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TorrentReactor Reportedly Buys, Renames a Russian Town 63

baronvoncarson and a few other readers sent in the unconfirmed report that the Russian torrent site TorrentReactor had bought the Russian town of Gar for $148,000, on the condition that the town rename itself Torrentreactor.net. Torrent Freak notes circumspectly that TorrentReactor has been known in the past for — how best to put this? — publicity stunts and hoaxes. And Torrent Freak at the time of writing had no confirmation from any Russian authority that the purported cash-for-renaming deal is genuine. Here is the announcement on TorrentReactor's site, which contains this explanation of how Gar was chosen: "We've picked a few thousands of godforsaken places around the world that are close to operating nuclear reactors to make a connection to the name of our company. The list was numbered and a random number was picked by a generator. The number 377 was a lucky one for Gar village. We think it was a good choice since Gar citizens are very kind and generous people." The whole (purported) transaction is reminiscent of the dot-com boom, when in 1999 the not-yet-launched Half.com offered $100,000 to a small town, Halfway, Oregon, if it would rename itself for the company. It did. The record is vague as to whether the money was ever actually paid, as Half.com was acquired by eBay just over a year later.
Government

Washington's IT Guy 65

Timothy found a profile of Carl Malamud up at The American Prospect, characterizing it thus: "Carl Malamud — underrated work shedding sunshine on the sort of things that 'sunshine laws' may make legally accessible, but that often are not practically accessible. The man should be up there on the list with Wikipedia, Wikileaks, the big Free Software projects, and the Creative Commons."
Games

Violent Video Games Only Affect Some People 236

An anonymous reader writes "The media would have you believe that violent video games will be the downfall of our civilization and the cause of moral decline in young people. A recent study suggests that most people aren't so easily influenced by the violence; instead, just a few bad apples are likely to react poorly, with everyone else showing little or no effect from playing these games." The American Psychological Association has posted the academic paper (PDF) as well, in addition to a few related studies. One examines how games can be a force for good (PDF), and another looks at the motivations behind children playing such games (PDF).

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