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Delivering an Earth-Shattering Discovery?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the don't-panic dept.

Security 620

An anonymous reader asks: "Just for fun... suppose you've made an Earth-shattering discovery that, when revealed, will cause massive social upheaval. Maybe you've discovered a new energy source or weapon, or figured out how to factor large primes in seconds, or learned how to time travel back in time and affect the present. Being a nice guy, you decide to warn the world now and give everybody a few years to prepare before revealing the discovery. How can you absolutely encrypt or otherwise protect your discovery, but guarantee its revealing at a certain future date even if you and everybody you know is long gone? For example, could you bounce an electromagnetic signal describing the discovery off a celestial body several light-years away?"

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620 comments

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You could just (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045759)

Get the first post on slashdot and call it a day.

I would make a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045762)

I would make a FP. If I could.

factor large primes? (5, Funny)

Francis (5885) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045763)

Hell, I can already do that.

int factorLargePrime( int largePrime ) {
return largePrime;
}

Re:factor large primes? (1)

Gleep (1840) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045773)

shouldn't that function return an array of integers?

Re:factor large primes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045808)

Think about it for a second. There's no need to. And when you realize why, you will achieve enlightenment.

Re:factor large primes? (1, Troll)

fizban (58094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045820)

I just broke the function... I passed the number 8 to it...

Re:factor large primes? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045841)

You didn't break the function, you violated a precondition.

Re:factor large primes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045848)

the function by definition factors PRIMES and 8, my friend, is NOT PRIME so it would not be a legitimate parameter.

Re:factor large primes? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045869)

I just broke the function... I passed the number 8 to it...

Psst. 8 is not prime. Get a clue.

C programmers never die. They're just cast into void.

This is the first time I've seen someone who was unworthy of their own .signature.

Re:factor large primes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045791)

LOL

Re:factor large primes? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045912)

Think about the factors of a prime number-- AKA the number itself and 1.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045764)

fp

Easy... (4, Funny)

RinkSpringer (518787) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045765)

Write it down using my handwriting, it'll take them centuries to decipher that...

Re:Easy... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045935)

Humor aside, the point is not just that it must be hard to ecode, but it must reveal itself in a few years. Writing it down would be very easy to destroy.

I would imagine you could best do it by haxoring a computer on the internet that is very nlickly to get updated in the next few years.

You also could possibly make a worm that installed itself very slowly so that it would go relativle undetected, and hopefully there will still be a system with it running in 3 years, to aggressivly spew it to everyone.

You could also setup a small ccomputer with a spam program to start spewing out the info when you wanted. Again I would hide it on a corporate network where it will probably go unnoticed. A hacked Zaurous could be hidden in a plennum, or in some hole in the wall.

Lastly you could go with some machanical approach, and bury it somewhere with a rather constant rate of errosion, so that it would be exposed when you wanted it too. You would probably want to do it all over the place, so that if one of the people who doesnt want it descovered is the one that sees the capsule you burried, there are still others out there. This of course carries a high risk of someone discovering it in advnce.

Simple... (2, Funny)

TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045768)

Encode it with Rot13 and pray.

This cannot be good. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045769)

Oh shit.

You likely already have the channels... (3, Funny)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045770)

If you are in the professional vicinity of making such claims, you are probably already a staff researcher at a government, academic, or private lab. All of these have PR facilities to release discoveries.

On the other hand, if you are the guy in his own backyard or garage who has just made a startling discovery about nanotechnology or cold fusion....well, thats not going to happen so don't worry too much about it.

Re:You likely already have the channels... (5, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045825)

And just how much equipment does it take to develop a new algorithm that could change the way the world works?

I take issue with your statement. I mean a lot of research comes from constant refinement, with billions of dollars poured into it, but these days, everyone has access to thousands of sources of information in theousands of fields for the price of an ISP account.

I'd argue that there is an effect that would make really groundbreaking discoveries more likely to come from an amateur. If something really is groundbreakingly simple to implement, then by it's nature it is something that can be discovered with little resources.

