From charlesreid1


Mechanically, all of this was handled in a fashion that was perfectly clear, simple, and logical. Lawrence had supposed that the machine must be at least as complicated as the most intricate fugue that could be played on it. Now he had learned that a machine, simple in its design, could produce results of infinite complexity.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 131-33 - Added on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 04:51 PM

"Shut up about Leibniz for a moment, Rudy, because look here: You—Rudy—and I are on a train, as it were, sitting in the dining car, having a nice conversation, and that train is being pulled along at a terrific clip by certain locomotives named The Bertrand Russell and Riemann and Euler and others. And our friend Lawrence is running alongside the train, trying to keep up with us—it’s not that we’re smarter than he is, necessarily, but that he’s a farmer who didn’t get a ticket. And I, Rudy, am simply reaching out through the open window here, trying to pull him onto the fucking train with us so that the three of us can have a nice little chat about mathematics without having to listen to him panting and gasping for breath the whole way." "All right, Alan." "Won’t take a minute if you will just stop interrupting."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 253-60 - Added on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 05:01 PM

The artist who had designed the poster then confessed that he had simply copied it from a book and had made no effort whatsoever to obtain permission—the entire concept of getting permission to use other people’s work was faulty, since all art was derivative of other art. High-powered trial lawyers converged, like dive bombers, on the small town in Kentucky where the aggrieved veteran was up on the roof of a black church with a mouthful of nails, hammering down slabs of A/D exterior plywood and mumbling "no comment" to a horde of reporters down on the lawn. After a series of conferences in a room at the town’s Holiday Inn, the veteran emerged, accompanied by one of the five most famous lawyers on the face of the planet, and announced that he was filing a civil suit against the Three Siblings that would, if it succeeded, turn them and their entire community into a flat, smoking abrasion in the earth’s crust. He promised to split the proceeds between the black churches and various disabled veterans’ and breast cancer research groups.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 1030-37 - Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:36 AM

The whole city is a cauldron of internal combustion. Manila seems to have more pistons and exhaust pipes than the rest of the world combined. Even at two in the morning the hotel’s seemingly unshakable mass hums and rattles from the seismic energy pouring from all of those motors. The noise detonates car alarms down in the hotel’s lot. The noise of one alarm triggers others, and so on. It is not the noise that keeps Randy awake so much as the insane stupidity of this chain reaction. It is an object lesson: the kind of nightmarish, snowballing technological fuck-up that keeps hackers awake at night even when they can’t hear the results.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 1058-62 - Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:39 AM

—Avi has a planning horizon that extends over a period of at least a century. Randy paces around his room while his computer soars through number space. The shipping containers on the backs of those trucks bear exactly the same logos as the ones that used to fill the streets of South Seattle when a ship was unloading. To Randy this is oddly satisfying, as if by making this crazy lunge across the Pacific, he has brought some kind of antipodal symmetry to his life.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 1121-24 - Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:43 AM

He has gone from the place where things are consumed to where they are produced, from a land where onanism has been enshrined at the highest levels of the society to one where cars have "NO to contraception!" stickers in their windows. It feels bizarrely right. He has not felt this way since Avi and he founded their first doomed business venture twelve years ago.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 1124-27 - Added on Thursday, June 22, 2017, 03:43 AM

He stares out the windows for hours, watching America go by, and sees that all of it is beautiful and clean. There might be wildness, there might be deep forest, there might even be grizzly bears and mountain lions, but it is cleanly sorted out, and the rules (don’t mess with bear cubs, hang your food from a tree limb at night) are well-known, and published in the Boy Scout Manual. In those Pacific islands there is too much that is alive, and all of it is in a continual process of eating and being eaten by something else, and once you set foot in the place, you’re buying into the deal. Just sitting in that train for a couple of days, his feet in clean white cotton socks, not being eaten alive by anything, goes a long way towards clearing his head up. Only once, or possibly two or three times, does he really feel the need to lock himself in the can and squirt morphine into his arm.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 2262-68 - Added on Saturday, June 24, 2017, 06:52 PM

he has come to understand the culture for what it is: a system of etiquette within which it becomes possible for groups of men to live together for years, travel to the ends of the earth, and do all kinds of incredibly weird shit without killing each other or completely losing their minds in the process. The extreme formality with which he addresses these officers carries an important subtext: your problem, sir, is deciding what you want me to do, and my problem, sir, is doing it. My gung-ho posture says that once you give the order I’m not going to bother you with any of the details—and your half of the bargain is you had better stay on your side of the line, sir, and not bother me with any of the chickenshit politics that you have to deal with for a living. The implied responsibility placed upon the officer’s shoulders by the subordinate’s unhesitating willingness to follow orders is a withering burden to any officer with half a brain, and Shaftoe has more than once seen seasoned noncoms reduce green lieutenants to quivering blobs simply by standing before them and agreeing, cheerfully, to carry out their orders.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 2315-23 - Added on Saturday, June 24, 2017, 06:57 PM

