Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Internet: Mosh pit of Awesomeness

So the internet is technically a collaboration of computers that say what they see to all the others computers they talk too and then it just continues like this through the chain. Well we can map this out, we can discuss what has come from it, or we can talk about what can be done using this style of interaction

This is a Ted video [OMG I need to stop stumbling all the time-that is how I found this video] and he brings up several uses of the internet and how a single (Pakistan youtube hijacking ordeal) change to this balance can take down a huge chunk of the web. On those pictures you see in the earlier posts in that two hour period would have a giant whole if all the other points were held constant.

Those sniffer bots mentioned in the TED video are how those maps are made [they make a loop and then drop all there connections info into the computer mapping and then go out again and again.

So the internet content is held together by people in windowless rooms basically that just feel that people having access is better then them being lied to or held in the dark.

Thus there are two people that really control the internet those that help and those that



All things considered it is possible to get to the target many ways thus data can be routed several ways to get from point A to point B

Oh wait that is in use all ready

This sharing of all knowledge allows for quick transfers of large amounts of data.
Also not receiving payment is key to how it all works. The kindness of supporting other’s files to allow quicker transfer-rates for new Leechers goes to show what Jonathon Zittrain could envision. An open network of people wanting to improve everyone else’s life.

Cheswick/Burch Map of the Internet

The Internet Mapping Project at Bell Labs and Lumeta Corporation, led by Bill Cheswick and Hal Burch, made this video in 2007. It created this pattern by sending tons of traceroute-type packets over a general topology of major networks. This means that the actual internet is, obviously, much more complex. As one can see, the growth is exponential and more detail is added each step.

Fractal Internet Map

This video clip shows an animation created from maps of the internet made by The images were created by tracing the route packets follow from one computer to every other computer or server.

This image is an example of one of the internet maps used in the video. This map was created in 2005, the most recent example of a complete internet map that I could find.


If you open the full image and zoom in on any specific part, the fractal nature becomes evident.  It it possible to see a series of branching formations, which repeatedly spit off into smaller and smaller edges.  Bright clusters and points with many lines originating at them represent ISPs or DNS servers which redirect users to destination sites.

Media Hunt #6: The Fractal Internet

map of the internet

The first picture above is a picture of Cisco’s “map of the internet.  Most of it looks very similar to fern branches.  Each section of the internet branches of a self-similar section just as a fractal would do.  Cisco’s map is too small to read, but I imagine that sites like Google are the main nodes of the map with individual sites being represented by the very tips of the branches.  The second picture represents the internet as more of a web and less of a series of branches.  Towards the middle of the circle, one can see criss-crossing paths.  Only on the outer rims of the map do the different paths stop intersecting each other.

While looking for information on the fractal nature of the internet, I came across an article by Dr. Martin J. Fischer and Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, at:

It contained this graph:

Before the complexities of the internet were fully understood, people would model internet traffic the same way they modeled telecommunications traffic:  with Poisson Distributions.  This graph compares the measured amount of internet traffic with voice traffic modeled using Poisson Distributions.  As one zooms in on a certain interval in both graphs, the voice traffic eventually becomes level and uniform.  The internet traffic, on the other hand, does not, and retains the same random fluctuations.

From what I could gather from the article, the internet possesses complex network layers, which exhibit random bursts of activity that cannot be dampened.  The telecommunication traffic, on the other hand, is not as complex; it does not contain layers of networks, and is capable of having its “burstiness” dampened and smoothed out.  This is why the Poisson Distribution can be used to model telecommunications, but not internet traffic.

How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer

This documentary focuses on networks overall and how we learned that the features of networks can be applied to physical as well as social systems. Throughout the documentary, it shows the progress of an experiment in which 40 people around the world are asked to forward a package to a particular person (a geneticist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute) via sending it to only people they know already. The point was to track how many people it would take to get the package from a random person to a particular person. This video is part 3 of the series. In about the fifth minute of this video, it begins talking about the world wide web, particularly the discovery of hubs that organize networks. It also goes into how these hubs also exist in the networks of celebrities, transportation routes, computer chips, and human cells. Unfortunately, there seems to be a part missing between Parts 3 and 4, and the last part of the documentary is also missing.

