How Cloudflare Uses Lava Lamps to Guard Against Hackers:

Edward Craven Walker lived to see his greatest invention, the lava lamp, make its late-’90s cultural comeback. But the British tinkerer (and famed nudist, incidentally) died before he could witness the 21st- century digital potential of his analog creation. Inside the San Francisco office of the web security company Cloudflare, 100 units of Craven Walker’s groovy hardware help protect wide swaths of the internet from infiltration.
Here’s how it works. Every time you log in to any website, you’re assigned a unique identification number. It should be random, because if hackers can predict the number, they’ll impersonate you. Computers, relying as they do on human-coded patterns, can’t generate true randomness—but nobody can predict the goopy mesmeric swirlings of oil, water, and wax. Cloudflare films the lamps 24/7 and uses the ever-changing arrangement of pixels to help create a superpowered cryptographic key. “Anything that the camera captures gets incorporated into the randomness,” says Nick Sullivan, the company’s head of cryptography, and that includes visitors milling about and light streaming through the windows. (Any change in heat subtly affects the undulations of those glistening globules.)

Sure, theoretically, bad guys could sneak their own camera into Cloudflare’s lobby to capture the same scene, but the company’s prepared for such trickery. It films the movements of a pendulum in its London office and records the measurements of a Geiger counter in Singapore to add more chaos to the equation. Crack that, Russians.

(Via Security Latest)

I love the analog nature of this plus the additional geographically disbursed randomness in the system.

I think I first heard about the use of lava lamps for RNG operations in the late ‘90s or early 2000’s. I went so far as to buy a few to set up a smaller version of the Cloudflare rig, but my ex-wife “borrowed” them permanently. Sadly, I’ve lived without strong randomness ever since.

Secret Quiet Skies surveillance program tracks citizens not suspected of wrongdoing:

Federal air marshals (FAMs) told the Globe that the program is a waste of taxpayer dollars and actually makes the U.S. less safe as they are not working on “legitimate, potential threats.” Many are not even sure if it is legal, but the TSA told the Globe it is part of its “mission to ensure the safety and security of passengers, crewmembers, and aircraft throughout the aviation sector. As its assessment capabilities continue to enhance, FAMS leverages multiple internal and external intelligence sources in its deployment strategy.”

But John Casaretti, president of the Air Marshal Association, said, “Currently the Quiet Skies program does not meet the criteria we find acceptable.” He added, “The American public would be better served if these [air marshals] were instead assigned to airport screening and check in areas so that active shooter events can be swiftly ended, and violations of federal crimes can be properly and consistently addressed.”

(Via CSO Online)

I almost understand the false sense of security current airport practices provide the average Jane and John Doe.

But super secret security theater busywork?

The Blockchain Bubble will Pop, What Next?:

Bubbles are characterized by the marriage of excitement and ignorance, with markets flooded with eager but naive actors motivated by the perception of momentum.

The blockchain boom is characterized by a massive interest in cryptography-based technology — and yet too often, neither the investors specializing in the market, nor the founders of crypto-based ventures seem to possess a coherent vision, or even expertise. While I’ve suspected this for a long time, my brief contact with the AI+Blockchain world affirms that a significant portion of the blockchain boom has no legs.

(Via Approximately Correct)

How Japan’s visionaries saw the future – BBC – Culture

Online shopping from a great selection at Foreign Language Books Store.
— Read on洋書-foreign-books-English-books/b/ref=topnav_storetab_fb

My bookmark for getting quickly to the English language books in Amazon Japan.