The Torch Top 5, 2nd December 2013

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1) Bitcoins gets a slap from The Guardian

Economics expert Phillip Inman gave Bitcoin a big thumbs down on The Guardian’s economics blog. The article criticizes how similar the process of acquiring the coins are to counterfeiting scams. He goes on to tell the story of James Howells, who accidentally threw out a hard drive containing 4 million pounds worth of Bitcoins. He says “If Howells had set up a printing press in his bedroom and run off with a whole bundle of banknotes, only to throw away the suitcase he stored them in, sympathy would evaporate”.
Bitcoins are peer-to-peer regulated, meaning it is worth as much as the community says it is worth. They are acquired by “miners,” special computer programs that generate the coins through advanced calculations without any work put in by humans. The owners of the miner then trade the coins for services or goods from other people who accept it as a currency.

2) Microsoft ad goes south

To advertise the newly released Xbox One, Microsoft decided to put out an ad campaign containing a “form letter” titled: “We got your back.”  Microsoft claimed the letter was for everyone, just as their console is supposed to be, but is that true?
The letter was clearly written from a male perspective, but that isn’t all. It also contained a lot of sexist slurs, such as “I know, I know. You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies.”
Microsoft intended this letter to be sent by men to their female partners, but the link only leads to the official Xbox One website now. They have issued an apology, but still claim the letter is not sexist.

3) Singer admits attempted baby-rape

Ian Watkins, singer for Lostprophets, pleaded guilty of 11 charges of child abuse in Cardiff Crown Court. Among the charges was one account of attempted rape and conspiracy to rape two young children. Watkins claims he cannot remember the events, since he was under the influence of several heavy drugs, but there were several pictures taken of the events.

4) Controversial parenting book behind several child deaths

The parenting book, “To Train Up a Child,” by Mr. and Mrs. Pearl has caused a lot of controversy. Among other things, the book encourages new parents to beat their children with a plastic tube and to walk around with the tube to scare the children into submission.
The methods depicted have been used by many parents. To date, two deaths and numerous child abuse cases have been processed in US courts with parents blaming the book for their actions.
Angry parents have tried to get the book off the shelves, or at least off the parenting section of the book stores, but with little success. The book is planned to go international in 2014.

5) Linden Lab warns about password safety

After the security breach at Adobe, Linden Lab has sent out a press release warning the users of Second Life about the dangers of reusing passwords. Although Second Life has not yet been compromised, Linden Lab feels it is best to warn about this.
“If you have reused your Second Life password on other services, particularly if you used it for an Adobe service, you should change it immediately” can be read on their news portal.

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