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Disappearing Cryptography, 3rd Edition by Peter Wayner

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Chapter 1. Framing Information

On its face, information in computers seems perfectly defined and certain. A bank account either has $1,432,442 or it has $8.32. The weather is either going to be 73 degrees or 74 degrees. The meeting is either going to be at 4 pm or 4:30 pm. Computers deal only with numbers and numbers are very definite.

Life isn't so easy. Advertisers and electronic gadget manufacturers like to pretend that digital data is perfect and immutable, freezing life in a crystalline mathematical amber; but the natural world is filled with noise and numbers that can only begin to approximate what is happening. The digital information comes with much more precision than the world may provide.

Numbers themselves are strange beasts. All ...

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