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Alan Thicke DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | about 12 years ago | (#3822484)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon. [slashdot.org]
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

Johny Nemonic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822487)

fun.

Painful Emergency (-1, Offtopic)

JasonMcVeigh (590128) | about 12 years ago | (#3822495)

not worth a full post but please check out this url :: jasonmcveigh.tripod.ca

Moderation - A warning from History (-1, Offtopic)

ringbarer (545020) | about 12 years ago | (#3822489)

Reposting again. Managed to get up to 50 Karma, posted ONE pro-Troll message, and got mod-bombed. This diatribe was truer than I thought. CLiT, I shall be honored if you accept me as a member!

Visitors to the website slashdot.org [slashdot.org] will by now have surely heard of the act of Moderation. This is where a contributor's post can be 'Moderated' either positively or negatively, depending on how the Moderator perceives the value of the post. There is a sliding scale of total moderation points, from -1 to 5, along with snappy summaries of the reason for moderation, such as "Funny", "Insightful", or the ever popular "Troll". An additional benefit offered to Moderators is the ability to ban a poster from contributing, by negatively moderating enough of his postings in a 24 hour period.

In order to retain some level of fairness for the Slashdot population, the Slashdot Editors (adopting the role of 'Benevolent Dictators') have implemented a scheme whereby regular users of Slashdot, chosen essentially at random, are given the ability to act as Moderators.

This underlines an inherent flaw in the system. Psychological studies have shown that in any community, no matter how small, should a random sampling of people be given the slightest grasp of power, they will immediately abuse it. There is a primal, evolutionary desire in Man to place himself higher than his peers by whatever measurement they can muster. Slashdot Moderation provides the ideal means for which a man can prove himself more equal than others.

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law at such an early point in my thesis, I have no choice but to compare Slashdot Moderation to the systematic genocide of the Jewish community in 1930's Germany.

A bold statement, I admit, and deliberately designed to shock, but I feel the statement is necessary. I shall now offer a more rational explanation, as well as a comparison of the parallels between Slashdot Culture, and the National Socialist regime.

First, some history. National Socialism did not spring up overnight. It grew from a feeling of national bitterness and resentment at the war reparations Germany was forced to make after World War One. Germany was a broken country, populated by desperate starving people. And to the desperate, an extreme ideology begins to seem like a rational choice.

The advent of new technology forces a paradigm shift in the way the beholders of that technology think. The Christianity Meme was made wide spread by the invention of the Gutenberg press. And the rise of National Socialism was made popular because of the invention of Cinema. Here we had a new means to control the flow of information to the populace, that they are willing to unquestioningly listen to due to the 'novelty factor' of moving pictures. It is no coincidence that some of the best Cinematography of the early 20th Century came out of the National Socialist propaganda machine.

Why is this the case? It is yet another fault of man that a new means of distributing memes is perceived, due to the 'newness' of the medium, to have a greater 'validity' than older media. Those harnessing new inventions have the power to win control of the hearts and minds of others.

With the tools in place, who should the National Socialists target? Clearly, as a counterpoint to Man's desire to hold power over others, there is also a desire to resent the success of others. If someone is successful, they reduce the self-worth of their beholders. Although times were harsh in Germany in the prelude to World War II, there were still successful inhabitants of that country. Possessing shrewd business acumen as well as the contacts in other countries needed to maintain support in such a poverty stricken and broken land, who else should deserve the wrath of the populace more than the Jews?

Fast-forward to the latter quarter of the 20th Century. Computing technology is focused in niche markets, and limited to big successful companies like IBM and Microsoft. As the markets were limited, there were also limited opportunities for employment. This gave rise to a rising number of college dropouts, seething with resentment and unable to relate to society beyond the staccato clatter of keyboards and the pallid green glow of an 80x24 text display, and lacking the basic business skills (and a smart suit) needed to secure employment at one of these companies.

At this time, a new invention was beginning to take hold in College campuses throughout the world. The Internet. As with the Gutenberg press and Cinema beforehand, this new technology would grow to spread one of the most virulent memes of the modern age - Open Source Software, created as the antithesis of successful business practise.

So, the parallels between the birth of Anti-Semetic National Socialism and the birth of Open Source Software have been made. Of course, it is easy to claim that A=B without providing further logical evidence in support. So, the next task of my thesis is to provide further parallels, and bring this discourse back to the initial focus on Slashdot Moderation.

Slashdot was conceived, in it's original 'Chips 'n' Dips' incarnation, as a vehemently anti-corporate Open Source website. Roughly 10-15 years down the line from the birth of Open Source, it has become saturated with propaganda, and now forms the centrepiece of the Open Source Development Network. An authority in it's field, Slashdot's success is in no small part due to the ability of the editors to 'pick and choose' valid news articles submitted by users, and present the same old tired "Open Source Good / Closed Source Bad" rhetoric time and time again, dabbling with anti-copyright and the right of the 'common man' to remove an artist's ability to gain compensation for the work. In essence, this is similar to the 'paring down' of artistic worth in 1930's Germany. If no-one is willing to contribute valid and vibrant art to the community, then all art shall become harsh and functional, possessing a certain intimidating aesthetic.

Which leads onto Open Source's shining achievement - Linux. This diatribe is not aimed towards Linux in particular, as it is a well-oiled, well-tuned machine. A technically adept Operating System, it is worthy of admiration by any rational man. The point of this thesis is not to attack the art produced by Open Source coders, which in itself is worthy, but to enlighten all as to the political processes behind the OSS movement.

By the same scale, it is hard to fault Mercedes for the technical excellence of the vehicles which were used by the National Socialist party. But the politics behind the party are what taint the image of Mercedes' vehicles of the era. The Swastika itself is a benign symbol, found this day in such diverse locations as Pokemon cards, but is permanently tainted with the history of the acts made under its auspice. In the same way, companies switching to Open Source solutions will begin to regard the Penguin with the same trepidation as their profits fall.

It should be worth noting at this point that IBM, previously one of the world's greatest companies, has begun reporting servere financial losses, no doubt due to its adoption of Open Source practises. This epoch-making event was NOT reported on Slashdot, even though articles were submitted.

And what of the other great company mentioned above? Microsoft, aka Micro$oft, Mickeysoft, Microshaft, Kro$oft, and many other derogatory and undeserved names. Throughout the previous 25 years, Microsoft has grown from strength to strength, again possessing shrewd business acumen as well as providing products that people want. This makes them the number one target for the OSS movement. Incapable of standing by their own merits, the OSS zealot would rather attack Microsoft as a priority than produce anything of worth for their community.

