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Submission + - What should I ask Slashdot?

TodMinuit writes: "Dearest Slashdot: Recently, I've wanted to ask Slashdot something. Unable to come up with a question myself, I thought who better to ask what I should ask Slashdot than Slashdot itself? Surely the very people answering the question are quite capable of coming up with one. So, Slashdot, what should I ask Slashdot?"
Biotech

Submission + - Grow-your-own Viagra craze hits garden centers...

colfer writes: From today's Independent

The plant is winter-flowering heather, and botanists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, many of them heather experts who have recognised the source of its active ingredient, now expect it to be the next must-have plant in British gardens. Demand is already high. Nurseries and garden centres in some areas are having trouble finding sufficient supplies as word spreads of the plant's unexpected properties.
...
But not everyone is happy about this new discovery. One woman shopping at a Wyvales in Dorking yesterday said: "It's amazing. My husband has never shown any interest in gardening before, but now he's out there night and day fussing over his heathers. Frankly, I preferred it when he left the garden to me and wasn't so frisky."
United States

Submission + - Continental Captain Saves Plane From Coughing Girl

MuValas writes: "Thanks to quick thinking, a Captain of a Continental flight saved his passengers by kicking a 16-year old girl off the plane. Her offense? Having a coughing fit. I believe the captain suspected the coughing to be some sort of lung-based nuke-uler weapon, or perhaps he just got dumped too many times by 16-year old girls and saw an opportunity for revenge."
Google

Submission + - Google blocks academic

An anonymous reader writes: It appears that Google takes a very dim view of people "screen scraping" their content (slightly ironic, given that this is how Google gets the content in the first place). An academic, Associate Professor Michael Schwartzbach at the University of Aarhus, Denmark has been offering a service to other academics to enable them to find their h-index (a measure of how often their articles are referenced by others) from Google Scholar. Because this involves screen scraping Google Scholar, Google has blocked his website from accessing their servers. Google has apparently not replied to his requests to allow him to do this for academic and research purposes.
Education

Submission + - Turnitin Sued by Students for Copyright Violations

Apocalypse111 writes: A pair of high-school students are suing the California based anti-cheating service Turnitin (or rather, Turnitin's parent company, iParadigms LLC), claiming copyright violations. According to the lawsuit, each of the students obtained a copyright registration for papers they submitted to Turnitin. The lawsuit seeks $150,000 for each of six papers written by the students. At least one paper was submitted to Turnitin with instructions that it not be archived, but it was archived regardless, the lawsuit claims. "You can't take a person's work and run it through a computer and make an honest person out of them," said Kevin Wade, father of one of the plaintiffs. "My son's major objection is that he does not cheat, and this assumes he does."
Music

RIAA Going After a 10-Year-Old Girl 510

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The latest target of the RIAA's ire is a 10-year-old girl in Oregon, who was 7 when the alleged infringement occurred, and whose disabled mother lives on Social Security. In Atlantic v. Andersen, an Oregon case that was widely reported in 2005 when the defendant counterclaimed against the RIAA under Oregon's RICO statute and other laws, the defendant's mother sought to limit the RIAA's deposition of the child to telephone or video-conference. The RIAA has refused, insisting on being able to grill the little girl in person. Here are court documents (PDF)."
Space

Submission + - 'Dead' Rocket Explodes In Orbit

Jacob writes: "A rocket which malfunctioned during launch a year ago recently exploded in orbit over Australia, and a number of amateur astronomers, including Rob McNaught (discoverer of Comet McNaught) were able to photograph the explosion and the resulting debris. NASA are now tracking over 1000 fragments, meaning that this has produced more space junk than China's recent ASAT test, it's possible that the fire and explosion were triggered by an encounter with space junk in orbit, and it's also possible the new junk cloud could impact other satellites in the future."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Toy Industry Association plots to poison babies.

An anonymous reader writes: The citation below gives an overview of current status of data on phthalates.
It clearly indicates that there is an emerging body of evidence that documents the hazards of phthalates for pregnant women and unborn children in low doses.

What we called your attention to yesterday was the use of the TIA (Toy Industry Association) by a few toy companies to try to prevent the control of these chemicals in our children's toys. We ask that you cover this story on your site and make the names of the organizers at the TIA public and subject to the scrutiny and feedback of rightfully concerned parents. The child you protect may be your own.

http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/NEWSCIENCE/oncompou nds/phthalates/phthalates.htm
http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/NEWSCIENCE/oncompou nds/phthalates/phthalates.htm

Inspite of the data, TIA persists in trying to keep phthalates in Toys.
Here is the latest message they sent to their membership.

        Subject: TIA LEGISLATIVE ALERT!

        February 20, 2007

        Dear Member,

        The TOY INDUSTRY needs your help! As you may know, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently passed an ordinance banning toys and child care products containing certain phthalate plasticizers. Now we expect some California state legislators to attempt to take the ban on phthalate plasticizers statewide. Imagine the very thing that makes so many toys soft and safe for our children will be banned throughout the state of California.

                It is easy to see the impact such a ban would have on the safety and economy of the toy industry.

        In response we are organizing the leaders in our industry to spread the word that phthalate plasticizers are scientifically safe and reduce potential injuries to children.

        What do we need from you? We need you to join our effort to defeat this legislation. In the coming weeks and months we will ask you to contact your local legislator through phone calls, writing letters and in some cases meeting face to face. To bolster our efforts we will need industry representatives to join our media campaign by writing letters to the editor and conducting interviews with local and statewide media outlets countering the misinformation being disseminated by those advocating the legislation.

                  Will you give a little of your time to help us defend our industry? As mentioned, there are a number of ways to get involved. If you are willing to help please contact either Rob Herriott at 646-520-4843 or email rherriott@toy-tia.org or Joan Lawrence at 646-520-4844 or email joan@toy-tia.org.

        To defeat this measure we will need to mobilize a diverse cross-section of our industry, please don't hesitate to lend your support. Our campaign begins March 15th.

        We look forward to hearing from you soon.

        Sincerely,

        Joan Lawrence Rob Herriott

         
NASA

Submission + - Lakes found under Antarctic ice using space lasers

Reverse Gear writes: "There is a new study circling the media about these newly found big lakes found underneath the antarctic ice sheets that apparently empty and fills back up quite fast (study has been working in 3 years and has detected massive movements), from the article:

The scientists allay fears that global warming has created these pockets of water. They say these lakes lie some 2,300 feet below compressed snow and ice, too deep for environmental temperature to reach. However, it is necessary to understand what causes the phenomenon as it can facilitate an understanding of the impact of climate change on the ice sheet in Antarctica
NASA also has some information on the technique used to detect these lakes"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - RIAA hires DJ's, then sends in the SWAT team

cancan writes: "The NY times is carrying an article about how the RIAA is hiring hip hop artists to make mix tapes, and then helping the police raid their studios. In the case of DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon (myspace warning), they were raided by SWAT teams with their guns drawn. The local police chief said later that they were "prepared for the worst." Men in RIAA jackets helped cart away "evidence"."

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