Archive for March, 2013

March 31, 2013

Spinning Ice Circle

This is a 100% natural phenomenon. From Wikipedia:

Ice discs form on the outer bends in a river where the accelerating water creates a force called ‘rotational shear’, which breaks off a chunk of ice and twists it around. As the disc rotates, it grinds against surrounding ice — smoothing into a circle.

But imagine randomly encountering one of these in the forest. Bricks would be shat.

March 25, 2013

Understanding MD5 Hashes and Security

Geek confession here. Before today I had a sorry understanding of what MD5 hashes were, and how they related to passwords and online security.

All I knew was they had something to do with obscuring your password so it could’t be cracked. Or something.

But after skimming a fascinating article on Ars Technica called How I became a password hacker I decided that ignorance was no longer an option.

So it turns out an MD5 is just a specific type of “cryptographic hash function“, which means it’s a one-way function; you can’t figure out what went into it just by looking at what came out of it. Badass.

This graphic (via Wikipedia) sums it up pretty nicely. (The “Input” represents a password, and the “Digest” represents a hash.)

It turns out you can make MD5s yourself pretty easily. Do something like this on your command line (or you can just Google for “MD5 Generator”), and you can start to play around with making hashes. You’ll see that no matter what you use as your input, you get 32 characters of crap:

$ echo -n “hello world” | md5
$ 5eb63bbbe01eeed093cb22bb8f5acdc3

$ echo -n “helloooooooooooo world!” | md5
$ 9fa764163c098ec3374ef0c3f7419524

So again, that’s the secret. The magic is the crap. Those 32 characters are so crappy and so random, no amount of computing power can reverse-engineer it back into your password. And the other crucial piece of the pie: Your password is the only piece of input that will consistently produce that exact same piece of crap.

So how does this relate to passwords and security? Reading this blurb on the Wikipedia page made it all click for me:

Alice poses a tough math problem to Bob and claims she has solved it. Bob would like to try it himself, but would yet like to be sure that Alice is not bluffing. Therefore, Alice writes down her solution, computes its hash and tells Bob the hash value (whilst keeping the solution secret). Then, when Bob comes up with the solution himself a few days later, Alice can prove that she had the solution earlier by revealing it and having Bob hash it and check that it matches the hash value given to him before.

So that’s basically the gist of it. Pretty cool, and that ain’t no shit.

March 23, 2013

Will Sasso’s Lemon Videos

This has me laughing like an idiot.

They’re from his Vine account.

March 22, 2013

Turniture

This actually looks pretty cool. (Nevermind that the playhouse is the same thing as the picnic table.)

This little piece of genius is from a 1970 issue of Popular Science (Page 76).

Via Reddit

March 18, 2013

Amazingly Prescient Seinfeld Kramer Heckling Remark

While watching a re-run of Seinfeld tonight, I noticed Jerry saying something that now takes on a whole new meaning in the 19 years since the episode’s airing.

While expressing regret about not talking back to a heckler, Jerry remarks:

“I should have let her have it. [But] I held back ’cause of Kramer.”

I iPhoned the clip – check it out: (Sorry for the crappy audio.)

You probably know what I’m talking about already. So while I won’t embed the video of Michael Richard’s infamous meltdown at a comedy club while confronting a heckler, I will embed his surreal apology on Letterman. Such an uncomfortable few minutes.

My favorite line from this clip:

“Don’t laugh. It’s not funny.”

March 14, 2013

Oh God, Oh Man

Speaking of Barry Lyndon, I came across this clip of Ryan O’Neil showcasing some fine acting.

Barry Lyndon’s Opening Scene and the Golden Ratio

I re-watched “Barry Lyndon” last weekend and was reminded of how perfectly Stanley Kubrick framed his shots.

The opening scene, below, is one of the most beautifully-framed shots I’ve ever seen in a film. The more you look at it, the more you say “Yes. Why yes, that’s nicely framed.” And the better it looks too.

Kubrick’s use of the Golden Ratio here is pretty astonishing. While a composition will usually look nice with one use of the ratio, here I’m counting between three and four examples of it.

This would be impressive enough in a painting, but the fact that Kubrick was able to achieve such beauty in a real environment is even more stunning. Pretty badass Stanley.

March 13, 2013

Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad – 1995 Style

These are incredibly well done.

Via Reddit

March 12, 2013

Condé Nast Entertainment’s Video Play

Some pretty exciting news from Condé Nast today. The new Entertainment group launched a platform for video delivery which they hope will showcase (and monetize) branded video content.

Today’s launch started with Glamour and GQ. Check out the sites – they’re really well executed with the latest in responsive design. My only quibble is that when you hover over a video (with the intention of hitting play/pause), the whole video and all its navigation buttons slide to the left and out from under your mouse. But that’s a small UX gripe with an overall brilliant execution.

They even let you embed the videos. Let’s give this Bill Murray one a shot.

Overall this is the “Netflix” approach of creating and distributing your own content and bypassing traditional channels. Will it work out and create a new revenue stream? Well if I knew for sure, I’d be with the executives on the 11th floor. So until then, I’ll just stick to making websites.