Archive for the ‘books’ Category


Prima di tutto

posted by Arkham on May 22nd, 2009


Prima di tutto vennero a prendere gli zingari
e fui contento, perché rubacchiavano.

Poi vennero a prendere gli ebrei
e stetti zitto, perché mi stavano antipatici.

Poi vennero a prendere gli omosessuali,
e fui sollevato, perché mi erano fastidiosi.

Poi vennero a prendere i comunisti,
e io non dissi niente, perché non ero comunista.

Un giorno vennero a prendere me,
e non c’era rimasto nessuno a protestare.

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The Unending Gift

posted by Arkham on March 10th, 2009

A painter promised us a picture.

Here in New England, having learned of his death, I felt once again the sadness of recognizing that we are but shapes of a dream. I thought about the man and the picture, both lost.

(Only the gods can make promises, for they are deathless.)

I thought about the place, chosen in advance, where the canvas will not hang.

Later, I thought: if it were there, wouldn’t it in time become one thing more–an object, another of the vanities or habits of the house? Now the picture is limitless, unending, capable of taking any form or colour and bound to none.

In some way, it exists. It will live and grow, like music, and will remain with me to the end. Thank you, Jorge Larco.

(Also men can make promises, too,
for in a promise there is something that does not die).

From Jorge Luis Borges, “Elogio de la sombra“.

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posted by Arkham on January 24th, 2009


Whenever he met with patients who were in the advanced stage of cancer, he thought of Dr. Liu, an oncologist at the hospital who was known for his brutal honesty. Liu was Chinese, real Chinese, and although he spoke English well, he spoke with a harsh Chinese accent, which only seemed to add the brutality of his medical analysis.

For instance, a patient who had lung cancer that had reappeared after a brief remission would ask with trepidation how things looked, and Liu, ever so bluntly, would respond: “You have lung cancer. You are going to die.” Just like that. No sugar coating. No posturing.

Many left his office in tears, wondering how their doctors could have sent them to Dr. Liu. But remarkably, a few weren’t angry. A few said thank you. They liked him because he was very up-front and knowledgeable about his field. He knew the literature. He knew his patients. He followed them very closely. And they appreciated it.

You have cancer. You are going to die.

Thank you for telling me. Thank you very much.

From “Knife Music” by David Carnoy


IPsec, AH & Microsoft

posted by Arkham on December 17th, 2008


“At one of the final IETF meetings before AH and ESP were finalized, someone from Microsoft got up and gave an impassioned speech about how AH was useless given the existence of ESP, cluttered up the spec, and couldn’t be implemented efficiently (because of the MAC in front on the data).

Our impression of what happened next was that everyone in the room looked around at each other and said, “Hmmm. He’s right, and we hate AH also, but if it annoys Microsoft let’s leave it in, since we hate Microsoft more than we hate AH.”

From “Network Security: PRIVATE communication in a PUBLIC world“.


A crypto-puzzle

posted by Arkham on October 31st, 2008


Yesterday I was reading the network security book I talked about before and I found out a funny criptography game, which took me kinda a lot of time to solve. These ciphers are simple substitution ciphers of the type that many people like to amuse themselves trying to solve. Newspapers often publish a daily cryptopuzzle (along the lines of a daily crossword puzzle) which readers try to solve — often during their daily commutes. Anyway, here it is:

Cf lqr’xs xsnyctm n eqxxqgsy iqul qf wdcp eqqh, erl lqrx qgt iqul!

Free cookies to who can solve it! As proof, you must include the md5 of the string “all_caps_solution:all_caps_nick” (double quotes excluded).
For the record, mine is f2ee0b5b3ad916313414e29ce5c578e6 ;)