Information that deserves attention, 2

These are the articles and videos from the previous week I found most interesting.

Cryptography Primer

Josh Benaloh

Session 2 – Symmetric Primitives

This will be the second of six cryptography primer sessions exploring the basics of modern cryptography. In this session, we’ll explore symmetric ciphers, primitives, and protocols – including AES, cipher modes, hash functions, and message authentication.

Subsequent sessions (on alternating Fridays) are expected to include the following topics. Depending on the interests of the participants, other topics may be included or substituted.

  1. Integer asymmetric functions including BigNums, Diffie-Hellman, RSA, and DSA
  2. Non-integer asymmetric functions including elliptic curves and lattice-based systems
  3. Protocol properties including forward secrecy, crypto agility, and certificate management

Applications including zero-knowledge, secret sharing, homomorphic encryption, and election protocols.


  1. Lab Trailer. Discover the origin of life and design biomolecules that could be at the heart of future medicine by playing a game.
  2. RNA Enigma. RNA is a wonder molecule that can answer some of the biggest mysteries in biology. But what exactly is RNA, and how can you help discover its secrets just by playing a game?
  3. Protein Synthesis in the Cellular Factory. Your cells contain an amazing factory that builds the RNA and protein machines that keep you alive. Learn how this factory works and what the relationship is between DNA, RNA, and proteins.
  4. RNA Origin of Life. RNA may have been the origin of life on Earth. Go on a whirlwind tour of RNA’s evolving role through billions of years of evolutionary history.
  5. Virus Wars. All cellular life, including you, is in an ancient and unending war with viruses. Watch how viruses attack cells and learn about RNA interference, one of the ways that cells fight back.

Play the RNA Game:

Did an ‘Evolutionary’ Process Lead to Supersymmetry in Our Universe?

2014 Oppenheimer Lecture

S. James Gates, Jr.

University System of Maryland Regents Professor

Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory John S. Toll Professor of Physics, University of Maryland

The theoretical concept of ‘supersymmetry’ (SUSY) remains the focus of many theoretical and experimental particle physicists. This presentation discusses unexpected evidence buried deep in its mathematical structure that suggests it may have links to a concept in genetics.

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