Calculating entropy with Python.

Fun fact: There is more than one kind of entropy out there.

If you've been through high school chemistry or physics, you might have learned about thermodynamic entropy, which is (roughly speaking) the amount of disorder in a closed system.  Alternatively, and a little more precisely, thermodynamic entropy can be defined as the heat in a volume of space equalizing throughout the volume.  But that's not the kind of entropy that I'm talking about.

Information theory has its own concept of entropy.  One way of explaining information theory is that it's the mathematical study of messages as they travel through …

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Memetic warfare in America.

The current state of anyone's capacity to get any useful information in the United States these days, which is to say next to impossible due to the proliferation of fake news sites and pro-trolls doing their damndest to lower the signal-to-noise ratio to epsilon, is the logical end result of the following progression of cliches:

"You can't believe everything people tell you."

"You can't believe everything you read in books."

"You can't believe everything you see on TV."

"You can't believe everything your friends tell you."

"You can't believe everything your teachers tell you."

"You can't believe everything you read …

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Shaun King: Recording from a Corporate Meeting about the Dakota Access Pipeline

Supposedly, the man speaking is Matthew Ramsey, COO of Energy Transfer Partners.

The interesting bit is around the 6:30 mark.

Just in case, I've put up a local mirror of the recording.

The thread talking about it starts here.

Remember to pick this the hell apart and run every last detail to ground.

Genetic jiggery-pokery.

It's long been known that DNA encodes information in a four-bit pattern which can be read and processed like any other bitstream. Four different nucleotides, paired two by two, arranged in one of two configurations side by side by side in a long string of letters, many times longer than the size of the cell containing the full DNA strand. Every cell in every single lifeform contains the same DNA sequence, regardless of what the cell actually does. So how, many have asked, does a cell know if it should help produce hair, or skin, or pigments, or something else …

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A couple of thoughts on microblogging.

The thing about microblogging, or services which allow posts that are very short (around 140 characters) and are disseminated in the fashion of a broadcast medium is that it lends itself to fire-and-forget posting. See something, post it, maybe attach a photograph or a link and be done with it. If your goal is to get information out to lots of people at once leveraging one's social network is criticial: Post something, a couple of the users following you repost it so that more people see it, a couple of their followers repost it in turn... like ripples on the …

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DefCon 22 presentation notes

Behind the cut are the notes I took during DefCon 22, organized by name of presentation. Where appropriate I've linked to the precis of the talk. I make no guarantee that they make sense to anybody but me.

One Man Shop: Building an Effective Security Program All By Yourself - Medic

  • Integrate with environment
  • Continuous monitoring
  • People and Process -> Secure Network Architecture -> Secure Systems Design -> Continuous Monitoring -> External Validation -> Compliance
  • Compliance, per usual, means dick in the final analysis
  • Roughly five year plan w/ deliverables
  • Needs organizational supprt. Still answers to the Business.
  • Supports, !replaces Business
  • Security will not mature past …
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Xeno-nucleic acids and biological computation.

Disclaimer: I am not a geneticist. If I got some bits wrong let me know and I'll correct my post.

It is a basic fact that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the fundamental mechanism of complex life on this planet. DNA encodes the structure of every protein used by complex life in much the same way that a Turing machine would use a paper or magnetic tape to store data. The codon (triplet of base pairs) ATG means that the amino acid methionine goes first, the codon TCT means that serine goes next, then histidine, and so on and so forth …

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Post-HOPE 9.

I'm snowed in at work because I have to catch up on everything that happened while attending HOPE 9. If we just met and you're trying to get in touch with me, please be patient. I'm not ignoring or trying to dodge you, I'm up to my neck and don't have time to get back to you yet. E-mails will be answered as time permits, I'm trying to catch up on Twitter, and your business cards are neatly stacked and await sorting. If you need my PGP public key here it is; when sending encrypted e-mail me please attach your …

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LRAD information archive.

For the past couple of years sonic weapons called LRADs (Long Range Accoustic Devices) have been increasingly deployed against protestors in the United States (here is footage from Pittsburgh shot in 2009 (warning: remove your earphones!)). A step up from mere marketing tricks that make you suspect that you're going mad, these sonic weapons pump out enough sound pressure to cause permanant hearing damage at a distance of a couple of hundred feet. Earplugs don't work because the sound is loud enough to be conducted into one's inner ears through the bones of the skull. Getting behind hard cover probably …

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