According to BoingBoing, the UK banking trade association wrote to Cambridge to have a student’s master’s thesis censored as it documented a well-known flaw in the chip-and-PIN system, Cambridge University’s Ross Anderson replied with the following:
Second, you seem to think that we might censor a student’s thesis, which is lawful and already in the public domain, simply because a powerful interest finds it inconvenient. This shows a deep misconception of what universities are and how we work. Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin; censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values. Thus even though the decision to put the thesis online was Omar’s, we have no choice but to back him. That would hold even if we did not agree with the material! Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent….
You complain that our work may undermine public confidence in the payments system. What will support public confidence in the payments system is evidence that the banks are frank and honest in admitting its weaknesses when they are exposed, and diligent in effecting the necessary remedies. Your letter shows that, instead, your member banks do their lamentable best to deprecate the work of those outside their cosy club, and indeed to censor it. [Source: Cambridge]
The reply is full of win, academic world scores one.
Fermat’s last theorem is strikingly different and much more difficult to prove than the analogous problem for n = 2… The fact that the problem’s statement is understandable by schoolchildren makes it all the more frustrating, and it has probably generated more incorrect proofs than any other problem in the history of mathematics. No correct proof was found for 357 years, when a proof was finally published by Andrew Wiles in 1994. The term “last theorem” resulted because all the other theorems proposed by Fermat were eventually proved or disproved, either by his own proofs or by other mathematicians, in the two centuries following their proposition.”
Fermat claims to have proven it in his letter:
Cubum autem in duos cubos, aut quadratoquadratum in duos quadratoquadratos, et generaliter nullam in infinitum ultra quadratum potestatem in duos eiusdem nominis fas est dividere cuius rei demonstrationem mirabilem sane detexi. Hanc marginis exiguitas non caperet.
I have discovered a truly marvelous proof that it is impossible to separate a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general, any power higher than the second into two like powers. This margin is too narrow to contain it.
Right. Andrew Wiles has successfully proven the last theorem with techniques not made available to Fermat during his time. Fermat’s proof probably never existed.
I don’t think it would shock you that while Wikipedia have many users few are actually editing it. Some statistics have shown that just 2% are editing 75% of Wikipedia.
73.4 Percent of All Wikipedia Edits Are Made By Roughly 1,400 People
Most college professors discourage students from using Wikipedia as a reliable source of information, and if you’ve ever wondered why, here is the reason:
There are millions of people who browse Wikipedia in any given month, but only 2 percent of them (roughly 1,400) are responsible for editing nearly 75 percent of the information on the entire website.
In other words, Wikipedia, while editable by anyone, is fueled almost entirely by the knowledge of a small, select group of individuals. (Source: CollegeOTR)
While Wikipedia’s sources aren’t particular credible, it often tells are good summary of the topic and is more updated than many websites or encyclopedias. To me, Wikipedia’s strength is not in how credible the article is but, rather, how updated the article is. I think that’s where community effort is truly appreciated.
The same guy who predicted collapse of USSR, is predicting the collapse of U.S. That’s a horribly truncated title, I hope you can understand it. Well, didn’t want to break my layout’s look and feel. 😉
As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.
MOSCOW — For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument — that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. — very seriously. Now he’s found an eager audience: Russian state media.
In recent weeks, he’s been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. “It’s a record,” says Prof. Panarin. “But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger.”
Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.
But it’s his bleak forecast for the U.S. that is music to the ears of the Kremlin, which in recent years has blamed Washington for everything from instability in the Middle East to the global financial crisis. Mr. Panarin’s views also fit neatly with the Kremlin’s narrative that Russia is returning to its rightful place on the world stage after the weakness of the 1990s, when many feared that the country would go economically and politically bankrupt and break into separate territories. (Source: WSJ)