Slashdot Moderators, crazed with their limited new-found power, exhibit this behavior. It is a sad state of affairs that the majority of article moderations are negative. Where is the positive feedback and sense of social contribution? Nowhere to be found. Moderators are too focused on putting their peers down to make themselves appear superior, rather than doing the hard work and becoming better on their own terms.

As the National Socialists required a scapegoat, Slashdot Moderators require a constant stream of Postings to label '-1, Inferior'. Once a posting is reduced to the score of -1, it becomes invisible to the casual user. Again, this is a parallel to the Ghettoization of Germany upon the election of Hitler.

In essence this would not be so bad, were postings to be evaluated on their own terms. However, alongside the moderation of their postings, each user has a 'Karma' value, namely the sum of their worth to the Slashdot community. As a user's posts are moderated up or down, so their Karma fluctuates. As Karma becomes negative, a user's default posting score is reduced, until they are posting at a default of -1. Again, ghettoizing PEOPLE, not just their opinions.

This ghettoization is reinforced with the often fake belief that a negatively moderated post, and therefore the poster, is a "Troll". (Is it any wonder that such a name has been chosen to describe these people, invoking mental imagery of facial disfigurement and hooked noses?) As the Jews were accused of fraud, dishonesty and being subhuman animals, so too are Trolls accused of FUD, Crapflooding, and obfuscated goatse.cx links. Quite often, these 'undesirables' are capable of providing a valid insightful comment on a topic, but because it is in opposition to the Political dogma of Slashdot they are moderated back into their ghetto. The person becomes moderated, not their opinion.

This is just the thin end of the wedge. Although, as memes are transient, it is difficult to silence an opinion, it is trivial to silence a person. Upon the rise of National Socialism in Germany, the populace were motivated by propaganda into entering the Jewish Ghettos en masse with the sole purpose of causing as much damage as possible to Jewish businesses and residences. The infamous Krystalnacht. This parallels far too accurately with the Slashdot Editor's non-discouragement of the act of IP-banning. As mentioned above, this occurs when an individual user's postings are repeatedly moderated down in a short period. They then become incapable of posting any contributions themselves. In essence, they have been silenced, regardless of the worth of their postings.

Of course, the editors claim that Meta-Moderation is the panacea to solve this clear abuse of moderating privledge. But if a Meta Moderator is presented with a list of moderations that they disagree with, such as this targetted 'silencing' mentioned above, they cannot note them as such without in turn becoming an 'Undesirable' themselves, as too many Disagreements with the Moderation groupthink also result in loss of Karma.

Throughout all of this, the Editors have claimed a false level of detachment from the acts of moderation. In a same way, as the National Socialists gathered their power and began working on their Elite Political wing, The SS, they too remained detached from the civilians working in their name. Why? Because after inspiring the populace to such acts of violence through their propaganda, they could then claim that they were only giving the people what they want.

And then began the next stage of the atrocities. The Gestapo, Germany's secret police, were recruited from the best and the brightest of Germany's elite. As is the case now, the best and the brightest of society were often shunned and ostracized in society. In essence, the Gestapo were a tightly controlled 'Geek Army' of intelligent young men with a burning, seething resentment of normal society. The perfect psychological profile for the cause.

After all, give a normal man (with an active sex life) a gun and he will use it responsibly in self defence. Give a geek a gun and he will behave according to his sociopathic logic and hatred of the world he arrogantly presumes to be distant from. Ask yourself why Slashdot flat-out justified the murder of innocents at Columbine. And then ask yourself why, even for a brief moment, you almost began to sympathize with the killers after Jon Katz' manipulative and pseudo-emotive Hellmouth articles.

How this relates to Slashdot is clear. The majority of Slashdot posters are Sociopathic OSS zealots, unable through lack of social finesse or personal hygiene to mate regularly. Sexually and emotionally frustrated and with grudges to bear, incapable in their blinkered sense of self-righteousness of accepting any dissenting opinion than the OSS cause. Now give these people the opportunity to Moderate these dissenting opinions. Of course they are going to want to silence them, by any means necessary.

Now, the Slashdot Editors have admitted taking this silence of opinion into the next stage, by moderating whole swathes of 'undesirable' posts negatively. And then permanently banning anyone who moderates said posts back up from moderating EVER again! The result of this new policy? The few Moderators with any sense of fairness and decency are removed from the moderation pool, leaving the power ENTIRELY in the hands of the zealots. Clearly, positive moderation is discouraged under this regime, which is a direct parallel with the way the National Socialists moved their own sympathisers into positions of power throughout Europe.

So how does this compare to the genocide performed in Auschwitz and their ilk? I would like at this point to explain that in NO way do I wish to belittle the horrors that were performed in the name of National Socialism. The six million innocents killed were a cry of anguish from which humanity may never recover. And a vast distance in time and scope from a few banned posters on some shitty "My Favourite Links - now with comments" website. But these stories need to be retold before the horror is lost forever.

For the only thing that we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. Time and time again, the St. Vitus dance is played out, we make the same mistakes, and we perpetually fail to see the warning signs.

So, moderators, the next time you moderate a rational, insightful post down, maybe because you disagree with it or because it's posted by a 'Known Troll', just ask yourself this...

"Am I really contributing to the Slashdot Community, or selfishly destroying it?"

Re:Moderation - A warning from History (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | about 12 years ago | (#3822522)

looks like you god mod bombed again!

slashdot = american nazis

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822490)

first post

sorry, cant hlp it

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822491)

yay

happy 4th of july to everyone (-1)

Anonymous Pancake (458864) | about 12 years ago | (#3822492)

I'd like to wish a happy july 4th to the country that funds Israel's terrorism, created the DMCA, and generally wipes it's ass on the rest of the world.

Happy July 4th you filthy pig fuckers.

Re:happy 4th of july to everyone (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | about 12 years ago | (#3822531)

Wipe my ass. [goatse.cx] Please?

+4 Insightful! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822535)

Booyah!

Scant on details (4, Interesting)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3822505)

The article was a bit scant on details. As we've seen before, if you keep your encryption scheme unpunlished and just claim that it is 'unbreakable', usually someone comes along later when it is in use and breaks it for you.

Actually it sounds quite similar to the 'teenage genius' story of that Irish schoolgirl who had her similarly 'unbreakable' matrix encryption scheme widely publicized without peer review, and then broken.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in this case ..

Re:Scant on details (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822537)

I didn't know the Irish girl's thing was broken/debunked. Can you post a link?

Thanks in advance -
Aoyos Cwr
nnmu oad

Re:Scant on details (2, Informative)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3822598)

Yep, here you go [cryptome.org] . She cracked it herself shortly after it was publicised, the method is detailed in the appendix.

