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Comment: Re:I downgraded (Score 1) 248

by surd1618 (#47257315) Attached to: In the year since Snowden's revelations ...
https://qrng.physik.hu-berlin.... for instance, or others. And to deal with the fact that a man-in-the-middle could intercept your pad, just download somewhat more than you need and clip it at random points (okay since we are talking crypto, pseudo-random). Then so long as the contents of the DVDs are never revealed, there will be no way for the man-in-the-middle to know what part of the pad to use to decrypt your data. Supposing it was text and they ran an algorithm to test every offset of the potential pad against your encrypted message, they would get about a bazillion false positives. Really I suspect dev/random would be good enough for most anything so long as the copy was physically delivered to the recipient. I hope someone could actually make a guess at how long it would take a computer to decrypt an ascii email padded with stored dev/random data so long as the interceptor could not access the stored pad (although maybe they could discover info about the system that produced it).

Comment: No Need For Engineering (Score 1) 396

by surd1618 (#47256685) Attached to: "Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa
According to Dan Koeppel in his book linked here, Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World there are scores of species and varieties of bananas. Many have annoying seeds, but many also have large amounts of vitamin A, and Koeppel discusses the fact that on some islands these are a major source of vitamin A for the populace. So, I'm not dead-set against GMOs, but why should anyone take the risks (even if they are low), when we could instead merely introduce more cultivars already bearing copious amounts of vitamin A, and let the best one win? This would not only avoid the whole GMO issue, but it would also introduce new flavors, and may reduce the chances of the plants from being wiped out by Panama disease or black sigatoka, which threaten bananas mainly because likely every banana you've ever eaten is genetically identical, which usually predisposes a population to diseases, if you didn't know.

Comment: blockchain secrecy (Score 1) 232

by surd1618 (#47232387) Attached to: US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road
I have not followed this topic very closely, but I think this is a sufficiently specific question with a sufficiently complicated answer to be worth asking: because people have to make large purchases I'm sure there's names involved, so will these transactions de-anonymize Bitcoin to a great extent? I understand agencies can already track specific blockchains if they really feel the need, but I wonder if this will make it much easier.

Comment: the article hyperlinked through 'strongly' (Score 1) 519

I couldn't find a full copy of Melville B. Nimmer, “National Security Secrets v. Free Speech: The Issues Left Undecided in the Ellsberg Case", but for anyone who wants to dig in, here's a link to a preview of the article in jstor. It says you can sign up for free and you get to rent articles for 14 days.

http://www.jstor.org/discover/...

Comment: Re:Credit rating databases aren't new (Score 1) 294

and can pretty easily be displaced

Except they're all turning into cartels. Classic example: Ma Bell was all busted up, and step by step all the baby Bells got permission to unite with their little neighbors, and now we have a few corporations that have divided the phone service into market segments, all of which have Bell heritage. Some markets, like say grocery stores and many emerging products, definitely still compete, but wherever there's big money, increasingly there is collusion and shell-game competition. Cheers for Elon Musk, though.

Comment: Openbox on Crunchbang (Score 1) 611

by surd1618 (#47122133) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?
I like the implementation of Openbox on #!. It does things one wants to do, and it has 1 way to do each thing. I don't see the point of wasting electricity and hard drive spins by having 10 ways to do things, or spending time pairing away everything I don't use in a big desktop environment. Close 2nd is XFCE on Debian or Arch.

Comment: Takes away the romance (Score 1) 323

by surd1618 (#47122013) Attached to: 'Curiosity' Lead Engineer Suggests Printing Humans On Other Planets
On the one hand, the rational thinker in me says that sending ships to other places, where machinery will make humans, might be the only way that humans ever get out of here. OTOH, I want to see another planet with my own eyes. So, I think this is a good idea, but it makes me sad.

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