When my wife and I started to plan our wedding, we inevitably turned to the question of rings, and it was only a matter of time before we came to the idea of rings with little wheels on them that could be used as crypto devices, in the manner of super-duper Captain Midnight Decoder Badges.
So we asked Bruce Schneier for some advice and he suggested that we make each ring with one static band and two rotating ones, each inscribed with the alphabet. The first wheel has dots on the letters, alternating above, none, below. The second wheel has the repeating sequence of above, above, none, none, below, below. The third wheel has the repeating sequence of above, above, above, none, none, none, below, below, below (it sounds confusing, but you can see a chart here).
The rings were made in white gold by Isabel Rucker (daughter of master cyberpunk author Rudy Rucker -- and a fantastic jeweler in her own right) and they turned out great.
Now it's time that we turn to the Internet with a challenge: given these two matching rings, what crypto applications can you come up with? Could you use them to scramble passwords (possibly hashed with a key)? How about encoding messages for secret transmission? What additional common apparatus (say, different-sized coins) could you use to generate initialization vectors and increase the system's security?
This is an open competition to be judged by Bruce "Applied Cryptography" Schneier and me -- the winner gets a copy of Little Brother signed by both of us. Post your submissions to the comments or send them to email@example.com before Oct 1, 2008.
Crytpo Wedding Ring
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe’en.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
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