Category Archives: mathematics

Media’s Dilemma

“I’m covered dishonestly by the press — so dishonestly,” POTUS says. So he’s going to keep using his personal Twitter account to communicate with the public.

Journalists expect a certain amount of access to the U.S. executive branch. Will POTUS and his people limit journalist access to POTUS’s social media posts, or will POTUS continue to give the press corps access to the White House? We don’t know, but we can look at what the media have been doing. I claim they face a social dilemma, and are taking an approach that’s not the best for society of for them.

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BS Doesn’t Impress

I usually avoid reading TechCrunch because its writers aren’t that great and the topics they cover rarely intersect the topics I find interesting. This morning, a tweet announced that TechCrunch had an article that seemed to say that the technology industry is a zero-sum environment. As a mathematician and a college teacher, this piqued my curiosity; I’m always looking for good examples of situations that admit game theoretic descriptions.

Ashkan Karbasfrooshan wrote this article to justify the claim that ldquo;tech is a zero-sum, winner takes all game. A reader called him on this, questioning his use of the term zero-sum. So Karbasfrooshan decided to take another run at the idea and show his readers how much he knows about game theory. Anybody can cut-and-paste the wikipedia definition of zero-sum game, but it takes someone willing to think carefully about a sophisticated idea (e.g., game theory, technology markets) to write anything insightful and of value.

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A ‘holy shit’ moment?

From the nytimes.com

The researchers examined public databases of 7.1 million public keys that are used to secure e-mail messages, online banking transactions and other secure data exchanges. The researchers employed the Euclidean algorithm, an efficient way to find the greatest common divisor of two integers, to examine those public key numbers. They were able to produce evidence that a small percentage of those numbers were not truly random, making it possible to determine the underlying numbers, or secret keys, used to generate the public key.

Maybe this is why they are called pseudo-random number generators?!