Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 – April 14th

5) Mysterious bank shutdown

On Thursday evening, all of Swedish bank Swedbank’s systems were mysteriously shut off. Neither customers nor employees could access anything that had to do with the bank for 5 hours, starting at 9pm local time. This included bank withdrawals, credit card services, the telephone services and even the website.

An investigation has been launched to find out the reason why all the backup systems failed at once, but so far no cause has been stated.

4) Peaches Geldof dies, aged 25

Actress Peaches Geldof, daughter of music legend Bob Geldof, was found dead of a brain aneurysm in her apartment in Kent.
Geldof is survived by her husband, Thomas Cohen, her father and her daughter.

3) GWAR raises monument

Thrash band GWAR will raise a permanent monument to the late lead singer Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus. Brockie passed away earlier this year, aged 50.
The statue will be accompanied by a foundation, the Dave Brockie Foundation, to promote advancement of music, images, letters and performances in arts as well as preserving the legacy of Dave’s works.
The foundation will mainly target struggling artists who, like GWAR themselves, have found it hard to survive through “mainstream channels”.

2) Kick-ass director remakes He-Man

The cinematic bomb that is Masters Of The Universe, the live action film about Mattel toy He-Man, has been cleared for a remake. Sony has been toying with the idea since 2009 and on the Wednesday it was announced that it will be done.
There were several writers in line to take on this project. Among them were Jon Chu from G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. But it was Jeff Wadlow, most known for the Kick-Ass series, that managed to land the contract.

Masters Of The Universe is scheduled for a 2016 release.

1) Ultimate Warrior dies, aged 54

WWE wrestler Ultimate Warrior, iconic for being the only wrestler who ever beat Hulk Hogan in a fair match, passed away on Tuesday evening. The cause of death has not yet been released.
The energetic wrestler legally changed his name from James Hellwig in 1993. He had just been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Ultimate Warrior is survived by his wife, Dana, and his two daughters.

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Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 – April 4th

5) “TV-licence” extends in many countries

Sweden was one of the first countries to do it and now more countries follow. UK is about to do it as well.
We’re talking about extending the “TV-licence”, the fee put on every television owner in a country to fund the public service TV and radio stations, to include other devices as well. More and more public service stations have taken the leap into an online environment and with this, they feel that computers should be included as well.
Certain countries even include smartphones and game consoles into the licensable devices.

This is a sign that the world is going more and more into the virtual environment of the Internet for every day.

4) Bionic animatronic

German scientists have produced the first ever bionic animal, an entirely mechanical animal. The biomechanical leap was taken quite literally as the team at Festo created a mechanical kangaroo, capable of not only jumping and then recovering its balance, but also to store the energy recovered when landing for its next jump. This mimics the function of a real kangaroo perfectly.

The mechanical animal has no commercial use, but it instead used as an example to get more aspiring students interested in biomimetics, the study of mechanical applications of designs in nature.

3) Marvelous plans

Marvel has high ambition for their current series of superhero movies. The movies that center around the heroes in the team called Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy will be produced for a long time. The current production schedule extends all the way to 2028, according to Marvel Studio president Kevin Feige. Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5, March 17th

5) Terminator kinda sequel, kinda reboot announced

The next instalment in the Terminator series will begin filming shortly. Terminator: Genesis will take place around the same time as the first two movies and follow Sarah Connor once again, but this time we will get to see things from the other side.
In a style similar to Back To The Future, director Alan Taylor wants to show the original events from a different perspective.

4)  Guitar Hero goes Children’s Author

Rock legend Keith Richards from Rolling Stones has found a new career. In a story inspired by his grandfather and illustrations by his daughter, Richards is about to publish a children’s book.
Richards just became a grandfather himself, for the fifth time, so he really knows what he’s talking about.

3) EU bans phone chargers

On Thursday, EU politicians backed a regulation that will force smartphone makers to only use one type of charger. The bill will help reduce electronic waste and reduces the need for several chargers in the same home.
Apple, one of the few manufacturers that haven’t gone over to the standard mini-USB charger, was surprisingly one of the first backers of the new bill.

2) Lady Gaga accused of fraud

Charity foundation “Born This Way”, started by Lady Gaga, has been accused of squandering away most of its donations to legal fees and promotions. Based on a tax report from the foundations, millions of dollars were spent on promoting and securing the foundation, while only 5000 dollars reached its intended destination.
According to Gaga and her co-founder Cynthia Germanotta, this is just a misunderstanding of the tax report. They both assure their donors that most money reached the intended charities.

1) SL Go met with backlash

SL GO, a mobile client for Second Life, recently went to Open Beta. The viewer looks and performs much like the standard SL Viewer. However, it was met with huge criticism due to its pricing.
Unlike its contenders that either work on a monthly subscription or initial purchase model, SL GO has an hourly rate of as much as 8$ per hour.
You can try the viewer out on any android device for 20 minutes for free on

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 – 10/3 2014

5) OUYA will come to more devices

OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman announced earlier this week that the storefront, called Discover, will be available to several Android devices. The decision to open it up to more devices than the console itself is inspired by Amazon’s Kindle setup, where you have the Kindle devices, but you can access the books from almost any smart device.

