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Earth

Laughing Gas Is Major Threat To Ozone Layer 306

Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that according to new research, nitrous oxide, the colorless, sweet-smelling gas with a long history as a medical and dental anesthetic is the next big threat to Earth's protective ozone layer. Its role in destroying ozone has long been recognized, as well as its role as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas but the new study puts nitrous oxide's ability to deplete ozone into numbers comparable to those used for other ozone-depleting gases covered by the 1987 Montreal Protocol. The researchers note that the health of the ozone layer has been improving since the adoption of the protocol and that nitrous oxide looms large today as an artificial destroyer of the ozone layer, in part because the emissions of other harmful chemicals have been so sharply reduced." (Continues.)

Highly-Paid Developers As ScrumMasters? 434

An anonymous reader writes 'At my company, our mis-implementation of Agile includes the employment of some of our most highly-paid, principal engineers as ScrumMasters. This has effectively resulted in a loss of those engineering functions as these engineers now dedicate their time to ScrumMastery. Furthermore, the ScrumMasters either cannot or do not separate their roles as Team Leads with those of ScrumMastery and — worse — seem to be completely unaware that this poor implementation of Agile development is harmful to our velocity. To date, I have chalked this up to poor leadership, a general lack of understanding of Agile, and an inability to change from traditional roles left over from the waterfall development mode. In addition, I have contended that, for a given Scrum Team, the role of ScrumMaster should be filled by someone of lower impact, such as an intern brought in specifically for that purpose. But I would like to put the questions to Slashdotters as to whether they have seen these same transitional difficulties, what the results have been at their respective companies, or whether they just plain disagree with my assertion that principal engineers should not be relegated to the roles of ScrumMasters.'
Cellphones

Nokia Releases Linux Handset 484

galaxy writes "Nokia releases their first Linux mobile handset, the N900 The handset is based on the latest release of Maemo, the Nokia mobile Linux platform, and includes e.g. GSM and 3G access (with HSPA, giving datarates of up to 10Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink on suitable networks), WLAN, Bluetooth, camera, assisted GPS and, most importantly, a touchscreen complemented by a hardware QWERTY under a slider. The beast is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 processor at 600 MHz, has PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support, 32GB internal memory etc."
Privacy

Model Drops Lawsuit After Outing Anonymous Blogger 476

JumperCable writes "The NY Daily News is reporting that model Liskula Cohen, who was suing the 'Skanks of NYC' blogger for defamation, is dropping the lawsuit now that she has outed the anonymous blogger, who is a Fashion Institute of Technology student named Rosemary Port. This brings up the question of potential abuse of the legal system to 'out' anonymous authors even if there is no intention actually to pursue a case against an anonymous individual. Also, according to the article, the outed blogger intends to sue Google for $15 million because it 'breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity.' Do Web hosting services even have a fiduciary duty to protect their clients, or is this all legal bluff and bluster?" Should such anonymity-busting court rulings include a provision for penalties if the plaintiff does not follow through with legal action after outing their target?
The Almighty Buck

The Outing of Pranknet 543

An anonymous reader writes "The Smoking Gun recently published a story on their investigation and outing of Pranknet, an online cabal that aims to take pranks to the next level. Their legacy includes thousands of dollars of damage, and many harassed souls. Many of the pranks have clear criminal implications. Reading their report may send chills down your collective spines." From the linked article: "Coalescing in an online chat room, members of the group, known as Pranknet, use the telephone to carry out cruel and outrageous hoaxes, which they broadcast live around-the-clock on the Internet. Masquerading as hotel employees, emergency service workers, and representatives of fire alarm companies, 'Dex' and his cohorts have successfully prodded unwitting victims to destroy hotel rooms and lobbies, set off sprinkler systems, activate fire alarms, and damage assorted fast food restaurants. But while Pranknet's hoaxes have caused millions of dollars in damages, it is the group's efforts to degrade and frighten targets that makes it even more odious ..."
Spam

Times Are Tough For Nigerian Scammers 232

The Narrative Fallacy writes "The Washington Post reports that online swindling takes dedication even in the best of times but succeeding in the midst of a worldwide economic meltdown takes patience, resolve, and hard work. 'We are working harder. The financial crisis is not making it easy for them over there,' said Banjo, 24, speaking about Americans, whose trust he has won and whose money he has fleeced, via his Dell laptop. 'They don't have money. And the money they don't have, we want.' US authorities say Americans — the easiest prey, according to Nigerian scammers — still lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrimes, including a scheme known as the Nigerian 419 fraud, named for a section of the Nigerian criminal code. 419 is cemented in Nigerian popular culture. and the scammers, known as 'yahoo-yahoo boys,' are glorified in pop songs such as 'Yahoozee,' which gained even more fame after former secretary of state Colin L. Powell danced to it at a London festival last year."
Programming

Netflix Prize Contest Ends, Down To the Wire 100

suraj.sun updates us on the Netflix Prize now that the competition has officially closed. We discussed the new leader with one day to go in the contest: The Ensemble, taking the lead from long-time leader BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the first contestant to submit an entry that broke the 10% barrier. In the contest's final day, BellKor re-took the lead with 20 minutes to go, then The Ensemble apparently pulled a Michael Phelps with 4 minutes to go, squeaking ahead by 0.01%. At least so the leaderboard claims — but those numbers are posted by the competing teams. The NY Times reports that an official winner will not be named until September — Netflix needs that much time to pore through the complex entries and read the code. Netflix contacted BellKor on Sunday to tell them the team remained in first place; The Ensemble has had no such notification.
Security

