“Two Generals’ Problem” doesn’t make sense

July 31st, 2007

Two armies are preparing to attack a city from opposite sides. The General of army A is orchestrating the attack, and has decided that they must attack simultaneously at noon on March 3rd to succeed. He sends a sealed, encrypted letter by messenger across the valley to the General of army B, informing him of the plan, but worries that the messenger might be intercepted, so General B may not be informed. (If the attack is not simultaneous, both attacking armies will be destroyed by the defenders.)

As it so happens, General B does receive the message, but knows that General A cannot be sure of this. He sends back a receipt of the attack plan. Then he wonders... will it go through? What if General A does not receive it and decides not to attack, being unsure of B's knowledge? And even if General A sends over an acknowledgment of the plan's receipt, there is no guarantee it will arrive.

Given this faulty communication channel, how will the generals coordinate their plan?

Read full entry »

How the Bible implies that unicorns exist

January 11th, 2007

I've been on a bit of a binge lately with blog entries on faith and religion, perhaps because there's so much fun analysis that can be performed on them. My latest subject is contradictions in dogma and why fundamentalist thinking is incompatible with reality. In fact, I below present a proof that the Bible implies that unicorns exist.

Read full entry »