1. JadeX
    Offline

    JadeX Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Ohio, U.S. of A.

    [Experiment] I want to see if anyone can crack this code

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JadeX, Apr 19, 2016.

    This shouldn't be that hard. I wouldn't be surprised if someone gets it right away.

    Basically, in my book, an alien race occupies Earth, partly colonises it, they govern it and thus know our languages (the main ones anyway, they essentially made the rest illegal and forced people to adapt). Anyway, eventually a resistance rises up. While the resistance suffers from a lack of technology, the alien species lacks creativity. They cannot think in the abstract as much as humans - they laugh at us for thinking we can see images in clouds (among other things, like "Jesus toast").

    So, I created a code that is fairly simple in concept, but has a few different layers that may be more difficult for these aliens to catch on to.

    How ever hard it is for a human to solve, it would be at least ten-fold more difficult for these aliens. (and their computer tech may be of limited to no use, because some of the elements of this code are... shall I say, "uniquely human".)

    Here's a sample message, an example of the kind of message that may be sent in my story. Try to figure it out, at least take some guesses!

    100 0001 1100 101 0100 11 0000 0000 000 010 101 10 0001 11 110 011 0001 111 1100 1000 0001 011
    000 0001 1100 0 1000 00 1100 010 111 00 0100 1100 011 1011 0100 10 1011 1100 00 011 10 0001 11 110
    100 010 111 111 110 00 1000 110 0100 0000 0001 11 011 1011 1000 0000 0001 1100
    1100 011 0 010 0000 0001 1001 0001 1100 0000 0001 001 010 00 0001 0100 00 00 0001 110 00 0001 1100 110
    110 0100 0000 110 00 0001 110 1001 000 0000 0010 101 101 111 010 0001 0000
     
  2. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    4,1,12,5,4,3,0,0,0,2,5,2,1,3,6,3,1,7,12,8,1,3,0,1,12,0,8,0,12,2,7,0,4,12,3,11,4,2,11,12,0,3,2,1,3,6,4,2,7,7,6,0,8,6,4,0,1,3,3,11,8,0,1,12,12,3,0,2,0,1,9,1,12,0,1,1,2,0,1,4,0,0,1,6,0,1,12,6,6,4,0,6,0,1,6,9,0,0,2,5,5,7,2,1,0

    Beyond that I've got nothing. Do the positions of the spaces or the leading zeroes mean anything?
     
  3. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Already knowing the answer makes it more obvious for you what the solution is. It can make it seem easier because once you have the answer it's clear. But it's not that clear for everyone else. So you might be misjudging. Just a thought.
    Oh, and I have no idea. Code is too maths-y for me.
     
  4. LostThePlot
    Offline

    LostThePlot Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    343
    It's morse code, right? There's other stuff underneath but if 0s are dits and 1s are dashes then it outputs letters nicely and that's the 'hard' bit, getting the message into a form you can crypt-analyse. Someone else can figure out if there's something complex happening with the letters or if they are just straight substituted or ceaser shifted or whatever.

    I do think it's a decent way to encode something such that aliens wouldn't make the leap.
     
  5. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    That's the point where I'd put this book back on the shelf.
     
  6. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    SAVAGE BURN!! :supercool::supercool:
    Okay, I think your brain cells took enough of a beating there.
     
  7. Mikmaxs
    Offline

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    110
    A better question than 'Can anyone crack this?' is 'Does it matter?'
    Your audience shouldn't be expected to do any work in order to simply follow the plot. Unless the book is for cryptography fans, there shouldn't be a code that readers are expected to crack, and as long as it's not blindingly obvious at first glance, nobody will care. (Though I also question the wisdom of filling your pages with long strings of useless letters.)
    If you want to hide easter eggs in the coded message, sure, go ahead I guess, but otherwise you should just have some character on hand to translate for the audience.


    Since you mentioned that your aliens are creativity-illiterate, though, that brings up a problem. Codes don't really require creativity to crack, they require logic and a whole lot of critical thinking and brute force. This isn't to say that creativity doesn't play a part, but when it comes down to it, cryptography has more in common with mathematics than poetry.