Insert obligitory reference to Apple Computer, and I rest my case.

Re:You likely already have the channels... (2)

Bandman (86149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045849)

Think Medicine Man with Sean Connery. 2 people in a rainforest discover that one kind of ant has the power to reverse cancerous masses. That kind of thing is possible. We like to think that everything simple has already been done, but I suspect that we're wrong.

Re:You likely already have the channels... (3, Interesting)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045893)

Are you talking about something Apple Computer did that was innovative?

Their single board computer (the Apple 1) wasn't a whole lot different than several others that entered the market at about the same time.

Apple's 'Great Success' came about because the Apple 2 was the exclusive platform for VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet, for it's first year on the market. Businessmen would walk into a computer store and say 'I want to buy a VisiCalc' not knowing, or caring, that the machine they were sold had an Apple logo on it.

Big loopy yarns of myth have been floofed all around to obscure this simple reason for Apple Computer's early success.

To wrap back to the discussion in progress and keep this from being off topic: there weren't any groundbreaking discoveries by amateurs at Apple when the company was starting. The BigBoard, the TRS-80 Model 1, and various other machines implement the same low-cost single-board design. It's important to make a distinction between 'groundbreaking discoveries' and 'marketing phenomena.'

Re:You likely already have the channels... (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045915)

Blockquoth the poster:

If something really is groundbreakingly simple to implement, then by it's nature it is something that can be discovered with little resources.

And since big research groups have more resources to throw at problems, they could in principle find more of these "little resource" breakthroughs. And since they have many people wokring on the field, they're more liekly to come across the low-hanging fruit. What happened to all our proponents of "many eyes makes bugs shallow"?


It's not to say that a major effect can't be discovered by one guy working in his lab. But it's not the way to bet.

Re:You likely already have the channels... (2)

drsoran (979) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045831)

On the other hand, if you are the guy in his own backyard or garage who has just made a startling discovery about nanotechnology or cold fusion....well, thats not going to happen so don't worry too much about it.

Even if you did nobody would believe you without hard proof. Skulking about pretending the knowledge is too dangerous for mankind to handle at that point is a surefire way to get yourself labelled a quack and a fake.

Re:You likely already have the channels... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045857)

And Einstein just stole his theories from patent applications that he was reviewing. Obviously a patent examiner could not have the ability to create such revolutionary ideas or formulas! It must have been a scientist that created it..

Get over yourself

Re:You likely already have the channels... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045867)

Because we all know how much money and lab expertise it took to place a piece of Uranium on an unexposed negative.

Some of the largest discoveries in the scientific fields have been virtually by accident, and in "someones backyard".

I do have to agree with the other reply, though, and that "skulking about" will pretty much make you look like a little kid "I know something you don't," just to drum up insterest in himself.

Slow Medium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045771)

Just put it on a super slow medium... Like a Word file on NTFS...

I have to wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045774)

When is your novel due for publishing?

Easy! (4, Funny)

MediaBoy77 (469933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045775)

Send it through an AOL mail gateway!

Indeed (2)

Subcarrier (262294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045938)

To be on the safe side, I would recommend writing it down using MS Powerpoint and emailing it as an attachment to yourself through a MS Exchange server.

You can be assured that the document will vanish for the foreseeable future. Of course, there is a good change that it will never be found again...

Well.. (2)

Tri0de (182282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045776)

if it was time travel then you could just travel forward and reveal it then. IMHO it would be a bad idea to wait more than a week or two, odds are somebody else is fairly close to coming up with the same thing.

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045839)

After you reveal it, someone is going to duplicate your work, go back in time before you had the idea, and put a patent in place... continue scenario until the patent is dated the moment the patent office opens.

Do you think the original post has anything to do with non-dairy creamer?

Um... (5, Funny)

awx (169546) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045780)

why? What have you done now? Why are you asking such an interesting question whilst chosing to remain anonymous?

Re:Um... (1)

Tux2000 (523259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045918)

I guess he just found the question for the answer [bbc.co.uk] .

