Seriously, this is awesome. This morning, web hosting provider 365 Main announced in a press release that it had provided Red Envelope with “two years of 100% uptime at [its] San Francisco facility.” This afternoon, an outage in San Francisco left 20,000 without power, including 365 Main — and for reasons that are still unknown, no backup generators kicked in, knocking Red Envelope, Craigslist, Technorati, and all the SixApart sites (TypePad, Vox, etc.) offline for over two hours. Talk about the karmic boomerang coming around and smacking you on the ass…

Update: As of about 9:00 PM Eastern tonight, it appears that 365 Main took the press release out of the “In the News” section of their home page — seems like a good move.
Update #2: As of about 9:30 PM Eastern, they’ve also deleted the press release from their archives; seems like an all-out cleansing. Fishy!

By being the current big-man-on-campus, it seems that the iPhone drew some security scrutiny its way, leading to what looks like the first real malware for the device. John Gruber, who has turned into a 24/7 defender of All That Is iPhone, might have to eat a few of his words

Now that pop-under ads have made a resurgence on the web — and nefarious webheads have managed to figure out how to make them happen even with Firefox or IE locked down pretty tightly — I have an idea that I’d love to see implemented. It’s rooted in the basic problem that by the time a user closes a web browser window and sees all the accumulated pop-under ads, he or she has no clue which website was the cause, and as a result, no idea which website should be the target of unabashed loathing. Simply put, the idea is that any web browser window should have a feature which shows the user the exact website address being viewed in the window that spawned the popup. That way, it would be clear as a bell which website was responsible for accepting ad content (or worse, purposely programming content) which behaves this egregiously, and it’d be much easier for users to then avoid those websites — voting with our pageviews, as it were.

Who’s with me?

Wow — turns out that the D.C. drinking water probably isn’t all that safe. Looking at the actual Environmental Working Group report that triggered the Post story, the only solace we can take here on Capitol Hill is that the two places tested that are closest to us had “acceptable” levels of contaminants and chlorine in the water. In any event, it seemed like a no-brainer to order up a Brita filtering pitcher; the only downside is that we’ll have to keep up with replacing the filters, but I figure that’s an incredibly small price to pay for safe drinking water.

Apparently, there’s a pretty critical blood shortage throughout the Washington DC metropolitan region right now — according to this article, there are around 50 units of type O blood in stock from Virginia to Pennsylvania as of this past weekend. If you are able, you might want to think about taking some time to donate blood over the next few days — both the Red Cross and INOVA have information about donor centers in the area. (The Red Cross also has a good list of restrictions on donating blood, which you might want to peruse before making the trip!)

For everyone who seems confused about what I used to do for Sports Illustrated, Microsoft put together a series of two great articles (first, second) that show exactly what I did every time I went on the road with the magazine. (Well, I worked there before the photo world went entirely digital, so imagine a bunch of film processors, slide mounters, light tables, and high-resolution film scanners added to the mix, along with the ever-present smell of the chemicals used to develop the film!) Our road setup was amazing for the time — we travelled with around 150 custom-built padded cases, one- or two-dozen computers and 17-inch monitors, huge (and incredibly delicate) flatbed scanners, a truckload of networking equipment, and countless cases full of cables, power adapters, keyboards, mice, printers, slide carriers, and other assorted loose equipment. It took nearly a day just to unload the equipment, much less set it up — and another day to break it all down and pack it up for shipment back home. We always brought special connectivity lines into the event venues, and spent days and days trying to convince telcos that adhering to their normal troubleshooting procedures would mean that they’d show up to fix some problem long after an event ended and we’d returned home. The most amazing part of it was how magical it felt to most of the editing staff when the images appeared on their desktops back in NYC within an hour or two of them being shot in some arena on the other side of the country… this was way back before everyone took the internet for granted. In any event, I’m super-impressed with the detail that MS put into these two articles. (Thanks go out to Sam for the pointer.)

What a shocker — Richard Carmona, the Surgeon General from 2002 through 2006, now acknowledges that the Bush Administration continually muzzled him on issues like stem cell research and contraception. In Carmona’s words:

The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thanks to the Los Angeles Times, we now know that despite President Bush’s proclamation that 30 months in prison was an “excessive” punishment for Scooter Libby, the Bush Justice Department has presided over the sentencing of 198 individuals convicted of obstruction of justice, and the average prison sentence received by those individuals was 70 months. I’d comment on this more if I thought it was needed, but that’s really a finding which speaks for itself.

In light of the President commuting Scooter Libby’s prison sentence yesterday, calling it “excessive”, I figured I’d link to the U.S. Supreme Court decision from two weeks ago which upheld the 33-month sentence of Victor Rita. Rita was convicted of perjury and making false statements — essentially, the same as Libby — and challenged the sentence as excessively harsh and unreasonable; the Court disagreed, saying that the sentence was well within federal sentencing guidelines and appropriate given the crimes of which Rita was convicted. Unfortunately for Rita, he isn’t a friend and confidante of Dick Cheney; I’d assume he’s pretty bitter about Libby walking around a free man…

Space Shuttle Atlantis made an unscheduled stopover in Amarillo, Texas this morning on its way back from California to Florida; it was an incredibly rare landing for the 747/shuttle combo on a commercial runway, and from this video, it looks like hundreds of Texans relished the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the orbiter in their town. The Shuttle came through San Antonio once or twice when I was a kid, but it always landed and took off from one of the three Air Force bases in town rather than the airport, so I never got a good view of it on the runway.

Seeing the shuttle actually flying atop that 747 never fails to make me nervous; there’s just no way to convince me that that’s anything but an uninterrupted nightmare for the pilots of that big bird. I’d imagine that that takeoff is particularly frightening — hurtling down a runway with a freaking Space Shuttle bolted to the top of the plane, gathering speed incredibly slowly and hoping that the pavement doesn’t end before the whole contraption launches into the air.