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Current Affairs Posts - Page 1

Blizzard buckles under Chinese pressure, restores prize money

By: Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Posted: Oct 11, 2019 @ 23:27 CDT

Activision-Blizzard have been on seriously hot water, along with a large list of companies bowing to Chinese censorship pressure, but now Blizzard Entertainment (wholly owned by Activision, don't forget that) has buckled under pressure from gamers. Blizzard is even issuing 1000-year bans on their forums (yes, 1000 years -- that's not a typo).

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Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack said in a statement on Blizzard's website that Blizzard didn't make their decision to suspend pro-Hearthstone player Ng "Blitchung" Wai Chung or take his prize money because of his views of what's going on in Hong Kong.

Brack explained: "The specific views expressed by blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision. We have these rules to keep the focus on the game and on the tournament to the benefit of a global audience, and that was the only consideration in the actions we took. If this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same".

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Here's a list of companies taking the knee to Chinese censorship

By: Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Posted: Oct 10, 2019 @ 20:19 CDT

I'm sure by now you've heard about the massive issues going on in China, which have been going on for a very, very long time now - but we're at a point where it's hard to ignore, even for gamers.

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Activision Blizzard is in the crosshairs of Chinese censorship, with the Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft creator bowing to Chinese pressure. Activision Blizzard recently suspended one of its pro Hearthstone players after the player support pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

But the list is growing, wtih Apple taking a knee to Chinese censorship and even the likes of American Airlines, Gap, Mercedes-Benz, Ray-Ban, Nike, TikTok, and many others pressured by the country and its strict stance on criticism. Mashable has compiled a big list of these companies that include (so far, as I'm sure there are more):

  • Activision Blizzard
  • American Airlines
  • Apple
  • Audi
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Coach
  • Disney/ESPN
  • Delta Airlines
  • Gap
  • Marriott International
  • Medtronic
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Muji
  • NBA
  • Nike
  • Ray-Ban
  • Swarovski
  • Tiffany & Co
  • TikTok
  • Vans
  • Versace
  • Viacom/Paramount Pictures
  • Zara

Marco Rubio: TikTok should be investigated for Chinese/US CENSORSHIP

By: Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Posted: Oct 9, 2019 @ 23:19 CDT

The censoring of anyone criticizing China right now is at an all-time high, with the world of gaming being thrown into the mix -- especially Blizzard, but now attention is being turned to the Chinese-owned social network TikTok.

US Senator Marco Rubio has sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchkin, asking for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to look into ByteDance's acquisition of Musical.ly, which then turned into TikTok. Rubio says there is "ample & growing evidence" that TikTok is censoring US material at the whim of the Chinese government and thus it is allowing it to "suppress freedom of speech" beyond the borders of China.

TikTok has reportedly requested its moderators to remove any mentions on sensitive Chinese topics like Tiananmen Square, Tibet's call for Independence, and anything else that questions the Chinese governments version of those events. A US-based spokespersron for TikTok talked with Reuters recently, saying that the Chinese government "does not request" censorship on TikTok.

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Synagogue shooter streams his murder spree on Twitch

By: Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Posted: Oct 9, 2019 @ 21:24 CDT

Amazon-owned Twitch recently hosted the livestream of the recent shooting in Germany, where the shooter streamed his attack live with 2200 viewers, but Twitch were quick to remove the stream in 30 minutes.

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As for the shooting, two people were killed in Germany at multiple locations, including close to a synagogue in the city of Halle. Making things far worse, the shooting happened at three different locations on the Jewish religious festival of Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day of the year.

The video then went to Telegram, where over 15,000 accounts viewed the shooting and also Twitter where people tweeted alternative links to the shooting. So Amazon, Twitch (owned by Amazon) and Twitter all had the video circulating through their networks and out to untolds swaths of the population of the world.

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Ethereum mining difficulty reaches lofty new heights

By: Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Posted: Sep 24, 2017 @ 21:00 CDT

If you're still mining Ethereum, you will have notice that the difficulty has just increased by its largest amount ever... with difficulty now sitting at an insane 3TH.

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Back in July, I reported that Ethereum difficulty reaching 1.75TH was squeezing out the small miners, as it had just increased from 1.25TH. But in the last 24 hours, the difficulty has risen from 2.3TH to 3TH, which is the largest jump, ever.