If you figured out how to travel to the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045783)

And change the present, then do whatever you want. If it doesn't work, you can travel back to before you did it, and re-do it until you get it right.

However, do not travel back to before you invented the time machine, as you may end up causing yourself to not invent it, and that would be disasterous.

Re:If you figured out how to travel to the past (0, Offtopic)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045925)

Well, considering that the 'time machine' concept is really sepearate from the 'parallel universes' concept, if you make a change that causes you to not invent the time machine, *foop* you would cease to exist in the form that travelled back. In other words, you wouldn't be 'trapped in the past' you would just suddenly cease to be there.

I would propose that it's likely that we've all done this an infinite number of times. Then again, I am drinking cheap WalMart 'Mountain Lightening' this morning, instead of proper Mountain Dew so my proposal may have it's flaws.

why not just tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045784)

someone about to die from a disease, freeze them and when they find a cure for the disease they will thaw 'em,heal 'em, and there's your secret

Easy (1)

Verizon Guy (585358) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045788)

Write it on a Post-It note and tape it to the bottom of your keyboard, with your passwords!

Factoring? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045794)

Encrypt your factoring method with a 4096-bit key. Then wait for them to break it.

Just make sure... (2, Interesting)

MattC413 (248620) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045796)

...that if the signal comes back, it doesn't come back too late to do any good (are humans still around, and if not, could your breakthrough have helped humanity survive?)

...that your 'breakthrough' isn't independantly discovered between when you send the message and when it bounces back.

...that whatever you bounce the signal from doesn't have intelligent life on it that may possibly suffer from the same social upheaval that you are protecting this society from.

Any others? :)

-Matt

Re:Just make sure... (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045881)

...that the signal isnt blocked on the way there/back by a mass that moved into the way unpredictably i.e. a big asteroid

Re:Just make sure... (1)

MattC413 (248620) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045926)

That's a good one.

-Matt

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (5, Funny)

I Love this Company! (547598) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045797)

Milhouse: We gotta spread this stuff around. Let's put it on the internet!
Bart: No! We have to reach people whose opinions actually matter! And I think I know how.

So that's why.... (3, Funny)

Soft (266615) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045805)

... they're still doing those encryption-breaking projects [distributed.net] !

Dead man's switch? (1)

Provolo (591760) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045809)

Wouldn't a dead man's switch work? I remember seeing an article on slashdot.
You could, for instance set up a stable server that could run for months, or even years if necessary without maintainence, and then perhaps you could
decrypt the information on the server and spread it throughout the internet (ex: post on slashdot).
Oh, and if you could go back in the future, no worries.
The future you will come back and warn everybody in advance.

Um, screw warning people... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045812)

Anyone complaining of the negative effects of my world-changing discovery will be sent to the reeducation camps.

um... Siggy? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045813)

dear Signal11, this discussion belongs on good old kuro five hin [kuro5hin.org] , doesn't it? it would rank among the more painful.

Why not put it on a wall in a Halflife map? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045814)

No one that plays that game reads, right?

Then 5 years from now when they are doing historical analysis of the evolution of map design, the discovery would be released to the public.

Wait a sec, I play that game...

Right... (1)

g0at (135364) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045818)

Sure, send an electromagnetic signal toward some celestial body many light years away.

Just politely ask everyone to stop paying attention while the signal is ON ITS WAY OUT...

I mean, come on.

(What's the real point of this question?)

Re:Right... (3, Interesting)

gilroy (155262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045894)

Blockquoth the poster:

Just politely ask everyone to stop paying attention while the signal is ON ITS WAY OUT...

Well, unless they were listening on exactly the right frequenct at exactly the right moment (and in the line of sight, if you choose to tightbeam it*), it won't them any good. After all, that tiny pulse of information is going away at the speed of light -- it's not like anyone could catch up with it.


