Re: Anyone mine bitcoins?
It's a currency of sorts, it's not officially recognised anywhere but yeah that's what it aims to be.
People can trade bitcoins all over, you don't necessarily need to mine for them, you can buy them as well. But if you choose to mine then yes it's kind of like a brute forcing operation to get them. Normal behaviour (if you've just got a modest setup) is to join a pool (think folding@home style but generating bitcoins) then for every bitcoin found (or technically every block of 50 found) it's split between everyone in the pool proportionally to the computing power of everyone in it.
At one point it was hugely profitable to do this - you could sell a bitcoin for well over $30. Then it crashed and is now only worth a couple of dollars, but arguably still worth doing if you're living somewhere where you get cheap (or free even) electricity. If I was still in student halls where electricity was free then I'd be pounding away at it!
Save the whales, feed the hungry, free the mallocs.