As more and more details come out about the NSA surveillance programs, the federal government is looking more and more ridiculous. The latest comes from a column by John Fund at the National Review Online — a publication which has been a pretty strong supporter of the surveillance state. The column highlights that even the NSA's staunchest defenders are beginning to get fed up with the NSA as more leaks come out (especially last week's revelation of thousands of abuses). But the really interesting tidbit is buried a bit:
A veteran intelligence official with decades of experience at various agencies identified to me what he sees as the real problem with the current NSA: “It’s increasingly become a culture of arrogance. They tell Congress what they want to tell them. Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein at the Intelligence Committees don’t know what they don’t know about the programs.” He himself was asked to skew the data an intelligence agency submitted to Congress, in an effort to get a bigger piece of the intelligence budget. He refused and was promptly replaced in his job, presumably by someone who would do as told.
The kicker: LinkedIn decided not to tell moderators about that little change, and there's no appeals process even for mistakes. SWAMed LinkedIn users aren't happy.
If you go to the Wolfram Alpha link for the revised formula, it cannot understand the formula provided -- it says "Interpreting as: 2+( f(y)) * 1 = n". From the discussion, this formula does not help in factoring the large numbers (e.g. over 200 digits). Also, the formula provides an equation you have to search for solutions to it such that (a) both values are integer and (b) both values are prime.
All the formula is saying is "graph the multiplication of two values such that they equal the RSA modulus". Because Wolfram Alpha gave answers that matched prime factors for small primes (with an RSA modulus of 15 digits or less), he's assuming that he's found a way to factor any RSA modulus.
It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.