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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Numbers stations

I heard two interesting things on All Things Considered yesterday on the way to work. One just angries up the blood, so I think I'll put off dealing with it until later.* But the other concerned something that has fascinated me for a while: numbers stations.

Numbers Stations: Mystery Over The Airwaves : NPR

Numbers stations are these mysterious yet fairly well-known broadcasts on shortwave radio that consist of voices - now electronically generated or at least pre-recorded voices - reading off clusters of numbers. These numbers make use of an uncrackable encryption technique known as a "One-Time Pad" to communicate - well, something. You can't actually know what is being communicated without the key, which is the point.

Numbers station - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Four and a half years ago I stumbled across what appeared to be "numbers blogs" during a random walk using Blogger's "Next Blog" button.** These were blogs that consisted of nothing but clusters of numbers updated every minute or so. According to the NPR piece, these blogs would be inherently more traceable than the shortwave broadcasts. I don't know if they're still out there - I didn't bother to save any of the addresses (which, if I recall correctly, consisted of random character strings) and I don't know if I could just stumble across them again.



*Do the Republicans actually want to see the economy in general and unemployment in particular improve as long as Barack Obama is in office and/or there is a Democratic majority in Congress? Wouldn't such a thing be perceived as a victory for Barack Obama and/or Congressional Democrats? This will be discussed later, when I'm more prepared to deal with the inevitable troll attacks.

**The "Next Blog" button has since been modified so it directs you to a blog similar to the blog you are currently on, which pretty much defeats the ability to do a random walk.

2 comments:

...tom... said...

...

" **The 'Next Blog' button has since been modified so it directs you to a blog similar to the blog you are currently on, which pretty much defeats the ability to do a random walk."

Oh gawd.

My blog is like all the 'mommy blogs' that the 'Next Blog' button always seems to take me to..?!?


Geezus . . .might as well pull the plug on it and try again.


...tom...
.

D.B. Echo said...

Yeah...last time I checked, my "Next" blogs were about knitting and stamp collecting. It's too bad - two of the most interesting people I know in the blogosphere, I met via the "Next" button. I doubt I would be directed to their blogs these days.