There should also be an Incandescence thread

Plain old discussion of Alicorn stories.

Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby Lambda » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:45 am

This raises the question of who first came up with the idea of looking like a balding ape.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby MTC » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:51 am

Presumably, in this headcanon, there were humans originally, but then the entire population gradually got replaced by critters, most of whom have no knowledge of this. I like this idea, it makes sense.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby DanielH » Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:18 pm

It certainly fits the statement I’ve heard several times but can’t find a name for that, if you’re a certain number of generations old (depending on breeding habits of your population), either everybody or nobody is your descendant.

But then people would think “sometimes, even if one parent is a critter and the other isn’t, the kid might not be a critter” (because the other parent and the kid would be a forgotten species). This doesn’t match the observed and reported data, so must be fairly rare if it does happen.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby Lambda » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:36 am

It occurs to me that demons would completely shatter public-key cryptography as we know it.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby tau » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:02 am

Um. How? By saying "I want a copy of the data on X computer on a thumbdrive?". Did we say that demons can get at private data in this way? If so, this doesn't just break public/private key, it breaks _one time pads_. Which is provably the most securest possible form of cryptography that we know of -- it's the only one that's actually provably secure no matter what. In general, though, what you're saying implies that demons can break any encryption method at all, period, simply by making a copy of whatever does the decryption.

This seems wrong, somehow. Can demons make copies of non-publicly-available information?
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby DanielH » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:17 am

I’d say that books with no known copies are non-publicly-available information, and I believe originally one-time pads were done with physical books one destroyed after the encryption/decryption. You might need a bit more than “the key used to encrypt this data”, but “the private key corresponding to this public key” should work. In a sense, that already is publicly-available information: it’s logically uncertain, but with enough time (for modern encryption standards and computer power, on the order of millennia) you could figure it out from just the public key without any magic.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby tau » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:24 am

If you can generate anything that is calculable from information you have you can solve the halting problem. You can say "give me the output of this program when it halts" and you will either get no answer or the correct answer. This actually turns demons into a literal halting oracle. You can solve all of math this way by using automated theorem provers and checking whether they terminate. When I say publicly available I mean publicly available and written down, demons shouldn't be able to generate the outputs of unfinished computations.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby DanielH » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:35 am

I think there’s more of a “known to exist” aspect. Cam has repeatedly said he can’t make a book from ISBN just by guessing one exists with that ISBN. I expect he’d have more luck if somebody truthfully said “There’s this really cool book I’m reading; I can’t remember the title or author, but the ISBN is 146998315X”. That’s just incredibly unlikely to ever happen (especially in this case, because the title Summons is easy to remember).

EDIT TO ADD: On a completely unrelated note, where did Spring die the second time? I can see her becoming a daeva if she died in that world’s Earth, but not otherwise.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby Alicorn » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:15 am

A demon can generate a one-time pad if they know it to exist specifically enough, and they do hella fuck with crypto (there are workarounds but we haven't gone into them; for one thing it helps if the message is never recorded and just streams to the destination, is heard, and then gone). They are not halting oracles (they cannot perform computation with their powers except in relatively trivial ways like 'I want a copy of this book that has never been digitized as a searchable PDF' or something).

They tried killing Spring in Inferno in case that helped. Since it didn't, they now assume nobody can become a daeva if they are not originally from Inferno.
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Re: There should also be an Incandescence thread

Postby tau » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:40 am

Is "the one time pad used to encode this piece of encoded text" enough of "knowing it to exist specifically" in order to generate it? In which case, streaming will prevent the ability of the demon to read things "remotely", but still seems susceptible to wiretapping (in this case reading whatever goes over the wire, storing it yourself, and only _then_ asking the question).

Also, can you ask time-specific questions, then? Like "give me a picture of what was displayed on a specific monitor at a specific point in time"? Actually, what counts as data here -- can they generate videos of places and times even if there was no camera there?

Also I think these questions may possibly be in the wrong thread here. I don't know how to move the conversation though.
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