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The Man Who Broke Purple
February 4, 2011 1:51 PM   Subscribe

How To Make Anything Signify Anything "By the time he retired from the National Security Agency in 1955, Friedman had served for more than thirty years as his government’s chief cryptographer, and—as leader of the team that broke the Japanese PURPLE code in World War II, co-inventor of the US Army’s best cipher machine, author of the papers that gave the field its mathematical foundations, and coiner of the very term cryptanalysis—he had arguably become the most important code-breaker in modern history."
posted by puny human (10 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
'The index of coincidence and its application.' (PDF)

https://chris.dod.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/the_index_of_coincidence_and_its_application_in_cryptonalysis.pdf

I love how Mrs. Freidman, while working for the Coast Guard, solved encrypted messages from rum runners during Prohibition. Thats a Nero Wolfe script.
posted by clavdivs at 2:13 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That first link doesn't work right. Resized my window, and wasn't an article.
posted by explosion at 2:14 PM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


How To Make Anything Signify Anything by any beanplating poster on Metafilter, ever.

Za-zing!

Okay, going to read the very interesting looking links now ...
posted by Amanojaku at 2:19 PM on February 4, 2011


That first link doesn't work right. Resized my window, and wasn't an article.

Yep, same here. It's just an awkwardly sized image.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:20 PM on February 4, 2011


Dszquphsbnt!
posted by jeremy b at 2:27 PM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


After reading the words "How To Make Anything Signify Anything," I mentally stumbled when finding that the rest of the post was not about postmodernism.
posted by adipocere at 2:30 PM on February 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


That first link doesn't work right. Resized my window, and wasn't an article.

Yep, same here. It's just an awkwardly sized image.


The first link is a poster created from the image described in the second link. Confused me at first too.
posted by eviltwin at 2:39 PM on February 4, 2011


In case anyone else is as dumb as I am right now, the first link will - as has been mentioned three times already - resize your browser in a horrible way.

Don't click unless you like having your browser resized.

The other links are fascinating and wonderful and thank you for posting them.
posted by motty at 2:49 PM on February 4, 2011


On my first version of the post I linked the photograph and included a note that said -- this photo contains a code, do not click next link unless you want spoilers -- because I know that there are some mefites who like to figure out puzzles for themselves. But just before I hit post, I realized that underneath the photo it says KNOWLEDGE IS POWE which, you know, kind of gives it away. I am not as smart as Mr. Friedman it seems.
posted by puny human at 5:22 PM on February 4, 2011


"The Index of Coincidence" is absolutely brilliant. When I first read it I had a "Why didn't I think of that?" reaction, because it's so straightforward.

But that's the essence of genius: once the genius points something out, it's obvious. But it took the genius to see it first.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:58 PM on February 4, 2011


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