He has a bristly mustache, trimmed very short, of silver and auburn whiskers. He is a cheerful sort, at least in the presence of higher ranks, and smiles frequently. His teeth splay out radially from the gumline so that each mandible has the appearance of a coffee can in which a small grenade has been detonated.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 2947-49 - Added on Sunday, June 25, 2017, 07:19 AM

Enoch Root has wedged himself into the back of the fuselage, where it gets narrow, and is perusing two books at once. It strikes Shaftoe as typical—he supposes that the books say completely different things and that the chaplain is deriving great pleasure from pitting them against each other, like those guys who have a chessboard on a turntable so that they can play against themselves. He supposes that when you live in a shack on a mountain with a bunch of natives who don’t speak any of your half-dozen or so languages, you have to learn to have arguments with yourself.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 3595-98 - Added on Sunday, June 25, 2017, 05:01 PM

"Well they evacuated me to Brisbane where I started making a stink about codes. That’s the only way they could have found me—obviously our codes had been broken. And after I’d made enough of a stink, someone apparently said, ‘You’re British, you’re a priest, you’re a medical doctor, you can handle a rifle, you know Morse code, and most importantly of all, you’re a fucking pain in the ass—so off you go!’ And next thing I know, I’m in that meat locker in Algiers."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 3748-51 - Added on Sunday, June 25, 2017, 05:15 PM

At first he mistakes Qwghlm House for the world’s tiniest and most poorly located department store. It has a bow window that looms over the sidewalk like the thrusting ram of a trireme, embarnacled with Victorian foofawfery, and housing a humble display: a headless mannequin dressed in something that appears to have been spun from steel wool (perhaps a tribute to wartime austerity?); a heap of sallow dirt with a shovel in it; and another mannequin (a recent addition shoehorned into one corner) dressed in a Royal Navy uniform and holding a wooden cutout of a rifle.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4194-97 - Added on Monday, June 26, 2017, 05:15 AM

This operation is repeated a few times with doors that are successively lighter but more richly decorated. The first room, it becomes clear, was actually a preäntepenultimate room, so it is a while before they can be said to be definitely inside Qwghlm House. By that time they seem to be deep in the center of the block, and Waterhouse half expects to see an underground train screech by. Instead he finds himself in a windowless paneled room with a crystal chandelier that is painfully bright but does not seem to actually illuminate anything.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4234-38 - Added on Monday, June 26, 2017, 05:19 AM

But this Detachment 2702 thing is a whole different outfit. Even the grunts are carrying trench brooms! And if that didn’t get their attention, the cyanide capsules sure did. And the lecture from Chattan on the correct way to blow your own head off ("you would be astonished at how many otherwise competent chaps botch this apparently simple procedure").

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4617-20 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:47 PM

"Sarge! We’re here!" says Private Flanagan. Before he even wakes up, Bobby Shaftoe notices that Flanagan is speaking in a normal voice and does not sound scared or excited. Wherever "here" is, it’s not someplace dangerous. They are not under attack. Shaftoe opens his eyes just as the tarp is being peeled back from the open top of the truck. He stares straight up into a blue Italian sky torn around the edges by the scrabbling branches of desperate trees. "Shit!" he says. "What’s wrong, Sarge?" "I just always say that when I wake up," Shaftoe says.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4658-63 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:49 PM

"To help those who were in need." "Oh, yeah." "I also learned some Italian along the way. There’s a lot of it going around in the Church." "Fuck me," Shaftoe exclaims. "But my Italian is heavily informed by the Latin that my father insisted that I learn. So I would probably sound rather old-fashioned to the locals. In fact, I would probably sound like a seventeenth-century alchemist or something." "Could you sound like a priest? They’d eat that up." "If worse comes to worst," Root allows, "I will try hitting them with some God talk and we’ll see what happens."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4716-22 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:53 PM


- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4764 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:56 PM

"My husband and I operate a small bed and breakfast," Mrs. Qrtt says. "We should be honored to have an Asdic man stay with us." Asdic is simply the British acronym for what Yanks refer to as sonar, but every time the word is mentioned in the presence of Alan, he gets a naughty look on his face and goes on an unstoppable punning tear.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 4769-71 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 01:57 PM

