What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematics of Secrets 

Updated 13 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematics of Secrets 

  • The Mathematics of Secrets takes readers on a fascinating tour of the mathematics behind cryptography — the science of sending secret messages

BOOK AUTHOR: Joshua Holden

 

The Mathematics of Secrets takes readers on a fascinating tour of the mathematics behind cryptography — the science of sending secret messages. Most books about cryptography are organized historically, or around how codes and ciphers have been used, such as in government and military intelligence or bank transactions.Joshua Holden instead shows how mathematical principles underpin the ways that different codes and ciphers operate. Holden focuses on both code making and code breaking and he discusses the majority of ancient and modern ciphers currently known.

Holden begins by looking at substitution ciphers, built by substituting one letter or block of letters for another. Explaining one of the simplest and historically well-known ciphers, the Caesar cipher, Holden establishes the key mathematical idea behind the cipher and discusses how to introduce flexibility and additional notation. Holden goes on to explore polyalphabetic substitution ciphers, transposition ciphers, including one developed by the Spartans, connections between ciphers and computer encryption, stream ciphers, and ciphers involving exponentiation.

He also examines public-key ciphers, where the methods used to encrypt messages are public knowledge, and yet, intended recipients are still the only ones who are able to read the message. He concludes with a look at the future of ciphers and where cryptography might be headed. Only basic mathematics up to high school algebra is needed to understand and enjoy the book.


Major hotels in China inspected after room cleaning expose

Updated 16 November 2018
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Major hotels in China inspected after room cleaning expose

BEIJING: The Chinese tourism ministry has asked authorities in Beijing, Shanghai and three provinces to investigate room cleaning at 14 major hotels after hidden camera video showed workers using used towels to clean cups and glasses and other questionable practices.
Several of the hotels including a Shangri-La, Sheraton and Waldorf Astoria have apologized since an activist blogger posted the video online earlier this week. In several clips, workers in bathrooms wipe down sinks, coffee cups and glasses with the same used towel.
The Peninsula hotel in Beijing said Friday that city inspectors had tested its cups and found they were cleaner than standards required. The Park Hyatt in Beijing called what happened an isolated occurrence.