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# Zebra Randomiser

Following on from the idea posted by riposte
 (+3) [vote for, against]

In a world of automation we need to solve the bar coder on a 'long stick' design problem. How about we borrow one of the surveillance satellites from the US government, and tinker with the software so that it can read barcodes. This method allows the satellite to locate a zebra from space, read the barcode and beam the signal down to the place where the random number is needed most.

Of course, there is always the possibility that you could select the same zebra. And as we can't randomly choose a zebra then the only solution seems to be that we destroy the zebra after use. However, a counter argument may be that possibly the zebra population would decrease to 0 in a day! should we worry about selecting the same zebra again, because the lines of the zebra are not linear. And what are the chances of scanning the same area of the zebra? fairly small if you take the fact that the earth is rotating. Of course this means that the satellite could NOT be geostationary, cause they circle the earth on a non linear orbit.

 — u8djf, Sep 19 2001

(?) Lava Lamp Random Number Generator http://lavarand.sgi.com/
Thanks, [egnor], for posting this link originally (under Striped Fish Randomizer). [BigBrother, Sep 19 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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 Why stop at zebra?

 Since we're using satellites, why not just snap a picture of heliographs reflecting off a small section of ocean and use those for randomization? Birds in flight, fallen leaves, cars on a road, etc.

<wink> We could even use wind chimes... </wink>
 — phoenix, Sep 19 2001

Actually, you might be amazed at the things people have used as seeds for randomization. The only requirement is the source must be chaotic in nature. Turbulent flow is an excellent source of chaos. I'll see if I can dig up a link for the Lava Lamp random number generator. I know it's out there somewhere...
 — BigBrother, Sep 19 2001

 The time between keystrokes for humans is random. No need to nuke zebras.

Also if you XOR any random sequence with any other sequence, random or not, you get another random sequence.
 — seal10, Sep 19 2001

The second statement is false if the first and second sequence are connected in some way. For example, a random sequence XOR'ed with itself is very non-random.
 — jutta, Jan 24 2005

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