Monday, January 31, 2011

Just a quick note..

I just have to inform those who may be unaware: Rubber-hose cryptanalysis is an actual term with an actual Wikipedia page.

Cryptanalysis is a term that usually refers to advanced mathematical techniques used to analyze encrypted data for weaknesses, often on the level of published academic papers. Which is why "rubber-hose cryptanalysis" is funny, because it refers to "cryptanalysis" accomplished by beating your adversary with a rubber hose until they tell you what the data is.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I edit Wikipedia

In commemoration of Wikipedia's 10th anniversary, I thought I'd post something I wrote on my userpage about why Wikipedia is an important enough endeavor to contribute to. And yeah I know I'm a week late but here in DC we just celebrated yesterday.

Who am I?

I am an avid Wikipedia reader. I read much more than I edit. I read almost every day, [too] often for hours. As for editing, in 2009 I averaged 8 edits per month, just to give you an idea. I'd like to find the time to contribute more substantially, though.

Why do I edit?

Mainly, I'm just a big fan. You can learn an incredible amount on these pages, from what Westphalian sovereignty is to how nuclear power plants work to what the internet infrastructure is.
And there's a multitude of smaller topics that you never knew about but which are fascinating. To give just a few examples I'd name the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the Omphalos hypothesis, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and Kowloon Walled City. And these are still far from trivia. Because of the standard of notability, most articles you run across will educate you on some significant facet of our world.
We've got a nascent Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy here, just as the web always had the potential to be. This is why I list this site high on my personal reasons for why it's already the future.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Biology is Awesome: The Human Heart

I think I should start a new series about how amazing biology can be. I now realize the first part in the series was my recent post on the sense of balance of birds. There are some things that are just unbelievable that nature can pull off.

Like the heart. Just think about the fact that a heart is a physical pump that is always in motion and can keep running for over 100 years. To put it in perspective, imagine a mechanical pump running without stop for 70 years. Hard to imagine, yet biology manages this regularly. The heart doesn't get clogged or lose parts to wear. It doesn't make a single mistake like that over seven decades, even though it never stops moving.

I know it just sounds like some stoner epiphany, but it's things like this that make biology (or any science) an amazing thing to study. I feel like spreading the wonder because in the field I constantly encounter people who lost (or never had) this passion for it. Don't just do it for the Ph.D., the recognition, or even the pharmaceuticals. Do it because learning how it works is in itself amazing.

Image source

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's time to layer your userbases with your analytic sects

The antidote to your standard breathless, hype-choked tech journalism.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

That's it. Bubble 2.0. I'm calling it.

(And apparently more people have wanted to buy at that value than Goldman can accomodate. Which implies investors value it even higher?)

Not 100% on this but what can you say to that headline?

Mainly I want to lock in this bet with myself so later I can see if I was right.