They will put certain hardware requirements on Discover to ensure the customer can play all games offered.

4) Archie is back

The popular 1940′s American Classic comic Archie will be back sometime next year. This is thanks to the star and creator of Girls, Lena Dunham, who has been approved to write a new four-part story about Archie Andrews.
Dunham has been a long-time fan of the series and was sent a box full of Archie comics by the publishers for her research. Within a week she had read them all and pitched a story to the publishers, who approved it right away.

Dunham’s Archie stories will be released sometime in 2015.

3) Power Suit available soon

Italian robotics company Percro has engineered the first publicly available and cost efficient robotic power suit, Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 March 3rd 2014

1. Ghostbuster Harold Ramis Passes Away

Actor and Director Harold Ramis passed away at age 69.  Ramis was known  for his portrayal of the character Egon Spengler, one part of the legendary quartet, the Ghostbusters. He was also known for directing classic comedies such as National Lapoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. In 2010, Ramis contracted an infection that resulted in Vasculitis, a disorder that affected his blood vessels. He passed away on February 24th 2014 from complications with the disorder. He is survived by his wife and three children.

2. Anne Frank’s Diary Donated to Japan.

The Israeli embassy has donated over  300 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary to Japanese public libraries after it was found that more than 100 of the books were vandalized. 265 books were found to have the pages ripped from the books. It is not clear who was behind the vandelizm.  The Mayor of Tokyo’s Suginami ward, Ryo Tanaka, commented, “Through this incident, I believe that people also learned about the horrid facts about history and of racism.”

3.  Linden Lab Rethinks Product Offerings

Linden Lab has released a press release announcing their intention to stop development on external projects Creatorverse, dio and Versu. According to the short PR, due to a number of factors a decision was made to cease development on these projects stating, “ We’re grateful for those who took the time to experiment with these products in their early days, but ultimately Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 – Feb 24th

5) Crowdfunding site hacked

Fundraising platform Kickstarter was hacked last week. The hackers did not get away with any credit details, as Kickstarter do not store that kind of data. Only two of the hacked accounts show any signs of unauthorized activity. Though the passwords were encrypted, officials still recommend that all users change their passwords, just in case.

4) Olympians failed doping test

The Winter Olympics in Socha, Russia was shaken on friday morning when two cases of doping was revealed. German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle (pron: Saxenbacker Stel) and Italian bobsledder William Frullani both tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Frullani admitted to having taken the restricted substance Methylhexanmine while Evi still claims she’s innocent.

This makes the 4th and 5th case of doping in the Winter Olympics. Earlier in the games, two Russian and one Lithuanian biathletes also tested positive for banned substances.

3) Swedish princess born in New York

Princess Madeleine, younger sister of Swedish throne follower Princess Victoria, had her first daughter on the Thursday evening. The royal married the US banker Christopher O’Neill in june 2013 and they did not expect the child to be born for another two weeks. The child is reported to be in perfect health.

The newborn princess will inherit Madeleines title of Dutchess of Halsingland and Gastrikland and is currently fifth in line for the Throne of Sweden.

2) Underground youth hit becomes film

‘The 5th Wave’ has been praised in the UK as a modern sci-fi masterpiece and has been called “The holy grail of publishing” in the US. Last week it got awarded with the Red House Children’s Book Award in the UK, voted for by children.
This surprising hit has been relatively unknown until now, but have already landed a prestigious movie deal. Famed actor and producer Toby Maguire have signed up to transfer the book to the big screen.

‘The 5th Wave’ is inspired by famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s quote “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which did not turn out well for the Native Americans”.

1) Gamer Garry breaks own records

Garry Newman, the lead developer behind the popular sandbox game Garry’s Mod announced that the game broke $30 million in sales early February. The game has been at the top of the Steam selling list for 9 years. However, he also announced his newest game, Rust, that has only been for sale for a few weeks, broke that with $3 400.

Newman said the reason for the huge overtaking by Rust is that they get more royalty for that game and it costs $20 against Garry’s Mod’s $10.

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5, week of Feb 15th

5) The original Dune will be released

In the late 60′s, Chilean-born director Alejandro Jodorowsky filmed several scenes based on Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune. He pitched the idea to the Hollywood publishers, but was turned down. Only a few years later, director David Lynch started filming his rendition of the movie. That version went into the history books as a must-see classic.
Jadorowsky, along with fellow filmmakers Nicolas Winding Refn and Richard Stanley have completed scenes from his original version. They will release a documentary style version of the movie in late March this year.

4) Random romance

Poet Nanni Balestrini has created a new kind of romance novel, slightly different for each reader. Through cutting edge digital printing techniques, the publisher has randomized some of the events in each printing of the novel. This creates a coherent, yet different, experience for each reader.
The novel, titled Trsitano, was originally published in the mid 1960′s in Italian. Due to the restrictions in technology at the time, Balestrini had to manually randomize each print. This is no longer any problem and the English translation, that went out into the stores on Valentine’s Day, is now machine printed.

