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Re: VMs: Baptista/Matteo Argenti's essays on crypto - RANT
> It is very good to have these books by Meister: they are clearly the
> original source for a lot of material in histories of cryptography like
> and Simon Singh. Thanks a lot for posting them.
I've now posted everything up to page 250. Then I became afraid the book
would fall apart so that's it for the moment.
> Are there any particular portions which list members would like to have
> translated into English?
I think that the main result of this scanning and posting exercise is the
realization that the VMS has nothing to do with the diplomatic crypto of the
times. There is *not one* character from the VMS that really fits any
character from the crypto books. Specifically, I've found no gallows in any
of the books I looked at.
And looking at specific examples of crypto from 1400 - 1600 the VMS does not
fit any of them. If anything, it's closest to the code-book approach. Slowly
I'm being converted to the "hoax" hypothesis: the VMS is an artifact that's
meant to look "language-like".
And I may have the tools to demonstrate it. With the "text-tiling" program
it may be possible to demonstrate that the internal coherence of text in
paragraphs is (or is not) greater than the coherence in a random block of
text. If there is a message (and if VMS-words are words *) then paragraphs
should be distinguisheable from a random section of text.
* I think this is a good hypothesis, knowing the common crypto of the times:
1) If the VMS were a normal cipher (substitution, transposition) then we
wouldn't have recognizeable words at all, but just random-looking chunks of
symbols (see Meister).
2) If the VMS were a verbose cipher I think we would have detected it by now
3) If the VMS were a code book, there wouldn't be so many repetitions of
words (however, if a word or phrase was spelled out it could happen)
I don't really see any crypto of the times that would be able to produce
something like the VMS. And I don't think it would fit into the mindset of
the times to come up with something unique, something really new. Most of
the crypto I see is just an extension af what came before (dwarfs on
shoulders of giants ...). This seems to be the case way into the 1600 -1700.
I know Nick's hypothesis, but the *please show me some examples of shorthand
that looks VMS like*. I've come up with examples of crypto - and they don't
fit. And as yet I have seen no example of contemporary (1400-1600) crypto
that could produce the VMS.
** In Yardleys book he gives an example of a verbose cipher that's difficult
to detect. It was used by a German spy and it passed the American censor
b c = 0
d f = 1
g h = 2
j k = 3
l m = 4
n p = 5
q r s = 6
t = 7
v = 8
w x z = 9
Suppose I want to encode a number from a code book : 72809
The I would write a sentence like this:
"This is an example of how Yardleys verbose cipher works."
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