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Cyphernomicon 2.15

MFAQ--Most Frequently Asked Questions:
More Information and References

   2.15.1. "Where can I find more information?"
           - Well, this is a start. Also, lots of other FAQs and Mosaic
              home pages (URLs) exist, encompassing a vast amount of
           - As long as this FAQ is, it can only scratch the surface on
              many topics. (I'm especially amused when someone says
              they've looked for a FAQ on some obscure topic. No FAQ is
              likely to answer all questions, especially obcure ones.)
           - Many articles and papers are available at the
              site, in pub/cypherpunks. Look around there. The 1981 Chaum
              paper on untraceabel e-mail is not (too many equations for
              easy scanning), but the 1988 paper on Dining Cryptographers
              Nets is. (I laboriously scanned it and OCRed it, back when
              I used to have the energy to do such thankless tasks.)
           + Some basic sources:
             + Sci.crypt FAQ, published regularly, Also available by
                anonymous ftp at And in various URLs,
               - URLs for sci.crypt FAQ: xxxxxx
             - RSA Data Security Inc. FAQ
             - Bruce Schneier's "Applied Cryptography" book, 1993. Every
                reader of this list should get this book!
           - The "online generation" tends to want all material online,
              I know, but most of the good stuff is to be found in paper
              form, in journals and books. This is likely to be the case
              for many years to come, given the limitation of ASCII, the
              lack of widespread standards (yes, I know about LaTex,
              etc.), and the academic prestige associated with bound
              journals and books. Fortunately, you can _all_ find
              universit libraries within driving range. Take my advice:
              if you do not spend at least an entire Saturday immersing
              yourself in the crypto literature in the math section of a
              large library, perusing the "Proceeedings of the Crypto
              Conference" volumes, scanning the textbooks, then you have
              a poor foundation for doing any crypto work.
   2.15.2. "Things are changing quickly. Not all of the addresses and
            URLs given here are valid. And the software versions... How
            do I get the latest information?"
           - Yes, things are changing quickly. This document can't
              possibly keep up with the rapid changes (nor can its
           - Reading the various newsgroups is, as always, the best way
              to hear what's happening on a day to day basis. Web pages,
              gopher, archie, veronica, etc. should show the latest
              versions of popular software packages.
   2.15.3. "FUQs: "Frequently Unanswered Questions"?"
           - (more to be added)
           - With 700 or more people on the Cypherpunks list (as of 94-
              09), it is inevitable that some FAQs will go unanswered
              when newbies (or others) ask them. Sometimes the FUQs are
              ignored because they're so stale, other times because to
              answer them is to continue and unfruitful thread.
           + "P = NP?"
             - Steve Smale has called this the most important new
                unsolved problem of the past half-century.
             - If P were (unexpectedly) proved to be NP
           + Is RSA and factoring in NP?
             - not yet proved
             - factoring might be easier
             - and RSA might be easier than factoring in general (e.g.,
                chosen- and known-plaintext may provide clues)
           - "Will encryption be outlawed? What will happen?"
           + "Is David Sternlight an NSA agent?"
             - Seriously, David S. is probably what he claims: a retired
                economist who was once very senior in government and
                corporate policy circles. I have no reason to doubt him.
             - He has views at odds with most of us, and a baiting style
                of expressing his views, but this does not mean he is a
                government agent as so many people claim.
             - Not in the same class as Detweiler.

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