Spafford Completeness

Eugene "Spaf" Spafford is a professor of computer science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is well known for being an early researcher into computer security (and the lack thereof). Needless to say he doesn't suffer from a shortage of work.

If you make the mistake of sending Spaf an email with a Microsoft Word attachment you'll receive a quick (indeed both instant and automated) response admonishing you for using document formats that allow for code execution. It is quite foolish to mix the two. But it also strikes upon a more fundamental truth: executing code is the root of all computer insecurity.

Thus was born the concept of the Spaf machine. It is similar in conception to the Turing machine, but quite different. The first principle of a Spaf machine is that only read operations are allowed. The second, and final, principle of a Spaf machine is that the tape is initialized to a random value. How that randomness is selected, what constitutes sufficiently random data, and where socks go in a dryer are all fluff questions best saved for a hash bar in Amsterdam.

"So what?" you might say. "All it does is read random bits. That's useless!" Au contraire! You are apparently not familiar with the idea of the infinite monkeys. Our application states that given enough time a Spaf machine would successfully render every email you would ever receive. But it would not execute a single bit of code! It is the first truly secure machine!


And Ye Shall Know Him by His Power Tie

Can't decide who to vote for yet in the American presidential election? I can! But for those of you less-able proles I'll provide you with a short list from which you can pick. Make your mark heavy and dark with your extra large crayons!

Lord Voldemort. Keeping it simple. Strong anti-muggle agenda. Doesn't listen to the Death Eater lobby.

Max. Psychotic lagomorph with a hound dog, crime-fighting partner. What's a lagomorph? I don't know either. But you're already on the Internet so why don't you go find out?

Cthulhu. You can't possible be able to pronounce this blasphemous name. But humans were never expect to comprehend the infinite horrors of the Ancients.

Darth Vader. In these uncertain times feel secure in knowing that that isn't a moon. It's a space station.


Huxley Sez

Aldous Huxley once said:

And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing … a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.
I submit that he was referencing reality television. He was more prescient than H.G. Wells!