Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Spam surprise

Harness the power of a million monkeys with typewriters
  [vote for,

Inputting random bits into your computer is a pain in the arse. Fortunately, some wierdos go out of their way to send you kilobytes of rubbish for free. This rubbish, or 'spam' previously thought to be of very little use, can now be recycled into random bits.

Researchers have created random numbers using the movements of globs in lava-lamps. A photo is taken from several different lamps, then essentially a hash made to produce random bits.

Spam sent to many email addresses is essentially random - ask yourself whether you've ever subscribed to penis enlargement or $$$get rich quick lists. By analogy to lava lamps, these could be used to generate random bits.

Soon your bit-bucket will runneth over.

(Not guaranteed to be cryptologically secure, but suitable for most scientific functions.)

Loris, Jan 21 2003

Spaminoes http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Spaminoes
inspiration [Loris, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Randomness from lava lamps http://www.lavarnd.org/
Not yet active (includes description of what happened to original site) [Loris, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       You know what - this could work. Croissant!
Corona688, Jan 21 2003

       Some conspiracy theorists believe that a large proportion of spam is actually generated by government spooks, as a way of performing "known plaintext" attacks against encrypted email links.
krelnik, Jan 21 2003

       Pseudorandom numbers are suitable for most scientific functions. Lavarand is silly. There are better sources of random data, cryptographically secure and otherwise.
egnor, Jan 21 2003

       Spam isn't very random. It's all similarly-worded offers to lengthen your penis by three inches exactly -- never more, never less. That's not good randomness.
Monkfish, Jan 21 2003

       Wow! Lavarand is back! This was the SGI effort from a few years ago.
bristolz, Jan 21 2003

       If not where she lives... whats her phone number?!
Jinbish, Jan 22 2003


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