Saturday, April 22, 2006

Algorithms and a Strong Cup of Coffee

I've been doing research on cryptographic algorithms for my novel, which, for those of you who know me, is a subject way out of my league. I originally started thinking about different types of code, which is one of the main character's passions, and after talking to various people, this led me to reading about John Forbes Nash Jr and other mathematicians. I still need to find some good sources on scientific development in the early '90s, but in the meantime, the best I can do is browse the internet for ideas and further grounding. I came across the website for Phil Karn, a computer networking engineer who fought a legal battle with the US Government from 1994-97 regarding the US encryption export laws. The US State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls ruled that the seminal work on cryptography "Applied Cryptography" by Bruce Schneier could be exported out of the US. However, a floppy disc containing the source code taken directly from the book could not be exported. If you want to learn more, go to his site. I found these quotes on the main page of Karn's site and found them interesting enough to include here:
...[A]fter all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship ... That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. -- Hermann Göring, from Nuremberg Diary by G. M. Gilbert.
The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press -- in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of LIBERAL excess during the past years. -- Adolf Hitler The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1, Michael Hakeem, Ph.D. (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pp. 871-872. from
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag. -- Huey Long
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -- Voltaire
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. -- James Madison, 4th US President and primary author of the US Constitution

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