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Alan Peart
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Forty Portraits in Forty Years
Photographer, Nicholas Nixon has been taking black-and-white portraits of The Brown sisters every year since 1975. The project started out "on a whim" and has turned into a yearly "ritual". Now it has become the visual records of the sisters' lives over the years. Read the article from +The New York Times:  
nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/03/magazine/01-brown-sisters-forty-years.html
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SDO Shows Evidence of a Fast, Earth-directed CME - The eruption from AR12158 that produced the X1.6 solar flare (peaking at 17:45 UT) produced a fast, global wave across the solar surface. These are often called EUV or EIT waves. Also, area around the center of the active region became dark. This is because material is blown away from the area, leaving less material to emit EUV light or appear darker. This wave, dark area (dimming) and other radio data are all indicative of a CME, probably a fast CME perhaps several 1000 km/s or more. We will have to wait for coronagraph data to be certain but it looks like we have a fast, Earth-directed CME. The video shows the sun in the SDO/AIA 171 wavelength channel, the 211 channel then the 2 wavelengths combined.

credit: NASA/SDO/helioviewer

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This popped up in my notifications and I thought "wow, that's a nice picture, where did it come from?" It was only when I read the metadata that I realized I took it with my phone, and Google had automatically uploaded it and then post-processed it for me. I'm kind of freaked out and impressed. This is Fountain's Abbey by the way, at the "surprise view".
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I wanted to share a #drupal  tip that I wish I'd figured out ages ago.

My server was struggling with the aftermath of a major #spam  attack on one of my sites. A few spam accounts had been created on a site where normal (authenticated) users had permission to create blog posts. The spam accounts then went on a blogging spree that resulted in about 10,000 nodes being created in a few hours. The first I heard about it was when MySQL died.

I duly removed the spam accounts and all of the spam blog posts (this had to be done in the database as there were too many to take care of using the UI) but the server was still up at 80% CPU because there was constant HTTP traffic to the deleted URLs. Each "page not found" error required a full Drupal page load because the URLs were all different. Not only that but bots were constantly trying to access the /node/add and /node/add/blog pages, causing Access Denied errors that were also taxing the server.

After trying many different things I finally realized the most efficient way of saving the server. You can check for the Drupal UID cookie in your .htaccess file, and create a light static page to catch all the unwanted traffic, while still allowing genuine users through. I created a catch.html file in the root directory with nothing but the words "Nothing here". I then added these lines in .htaccess:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_COOKIE} !DRUPAL_UID
RewriteRule ^node/add.*$ /catch.html [R,L]

Then I renamed "blog" to "news", changed the aliases of all blog entries to /news/xxxxxx, and directed all legacy traffic to the /blog/ URLS into the (cached) front page:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_COOKIE} !DRUPAL_UID
RewriteRule ^blog/.*$ / [R,L]

This may temporarily mess up genuine search engine traffic but I think this will be taken care of quite quickly when the site is re-indexed and the new URLs spidered. Unfortunately rewriting the old URLs to the new ones would defeat the purpose of saving the server from the load generated by the spam traffic.

Since implementing these measures CPU on the server dropped back from 80% to a more normal 20% and I can enjoy my Sunday.

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Excellent, excellent article. Don't read it if you prefer opinion pieces reflecting your value system as applied to a situation deliberately described in terms too vague to be understood. Do read it if you're interested in a little slice of reality. Most of what we read about war is so emotive as to make objectivity impossible. We certainly should have emotions and we certainly should be aware of the horror of war. But without being able also to take a more detached point of view you can never really understand what's happening.

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