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Looking at the numbers from June, we can see it was under 1TH... and each rise has been steady, and painful. But the last one was the worse, I mean just look at the leap it did overnight. If you're still mining Ethereum, this will hurt, a lot.

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Intel's next-gen Ice Lake CPUs announced SUPER EARLY

By: Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Posted: Aug 16, 2017 @ 23:44 CDT

Intel can't say they aren't reacting to AMD's next-gen Ryzen CPUs when they've announced and released, what feels like, more processors and families of CPU architectures than ever before. Now... we're hearing about Ice Lake.

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Ice Lake will be Intel's next-gen 10nm CPUs, compared to the current-gen Kaby Lake processors on the second-gen 14nm (14nm+) process. The new Coffee Lake architecture will be Intel's 8th generation Core processors, and will see the company plonk down the new Core processors onto their first-gen 10nm process.

The surprise knee jerk reaction to AMD's continued threat on the CPU market with Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC has Intel scurrying around to catch up. This is yet another move to confuse consumers, as Intel announced Ice Lake as a "successor to the 8th generation Intel Core processor family".

As The Verge points out, this would imply that Ice Lake is a semi-9th generation CPU architecture that will succeed, in some ways, the 8th generation CPUs. Intel will be tapping its 10nm+ process, the second generation of the tech at that small scale. As The Verge points out again, this is confusing as it seems there should be another first-gen 10nm release in between.

Ice Lake won't appear until sometime in 2019, but it will surely be an interesting ride between now and then to see how much AMD can make Intel squirm in that time.

Woman caught smuggling 102 iPhones strapped to her body

By: Lana Jelic | Current Affairs | Posted: Jul 19, 2017 @ 12:36 CDT

The prices of iPhone devices vary from country to country. We recently reported that the iPhone 7 could cost anywhere from $815 to $1200, depending on where you try to buy it. Knowing this, it shouldn't be surprising that individuals try to make some money on black market selling iPhones.

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One woman was caught while trying to sneak 102 iPhones from Hong Kong to China. Apparently, this isn't uncommon since the iPhone prices are lower in Hong Kong.

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The woman strapped 102 iPhones on her body, adding around 40 pounds (around 18kg) extra weight. Photos show different models of the iPhone device, so it's hard to guess the total value of the haul, but rest assured that we are looking at tens of thousands of dollars worth of phones.

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Suspected AlphaBay co-founder found dead in Thai prison

By: Lana Jelic | Current Affairs | Posted: Jul 16, 2017 @ 16:29 CDT

Alexandre Cazes, believed to be behind the dark web marketplace that mysteriously went offline couple of days ago, has been found dead in Thai jail.

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The 26-year-old Canadian was found dead an hour before he was supposed to meet with public prosecutors regarding his extradition to the United States.

The US Embassy in Bangkok stated that Cazes was detained at the request of the US "with a view toward extradition to face federal criminal charges." The police arrested Cazes on July 5th on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

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Mid-flight headphones explosion burns woman's face

By: Lana Jelic | Current Affairs | Posted: Mar 15, 2017 @ 15:42 CDT

On a recent flight from Beijing to Melbourne, a passenger experienced a misfortunate incident with a pair of headphones.

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According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the passenger was listening to music using her own battery-powered headphones while sleeping. About two hours into the flight, the headphones exploded causing burns on the passenger's face.

The unfortunate passenger was awoken by a loud sound of an explosion. She explained that she turned and that's when she felt the burning on her face.

I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck. I continued to feel burning, so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire. As I went to stamp my foot on them the flight attendants were already there with a bucket of water to pour on them. They put them into the bucket at the rear of the plane.

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Russian NVIDIA fanboy murders AMD fan

By: Lana Jelic | Current Affairs | Posted: Feb 17, 2017 @ 10:27 CST

In a bizarre chain of events, a Russian programmer "hacked" his friend with a knife after a disagreement about NVIDIA vs. AMD. The man murdered his friend with a kitchen knife by striking him twice on the head and then stabbed his friend another eleven times after he was already dead. He then burned the body in the attempt to cover the crime.

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It appears that the argument was the result of drinking alcohol and there may have been something in the alcohol to result in such a violent reaction over graphics card makers.

The tragic event happened over a year ago, but the conviction was only recently handed down by the court to 31-year-old Aleksander Trofimov, responsible for murdering 37-year old Evgeny Lylin in Saransk, Russia.

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