Unless your earth-shattering discovery is a faster-than-light drive, of course. :)



* and you would tightbeam it, since signal spread will kill you with omnidirectional broadcasting, whereas simply diffraction spreading will ensure that any "tight" beam you generate will be big enough to hit a star by the time it reaches one, so it can be reflected...)

How to make sure your idea is cerculated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045819)

do the following
1. Put it into your will incase you are killed sending several copies of your will out to people knowing of this discovery and have a third party that is very well trusted hold a locked box with the information but like a time locked box

2. Send out to the post office a package for every major television station in the world to be delivered in 5 years
kinda the back to the future method with the doc sending marty the letter from 1855

3. Give a copy to each of your best freinds with it locked in a time locked box with a ink ijector incase of tampering with the lock to destroy the evidence

4. Put it in the safty deposit box

make sure YOU LET EVERYONE Know YOU HAVE THIS DISCOVERY then maker sure it all goes out at once so no one can kill you if its the kinda discovery that would make people mad

Pork! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045821)

stuff that matters? HA! Balderdash.
sucks to your assmar!

Interesting question (2)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045827)

Why do you wonder? Have you made an earth shattering discovery perhaps? Hm, well it's a good hypothetical question. I think that... You could store the information on a space probe and send it out to orbit the solar system someplace far away. Sure it's expensive but few people could go find it in the near future.

Re:Interesting question (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045902)

Few people coudl find it in *any* kind of a timeline where you actually survive....you'd never profit from your breakthrough..then again,I guess you could include lots of background info on yourself in the probe so people will know who you were and all.

Well, I would... (1)

hitzroth (60178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045828)

start with an Ask Slashdot...

then go "Ginger"

Han Solo the hard drive... (1)

speedfreak_5 (546044) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045830)

and hide it in the ground on a construction site where they're building a 7-11 or something like that right before they lay down the foundation, and you're good to go. You might want to set it close the edge of the foundation, so you don't have to rip up the entire thing during retrieval.

Re:Han Solo the hard drive... (1, Offtopic)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045922)

"Hello my baby
Hello my honey
Hello my rag-time gal
Send me a kiss by wire
Baby my heart's on fire
If you refuse me
Honey you lose me
Then I'll be left alone
So baby, telephone
And tell me I'm your own!"

*crooooooak*

That's simple (5, Funny)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045833)

Encode it in an EULA for some program or other.

The probability of somebody really reading an EULA is so low that in all likelyhood the thing will be burried in the EULA for a couple of years before it's found.

to serve man.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045834)

For example, could you bounce an electromagnetic signal describing the discovery off a celestial body several light-years away?"

that is a really stupid idea. do not, i repeat, do not give the information to an alien race first.

Too late... (3, Funny)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045837)

The Segway has already been revealed!

Didn't this happen already? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045838)

Didn't this happen already with the discovery of cloning?

The problem solved itself because once the ground-breaking discovery was made, the process of engineering it into a relevant technique that had any practical application took enough years for the discussion and social adjustment required to take place. Not that we're finished with that discussion, and not everyone likes it, but I think we've gotten over the 'future shock' on that one.

--LP

Vaporware (5, Insightful)

donutello (88309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045843)

Being a nice guy, you decide to warn the world now and give everybody a few years to prepare before revealing the discovery.

This sounds suspiciously similar to "It".

Please, if you actually have something worthy of talking about just say what it is. People who come to me promising a revolution in the future but refuse to talk about what it actually is give me a bad Amway feeling.

One-word other example: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045866)

Transmeta.

Credibility and procrastination, aka "crackpot" (2, Interesting)

DeeAyeVeeE (599987) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045844)

If you wanted to "warn the world NOW" (emphasis added) without revealing the discovery until a few years later, would anyone take you seriously?

For example:

"I have discovered a source of energy that does not create light or heat, is infinitely renewable, and costs less per Joule than a stick of gum to produce. I can't tell you what it is for a few years, but I CAN tell you that it will throw everything into disarray (socially and economically)...you'd better start preparing."

The reaction of the world at large could be summed up in a single word: "Crackpot".