The first and second parts give good background information on how and why six degrees of separation works, and how Kevin Bacon got involved. The first part is just introducing the experiment with 40 people I described earlier, as well as the idea that the world (including love) can be modeled by math. The end of the second part talks about Kevin Bacon and the trivia game that linked every actor to him.

Part 4 talks about how human sexuality (and as a result, STDs) is also a network that resembles the network model of the internet. The focus then switches to how social networks can be used to identify particular nodes and the information passed between these nodes to fight terrorism and predict terrorist behavior.

Part 5 talks about networks in the human cell. There are connections to be made between various diseases, and the networks created from protein interaction experiments could help find a cure for cancer and other illnesses for which there currently is no cure.

Links to other parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 4

Part 5

Angers Bridge


Angers Bridge was a suspension bridge that collapsed in France in 1850.  Soldiers were marching over the bridge in unison.  This caused the bridge to resonate, and eventually collapse.  Since then, when soldiers march across a bridge they are instructed to break their step.  This ensures that the bridge does not begin to vibrate, resonate, and fail.

This is a video of the opening of the Millenium Bridge in 2000.  People walking across the bridge caused lateral resonance.  The bridge did not fall, but they closed it for about two years after this walk to fix the problem.

Media Hunt: Tesla’s Earthquake Machine

In this video the Mythbusters explain and demonstrate the concept of resonance frequency and how it might be used to make a bridge collapse. They use a device called Tesla’s earthquake machine to try to make a bridge wobble and perhaps even collapse. Although they fail at that, the vibrations from the device resonate throughout the bridge when it reaches a certain frequency. This shows that even a small machine can create a large effect in a massive object.

Bridge Resonance

I found a couple of videos of people achieving what appears to be a resonant frequency on a small wooden bridge over a river.  Similar to the Tacoma bridge this bridge is very long and narrow with a long area in the middle that has no support.  A demonstration that the Tacoma Bridge was not unique in it’s ability to resonate.  Although it certainly is possible that in this case the people were able to just find a weak bridge that would bend given enough movement and force.

Aircraft Flutter Tests

At 3:13 in this video, an example of a typical successful resonance flutter test is seen. At high speeds, rapid vibrations build upon each other and can result in catastrophic failure of the stability of the aircraft. In the video below, such flutter can be seen to nearly shear off the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizers.


New Smart Bridge

Since there was already a video showing the collapse of the Tacoma Bridge and why it happened, I decided to try and find new advances in bridge building technology.  I found that civil engineers are now creating what they call a “smart bridge”.  After the collapse of the Minnesota bridge into the Mississippi River, engineers decided new precautions needed to be taken.  Although the Minnesota bridge did not collapse due the resonance, some of the technology now implemented in the new Minnesota smart bridge could have helped detect the resonance of the Tacoma Narrows bridge before the collapse.  Engineers are now placing sensors in the concrete of bridge to detect movement of the concrete, vibrations through the bridge, and even corrosion of the bridge.

Tacoma Bridge Collapse

Here is the video everyone has been looking forward to. The collapse of the Tacoma Bridge due to resonance. The video itself explains the details in a nice manner.

Media Hunt #5: Chaos in Encryption


This rather annoyingly soundtracked video deals with nonlinear optics, an important “ingredient” in the chaos used in encryption.  Watching the video, one can see a demo similar to the demos we’ve done in class; two waves, with bars at the top that adjust frequency and change in the offset for each wave.  The mismatched waves form a second-harmonic generation (a resultant wave), which is very useful in the creation of lasers and the like.  Because of the nonlinearity of the system, the laser created with the given wave has variable frequency, which is used to alter signals and encrypt them with greater security.

Encoding/Decoding Process

This video shows a project in which they took the lasers and transmitted the audio waves.  The speaker is the transmitter and the light waves enter the receiver.  This is like the first picture on the article “Chaotic Optical Communications” where the carrier message is shown in the middle.  I also found many other examples similar to this of projects using different receivers and transmitters.

