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Number 1 and Benford’s Law - Numberphile (by...

2013 Jun 25, 4:40


Number 1 and Benford’s Law - Numberphile (by numberphile)

I’d heard of Benford’s Law before but it sounded totally counter intuitive to me. This video does a good job explaining why one shows up as the leading digit in sets of random numbers that span large ranges.

PermalinkCommentsmath video benfords-law

Super Mario World “Completed” in Under 3 Minutes by Corrupting the RAM | minimaxir

2013 Apr 3, 4:46

This is essentially an AV exploit against Super Mario World that results in running the end game code. Watch the video. “…there’s a glitch that’s been known for a while, where Yoshi can end up in the “I have an item in my mouth” state, but not actually have an item in his mouth. When he spits out this nothingness, the game crashes. …That address did not contain code, and so the system crashed. But wait a second. What if, by some sheer coincidence, that address did contain code? The specific address dropped him in somewhere amongst various data for the game’s internal random number generator, and the random number generator can be manipulated in a TAS. Could the game be coerced into running arbitrary code?…”

PermalinkCommentshumor game hack mario

(via Pareidoloop) “Phil McCarthy’s Pareidoloop...

2012 Aug 6, 4:11


(via Pareidoloop)

“Phil McCarthy’s Pareidoloop overlays randomly generated polygons on top of one another until facial recognition software recognizes a human face. Can’t sleep, at SIGGRAPH! [via @Brandonn]”

PermalinkCommentstechnical images facial-recognition siggraph

The Netflix Tech Blog: Chaos Monkey released into the wild

2012 Jul 30, 3:49

Chaos Monkey randomly kills your Amazon Web Service VMs increasing the failure rate forcing your web service to deal with it.

PermalinkCommentstechnical programming web amazon netflix

RFC 3797 - Publicly Verifiable Nominations Committee (NomCom) Random Selection

2010 Dec 13, 11:12Used to generate publicly verifiable random numbers. For instance to pick 'xn--' for the IDN prefix from a set of prefixes, they decided on a hash, a set of stocks and a time in the future to generate the hash from the stock values. The resulting value is random and anyone can check the work to verify that it was chosen randomly.


Although, now looking back from the future I can't verify that they didn't generate this data after the stock quotes came out. And they're using MD5...PermalinkCommentsrfc algorithm random election ietf technical

Currently Hanging: Art on the Tracks | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper

2010 Mar 1, 1:26A couch and art setup outside randomly next to the freeway.
PermalinkCommentsart couch seattle

Get cached images from your visitors | Diovo

2009 Dec 15, 2:01"Jeff Atwood (Coding Horror fame) was in for a horror when he realized that his server crashed and his data was gone and due to some reason, the backup mechanism was not working. ... So what should Jeff do now? Since Coding horror is a high traffic blog, I think there is a way to get back at least some of the images." Reconstruct the HTML from Google's cache, change the HTTP server to tell the client it has the correct cached image for all the images, add script to the HTML to grab the images and send them back. Awesome idea. Of course now I want to setup Fiddler to swap in random images...PermalinkCommentsvia:ericlaw jeff-atwood backup web http cache image javascript technical

RFC battle: Browsers vs. programming languages - cat /dev/random | grep security -

2009 Nov 25, 7:09Relative URI resolution differences in browsers vs programming language libraries.PermalinkCommentsvia:ericlaw url uri rfc web browser programming dotnet java technical

HD DVD / Randomness... : Why not use hashes for the Anti-Phishing Filter?

2009 Sep 30, 4:07The hashing part makes sense, but not the 'why no URL query' bit: "But because victim=12345 has already been visited they satisfy condition 2 and they get the 404 page fooling them into thinking the site has already been taken down. So query strings don't really work." You could implement the same thing in the path and even were that not the case there's no telling that removing the query would get you the same page. What's described here is a general method to circumvent the AP filter not an explaination as to why it avoids the query portion of the URL.PermalinkCommentsphishing technical web browser http url hash

Gimme Indie Game: the one button action film of AdamAtomic's Canabalt | Offworld

2009 Sep 2, 4:36"Consider it, maybe, the souped-up Tiger/Game & Watch LCD version of Mirror's Edge, then: you have one goal, and one button, and the goal is to run, and the button is jump, and the game comes from simply maintaining breakneck momentum as you leap from rooftop to randomly generated rooftop."PermalinkCommentsgame flash mirrors-edge

Schneier on Security: Non-Randomness in Coin Flipping

2009 Aug 24, 3:11"It turns out that flipping a coin has all sorts of non-randomness", includes link to research paper and blog post with gems like: "If the coin is tossed and caught, it has about a 51% chance of landing on the same face it was launched"PermalinkCommentssecurity random coin coin-toss

CAN PEOPLE DISTINGUISH PATE FROM DOG FOOD? - AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF WINE ECONOMISTS

2009 Jul 6, 2:06"Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and inexpensive substitute for pate or processed blended meat products such as Spam or liverwurst... Although 72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste... subjects were not better than random at correctly identifying the dog food."PermalinkCommentshumor science statistics food culture research study paper

hey ben dot com : pick one

2009 May 29, 12:48"I don't often link to my own stuff, but this is a little experiment of mine. It gives you two random things, and you pick one. Every time a thing is picked, it gets a point."PermalinkCommentspickone art social top-ten humor

Star Trek Thoughts

2009 May 8, 8:23

I watched the new Star Trek movie Thursday morning, along with many others who work on Windows. Microsoft rented out a theater and played the movie on all screens. I greatly enjoyed the movie!