Nobody would take you seriously until you revealed the device (and thus "proved" your crackpot theory) -- then all hell would break loose as the energy mogul equivalent of the RIAA tried you keep people from sharing this cheap energy source with heavy political donations and an "energy bandit" media campaign.

Re:Credibility and procrastination, aka "crackpot" (2)

Bandman (86149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045868)

They would probably buy him out anyways, "just in case" :)

Re:Credibility and procrastination, aka "crackpot" (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045907)

Assuming a fairly negotiated purchase price, the value of the invention would be equal to the present value of the energy produced. Since even the oil companies don't have 100% profit margins, they would be better off marketing the newly invented energy.

You could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045845)

...maybe secretly include it in an FBI memo. Noone reads those until it's too late anyway.

Earth-shattering? (1)

madenosine (199677) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045846)

mmkay...who just found out that the earth is round

*COUGH* (2)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045855)

Uhmm, somebody posted a paper on testing primality in polynomial time on the 6th... and the world didn't end.

Freakin' me out, man... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045856)

Okay man, the fact that you're asking such a question is really creeping me out dude. A.) What the hell do you know, and B.) How long can i look forward to life as i know it?

I'm extremely paranoid.

I really don't want to die.

Not really. I don't.

I would assign a code name to the project, like... (3, Funny)

bmooney28 (537716) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045858)

"It" or "Ginger." Then I would invite a book publisher to get a sneak peak behind the scenes, documenting the release process in great detail... Included in this release process would be sharing my secret with important people such as the head of Apple computers... then, upon release... In order to insure that the public found out about it, I would then allow the book publisher to send out a teaser to major news media outlets letting them know some worldchanging invention is coming...

on the other hand, perhaps that's a bad idea...

Re:I would assign a code name to the project, like (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045903)

Am I the only person who realized the "Segway Human Transport" spells out SHT? Who wants to ride a SHT?

Combined with the idea it was called "It" ... hmm ...

It seemed neat, but expensive.

Simple... (2, Funny)

tunabomber (259585) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045861)

Just put all of your findings in a U.S. citizenship application, then send it to the INS for processing. With what's going on at the INS right now, it'll take YEARS before that application ever sees the light of day again.

tell a monkey (1)

deathscythe257 (309424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045862)

and then wait for it to evolve and develop human-like speech patterns.

Wouldn't that depend on what you discovered? (5, Insightful)

bons (119581) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045863)

For example, if what you discovered was time travel, simply send the damn machine, or better yet, millions of the machine into the future 2 years from now.

If you discover a new energy source, use that energy source to power a device that will reveal that energy source in X amount of time.

(I won't touch discovering a weapon. A weapon is not a discovery, it's an implementation.)

Meanwhile, the very act of warning the world, seriously increases the odds that someone else will duplicate your discovery long before your time is up. After all, the materials you used are all there, the knowledge is all there, what the heck makes you think you're so unique that you're the only person working on the problem or capable of coming up with an answer. Historicly, any discovery is usually a horse race, with multiple groups likely to arrive at the same answer in rapid succession.

Why reveal it at all? (2, Insightful)

Morty (32057) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045864)

You made an implicit assumption that you should reveal this discovery. What about ethics? If your discovery truly will shatter society, should you reveal it and go down in history in infamy, or should you keep your mouth shut and avoid the history books altogether? As wonderful as it is to be famous (or infamous) for a revolutionary new idea, do you really want to be responsible for widespread havoc?

Someone else will eventually have the same idea. Maybe even next week -- see Newton and Leibniz. Perhaps other discoverers, too, will have the good sense to keep their mouths shut. But when eventually one blabs, you will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you were not the one who destroyed society.

BTW: Asimov once wrote a story called The Dead Past that explores this theme.

Here's a discovery... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045871)

I have an earth-shattering discovery that I will reveal in ten seconds. Get ready.

10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...

It's a slow news day on Slashdot.

