Wonder if this classic from Slant 6 and the Jumpstarts, which was played on the Dr. Demento show several times had something to do with it:
Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
I don't recall stating that symmetric keys are related to authentication. May I suggest a careful reread?
Actually, 2048 bits on a symmetric key (which is what a password is) is insane overkill. You are making the classic mistake of comparing the number of bits in an asymmetric key to the number in a symmetric key. SSH, at best, uses 256 bit symmetric encryption for the session, so you would only need a (using your numbers for 6 bits per char) password that was 43 chars long. Anything longer is pointless, because your encryption/authentication scheme is only as good as the weakest link.
Leonid meteor shower, weather permitting." Folks from the United States will want to start watching at 0100 Pacific, 0400 Eastern, and those in Europe from 0100 local time until dawn."
Link to Original Source