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+ - Mathematicians Devise Typefaces Based On Problems of Computational Geometry->

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Typeface design is something of an art. For many centuries, this art has been constrained by the materials available to typographers, mainly lead and wood. More recently, typographers have been freed from this constraint with the advent of digital typesetting and the number of typefaces has mushroomed. Verdana, for example, is designed specifically for computer screens. Now a father and son team of mathematicians have devised a number of typefaces based on problems they have studied in computational geometry. For example, one typeface is inspired by the folds and valleys generated by computational origami designs. Another is based on the open problem of “whether every disjoint set of unit disks (gears or wheels) in the plane can be visited by a single taut non-self-intersecting conveyer belt.” Interestingly, several of the new typefaces also serve as puzzles in which messages are the solutions."
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Comment: Don't start rethinking the Bill of Rights. (Score 1) 1633

by purplie (#46772073) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Yeah the Second Amendment sucks. But the Bill of Rights is too important. PLEASE DON'T MESS WITH THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

Do you really want to open up a discussion on whether freedom of speech or freedom of religion needs a little "fixing"? For every enumerated right that you care about, there are huge numbers of people who'd be glad to see it deleted.

Comment: Requires good password rules (Score 1) 277

If 1/10 of users use "password" as the password, randomly pick a set of N users (where N is the "threshold", they suggest a small number like 1<N<5) and assume their password is "password". It will only take around (1/10)^N attempts for the assumption to be correct, and then you can derive the key. So to be effective it really relies on good password rules.

To another point, if only administrators have threshold accounts, this has the same result (and is more complicated) than using Secret Sharing to have N administrators share an ordinary encryption key (which would then be retained only in memory) for encrypting the salted hashes.

BTW look toward the bottom of the paper for a nice roundup of alternative techniques.

+ - "Search the Web, Plant a Tree—Every Minute"->

Submitted by purplie
purplie (610402) writes "From Scientific American:

"A few more socially minded search engines like Goodsearch and Everyclick donate a few cents to charity when you seek or shop. But one site begun in 2009, Ecosia, donates a whopping 80 percent of its ad revenue to a program that plants trees in the Brazilian rainforest to counter the rapid deforestation there. Ecosia has become popular enough that it recently hit an impressive benchmark: it is now replanting a tree a minute.""

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Comment: spread the pain (Score 1) 614

by purplie (#41720193) Attached to: FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

How about this one: every time you get a robocall, call your phone company, the FTC, and your senator to complain.

(How about this one: do whatever it is you're doing to block these calls from cellphones. I haven't got one on my cell in a couple of years.

How about this one: tell your phone company they need to block them or you'll switch. (Then do it.)

How about this one: "Can you call me back on my other phone?" Give them an FBI number.)

Comment: Completely wrong idea (Score 1) 212

by purplie (#41720123) Attached to: Standard For Electric Car Charging Announced
We need a standard for swappable batteries, so you can pull up to a fueling station, have your exhausted batteries replaced in under a minute, and drive on.

OK, yeah there are potential issues of fraud with getting served with an undercharged battery. There would have to be some mostly-trusted monitoring tech to record actual energy extracted, and we'd have to eat whatever fraud slips by. But electric cars will never become mainstream until the long-distance travel issue is addressed, by (1) swappable batteries, (2) batteries rechargeable in a couple of minutes, or (3) gas prices so high that people will put up with waiting a long time for recharges at waystations.

Comment: Ease of book creation isn't the problem (Score 1) 396

by purplie (#38731862) Attached to: Apple Intends To 'Digitally Destroy' Textbook Publishing
By itself, allowing more people to create books quickly isn't going to make a difference

Lots of good books already get published that aren't used for education, because textbook selection isn't based on quality or price, it's based on politics, and on complex, draconian, ever-changing standards --- which are so difficult to keep up with that perhaps $150 isn't surprising.

Comment: Fair's fair. (Score 5, Insightful) 413

by purplie (#38658416) Attached to: Amazon To Collect Indiana Sales Tax In 2014
Retailers gripe about people using their shop for browsing, then buying on Amazon --- but nobody mentions the people (I'm one) who use Amazon for reading reviews, while they're shopping and buying in the retail store.

As far as the tax goes --- I don't buy it. Local taxes help pay for local services. The fireman will come if there's a fire in their shop. Amazon already pays taxes in the location where they do business, and the fireman will come if there's a fire in their warehouse. And UPS and other shippers pay taxes where they operate, too.

Neutrinos are into physicists.

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