He reads another message simply because of the return address: From: On a UNIX machine, "root" is the name of the most godlike of all users, the one who can read, erase, or edit any file, who can run any program, who can sign up new users and terminate existing ones. So receiving a message from someone who has the account name "root" is like getting a letter from someone who has the title "President" or "General" on his letterhead. Randy’s been root on a few different systems, some of which were worth tens of millions of dollars, and professional courtesy demands he at least read this message.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5024-28 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 04:15 PM

It’s not a very good idea. But they have been getting bombed a lot. Even if the shrapnel misses you, the bomb’s shock wave is like a stone wall moving at seven hundred miles an hour. Unlike a stone wall, it passes through your body, like a burst of light through a glass figurine. On its way through your flesh, it rearranges every part of you down to the mitochondrial level, disrupting every process in every cell, including whatever enables your brain to keep track of time and experience the world. A few of these detonations are enough to break the thread of consciousness into a snarl of tangled and chopped filaments. These men are not as human as they were when they left home; they cannot be expected to think clearly or to do things for good reasons.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5242-47 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:08 PM

The photographer comes in, trailed by assistants who are burdened with miles of film. All he knows is that each page must be photographed perfectly. The malarial reek practically flattens him the moment he walks in the door, but when he recovers, his eyes scan the garage. All he can see, stretching as if to infinity, are pages dripping and curling, turning white as they dry, casting their grids of information into sharp relief, like the reticules of so many bomb sights, the graven crosshairs of so many periscopes, plunging through cloud and fog to focus, distinctly on the abdomens of Nipponese troopships, pregnant with North Borneo fuel, alive with burning steam.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5411-16 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:20 PM

’’They’re going to begin searching this area tomorrow." "Well, then let’s get the fuck out of here," Shaftoe said. "Colonel Chattan orders you to wait," Benjamin said, "until you know that the Germans know that we are here." "But I do know that the Germans know that we are here," Shaftoe said, "you just told me." "No, no no no no," Benjamin said, "wait until you would know that the Germans knew even if you didn’t know from being told by Colonel Chattan over the radio." "Are you fucking with me?" "Orders," Benjamin said, and handed Shaftoe the deciphered message as proof.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5501-7 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:25 PM

Corporal Benjamin hesitated, one hand poised above his radio key. "Sarge, are you sure they know we’re here?" Everyone turned to see how Shaftoe would respond to this mild challenge. He had been slowly gathering a reputation as a man who needed watching. Shaftoe turned on his heel and strolled out into the middle of a clearing a few yards away. Behind him, he could hear the other men of Detachment 2702 jockeying for position in the doorway, trying to get a clear view of him. The Henschel was coming back for another pass, now so close to the ground that you could probably throw a rock through its windshield. Shaftoe unslung his tommy gun, pulled back the bolt, cradled it, swung it up and around, and opened fire. Now some might complain that the trench broom lacked penetrating power, but he was positive he could see pieces of crap flying out of the Henschel’s motor. The Henschel went out of control almost immediately. It banked until its wings were vertical, veered, banked some more until it was upside down, shed what little altitude it had to begin with, and made an upside-down pancake landing in the olive trees no more than a hundred yards distant. It did not immediately burst into flame: something of a letdown there. There was perfect silence from the other men. The only sound was the beepity-beep of Corporal Benjamin, his question now answered, sending out his little message. Shaftoe was able to follow the Morse code for once—this message was going out plaintext. "WE ARE DISCOVERED STOP EXECUTING PLAN TORUS."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5528-40 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:28 PM

The Germans at the second intersection had no idea what was going on. This was obviously the result of some kind of internal Wehrmacht communications fuckup, clearly recognizable as such even across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Detachment 2702 were able to simply open fire from underneath the tarp and tear them to pieces, or at least drive them into hiding.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5559-61 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:30 PM

But even with the biggest power saw in the shop, Bobby Shaftoe always got the sense that he was imposing some kind of stress on the machine. It would slow down when the blade contacted the material, it would vibrate, it would heat up, and if you pushed the material through too fast it would threaten to jam. But then one summer he worked in a mill where they had a bandsaw. The bandsaw, its supply of blades, its spare parts, maintenance supplies, special tools and manuals occupied a whole room. It was the only tool he had ever seen with infrastructure. It was the size of a car. The two wheels that drove the blade were giant eight-spoked things that looked to have been salvaged from steam locomotives. Its blades had to be manufactured from long rolls of blade-stuff by unreeling about half a mile of toothed ribbon, cutting it off, and carefully welding the cut ends together into a loop. When you hit the power switch, nothing would happen for a little while except that a subsonic vibration would slowly rise up out of the earth, as if a freight train were approaching from far away, and finally the blade would begin to move, building speed slowly but inexorably until the teeth disappeared and it became a bolt of pure hellish energy stretched taut between the table and the machinery above it. Anecdotes about accidents involving the bandsaw were told in hushed voices and not usually commingled with other industrial-accident anecdotes. Anyway, the most noteworthy thing about the bandsaw was that you could cut anything with it and not only did it do the job quickly and coolly but it didn’t seem to notice that it was doing anything. It wasn’t even aware that a human being was sliding a great big chunk of stuff through it. It never slowed down. Never heated up.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5569-81 - Added on Friday, June 30, 2017, 11:31 PM

