Diceware

Passphrases That You Can Memorize — But That Even the NSA Can’t Guess
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/26/passphrases-can-memorize-attackers-cant-guess/

This is sort of a re-tweet, but having studied a bit of the science behind cryptography over the years (I once ‘invented’ an encryption algorithm and even presented it to a cryptography expert (being ignorant can have amazing payoffs if you are lucky); only later did I realize how cheeky I was and later still after doing some entropy analysis did I realize that my algorithm sucked massively) I have a very good feeling about this. Diceware is a very simple, yet elegant and effective way to produce passphrases that have a useful amount of entropy (the article does a decent job of explaining this) yet are feasible to remember. While unnecessary, throwing capitalization and/or punctuation adds a few more bits of entropy against those performing an attack.

A note to reinforce the comments regarding using this technique for websites/cloud authentication: it is not feasible to test a trillion passphrases a second across the Internet against a busy server so it isn’t necessary to have the same level of entropy. Also, there are plenty of attacks that make having the best passphrase irrelevant anyway. This Diceware approach is for securing things you have physical control over (though, a note to you paranoid types: physical control is not total control if the device can ever be accessed via a device that has ever been connected in any way to any network that has ever been connected to the Internet at any time).

Processing is the problem

Your microwave dinner is making you obese: What the food industry doesn’t want you to know
New research indicates processed foods are even more harmful to our health than previously thought
http://www.salon.com/2015/03/19/your_microwave_dinner_is_making_you_obese_what_the_food_industry_doesnt_want_you_to_know_partner/

A bit of a misnomer, the microwave has nothing to do with making you obese, it is the processing of the processed foods. I talk about how processed food can lead to metabolic syndrome but in that post it was about eating too many calories (made easy because processed food is so energy dense). This article is saying that the processed products themselves are the problem due to the compounds used during the processing. I have been eating less processed food lately, but that is for financial reasons (we are spending so much on the greenhouse/pool that we have to spend less thus cook more). I don’t feel any less fat, but then again, if my microbiome has been distorted too much it might require intervention in order to put me in a better state.

Anyway, processed food is a problem! Eat more unrefined foods!

Compact Fusion

Lockheed is claiming it can solve the world’s energy problems:

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html

I think it is hubris that makes a claim that they can go from nothing to a working prototype in 5 years when collectively the world’s best research scientists have spent 5+ decades and likely 100+ billion bucks with next to nothing to show for it. There is no doubt that having access to piles of money and eliminating the bureaucracy will speed things up (think Manhattan Project, but is Lockheed going to piss that much away on spec?), but I have no reason to think that just because a team was once great in the past on a totally different subject (aeronautics of the U2 and Blackbird) that that team can just switch over to something completely different. It smells like an attempt to jack up their stock price to me.

Now if they were claiming they already had a breakthrough and had something that was already showing enough positive net energy to mathematically pay for the start up energy given that converting to steam and twirling turbines results in a 60% loss and they had ‘only’ to work out how to effectively capture the neutronic energy at high efficiency, then I might be less pessimistic. Not optimistic, because that is still a non-trivial problem, less pessimistic.

When a web page advertising a scientific breakthrough of the magnitude Lockheed is suggesting reads like an infomercial with all the content removed, it really raises my skeptic’s hackles. Show me the science!