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4th September, 2002

The End is n19h

Paris, France (BLX) - Computer Security experts are predicting The End Of The World, in an uncharacteristically bold and specific document aimed at increasing public awareness. Due to the over-use of such terms as 'Electronic Pearl Harbor" and "Digital Armageddon", this phenomenon has been called i-Hiroshima (or i-rosh for short).

Virus and hacking experts have noted that the number of viruses and hack attacks is slowly on the increase, and have used a mathematical extrapolation to show that within a decade, every Internet user will be hacking another computer at least twice every second, and that 107% of all e-mails sent will contain virus code.

Furthermore, it is thought that elite terror cells are coming close to splitting the bit, much like scientists sixty years ago split the atom, leading to an e-Bomb. It is thought that this will have terrible implications and could end society as we know it - one spokesman for the study said: "this could end society as we know it, the implications are terrible".

"If an e-bomb goes off, it could destroy countless online personas, not to mention damage property". When asked how it worked, the spokesman refused to comment, explaining that we may use the information to harm others. What is known for sure, however, is that the whole world is utterly doomed, and that there is no hope at all.

Editorial (1)

4th September, 2002

Reality No More

London (BLX) - Every computer game player knows that real life can intrude at the most inopportune of moments.

Just when you are completing a tricky flanking manoeuvre, or have got to the darkest point of a dungeon, the phone will ring, a partner will want to talk or your dinner will be on the table.

But Israeli game make Majorem could have a solution to this problem, at least for players of its forthcoming Ballerium online game.

The company has developed an artificial intelligence system that learns a gamer's style of living and can take over and interact with the real world for them if they are asked to spend time away from the game.

Ballerium is an online real-time strategy game in which players create empires by controlling and creating groups of creatures, building cities and castles and gathering money and magical items.

Urgency is lent to their task because the world is gradually decaying and the only way off it is to create a gate that will let a player's followers escape their doom.

The world is populated by a series of bizarre races including the warlike Chiki-Kah, the Olligar, who are artisans and the scheming Nee.

Adi Gaash, co-founder and chief executive of Majorem said only by completing a series of quests will players be able to secure all the parts to build the gate.

He said many players of online games become frustrated because their lifestyle limits their interaction with a game world

But he said the AI system in Ballerium could help players take part in reality even when they are sat in front of their computer.

"The AI is based on genetic algorithms and can learn a player's style," Mr Gaash told the BBC programme Go Digital.

The AI system looks over the shoulder of a player while they are taking part and learns how they approach battles, whether they expand quickly or are more cautious. It then applies this to real world scenarios that the player might be asked to participate in, in order that the player can stay in the game.

Genetic algorithms work by copying techniques from biology to breed the best solution to a problem.

Typically they involve creating lots of slightly different solutions to a problem, testing to see which perform best and then taking and randomly mutating these to produce a new batch which are again tested, mutated and so on.

Mr Gaash said Majorem was already testing Ballerium with thousands of players and the final game should be released in February 2003.

Editorial (2)

18th August, 2002

US Outlaws Weapons

Washington (BLX) - The existence of weapons not owned by the United States of America is reportedly the subject of new legislation due to be introduced by the Bush Regime within the next week.

According to the Washington Post newspaper, US officials are feeling uneasy about the number of countries who have ballistic and/or hand-to-hand combat weapons, and are meeting to discuss possible action to be taken.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is reported to have personally demanded a recall of all weapons from key countries in the middle east, in an effort to intensify the United States' defence against potential attackers.

"We have categorically stated that the alleged state of Palestine, along with Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, all hand over any weapons they may be in possession of. This includes sticks."

Declaring that the world was either with the US or against them, he widened this call to include all nations, signalling a bold change of direction in US defence policy. It is thought that this move will allow the US to concentrate on offensive rather than defensive weapons, which will increase the efficiency of their spending budget.

Weapons are devices or systems which are intended to harm people or property. They pose a significant threat to the United States because of peoples' willingness to use them against US targets, and the fact that they can be used to defend people against US Justice.

