freezing attacks

The NY Times has an article about compromising data on DRAMs via freezing them and reading the bits off. This would let someone read your encryption keys right off the chip.

It’s kind of funny — all of these crazy-complicated cryptographic schemes can be compromised by what amounts to breaking and entering. I’m sure someone will end up writing a paper entitled “Baby It’s Cold Outside : Zero-Knowledge Proofs With Freezing Verifiers.” Actually, that’s not a bad title…

Battlestar Galactica and the law

Via Ilya Somin over at the Volokh Conspiracy, here is a link to a legal blog’s interview and discussion of some of the legal aspects of the show.

For the record, I was dubious at first, but Bobak’s evangelizing convinced me to start watching. BSG is one of those few shows that opens some good hard questions in a way that doesn’t grate horribly on my aesthetic nerves (c.f. Joss Whedon, for me). I don’t agree with the politics or aesthetics always, but there is good fodder for debate, to my mind.

Hubert Newton, pioneer

I read a fascinating article [pdf] by Steve Batterson about Hubert Newton, the advisor of E. H. Moore, the so-called “father of American mathematics” who has a stunning 11938 academic descendants.

As is made clear in the article, the idea that Chasles was his academic advisor is questionable by the standards of today. Indeed, it was not until Newton started teaching at Yale that they even offered a PhD.

Interestingly, Google turned up Newton’s obituary from the NY Times.

How much should we review?

There’s an discussion going on over at Crooked Timber on how many papers one should agree to review. Most of the commenters are in the social sciences, but one pointed to an essay by William F. Perrin in a recent issue of Science that suggests the following formula:

R = \kappa \cdot S

where R is the number of reviews you should do, \kappa is the number of reviews required per paper, and S is the number of papers you have submitted. I’m guessing that means “papers on which you are the primary author,” but the formula seems reasonable. I wonder how the reviewing load for the Transactions on IT is actually distributed. Perhaps that might be a good survey for the IT Society, or maybe statistics can be gathered from the Pareja database.