Saturday, April 29, 2006

Review of Simon Singh's The Code Book

Simon Singh’s The Code Book is a really good read. In it he goes through some really pivotal points in the history of Cryptography. He traces the evolution of codes from primitive Cesar cipher and substitution ciphers to quantum cryptography. There is a lot of good stuff in here, and there are times when you have to really pay attention, but it is certainly rewarding. If you ever wondered what PGP was, or RSA encryption, or you just wanted to know what that little lock that appears on your web browser when you are checking you bank statement is, or even Alan Turing’s role in WWII, you should read the book.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Yet another UN scandal

So I really don't like bringing up my very far philately past, but I'll admit it, I still have a soft spot in my heart for stamps, and historic miscelania. Which is why this story is so annoying. Apparently in a secret auction, the UN sold off a metric tonne of its historic stamp collection. It is apparently so secret that no one in the UN, including the people in charge of the UN's historical stuff knows about it. Why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yom Hashoa

[Insert moment of silence here]

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Who is Mustafa Khalfi?

Olivier Guitta and Ilan Weinglass wonder what a terrorist supporter is doing with one of the most prestigious internships in the country.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Right and Left

The last few days has seen a lot of talk about Iran, and in particular following Bush's statement, echoed by much of the administration, that "Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons."

Typically the op-ed paged were full of reports. Unsurprisingly, the New York Times put us some silly straw-man argument against the administration, explaining why we should not use nuclear weapons to combat Iran's nuclear program. As if that would ever happen. For some reason the left is simply adverse to seriously confrontating problems. On the other hand the Wall Street Journal today has a serious and lengthy piece dedicated toward understanding the issue of Iran.

Lest you fail to see the gravity of this: policy is made based on perception of the facts. The picture that the op-ed page of the NY Times paints is one of a simple decision: do we nuke Iran and be sick evil lunatics, or not. There is no appreciation for the complexity of the problem given to the readers. The editors of the times should start asking themselves just how dangerous it really is to be so condescending to their readers.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chol HaMoed

"S", "E" and I went to the Museum of the City of New York today. It was small, but a good way to spend a couple of hours. It also reminded me of how much I love New York. I would especially recommend the 25 minute film about the history of New York.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good Peasach

Have a good Pesach. Life on my end has been incredibly busy, and I have not had a second to sit and think about writing.

I saw Thank You for Smoking. Great movie.

I have started to wonder a lot about people. If anyone has a good theory about how and when people actually change their minds, feel free to let me know. People are not persuaded by reasons, nor are they usually swayed. I think people have a hair-trigger on their propensity to hate other people, and if that happens, they stay hated. I think the opposite is not the case. It is rare that we start liking somone we hated.

I gave some papers at a conference. It was fun. I discovered that French academics really cannot distinguish sociology from philosophy.

Life goes on. I will write more later.