"The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia."

Malcolm Turnbull is at it again. Sigh.

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This is the standard issue reminder that the sort of terrorists and criminals who you need to be worried about can trivially set up secure channels of documentation given that, you know, Rivest, Ronald L., Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman. “A method for obtaining digital signatures and public-key cryptosystems.” Communications of the ACM 21, no. 2 (1978): 120-126. is publicly available, and has been for nearly forty years now. Not that they’ll need to because you can find thoroughly tested implementations thereof available as open source.

The only people who’d be affected by this are (a) stupid criminals and (b) normal, law-abiding citizens whose privacy will be destroyed as any backdoor is first exploited by hackers and second is abused by government officials in the manner all such powers are always abused for ends both petty and monstrous. The governments of the world have demonstrated beyond a shadow of the doubt they are not fit to command the powers they have already, let alone fit to have their reach extended.


I knew Turnbull was a dickhead, but I didn’t know he’s a fucking dunce.



I teach RSA crypto in my math for liberal arts class. I guess my students can now complain that I can’t expect them to be smarter than the PM of a major country.


Well this is an excellent opportunity to teach them that politicians are not elected based on being superior, despite how many people act.


I have enough trouble covering all the math I want to in my allotted time, they can learn this stuff in their Poli Sci classes.


What’s really aggravating is that he’s not a dunce, he’s smart enough about tech to know he can lie about this shit and not have peers that are informed enough to create decent counter-arguments. The person who was most capable of calling him on his bullshit was Ludlum, unfortunately (who at least made a decent crack about “making branches of mathematics illegal” in his farewell speech).


I wish I could produce a reality distortion field that strong.

I grew up with the idea that knowledge and education would be important. That they would ensure my well-being, my social and financial success. That they would make me a a better person, and help to create a better world.

Clearly, several of today’s leading politicians had a better education than me?

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Australia had better hope that the sudden primacy of Australian law over all other laws doesn’t leave them without gravity; or cause all the quarks to start a work stoppage until they have a contract. That could get ugly.


While I didn’t quite grok the mathematical notations (I won’t bore everybody with my struggles around math illiteracy for the umpteenth time here), that seemed like a wonderfully concise and clear explanation of RSA crypto theory that I could largely understand.

Thanks. I teach this in the context of an elementary introduction to modular arithmetic, so I’m sure if you endured my lectures saw it in context you’d have understood the notation.

I’ve thought about nicknaming this class “mathematics for legislators”, since most of the topics are things like voting systems and fair division that can be useful for policy, but I doubt I’ll even teach it again.


One of my friends took a class in college called “physics for humanists,” so there is definitely a place and a market for self-aware courses of that nature.

Also, someone really, really missed the point of the story of King Canute.

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