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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

'...the End of Days'

If you’re already having a bad day, maybe don’t go read this right away!:

Keith Devlin reviews and comments on a new documentary titled “Zero Days” about the “Stuxnet” computer virus hatched by the U.S. and Israel to destroy centrifuges involved in the Iranian nuclear production program. Devlin calls the film “arguably the most important movie of the present century” and titles his piece “Mathematics and the End of Days,” which may give you a hint as to its thrust (Variety calls it "a white knuckle thriller"). But in case you want stronger indication, here are some sentences near the end of Keith's piece:
“The weapon is, after all, just a mathematical structure; a piece of code. Designing it is a mathematical problem. Unlike a nuclear bomb, the mathematician does not have to hand over her results to a large, well-funded organization to build the weapon. She can create it herself at a keyboard.
"That raw power has been the nature of mathematics since our ancestors first began to develop the subject several thousand years ago. Those of us in the mathematics profession have always known that. It seems we have now arrived at a point where that power has reached a new level, certainly no less awesome than nuclear weapons.”
I hadn’t even heard of this film prior to Dr. Devlin's piece, but now am certainly anxious to see it. An old Murphy-like aphorism says that ‘anything that can happen will eventually happen’ -- in this day of computer malware and cyber-warfare that’s never been a scarier thought.
Here is the official trailer for this must-see film:

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