Samantics Rhetorica's blog

Red Queen security

It's only a matter of time before any existing cryptographic method is cracked.

On the plus side, this seems to take longer than it does to invent good, new ones.

Why not keep the SSH or Tor protocol on a rolling update schedule, like web browsers? Encryption methods should expire just like passwords.

Counterintelligence seems like a good way to create a reliable job market for cryptography experts.

Obviously this is what secret agencies already do, but the commercial market could churn out new standards frequently with enough heads involved, flawed though they might end up being.

Analogy to a one-time pad, maybe?
Samantics comment   8452.992 tgc / 2013.683 ce


Because of horizontal gene transfer, it's wrong to talk about bacteria in the same way we regard other kingdoms of life. I propose that all bacterial species that participate in HGT be rebranded as 'eigenspecies' or 'eigengenomes'—as if their genetic material were a vector being applied to a matrix (the environment) to yield a constant result (for humourous reasons, the eigenvalue should be 2, to indicate binary fission.) Of course, no genome is completely static, so they'd be near-eigengenomes. Very rapidly changing species are of course not steady-state at all; they are just some vector getting screwed up by the matrix.

This perhaps can be used to talk about any species, since a stable environment generally means a stable survival rate and negative evolutionary pressure, but I think the transitory nature of the designation is particularly suitable to our little transitory friends.
Samantics comment   8452.914 tgc / 2013.535 ce

Regsabta Tshúkotía, Slokdtaba


Early on Geglok'hogrekño morning, vessels of the Righteous King Zetemptobo confirmed that the last of the cowardly serpents had been driven from the fair domain of Yorlamë, home to millions of loyal colonists and twenty lesser species. General Hrídlatzlo Korakto of the Ninth Fleet at Arms declared the victory a significant blow to the Hogedep Empire, if not a particularly challenging test of his armada's abilities. Today is a great day for the Ksreskézai. — REGSABTA TSHÚKOTÍA, TÉVOPÍO SCABBARD.

"What in the world is this?" […]
Samantics comment   read more (5519 bytes) · 8452.874 tgc / 2013.459 ce

The CEASE Manifesto

[Note: This is a joke. Or, at least, it was going to be when I started writing it.]

Every year, tens—if not hundreds—of thousands of newly-minted undergraduates around the globe join a student activist organisation. Such organisations span the political spectrum and all issues imaginable, but are predominantly progressive in their principles and address either social issues on a national or international level, or focus on some disease. The majority of such groups emphasize awareness campaigns, although most also collect donations that in some way benefit their cause.

For several reasons, this is a terrible idea. […]
Samantics comment   read more (3190 bytes) · 8452.844 tgc / 2013.401 ce

Roxanne Beckman–Coulter

You don't have to turn on the red light;
Those days are over,
The tubes are now balanced and all is right.

Samantics comment   read more (1192 bytes) · 8452.703 tgc / 2013.135 ce

Immature Dictionary Size Contest

Measuring number of roots as an index of a language's maturity... what could possibly go wrong?  […]
Samantics comment   read more (296 bytes) · 8452.661 tgc / 2013.053 ce

Conlang stereotypes and dead horses

This has been stewing around in my head for a little while now. Seems like the sort of thing I intended to write here. Yes, the hour is odd. No, I'm not having trouble sleeping. You are.

Retrospective admission: this article is nonsense. At the time I'd only seen newbie languages and didn't realise how large the conlang community was. Ignore this. […]
Samantics comment   read more (5224 bytes) · 8452.638 tgc / 2013.01 ce

Windows 8

By far the most remarkable thing is how much of these changes stop existing when Explorer isn't running. Technically I like the ribbon in Explorer because I'm a fan of the ribbon UI for cheesy HCI activism reasons, but I don't think I'd ever actually resort to it since right-clicking is more immediate.

The technical differences are as follows. […]
Samantics comment   read more (1760 bytes) · 8452.637 tgc / 2013.009 ce

The State of the Art

I was going to write some awful poetry here, but I'll just be blunt: the velocity and volume of material behind machine learning research leaves me on my knees. Every generation has said that general AI is only a few years away—but not every generation has had classification accuracy comparable to a well-trained human expert. Obviously that's not the last step in assembling your very own heuristically-programmed algorithmic computer, or even a plausible tactical drone, but it's a very big deal. […]
Samantics comment   read more (2440 bytes) · 8452.603 tgc / 2012.943 ce

I have given it a bit of much-needed polishing; user profiles are now naturally linked to their neighbours on using transparent aliasing. It wasn't much work to put it together, but in combination with some other minor improvements to the Bug template and a quick implementation of the To Do page, it means that the core mechanism of code is complete. […]
Samantics comment   read more (290 bytes) · 8452.601 tgc / 2012.941 ce

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