Submission + - Nmap 5.00 Released! (nmap.org)

iago-vL writes: "The long-awaited Nmap Security Scanner version 5.00 was just released (download)! This marks the most important release since 1997, and is a huge step in Nmap's evolution from a simple port scanner to an all-around security and networking tool suite. Significant performance improvements were made, and dozens of scripts were added. For example, Nmap can now log into Windows and perform local checks (PDF), including Conficker detection. New tools included in 5.00 are Ncat, a modern reimplementation of Netcat (with IPv6, SSL, NAT traversal, port redirection, and more!), and Ndiff, for quickly comparing scan results. Other tools are in the works for future releases, but we're still waiting for them to add email and ftp clients so we can finally get off Emacs!"
Censorship

British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes 778

chrb writes "Two British men have become the first to be jailed for inciting racial hatred online. The men believed that material they published on web servers based in the United States did not fall under the jurisdiction of UK law and was protected under the First Amendment. This argument was rejected by the British trial judge. After being found guilty, the men fled to Los Angeles, where they attempted to claim political asylum, again arguing that they were being persecuted by the British government for speech that was protected under the First Amendment. The asylum bid was rejected and the two were deported back to the UK after spending over a year in a US jail."
The Courts

Prof. Nesson Ordered To Show Cause 267

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Professor Charles Nesson, the Harvard law professor serving pro bono as counsel to the defendant in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, has been ordered to show cause why sanctions should not be issued against him for violating the Court's orders prohibiting reproduction of the court proceedings. The order to show cause was in furtherance of the RIAA's motion for sanctions and protective order, which we discussed here yesterday. The Judge indicated that she was 'deeply concerned' about Prof. Nesson's apparent 'blatant disregard' of her order."
Image

Artist Wins £20,000 Grant To Study Women's Butts Screenshot-sm 202

Sue Williams has been awarded a £20,000 grant by the Arts Council of Wales, to "explore cultural attitudes towards female buttocks." Sue plans to examine racial attitudes towards bottoms in Europe and Africa and create plaster casts of women's behinds to try to understand their place in contemporary culture. And here I've been studying the issue all these years for free like a sucker!
Cellphones

iPhone Users Angry Over AT&T Upgrade Policy 789

All is not sweetness and light in the wake of the Apple WWDC kickoff announcements, especially concerning the evolution of the iPhone. Reader Hugh Pickens writes: "AT&T will offer the new iPhone 3G S when it debuts later this month at a cost of $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, but only to new customers and those who qualify for the discounted price. AT&T subscribers with an iPhone 3G who are not eligible for an upgrade — those not near the end of their two-year contracts — will have to pay $200 more — $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB model. 'This is ridiculous and slap in the face to long-time loyal iPhone customers like me who switched from T-Mobile and the only reason was the iPhone,' writes one unhappy iPhone customer. 'We have to mount a vigorous campaign to change this policy. Call your local AT&T and ask for the manager and complain. Send e-mails and post in forums everywhere.' The issue is spurring heavy debate on support discussion forums, with some customers supporting AT&T. 'The option you have is to honor the contract you freely committed yourself to,' says one forum member. 'If you want to upgrade early then you will have to pay full price with no subsidy discount. You can't blame anyone but yourself for your predicament.'"

Comment Open Source Competitors (Score 5, Informative) 120

When the submitter referenced "open source alternatives that go by similar names", he was referring to ophcrack. Similar features are also available from Cain and Abel, and John the Ripper.

I maintain a list of top password crackers and sniffers as part of my SecTools.Org site.

While the submitter is correct that they have much more competition now, I still wish to congratulate the former L0pht guys on the new release!

Spam

FTC Targets Massive Car Warranty Robocall Scheme 361

coondoggie writes "Robocalls are a scourge, and the Federal Trade Commission today took action against one outfit by asking a federal court to shut down companies that have been bombarding consumers with hundreds of millions of allegedly deceptive robocalls in an effort to sell vehicle service contracts. According to the FTC, the robocalls have prompted tens of thousands of complaints from consumers who are either on the Do Not Call Registry or asked not to be called. Five telephone numbers associated with the defendants have generated a total of 30,000 Do Not Call complaints. Consumers received the robocalls at home, work, and on their cell phones, sometimes several times in one day. Businesses, government offices and even 911 dispatchers also have been subjected to the calls, the FTC said." Reader powerlord points out that another such company, not named in the FTC filing, raised the ire of thousands of internet-goers, who struck back by rickrolling the company's voice mail and digging up personal information on the company's president.
The Courts

US Trustee Asks To Send SCO Into Chapter 7 259

Several readers including Pop69 inform us that the US Trustee's office has asked to convert SCO's Chapter 11 bankruptcy to Chapter 7 — a.k.a. liquidation. Groklaw has the text of the filing: "...not only is there no reasonable chance of 'rehabilitation' in these cases, the Debtors have tried — and failed — to liquidate their business in chapter 11."

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