Incident At Isfahan

Hmmm, I wonder what this is all about?

‘Mysterious explosion rocks Iranian city of Isfahan’

A large explosion rocked the western Iranian city of Isfahan, semi-official FARS news reported Monday afternoon.

According to the report, the blast occurred shortly after 2:00 p.m. FARS did not reveal the cause of the explosion, which was large enough to be heard throughout Iran’s third largest city.

. . .

Isfahan is home to nuclear experimental reactors, and also a uranium enrichment facility for producing nuclear fuel.

See also:
Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility
Report: Huge blast heard in Iranian city of Isfahan
Iran: explosion in Isfahan reported
Loud Blast Reportedly Rocks Iranian City of Isfahan
Mysterious blast heard from Iran’s Isfahan city; reports conflicted
‘Explosion’ in Iran raises suspicions of attack on nuclear missile program
Blast near Iran nuclear facility
No explosion in Isfahan: Iran official
Iran official: Blast near nuclear site caused by military mishap
Sound of blast reported in Iran’s Isfahan city
BREAKING: Explosion Reported at Isfahan, Iran, ‘Home to Key Nuclear Facility’
More “Bad Luck” in Iran; “Huge” Explosion Reported Outside Isfahan
In Iran, a series of mysterious incidents raises sabotage suspicions

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this is the second major explosion,in less than two weeks, at or near a facility involved with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

/or maybe it’s not a coincidence at all, more faster please

Back In The Soyuz Again?

The good news is that we probably won’t have to abandon the International Space Station after all. The bad news is that we’re still dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts there.

NASA Confirms Russian Soyuz Failure Findings

An independent NASA panel reviewing data related to the Aug. 24 failure of the Russian Soyuz rocket transporting cargo to the International Space Station has confirmed that the Russian space agency correctly identified the cause of the problem and is taking appropriate steps to resolve it before the rocket’s next launch scheduled for Oct. 30, said William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, determined that the most likely cause of the failure was contamination in the rocket’s fuel lines or stabilizer valve, which caused low fuel supply to the gas generator, Gerstenmaier told lawmakers Oct. 12 during a hearing of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s space and aeronautics panel.

See also:
NASA review clears way for manned Soyuz flights
Russian Soyuz Recovery Strategy Endorsed
NASA ‘confident’ Russia’s Soyuz rocket safe
NASA says Soyuz rockets safe for American astronauts
Russian Rocket Failure Shouldn’t Force Space Station Evacuation, NASA Tells Lawmakers
NASA Gives Blessing for Soyuz Rocket, Which is Ready for Takeoff [PHOTOS]
August’s Russian rocket failure is unlikely to force evacuation of the International Space Station
NASA Says Russian Soyuz Flight Risk Low
NASA offers Congress assurances over space station

Hopefully, the Russians have come to the correct conclusion as to what the glitch was on last August’s failed resupply flight and have taken the proper actions to fix the problem.

/although I’d feel a whole lot better if the next Soyuz flight, the first since the August crash, wasn’t manned, just in case the Russians still have it wrong

Do The Microsoft Patch Dance

The dance that never ends.

Microsoft Patch

Microsoft released 13 security bulletins, patching 22 vulnerabilities across its product line, including two critical updates affecting Internet Explorer and the Windows DNS Server.

While Microsoft issued fewer updates this month, August was still marked as a busy month for system administrators. Adobe Systems Inc., which issues fixes on a quarterly cycle, issued a critical security update late Tuesday, repairing seven flaws in its Shockwave Player, more than a dozen holes in its Flash Player and an error in its Flash Media Server.

Microsoft addressed seven vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer including two zero-day flaws. According to MS11-057, Microsoft said an attacker who successfully exploited any of the vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the local user. Microsoft said the most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer

. . .

Another noteworthy bulletin is MS11-065, which resolves a vulnerability in the Remote Desktop Protocol. Although the security bulletin is rated important for users of Windows Server 2003, Miller said Microsoft has seen attacks targeting the flaw in the wild. The flaw can be targeted if an attacker sends a malicious remote desktop protocol connection request to the victim’s computer which could cause the system to crash.