"How could a court subpoena a document if, from their reference frame, it had never existed?" "Are you talking about encrypting it?" Eb looks slightly pained by Randy’s simple-mindedness. "We are already doing that. But someone could still prove that a document, of a certain size, had been sent out at a certain time, to a certain mailbox." "Traffic analysis." "Yes. But what if one jams it? Why couldn’t I fill my hard drive with random bytes, so that individual files would not be discernible? Their very existence would be hidden in the noise, like a striped tiger in tall grass. And we could continually stream random noise back and forth to each other." "That would be expensive." Eberhard waves his hand dismissively. "Bandwidth is cheap." "That is more an article of faith than a statement of fact," Randy says, "but it might be true in the future." "But the rest of our lives will happen in the future, Randy, so we might as well get with the program now."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 5838-47 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 12:01 AM

a cabin, or maybe (at about four by six feet) a corner of a cabin. There’s a bed, a little fold-out table, and cabinets made of actual wood. These in combination with the photographs of family and friends give it a cozy, domestic flavor which is, however, completely ruined by the framed picture of Adolf Hitler on the wall. Waterhouse finds this to be in shockingly poor taste until he remembers it’s a German boat.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6038-41 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 02:32 AM

"I was joking," Randy explains. "If the Dentist analyzes the recording, he’ll find nothing but stress in my voice." Avi and John laugh sympathetically. But Eb is crestfallen. "Oh," Eb says. "I was thinking that we could absolutely jam his device if we so wanted." "A tape recorder doesn’t use radio," John says. "How could we jam it?" "Van Eck phreaking," Eb says.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6282-85 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:44 PM

Still, it looks like an interesting exercise. Now that the rest of Detachment 2702 has arrived, making further trysts with Margaret impractical, Waterhouse has nothing to look forward to. Trying to crack the code used on these sheets will be a perfect puzzle to fill the gaping void that opened up as soon as Waterhouse broke the combination of the safe. He steals some paper of his own, sits down at the desk, and busies himself for an hour or two copying out the ciphertext from the skipper’s pages, double- and triple-checking each code group to make sure he’s got an accurate copy. On the one hand, this is a pain in the ass. On the other, it gives him a chance to go through the ciphertext by hand, at the very lowest level, which might be useful later. The ineffable talent for finding patterns in chaos cannot do its thing unless he immerses himself in the chaos first. If they do contain patterns, he does not see them just now, in any rational way. But there may be some subrational part of his mind that can go to work, now that the letters have passed before his eyes and through his pencil, and that may suddenly present him with a gift-wrapped clue—or even a full solution—a few weeks from now while he is shaving or antenna-twiddling.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6400-6409 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:54 PM

When the tumblers move, it sounds like Waterhouse is shooting the main bolt on the Gate of Hell. It takes him a little while, and a few more false starts, to get his bearings; he doesn’t know how many numbers are in the combination, or which way he should turn the dial to begin with. But with experimentation, some patterns begin to show through, and eventually he works out the following combination: 23 right—37 left—7 right—31 left—13 right and then there’s a really meaty click and he knows in his marrow that he can take off the headphones.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6358-62 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:56 PM

As soon as the door wafts shut behind the grand wazir’s ass, Avi says, "I smell a con job." "A con job?" Randy scoffs. "What, you think this is a rear-screen projection? You think this table is made of Formica?" "It’s all real," Avi admits sourly. "But whenever someone gives you the treatment like this, it’s because they’re trying to impress you." "I’m impressed," Randy says. "I admit it. I’m impressed." "That’s just a euphemism for, ‘I’m about to do something moronic,’" Avi says.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6453-57 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 07:57 PM

Harvard Li has clearly been thinking very hard about how to put money where guys like Microsoft can’t get it. There are many time-honored ways: the Swiss bank account, the false-front corporation, the big real estate project in deepest, darkest China, bars of gold in a vault somewhere. Those tricks might work with the average government, but Microsoft is ten times smarter, a hundred times more aggressive, and bound by no particular rules. It gives Randy a little frisson just to imagine Harvard Li’s situation: being chased across the planet by Microsoft’s state-of-the-art hellhounds.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6499-6503 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:00 PM

