Off to Wonderland

It’s a glorious weekend to be alive/a movie fan. The sun is shining, the Oscars are tomorrow, and in two hours, I’m seeing Alice in Wonderland.

I’ll post my thoughts on it early next week, but I should probably share the following caveat: I love Tim Burton’s films. Loved Ed Wood, loved Edward ScissorhandsSleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd, Beetlejuice. I even liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which put me in a minority. And Big Fish is one of my all-time favorites – beautiful, emotional, wildly underrated.

Like most breathing humans, I also worship Johnny Depp, particularly in Tim Burton’s films. If Depp signed on to play Todd Palin in the Burton-directed film adaptation of Going Rogue, I would drag my liberal butt through a blizzard to see the movie on opening weekend. That film should definitely happen, by the way.

So, in summation: I have been excited about Alice for a while, and today, when I put on my awkward, Elvis Costello-like 3D glasses (when did those stop being cardboard?), they will be distinctly rose-colored. And if I rave unabashedly, you should take that with a Jabberwocky-sized grain of salt.

I hope to see you back here tomorrow night for the Oscar live-blog. Until then – see you in Wonderland.


  1. , a proper anwesr would be difficult. But I can maybe help with a quick comment.Mathematicians define many different sorts of randomness that try to capture particular features of the intuitive, everyday idea. But randomness is strange, and the mathematical versions often don’t behave quite as you would expect. They will often capture one feature but not any of the others, so a sequence that is random in one sense won’t behave at all randomly in other ways. When mathematicians call a number like Sqrt(2) random , they’re using it in a different sense to the way the cryptographers use it.So we might say that one property of randomness is that every digit occurs equally often. We can make that our definition if we like. But then a sequence like 123456789012345678901234567890 repeated endlessly counts as random in this specialised sense. It’s got one of the properties of randomness, but it doesn’t have others, like that every possible consecutive pair of digits should occur equally often, too. So suppose we add that to our definition. But now we can find another sequence that satisfies our definition of random having all pairs occuring equally often, but where consecutive triples do not. And so on.We can keep adding properties. Another property of random numbers is that if you treat them as a decimal and square them, the result (apart from the first few digits) should look random too (digits occur equally often, etc.). Obviously Sqrt(2) fails that one, but it’s a legitimate property of randomness.When mathematicians say the decimal expansion of Pi or Sqrt(2) is random , they’re actually using one of these heavily cut-down definitions. Unfortunately, that sort of definition usually isn’t good enough for cryptography. Cryptographers call them pseudorandom . And while with the right set of carefully-selected properties you can get pseudorandom sequences that *do* work, there have been huge numbers of people fooled into thinking one of the cut-down definitions was good enough, building ciphers that cryptographers find really easy to break.

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