in #TodaysReads, Mythology, Safaricom

#TodaysReads: Breaking the Scratch Card Code, Modern Mythology & More (23.5.14)

Are you audacious? This post is a constant reminder to be so over the top and courageous with my plans.

The product only works on tablets.
The VC: “Aren’t you concerned that tablets skew older, that most young people use phones, and isn’t your business depending on attracting young users?”
The entrepreneur: “Well, eh, uh etc.”
He talked for a long time, but he didn’t have an answer.
It pissed me off because the answer was obvious.
His game is going to be so incredible that it will sell tablets. Kids, adults, everyone is going to have to get one just to run this software.
Now, to pull this off you have to have a PhD in Chutzpah.

Everything Is Broken A reminder that our computers are hopelessly unprotected. This is something that most computer scientists know: our computers, and other devices, are the result of 100s of little systems built on each other, all trying to communicate with each other and prevent from breaking something. But it’s not all bad news.

Computers don’t serve the needs of both privacy and coordination not because it’s somehow mathematically impossible. There are plenty of schemes that could federate or safely encrypt our data, plenty of ways we could regain privacy and make our computers work better by default. It isn’t happening now because we haven’t demanded that it should, not because no one is clever enough to make that happen.

Breaking Safaricom Scratch Card Code This one comes from my supervisor @blackorwa who did some analysis on the digits of some 500 Safaricom smart cards. Most of his analysis went over my head but it’s still a cool read.

From the results I knew I was onto something, there is a relation between the third and sixth digit with a confidence interval of 1 (meaning the rule always works). To better understand the relation I loaded the dataset to R statistical analysis software and used the plot() function to visually inspect the relation between the two variables. The diagram below made me go Bazinga! It is a linear equation.

Hip Hop as Modern Mythology I’ve always loved Greek mythology. The stories they told of gods who where more than human but behaved like us resonated deeply with me. Here we see the connection between the old mythology and hip hop.

The personification of volatility, DMX was channeling Eris the God of Chaos with the aggression of Ares the God of War. Once I established that connection, there was no stopping the volley of “aha!” moments — Diddy became Cronos, eating the careers of his children The Lox, Mase and Loon; Beyonce became Aphrodite, the embodiment of love, beauty, desire, and pleasure; The Game became the Trojan Horse, laying dangerously dormant before collapsing the G-Unit empire from the inside-out; J.Cole became Icarus, the boy who ignored the counsel of old man Daedalus (Jay Z) and burned much of his hype.