Image Resizer Technology Explained

Until I saw this clip, I never really considered the art of image manipulation all that big of a deal.

My first thought when I saw IRT was this – if the expanding function increased the pixels by inserting an average of the two on either side, what would the image look like after doing an accordion type movement where you successively reduce and enlarge multiple times? If it preserves the image – or could be made to – then I see a huge application for this in cryptology. If the removal algorithm can be subjected to some kind of key exchange, then you’d effectively be able to completely remove sections of an image – or certainly some text – just by typing in a password and then sizing it out of the media.

If you have some basic Photoshop skills, you’ll really appreciate continuous resizing where “images are resized in a non-uniform manner”. Seeing continuous resizing and specifically the weighted energy protection/removal algorithms explained in action is just wicked.

Popular Biometric Security = Bad For The Masses

I saw this the other day and said to myself, “Now THERE’S a good alternative to biometrics for high security applications!”.

And here we go. Security rant on.

Grocery shopping in a bad future.

If you go to a grocery store that is trying to make you think that paying for your milk and peanut butter by placing your thumb on a reader is a good thing, please keep reading. The problem with these biometric security mechanisms isn’t that they’re insecure. The also problem is not what Hollywood would have us believe – that retinal scans can be compromised by cutting someones eye out and holding it in front of the sensor (ridiculous). The problem is a personal one. The problem actually lies in how good the security of these devices really are. If I’m getting off on a tangent, let me bring it back a little. Your fingerprint or retinal pattern is indeed capable of identifying you, and only you, out of the six billion other people on the planet. The problem is that the information *representing* your fingerprint or retina is probably stored as an algorithm somewhere. Stored as 0’s and 1’s, just like any other data file. Encrypted or not, it doesn’t matter. Now here’s the point of my rant… stored data can be compromised. Compromised and stolen. Stolen and decrypted. So now there’s a theif out there that has something *way* better than a credit card number that can be cancelled. They’ve got YOU. They have something that indelibly represents you and only you. Something that cannot be cancelled or re-ordered. Your most precious representation of your individualism has been compromised.

Typical product of a retinal scan.

Security rant off.

If this line of discussion interests you, I highly suggest you head over to Bruce Schneier’s site and start reading. Bruce has written some of the most prolific dissertations on modern security that are in print today. Highly recommended and encouraged reading.

So the reason I thought that this was such a good idea, is because it’s:

A) not a hard coded security algorithm like your fingerprint or retina are, and

B) common methods of compromise – like looking over someone’s shoulder while they type – won’t work.

Only the most exotic methods of compromise – like van Eck phreaking or TEMPEST – would remain viable… and that is a good thing, as most people don’t know how to build an eckbox.

So anyway, just remember not to let anyone scan your retina or thumbprint into a database, please… it’s bad for all of us.

Massive Cosmic Void Found

One of the most common misunderstandings regarding cosmology is that people think of the universe as being extremely large and empty, with intermittent pockets of matter in the form of galaxies. Not true at all, and actually the exact opposite is closer to the truth.

The Microwave Sky

From what we’ve been able to tell, the universe is actually *packed* with matter in the form of galaxies, dust clouds, and dark matter (the quantity of dark matter being a relatively recent discovery). So it was quite a suprise when NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite was running it’s study on the cosmic microwave background, and came up with a region nearly a BILLION light years across that was emitting almost no microwave heat – which means that simply nothing’s there.

The Void

I’m not sure yet what to make of this, but I’m sure there will be several thesis papers written on this topic in the coming year. Here’s the story from Dailytech.

The Election is Upon Us

    Signs to look for in the Geek choice for President

11. They offer amnesty to Han Solo for killing Greedo without provocation.
10. They say your administration will work together with the efficiency of the Borg.
9. They have a passing familiarity with the scientific method.
8. They legally change their name to Pedro, so everyone can keep wearing their Vote for Pedro shirts.
7. They avoid the suit and tie look, and go for the T-shirt with pithy saying look.
6. They mention victories in Civilization (or BF2) as part of their experience in international relations.
5. They find ways to quote Holy Grail in their stump speech.
4. They promise to appoint a Klingon in the Department of Defense.
3. They choose Weird Al to create their campaign song.
2. They refuse donations from the RIAA and MPAA.
1. They suggest that they favor Net Neutrality as well as Net Lawful Neutrality and Net Chaotic Neutrality.

OK, some of these things are really nerdy instead of geeky, but I promise not to split hairs if ANY of the candidates does ANY of these.