Also here's a link [udayton.edu] to the press release this guy's university published on his work. Although, come to think of it, it looks quite familiar. Is this a repeated story?

Re:Scant on details (1)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3822617)

Sorry, I was confused, no it's not a repeated story. I read it a couple of weeks ago in this journal [slashdot.org] .

Re:Scant on details (not new?) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822650)

Is this really new? See Sherlock Holmes The Adventure of the Dancing [odysseytec.com]
Men

Re:Scant on details (1, Troll)

DebtAngel (83256) | about 12 years ago | (#3822664)

Well, it is getting patented. Once the patent process is complete, the scheme will be published because, well, that's the point in getting a patent in the first place.

Oh, right, Slashdot. Patents evil. Meh.

Re:Scant on details (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822698)

right. patents on ALGORITHMS evil. slashdot or not.
if you dont agree i patent 1+1 = 2. pay me everytime you add a number in your head.

Re:Scant on details (1)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3822732)

Huh? I never implied patents were evil.

Re:Scant on details (2)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822735)

Oh, right, Slashdot. Patents evil.

Patenting a new encryption algorithm is not only evil, but also stupid. Nobody will try to break a patented algorithm, and without years and years of expert cryptographers trying to break an encryption scheme, one cannot consider it secure.

Re:Scant on details (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822787)

IIRC, the patent application is in the public domain too - after all, if it is secret, how can anyone check it? Patenting is a first-past-the-post system - hence people trying to modify a patent "on the fly" to include stuff originally not covered, rather than start a new one.

More Details - His Abstract (5, Informative)

Cryptosporidium (145269) | about 12 years ago | (#3822757)

This is a direct quote from his science fair project abstract:

The purpose of this project was to create unbreakable cryptography employing a random number generator for personal and business use on the Internet or for internal communications and data storage. A literature search found that currently used methods have computational security (DES, Public Key) and that only cryptography with "one-time pad" encryption and random keys has unconditional security. The hypothesis for this project was that unconditional cryptography is possible if the random number generator has perfect probability and is mathematically random. A wide range of random number generators (computer built-ins and from the literature) were tested for randomness, speed, range of seed numbers, simplicity, and period length. Randomness was tested for frequency patterns using the chi-square test method.

The best random number generator (from literature) was combined with a shift cipher to produce cryptography that is simple to implement, suitable for personal or networked computers, and has unconditional security. The method uses one time, random keys and modulus arithmetic to make the cipher one-way and unbreakable. Disks containing a large array coordinates of the seed used to generate the one-time, random key can be transmitted publicly. The developed cryptography would be suitable for personal use, business sensitive messages and data, and top-secret military communications.

Snake Oil (5, Informative)

Jerf (17166) | about 12 years ago | (#3822901)

Assuming this abstract is complete and correct, then it provides us enough information to know that his encryption technique is more snake oil [interhack.net] .

Specifically, we have the unbreakable claim [interhack.net] warning sign, and even more specifically, this is almost certainly one of the one -time pad [interhack.net] errors:
The bits in the pad cannot be generated by an algorithm or cipher. They must be truly random, using a real random source such as specialized hardware, radioactive decay timings, etc. Some snake oil vendors will try to dance around this issue, and talk about functions they perform on the bit stream, things they do with the bit stream vs. the plaintext, or something similar. But this still doesn't change the fact that anything that doesn't use
real random bits is not an OTP. The important part of an OTP is the source of the bits, not what one does with them.
There's also the technobabble [interhack.net] , secret algorithms [interhack.net] , and revolutionary breakthrough [interhack.net] warning signs.

I hope they enjoy the $20,000 patent, 'cause it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Re:More Details - His Abstract (2)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 12 years ago | (#3822971)

I hope you getted modded up higher than 3. If he wrote that abstract then he really has no idea what he's doing.

And presumably, his school has no idea what he's talking about.

to make the cipher one-way and unbreakable

This would be interesting. A one-way cipher? Cryptography actually is very easy when you remove the requirement of being able to decrypt the ciphertext.

Re:More Details - His Abstract (2)

Jerf (17166) | about 12 years ago | (#3823021)

Cryptography actually is very easy when you remove the requirement of being able to decrypt the ciphertext.

Hey, thanks, I think I just figured out what my Master's thesis will be... ;-) "On Cryptographically Secure Write-Once, Read-Never Memory And Its Application To Buzzword-Compliant Technologies."

(disclaimer: I am not specifically a cryptographic researcher as that statement may imply. Just a regular ole' comp. sci. master's student who understand math well enough to trust the crypto researchers over a poorly-prepared teenager any day, no matter how romatic it might be to think that the teen has actually come up with something valuable...)

Re:More Details - His Abstract (1)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 12 years ago | (#3823054)

Hey, thanks, I think I just figured out what my Master's thesis will be... ;-) "On Cryptographically Secure Write-Once, Read-Never Memory And Its Application To Buzzword-Compliant Technologies."

If you switch to the University of Dayton, they'll probably give you a grant for it.

There once was a ghostse... (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | about 12 years ago | (#3822509)

who got an early post.

No details? (3, Interesting)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822510)

There seem to be no details in the story about just What this marvelous breakthough is; it can't just be that they use encrypted data as motion data and generate a cartoon of it - that is just steganography, and a pretty obvious version too (plus of course, any movement of one character that obscured a move of another would cause data loss).
Anyone know of a more technical piece on this?

Re:No details? (1)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3822523)

They said it had something to do with the algorithms they use to generate realistic looking character movements. Maybe this has it's roots in chaos theory?

Re:No details? (2)

Lars T. (470328) | about 12 years ago | (#3822589)

He simply adds numbers from a PRNG into the encryption process. AFAIK that is not new. And if you know what RPNG and the seed(s), it's also not really safe.

The link to animation is very thin, you can use PRNG for "random movements" in computer animation. That's about it.

Re:No details? (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822619)

Not sure about that - crowd motion is random, but constrained; arms don't just jerk back and forth, but move smoothly (although not a constant speed) between a start and end point; both legs can't be off the ground at once without the body moving down under gravity, lifting a leg up means moving it forward (because of the hinges and so forth) its a mechanical system that can be modelled mathematically. It is possible that the encoding is in the constraints of a system, not the actual values (which can be randomly or pseudo-randomly generated.

I still doubt anything here is practical though.

Pointless article. (2, Insightful)

fogof (168191) | about 12 years ago | (#3822511)

This is such a pointless article. They give no insight on the technology. And one of the major points: The inventor is a teenager. Ok ... Maybe if they write about it in a couple of years when the patent passes it might not be a wast of time/bandwidth to read that article. There was no insight only saying saying that he used random numbers and cartoons. And oh yeah, they tried to sell it. If you are going to write about a tech, please .... please describe the technology, isn't that the point ?

