Charlie Stross, Paul Krugman Discuss the Future

August 13, 2009

Seen on Slashdot. I thought this event was a little disappointing — Charles Stross is capable of much more fascinating ideas.

Peripatetic Entrepreneur writes “At the Science Fiction World Convention in Montreal, Hugo Award winning author Charlie Stross and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman opened the show with a 75-minute, wide-ranging conversation on stage. From flying cars to decoding the genome of the Pacific Ocean to vat-grown Long Pig, it’s all there. Audio is also available — video soon.”

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Bdale Garbee: More Entropy is Better Entropy

July 28, 2009

USB entropy generators? Is this the future? The original post.

As already reported, while at Debconf9 this week, I succumbed to peer pressure, and have generated a new 4096-bit RSA key. Doing this was made substantially more pleasant (and certainly a bit more amusing!) by the fact that I was loaned a prototype of the new Simtec Entropy Key to play with.

Can’t wait until they’re in production and available for sale…

Basically, it’s “just” a very high quality hardware random number generator that sits on a USB interface. Associated with this is a small MIT-licensed daemon that gets loaded along with some udev configuration (all in a Debian package in my case), such that any time you plug it in, your system available entropy goes way up and stays up until you unplug it. It really is that easy! My new 4096-bit GPG key generated without perceptable delay, while the one my daughter made at the same time on her similar notebook required lots of mouse wiggling and I/O traffic generation to accumulate enough bits. A dramatic difference, to say the least!

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Fun short scifi

July 13, 2009

Going to be reading this for sure. The original post.

“Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs,” by Leonard Richardson, Strange Horizons, 13 July 2009.

“I want to buy a gun,” said the Thymomenoraptor. He moved his foreclaw along the glass case of pistols, counting them off: one, two, three, four. “That one.” He tapped the case; the glass squeaked.

“Why would a dinosaur need a gun?” asked the shop owner.

“Self-defense.”

The owner’s gaze dropped to the three-inch claw that had chipped his display case.

“These are killing claws,” said the dinosaur, whose name was Tark. “For sheep, or cows. I merely want to disable an attacker with a precision shot to the leg or other uh, limbal region.”

Edit: Definitely a story worth reading.

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