I’m an idiot. I was programming on the aforementioned PT3K when I deleted 2 solid days of coding. Needless to say I was about to cry, but not all was lost!
I found a little program calld recover, which is available in the main debian apt tree. I installed it, crossed my fingers, read the man pages, and, for the first time in years, said a little prayer.
Basically, recover looks for recently deleted inodes, which, until they are written with new data, still contain your lost data. Once it has found those inodes it dumps the data to a specified directory. After that you just need to start grep’ing around for your files. Needless to say it was a lifesave and the *very* first thing I did was back up a tarball to trusty zebulon (up almost 300 days!).