Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thank you Mr. Hitchens

In October of 2011 I attended the Texas Freethought Convention and got to see Christopher Hitchens receive the Richard Dawkins Award. During the question and answer period an eight year old girl asked Christopher what authors she should be reading. Christopher considered it for a moment and then told the girl that he would meet her in the hallway after the talk and give her a list. True to his word Christopher met the girl in the hallway and gave her his undivided attention. What follows are the pictures I took of Christopher talking with the young girl. The pictures were taken with my HTC EVO 8 megapixel cellphone camera.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Benefits of Exercise... Need more proof?

I like to do the timed race up the Columbia Tower in Seattle. In the 2008 I did it in 13:28.25 and 2009 my time was 12:55.55. Both were done without any training and each time I knew that I could have done better. I missed the 2010 race altogether.

Sometime in September of 2010 I started training for the 2011 race. I managed to shave 30 seconds off of my 2009 time with only a few months of training and decided to push it even harder for the 2012 race. I also picked up a heart rate monitor a few months ago in order to get a more detailed understanding of how my body was responding.

As your aerobic capacity increases, your heart gets physically bigger and is able to pump more blood during every cycle. This causes your RHR (Resting Heart Rate) to slow down, which is a good way to track your progress. I got my heart rate monitor on 17Aug2011 and strapped it on for the night while I was sleeping. I added a daily run to my training and strapped on the monitor again last night (05Oct2011) to check my progress.

The results speak for themselves - the blue graph is my August data and the pink represents the current state of affairs.

(Click to embiggen...)

From a subjective standpoint, I feel a lot calmer and more relaxed. The little things do not bug me as much as they used to, and on nights where I cannot get in enough sleep, I feel perfectly fine the next day.

To be sure, the data is not perfect (you are not perfectly at rest while sleeping) and last night could have been an anomaly. I will continue to track this on a monthly basis and see if a true trend is developing. I like what I see so far though.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A lot of good that did...

Then: "I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas."

Now: "In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 176 fires for 126,844 acres."

Functional Evaluation

I have some iPad development to do in the near future and I need to learn Objective C. Since Objective C is a super-set of the C programming language, I figured I would finally work my way through the KnR C book. I taught myself how to program in C, which means I most certainly have some gaps in my knowledge that could be filled.

This is one of those embarrassing gaps that falls into the "everyone probably knew this but me" file...

 Somewhere at the end of chapter 2 it says:

"C, like most languages, does not specify the order in which the operands of an operator are evaluated. (The exceptions are &&, ||, ?:, and ',' .) For example in a statement like x = f( ) + g( ); f may be evaluated before g or vice versa; thus if either f or g alters a variable on which the other depends, x can depend on the order of the evaluation." 

This whole time I had naively assumed that evaluation was always done from left to right...

Friday, July 01, 2011

Military Grade Security

Quick back of the napkin guess about the government's current ability to crack passwords... There are probably a lot of flaws in reasoning. Feel free to point them out and I will adjust accordingly.

In 1998 the EFF built a machine called Deep Crack for about $250,000. It was capable of checking 90 Billion 56 bit DES encryption keys per second which means the whole keyspace could be searched in about nine days.

Speculation begins here...

Assumption 1: Moore's Law holds when it comes to dedicated decryption hardware. If you could check 90 Billion 56 bit keys per second in 1998 for $250,000, and there are (rounding up) seven doublings over the ensuing 13 years, then you could check 2^7 * 90,000,000,000 = 11,520,000,000,000 56 bit keys per second in late 2011 for $250,000.

Assumption 2: You can check 2 AES keys (regardless of size) in the time you can check one 56 bit DES key. This puts the late 2011 capability at 23,040,000,000,000 keys per second for $250,000 dollars.

Assumption 3: The federal government can afford a lot more than $250,000 for a password cracking rig. I figure $10 Billion is an entry level price before it starts to attract attention, so that ups the capability by about 40,000 times to 921,600,000,000,000,000 keys per second.

That puts us at about 913 quadrillion keys per second capability in late 2011... Or about 92,160,000 keys per second per dollar spent...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Camp Quest Ohio

Just got back from a camp counselor gig at Camp Quest Ohio. Easily the most amazing week of my life. The kids were incredible and the program went off like a well oiled machine. Many thanks to August Brunsman and his crew for running such a great camp.

I cannot wait to do it again and am especially excited about our efforts to do the same thing with Camp Quest NorthWest. I also have it on good authority that I have been missing out on a great experience over at Skepticon, so I plan to register for that at some point too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Camp Quest NorthWest

Working a lot lately on setting up a Washington chapter of Camp Quest called Camp Quest NorthWest. Our rough goal is to have a full week camp going by 2013 with a type of weekend activity in 2012. It remains to be seen how close to that we land, but we are trying. Drop me a line if you are interested in volunteering, or simply think it might be fun to send your kid to a fun and interesting camp experience.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wonder what this is...

I see this all over, I wonder what it is for?

46 DC EA D3 17 FE 45 D8 09 23 EB 97 E4 95 64 10 D4 CD B2 C2