Re:Pointless article. (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822534)

One point that does occur to me - they claim to have made a patent application - so why not link to that application in the article? I thought the us patent office were online these days?

Re:Pointless article. (2)

SirSlud (67381) | about 12 years ago | (#3822643)

It is [cos.com] .

Hmm ... (2, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 12 years ago | (#3822517)

What happens when you need to break the encryption?

Do you call in The Tick?

Freakazoid?

The Brain?

Who knows ... ;-)

Re:Hmm ... (1)

Rune69 (244519) | about 12 years ago | (#3822744)

Ahh come on, when there's serious encryption-breaking to do, you need REAL power.
The power of American Maid! *triumphant musical noise plays in the distance*

If this encryption is any good though, the kid better get his lawyers on the phone now, before:
a) Dubya labels him a terrorist mastermind (ok ok, so Dubya wouldn't use a big word like mastermind)
b) Some software mobsters (read: Microsoft) decide to 'liscence' (read: steal) the algorithm from him.

Unbreakable encryption? (5, Interesting)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822518)

An unlikely combination of interests -- cartoons and math -- has inspired a sophomore at the University of Dayton to develop a new, and potentially unbreakable, encryption technology.

There already is an unbreakable encryption: the One-Time Pad. Furthermore, it is mathematically provable that no unbreakable encryption can have a shorter key than the One-Time Pad. Since the One-Time Pad algorithm is already extremely simple and fast (XORing the key with the plaintext), I don't see a need for any other unbreakable encryption.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822567)

OTP is a marvellous encryption system - low on cpu, unbreakable security, can be done by hand with less than ten minutes training.

Unfortunately, the large amount of non-reusable key data that is needed (equal in size to the data to be encrypted) means it is almost unusable; a major government could afford to hand courier a cd full of pad to a embassy; I doubt Amazon could afford to do the same to protect your CC details.

Btw, what is the mathematical proof of keylength? I would be interested to see that, as even a simple variant (compressing the plaintext then using OTP) requires less key data...

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822601)

It's not the data amount in the OTP, it's the act of transporting the data. How do you find a courier to trust?

That's why, without exception, all cryptology research is in some form of public key crypto. If you can keep the key secret, the problem is trivial.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822639)

To a large extent, it *is* the data amount in the otp. a system that required you to transport one cd's worth of data to a remote subsiduary *once* in the entire lifetime of the system would be practical; you could send a staff member in person with one install disk for the software, and one data disk for the keys

however, a VPN system relying on CDs with keydata on them would probably eat a cd a day just on routing and housekeeping data, never mind actual traffic.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822705)

You could transport a semi-truck full of harddrives. Information is taking less and less space every day.

You have to ask this question: How much do I really need to encrypt? Can I get away with only encrypting important stuff, so I don't waste my key on trivial junk?

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822636)

Btw, what is the mathematical proof of keylength?

Very roughly, it goes like this: We define "unbreakable" as the following property: An eavesdropper cannot learn anything (except the length) by looking at the ciphertext, i.e. given a ciphertext, every plaintext of the same length is equally probable. This property can only hold if there are at least as many keys as possible plaintexts, therefore the key cannot be shorter than the plaintext.

I would be interested to see that, as even a simple variant (compressing the plaintext then using OTP) requires less key data...

This case, the compressed plaintext counts as the plaintext. :)

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822701)

That's nice enough in theory; however, it is possible to imagine systems that don't require a 1:1 correspondence between key and data length to acquire this property. The simplest example would be to exploit the entropy within data already encoded to generate additional keydata. Given (say) a 2K block of compressed data, you could hash the first K of data to give a single byte; adding this to the keydata for the second K would allow you to reliably and unbreakably encode the second K with 1023 bytes of truely random keydata.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 12 years ago | (#3822746)

I would suggest you find a book on Information Theory. It's an interesting subject, and very relevant to cryptographic theory. The proof of minimum key length relies exactly on the relationship between the entropy of the plaintext and the entropy of the key.

The simplest example would be to exploit the entropy within data already encoded to generate additional keydata.

Once you do this, your scheme is now breakable.

Keep in mind that a legitimate attack is an exhaustive search of the key space. If there are fewer possible keys than possible plaintexts, then for a given ciphertext the attacker can figure out a range of candidate plaintexts that is smaller than all possible plaintexts. That means the attacker has gained information.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3823030)

Keep in mind that a legitimate attack is an exhaustive search of the key space. If there are fewer possible keys than possible plaintexts, then for a given ciphertext the attacker can figure out a range of candidate plaintexts that is smaller than all possible plaintexts. That means the attacker has gained information.
This is true - I should have thought it though more. I will surrender on this one before I look a bigger fool than I do now :)

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822799)

Such a scheme may well be good enough in pratice, however you can no longer prove mathematically that it is unbreakable.

An attacker with enough resources could encrypt all possible 2048 byte paintexts with all possible 2047 byte keys. For some of the 2^2048 plaintexts, it will not be possbile to generate the given ciphertext with any of the 2^2047 keys. The attacker can rule these out as possible plaintexts. No longer are all possible plaintexts equally probable -- therefore, it's not unbreakable in the sense defined in my previous posting.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (1)

evalhalla (581819) | about 12 years ago | (#3822687)

even a simple variant (compressing the plaintext then using OTP) requires less key data

Yes, but then you have some information on what the original text could have been, as it should be a valid [insert compression program] file. The reason why OTP is unbreakable is that if you try to attack it by brute force you'll have all of the possible messages of the same lenght, and you'll have no clue about which one is the real one. On the other side, if you compress the text and then apply brute force, you'll have all of the possible files of that lenght, but only a small part of them will be valid compressed files and this may help finding the real message.

I think that the actual proof works more or less in the same way: if the key is random, and exactly the same size of the text you get every possible message, even with bruteforce, if the key is shorter there are more chances that you'll be able to find some pattern in the cryptogram that will help you to decifrate it, and anyway with bruteforce you'll get only a subset of the possible messages, so that you may have a clue on what the real message was.

