An interesting intersection of the analog and the digital can be found in the video below. Computers are designed to be predictable, so generating random numbers is not an easy task, but a necessary one for the unique cryptographic keys used for encryption. Cloudflare does this by photographing a wall of lava lamps, and the unique differences in “lava” position (not to mention lighting and other photographic factors) are used to generate a unique random number. Who knew encryption could be so mesmerizing?

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


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