The good, the bad, the ugly

Senior journalist Kelly Mills has checked the inbox for this week's GBU. Tipsters win an exclusive GBU mug.

Good

Putting aside logic for a moment, a Dutch woman claims she is allergic to only certain Intel Pentium processors and is continuing her fight for compensation. The woman has filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Economics in the Netherlands, and, apparently against Intel too, claiming that the processor gives off particular radiations which cause her to break out in hives. She didn't have any problems with the 486 processor, apparently, but is claiming that high frequency radiations from the Pentium are making her sick. Tribunals appear to have rejected the claims.

Bad

New York prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for more than 100 people accused of taking advantage of post-September 11 computer problems to steal $28.5 million from a government employees' credit union. When the New York credit union had computer problems after the attacks, it allowed depositors to withdraw money on an honour policy. But prosecutors said as many as 4000 people abused the system to overdraw their accounts by at least $1897, including 540 who exceeded their balances by more than $9500. When the credit union began tracing the withdrawals only a small number of people agreed to take out loans to pay the money back.

Ugly

Passport photographs in the future could be more than just a pretty picture if a new computer technique which Israeli scientists have developed catches on. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have devised a way to hide a fingerprint or signature in colour images, which could improve passport security, or be used to create invisible product barcodes or designs. An algorithm converts a fingerprint, signature or other data into a series of numbers, which then shift the dots that make up a colour picture. Several images can be concealed in a single picture with each image and picture scanned into a computer. To reveal the hidden images the picture is scanned again.

*Sandra Rossi is on leave but e-mail your news tips to GBU@idg.com.au to win a mug.

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