Of course this is required to have a really unbreakable system, mathematically proof: ohter systems may be statistically unbreakable, either because you need lots of time to decipher the messages, or because with brute force you may not get all of the messages of the same lenght, but you'll get enough to have really small chanches to find out the real one. Those will work just fine for most needs, like Amazon etc.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822723)

Yes, but then you have some information on what the original text could have been, as it should be a valid [insert compression program] file
True enough; however, this won't give you any sort of a handle on what the original data was (although it will give you an idea of how much entropy was in the data, if you have any idea how big it should be decompressed). It will give you a good chance of a little keydata (particlarly if the file has a fixed-text header after compression) but as keydata is never reused, that isn't a vunerability.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (1)

evalhalla (581819) | about 12 years ago | (#3823037)

If it gives you any sort of information on the original message, other than its lenght, the system is no longer mathematically secure. Still reasonabily secure, but then there are lots of reasonabily secure encryption systems that are easier to use (expecially for key transmission).

You're right, there's no reason for alternatives (1)

DeHar (92476) | about 12 years ago | (#3822591)

Two problems with one-time pads:
1) Generating the pad initially, and
2) exchanging the pad.

Why not look at other possibilities, since this method has clear limitations?

No reason to limit research...

Re:You're right, there's no reason for alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822627)

Generating the initial pad is not much of a problem. You generally have to do something very very stupid to get your generation method reverse engineered. More than that, a property of any public key encryption method is that it can be changed into a very sucky key gen program that is still harder to reverse engineer than it is to break the original public key encryption.

Your number two is the reason for public key crypto.

Re:You're right, there's no reason for alternative (2)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822682)

Since any truly unbreakable encryption scheme has to use keys at least as long as the One-Time-Pad, I do in fact consider the problem of unbreakable encryption solved. No need for further research.

Of course, there's a lot of need for research into ciphers which are not mathematically provable to be unbreakable, but are more practical than the One-Time Pad. :)

Re:You're right, there's no reason for alternative (2, Informative)

NortWind (575520) | about 12 years ago | (#3822852)

Two problems with one-time pads:
1) Generating the pad initially, and
2) exchanging the pad.

1) Generating the one-time pad is easy with a hardware noise generator such as an avalanche diode. Marx [marx.com] makes a USB dongle that has a true white noise generator. Just pump the noise into a file, walla!

2) Exchanging pads is not needed, as the one-time pad can be used in a symetric scheme, just a simple XOR will do fine. You only have to transfer the pad one way. Unfortunately, that is a problem that has no good solution.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (1)

robolemon (575275) | about 12 years ago | (#3822796)

What about a One Time Pad that is one less than the length of the ciphertext? It seems to me like having the first and last number the same doesn't compromise the security of the message one bit!

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

Jerf (17166) | about 12 years ago | (#3822834)

"It seems to me"

Famous last words in the field of cryptography.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822886)

I won't discuss if it compromises security, since I'm too lazy to define mathematically what compromised security means. :) But one thing is for sure: such a scheme is not information theoretically unbreakable. Please see my posting elsewhere in this thread [slashdot.org] for a more elaborate explanation.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (1)

evalhalla (581819) | about 12 years ago | (#3822950)

It would be no longer mathematically unbreakable. Of course, if the message is a few TB long your method won't compromise much, but it won't help you transmitting the key, either; on the other side if your message is 8 bit long a 7 bit keys will compromise almost everything.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822830)

There already is an unbreakable encryption: the One-Time Pad. Furthermore, it is mathematically provable that no unbreakable encryption can have a shorter key than the One-Time Pad. Since the One-Time Pad algorithm is already extremely simple and fast (XORing the key with the plaintext), I don't see a need for any other unbreakable encryption.

I see such a need: I've patented one-time pad! The world is mine MUHAHAHA!
As a side note, I've also patented numbers up to 10^3.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (1)

z-man (103297) | about 12 years ago | (#3822893)

One time pads are useful for small amounts of data/one time transmissions, but for huge data it becomes quite useless. Another thing with one time pad is that both sides need to have the key (symmetric cryptography) and the pads have to really be random, or secure pseudo-random.
I'll agree that one time pads are the only true secure form of cryptography, but that is still not reason enough not to develop more/better algorithms which are more effective in other areas.

Re:Unbreakable encryption? (2)

BlueWonder (130989) | about 12 years ago | (#3822958)

I'll agree that one time pads are the only true secure form of cryptography, but that is still not reason enough not to develop more/better algorithms which are more effective in other areas.

Any truly unbreakable cipher (in the information theoretical sense) needs a random key at least as long as the plaintext. This is provable. Therefore, no information theoretically unbreakable cipher can exist which is more effective than the One-Time Pad.

If it is more effective, it is not unbreakable. Of course, this says nothing about usefulness. In fact, effective but breakable ciphers are more useful than unbreakable ciphers in almost all cases.

No such thing as unbreakable encryption (1)

MoneyT (548795) | about 12 years ago | (#3822964)

We can come immensly close to it, but if data was to move from human readable to encrypted and back to human readable, than at some point it had to be decrypted, and if it can be decrypted it can be broken. It doesn't mean that the chances of it being broken are immensely small, but the chance is still there. Espesialy if the randomness is generated by computer, I have yet to see a random generator scheme for a computer that doesn't have some sort of formula to it. True randomness is very hard to come by.

Computer != true randomness (1)

Toshito (452851) | about 12 years ago | (#3822527)

How does he generate his randow numbers?

A computer can do pseudo randomness... but since it's not truly random there are ways to detect periodic repetitions and thus find the missing key to decrypt the message...

The only way to be truly random would be to have an outside source (like a camera pointing to lava lamps, or a tree in the wind, backgroud noise, etc...).

This article is not very detailed, but I understand this invention is in the process of being patented, so we'll have to wait...

Re:Computer != true randomness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822597)

Take a look at the implementation of /dev/random on a UNIX that provides it. Most of them use data from the user and hardware to gather truly random data.

Hell, with a dedicated hardware implementation (like the Intel i810 had), you could even measure ridiculous things like fluctuations in power/fan speed. Or if you're one of those who is running a chip 300mhz above its spec, maybe time between NMIs. (*ducks*)

Re:Computer != true randomness (1)

Toshito (452851) | about 12 years ago | (#3822772)

Using data from the user input is not very usefull if your machine is a dedicated encryption server wich nobody even touches for months...

Re:Computer != true randomness (2, Informative)

Antity (214405) | about 12 years ago | (#3822615)

How does he generate his randow numbers?

A computer can do pseudo randomness... but since it's not truly random there are ways to detect periodic repetitions and thus find the missing key to decrypt the message...

What you mean is probably: "Computers cannot generate true random numbers in software".

Germanium diodes are said to generate real random, chaotic electron flows if used in blocking direction.

One usually uses a Germanium diode, places an A/D converter past it and calls it "hardware random number generator".

