Monday, April 11, 2011

you are not what i thought you were

because i basically took the weekend off from this weird studious productivity phase i've been in for the past two weeks, today was supposed to be extra productive: polish off the two papers i have done, make presentation slides, work on presentations, and start studying for the exam i have on thursday. well, start reading the text book more than really studying. (the professor said if you read the first couple of chapters of the book you'll get the extra credit right. i need all the easy extra credit i can get.)

as usual, my attempt at productivity is not going quite as planned. and do you know what i get to blame this time? my text book of all things! it's way too distracting. i remember back in high school reading the ap history book wasn't as torturous as some of the others because it would crack little jokes in the text randomly. this book goes above and beyond in entertainment. keep in mind, this is a normal network security text book. at first glance, it looks just as awful as any other text book, but then you start reading.

the first chapter starts with, "It was a dark and stormy night. Somewhere in the distance a dog howled. A shiny object caught Alice's eye. A diamond cufflink!" i'm not even kidding. it goes on a bit about bob and the butler and how alice needs to get a message securely to bob before the butler kills him. she has to make sure bob doesn't think the message is from trudy, though, cause she apparently "spurned the butler's advances" and so it would look like she was framing him.

the rest of the text is littered with jewels like, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me (chant designed to encourage bullies to get physical)" and "if you can't say something in less than 2^64 bits, you shouldn't say it at all." they also have poems like euclidean algorhyme (two of them) and multiplicative in verse. alice and bob send love letters to each other about prime numbers and challenge each other with fiddlesticks. alice often spouts quotes from alice in wonderland. the authors make fun of themselves and each other. it's all fun and games in this book.

the thing that's really been eating up my day, though, is this song they have called "superpolynomial subexponential runtimes" that's supposed to be sung to the tune of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. it talks about rsa and diffie-hellman algorithms. i've been trying to commit it to memory (it was apparently created and performed by eric hughes at an rsa patent expiration party) but keep stumbling over parts.

i never thought the day would come when i would procrastinate with a text book. and have fun. i never thought a security text book could be so entertaining.

*Love Song - Sara Bareilles


  1. anonymous hippopotamusApril 11, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    wow! i need to see that text book lol

  2. you really do. i think i'm gonna start recommending it to people lol.