Harvard Li needs electronic cash. Not the lame stuff that people use to buy t-shirts on the Web without giving away their credit card numbers. He needs the full-on badass kind, based on hard crypto, rooted in an offshore data haven, and he needs it bad. So nothing’s more logical than that he is sending lots of e-mail to John Cantrell.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6503-5 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:00 PM

"In a way," Tom says, "these guys are tons smarter than us, because they’ve never had a currency they could depend on." He and Randy look over at John Cantrell, who has crossed his arms over his chest and is unloading a disquisition on the Euler totient function while Harvard Li nods intently and his nerd-de-camp frantically scrawls notes on a legal pad. Avi stands far to one side, staring at the Old Palace, as in his mind the ramifications of this bloom and sprawl and twine about each other like a tropical garden run riot.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6510-13 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:01 PM

"I’m not planning on using the phone," Li says, "we can exchange them on floppies." John knocks on wood. "Doesn’t matter. Have one of your staff look into the subject of Van Eck phreaking. That’s with a ‘p-h,’ not an ‘f,’ " he says to the aide who’s writing it down. Then, sensing Li’s need for an executive summary, he says, "They can read the internal state of your computer by listening to the faint radio emissions coming out of the chips." "Ahhhhh," Li says, and exchanges hugely significant looks with his technical aides, as if this explains something that has been puzzling the shit out of them.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6527-32 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:02 PM

Suddenly everyone is sitting down. Randy pulls his chair back and falls into it. The leathery depths swallow his ass like a catcher’s mitt accepting a baseball. He’s about to pull his laptop out of its bag, but in this setting, both the nylon bag and the plastic computer have a strip-mall tawdriness. Besides, he has to resist this sophomoric tendency to take notes all the time. Avi himself said that nothing was going to happen at this meeting; all the important stuff is going to be subtextual. Besides, there is the matter of Van Eck phreaking, which Cantrell probably mentioned just to make Harvard Li paranoid, but which has Randy a bit rattled too. He opts for a pad of graph paper—the engineer’s answer to the legal pad—and a fine-point disposable pen.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6543-48 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:04 PM

The room contains a few dozen living human bodies, each one a big sack of guts and fluids so highly compressed that it will squirt for a few yards when pierced. Each one is built around an armature of 206 bones connected to each other by notoriously fault-prone joints that are given to obnoxious creaking, grinding, and popping noises when they are in other than pristine condition. This structure is draped with throbbing steak, inflated with clenching air sacks, and pierced by a Gordian sewer filled with burbling acid and compressed gas and asquirt with vile enzymes and solvents produced by the many dark, gamy nuggets of genetically programmed meat strung along its length. Slugs of dissolving food are forced down this sloppy labyrinth by serialized convulsions, decaying into gas, liquid, and solid matter which must all be regularly vented to the outside world lest the owner go toxic and drop dead. Spherical, gel-packed cameras swivel in mucus-greased ball joints. Infinite phalanxes of cilia beat back invading particles, encapsulate them in goo for later disposal. In each body a centrally located muscle flails away at an eternal, circulating torrent of pressurized gravy. And yet, despite all of this, not one of these bodies makes a single sound at any time during the sultan’s speech. It is a marvel that can only be explained by the power of brain over body, and, in turn, by the power of cultural conditioning over the brain.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6550-59 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:04 PM

Hence nothing is more natural than that the present-day Kinakutans should run big fat optical fiber cables in every direction, patch into every major national telco within reach, and become a sort of digital bazaar. All of the guests nod soberly at the sultan’s insight, his masterful ability to meld the ancient ways of his country with modern technology. But this is nothing more than a superficial analogy, the sultan confesses. Everyone nods somewhat more vigorously than they did before: indeed, everything that the sultan was just saying was, in fact, horseshit. Several people jot down notes, lest they lose the Sultan’s thread. After all, the sultan says, physical location no longer matters in a digitized, networked world. Cyberspace knows no boundaries. Everyone nods vigorously except for, on the one hand, John Cantrell, and, on the other, the grizzled Chinese guys. But hey, the sultan continues, that’s just dizzy-headed cyber-cheerleading! What bullshit! Of course locations and boundaries matter!

