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Cryptography, steganography, movies, cyberculture, travel, games, and too many other hobbies to list!

The Daily Show : Congressional hearings on virtual worlds
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:32 pm EDT, Apr 11, 2008

Video clip with Jon Stewart's irreverent take on the Congressional hearings about virtual worlds, and whether or not terrorists might be using them.

Personally, I don't think either side gets it yet, but I still found the clip amusing.

Elonka :)

The Daily Show : Congressional hearings on virtual worlds

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/April Fools' poem
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:42 pm EDT, Apr 10, 2008

There is, I fear, a common rumor
That this group has no sense of humor
We test this out each April first
Which some think the best day, and others, the worst
For Wikipedians of all ranks
On this day launch their jokes and pranks
On the main page, through RfAs,
And in all sorts of other ways

Multiple administrators on Wikipedia had their account access blocked on April 1 for pulling pranks which other members of the community did not find funny (enough). As part of the uproar, Newyorkbrad, one of the members of Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee (sort of the WP Supreme Court) wrote a wonderful poem about the situation. Passing it along for those who enjoy following wiki-culture.

BTW, I don't think I blogged about it at the time, but as of December 2007, I too am now one of the 1500-odd Wikipedia admins. Took three tries, and the last two of them were both on the list of the most controversial noms in Wikipedia history, but I finally squeaked in. :)

Elonka :)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/April Fools' poem

How Sirius Put Live TV in the Back Seat
Topic: Cyber-Culture 9:17 pm EDT, Apr  9, 2008

For those of you who are Def Con regulars and enjoy "Hacker Jeopardy", you may recognize one of the coveted "Black badge" lifetime pass winners here. And no I'm not saying who it is, but to you-who-cannot-be-named, congrats on the mainstream press!

Elonka :)

How Sirius Put Live TV in the Back Seat

Humor: Duty calls
Topic: Cyber-Culture 4:59 am EDT, Apr  9, 2008

This one struck close to home... ;)

Humor: Duty calls

Howstuffworks Videos "How Kryptos Works"
Topic: Cryptography 9:16 pm EDT, Apr  5, 2008

2-3 minute clip about Kryptos. The parts with me were recorded in my hotel room at Dragon*Con last year. For those of you that saw me walking around with a camera crew in tow, this is the result!

Elonka :)

Howstuffworks Videos "How Kryptos Works"

RE: Beale's treasure
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:26 pm EST, Jan  3, 2008

Acidus wrote:

Chabrery wrote:
I deciphered the paper N 1 of the treasure of Beale. 2 years of effort.
And now, what to do ?
To indicate here the place ? Bof, I would just as soon go there, but I live in France.
To write a book ? I wrote already one on decipherings in Roman art, another on decipherings in Bible and one more on the magic square in Melancolia of Albrecht Dürer.
Have you an idea ?
The final thing : in Beale, there is well a deciphering and there is well a place to discover.

Chabrery Emmanuel

Talk to Elonka, of Kyrotos fame (and active Memestreamer).

Can you provide more info? I believe someone did a statistical analysis a few years back of the Beale Ciphers and made a good case that they were not enciphered text.

I get emails from people every week or so, claiming that they've "solved" a famous code. They almost never pan out. Usually it's a case that someone moved some letters around, Scrabble-style, and they found the word "the" or something, and so they feel that they've solved the code, and it's up to other people at that point to "finish the job". ;)

Sometimes people come up with a random set of characters and type it into Google, and find out that it means something, so again they think they've "solved" a code.

And often they just move letters around to form an anagram of some phrase, and then conveniently disregard the rest of the unused letters.

To really mark a code as solved, we need:
* A readable plaintext
* A method by which the plaintext was derived
* Sufficient information about the method, such that an independent third party can duplicate the method, generate the same plaintext, and confirm that it is a solution (I once had a guy write to me with complete gibberish plaintext, but he argued that since it was duplicatable gibberish, it should count as a solution). ;)

If anyone can come up with a plausible plaintext and method, I'm interested in looking at it. But just "claiming" that a code is solved? Sorry, talk is cheap. ;)

Elonka :)

RE: Beale's treasure

[citation needed] bumper stickers
Topic: Arts 3:18 pm EST, Jan  3, 2008

[citation needed] bumper stickers

Electoral Compass
Topic: Politics and Law 3:17 pm EST, Jan  3, 2008

If you place Obama at coordinates (-5, +10), my own rating is probably around (-3, -1).

Elonka :)

Electoral Compass

Webcomic: Virus aquarium
Topic: Humor 11:31 am EST, Nov 28, 2007

Heh. :)

Webcomic: Virus aquarium

Knights Templar secrets revealed -
Topic: History 6:46 pm EDT, Oct 12, 2007

The Vatican has published secret archive documents about the trial of the Knights Templar, including a long-lost parchment that shows that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval Christian order from accusations of heresy, officials said Friday.

I have to admit amusement about the current media frenzy on the Knights Templar, though I understand the background for it. Tomorrow, October 13, 2007, will be the 700-year anniversary of the date that King Philip IV of France made a power play to get out from under some financial debts -- he simultaneously had many Templars in France arrested, charged with various types of heresy, tortured into "confessions" and then burned at the stake.

Probably because of this anniversary, the Vatican is releasing some documents from its "secret archives." Or at least, they're publishing a book about it.

The story is getting picked up by the major news portals: BBC, CNN, AOL, etc, partially because it sounds cool, and partially because of some remnants of "Da Vinci Code" fascination.

Traffic to the Wikipedia page has picked up, which I've noticed because, well, I wrote most of the page. :) I'd also arranged for the article to get bannered on the Wikipedia mainpage ( on October 13, which should start at GMT time in about an hour or so.

As for the "news", I have to smile a bit, because it's *not* news. This "secret document", the Chinon Parchment, actually came to light several years ago. Multiple history books have already been written which take the new information into account. So it's not really "new" to historians, but I guess it's new to pop culture, so at least the news gets out that way, even if a few years behind.

I've also been watching with amusement and a bit of horror at just what the major news agencies are saying about the Templars. Most of them are keeping the information minimal, because it's obvious that they don't know what's true and what's false. And in at least one case (the BBC, interestingly enough) they published some information that was just flat out wrong.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that Templars are getting some credible press attention, I'm glad that they're getting public acknowledgement that they weren't an evil secret society, I'm glad that the anniversary is starting with a bang, and I'm glad that a page I wrote on Wikipedia, is getting a lot of attention.

So anyone that's having a drink this weekend, please try to remember the date, lift your glass high, and toast, "To the Knights Templar!" :)

Elonka :)

Knights Templar secrets revealed -

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