Archive for August 17th, 2011

August 17, 2011

Juggalo

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psychopathic records

Juggalo or Juggalette (the latter being feminine) is a name given to fans of Insane Clown Posse or any other Psychopathic Records hip hop group. Juggalos have developed their own idioms, slang, and characteristics. The term originated during a 1994 live performance by Insane Clown Posse. During the song ‘The Juggla,’ Joseph Bruce addressed the audience as Juggalos, and the positive response resulted in him and Joseph Utsler using the word thereafter to refer to themselves and their friends, family, and fans, including other Psychopathic Records artists.

Juggalos have compared themselves to a family. Common characteristics include drinking the inexpensive soft drink Faygo, wearing face paint and an interest in professional wrestling. They view the lyrics of Psychopathic Records artists (which are often violent in nature) as a catharsis for aggression.

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August 17, 2011

Alice and Bob

alice and bob by John Richardson

The names Alice and Bob are commonly used placeholder names for archetypal characters in fields such as cryptography and physics. The names are used for convenience; for example, ‘Alice sends a message to Bob encrypted with his public key’ is easier to follow than ‘Party A sends a message to Party B encrypted by Party B’s public key.’ Following the alphabet, the specific names have evolved into common parlance within these fields—helping technical topics to be explained in a more understandable fashion.

In cryptography and computer security, there are a number of widely used names for the participants in discussions and presentations about various protocols. The names are conventional, somewhat self-suggestive, sometimes humorous, and effectively act as metasyntactic variables. In typical implementations of these protocols, it is understood that the actions attributed to characters such as Alice or Bob need not always be carried out by human parties directly, but also by a trusted automated agent (such as a computer program) on their behalf. Despite the advantage of Alice and Bob’s distinct genders in reducing ambiguity, there has been little tendency to introduce inanimate parties so they could be referred by neuter pronouns.

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August 17, 2011

Ansible

An ansible [an-si-bull] is a hypothetical machine capable of instantaneous or superluminal (faster-than-light) communication. They are used as science fiction plot devices and in thought experiments of theoretical physics. The word was coined by American author Ursula K. Le Guin in her 1966 novel, ‘Rocannon’s World.’

She derived the name from ‘answerable,’ as the device would allow its users to receive answers to their messages in a reasonable amount of time, even over interstellar distances. The name of the device has since been borrowed by authors such as Orson Scott Card and Vernor Vinge; similar devices are present in the works of numerous others, such as Frank Herbert. One ansible-like device which predates Le Guin’s is the ‘Dirac communicator’ in James Blish’s 1954 short story ‘Beep.’ The device received the sum of all transmitted messages in universal space-time, in a single pulse, so that demultiplexing yielded information about the past, present, and future.

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