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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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June 16, 2009

Proxies for Iran (More Politics - Mixed With Technology)

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Posted by Derek

Many thanks to the people who've e-mailed me about the situation in Iran. My wife's relatives there are all OK (so far!); she's spoken to them several times. Things remain unstable and impossible to predict. It's been thirty years since huge crowds marched through the streets shouting "Death to the Dictator", so everyone's a bit out of practice.

One thing that the more technically inclined readers might consider doing is setting up proxy servers for use by the Iranian protesters. Two web sites that will give you details on this are here and here. The government is blocking all the obvious IP addresses for people trying to organize and get news out of the country, but anonymous proxies provide a lot of non-obvious routes onto the net. I'm trying to get something set up at home myself.

There are a lot of punches being thrown by both sides - for example, some people with proxy servers have reported a lot of denial-of-service garbage coming in from blocks of Russian and Chinese IP addresses. But if you configure things to accept only Iranian domains (those sites above have IP address lists) you should be able to screen that stuff. If you're up for it, please consider helping out. It's one of the few concrete steps I can think of from this distance. A general guide to the current cyberwarfare situation is here. Update - link went dead, but this new one will stay alive. BoingBoing has enough bandwidth!

Comments (20) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blog Housekeeping | Current Events


1. proxies for iran on June 16, 2009 8:39 AM writes...

Proxies that Iranians can use are at USA and Worldwide proxy ips. Fast, exclusive and anonymous (will not forward original ip info).

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2. milkshake on June 16, 2009 1:47 PM writes...

The readers here be advised that Pipeline and Corante are CIA fronts - a Zionist outfit aimed at destabilizing the Islamic Repubic of Iran.

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3. metaphysician on June 16, 2009 2:24 PM writes...

#2- What, you mean the CIA is doing some good for a change? Cool. ;)

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4. Jan Teller Jr on June 16, 2009 2:30 PM writes...

Indeed the political situation in the main political actor in middle east is worrying. Just another dictatorial regime, with lots of cash from the oil, and no freedom to choose, no social "egalité".

The main reason why muslim countries have turned from almost democratic socialist republics in the 60s and 70s to increasingly dictatorial and poor countries, is been the american and western-european policies, firstly supporting that dictators to avoid the countries falling into the USSR influence, more recently in the heavily sionist and lucrative neocon policies.

As an european observer I am really hopeful with Obama´s presidency. I hope that his policies will make a difference and will support a social soft revolution in that big muslim countries such as Iran, Egypt or Argelia, where radical-Anti-sionist-anti.american speechess will become mere anachronisms in the dark night of the first part of the 21st century.

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5. metaphysician on June 16, 2009 3:29 PM writes...

*cough* You know, I had assumed that #2 was being humorous. Now I'm not so sure. . .

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6. milkshake on June 16, 2009 3:53 PM writes...

Its good that you are willing re-consider, my friend, its very good. Its good a safe, too.

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7. Andy on June 16, 2009 4:03 PM writes...

Incidentally Derek, the final link in your post is no longer working (although it was fine a few hours ago). Comes up with an "Account suspended" message.

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8. Andy on June 16, 2009 4:05 PM writes...

(cue ominous music)

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9. SRC on June 16, 2009 9:21 PM writes...

Nah, Pipeline isn't a CIA front. The New York Times would have put a secret like that on its front page.

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10. Anonymous on June 16, 2009 11:37 PM writes...

SRC is a right wing nut!

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11. fred on June 17, 2009 10:44 AM writes...

Where's Capt. Kirk when you need him? Go in and make them REALLY a better fit for the United Federation of Planets (instead of more screwed up-- the way interventions USUALLY end up, by accident or design). There are a lot of truly horrible countries out their (China, Burma, Iran, The Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan) where the majority of people might be decent enough, given a chance.

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12. Proxy Guy on June 21, 2009 4:29 AM writes...

There is no real shortage of proxy sites for Iranians to use now.

Check out the lists at to see the constant stream of new proxies of all types.

A few of these sites block Iranian and Chinese traffic, but most do not.

