Random Musings on Education

Here at the Gazette we found this article hillarious. An enterprising 11 year old making a buck (actually $2) by selling highly secure passwords that can be generated from a dice and a published algorithm.

From the entrepreneur’s site:

Q: Why should I buy a Diceware password instead of making one myself?

A: You can definitely make one yourself. I started this business because my mom was too lazy to roll dice so many times, so she paid me to make roll dice and make passwords for her. Then I realized that other people wanted them, too.

The current published word list is here. Roll the dice 6 times for a word, concatenate 6, 7 or 8 words to create a highly secure password yourself. Or hire the entrepreneur to mail it to you (rumor has it the U.S. mail is still legally protected and secure).

So why mention this at all, since we know you all use secure passwords like “Mason1749″ give or take a few years? Very secure indeed… I’m from the Mason government and use “Mason” in our passwords (cough).

Young minds seem to have no issue remembering the generated mostly gibberish passwords; us old farts will just have to take our chances with the fossil phrases found in our memories.

Similar arguments can be made for young minds learning foreign languages; but school budgets being what they are, that training will be relegated to high school where such knowledge hits the brain a bit too late and is sure to be forgotten.

Or take a different example that relates to getting stuck in a rut. What organization would take a 9000 character document, print it, and then scan it back in to create a 1,700,000 character document? The content didn’t change, the increased bloat on the way to our computer is immense. And it’s done over and over again, no matter how many times the issue is pointed out.

The easy answer is that’s all the staff knows how to do. The complicated answer relates to piano lessons (ours to be precise). Once having slipped into incorrectly fingering a particular passage, getting that mess straighted out is more work than having learned it correctly in the first place. The neural circuits resist change.

Unless you are young. Or an old fart who refuses to grow up (or at least tries to stay mentally young when trying to play Rachmaninov).

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