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Desc:The Enigma code machine.
Category:Educational, Science & Technology
Tags:SCIENCE!, enigma, code, Numberphile
Submitted:Albuquerque Halsey
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Comment count is 14
That's Numberwang.
That guy
Let's rotate the board!

Syd Midnight
The opening shot reminded me that the Poles called the final Turing-built machine The Bombe, because the loud noise made them think of the ticking timer on some unimaginably humongous bomb. With all the dials and wires maybe it does bear a passing resemblance to the The Bomb that was built 6 years later.

The Mothership
dammit, what's the flaw! I must know.
Mister Yuck
There wasn't any fatal flaw, per se. The story of how the allies cracked it is actually a really great World War Two story. It's got all the great elements; individual heroes backed up by tremendous organizational efforts, old school spy work backed up by futuristic gadgets, and the development of a new technology that would change the world post-war. I submitted a really good documentary about it into the hopper.

Mister Yuck
And it's got the Poles making an important but oft-forgotten contribution!

Mr. Bad Example
The flaw was that the Enigma system couldn't encipher any letter as itself--for instance, B would never be encrypted as a B. This made it relatively easy to discard possible solutions if you had the same letter in the ciphertext and potential plaintext, reducing your number of possible keys.

If you're interested in finding out more, one of the best books on the subject is Simon Singh's _The Code Book_.

dont let it fall in the wrong hands

James Grime is an excellent name for a young man that is hellbent on making, I don't know, a DEATH RAY ON THE MOON.
Oh my god you're adooooooooooooooraaaaaaaaaaaaable. Cuddle cuddle cuddle.

It has never failed to amaze me how the post-WW2 media has mythologized Nazi science as somehow being superior... it was, but only in very specific, entirely practical things. For every Enigma machine, you had hundreds upon hundreds of hack professors working on "German Veterinary Science" and "German Dentistry" and "German Neuroscience".
the enigma is pre-nazi regime anyway, so they can't even take credit for that. they just adopted a pretty good technology.

Syd Midnight
Allied WW2 projects are still popping up now and then that were under 50, 75, 100 year classifications, or were quietly disposed of, or that everyone involved has died. And if anything, it tells you that technological "superiority" is, in the big arena of war, a poor advantage compared to having really effective spies, an empire, natural geological barriers, and the ability to build machines really fast. And there's poor Germany, stuck between the UK and USSR.

And now, numbers just for men.
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