A 6.3 earthquake and one with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Western Iran in the course of just a week. These are largely rural areas, with a lot of mud brick buildings that tend to collapse when the earth shakes. It's hard to say how many casualties there are, in total. Scientifically speaking, the earthquakes were also fairly interesting, writes Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous
. They happened in different — in fact, totally opposite — ways, with the smaller one happening as plates crashed into one another and the larger caused by tectonic plates moving away from each other. This was along the same plate boundary. How's that work? Rowan has the details. — Maggie
Salman Masood: "A ban on YouTube, which Pakistan imposed after an anti-Islam video caused riots in much of the Muslim world, was lifted Saturday, only to be reinstated — after three minutes
— when it was discovered that blasphemous material was still available on the site." — Rob
Remember how the CIA used a phony vaccination campaign in order to collect DNA samples from Osama Bin Laden's family? (If this is news to you, there are lots of places to get the backstory
. Suffice to say, it's morally grotesque. A doctor working with the CIA went around the region near the Bin Laden compound and gave inadequate doses of the vaccine, leaving behind kids whose parents thought they were protected from Hepatitis B, but who were, in fact, not.) This month, Taliban military leaders banned a U.S.-funded polio vaccination campaign from operating in the regions of Pakistan that they control
. Polio is endemic in Pakistan. (Via Emily Willingham) — Maggie
An AP article out today details the intimate and internal conflicts in the Osama bin Laden household, prior to his assassination at the hands of US forces last year. Snip: "He spent his last weeks in a house divided, amid wives riven by suspicions." ISI officials describe his eldest wife, Saudi-born Khairiah Saber, whom they interrogated after the raid: "She is so aggressive that she borders on being intimidating."
The ad, clipped from one of the national Pakistani newspapers today (it apparently ran in all of them), seeks bids for a national censoring firewall: "Each box should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds."