Did you know some numbers are illegal?!

Illegal prime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An illegal prime is a prime number that represents information whose possession or distribution is forbidden in some legal jurisdiction. One of the first illegal primes was found in 2001. When interpreted in a particular way, it describes a computer program that bypasses the digital rights management scheme used on DVDs. Distribution of such a program in the United States is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[1] An illegal prime is a kind of illegal number.

“This is a good short lesson in public key cryptography. We also learn why a particular prime number that starts with 85650789657397829 and has 1402 more digits is an illegal number. If you have a DVD player, you are in possession of the number.”

This would seem like a case of math defeating copyright law but….

Sources: Illegal prime – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks

There’s something magical about Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). I still remember when I trained my first recurrent network for Image Captioning. Within a few dozen minutes of training my first baby model (with rather arbitrarily-chosen hyperparameters) started to generate very nice looking descriptions of images that were on the edge of making sense. Sometimes the ratio of how simple your model is to the quality of the results you get out of it blows past your expectations, and this was one of those times. What made this result so shocking at the time was that the common wisdom was that RNNs were supposed to be difficult to train (with more experience I’ve in fact reached the opposite conclusion). Fast forward about a year: I’m training RNNs all the time and I’ve witnessed their power and robustness many times, and yet their magical outputs still find ways of amusing me. This post is about sharing some of that magic with you.

Musings of a Computer Scientist.

Source: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks

A lot of information, but a side-product is a new work by Shakespeare!

Why, Salisbury must find his flesh and thought
That which I am not aps, not a man and in fire,
To show the reining of the raven and the wars
To grace my hand reproach within, and not a fair are hand,
That Caesar and my goodly father's world;
When I was heaven of presence and our fleets,
We spare with hours, but cut thy council I am great,
Murdered and by thy master's ready there
My power to give thee but so much as hell:
Some service in the noble bondman here,
Would show him to her wine.

O, if you were a feeble sight, the courtesy of your law,
Your sight and several breath, will wear the gods
With his heads, and my hands are wonder'd at the deeds,
So drop upon your lordship's head, and your opinion
Shall be against your honour.

Hehe. Check it out!

Vital Signs – Super Interesting Bay Area Statistics

Curious about where you live? Need to look up some facts and prefer infographics to text? This website is insane! It literally is like all the SimCity stats for the Bay Area! This of course, to my non-local readers is the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California… San Jose used to be smaller than SF! Hercules to the Bay Bridge in the morning is the worst commute! Check it out!

Source: Vital Signs

Vital Signs monitors key trends in the Bay Area.

Dozens of different topics can be explored with just a click

Dive into interactive maps and charts that bring data to life

Take advantage of open data by downloading, sharing and developing

The surprising history of hippy crack – Boing Boing

A surprisingly long article. Looks well researched! I’m looking forward to reading this!

But people have been having fun with nitrous oxide – even in the name of science – virtually since its discovery more than 240 years ago. In fact, it’s only been the last 100 years or so that nitrous oxide has been more often used for “legit” purposes.

Nitrous oxide was first synthesized in 1772 by Joseph Priestly, one of Britain’s foremost chemists and the man who invented soda water; he allowed nitric oxide (NO) to stand in contact with iron filings and water, yielding the gas N20.


The surprising history of hippy crack – Boing Boing.

What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry – Boing Boing

David Cameron says there should be no “means of communication” which “we cannot read” — and no doubt many in his party will agree with him, politically. But if they understood the technology, they would be shocked to their boots…

Article by Cory Doctorow


What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry – Boing Boing.

2 Futures Can Explain Time’s Mysterious Past – Scientific American

Thousands of galaxies fill an image from the Hubble Space Telescope

In the evolution of cosmic structure, is entropy or gravity the more dominant force? The answer to this question has deep implications for the universe’s future, as well as its past.
Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team


Physicists have a problem with time.

Whether through Newton’s gravitation, Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Einstein’s special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, all the equations that best describe our universe work perfectly if time flows forward or backward.

Of course the world we experience is entirely different. The universe is expanding, not contracting. Stars emit light rather than absorb it, and radioactive atoms decay rather than reassemble. Omelets don’t transform back to unbroken eggs and cigarettes never coalesce from smoke and ashes. We remember the past, not the future, and we grow old and decrepit, not young and rejuvenated. For us, time has a clear and irreversible direction. It flies forward like a missile, equations be damned.


2 Futures Can Explain Time’s Mysterious Past – Scientific American.