Series of minor questions about OpenPGP 5

Ingo Klöcker kloecker at
Wed Jan 28 21:09:38 CET 2009

On Wednesday 28 January 2009, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
> Peter Thomas wrote:
> > I've read about special hardware devices that (claim to) give true
> > random numbers, some based on thermodynamics some even on quantum
> > mechanics.
> True randomness exists in nature, but so far we're unable to detect
> it. (Seriously.)
> Imagine you have a Geiger counter and a radioactive sample.  Over
> each time frame, the Geiger counter reports how many decays it
> measures. That number becomes your random value.  So far, so random,
> right?
> But a Geiger counter has a reset time.  Once it clicks, there's a
> small time window in which it's unable to detect new decay events. 
> This has the effect of introducing a bias into your random number
> generator: some decay events will be transformed into non-events.
> There are some tricks of physics and mathematics you can use to get
> very high quality values out of this kind of radioisotope setup, but
> the basic problem remains: even when measuring a totally
> nondeterministic event, determinism in the detection mechanism will
> undercut you.  You can get really, really close to truly random
> numbers, but you can't get there.

See for a random number generator using 
radioactive decay.

Under you can download a 
(mostly) non-deterministic random number generator using a webcam. The 
page is in German.

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