Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Child's Play

Children have curious minds, constantly growing and learning and thinking up crazy ideas that are sure to change the world.  Their imaginations take them from fairytales to foreign countries, from outer space to deserted islands.  They have locked diaries full of their deepest thoughts, and secret codes to share confidential information with friends. These codes, of course, are only understood among a select few, and can never be broken or understood by the outside world... or so they think.

I remember in my youth coming up with many secret codes and languages that my friends and I would try to communicate through.  There was one sequence of dots that made up the alphabet, and others that contained symbols representing individual letters.  At the time we thought we were so clever, coming up with unique patterns of letters that no one had ever thought of before.  Now, though, I realize how simple breaking these codes would have been just by using frequency analysis.  Not to mention that our cipher key was probably not well hidden or protected, so had we been writing anything of importance, it could've quickly and easily been figured out.

As kids, we have naive minds that make us think we are invincible, when in reality we are merely children with an imagination the size of the sky.  Many of the codes my friends and I conjured up as kids made no sense, or we ran out of new symbols 13 letters into the alphabet.  Our keys were disorganized and obvious, and we often got frustrated half way into the message, gave up on it and wrote in plain English. Despite this, we shared the same goal as many cryptographers have in the past and still do today.  This goal is to be able to write in such a language that no other being can decipher its meaning, and that goal is still trying to be reached today.  Cryptographers will always be attempting to attain this goal, and children will continue to believe they have created a top secret, completely original, totally unbreakable code.  And who are we to stop them?

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