3) Facebook allows more genders

On a trial run, Facebook added more than 50 gender options for their US users. The plans are to take this worldwide in the future.
Up until now you only had two choices, Male or Female. Facebook says “No more” and allows you to select from this massive list, with a promise to add more in the future, should they learn of more gender options.  At the same time, they added more sharing options, so you can tailor who gets to see your gender, in case you only want to share it with some people. Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5, week of February 10th

5) More Than Valentines

The week of February 14th is well known as the week of Valentine’s Day, but there is so much more going on. On February 14th last year, one billion people in over 200 countries rose up and demanded an end to violence against women. This has become the One Billion Rising event and will be repeated every year on this date until violence against women is gone.

All of February is also Black History Month. It is a month to remember history, so we do not repeat it, in an attempt to end racism all over the world. Originally it was to remember the dark times in United States, but has since become a worldwide remembrance month.

4) Charlie Chaplin publishes novel

Famous actor Charlie Chaplin wrote a novel shortly after his final American Classic. The novel, titled Footlights, follows his film, Limelight, but with roots in reality and not fiction.  Like Limelight, the novel is about an aging, alcoholic clown that through unforeseen circumstances saves a ballerina from suicide.

Footlights have laid untouched in Chaplin’s private archive since 1948 but has now been published by CineStore.

3) Dungeon Keeper Mobile Highly Criticized Continue reading

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5 – 27th Jan 2014

5) Powerpuff Girls in latex controversy

Cartoon Network, the popular kids channel, aired the Powerpuff Girls, a show about 3 little girls fighting evil before bedtime, for 10 years.
Next month, a comic about the three crime fighters is to be released. The girls, now aged 11 or 12, have grown a bit since last… more so in certain areas it would seem.
On an alternate cover for the comic, the trio was seen sporting tight, shiny latex miniskirt outfits in “adult” poses.
Cartoon Network has decided to pull all the copies with the alternate cover and admits that it did slip their mind for a moment that the outfits might seem a bit daring on a set of preteens. However, they thought it would be an empowering picture and claims that kids would not see it as adults do.

This claim of innocence did not get past the upset public and one retailer has been quoted saying, “Are we seriously sexualizing pre-teen girls like perverted fan fiction writers on the internet?”

4) University offers rap history course

University of Missouri will offer a course in the relationship between rappers Jay Z and Kanye West.
The two are both known as game changers in the hip hop world and have had a long and unusual relationship. It may seem odd to us right now, but instructor Andrew Hoberek is certain that the duo will be seen as two of the greatest poets of our time.
The course will not only cover the lyrics, but how the two put their videos together, the meaning behind each of their albums and how the two have worked in tandem with each other over the years.

3) Game network in trouble over secret ad deal

Youtube channel network, Machinima, has been the talk of the week. An anonymous source revealed an advertising deal with Microsoft that came with a harsh non-disclosure agreement. The agreement stated that the channels that accepted the deal would double their income if they displayed game play footage of an Xbox One title while saying no negative things about it.
The controversial bit is the NDA, that states that the producers are not allowed to mention that the video is a promotional video or that they are receiving money for doing it.

This violates the FCC ruling of 2013 that states that all paid for product placements must be declared at the time of the advertising.

What channels, if any, that have agreed to this are so far unknown.

2) King trademarks simple English words

Game publisher King, known for games like Candy Crush Saga, has managed to trademark the word Candy. As a result of this, over 15 games that share the word in their title have been removed from the Apple app store.
The company also has the word Saga pending in the trademark office, which allowed them to file a suit against Stoic Studio for their game Banner Saga.

Trademarking of common English words is prohibited by the Trademark Act, but some words have slipped through the cracks. In 2009, game company Bethesda managed to trademark the word Fallout. The original creators behind the series had until then sold a license to use the name to Bethesda, but was later sued for the rights after Bethesda gained the trademark. In 2011, they also managed to trademark the word Scrolls.

Apple managed to trademark their name in 2003, but later lawsuits failed due to the commonality of the word.

1) Jamaican bobsled team to hit the Winter Olympics… again

We’ve all seen the Cool Runnings joke floating about, but, yes, it is true. Jamaica is sending a bobsled team this winter for the Winter Olympics in Russia.
This will be the sixth time Jamaica is seen on the bobsled course since the Olympics in 1988 that sparked the idea for the movie Cool Runnings.
The team qualified early, but lacked roughly 40,000US$. Within two days, a community effort through the cryptocurrency Dogecoin raised $30,000. A crowd-funding on Crowdtilt raised an additional $80,000, far surpassing the target.
This year’s team consists of the pushers Kyle Ferguson and Adrian Myers, the driver Winston Watts, the brakeman Marvin Dixon, the skeleton Rindy Loucks and the manager Jessica Thomasi.

We wish them all the luck in Russia this winter!

Torch Top 5

The Torch Top 5, 2nd December 2013

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. Continue reading