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November 02, 2009

At the heart of Facebook gaming lurks a terrible scam

Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell
In short, these games try to get people to pay cash for in game currency so they can level up faster and have a better overall experience. Which is fine. But for users who won’t pay cash, a wide variety of “offers” are available where they can get in-game currency in exchange for lead gen-type offers. Most of these offers are bad for consumers because it confusingly gets them to pay far more for in-game currency than if they just paid cash (there are notable exceptions, but the scammy stuff tends to crowd out the legitimate offers). And it’s also bad for legitimate advertisers. The reason why I call this an ecosystem is that it’s a self-reinforcing downward cycle. Users are tricked into these lead gen scams. The games get paid, and they plow that money back into Facebook and MySpace in advertising, getting more users. Who are then monetized via lead gen scams. That money is then plowed back into Facebook and MySpace in advertising to get more users… Here’s the really insidious part: game developers who monetize the best (and that’s Zynga) make the most money and can spend the most on advertising. Those that won’t touch this stuff (Slide and others) fall further and further behind. Other game developers have to either get in on the monetization or fall behind as well. Companies like Playdom and Playfish seem to be struggling with their conscience and are constantly shifting their policies on lead gen. The games that scam the most, win.
*via Jeff Lester*

October 31, 2009

Photo Gallery: Sperm Whales Eating a 30-foot Giant Squid

RARE PHOTOS: Giant Squid Eaten by Sperm Whale

October 29, 2009

Bush spent lots of time with greiving military families, but hid the coffins

G.W. Bush's demented sow of a mother once famously said: "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Obama Visits Dover Air Force Base To Honor Fallen Soldiers
The dramatic image of a president on the tarmac was a portrait not witnessed in years. Former President George W. Bush spent lots of time with grieving military families but never went to Dover to meet the remains coming off the cargo plane. Obama did so with the weight of knowing he may soon send more troops off to war.... Bush once said that he felt the appropriate way to show his respect was to meet with family members in private. The lifting of the ban on media coverage of bodies returning to Dover was done to keep the human cost of war from being shielded from the public. Obama saw it directly.

October 26, 2009

Israel denying water to Palestinians

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel 'cuts Palestinian water'
It says that some Palestinians barely get 20 litres a day - the minimum recommended even in humanitarian emergencies. Amnesty says that Israel denies West Bank Palestinians to dig wells, and has even destroyed cisterns and impounded water tankers. At the same time, the report claims, Israeli settlers are enjoying swimming pools and green gardens. In Gaza, Israel refuses access to many of the building materials needed to renovate the ailing water system, the document says. It adds that Israel uses more than 80% of the water from the Mountain Aquifer - the main source of underground water in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

October 25, 2009

In rural India, farmers sell their wives to cover their debts

Farmers sell wives to pay debts in rural India - CNN.com
When the interest mounts up, lenders demand payment. Some farmers work as bonded laborers for a lifetime to pay off their debts. Others here say because of years of little rain and bad harvests they are forced to give money lenders whatever they ask for. Sometimes that includes their wives. "It happens sometimes when somebody borrows money," says a farmer's wife who did not want to be identified. She should know, considering what police say she told them. She said a rich man bought her from her husband. "He did buy me," she says. "That's why he told me he bought me." For 30 days she says the man forced her to live with him. When her case drew public attention, she retracted her police report and her husband took her back.