddhist mantra - "gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl". The item was expected to sell for $15,000 but managed to pull in an incredible $27,500.

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