In the prior two essays, we have made progress by employing what I will term the Apollonian approach to problem solving. The teams are now hard at work, so the voice of narration in this essay is that of M. M is the voice inside my head that directs conscious thought activity. At M’s disposal are the previously mentioned research teams, each employing various schemes of deductive reasoning. It starts at the top with a very broad spectrum of information and works its way down to a specific conclusion. For instance, we started by saying the doubled letters may have meaning. From there, we narrowed that down into more specific hypotheses that could be tested. These hypotheses are then narrowed down even further when observations are collected to test the hypotheses. This ultimately leads the researcher to be able to test the hypotheses with specific data, leading to a confirmation (or not) of the original theory and arriving at a conclusion.
The deductive research teams within my walnut all report to M, who runs them like field agents. They collect raw data, analyze it, and make specific factual contributions to the overall schema. M’s thought process operates differently, and his classification level is way beyond ULTRA. In order to assemble all this information meaningfully, he employs another form of reasoning. Inductive reasoning works the opposite way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. This is sometimes called a “bottom up” approach. The researcher begins with specific observations and measures, begins to then detect patterns and regularities, formulate some tentative hypotheses to explore, and finally ends up developing some general conclusions or theories. Thus, intelligence emerges from the interplay of these two approaches. The human condition is that there is just not enough data for deductive, nor enough imagination for inductive, for either to be exclusively useful to model “reality”.
Since M has been trained in various forms of the method of loci, also known as the “memory palace”; by placing all the furniture that doesn’t fit in any of the exhibits into a common area, tendencies and hidden relationships can emerge from the shadows. It also maximizes working memory by taking the results of the deductive reasoning’s conclusions, and modularizing them. It’s far easier to build a strong tower from dressed stones of common size than it is with randomly sized pebbles and fieldstones. This the Delphic way. In contrast to Apollo’s A, Athena’s is shaded A, what lies beneath the surface, or in the dark. Athena is the tutelary goddess of secret service to humanity. All of M’s agents in this cell speak only in code, and only from the shadows of the palace.
As is my practice, when I first investigated Kryptos, I began extensive background research into all aspects of the enigma. Since I use the method of loci, I constructed my palace on site, so to speak, by investigating the site of the coordinates through time. I learned all about the Hopewell and Woodland cultures, the Dogue tribe, Berkeley, Langley, Washington’s brother marrying Langley’s Widow, Banneker the Dogon, The “survey”, the Wissahickons, Leiter’s Crystal Palace, Allen Dulles’ Sister’s Pool. What we now call Langley has been an interesting location for a very long time.
The CIA report to the House Appropriations Committee in 1958 explained plans drawn up by Harrison & Abramovitz, the New York architects: “The new building will consist of block-type wings, readily compartmented from one another, so that specially restricted areas can be established and special security controls maintained in each section.” What they didn’t say, was that the entire structure was a model of the human brain. which stored and retrieved the mountains of information that flowed into the building. In 1961, CIA’s library was split into four parts: a regular library of books and documents, special libraries known as “registers” which store biographic and industrial intelligence, a document center, and the electronic brain. Notably, there were three specially designed incinerators included, so that no paper material would ever leave the building. Wait. Electronic brain?
The electronic brain was called WALNUT and it was developed just for CIA by IBM. In effect the building was built around it. A desired document was flashed in front of the CIA viewer by means of a photo tape robot called Intellofax. WALNUT and Intellofax, unlike humans, were not yet understood as security risks, and relative to human indexation and memory, they were perceived as infallible. Aside from the vast amounts of classified data that came into the CIA, the agency collected over 200,000 newspapers, books and other “open” material each month. The information was stored on 40,000,000 punch cards per year, growing geometrically.
When a CIA woman (or man) wanted a particular item, be it a Castro speech or a top-secret report on Khrushchev’s health, she fed into WALNUT a list of key words — perhaps twenty-five — about the subject. Walnut found the right microfilmed document, by cross indexing the keywords, and photographing it with ultraviolet light. The tiny photo was then projected on the viewing machine. The whole thing took five seconds. In 1961. Wait. What!? OK, for those who need it spelled out for them: the CIA invented contextual search 35 years before Google, to say nothing of networked computing or even computers.
An oracular temple indeed, for as we all know, that iconography and architecture is expressed exactly the same way. Think I go too far? Why is there an Aleph sign right in the center of the building? You didn’t know that’s what that shape was in the central courtyard? Remember what Lambros Callimahos said about the alphabet?
Another thing about the coordinates: while messing around with Baconian numerical ciphers, I noticed that the coordinates spell something. So far in my analysis, I have failed into take into account the possibility of them operating on a different numerical base. The clues of the coordinates themselves, the sexagesimal compass, the binary morse, etc., suggested interpreting the numbers differently. Modulo 26 counting, assigning the English alphabet ascending numerical values (i.e.: A=1, B=2, etc.) of 38 for example, gives “L” (i.e.: 38-26=12=L). Therefore, 38, 57, 65, 77, 8, and 44 give LEMYHR. Apply the AA key= mirror it. Rhyme L? I’ve seen a lot of shapes in clouds in my past, but conjuring an English word like “Rhyme” (like the UU construction in K2, a unique letter sequence in the lexicon), seems beyond chance. Rhyme L, with undergruund as a clue identifier preceding it, suggests “Well”?. Wishing? Perhaps.
Another thing, we have two numerical doubles in the abscissa of the coordinates, 7 and 4. Summed they are 11, and their product is 28, a perfect number. Perfect numbers are rare: only 3 between 0 and 1000. I thought to myself, I wonder if that’s true in other bases. Strangely, it made me think of further alternatives, to interpreting the coordinates, this time not numerical but rather symbolic. Webster’s words: “a sense of place” somehow interacted with “area code” as an alternative to geospatial location in my mind, and “Natural Area Code” somehow emerged. The Universal Address system identifies an area anywhere on the Earth, or a volume of space anywhere around the Earth. The use of thirty alphanumeric characters instead of only ten digits makes a NAC shorter than its numerical latitude/longitude equivalent.
Instead of numerical longitudes and latitudes, a grid with 30 rows and 30 columns – each cell denoted by the numbers 0-9 and the twenty consonants of the Latin alphabet – is laid over the flattened globe. A NAC cell (or block) can be subdivided repeatedly into smaller NAC grids to yield an arbitrarily small area, subject to the ±1 m limitations of the World Geodetic System (WGS) data of 1984. An eight-character NAC specifies an area no larger than 25 metres by 50 metres, while a ten-character NAC cell is no larger than 0.8 metres by 1.6 metres.
Using a base 30 positional numeral system, NAC uses an alternate method which excludes vowels and avoids potential confusion between “0” (zero) and “O” (capital “o”), and “1” (one) and “I” (capital “i”):
The decimal coordinates are 38.918472, 77.145556. Use NAC locator= NAC: 8K42K PGQR9
So just like the other way of looking at it, the coordinates are at the opposite end of the courtyard from the sign wave sculpture. But what of 8K42K PGQR9. 8 and 42 sound vaguely familiar. Note the entire photo area is defined by two K’s under the NAC locating matrix, i.e: 8K42K is enough to define the entire complex area. With 8K42 PGQR, we have a standard address. Note, that if taken backwards, it gives us the size of the grid, 24 x 8, and also their product is 192, the keys that we need to solve the following section. “I left clues in earlier passages to help later decryptions.” Check!
The NAC data became public in 2003, approximately when the Kryptos enigma began to receive publicity. At this point, it had been in use for about 18 years. The explosion that occurred in products using map data, like GPS, Google Earth, etc, was a direct result. At approximately this time, the Morse transcriptions were made available by Jeff Gillogly, and a Jim seemed to back away from his earlier assertion that the sculpture would require a solver to be onsite. There may be something to this NAC data. But it looks like the clue reinforces the 8 x 42 matrix rotation for K3. Let’s move on…
Pursuant to Kryptos, along with the “thrill of discovery” in K4, There are several as yet unmentioned clues about this passage. First, the issue of the question. It is popularly believed in the Kryptos community that the querent in the XCanYouSeeAnythingQ? is intended to reference Lord Carnarvon. Superficially we may deduce, like the other sections, that Q = C may have a local context. A careful reading of the source text appreciating the careful editing, will reveal that this episode is a reflection, that Carter and Mace rewrote from the notes Carter made in his his journal at the initial discovery, on Sunday, November 5th and then carefully closed it back up again. See here. Note particularly his use of “fervently”, and “feverishly”, in reflection of “desparately” in describing his actions surrounding the door. As I shall demonstrate, there is now an ambiguity to which door he was really referring. It is also clear that it was written entirely after the fact.
