Archive for October, 2006

Politics is getting in the way of doing the right thing. Politics says finish the job and get home quickly. The right thing to do is commit in greater number and stay committed for the long run. Anyone want to guess what happens in two years with a Democrat in the White House?

OpinionJournal – Best of the Web Today
In Germany after World War II, we controlled our sector with approximately 500,000 troops, directly administering the area for 10 years while we rebuilt the country and rebuilt the social and political infrastructure needed to run it. In Iraq, we’ve got one-third that number of troops dealing with three times the population on a much faster timetable, and we’re attempting to unify three distinct ethnic groups with no national interest and at least three outside influences (Saudi Arabian Wahhabists, Iranian mullahs and Syrian Baathists) each eagerly funding various groups in an attempt to see us fail. And we are.

Read the full article for a very insightful picture of what’s going on in Iraq. Yes, success is slipping away through our fingers. The failure, however, is not moral, humanitarian, or military. It is a political failing.


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Do you want a daily dose of ballpoint-pen-scribbled, fanciful robot machines mixed with a wee bit of humor and an occasional software review?  Of course you do!

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WebCalendar Hacked

Arrggh. I’ve been hacked. And via WebCalendar of all things. That’s what I get for running unpatched (and unused) software for the last year. For the complete story, see the dedicated page I’ve Been Hacked!

FrSIRT Security Advisories – WebCalendar “includedir” Remote PHP File Inclusion Vulnerability / Exploit
A vulnerability was identified in WebCalendar, which may be exploited by attackers to compromise a vulnerable web server. This flaw is due to an input validation error in the “send_reminders.php” script when processing a specially crafted “includedir” parameter, which may be exploited by remote attackers to include malicious files and execute arbitrary commands with the privileges of the web server.

Good news is, I didn’t have much privilege granted to the web server. So, I’ve got that going for me.

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A Cure For Hiccups!

Dr. Francis Fesmire of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine was presented with a patient suffering from acute hiccups – up to 30 per minute for the previous 72 hours. Dr. Fesmire found an innovative cure for his patient, and in so doing, earned himself an Ig Nobel prize:

Ig Nobel prizes hail ‘digital rectal massage’ – opinion – 06 October 2006 – New Scientist
Runaway electrical impulses in the vagus nerve cause intractable hiccups, so Fesmire attempted to block them by stimulating the nerve. Gagging, tongue pulling, sinus massage and pressing the eyeball to stimulate the vagus all failed to stop the hiccups. Then he remembered reading about a case in which digital rectal massage – inserting a finger into a patient’s anus – had slowed a racing heartbeat, an effect similar to runaway hiccups.

“It worked, and the rest is history,” he says. He has not needed to go that far again for other patients, but Majed Odeh of Bnai Zion Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, did a few years later and wrote a paper with the same title that earned him a share of the Ig Nobel.

However, Fesmire will not be trying it again. In researching his Ig Nobel acceptance speech, he told New Scientist that he found a treatment sure to be more popular with hiccup patients. “An orgasm results in incredible stimulation of the vagus nerve. From now on, I will be recommending sex – culminating with orgasm – as the cure-all for intractable hiccups.”

That’s good to know. Now I know what to tell my wife the next time I have hiccups.

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