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6564-73 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:06 PM

The sultan is whipping some graphics on them: a map of the world in one of those politically correct projections that makes America and Europe look like icebound reefs in the high Arctic. A pattern of straight lines is superimposed on the map, each joining two major cities. The web of lines gets denser and denser as the sultan talks, nearly obscuring the land masses, and the oceans as well. This, the sultan explains, is the conventional understanding of the Internet: a decentralized web connecting each place with all the other places, with no bottlenecks or, if you will, choke-points. But it’s more bullshit! A new graphic comes up: same map, different pattern of lines. Now we have webs within countries, sometimes within continents. But between countries, and especially between continents, there are only a few lines. It’s not weblike at all. Randy looks at Cantrell, who’s nodding slyly.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6577-84 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:06 PM

Clearly, then, any Internet application that wants to stand free of governmental interference is undermined, from the very beginning, by a fundamental structure problem." . . . free of governmental interference. Randy can’t believe he’s hearing this. If the sultan was a scruffy hacker talking to a room full of crypto anarchists, that’d be one thing. But the sultan is a government, for god’s sake, and the room is full of card-carrying Establishment types. Like those Chinese buzz-cuts! Who the hell are they? Don’t try to tell Randy those guys aren’t part of the Chinese government, in some sense. "Bottlenecks are only one of the structural barriers to the creation of a free, sovereign, location-independent cyberspace," the sultan continues blithely. Sovereign!? "Another is the heterogeneous patchwork of laws, and indeed of legal systems, that address privacy, free speech, and telecoms policy."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6587-95 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:07 PM

Those Chinese guys across the table look like the Maoist Mt. Rushmore; it is impossible to imagine that any of them has ever smiled in his life. They are getting a live translation of the proceedings through ear pieces, connected through the mysterious table to a boiler room full of interpreters.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6630-32 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:09 PM

The Americans have invented a totally new bombing tactic in the middle of a war and implemented it flawlessly. His mind staggers like a drunk in the aisle of a careening train. They saw that they were wrong, they admitted their mistake, they came up with a new idea. The new idea was accepted and embraced all the way up the chain of command. Now they are using it to kill their enemies. No warrior with any concept of honor would have been so craven. So flexible. What a loss of face it must have been for the officers who had trained their men to bomb from high altitudes. What has become of those men? They must have all killed themselves, or perhaps been thrown into prison. The American Marines in Shanghai weren’t proper warriors either. Constantly changing their ways. Like Shaftoe. Shaftoe tried to fight Nipponese soldiers in the street and failed. Having failed, he decided to learn new tactics—from Goto Dengo. "The Americans are not warriors," everyone kept saying. "Businessmen perhaps. Not warriors."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6695-6702 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:16 PM

Magnificent isn’t the word you would normally use to describe Tom Howard; he’s burly and surly, completely lacking in social graces, and doesn’t apologize for it. Most of the time he sits silently, wearing an expression of sphinxlike boredom, and so it’s easy to forget how good he is. But during this particular half hour of Tom Howard’s life, it is of the essence that he be magnificent. He is going blade-to-blade with the Seven Samurai here: the nerdiest high-octane Ph.D.s and the scariest private-security dicks that Asia can produce. One-by-one they come after him and he cuts their heads off and stacks them on the table like cannon-balls. Several times he has to stop and think for sixty seconds before delivering the deathblow. Once he has to ask Eberhard Föhr to make some calculations on his laptop. Occasionally he has to call on the cryptographic expertise of John Cantrell, or to look over at Randy for a nod or shake of the head. But eventually, he shuts the hecklers up. Beryl wears a not very convincing smile throughout the entire thing. Avi just grips the arms of his chair, his knuckles going from blue to white to pink to a normal healthy glow over the course of the final five minutes, when it’s clear that the Samurai are withdrawing in disarray. It makes Randy want to empty a six-shooter into the ceiling and holler, "Yeeehaaw!" at the top of his lungs.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6806-16 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:34 PM

Isoroku Yamamoto spent a lot of time playing poker with Yanks during his years in the States, smoking like a chimney to deaden the scent of their appalling aftershave. The Yanks are laughably rude and uncultured, of course; this hardly constitutes a sharp observation. Yamamoto, by contrast, attained some genuine insight as a side-effect of being robbed blind by Yanks at the poker table, realizing that the big freckled louts could be dreadfully cunning. Crude and stupid would be okay—perfectly understandable, in fact. But crude and clever is intolerable; this is what makes those redheaded ape-men extra double super loathsome. Yamamoto is still trying to drill the notion into the heads of his partners in the big Nipponese scheme to conquer everything between Karachi and Denver. He wishes that they would get the message.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 6949-55 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:43 PM

