The National – Fixing Their Site? – Time Will Tell

Posted in Dangerous, Mixed Nuts on August 25th, 2009 by MadDog
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As I reported some time ago, The National,  one of our major daily newspapers has been infected by a virus since at least the 29th of July. The virus is called HTML/Framer, but that’s probably of little interest to you.

I visited the site (I’m well protected) a couple of days ago (don’t remember the day) and my AVG threw up the same old warnings. Today the story is different. I was just preparing to remove it from my list of “Try These Links” when I decided to give it one more shot. This is what popped up in Firefox:

The National is off-line. Are they getting rid of the virus?

The site is completely off line. I hope this means that they are fixing the problem. I called the system administrator as soon as I discovered the virus. He never returned my call. I’m going to give the person the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was too flabbergasted at the moment to talk to me, but I am suspicious, nevertheless. I’ve been rebuffed many times when I had a solution in hand and tried to help out a webmaster or a system administrator. Many simply can’t believe that someone calling on the phone to report a virus could possibly know as much about it as they do.

Anyway, I find it abominable that they didn’t take the site down the minute that they discovered the virus. Practically everybody knows that maybe over 90% (note the wacky estimation technique) of the computers that can get on the internet in PNG are probably unprotected and already spewing out viruses by the bus load to any other unprotected computer. Every single flash drive that comes into our building from outside is infected. That’s why I forbid them to be inserted into an office computer until I have de-loused them.

I find it irresponsible of the management of The National  to allow their web site to remain on line for such a long time knowing that it was spreading a virus to every unprotected computer that visited it.

Any rebuttals? Corrections? Comments?

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Scuttling the Doilon

Posted in At Sea, Under the Sea on August 25th, 2009 by MadDog
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In 1994, after a hapless life along the north coast, the ageing cargo vessel Doilon  met destiny noisily. Many Madang residents made the short passage to Kranket Island to view the spectacle. As the blasting experts set charges in her engine room, a flotilla of little boats bobbed around her and then scurried away like water striders as dire warnings were shouted across the water. The countdown proceeded: Five, four, three, two, one . . . ka-BOOM! Brilliant towers of water on either side of her stern gushed to four or five times the height of her bridge. Within thirty seconds, she disappeared beneath the blue waters as the announcement of her passing still echoed off the mountains. Among the spectators, we divers felt particularly privileged to be present at a rebirth that would mark the beginning of a new relationship for the old lady. No longer would she roam the sea. She would now be nurtured by it. Her transformation into a splendid garden would be observed by her former masters:

The Doilon being scuttled - 1994 - Kranket Island, Madang, Papua New Guinea

That was the opening paragraph for an article titled The Reincarnation of the Doilon  that I wrote for Niugini Blue magazine.  I won’t bore you with the rest of the text, but I will show you some of the images from the article.

First, I have to tell you a funny story. My old dive buddy Ian Dosser and I went out to check how the marine life was getting along on the fairly young wreck. I was down near the bottom of the hull. I looked around and did not see Ian. Then I looked up. What I saw is in the inset at the upper left of this image:

My dive buddy Ian Dosser shown up in the corner meeting the Giant Grouper

That’s Ian just as he turned around and saw the massive Giant Grouper about a metre away from him. I watched a huge glob of bubbles emit from Ian, but he didn’t back away (he’s a tough copper, you don’t want to mess around with him).  Still, the huge fish must have outweighed him at least five to one. You can imagine that we toasted that big grouper with a few cold ones.

Here is a composite image of the location of the wreck:

The location of the Doilon wreck

And here is a side-scanning sonar image that I got from Faded Glory  with my Humminbird sonar:

A side-scanning sonar image captured from Faded Glory of the Doilon wreck

There is a huge array of marine life growing on the Doilon.  It has only been down about fifteen years, but everything grows very rapidly in these very warm, rich waters. It’s often like swimming in a tepid bowl of soup. The visibility is not usually terrific, but there is plenty to see. Here is some winch equipment near the bow:

Winch gear near the bow of the Doilon

The Doilon is a favourite night dive. It lies in fairly protected water and is easy to find. At night, it is crawling with exotic critters seldom seen in the daytime. Here is a Leopard Cowrie on the prowl with its mantle extended over its shell:

Cowrie shell with mantle exposed shot on a night dive on the Doilon

And here are two Chromodoris  nudibranchs doing the tango:

A couple of Chromodoris species nudibranchs found on a night dive on the Doilon

If you dive the Doilon,  please remember to go around to Kranket lagoon and find Thomas to grease his palm. The Krankets get cranky if you don’t pay them. You might find yourself dodging stones.

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