Questions... (1)

danimrich (584138) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045872)

Are you asking this question because it is a nice philosophical one or did you actually discover something? Chances are, it might take us decades to make use of it. Furthermore, what makes you think that, say, in the next couple of decades, no one else will make that discovery?

time travel (1)

the funtime fella (235315) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045874)

but your logic is flawed..

for if you did discover time travel, and you did keep it a secret for a couple years, as soon as you reveal it some jackass will travel back in time and patent it before you even thought of it!

Go to work for Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045880)

...and hide it as a bug.

I won't tell anyone! (1)

jrest (539296) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045882)

Just tell me, I promise I won't tell anyone!

Announce Anonymously (1)

MoogMan (442253) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045883)

Well, my suggestion would be to announce your creation anonymously. This way, there is no chance of the creation being traced back to you for the time being. Only problem is, will people believe you?

Hrm this is a little suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045890)

He must have invented something -really- good. Or just thinks he has.... remember awhile back, I think it was around January that ZeoSync made its infamous claim of compressing random data to one one-hundredth of the original size? Did Slashdot ever do a followup story on them (if so I'm sorry) but notice www.zeosync.com has been 404'ing to their ISP's default error page hehe.

In that case, unlike most slashdotters saying "say what you've invented already" I'd rather you not.

Use Moore's Law (5, Insightful)

solarrhino (581267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045895)

Encryt it with enough bits, then throw the key away. As processors continue to get faster, the time required to brute-force decrypt will drop. You can use Moore's Law to estimate when such a decrypt is likely to occur - though if your secret is big enough, you'll probably guess low. People can be very clever if they put their minds to it.

Of course, this is likely to be a moot point. In order to warn people, you've got be to able to convince them that your accomplishment is real. Unfortunately, history shows that once a desirable result is known to be possible, it doesn't take very long for other people to duplicate that result.

to quote the comic book guy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045896)

worst "ask slashdot" ever!

RC5-64 (1)

EdMcMan (70171) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045898)

Encrypt your content with RC5-64, send it to distributed.net, sit back, and watch the cracking!

i've got a better question ... (4, Funny)

akb (39826) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045899)

... "can anyone locate an ask slashdot question lamer than this one?"

I think the answer to this question is "no" but I eargerly await a counterexample.

Re:i've got a better question ... (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045914)

Sure. "What kind of cereal do you think is best for a geek?It has to be nutritive,provide lots of energy and caffeine,and have CowboyNeal soemwhere in it"

factoring (0, Flamebait)

dotslashdotdot (514391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045908)

A couple steps:

1) Factor the revelation into multiple questions and comments.

2) Either submit them to "Ask Slashdot" or get them included in something like the Bible or Quran.

Ummmm.... (1)

John Wilson (27963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045909)

I think you're pre-supposing that humanity will be ready to receive what you have to tell them after you've warned them about it.

Even if you don't warn them about it, the assumption that humanity will always become more "responsible" (or whatever) over time is sketchy at best.

The mandatory sarcastic reply (2)

bons (119581) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045911)

You could submit it to slashdot. They would proceed to ignore the article in favor of questions about "discovering weapons", "factoring large primes", and other silliness. It would be likely that they would publish the article immediately after it was too late, such as discussing upcoming confrences after they start or the difference in LOTR DVDs after the first one had been released. (And a month after the differences had been announced).

Why bother? (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045916)

Why do you want to leave the world in suspense? How the heck are people going to "prepare" for something when you won't even tell them what it is. Your scenereo sounds something like this:

You make a news annoucement saying "I've discovered a terrible secret, but I won't tell you what it is for 20 years!"
Then 20 years later you finally announce your discovery to people who have forgotten about you.

The reason entire world has forgotten about you is because you sound just like another crackpot trumpeting hidden vauge doom.

Are people going to be "better prepared" in 20 years? Why? I'd say get the truth out in the open when you discover the problem and let society work it out. That or just never ever release your secret if you fear that humanity would not survive (hint: people are pretty resourceful, they're good at suriving).

If you just don't want to be around when people discover your secret, put it in your safe deposit box and forget about it. When you die your heirs will go through the box and be faced with the same dilemma you have. Note: this is the cowards way out.

