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October 04, 2006

So now you know

Random.org run by Mads Haahr, offers true random numbers to anyone on the internet. Their most important use is the generation of cryptographic keys. For example, one Danish TV station runs an online backgammon server which generates more than 300,000 dice rolls per day. A dice roll is a random number between 1 and 6, so a Java program accesses Random.org's web interface. Another user is Ian Pitcher, from the American band Technician. He uses numbers from Random.org to generate unique covers for the band’s CDs. Ian says the numbers' origin as atmospheric noise is particularly appropriate because their music is "loosely inspired by the work of Konstantin Raudive ... [who] ... believed he had discovered a way to communicate with the dead by recording white noise on magnetic tape." Aaah: So now I know why my teenage daughter used the word “random” so often last year. (Thanks to John Chris Jones for alerting me to yet another sublime morcel).

Posted by John Thackara at October 4, 2006 07:52 AM


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