Throughout history coded messages have been used to transfer information. While keeping the enemy in the dark, even when they were able to intercept the correspondence, plans and other intelligence could be shared without fear of vital information falling into the wrong hands.
The ancient Romans would shave the carrier’s head, tattoo the message on the scalp, and when the hair grew back send him on his way. It kinda hurts to think about this method simply because there’s a fine line between genius and…well…not the sharpest sword in the scabbard, although to be fair I’m sure it had its place.
Skipping ahead several thousand years to World War l, we see the use of “Code Talkers.” A company of Choctaw Indians would verbally transmit messages in their native tongue confusing the enemy and giving way to their World War ll counter parts, the Navajo. With their unwritten and intricate language, they were more widely used and their encoded communications were never broken. The Comanche‘s unwritten language was also used in this manner.
World War ll also saw the enigma machine come into play. This device resembled a typewriter on steroids. The machine was developed in the nineteen twenties to guard corporate secrets and became the Nazi choice to send coded messages. It was both electrical and mechanical in operation and nearly impossible to decode. The Nazi’s were enacting heavy tolls on allied supply ships with U-boat strikes using the enigma to voice enemy positions and arrange convoys to attack them.
The British countered with an ingenuous machine nick named “the Bomb.” It was constructed with miles of wire and over ninety thousand intricate moving parts. Now here’s where I applaud the very face of arrogance. The Nazi’s thought their code was unbreakable and had no idea that the British were decoding their messages to the tune of three thousand a day. This shortened the war by two years. Now that’s what I call, “Da Bomb!”
I know it’s a stretch but at least it’s in the same vein. Have you ever read a book that seemed to be written in code? You know, a glut of big intelligent sounding words thrown together that creates a weak story line and made little sense. I’ve had the dubious honor of writing such stories and didn’t realized it until I sat back and tried to read what I had written. I know for a fact that books like this have been published. Oh well, with eight hundred new titles coming out each day you have to expect a dud or two.
To wrap up this post, the thing that really chaps my butt is the fact that I do my Christmas shopping early and now, since the Mayans, six thousand years ago, let us know that on December 21, 2012, “the jig is up,” I’m feeling a bit despondent. I realize it’s not really a code but a brilliant prediction written into a brilliant calendar by an obviously brilliant prediction-making calendar-writing guy.
Ya know, the more I think about it, maybe we could make this a reverse leap, leap, leap, leap, leap year. That way Christmas would come five days earlier…I don’t know…could work.