History will discover it again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045917)

The question is pointless.

If I tell you that I have done something which will affect society in such a manner you won't believe it without proof.

If I prove it then someone else WILL discovery it simply because they know it is possible.

Look back over history and look at how many people, how many countries have a legitimate claim to various inventions. (By legitimate I mean, developed within 5 years of each other without reasonable belief they had access to the other invention... simply knowing it exists does NOT count.).

I got it! (1)

GammaStorm (221702) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045920)

Err, ok, so you want to tell everyone to warn them FIRST, and then ensure the details are available in the near future? That's easy. Kill yourself and when you come back after being reincarnated you can divulge all the details you want. I'd recommend implimenting this plan right away so you're old enough when you want to make the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

Seriously, it's a good plan.

Upheaval is overrated (4, Insightful)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045921)

I seriously don't think there's much outside of a major war or the impending destruction of the planet that would really cause massive social upheaval. We lived through 9/11 and in reality, despite the destuction, the fear and the subsequent massive loss of privacy and civil rights, things continue to tick on much the same as always. Despite cries that everything has changed, in reality very little has changed. If we finally were visited by aliens, or if someone finally did catch bigfoot or the lochness monster it'd be news for a few days, and then we'd be back to our everyday concerns. Never underestimate the people's propensity for self-centeredness.

gene scribing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045928)

since there was actually some bloke who had gotten a patent on enscribing "information" or recording "data" on genes, clearly doing this invitro on your potential child would provide a secure and somewhat time delayed mechanism to store this. Perhaps even better would be direct manipulation to assure it appears in some expressed form, such as a bar code readable birth mark?

No, this is a joke...really.

How to do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045929)

Firstly, you need to rely on the human eliment. From experience you need a religious group of some kind, either that or some VERY determined people.

Allow them to know your secret, then explain the conditions for release, explain why they can't tell anyone until those conditions. Assuming they're all sensible people and see it for what it is (this could be hard, perhaps you need to produce them in order to ensure things happen correctly. Have children.) then your problem is solved. Your data is relatively secure, and you have allies. ;-)

Just a few more years to go for one such 'announcement' people.

A programmer's approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045936)

I'm not sure this is the best or most foolproof way, but if you asked what *I* would do, I'll let you know what I'd probably end up doing:

I would not tell anyone about it, get a bunch of ISP accounts in varying jurisdictions through whatever pseudo-surreptitious mechanisms I could find (with cash, via acquaintances, etc), and set up cron jobs to email a bunch of journalists and columnists in 5 years, including less famous ones on both ends of the political spectrum who have nothing to lose by supressing the truth and everything to gain.

--Another Anonymous Coward, just wondering if the government is asking Slashdot, trying to figure out what methods they have to make sure they have compromises for...

First publish a working exploit (2)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045937)

Before you "warn" everyone, you need to include in your warning an example of a working exploit. Otherwise it is dismissed as just a "theoretical" vulnerability.

Example announcement:

Look, I've just discovered how to build a <time machine / weapon that destroys the sun / plastic decder ring that cracks any code>. Click here for detailed plans on how to build one in your own garage.

Easy... Just go back in time, hire western union (1)

chris_martin (115358) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045939)

have the package with the data/key/whatever develiver on a rainy day to you or someone else in the future. Now, the only question remains is how do we get our hands on a Delorian?

"But doc, how's this help me get back to 1985?"

C

Campaign material. (1)

danimrich (584138) | more than 11 years ago | (#4045941)

Have a politician print it in his/her campaign material.
No intelligent person can take that what's printed in there serious.

Use the patent office!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4045943)

Simple - file a patent on the idea. Then, in about 18 years time, dig it up, and not only was nobody aware of your idea for the first 15 or so years, but hopefully in the last 3 they have found out about it, (because you leaked it, hahahaha), and you can rip them off by charging a licensing fee of billions multiplied by foobar per nanosecond that they use it.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
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