See also:
Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for August 2011
Microsoft Fixes IE, Windows DNS Server Flaws In Patch Tuesday Update
Microsoft Patches 22 Security Holes
Microsoft Security Patch Fixes 20-Year-Old Flaw
Microsoft fixes 22 security bugs
Microsoft’s August Patch Tuesday security update to tackle critical flaws in IE and Windows Server
Your Microsoft Patch Tuesday update for August 2011
Microsoft to Fix 22 Software Flaws in Its August Patch Tuesday Update
Hefty Microsoft August Patch Delivers 13 Security Fixes
IE, Windows server bugs likely to be exploited soon
Microsoft expecting exploits for critical IE vulnerabilities
Microsoft Update

Get busy downloading.

/so, until the next Patch Tuesday . . .

It Came From Central Asia

How it got here or why it’s suddenly all over the news this week, well, your guess is as good as mine. But apparently, whatever you do, if you see one, don’t touch it and run for your lives!

Giant Weed Can Cause Blisters, Even Blindness

Call it the import that nobody wants.

Experts are urging residents of several states to beware of the “giant hogweed,” a tall plant native to Central Asia with umbrella-size flowers containing toxic sap that can cause burns, blisters and, in some cases, even blindness.

“Avoid it at all cost,” Jodi Holt, a professor of plant physiology at University of California, Riverside, told ABC News.

“The sap causes something called phytophotodermatitis when it touches humans,” causing scars and potentially blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes, Holt said. Some cases of blindness occurred after children used the hollow stalks as telescopes.

Heracleum Mantegazzianum, as hogweed is botanically known, is already a concern in the Northeast and spreading fast. Patches of giant hogweed have also been sighted in the Pacific Northwest.

See also:
Summer Plant from Hell: Giant Hogweed Can Burn, Scar and Blind You
Look out for Giant Hogweed
Giant worries over hogweed
Avoid Giant Hogweed: Noxious plant can cause blindness
Blistering, blinding weed creeps toward a city near you
Beware giant hogweed and its burning, blinding sap
Hogweed poses serious threat to New York citizens
Giant Hogweed Invades NY! This Weed Can Burn You, But Probably Won’t Eat You
What’s going on here? DEC to address hogweed problem in Springwater
Giant hogweed gone wild along Thames
Giant hogweed: 8 facts you must know about the toxic plant

I must confess, up until this week’s out of nowhere media blitz, despite years of extensive Boy Scout training, I’d never even heard of this marauding botanical menace.

/except as an early Genesis song

Hackers With A Death Wish

It’s probably not a good idea to taunt the folks who tracked down Osama bin Laden and specialize in covert, extrajudicial killings.

CIA Web site hacked; group LulzSec takes credit

The hacker group LulzSec claimed credit Wednesday for taking down the CIA’s Web site for a couple of hours, the latest in a string of embarrassing Web site disruptions the group has pulled off — apparently more to poke fun and highlight vulnerabilities than to cause real damage.

At 5:48 p.m., LulzSec, which dubs itself “the world’s leaders in high-quality entertainment at your expense,” posted an alert on Twitter: “Tango down — cia.gov — for the lulz.”

The site was back up by 8 p.m.

See also:
Hacker Group Goes After CIA SiteLulzSec’s CIA hack just one of many high-profile hackings
LulzSec Speeds Up Cyber Attacks, Now Claims CIA Website Hack
Hackers say they hit CIA website
Hackers Claim CIA Website Breach
Hackers breach into CIA website
LulzSec claims responsibility for CIA.gov outage
Hackers claim hit on CIA website
Group claims to have hacked CIA website
Senate website, CIA.gov reportedly hacked. LulzSec claims responsibility. [Updated]
Lulzsec Claims Responsibility For Hacking CIA And Senate Websites
CIA website hacked; group claims ‘credit’
Central Intelligence Agency

Apparently, LulzSec stages these attacks for giggles, laughs, and bragging rights, which is all fun and games until they bite off more than they can chew by hitting an entity with unlimited resources and more hacking talent than they have, and then suddenly it won’t be so funny anymore. Maybe LulzSec already has and they just don’t know it yet.

/as Jim Croce warned, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind . . .