Blog 2


Nov 3, 2016

I spent a little time in the past week porting one of my blogs to Python using Django. If the website looks similar to these four blogs, it's because they are all the same codebase with a handful of tweaks to make it possible to unify them with my other blogs and journals. While they aren't all ported yet, I thought I'd write a quick blog to explain things. For a decade and a half, I've been blogging on a PHP website I wrote in 2002 for Javantea's Fate and improved over time. In 2011, I wrote a blog in Python with Django for my trip to Brasil. When I went to Mexico, I copied the blog and created a second database. When I bought j4va.com for fun and profit (not really), I first put up a copy of java.com with some interesting things in its place. Then when I wanted to turn it into a blog, I copied the Brasil blog and made a third database. Now that I finally want to unify my blogs, it makes perfect sense to simply use the same thing, but copy all the data from the all the blogs into a single database. It's so well-written, that I didn't really need a really bad intro page anymore. So now AltSci.com goes to that unified blog interface. There's a lot of logic that makes it happen, but I'll leave that unsaid.

Of all my travels, only one trip is not available on my unified blog. I decided to use MediaWiki for my Europe Blog and spammers destroyed that blog, so I don't have easy access to the data. Eventually I'll grab the data and post it to this blog. For now, the pictures and videos will do. You have to click on the videos to get them.

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A Short Classic Cryptography Blog


Dec 21, 2015

A certain game reminded me of a cryptography trick that I learned years ago and haven't had the opportunity to share. First, let's talk substitution ciphers. I'll give two challenges, one with spaces and one without.

GZKH YOQU TKP QY QB BKOB Q OATOPY KOWE BZ TXQBE O AZHF 
QHBXZUSCBQZH TKEHEWEX QV BXPQHF BZ ENJAOQH YZVEBKQHF 
YQVJAE COHB JEZJAE GSYB YBOXB XEOUQHF TKEXE VP VQHU 
YBOXBY TXQBQHF
PKCCAMSVCNSLADUYDUCLQUFDTCAFZSGDPFNTFSCCNXSTFKGDTXADUMM
SKLSMPODUCLXSFVKPFFZSJNMPFVKMKXMKVZXNISFZSMSPFDJFZSODMC
LKYZKTYSOMNFSKJSOPSTFSTYSPFDLSPYMNQSOZKFADUKMSOMNFNTXKQ
DUFJNMPFBDZT

The trick for the first one is to look at the list of possible two-letter words. Here is the top 101 words in order of occurrence in AI3.

of
in
to
is
as
by
on
at
an
In
or
it
he
be
He
It
no
up
On
fr
As
es
so
St
if
At
do
An
US
By
No
UK
uk
To
TV
we
If
id
Dr
go
BC
Mr
Of
My
my
OF
Jr
We
me
Me
CD
us
Is
am
Co
So
Al
AD
Up
DC
al
io
cm
Ed
FM
PC
Be
Do
hi
EP
Go
kg
FC
NY
yo
3D
AM
DJ
SS
LP
UN
co
Op
ad
os
Sr
Ma
SR
EU
mg
CA
Or
Wu
IP
MA
Oz
Oh
Am
HD
un
kW

There are plenty of two letter words in both challenges, so it should be fairly straightforward how to solve those. Once you've tried values for the two letter words, see what substituting the rest of the characters does to other words. You might find obvious words. If you have a dictionary on your system, you can use grep to find a word automatically. If you have the AI3 wordlist, you automatically get the results in order of likeliness which improves the search many times. It also contains words that a normal dictionary doesn't have.

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