That said, scientists still aren't sure whether there is such a thing like "true random numbers" at all. Create your own universe and maybe you will be able to predict any "random" number that beings within this universe try to create.

Re:Computer != true randomness (1)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | about 12 years ago | (#3822753)

Which scientists?

Re:Computer != true randomness (2, Interesting)

Toshito (452851) | about 12 years ago | (#3822763)

You are correct, but I must say that the Germanium diode you are talking about must be considered as an external source of randomness, since it's not something normally found in a computer.

What I meant to say is that in today's personal computers, there is nothing truely random.

Video poker machines have been exploited because the random numbers they generates tend to repeat. When you sample those numbers over a couple of weeks, you can see patterns emerging from those numbers. If you can find a formula or method that duplicates theses patterns, you have a way to predict the "random" numbers that the machine will generate.

Re:Computer != true randomness (1)

Antity (214405) | about 12 years ago | (#3823070)

You are correct, but I must say that the Germanium diode you are talking about must be considered as an external source of randomness, since it's not something normally found in a computer.

It's as external as your network card is, which (also) (still) isn't part of quite a big part of the installed PC park.

Should be quite cheap to produce as a USB plug, too, and could finally remove this annoying "please move your mouse and press some keys" entrophy gathering some homebanking programs (and crypto key generators) still require.

What I meant to say is that in today's personal computers, there is nothing truely random.

Well, let me see, there is:

  • Intel's i810 chipset [tomshardware.com] :

    "The FWH - 82802

    Behind the name 'FWH' = 'Firmware Hub' you'll find a chip that's not much else than a 4 Mbit EEPROM plus a tiny bit of active silicon. The EEPROM contains the motherboard and graphics BIOS and the active silicon is a random number generator."

There is even Linux support for this (Character Devices -> Intel i8x0 Random Number generator support) and as far as a quick search on the net shows it's also present in the i815.

Although, but this is my perfectly personal opinion, I wouldn't trust some blackbox random number generator manufactured by Intel.

Re:Just for your archives.. (1)

Karoshi (241344) | about 12 years ago | (#3822789)

.. once http://lavarand.sgi.com/, now: http://www.lavarnd.org/ [lavarnd.org]

Re:Computer != true randomness (1)

z-man (103297) | about 12 years ago | (#3822922)

Timing keyboard interrupts and similar and generating an entropy pool of pseudo-random numbers and using them (like the Linux-kernel does (/dev/random)) generates supposely strong pseudo-random numbers.

That jiggle on the right... (1)

StandardCell (589682) | about 12 years ago | (#3822528)

...means you bit-reverse that byte. Glorious. And this message is double ROT-13 encoded, so anyone reading it is in violation of the DMCA. *shakeshead*

Not Using Animation to encrypt (5, Informative)

nairnr (314138) | about 12 years ago | (#3822536)

Maybe it is just me, but I think the poster is a little bit confused. It is not that animation is being used in encryption, but rather he was inspired by the crowd scene in Hunchback, where the characters movements were essential being controlled by random numbers to create a lively and chaotic look to it.

The article then states that the thought was to use random data in an encryption algorythm to make it unbreakable. So I don't think that we will be seeing messages passed around the the next Disney flick...

Real Work (2)

JohnHegarty (453016) | about 12 years ago | (#3822554)

" He hopes to sell the technology to computer companies, banks, government agencies, and other organizations that could use a secure code."

Am i the only one who can't see many / any real world applications for this.

Do I understand correclty? (2, Interesting)

gfilion (80497) | about 12 years ago | (#3822562)

Working with stick men in animation, Mr. Kauffman wanted to improve upon those techniques, assigning more numbers to more body parts and actions.

While studying number generators for the cartoon project, he found references to mathematicians and computer scientists who had theorized that the technique could be used in encryption technology [...]

"Since you don't know what any of the values are mathematically, [a hacker] can't solve it," says Robert E. Kauffman, who is a senior research chemist at Dayton and Jason Kauffman's father.

If I understand it correctly, Alice sends a cartoon to Bob. Bob knows which features to looks for (for example the head and feets) -- that's the secret key -- and can then reconstruct the message by analysing the movements of these features.

Not too dumb, but it looks more like steganography than cryptography.

GFK's

unbreakable? right.... (3, Insightful)

KillerCow (213458) | about 12 years ago | (#3822570)

new, and potentially unbreakable, encryption technology

Unbreakable? Sounds like snake oil already...

An idea dawned on him for a unique way to use random numbers in a math equation to encrypt data.
"Since you don't know what any of the values are mathematically, [a hacker] can't solve it,"


This is ridiculous. Some stream ciphers use random number generators for their encryptions. The problem is, that since the "random" numbers come from a random number generation algorithm, they are not random -- they just appear to be. When they are subject to analysis, patterns are found, and the whole system is compromised. The security lies in how hard it is to predict the "random" numbers.

Jason Kauffman is going to continue plugging away at his mechanical-engineering degree.

That's a good idea, since this sounds like the junk "unbreakable" encryption that comes around every few years. If he's interested in encryption, he should take some advanced math classes to get a better foundation to work from. And pick up a copy of Applied Crytography.

Sorry about the rant... but this kind of thing gets me going.

Re:unbreakable? right.... (1)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 12 years ago | (#3822655)

"Unbreakable" probably just means it's a one-time pad variation, that being the only known system that can support that claim. Off hand, I'd suspect he's just working on some way to use animation to convey key information. I don't know how that would work, though.

But it's hard to criticize or admire whatever technique this guy is looking at, because there are no details in the article. (zero-knowledge reporting?)

How is this new? (1)

User 956 (568564) | about 12 years ago | (#3822577)

Random numbers are used extensively within encryption techniques, particularly for generation of keys. As the key is primarily the guardian of your data, it is vital that it is truly random to ensure it can't be guessed or determined by frequency analysis (or other methods).

This is particularly important for block cipher algorithms which use the same key over and over again on successive blocks of data!

At last I understand those Simpsons cartoons! (1)

Aliks (530618) | about 12 years ago | (#3822595)

Now its clear to me: they were sending coded instructions to operatives in the field.

When they all leap onto the sofa at the start of the episode it truly means something.

Now if only I could get a look at the decode manual . . .

Re: At last I understand those Simpsons cartoons! (2, Funny)

Antity (214405) | about 12 years ago | (#3822652)

When they all leap onto the sofa at the start of the episode it truly means something.

Now if only I could get a look at the decode manual . . .

Homer's hair. Nuff said.

And whenever they need to send a burst of data, there always is some reason to show Homer in the 60s in the storyline, right? ;-)

New Patented Idea (5, Funny)

mborland (209597) | about 12 years ago | (#3822604)

I can't disclose the details of my new patented idea for what I know is an unbreakable encryption algorithm, but I will describe my research.

