1. Data recovery in extremis: Space Shuttle Columbia

    07 May 2008

    On 1 February 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed while re-entering the Earth's atmosphere following a touch-and-go mission due to the damage incurred by the orbiter during lift off some days earlier. The crew was killed and the shuttle lost, presumably with all of the data collected while in orbit going with it. Save for the data from experiment CXV-2, which gathered information pertaining to the point of critical viscosity of xenon gas.. while poring over the wreckage of the Columbia, the recovery team operating out of the Johnson Space Center found most of the fragments of a 400 …

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  2. Title restored - so how did I spend my weekend, anyway?

    05 May 2008

    Unfortunately, I spent much of last Friday asleep, recovering after a routine filling went south and turned into an emergency root canal. I don't know what does it about the procedure, but it wipes me out completely - it might be the body reacting to having a part of it removed with what amounts to tiny drill bits, or it might be the knowledge of it. For all I know, it could be the aftereffects of multiple injections of local anesthetic that happens to contain epinephrine, which would logically bring about a fight-or-flight reaction as the syringe-loads naturally leaked into the …

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  3. $1100 later, and I sound like Mushmouth.

    02 May 2008

    I worked the first half of today from home because I had an appointment to have a permanant crown installed in the top-left side of my mouth. At the same time, Dr. Hong was to start drilling out tooth #30, the first molar from the front on the bottom-right side of my mouth to take care of a fairly nasty cavity that's also been giving me trouble lately.

    Four hits of novocaine later and I was still feeling the drill and trying to run away from it. No matter what he did, he wasn't able to knock out the nerve …

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  4. Triumph of the anti-vaccination movement: Measles outbreak.

    02 May 2008

    In the past decade or so, a worrisome movement has cropped up that seems hell-bent on using bad science to try to protect their children: People who refuse to have their children vaccinated for various childhood diseases out of fear that their children will wind up brain damaged, or worse. It seems that they've triumphed: seven US states have reported an outbreak of measles to the Centers for Disease Control. Figures released by the CDC state that 64 cases of full-blown measles have been reported to doctors, with more expected to appear as the year continues. Slightly over one fifth …

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  5. Memory log archives now online.

    24 April 2008

    After much deliberation, I've decided to put the archives of my old memory logs online. There's a lot of text in there, dating all the way back to the year 2002 - from my final year at Pitt to my last few years in Pittsburgh to just after moving to Washington, DC. I've fixed all of the screwy filenames that accumulated over the years and deleted the intra-page archive references that used to be at the end of each file. I haven't fixed any broken links inside of each page, however - the ones outside of my site are gone, probably for …

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  6. Wordpress security vulnerability and mitigating strategies.

    24 April 2008

    For the past couple of weeks the information security community has been noticing someone exploiting a new vulnerability in the Wordpress blogging software that lets the attacker inject arbitrary HTML code into the content from outside. So far, what has been seen is an

    ..
    HTML entity containing multiple hyperlinks to other sites, presumably for the purpose of artificially bumping up someone's search engine rankings. Both the height and width of the injected HTML code are usually set to zero pixels each, but I've seen a couple of instances of one-by-one
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    entities as well. It stands to reason that pretty much …

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  7. Indian in Chantilly: Dishes of India

    23 April 2008

    This evening while going walkabout after work, Lyssa and I happened upon a new Indian restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia that chanced to have opened just last week called Dishes of India (13949 Metrotech Drive; Chantilly, Virginia; 20151; telephone number 703-961-1004), which can be found in the big shopping plaza. It's a fairly unassuming place, sandwiched between a Catholic Store (no, that's really what it's called) and a small pizzaria, but the service was enthusiastic, attentive, and most of all, helpful. We sat down to try a selection of the fare and were pleasantly surprised at how excellent it was. The …

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  8. The end of an era: Telerama goes dark, but another light shines.

    23 April 2008

    Telerama, one of the first Internet Service Providers in the world has finally jacked the big black, but somehow managed to pull off a miracle as it flatlined. Telerama (referred to as Teletrauma by ex-employees) has dropped offline a couple of times in the past because they couldn't pay their bills, management vanishing, and suchlike. In the net.community they're notorious for some of their business practices (such as outsourcing IT to the country of Brasil and running their tech support entirely off of IRC), which has probably contributed to the ISP's decline in the past nine years or so …

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