The current state of Iran shows how true it is that we get the government we deserve.

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13. Derek Lowe on June 21, 2009 9:13 AM writes...

Problem is, the ones that get listed publicly are the first to be blocked, from what I'm hearing. Non-public proxies seem to have a much longer lifetime.

And as for that last sentence of yours, are you saying that the people of Iran deserve the treatment that they're getting right now? I hope that I'm misunderstanding you there. If I'm not, though, let me take this opportunity to invite you to go to hell. If I have taken this the wrong way, then apologies in advance.

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14. Jan Teller Jr on June 21, 2009 3:06 PM writes...


That is only partially true. It only happens in free societies where there is a real possibility to choose among several political choices in the general elections. And it happens that many people decides not to vote cause they cannot bother, either cause their feel that their rights and way of life wont change whatever the result, or cause they dont feel represented by any of the few political options.

However, in countries as Iran, there is no real freedom to choose, and that is what people is fighting for at the moment. Even when it seems that the "green" movement is supported by another faction of the establishment (Rafsanyani) and if they would have won the elections, maybe things wouldnt change that much.

Speaking about my favourite subject chemistry, I would like to ask if anybody knows what kind of oxidant would work to oxidise a primary alcohol to the corresponding aldehyde, in a molecule full of coordinating-nitrogens. So far, I have tried with chromium-based oxidants, and it seems that the starting material-products, get stuck to the metal junk. Ideas, anybody?

Thanks in advance

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15. T on June 21, 2009 3:38 PM writes...

#14 Jan -

I don't know where you work or what type of scale you are working on, but Dess-Martin is a nice oxidant. It gives rather clean oxidations and is often used in complex NP synthesis.

If you don't want to make it, it is available commercially, although it is rather expensive.

I suppose you could use some of the DMSO based oxidations, such as Swern.

Hopefully they would work. There are the more exotic oxidations, such as the Corey-Kim, but, that is not an oxidation I would use on the front lines.

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16. Hap on June 22, 2009 12:59 PM writes...

Parikh-Doering oxidation? (DMSO + pyridine-SO3)? There shouldn't be any metal around to be coordinated, and I don't think it requires low temp, either. I don't know what its liabilities are, though.

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17. Hap on June 22, 2009 1:11 PM writes...

I don't know that it's fair to blame Iranians for the state of their government. It seems like blaming shareholders at this point for the failure of their companies - if you don't have a say in who runs your company, how much they are paid, or what they do, and your management is busy paying themselves with your money while expending your company's goodwill and future prospects, and your sole choice is to sell or hold, it seems unreasonable to place the company's bad performance on you. Considering that mostly everyone but Iranians have been choosing their leaders for quite some time (including us and the British), and revolutions are pretty uncertain affairs (at best, you might have a better country but you might not be around to see it, and at worst you might kill lots of people to get what you started with), it seems a fairly harsh judgment of the Iranian people that they are getting the government they earned.

The criticism seems more inapt coming (most likely) from a country who is lucky if half its eligible voters can even be bothered to vote on a regular basis, and whose financial and structural flaws can be in part traced to our unwillingness to accept a modicum of pain to pay for what we want.

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18. Jan Teller Jr on June 22, 2009 2:37 PM writes...

Thanks a lot guys, your suggestions have been very helpul and are very wellcome.


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19. Windows VPS Hosting on June 29, 2009 10:38 PM writes...

This is good that you are willing re-consider this. Its good and safe, too.

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20. drew3000 on July 17, 2009 5:09 AM writes...

Thanks for the post. We're in much the same situation here in London. We're in contact with my wife's family in Tehran as much as possible and looking at a couple things: A) What we can set up from here to help people access tools to get news out; B) Some sort of guides in English and Farsi on how to acccess them for the regular person. We're in the process of putting the Google content into Farsi, but if you've got anything else going on, drop me a line. One thing I'm sort of interested in seeing if it could be set up is somehing like the tool at, which is an open source way of crowdsourcing crisis info. But keeping it accessable from inside Iran is the thing.

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