I was sitting outside and saw all the blades of grass swaying in the wind before me. I noticed how some were shorter than others, and that they actually didn't all have the exact same color. I thought if I assigned a number to each of these and several other characteristics, I'd be well on my way to unbreakable encryption.

My dad used to be a pretty famous rodeo clown in the 60s and an alumnus of the college I'm attending, so when I approached the board of trustees for approval for my research, they were ecstatic! They gave me $20,000 to conduct my research. Now I will be busy all summer observing the grass swaying in the wind. I plan to have a prototype ready at some point, I hope.

Re:New Patented Idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822635)

That happens to be a crackerjack idea. I have a small suggestion to make it truly brillant.

Have you noticed that the vertical measure of the individual blades of grass change with respect to time?

You should ask for another $20,000 to watch that change.

Re:New Patented Idea (1)

Darth_Burrito (227272) | about 12 years ago | (#3822751)

I used to know Kauffman (not very well), he was on my swim team a few years back. In addition my father also used to work in UDRI (University of Dayton Research Institute). UDRI is not composed of rodeo clowns and this is not the first time Kauffman has received large scale recognition for one of his projects:

http://www.udayton.edu/news/nr/062397.html

Kickass! (2)

unformed (225214) | about 12 years ago | (#3823020)

Anyways, since you don't want to become bored while watching the grass, i've got some green "equipment" you might find handy. My pager number is .... oh fuck, the Feds........

unimpressive (5, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 12 years ago | (#3822608)

Too many times someone without a good background in this area thinks they have done something impressive, when they have really left wide open holes. Clearly we are not being given enough information here to prove this is the case, but the important thing is that we are not being given enough information to evaluate it either way. The article makes some vague claims but they are pretty lame:

"Since you don't know what any of the values are mathematically, [a hacker] can't solve it," says Robert E. Kauffman, who is a senior research chemist at Dayton and Jason Kauffman's father. Robert Kauffman formed a partnership with his son and the university to patent the idea. The Kauffmans are reluctant to go into more detail about the idea because it's in the patenting process.

Cryptography based on a hacker "not knowing" something can be in for quite a surprise. And there is not even a hint here that this technique is based on a mathematically sound formula that is "hard" to solve. Perhaps this guy is on to something, but this attempt to talk about it but at the same time claim they can't talk about it yet leads me to believe this is more of an exercise in hype or ego than anything scientific. Cartoon cryptography might turn out to be a fitting term for it.

Re:unimpressive (2)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 12 years ago | (#3822891)

Cryptography based on a hacker "not knowing" something can be in for quite a surprise.

All cryptography is based on an attacker "not knowing" something. This 'something' is conventionally referred to as the 'key'.

If you are alluding to Kerkhoff's Principle, then it is really about defining what makes a good key and what makes a bad key.


Too many times someone without a good background in this area thinks they have done something impressive

This is true, and I have small doubt this guy's idea will amount to nothing. I would add that many times people with good backgrounds in this area think they have done something impressive and later find a flaw. Good cryptography is really really hard.

Of course, occasionally you get your Diffies, Hellmans, and Merckles who come up with relatively straightforward ideas that really are good, and really are significant. Even Rivest, Shamir and Adleman weren't experts in cryptography; they were number theorists who realized integer factorization would make a good trap-door one-way function.

Re:unimpressive (2)

westfirst (222247) | about 12 years ago | (#3822928)

Diffies, Hellmans, and Merckles...

First, it's Ralph Merkle. Second, the scheme he invented with Martin Hellman was broken. It looked cool at the time, but someone came up with a neat way to break it. So things come to naught even with the best prepartions and reputation.

Re:unimpressive (1)

Proaxiom (544639) | about 12 years ago | (#3823026)

I was actually thinking of Merkle's Puzzles.

Cool... (2, Funny)

parad0x01 (549533) | about 12 years ago | (#3822631)

So now I can encrypt animated pr0n in japanese anime...oh wait...

Let me get my smart-ass remarks in (2)

scott1853 (194884) | about 12 years ago | (#3822662)

Like his encryption technology, his studies have been inspired by Disneyland; he wants to use his degree to design roller coasters and other amusement-park rides.

A few points here:

It looks like he's already working on taking people for rides.

At my next development meeting should I recommend we watch the Little Mermaid for inspiration on database design?

Hold on now (1)

parad0x01 (549533) | about 12 years ago | (#3822678)

"Since you don't know what any of the values are mathematically, [a hacker] can't solve it," says Robert E. Kauffman, who is a senior research chemist at Dayton and Jason Kauffman's father.

A senior research chemist, well holy smokes! This is the only freakin guy you could get for a quote on this new "unbreakable" cryptography system. What was the janitor at lunch!? Not only that, but its his father to boot, not to knock his extensive work in engine/oil products but come on!

Hey while we're at it...My 4 year old sister says that my newly developed RDBMS is 120 times more efficent than Oracle's, so now can I have the $20,000 to patent it, thanks.

UD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822689)

Notice he's from the Mechanical Engineering Dept. and NOT the Computer Science Dept.

I last attended UD only 3 years ago. Frankly, their CS dept was terrible (and I doubt it has gotten any better). They taught everything in Ada only up until about 5 years ago when they FINALLY switched to C++. Why you ask? Probably so they could send the programmers over to the Wright Pat Air Force Base... I mean, who needs REAL world programming skills? But that's just my opinion...

I started at UD in Electrical Engineering. UD has a great engineering school, but I eventually switched over to Computer Science. Had I been smart when I was looking for colleges (I should have realized I would switch over to CS almost immediately) I would have noticed that UD did not have a very good CS dept. Unfortunately, by the time I realized how bad their dept was, I was already entrenched. I had a co-op job (a very good one, where I learned far more real world skills than from my CS classes and am eternally grateful) and a great group of friends (most of which are living in Chicago with or near me today).

Half the teachers in UD's dept could barely speak English. They seemed smart, but you didn't learn anything because you spent more time wondering whether Dr. Pan was talking about Breakfast or the Breadthfirst algorithim.

Or maybe you sat in Dr. Gowda's class as he covered the same material for the 20th day in a row.

Or maybe you sat in Fr. Shane's class and were blown away by how smart he was (I mean, for Christ's sake he was doing binary and hexadecimal arithmatic in his head!), but were left wondering why he was relegated to teaching a class that was HALF 360 assembler and HALF C (yup, half a semester of C was all you got).

