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Why Overheard Cell Phone Chats Are Annoying 344

__roo writes "American researchers think they have found the answer to the question of why overhearing cell phone chats are annoying. According to scientists at Cornell University, when only half of the conversation is overheard, it drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking. According to one researcher, 'We have less control to move away our attention from half a conversation (or halfalogue) than when listening to a dialogue. Since halfalogues really are more distracting and you can't tune them out, this could explain why people are irritated.' Their study will be published in the journal Psychological Science."

3rd-Grader Busted For Jolly Rancher Possession 804

theodp writes "A third-grader in a small Texas school district received a week's detention for merely possessing a Jolly Rancher. Leighann Adair, 10, was eating lunch Monday when a teacher confiscated the candy. Her parents said she was in tears when she arrived home later that afternoon and handed them the detention notice. But school officials are defending the sentence, saying the school was abiding by a state guideline that banned 'minimal nutrition' foods. 'Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules,' said school superintendent Jack Ellis."
The Courts

JPL Background Check Case Reaches Supreme Court 112

Dthief writes "A long-running legal battle between the United States government and a group of 29 scientists and engineers of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has now reached the US Supreme Court." At issue: mandatory background checks for scientists and engineers working at JPL, which they allege includes snooping into their sexual orientation, as well as their mental and physical health.

Submission + - OSSEC v1.1 available

Daniel Cid writes: "OSSEC is an Open Source Host-based Intrusion Detection System. It
performs log analysis, file integrity checking, Windows registry
monitoring, rootkit detection, time-based alerting and active
response. It runs on most operating systems, including Linux, *BSD,
Solaris, Windows and Mac.

We are pleased to announce the availability of OSSEC v1.1. This new version
comes with numerous new features, including support for Microsoft
IIS6, Cisco VPN concentrator, Cisco PIX VPN AAA, Cisco FWSM and
Solaris 10 "su" logs. We also added more granular e-mail alerting options, a
new Windows agent installer and more advanced log analysis rules options.

A list of all new features (and big fixes) is available below:
http://www.ossec.net/announcements/v1.1-2007-03-12 .txt

Download it from:

Submission + - Scotsman wins spam compensation

An anonymous reader writes: CNN is reporting a Scotsman, Gordon Dick, has won £750 ($1,445) in damages for receipt of spam email. http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/internet/03/07/sp ambuster.ap/index.html

Gordon said "It's anti-social behavior and they shouldn't be doing it in the first place." and has set up a web site to help others fight Spam using the law in the UK at http://www.scotchspam.org.uk/
Linux Business

Submission + - Why Dell won't offer Linux on its PCs.

derrida writes: "Jack Schofield explains in his article why Dell won't offer Linux on its PCs. Quoting from there: "The most obvious is deciding which version of Linux to offer. There are more than 100 distros, and everybody seems to want a different one — or the same one with a different desktop, or whatever. It costs Dell a small fortune to offer an operating system (it involves thousands of driver compatibility, peripheral testing, certification, staff training, administration, advertising and support issues) so the lack of a standard is a real killer. The less obvious problem is the very high cost of Linux support, especially when selling cheap PCs to naïve users who don't RTFM (read the friendly manual) and wouldn't understand a Linux manual if they tried. And there's so much of it! Saying "Linux is just a kernel, so that's all we support" isn't going to work, but where in the great sprawling heap of GNU/Linux code do you draw the line?""
Internet Explorer

Submission + - Firefox closing in on Explorer in SMB market

thefickler writes: Mozilla's Firefox browser is closing in on Internet Explorer's market leading position in the small-to-medium business (SMB) market, according to a survey by Toronto-based online time tracking and billing provider, FreshBooks, of 140,000 of its SMB customers. Firefox's browser market share was up by 1.35 percent in February 2007 to 38.95 percent while Internet Explorer's share dropped by 0.73 percent to 56.95 percent

Submission + - Open Source IP Surveillance Systems?

Missionary Man writes: "I'm looking to build an IP based surveillance system. Ideally, it will use 3-4 IP-based cameras and have an open-source solution (preferably Linux). There seems to be dozens of manufacturers selling hundreds of cameras, but very little in the way of OS software for controlling them.

Does anyone know of an OS project in this area? Has anyone successfully built one of these systems? What are the recommendations/pitfalls?"

Submission + - Plasma To Produce Clean Energy From Waste

kbox writes: "Mention trash incineration to most people and the image that usually springs to mind is a dirty, smelly practice that is about as far from 'green' as you can get. However, this isn't the case with a technology called Plasma Gasification, which is not only very eco-friendly, it's also powered by the very garbage that it processes. It also produces clean energy and commercially useful byproducts.

While the technology of processing materials with plasma has been around for some time now, Joseph Longo, CEO and founder of Startech Environmental Corporation has developed a device that can handle pretty much any type of waste put into it and turn it into a clean source of energy."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - RIAA: CDs Should Cost Three Times More

VE3OGG writes: "Several news sources are reporting that the RIAA has recently published a page on their website that argues that consumers should be fortunate they aren't paying more for CDs. By their math, the average CD should cost three times more than they do presently. Of course it doesn't take an economist to figure out that the RIAA are not allowing for a devaluing of a product over time (translation: things get cheaper as they become commodities!)."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Beer Goggles Explained!

e4g4 writes: Researchers at Manchester University have apparently discovered the formula behind the well known "Beer Goggle" effect. The research, commissioned by Bausch and Lomb PureVision, has determined that the quantity of alcohol consumed isn't the only variable that contributes to the "Beer Goggle factor", smokiness of the room and a person's visual acuity also come into play. (Yeah, the article's a little over a year old, but Science + Beer == Fun).
United States

Submission + - NY Rep. Warns of Terrorist 'Platoon of Lesbians'

coolmoose25 writes: Representative Ackerman warned that terrorist might learn of the US Military's aversion to gays and lesbians and they might, as a result, recruit "bands" of them to chase us out of Iraq. This was in response to questioning of Condi Rice and the need for translators who speak Farsi and Arabic. No word from the Rep. on whether or not the lesbians would need to be "cunning linguists"

Submission + - KQemu is now GPL

An anonymous reader writes: As reported by LWN, after a really long waiting, the kernel virtualization module of Qemu is now GPL. Now, the full virtualization in old hardware could be added directly to Linux.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - NY senator interferes with natural selection...

pointbeing writes: From http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/02/07/nyc.ipod. reut/index.html : New Yorkers who blithely cross the street listening to an iPod or talking on a cell phone could soon face a $100 fine.

New York State Sen. Carl Kruger says three pedestrians in his Brooklyn district have been killed since September upon stepping into traffic while distracted by an electronic device. In one case bystanders screamed "watch out" to no avail.

Kruger says he will introduce legislation on Wednesday to ban the use of gadgets such as Blackberry devices and video games while crossing the street.

"Government has an obligation to protect its citizenry," Kruger said in a telephone interview from Albany, the state capital.

"This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand."

Tech-consuming New Yorkers trudge to work on sidewalks and subways like an army of drones, appearing to talk to themselves on wireless devices or swaying to seemingly silent tunes.

"I'm not trying to intrude on that," Kruger said. "But what's happening is when they're tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they're walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It's becoming a nationwide problem."

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