Whiz, bang, a bit of AES in counter mode or /dev/random and Fanny's your granny. Or some java.security.SecureRandom and Hussar! Random numbers by the bucketful. But is there another way?

Some will say not, but that's another discussion. We believe that there is. We believe that random numbers can be made fairly easily, and we mean the really really random ones, not just pseudo random imitations from some smarmy function simply outputting a hashed counter.

Dom once looked up at the Universe and saw that it was a coexistence between two great warring factions. There is the predictable and all pervading gravitational force spanning the vastness. There is also the unfathomable chaos of quantum mechanics underpinning all matter.

Until these two opposing foes are brought together in a Theory of Everything and we can all go home, half of the forces in the Universe are there for us to draw randomness from. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics[1] ensures that eventually all will go to hell and hand basket. Though in the time remaining to us before Heat Death, we can capitalise on chaos and extract it for random number generation and cryptography. This realisation should fill us with a confidence that we can build many forms of randomness extraction devices, and that the Universe is our ally in making them work. We can all become randomly self sufficient. All it takes is some ingenuity and determination.

The innocuous rock below and the coffee table top might seem unrelated to uniformly distributed bytes, but they are good examples of the prevalence of true randomness in this world. You can just stare at them and marvel at unpredictability. This randomness should be easily extractable since it is so prevalent. Perhaps it might be somewhat akin to a distilling process.

Inspiration/rock.jpg

Inspiration/tabletop.jpg

It was always fascinating seeing the Corliss[2] steam engine in Bolton's town center. This was the first view of large Victorian machinery, and it moved (albeit on electrical steam these days) Simply bolting together rods and pipes could produce a machine that could do the work of hundreds of horses.

Inspiration/steam-engine.jpg

Jules Vern and Wallace & Gromit begat an entire genre of wonderful steam powered contraptions. We looked upon Steam Punk and saw that it was Good. A great example of this art form is the Telecalculograph, Mk. II (below). This is what contemporary electronic gear could be like. And we like it lot. iPhone shmiphone.

Inspiration/Telecalculograph-Mk-II.jpg

Finally, thinking about all the things in this world that might be random, we found that they could be classified into four categories of Earth, Water, Air and Fire. One might even be able to attribute certain sounds to those elements and they might form a melody, perhaps categorising them as to whether they were visible or not. Some sort of sound of randomness of the universe. Unfortunately, someone[3] beat us to this revelation...

Inspiration/musica-mundana.png


[#1] https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics

[#2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corliss_steam_engine

[#3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica_universalis

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