Cross referencing from Carter’s notes to the final text in the Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amun, you can see incorporated portions of his commentary from the initial discovery in the diary, to make it seem as if it were his reaction weeks later when Carnarvon, Evelyn, and Callendar had arrived, and when they performed the “opening ceremony”. There’s something very wrong with the excavation timeline as presented. Carter commenced his excavation on Wednesday, November 1. They moved three meters of overburden, discovered and cataloged huts, and determined the ancient layer of the original tomb construction in the space of 3 days? They then find the stairs to a tomb at that level that the builders of those ancient huts didn’t? He didn’t peek at the doorway to see the seals, but decided to send a cable to Carnarvon anyway saying: “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley a magnificent tomb with seals intact recovered same for your arrival congratulations.”? Curious, wouldn’t you say? The timeline falls apart.
In my opinion, the clue we are supposed to obtain by deducing the identity of the questioner is “Calendar”. Not Carter’s assistant, but the civil calendar; realizing that the superscript letters implying Day and Yr seemingly take on a possible context. 11/26/1922 at KV62? or is it 11/5? or maybe the 4th when he discovered the step? Hmm. November 3rd is a very suggestive date, no? Especially for the opening of a lodge, or a New Headquarters Building. Sounds familiar.
Some readers may recall when I did an analysis of the coordinates attempting to induce what relevance “antipodes” might have. I concluded that the likely location: in China, northwest of the “forbidden city”, in present day Beijing. I could derive no logical reason. While looking at overheads through time, trying to find Dulles’ sister’s place and “the famous pool”, the old foundations of the Crystal Palace (is the Felix Leiter character based on this?), and the sequence of development at the Langley site, i was struck with a thought: Antipodes…Beijing is there now…looking at maps through time. Boom. What was at the antipode in history? Turns out there was something there. A summer palace, a place outside of the Capitol where the head of state (of the Yuan dynasty), could get away, just as Allen Dulles used his sister’s place. It didn’t take me too long to find this.
X marks the spot.
I’m not talking about the Olivia Newton-John song. I’m talking about Langley’s unofficial name: Xanadu. A sense of place! We may have something here.
I wonder if these are the first letters from the first 10 lines of the solution: IAWTDSWAWA (anagram “I was WW Data” = Xanadu?)
Alternatively the letters of the first 10 words: IXDKKASPDD? Remember the two K’s that defined the complex on the NAC coordinates?, (whatever…maybe it’s: In Xanadu did Alan Dulles, a stately pleasure dome decree..)
I’m pretty sure this is the plaintext:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Twice five miles=the ten mile square? Alph the sacred river? I’m not going to bother to run you guys through all the parallels. Sanborn’s work could easily be interpreted as impressionist landscape architecture, based upon the poem. It could be “it” as far as he’s concerned. Instead of filling out the Mad Lib with words like David, Ed and the others, he just interpreted the poem visually. He said he wrote it initially with a prominent science fiction writer. Arthur C. Clarke I bet. Clarke, famously a resident of Ceylon, used the poem as a mad lib to describe the ordeal of shooting the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey. It went a little something like this:
For MGM did Kubrick, Stan
A stately astrodome decree
While Art, the s.f. writer, ran
Through plots incredible to man,
In search of solvency….
So twice five miles of Elstree ground
With sets and props were girdled round…
A savage place! as eerie and enchanted
As ere beneath a flickering arc was haunted
By child-star wailing for her demon mother…
I wonder if the final K5 decryption will be a hilarious send-up of the CIA, Based on the Coleridge poem, written by some witty and talented insiders? Maybe it’s a Mad Lib. At least in my mind, it’s the answer, so I guess, that’s it.
This essay is a cautionary tale in the perils of inductive reasoning. Kryptos is a dangerous thing. Not quite as bad as the Voynich or the Hypnerotomachia Poliphi, but way up there. We’ve induced a connection. Despite the parallels, even if correct, the entire clue may be that the KK = AD digraph substitution key is now available. Anyway, M’s not going to tell the researchers about any of this for the time being. M wants to make sure that we have a firm base. The danger of inductive reasoning is trying to build on it. For example, Project Xanadu was the first hypertext language, by Ted Nelson, in 1960. In theory, the web began there. The best we have here is that an anagram says “I was WW data.” Not quite the wow signal. Not enough to wipe the smile off of Uncle Willy’s face.