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May 26, 2011

Chinese prisoners were forced to farm gold in World of Warcraft, beaten if they raised too little

This is the future. And the future is being imprisoned for a crime you didn't commit and being forced to play games endlessly and being beaten by a man with a plastic pipe if you don't play it well enough. China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work | World news | guardian.co.uk
As a prisoner at the Jixi labour camp, Liu Dali would slog through tough days breaking rocks and digging trenches in the open cast coalmines of north-east China. By night, he would slay demons, battle goblins and cast spells. Liu says he was one of scores of prisoners forced to play online games to build up credits that prison guards would then trade for real money. The 54-year-old, a former prison guard who was jailed for three years in 2004 for "illegally petitioning" the central government about corruption in his hometown, reckons the operation was even more lucrative than the physical labour that prisoners were also forced to do. "Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour," Liu told the Guardian. "There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [�470-570] a day. We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off." Memories from his detention at Jixi re-education-through-labour camp in Heilongjiang province from 2004 still haunt Liu. As well as backbreaking mining toil, he carved chopsticks and toothpicks out of planks of wood until his hands were raw and assembled car seat covers that the prison exported to South Korea and Japan. He was also made to memorise communist literature to pay off his debt to society.

May 20, 2011

The miserable children of the rapturetards

If you think you know when Jesus is coming back, you're an idiot. Meet The Kids Whose Parents Stopped Saving For College Because Of May 21
Two years ago, three teenagers' lives changed dramatically, a New York Times article explains. Their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, and her husband, Robert Carson, started going on missions spreading their belief that the world would end on May 21st, 2011. Abby Haddad Carson quit her job and stopped putting away any money for college for her three children. The Haddad kids have had a tough time dealing with their mother's new found mission. Grace Haddad, the 16-year-old, told the Times: “My mom has told me directly that I’m not going to get into heaven. At first it was really upsetting, but it’s what she honestly believes.” Joseph Haddad, 14 years old, finds his mother's actions embarrassing. He is worried there will be no money for him to attend college, and says he has kept his friends as far away from his mother as possible, because he doesn't want them to think he is like her.

May 19, 2011

Michigan officials decide to waste time going after one man they feel shouldn't be collecting food stamps

He won the lottery, but has no income. This is how he qualifies for food stamps. The Michigan politicians think it's outrageous that a guy who has money in the bank gets help buying food and staples. I think maybe, just maybe, there are bigger fish to fry. After all, this guy paid a million bucks in taxes last year. How much did GM pay? How much did Exxon pay? Lottery winner's luck running out as Mich. officials work to get him off food stamps | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
The luck of Leroy Fick, Michigan's 59-year-old "Food Stamp Millionaire" -- a lottery winner on government food assistance -- appeared to be running out Wednesday as state officials worked to get him off the dole. Representatives of the Department of Human Services and members of the Legislature said they were moving quickly to revise rules that made it possible for Fick to keep collecting food stamps after he won $2 million in the lottery's televised "Make Me Rich" game in July. DHS officials confirmed that Fick had contacted them about his winnings and was notified that he could continue to receive aid because he had taken the winnings in a lump sum and still met the income threshold for food assistance. Rep. Charles Brunner, D-Bay City, said Wednesday that he was outraged by the situation, uncovered earlier this week by WNEM-TV5 in Saginaw, which received a tip from a resident who had seen Fick using his Bridge Card. . . .

May 12, 2011

Facebook caught hiring bloggers to smear Google over privacy issues

This is what the wars of the future will look like, won't they? BBC News - Facebook exposed in Google smear campaign
It has been revealed that Facebook embarked on a smear campaign against rival Google. The social network has admitted that it hired a PR firm to plant anti-Google stories related to user privacy. The details came to light when one blogger approached by PR firm Burson-Marsteller published the e-mail exchange.