Let’s start from the start. The main idea is that everything can be seen as either symbols, words, or ideas. For example, I’m just looking at the very first thing I see approaching the NHB from the parking lot: some dots and dashes on rocks.
…—… = SOS = distress signal | Symbol = Word = Idea
The very first sequence I encounter: 000111000, says the same thing backwards as it does forwards. That peculiar property makes it “palindromic” in both symbolic terms and in context as a string of letters and code. Another thing: all the dit dashes after it are palindromic too, Wait a sec, it looks like the whole Morse installation could be made into a series of palindromic phrases. SOS is a palindrome two ways, as code and as letters. At the level of ideas it is a distress signal. Phonetically, as a word, it is pronounced “May Day” (from French “M’aidez”=”help me”) not “See Air Rah, Oss Car, See Air Rah”. In addition, Morse code has special code sequences called prosigns, which taken together transform the meaning of phrases from being a sequence of letters, to identifying an abstract definition in a code book, or as in the case of SOS, representing a meaning universally understood as “different” from the letters themselves.
The second palindrome which spells “RQ” has the same symmetry, and also is a prosign which backwards (QR) specifically means “?” i.e.: “what precedes it is to be taken as a question”. As opposed to a distress code, this type of prosign, a “Q” code, is identified by the use of the rare letter “Q” as the first letter of a two letter “word”, which as above, references a code definition look-up to convey an idea that is separate from any meaning arising from the combination of those letters as phonetic words. Naturally, a “u” following a “q” informs the receiver that the rest of the letters should follow normal sequencing, and any other letter following a “q” is a prosign. If I had to interpret a title in English for the two abstract concepts of SOS and QR taken together, it would be “the thing that appears right before the symbolic question marker is the distress code letter sequence”.
Before we move on, it should be clear that any serious analysis of these two phrases is hampered by the idea that the sequence is SOS RQ, when in fact, it could just as easily be QRS OS, or YR SOS, or any number of arbitrary variations we could make by combining the dots and dashes in novel ways. Bottom line, we don’t have much here-yet, but we have much to think about.
Let’s look up the definition of “palindrome” and start from there. Thumbing through the dictionary I find the page. Scanning down, I see Palilogia, Palimony, Palimpsest, oh here it is: Palindrome. Keep in mind that we have deduced that the thing that appears right before the question mark, is what we’re looking for. This is copied from the dictionary:
Word Origin and Definition for Palindrome
cycle + dromedary ). strand:
Let’s explore this in the three dimensions.
First, just code. We have 16 dashes and dots that comprise the palindromic phrases SOS and RQ. As demonstrated in the Arecibo Message, one of the easiest ways to deliver context for decryption is to encode meaning by the number of discrete code units in the message. The dashes and dots are a binary code. We have 16 total units, but taken as “code” we have the numbers “1” and “6”, just the digits, not a compound “numerical word” like “16”. So lets analyze sequencing intervals of 1 and 6 on the words that precede the question mark.
Notice how the T in INTERPRET seems to form the center of the 10 words, The top five rows add to 15, and the bottom five add to 18 in our right hand register, placing the center on T again. At Digetal, we learn a game about forcing the dash dot sequences into palindromes using the extra “e”s. More later. Overall the 1.61616 sequence hints at a Greek letter Phi. That’s much later.
For now, you just figured out that the key is PALIMPSEST, when taken in a perpendicular axis to the existing layered content. Phrased differently we discovered the answer acrostically, when we recovered a sequence that allowed us to reconstruct an original decryption matrix. Is it “valid”? Who knows? We’re still gathering evidence to supply context. It might be “wrong”.
Okay, next. Letters/Words. Now we’re not thinking anymore about dashes and dots, just letters and the symbolic values that arise from their placement into context through the application of combination rule or grammar. SOS and RQ are still out of the mix because in this context, they are prosigns, not words “made” of letters, nor are they the individual letters themselves. How can “Palindrome” help? Remember Ed calls attention to clues by misspelling. DIGETAL. If spelled correctly, it would have produced a palindrome, with G as the central, mirror letter. He’s an artist, he communicates meaning through the negative space. Why would he not want G? A good question. Why call attention to it in this sequence of letters? I guess we just have to dig. We investigate if there are other palindromes in the other words. Indeed there are, and including the double LL in “VIRTUALLY”, the mirror letters within all palindromes are: P, A, L, I, M, P, S, E, S, T. Again, as above, there are 10 units of code: in this case mirror letters within words. The target length for the key is given by the number of words in the Morse, excluding the prosigns in this context. As above, so below.
Ed knows I’m bad at math, and worse at English so at the very start he constructed a little trapdoor for me. If the question mark after the distress signal implies a sequencing, and prosigns by definition replace a word with an abstract value using a dictionary, then the thing that comes right before the abstract symbolic question mark, i.e.: palindrome, is analogous to the answer I seek in a dictionary context. The definition preceding “PALINDROME” in the dictionary is PALIMPSEST.