Algorithm for implementing a dead man's switch.

So, you're probably wondering why I'm posting this, because it's a bit off of my usual fare.  The reason is I think it would be useful to make available a fairly simple algorithm for implementing a general purpose dead man's switch in whatever language you want, which is to say a DMS that could conceivably do just about anything if it activated.

But what's a dead man's switch?  Ultimately, it's a mechanism that has to be manually engaged at all times if you want something to happen, and if that switch turns off for some reason, something else happens (like …

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"MD5 considered harmful today"... but why?

If you've been following net.news in the past twenty-four to forty-eight hours you heard about what went down at the Chaos Computer Congress yesterday - a group of security researchers figured out how to exploit the flaws in the MD5 hash algorithm to forge CA certificates, thus placing SSL encryption as we know it in jeopardy.

...right? Breaking SSL is bad, yeah?

Like many things in life (and nearly everything in cryptography) it's not that simple or that straightforward. Yes, this is bad, but it's not "go back to punchcards" bad.

Let's take it step by step. First of all …

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Not quite mind reading, not mind control the way people usually think of it, but significant nonetheless.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology biotech researchers have made progress on an area of prosthetics that most people don't think about because it's so obvious but is still very important nonetheless: The neural interface. Specifically, they've worked out an algorithm that converts patterns of chemoelectrical activity in the brain that signify intent of motion into commands for an external device. Current prosthetics aren't directly hooked into the central nervous system but the "network edge" of the peripheral nervous system via interface jacks connected to nerve endings. Let's be clear, interface jacks that accept only broad sorts of input, such …

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