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*** You have found kitten ***: I kept not mentioning this until it was released, which in someone with patience would be considered a sign of forbearance, but in me is simply a sign of not getting to it. Dave wrote an Inform version of robotfindskitten, complete with bonus custom NKIs. As NTK would say,

... otherwise it's Dave Griffith, Inform, and robotfindskitten -
together at last! - in Z-machine remake ROBOT FINDS KITTEN (sic)
( http://www.cndb.com/game.html?title=Robot+Finds+Kitten+%282002%29:  
Good shot of robot's ass as it bends over to check whether or not the
thing in the upper right hand corner of the screen is kitten)...

Call For Future Prior Art: A while ago I wondered if I could think of any way of encrypting a physical object. I thought of a couple ways of doing it, one of which requires no future technology but which is very time-consuming and only works for certain types of objects. I'll leave that alone for the time being. The other way I thought of requires nanotech, and it's a special case of a cool-sounding general technology. I want to know whether anyone else has used this idea, and how. (And how!)

The general idea is that you send a swarm of nano-bots at an object and compress it into a block of very, very dense nanobot matter. The block has the same mass as the original object, but it comes in a standard shape--maybe the size of a brick, with a protrusion on top for attaching a crane hook or similar lifting device. Now, if you want to encrypt the object, then as part of the compression you simply scramble the smart matter so that the nanobots won't know what goes where without your private key.

Problems: this would probably take a lot of energy. If you tried it on something living, it would probably die unless the compression was incredibly fast. If you could do this you could also use nanobots to make a copy of the object, encrypt the data generated by the nanobots, destroy the object, and recreate it from the encrypted data as many times as you wanted, which is more useful. (Rebuttal: this technology ensures continuity of matter, and avoids the embarrassing situation where you need to reconstruct something but don't have enough spare mass on hand, and the Johnsons are coming over! Also, storing a molecular copy of an object may require about the same amount of mass, in which case the two technologies would be pretty much the same.)

Has anyone thought of such a technology, or encountered it anywhere in fiction? I can think of a couple things I'm working on (very, very slowly) where I could use this.

: I've put up the second episode of Dr. Virtual's Cyber-Couch, entitled The Subject's Subjects. In this edition, the good Doctor branches out into email therapy.

: For everyone I know of except me, Bakersfield is the place you pass through on your way to somewhere else. Case in point.

: Finally, an XML standard for representing Joe Mahoney.

: Sometimes a whole avenue of geeky breast-beating is closed off by a fortuitous discovery or invention. The acceptance of non-Euclidian geometry forever put an end to the tradition of people spending years trying to prove Euclid's fifth postulate from his first four. This makes me glad because in general I like to present to the younger generation a "hard core" persona, yet I lack the determination neccessary to waste years of my life in a futile effort to get rid of some dumb postulate.

Now, Mark Wooding of Cambridgeshire has written Quine, a C program capable of transforming any C program into a quine. This makes me happy because I don't think I've ever written any quines, except in made-up languages in which such things were trivial. Now there's a quine transformation program and I can scoff and say "Oh, quine is a solved problem."

(Found via the humbling sweetcode, which for every "Well, that's out of the way now" generates ten "Man, I wish I {had thought of that, could have written} that"s.)


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