Waterhouse thinks that really the RCA Radio Tube Manual is like a ball and chain holding Alan back. If he would just work with pure ideas like a proper mathematician he could go as fast as thought. As it happens, Alan has become fascinated by the incarnations of pure ideas in the physical world. The underlying math of the universe is like the light streaming in through the window. Alan is not satisfied with merely knowing that it streams in. He blows smoke into the air to make the light visible. He sits in meadows gazing at pine cones and flowers, tracing the mathematical patterns in their structure, and he dreams about electron winds blowing over the glowing filaments and screens of radio tubes, and, in their surges and eddies, capturing something of what is going on in his own brain. Turing is neither a mortal nor a god. He is Antaeus. That he bridges the mathematical and physical worlds is his strength and his weakness.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7100-7106 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:54 PM

"So what do you suppose is the rationale for this new scheme?" asks Alan, clearly enjoying himself a great deal. "The problem with one-time pads is that you have to make two copies of each pad and get them to the sender and the recipient. I mean, suppose you’re in Berlin and you want to send a message to someone in the Far East! This U-boat that we found had cargo on board—gold and other stuff—from Japan! Can you imagine how cumbersome this must be for the Axis?" "Ahh," Alan says. He gets it now. But Waterhouse finishes the explanation anyway: "Suppose that you came up with a mathematical algorithm for generating very large numbers that were random, or at least random-looking." "Pseudo-random." "Yeah. You’d have to keep the algorithm secret, of course. But if you could get it—the algorithm, that is—around the world to your intended recipient, then they could, from that day forward, do the calculation themselves and figure out the one-time pad for that particular day, or whatever."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7148-57 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:57 PM

The Americans responsible for this appalling gaffe are now trying to cover their asses by spreading a story that native islander spies caught wind of Yamamoto’s trip and radioed the news to Guadalcanal, whence the fatal P-38s were dispatched. But the P-38s were operating at the extreme limit of their fuel range and would have had to be sent out at precisely the correct time in order to make it back to Guadalcanal, so the Japanese would have to have their heads several feet up their asses to fall for that. Winston Churchill is pissed off in the extreme, and these meetings represent a prolonged bureaucratic hissy fit intended to produce some meaningful and enduring policy shift.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7181-85 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 08:59 PM

He also installed Finux, a free UNIX operating system created by Finns, almost as a way of proclaiming to the rest of the world "this is how weird we are," and distributed throughout the world on the Net. Of course Finux was fantastically powerful and flexible and enabled you, among other things, to control the machine’s video circuitry to the Nth degree and choose many different scanning frequencies and pixel clocks, if you were into that kind of thing. Pekka most definitely was into it, and so like a lot of Finux maniacs he set his machine up so that it could display, if he chose, a whole lot of tiny little pixels (which displayed a lot of information but was hard on the eyes) or, alternatively, fewer and larger pixels (which he tended to use after he had been hacking for twenty-four hours straight and lost ocular muscle tone), or various settings in-between. Every time he changed from one setting to another, the monitor screen would go black for a second and there would be an audible clunk from inside of it as the resonating crystals inside locked in on a different range of frequencies.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7248-55 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:03 PM

If you lay a sheet of white paper on an old gravestone, and sweep the tip of a pencil across it, you get one horizontal line, dark in some places and faint in others, and not very meaningful. If you move downwards on the page by a small distance, a single pencil-line-width, and repeat, an image begins to emerge. The process of working your way down the page in a series of horizontal sweeps is what a nerd would call raster-scanning, or just rastering. With a conventional video monitor—a cathode-ray tube—the electron beam physically rasters down the glass something like sixty to eighty times a second. In the case of a laptop screen like Randy’s, there is no physical scanning; the individual pixels are turned on or off directly. But still a scanning process is taking place; what’s being scanned and made manifest on the screen is a region of the computer’s memory called the screen buffer. The contents of the screen buffer have to be slapped up onto the screen sixty to eighty times every second or else (1) the screen flickers and (2) the images move jerkily.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7280-87 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:06 PM

The way that the computer talks to you is not by controlling the screen directly but rather by manipulating the bits contained in that buffer, secure in the knowledge that other subsystems inside the machine handle the drudge work of pipelining that information onto the actual, physical screen. Sixty to eighty times a second, the video system says shit! time to refresh the screen again, and goes to the beginning of the screen buffer—which is just a particular hunk of memory, remember—and it reads the first few bytes, which dictate what color the pixel in the upper left-hand corner of the screen is supposed to be. This information is sent on down the line to whatever is actually refreshing the screen, whether it’s a scanning electron beam or some laptop-style system for directly controlling the pixels. Then the next few bytes are read, typically for the pixel just to the right of that first one, and so on all the way to the right edge of the screen. That draws the first line of the grave-rubbing.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7287-94 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:06 PM