    So why not have fun with it? Make your codes something the audience can understand at a glance: Literal metaphors. If the aliens can't understand creative thinking, then have humans communicate through code phrases that make obvious sense. Jokes, or references, or whatever. 'The eagle has left the nest' comes to mind. Any human understands that this refers to an important target leaving a location, but your aliens would be left wondering why the rebels have taken up birdwatching.
     
  8. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    You are able to see images in clouds because of a sense called pareidolia. It's an incredibly necessary skill, because without it, simple images like this :) are simply a collection of meaningless lines. Without the ability to make a leap between two dots and a pair of eyes, are doesn't get invented, and without art, the ability to draw plans or communicate ideas goes out the window.

    If I read that in a book I'd just assume the author didn't know anything about psychology, anthropology, or why we don't drink out of the same water we shit in anymore. Very unrealistic, outside of the "uncrackable" code.
     
    Feo Takahari and Oscar Leigh like this.
  9. Mikmaxs
    Offline

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    110
    I'd have to disagree here. Yes, *we* need those things, but the aliens are, quite literally, alien to us. They developed on a different planet, with different needs and different challenges. While it's unlikely in real life tha a species would develop without 'Critical' functions that we have, I really don't find it any more implausible than the alien's weaknesses in... Any fiction about aliens. Water. A Macintosh Laptop. The flu virus, on a planet they've been planning to invade for centuries.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  10. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    It's actually quite likely that, in order to get off the planet, alien psychology would be remarkably similar to ours. But I'd love to hear your explanation as to how a race would have developed writing without first making hieroglyphs, the way all three spontaneously developed writing languages did. Even the latin alphabet you're using now started out as physical representations of people emoting, which you can't do without symbolism, which you don't have unless you can see a face in random shapes.

    Hell, even animals do this, and it's a key way to understand visual development. Without some of these core abilities all you can see of a face is a collection of shapes without understanding what any of them are. People without this ability have something called visual agnosia (you can read about it with the seminal work The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat). A patient in question was able to look at a glove, describe every element of it, and have no idea what it was or what it could be used for.

    Without this simple sense you can't even watch a movie at a low resolution. Not exactly conducive for getting a race into space.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  11. Mikmaxs
    Offline

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    110
    Maybe they are clones developed by another species to be a perfectly 'Logical' race, but it backfired and they turned on their creators.
    Or maybe they are transdimensional, and their home dimension follows different rules, so the crossover causes them difficulty.
    Or maybe they simply have been around machines and practical systens for so long that they've evolved past their creative sides and lost what got them to the stars in the first place.

    Or maybe it's just a fun idea for soft sci-fi and the rule of cool overrules contradictions.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  12. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    Or maybe the author hasn't done any basic research. I know which conclusion I would reach in a bookstore.
     
  13. Mikmaxs
    Offline

    Mikmaxs Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    110
    Your Mileage May Vary.
    It all depends on execution. The totally literal Drax the Destroyer from GotG made no sense, but he was a great character anyways.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  14. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Ultimately, this is a question of how realistic you want to be.
     
  15. Feo Takahari
    Offline

    Feo Takahari Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    270
    Location:
    Just above the treetops
    @Jack Asher: If we're talking alien psychology, we may be able to draw a different dividing line than in humans. This could actually be a tool for understanding, with a human character comparing their own ability to see cloud shapes to an alien's ability to process a simplified schematic and understand what building or vehicle it represents.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  16. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    It's interesting because if you want to go further down the rabbit hole, the ability to see shapes in clouds is also a part of apophenia. That's the ability to see patterns, specifically in things that don't have patterns. We theorize that this is a key survival skill, because the ability to see a tiger in a pattern of grass was a good survival ability whether or not there was really a tiger there.

    Again, this is a key ability in the recognition and creation, not just of art, but of most math and engineering. Without the ability to see patterns, (like how a plot of land fits with another plot of land) you don't get simple geometry. Without simple geometry you don't get complex geometry, and the ability to build a pyramid is beyond you.

    But it's worse. Our ability to see patterns is also a key element in astronomy in any form. Knowing that a star can be in one position on one night, and in another position on another night is an integral step in the process of understanding even something as simple as the equinox.

