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DDoS attacks are surprisingly low tech. Using a network of computers (dubbed zombies) controlled by a single master machine, the hacker tries to overwhelm the a website's servers. It's a brute force approach — the network of hacker-controlled computers flood the server with requests for data until the server overloads and comes crashing down. Graham Cluley, a computer security expert, likened the attack to "15 fat men trying to get through a revolving door at the same time." The attacks do no lasting damage — user data isn't compromised and the site isn't down for long. Once the fat men stop rushing the doors, everything returns to normal.
So is this the worst DDoS attack ever, as some Twitter fans are claiming? No, the DDoS attack on Google earlier this year was probably still the worst attack on record, says Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols in the Computer World. He of course also has a theory as to who may be behind it:
Twitter has become the way for Iranian protesters to keep in touch with each other and let the rest of the world know about how their election was stolen from them. The Iranian opposition had been planning protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's inauguration ceremony. A great deal of this planning has been over the Internet on blogs, and, of course, Twitter.
Slavoj Žižek in the LRB:
There are many versions of last month’s events in Tehran. Some see in the protests the culmination of the pro-Western ‘reform movement’, something along the lines of the colour-coded revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia. They support the protests as a secular reaction to the Khomeini revolution, as the first step towards a new liberal-democratic Iran freed from Muslim fundamentalism. They are countered by sceptics who think that Ahmadinejad actually won, that he is the voice of the majority, while Mousavi’s support comes from the middle classes and their gilded youth. Let’s face facts, they say: in Ahmadinejad, Iran has the president it deserves. Then there are those who dismiss Mousavi as a member of the clerical establishment whose differences from Ahmadinejad are merely cosmetic. He too wants to continue with the atomic energy programme, is against recognising Israel, and when he was prime minister in the repressive years of the war with Iraq enjoyed the full support of Khomeini.
Finally, and saddest of all, are the leftist supporters of Ahmadinejad.
Read the full article: here
Parvaneh Vahidmanesh in the Wall Street Journal:
Dear Ali Khamenei,Read the full piece here
You may not have heard of me, but your daughter knows me well. For eight years, I studied with Boshra at the Refah school in Tehran. The Refah School is where Ayatollah Khomeini resided during the Islamic Revolution. On its roof, leaders from the Shah's regime were executed. Sound familiar?
...If you, contrary to what I believe, are not aware of what's going on in the streets of your country -- if tear gas hasn't burned your eyes and the sounds of gunfire haven't pierced your ears -- then Boshra can direct you to some of the information available on the Internet. Ask her to show you the photos of Neda's last moments in the street. Neda, just like Boshra, has a father and a family who deeply loved and cared for her. Like Boshra, Neda cherished a thousand dreams in her heart.
Wonder what took it so long -- three separate e-mail links in 10 minutes.
James Wood in the New Yorker on Shahriar Mandanipour's Censoring an Iranian Love Story:
The author jokes about how Iran is subconsciously practicing “the late Roland Barthes’s theory of the Death of the Author,” and likens this control to political torture and disappearance: “So it is that many stories . . . in maneuvering their way through the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance either are wounded, lose certain limbs, or are with finality put to death.”...
...the novel’s insistent argument [is] that a modern Iranian love story can hardly be written at all, because it is contaminated not only by the fact of censorship but by the idea of censorship, and bound by literary conventions. ... In one of his many mischievous authorial interventions, Mandanipour notes that ancient Sufi love poetry often likens the body of a woman to a cypress tree, her eyes to those of a gazelle, her breasts to pomegranates, and so on. He implies that this level of figurative ornament is a kind of self-censorship by simile. So the tale of Sara and Dara is not only scored by the censor’s markings; it is constantly lapsing into cliché and conventional euphemism, because direct erotic language is not possible. “Sara’s lips resemble plump ripe cherries with their delicate skin about to split from the heat of the sun,” the author writes, knowingly.
Read the full piece here