The profoundest mystery about the physical universe is that it is so intertwined with mathematics. Gravity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between two objects. Why? Why does pi, essential in calculating the circumference of a circle, also prove essential to calculating the area of a circle: why is it an exact value, not just a rough guide or rule of thumb?
The effectiveness of cryptography in essence rests on a single truth about mathematics: that it is impossible to factorise prime numbers.
For any number, there is no way of working out if a smaller number divides into it, short of actually doing the calculation.
This might sound like a small point, but it means that when you have very long numbers – numbers that are hundreds or thousands of digits long – there is no way of breaking them down into factors other than by trying every smaller number and seeing if it fits. With very very big numbers, that process is, in practice, impossibly time-consuming.
"The hash function takes a stream of information of any length and turns it into a unique set of letters and numbers, of a fixed length"
"Every computer in the world linked together could not reverse the encryption [referring to a hash of Ulysses]".
Dread Pirate Roberts had completely lost his marbles.
And yet this detail stuck with me: he and his co-investors store their bitcoin keys in an offline laptop stored in a safe deposit box. No other form of computer storage is sufficiently secure. If those are the lengths you have to go to in order to defend yourself from crooks, what does that say about the safety of the cryptocurrency?
IN A month or so, India will have registered a billion residents—the latest stage in the creation of a complete identity database of what will soon be the world’s most populous country. Aadhaar, which means “foundation” in Hindi, matches names with fingerprints and iris scans on a scale that has never been seen before. Reimagining government with such technology at its core will be key to meeting the mounting aspirations of India’s citizens, according to two of the scheme’s architects, Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah. If the Domesday Book, an 11th-century survey of England, was commissioned to raise funds for government, Aadhaar’s most useful purpose is to help their disbursement... It allows the government to pay benefits directly to over 200m bank accounts linked to its database, so cutting out layers of corrupt and inept middlemen.
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