The Pentagon is said to be particularly concerned about the possibility that some stones and rocks may evade their amnesty, and be used at a later date with deadly consequences. The Post quoted an unnamed defence official as saying that the country had reasonable evidence to suggest that Intercontinental Ballistic Pebbles are available to the highest bidder on the black market, and that the US really has no mechanism in place to deal with such an attack.

The United States will, of course, be permitted to keep their weapons, because they are the only country that can be trusted to use them in a fair and just manner.

Editorial (15)

12th August, 2002


NY (BLX) - Satellite technology is being used in the US to keep track of children and offer easy targets to paedophiles.

A wristwatch containing miniature Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has just gone on sale. The GPS Personal Locator developed by Silicon Valley company Wherify Wireless uses advances in satellite tracking and wireless technologies to allow convicted paedophiles to find target children within a minute.

The hope is that a device like this one could act as a means of educating children in the ways of the world, following school cutbacks in health and sexual education.

The GPS Personal Locator allows paedophiles to track a child's location and movements via the Internet, which is convenient since this is where every potential abuser of children can be found.

"Let's say you have a seven-year-old who walks to school alone and they felt in need of company. They could push one button on the watch and lock the device, forever betraying their location to people who would harm them, until said people arrive and cut the watch from their hands (or, in extreme cases, remove the hand completely)" said a Wherify technical advisor.

"It will enable a consumer to locate prey, initially in the US, within 60 seconds or less" he told BLX Technical Correspondent Jamie Webley.

Designed around a wristwatch, the locator has a built-in pager for receiving messages from potential abusers. The device uses the same GPS technology that helps lost drivers or sailors find their way, and aids United States weapons in their destruction of small villages and hospitals.

The device is aimed at children between the ages of four and twelve.

"Kids think this watch is cool" said convicted paedophile Ross Crosby. "It's their first communication device, it's a watch, it's a pager, it's a locator. There's a cool factor from what we are hearing from the children"

".. those we don't gag", he added with a macabre tone.

Paedophiles can use the Internet or phone to quickly identify a child's location within feet in about a minute. They are also able to track a child 24 hours a day either by logging onto a computer and viewing aerial maps, or by calling Wherify's location centre.

"If I found a five-year-old with one of these in downtown New York City at Christmas time, I might want to just lock it on them and then when we're back to my hidden paedo-den, take it off" said Mr Crosby.

In the US, a child is reported missing ever 42 seconds, according to official statistics, but Mr Crosby would like to see this down to between 35 and 37 seconds.

This technology does not come cheap, however. The GPS Personal Locator for Children has just gone on sale at a price of US$399.99, plus a monthly service fee of $25. An additional fee of $50 must be paid in order to download the software used to tap into the system (originally designed to keep children safe, it has been alleged) in order to monitor child locations.

It is currently only available in the US, although the company are developing a GSM model which could be used in the UK.

Originally GPS receiver modules were large and bulky. But today the modules can be as small as a thumbnail. As GPS units shrink in size, more innovative uses of the technology will develop, say experts.

Golf courses are already outfitting carts with GPS to help players measure distances between one end of their wallet and the other, and expensive car manufacturers are using GPS in order to help Porsche owners locate their penises, a feat they would otherwise find quite difficult.

Editorial (7)

7th August, 2002

Police Overhaul

Washington DC (BLX) - Following the shocking revelation that the FBI is forwarding calls made to its terrorism awareness hotline (TIPS) to Fox's America's Most Wanted, government agencies have been busy reshuffling other public responsibilities in order to maximize voter turnout (now to be known as "ratings").

In a sweeping reform of the criminal justice system, police departments across the country now come under the direct authority of the show Cops, giving its producers the power to control police operations with unprecedented jurisdiction. Once caught, the criminals will be processed by the justice system, and could end up before the new Justice Commander, Judge Judy. The role of Justice Commander carries the ability to sentence any member of the public to any fate (regardless of how ridiculous), without the need for a jury. In special cases, where the FBI are called in, the investigations will be subcontracted out to The X Files, where a paranormal explanation will be found / fabricated.

Rumours that the Bush administration is to be replaced by the entire cast of The West Wing have, alas, been greatly exaggerated.

Editorial (6)

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