Yesterday I got a new lens for my camera. It's the Canon 50mm f/1.4. This is my "party lens" for taking indoor pictures at normal human field-of-view scales. (50mm is the focal length, which corresponds to the "zoom"; 50mm is around what our eyes see. f/1.4 is the maximum aperture width on a logarithmic scale with lower numbers being wider; the wider the aperture, the more light, the faster the shutter can go, and the less blurry hand-held shots are (among other things). f/1.4 is the fastest in a non-ridiculous lens for Canon. For comparison, my macro is about four times as slow and my crummy old zoom lens at least like eight times as slow.)
Anyway, what this really means is nice low-blur pictures at the Jello Party this friday. I also slapped a few new photos up in the New! section of my photo gallery, only a few of which were taken with the new lens.
I finally finished mechanizing all of my proofs for the Classical Modal Logic paper. The operational semantics was by far the hardest part, but it's done now and it is very satisfying to have an extremely picky computer program validate my work. (Peruse, if you like that sort of thing.)
I still have other research stuff to take care of this summer, but soon it's on to bigger things...
All Hash Functions Broken????
(16 Aug 2004 at 22:51)
Rumors are circulating that all of the widely used cryptographic hash functions have been broken, and that this will be announced at CRYPTO this week. (!!!!!!?!?!?!)
This includes SHA-0 (already announced and verified), MD5 (sort of verified) and SHA-1 (rumored). MD5 is quite popular and SHA-1 is the government standard. These are used in digital signatures, which are a vital part of most public key cryptosystems, like the one used for securely browsing the web.
Someone has verified the collisions for MD5 (actually they are for a trivially different variant of MD5 with byte order swaps). Just knowing that collisions are out there would be bad enough, but their attack apparently only takes 1 hour to run (with an extra 15 seconds or so for subsequent collisions) on a medium-power cluster (IBM P690). When the details come out, that little padlock icon in your browser will become a lot less meaningful, at least until we refit the internet with replacement algorithms.
This weekend I finally made a new album (my last one was over six months ago!). I think it came out pretty well, but you can judge for yourself by listening to Tom 7 AAD #18: Fake Mars. For those of you who are just joining us, almost all my music is made this way: in 24-hour explosions that I call album-a-day.
It is now possible to sign up for an account again over at audioscrobbler. I've mentioned this site before: it is a non-intrusive plugin for Winamp (or iTunes, XMMS, etc.) that records what MP3s or CDs you play in a web database. It's cool to see the frequency with which you listen to certain stuff, and cooler to see what other people listen to, and coolest to see how often others listen to music that you made. ;)