    We did not get where we are by accident. Getting rid of some of the most basic building blocks of the human psyche causes the whole system to collapse.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  17. Justin Phillips
    Offline

    Justin Phillips Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    144
    I wonder if maybe the humans cans send codes through hidden meanings in poems or something like that, and the aliens can't translate it because they aren't emotionally developed enough to get the meaning.

    does that make any sense? It does in my head.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  18. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    231
    The thing about codes is that you want them to change, is it possible for multiple messages to be passed back and forth or is it one message send and forget?

    If you can pass multiple messages, maybe digitally, you can use an SSL-like private/public key system. When looking for new hires for software engineers, I often ask them how a king could communicate with a general using nothing other than an indestructible box with two locks and having no one else be able to intercept the message.

    No, the rules of evolution will be the same. This type of thing that you are mentioning stems from our ability to recognize patterns. Advanced species like us use those patterns in things like language, but they have a much more primitive reason: to identify food and danger. It's likely that any thinking creature will have an overdeveloped pattern recognition. It's better to think you see a tiger and run from no danger, then not see the tiger when it's really there.
     
    Jack Asher likes this.
  19. JadeX
    Offline

    JadeX Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Ohio, U.S. of A.
    You got it!

    It's Morse, the 1s are dashes and the 0s are dots, but I have the alphabet reversed so that A uses the Morse code for Z, B uses the code for Y, etc.

    I figured, if it looks like just 1s and 0s, the aliens would assume it's binary. But it wouldn't mean anything in binary. Morse code was invented by humans at a very primitive stage, so if they are even aware of it they still, most likely, would not recognise it in a different form. And even if one did, and said "Hey, what if they're just using Morse and just using the numbers to deceive us?" - it would still come out as gibberish and thus they'd move on to their next theory instead of bothering to reverse the alphabet. (eg: the phrase "SAMPLE MESSAGE", in this inverse-alphabet Morse, would read as "HZNKOV NVHHZTV" in regular Morse)


    This isn't something the reader will ever have to figure out, FFS guys, I'm not Satan.
    I just wanted to see how hard it would be for someone to figure it out, so I'd know whether it's too obvious or not.

    These aliens aren't completely allegorically stupid. They would most likely know what "The eagle has left the nest" means. They are "capable" of creativity, just not to the extent we are and they don't benefit as much from it. That's why plain English can't be used.
     
  20. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    231
    Excuse me for stating the obvious: Morse Code is binary.
     
    The Triarii and Jack Asher like this.
  21. Greenwood
    Offline

    Greenwood Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Banished to the Void
    Although some responses here are a bit blunt and harsh (while probably meaning no harm), I have to agree with them. You should not make this a key component of your story. That, or change the way you work this out. A reader should never have to decode this in order to progress in the story. Not all of us know morse/binary code. Either make it clear what the message means to the reader, or don't use it. And don't overdo it. A book in which 100 pages are filled with 1's and 0's isn't going to be much fun.

    That being said, the skill to decipher this does not come from creativity. It comes from logic, insight and mathematical skill. Those are a world apart from creativity, which might often be called the very opposite of these abilities (although these abilities are often necessary to actually do something with creativity).

    Conclusion: Don't overdo it, make it clear to the reader, and don't make it a key aspect of your story. I guess you should be fine if you make this work in a very good way, but do take some time to think this over. Aliens colonizing the Earth are obviously not some dumbass droolers unable to think. They colonized the Earth from outer space for Christ's sakes. Don't they have some kind of computer to solve this?
     
  22. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,123
    Likes Received:
    5,322
    Location:
    California, US
    As a counterpoint to the idea of not getting into detail regarding the coding issues, may I present:

    [​IMG]
     
    Malisky likes this.
  23. JadeX
    Offline

    JadeX Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Ohio, U.S. of A.
    LOLOLOLOLOL. I want some of whatever you're smoking.

    They're not even remotely similar.
     
  24. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    Your ignorance could only be more hilarious if you were aware of it.
     
  25. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    231
    I'm not sure you understand what binary means.

    Binary means any information system that uses base 2. Morse code, ascii code, IEEE floating point, UTF-8 code, PNG image data, TCP/IP are all binary formats.
     
    SethLoki and The Triarii like this.

Share This Page