These issues all stem from inherent physical limitations of sweeping electron beams through space in a cathode-ray tube, and basically disappear in the case of a laptop screen like the one Tom Howard has set up a few inches in front of Pekka, on the other side of that wall. But the video timing of a laptop screen is still patterned after that of a cathode-ray tube screen anyway. (This is simply because the old technology is universally understood by those who need to understand it, and it works well, and all kinds of electronic and software technology has been built and tested to work within that framework, and why mess with success, especially when your profit margins are so small that they can only be detected by using techniques from quantum mechanics, and any glitches vis-à-vis compatibility with old stuff will send your company straight into the toilet.)

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7302-8 - Added on Saturday, July 01, 2017, 09:07 PM

"So what’s the point?" Shaftoe asks. He asks this because he is expecting Root to give him an order, which is usually what men of the talkative sort end up doing after jabbering on for a while. But no order seems to be forthcoming, because that’s not Root’s agenda. Root just felt like talking about words. The SAS blokes refer to this kind of activity as wanking.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7736-39 - Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:17 AM

Shaftoe has had little direct contact with that Waterhouse fellow during their stay on Qwghlm, but he has noticed that men who have just finished talking to Waterhouse tend to walk away shaking their heads—and not in the slow way of a man saying "no," but in the sudden convulsive way of a dog who has a horsefly in his middle ear. Waterhouse never gives direct orders, so men of the first category don’t know what to make of him. But apparently men of the second category fare no better; such men usually talk like they have an agenda in their heads and they are checking off boxes as they go, but Waterhouse’s conversation doesn’t go anywhere in particular. He speaks, not as a way of telling you a bunch of stuff he’s already figured out, but as a way of making up a bunch of new shit as he goes along. And he always seems to be hoping that you’ll join in. Which no one ever does, except for Enoch Root.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7739-45 - Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:17 AM

The only member of Epiphyte Corp. who does not at least crack a smile is John Cantrell, who has been looking distant and tense ever since yesterday. ("It’s one thing to write a dissertation about mathematical techniques in cryptography," he said, on the way up here, when someone asked him what was bothering him. "And another to gamble billions of dollars’ worth of Other People’s Money on it."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 7891-94 - Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:29 AM

But a small and valuable company in the business world is like a bright and beautiful bird sitting on a branch in a jungle, singing a happy song that can be heard from a mile away. It attracts pythons." Avi pauses for a moment. "Usually, the grace period is longer. You get valuable, but then you have some time—weeks or months—to establish a defensive position, before the python manages to slither up the trunk. This time, we happened to get valuable while we were perched virtually on top of the python. Now we’re not valuable any more."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 8037-41 - Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 08:41 AM

Randy says, "You asked me earlier what is the highest and best purpose to which we could dedicate our lives. And the obvious answer is ‘to prevent future Holocausts.’" Avi laughs darkly. "I’m glad it’s obvious to you, my friend. I was beginning to think I was the only one." "What!? Get over yourself, Avi. People are commemorating the Holocaust all the time." "Commemorating the Holocaust is not, not not not not not, the same thing as fighting to prevent future holocausts. Most of the commemorationists are just whiners. They think that if everyone feels bad about past holocausts, human nature will magically transform, and no one will want to commit genocide in the future." "I take it you do not share this view, Avi?" "Look at Bosnia!" Avi scoffs. "Human nature doesn’t change, Randy. Education is hopeless. The most educated people in the world can turn into Aztecs or Nazis just like that." He snaps his fingers. "So what hope is there?" "Instead of trying to educate the potential perpetrators of holocausts, we try to educate the potential victims. They will at least pay some fucking attention." "Educate them in what way?" Avi closes his eyes and shakes his head. "Oh, shit, Randy, I could go on for hours—I have drawn up a whole curriculum." "Okay, we’ll get into that later." "Definitely later. For now, the key point is that the Crypt is all-important. I can take all of my ideas and put them into a single pod of information, but almost every government in the world would prevent distribution to its citizens. It is essential to build the Crypt so that the HEAP can be freely distributed throughout the world."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 8298-8313 - Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 09:01 AM

"He is the kind of guy who does deals on a handshake. On personal honor," Randy says. "Once he had made the proposition, he would never withdraw it." "The problem with those honorable men," Avi says, "is that they expect everyone else to be honorable in the same way." "It is true." "So he believes, now, that we are accomplices in this plan to hide the existence of this sunken treasure from the Dentist and the Bolobolos," Avi says. "Unless we come clean to them right away." "In which case we are betraying Doug Shaftoe," