Fine Structure

Fermilab's Secret Message

Symmetry Breaking, the Fermilab/SLAC publication blog, released a coded letter from an anonymous sender on Friday. Shortly after, slashdot picked it up and sent over waves of geeks with crackpot theories. Amazingly, one or two of them managed to solve two parts of it.

The first encoding was pretty simple, just some letters encoded in base-3 with a curious choice of representations. I started working on a tool to do some work on an encoded string and print some statistics as well as possible human-readable sentence structures. It would definitely have helped narrow down the field if I had used it on the original code. It's a very theoretical program since I've tested it only on already-solved codes so I'll only bother going into detail on how it works if I end up running into another code and I use it.

The second encoding was just like the first, only represented differently. I have the beginnings of an idea to break out different interpretations of code representations to work with the first tool I wrote but I'm not sure if I'll end up writing it without another code to solve. I'm not interested in searching around for nails but I'll build a hammer if one falls in my lap.

If you're interested in following the progress on the third coded message or seeing how the first two were solved, check these links:
Symmetry Breaking (the original post)
Solving the first and last codes (plus plenty of theories in the comments)
More how-to solve and theories