The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

There's gold in them thar art stores!

So I'm reading a sales flyer for an art supply store when I see they're selling books of gold leaf, normally $80.00 for the low, low price of $18.99.

Wait a second!

They're selling 23.5kt gold for ¼ the normal price‽ Are they insane?

I'm planning on running down to the store as soon as it opens and snapping up as much gold leaf as I can, what with gold breaking the $600/ounce, then selling it to make a 400% profit when sanity smacks me over the head. I had better figure out how much gold is in a typical book of gold leaf before I loose my shirt on a half-cocked scheme.

Some Google searches and I learn that gold leaf is sold in “books” of 25 leaves, or “boxes” of 500 leaves, and that there is anywhere from 15–23 grams of gold per 1000 leaves. Okay, but this is the United States, where we buy and sell using the archaic Troy ounces for metal. Another search reveals 31.103477 grams per Troy ounce. So, 600 (latest price I have is $601.50 per ounce) divided by 31.103477 gives us $19.29 per gram. Let's be optimistic here and say we have “heavy” gold leaf (23 grams per 1000 leaves) … 23 divided by 1000 (giving us the gold per leaf) times 25 (number of leaves per “book”) times 19.29 give us … $11.09 worth of gold per book.


Maybe $10 worth of gold?

And this normally sells for $80?

What a racket!

Ah well … so much for gold fever.

We could have done that

Via YARGB are some interesting password recovery times based upon password content, length and type of computing resources one has.

I remember back in college (in the early 90s) we had access to a MasPar with, I think, 4,096 processing nodes. There was talk of writing a password cracking program for the machine, which was a perfect use for the machine, being a SIMD architecture (same program on each processing node, but different data). The default Unix password scheme (at the time) used a 12 bit number to “randomize” the password, so there could be 4,096 different encryption results for any given password. A perfect fit for the MasPar—instead of having to do 4,096 serial encryptions of a guess, all 4,096 possible values could be tested at once. An incredible increase in speed (it could do in an hour what it would take a conventional computer about 24 days to do).

But alas, we never got around to it; I'm suspect it was because no one really wanted to program in FORTRAN.

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