Posts tagged ‘tv’

The Random Lava lamp

I once came across a sketch, which was something like

int RandomNumber()
return 4; // This number is completely random from a dice toss

I want to take a look at some Random number generators ( RNG ), it isn’t as simple as it seems at first.

Looking back in time. The book A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates was a big hit in 1955.

Today we have much more powerful hardware and much greater needs.

Probably the most famous generator used Lava lamps.

At there is another one that uses two radios.

And you have one using radioactive substance with a Geiger counter, just keep your distance.

Then you have the second version of the Lava lamps.  Landon Curt Noll moved over to LavaRnd which hooks up to your webcam.  Not any webcam they have a list of supported cameras.  And the source code is even available on Source Force.  Apparently they got tired of changing the bulbs in the Lava lamps and turned to webcams instead.  With a cheap webcam and their source code either in c or perl you can have a really strong generator up and running quickly.

Here is an idea, what about having humans do it.  We could put a lot of people in a room throwing dice, but that’s not efficient at all.  Let’s start with a list of bloggers, the list is randomly chosen each day.  As new posts are published on the bloggers RSS feed we will pick up the new data.  This data will be mixed in with posts from other bloggers.  Along with the feed from the stock market.  We could throw in some random Twitter feeds as well.  After doing some shuffling we create hash signatures from the sets of data and you have your randomness.  I’m sure the process could also use some blending similar to the LavarRnd blender.

How reliable are bloggers as a random source ?  Very reliable, as none of the bloggers will post the same post again.  They don’t repeat themselves, that would make no sense to a blogger. It would only cost them readers as people would get turned off.  It’s like hearing the same news over and over again, wait that’s Tv.  Maybe that’s why I don’t watch tv, at least not the news.

Let’s blog away, create those random numbers !