After that you went to Buckley's file systems class (which was really nothing more than a Cobol class that talked occasionally about file systems). Buckley was so scared of the class, he could barely write on the chalk board. I don't think the guy ever looked anybody straight in the eyes the whole semester! How can you teach a class like that?

And let's not forget Dr. Winslow's class where you got so many points taken off for not capitalizing your variables that your average grade on your assignments was 40%.

Finally, to finish things off, you ended up having to take the Networking II course (even though you REALLY wanted to take that Computer Graphics or AI course) because the schedule was such a cluster fuck, classes you HAD to take (like the Computer Ethics course) were only offered once a year and scheduled at the same time as the classes you wanted to take. This was after having taken Networking I which was taught by an Engineer, and had 5 engineering graduate students (out of about 32 students total) in it. So, of course, the guy taught the class to those 5 grad students (using Calculus which many of the undergrads hadn't even taken or weren't supposed to take) and the class average was a D (rumour going around at the time was that he got berated for it and the next semester he was the exact opposite, everybody got A's and the class was a joke).

That was my UD experience. /me sighs...

Now, that being said, I can only hope UD's CS department has gotten better. I doubt it, but you never know. Three years is a long time. The problem is, all the money the school made went straight to the Engineering school and the Law school. The rest of the school (especially the Business school) hardly ever saw a cent of it.

If you are considering UD, and you are considering an Engineering or a Law school oriented (perhaps Criminal Justice) major, then by all means go to the school! It's a fun time, it's got a great atomosphere, beautiful campus, and the Ghetto is probably one of the greatest student assets any college in the world has. If you are going there for something else, please do your homework first. If you look behind the facade you might not like all that you see.

On a related note, UD was one of the first schools to really push the internet as a learning tool if you read the media reports. Hah! I wish you could've been there when they were forced all incoming freshman to bring their own computers and then crammed three of them into dorm rooms that should have only held two. They did it because they couldn't properly run the computer labs (and/or didn't have the funds to do so). They wired the Ghetto, which was a nice accomplishment, but I never believed the reasons they gave for doing it.

That's just my opinion anyway... I only went there for 5 years. I could be wrong, but as always, don't make the same mistake as me. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you pick a college (and be honest with yourself, if you like Computers, make sure you go to a school that has a good CS dept, even if you're primarily looking for a different major).

I don't want it to sound like it was all bad, I had a great time at UD and I learned a lot (especially outside of the CS dept). I sometimes just regret my decisions, as I could have accomplished a lot more with my time at a different school. Such is life. Life is full of regrets and sometimes you just need to move on.

Hello (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 12 years ago | (#3822715)

I made an encryption alg which is completely unbreakable. It uses numbers. I got the idea from mathmaticians while studying numbers. Holy FUCK ain't that keen?! Let's make a news story about it. Nah, just use what I just told ya.

bwahahaha you will never break my..... (1)

ZaneMcAuley (266747) | about 12 years ago | (#3822720)

.... Ren n Stimpy password :D

Math and animation (2)

dstone (191334) | about 12 years ago | (#3822741)

From the article reporter: "An unlikely combination of interests -- cartoons and math"

Um. Has this guy never met a math or science student before?!

Sounds like a hashing algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3822750)

Sounds like he thinks this is a one-way algorithm - the numbers drive the characters movements, but you can't determine the numbers from just looking at the end result. Or so he thinks.

Google? (3, Informative)

DaveHowe (51510) | about 12 years ago | (#3822832)

A quick websearch threw up the occasional highlight:

Jason finds way to recycle used oil [udayton.edu]
gives a more technical view [udayton.edu] of the current discovery (its a prng by the way)

Re:Google? (2)

mborland (209597) | about 12 years ago | (#3823059)

I'm glad that his dad supports him in his scientific endeavors...but...his dad is in every article posted about him...interesting.

His dad is most likely very intelligent, but a bit of a spin-meister:

"Jason is so far outside of the box with his thinking that he can't find the box..."

Puleeze!

Good luck with the research...but there are a number of PRNGs out there already. Sounds like Jr. has learned a thing or two about how to spin a story from his dad...

two words: SNAKE OIL (5, Insightful)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | about 12 years ago | (#3822860)

Yup, all the tell-tale signs are there:

  • claims that it's potentially "unbreakable"
  • hasn't spent much of his academic career breaking other people's cryptography
  • uses the clout of his dad to get funding
  • and of course, he's patenting it, which means it won't be of any use to anyone.

My guess is, he found some "smooth noise" generator and thought that it would make a good source of "random numbers", used, e.g., as a key schedule algorithm, and as soon as the patent is published (which it will be, thanks to the dumb patent office), it will be broken (it probably has a short "key" to set initial conditions, which will be easy to break) and this guy will be forgotten.

Though the cartoon connection is kinda cute and might get some press attention.

Next?

Can't Find Jason Kauffman's Pat. App. (1)

Peahippo (539266) | about 12 years ago | (#3822985)

I wondered about the article -- being so scanty on info needed to evaluate Kauffman's claim -- and then sent searching online for the patent application. The cos site was a pay site, offering searches for US$250/yr for individuals. Screw that. I went to uspto.gov and then here [uspto.gov] within it. I did an "advanced" query [uspto.gov] for Kauffman's name on published patent applications; the query string was "in/Kauffman or in/Jason", the years were "2001-2002". I got 411 results -- too many. Dunno why I used "or" -- so I reduced the query to just "in/Kauffman", which got me 15 results. I went through any that even remotely could have to do with numerical processes, but none were from Jason Kauffman.

Hmm.

Stupid encryption tricks. (2)

Nindalf (526257) | about 12 years ago | (#3822995)

Check out One Time Deck: the world's most wasteful encryption scheme [boswa.com] . The key size (in expressible values) grows with the factorial of the message size (also in expressible values, not bits).

Basically, your key is the equivalent of a randomly shuffled deck of cards with each possible messages written on a card. Your ciphertext tells where to cut the deck to find the card with your message on it. Each deck is used for only one message, then destroyed. Hence the name.

It has the interesting property that if you don't have the deck, even if you know the plaintext exactly, any changes to the ciphertext will result in a completely random plaintext (except that it's not the same).

and what do you do for a living again? (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 12 years ago | (#3823067)


I have this vision of an FBI agent watching tons and tons of porn in his cubicle. The boss comes by and starts scolding him. He then says:

"Please calm down. It is possible to hide secret messages in images now. Here is a printout of a slashdot article about it. I am just looking for hidden terrorist messages in this porn found on Al-Quida PC's. I think her breasts are jiggling to a descernable pattern, so I am trying to plot the jiggle pattern here."

Boss: "Then why are you sweating like that?"
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