Optical Fibers

To encrypt messages using chaotic fluctuations in the intensity of a laser one must first be able to transmit information using lasers.  This is possible using optical fibers, which are hair-thin strands of glass through which pulses of light can be sent over long distances.  A beam of light that enters the fiber on one end is subject to total internal reflection, meaning that no light escapes until it reaches the other end of the fiber.  Thus, an optical signal transmitted on one end can be received in the same form on the other end.  The signal is modulated into varying intensities of light so that when the pulses of light reach the receiver the signal can be converted back into its original form.  Optical communication is favored over earlier forms of communication because the signals travel at the speed of light and are therefore faster than the signals sent using earlier technologies. 

The video below shows footage of Charles Kao, one of the pioneering researchers in optical fiber communications, in his laboratory in 1966.  If nothing else, the video demonstrates how thin the optical fibers are.  The video also mentions that many people were skeptical that such technology could become useful because at that time light was prone to escape the fibers and data was often lost in transmission.  These problems were corrected and fiber optics have became a fundamental part of the world’s communication network.  In fact, Kao was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics last year for his work on fiber optics.

Though this does not deal directly with chaos or encryption, it does help to illustrate the type of communication to which the chaotic encryption techniques described in the readings would be applied.

National Geo: A World in Chaos

This video shows what would happen if the moon shifted. In class we talked about the time researchers think chaos will occur, and this video seems to think around 1.5 billion years- much longer than 4 or 30 million we explored in our reading. The video explores the implications of the moon making a chaotic shift, thus causing the water to move away from the equator and destroying the agriculture of a lot of the world by changing the climate. This video has kind of a dooming tone, saying chaos is coming it’s just a matter of when, but it is still cool to think about how another factor could induce chaos in the solar system.

Chaos and Encryption

This image comes from a senior design project by Laney Williams at the University of North Texas.  In this project, she followed several different methods of using chaos to encrypt signals.  First was a circuit using a series of amplifiers that generated a chaotic output.  She then moved to a complex set of Matlab code to simulate a hardware application.  Finally, the system was implemented on a DSP, or Digital Signal Processing board. The top signal is the original audio waveform, the middle shows it mixed with a chaotic carrier, and the bottom shows the output signal, with the chaos subtracted.

The original paper can be found here:

Enigma Machine

The Enigma Machine was used by the Germans during WWI to encrypt messages electrically.  It looks  a lot like a typewriter.  On the front, there is a plugboard where you can plug in different wires into different letters.  The Germans would switch up these letters everyday.  This is where a lot of randomness can play into the encryption.  There are also 3 rotors, which you can change to any number from 1 to 26.  Each day, the rotors are set to a different code and the wires in the plugboard are also changed daily.  When you type a letter, the different coded letter will light up on the machine.  Each time you type a letter, the rotor changes one position.  There are many different places where the operator can change the settings.  This makes the encryption code very chaotic and difficult to break.

Lasers, Encryption, and Chaos

A new technique in ensuring the security of data is encryption by lasers.  Data is converted into an optical signal.  Once in an optic form, the data is fed through a laser whose naturally occurring chaos has been heightened.  Now comes the confusing part: chaos synchronization.  Basically, a second laser receives the data that the first laser sent.  By knowing the chaos of the original laser the data can be extracted by subtracting the original laser’s beam from the receiving laser’s beam.  According to the article, scientists still are not entirely sure how this works, but it does!  This technique has been used to send data over 120 kilometers of fiber optic cable at a speed of about one gigabyte per second.  People are still performing many tests to see if this method of encryption is up to the standards of current methods, but it is predicted that this technique could being in large use within the next five years.

Surprisingly, there are no videos or pictures of lasers encrypting some data, so the hyperlink for the article is at the top of this post.

The Missing Universe

The stability of the universe is an ongoing debate between physicists. A major factor of this debate is the presence of hidden matter and energy, such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy. As mentioned in the video, visible matter is only 5% of the calculated total mass of the universe. The remaining mass is 23% dark matter and 72% dark energy. With the vast majority of the universe is not yet discovered or understood, it’s hard to say whether the universe is stable or not.

There were many interesting topics discussed in this video. It was posted Oct. 25, 2010, so all the information is relevant. The possibility of ‘anti-planets’ reminds me of many comic book plots, but it makes sense given the theory that an equal amount of matter and antimatter were created during the Big Bang.  Looking deep in the Earth for particles not blocked by the atmosphere is an idea that I would not have thought of