"It was beautiful, kind of like abstract art"
July 16, 2008 11:08 AM Subscribe
posted by subbes (45 comments total)
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In March 2007, the FermiLab
Office of Public Affairs in Batavia, IL "received a curious message in code
" via USPS. In May 2008, scientists posted a facsimile image of the letter to their blog in the hopes of soliciting cryptologists to decipher the letter
A partial solution began to appear by the very next day. Geoff Milburn (creator of the Homebrew Air Conditioner
and employee of the Canadian Space Agency) noted that the first and last paragraphs appeared to be in base-3 and base-2,
and got to work. By the 17th, he had experimented with possible mappings and reached a solution
. Meanwhile, John Graham-Cumming whipped up a Perl program to experiment with the mappings and posted his Perl-decrypted version
The text? "FRANK SHOEMAKER WOULD CALL THIS NOISE," and "EMPLOYEE NUMBER BASSE SIXTEEN."
Two months later, the central paragraph remains unsolved, and a Chicago Tribune article
has rekindled the web's interest, and spread work and comments on the mystery
Too simple for you?
Well, there's work still to be done on the Zodiac Killer's November 8 1969 cryptogram
, the CIA's Kryptos
), the Voynich Manuscript
) and the Shugborough House Shepherd's monument inscription
And of course, there's always the Mayday Mystery