Spoilers follow... I'm obviously not the biggest Star Trek nerd (or at least TOS nerd) since I didn't even pick up on the fact that Kirk's dad being dead was a discrepancy from the TV series. I only figured out the alternate time-line stuff when they killed most of the Vulcans. I was just surprised they didn't set right what once went wrong by the end of the movie with some more time travel magic to bring back Vulcan. On that note, I'm pretty sure the Spock-Spock conversation at the end, is Nimoy Spock sending Sylar Spock off to school so that Nimoy Spock can get freaky repopulating the Vulcan race. Although at first after his 'two places at once' comment I thought he was saying... something else. Also, was the main evil guy a random miner turned psycho? And his crazy looking spaceship that destroys the Federation fleet was just a mining vessel from the future? Once they invent time travel anybody can get drunk, go back in time, and conquer Earth.

PermalinkCommentspersonal2 nerd movie star-trek spoliers time-travel

Best Funeral Ever at Improv Everywhere

2009 Apr 1, 9:48"For our latest mission, 30 Improv Everywhere agents found a random funeral in the obituary section of the newspaper and turned it into the best funeral ever... The family, especially the older couple in the middle, were seriously mourning. They seemed to be focusing on the priest and mostly ignoring us. Still, we had to be as serious as we possibly could. If anyone cracked a smile or giggled we would completely ruin the funeral for the family."PermalinkCommentshumor parody video improv-everywhere

philosecurity - Blog Archive - Interview with an Adware Author

2009 Jan 13, 6:20"So we've progressed now from having just a Registry key entry, to having an executable, to having a randomly-named executable, to having an executable which is shuffled around a little bit on each machine, to one that's encrypted - really more just obfuscated - to an executable that doesn't even run as an executable. It runs merely as a series of threads."PermalinkCommentssecurity privacy adware malware advertising ie browser scheme interview bho via:li

Amazon.com: A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates: RAND Corporation: Books

2008 Oct 31, 7:10Bruce Schneier pointed out this book: "A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates (Paperback)". Its 600 pages of random numbers. I'd get a copy if it didn't cost $90! From the stats page Amazon lists the 100 most used words in the book: "6 8 11 19 23 28 30 32 37 38 42 47 52 54 56 60 72 77 80 84 86 92 101 102 107 108 111 115 125 126 131 143 147 148 150 157 158 163 166 167 171 179 183 188 190 197 206 207 212 215 218 220 226 228 230 234 236 242 247 249 251 253 261 265 272 292 297 304 311 323 332 336 337 338 344 345 354 356 358 359 364 371 372 374 384 389 391 409 412 413 421 433 436 443 457 481 489 516 517 642"PermalinkCommentsvia:schneier random book humor math csc

Divination - A New Perspective - JSTOR: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Feb., 1957 ), pp. 69-74

2008 Jul 9, 5:37Moore proposes magical divination fills function of generating random outcomes. E.g. shaman reading cracks in caribou bones determines where to hunt avoiding over hunting particular areas or the game picking up hunters patterns. Wish this wasn't pay site.PermalinkCommentsrandom game-theory anthropology divination magic

Earplug Alarm Clock

2008 Jul 9, 1:37

Dirt PileIn my previous home, just after I moved in, my neighbor which was the city of Redmond's various city government buildings, decided to build a parking structure. This was maybe 30 feet from my window, lasted for at least a year and would regularly wake me up at seven or eight in the morning. Determined to not be so punctual for work, I got earplugs which meant in addition to not hearing the construction outside, I couldn't hear my alarm. I had an idea for a combination ear plug, headphone, alarm clock that I never did anything with, except to write down the phrase "earplug / headphone / alarm clock" on a list that I just now found. In retrospect, I think this problem might be too specific to result in my earplug alarm clock selling well.

PermalinkCommentsidea earplug headphone alarm clock random nontechnical

Generating N-D Tetris Pieces

2008 Jun 1, 7:27

When I woke up this morning for some reason I was thinking about Polytope Tetris, my N-D Tetris game, and specifically generating Tetris pieces in various number of dimensions. When I first wrote PTT I thought that as the number of dimensions increased you could end up with an infinite number of non-equivalent crazy Tetris pieces. However this morning I realized that because you only get four blocks per piece there are only a possible three joints in a single Tetris piece which means that you only need three dimensions to represent all possible distinct N-D Tetris pieces.

Below is the table of the various possible pieces per number of dimensions and sorted by the number of joints in the piece. Notice that the 'J' and 'L' become equivalent in 3D because you can rotate the 'J' through the third dimension to make it an 'L'. The same happens for 'S' and 'Z' in 3D, and 'S+' and 'Z+' in 4D.

Joints Name 1D 2D 3D +
1 I I I I I
2 J J J J
L L
3 O O O O
T T T T
S S S S
Z Z
T+ T+ T+
S+ S+ S+
Z+ Z+
Total 1 7 8 7

As a consequence of not realizing there's a finite and small number of N-D Tetris pieces, I wrote code that would randomly generate pieces for a specified number of dimensions by wandering through Tetris space. This consists of first marking the current spot, then randomly picking a direction (a dimension and either forward or backward), going in that direction until hitting a previously unvisited spot and repeating until four spots are marked, forming a Tetris piece. However this morning I realized that continuing in the same direction until reaching am unvisited spot means I can't generate the 'T+' piece. I think the better way to go is keep the list of all possible pieces, pick one randomly, and rotate it randomly through the available dimensions. Doing this will also allow me to give distinct pieces their own specific color (like the classic Tetris games do) rather than picking the color randomly like I do now.

PermalinkCommentspolytope tetris tetris
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