Chernobyl Rain?

I’m quite skeptical about this, but I figured I’d put it out there because I believe the source is reputable, although I haven’t found much of anyone else reporting on it. The Telegraph reports on a quite disturbing alleged incident concerning the Chernobyl reactor accident of 1986:

Russian military pilots have described how they created rain clouds to protect Moscow from radioactive fallout after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

Major Aleksei Grushin repeatedly took to the skies above Chernobyl and Belarus and used artillery shells filled with silver iodide to make rain clouds that would “wash out” radioactive particles drifting towards densely populated cities.

More than 4,000 square miles of Belarus were sacrificed to save the Russian capital from the toxic radioactive material.

If true, this is quite a shocking bit of news. I’m really curious to hear more about it one way or another…

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A couple of months ago, Wired (among others) reported that the encryption scheme used on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs had been broken:

AACS, a DRM scheme used to encrypt data on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks, would appear to be cracked wide open by that short string of hexadecimal codes [above], as previously, only disk-specific Volume Keys were compromised.

This was, of course, big news, as it demonstrated that DRM schemes will eventually be broken no matter how secure they are touted to be, and in the end they only end up making it more difficult for consumers to view content legally.

The buzz on the Interweb in the last day or so has been about the “user revolt” at Digg, a popular social bookmarking site that has recently been consistently removing posts including the magic hexadecimal key, even revoking some users’ accounts without any warning or real reason. The fact that Digg had recently entered into an advertising partnership with HD-DVD only exacerbated the inevitable backlash: users at one point managed to get the entire Digg front page filled with posts related to the hexadecimal code, as seen in screen captures at Wonderland.

As you would expect, the Slashdot thread on the “revolt” is most informative, as is the one at MetaFilter. There is already a slew of related merchandise available, and stereogum even posted a YouTube video with an original song incorporating the code. 🙂

Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, finally responded on Digg Blog:

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

I think it’s definitely the right response, although it doesn’t come close to negating the damage already done. What do you think?

Update: The EFF has a legal primer on the decryption code incident.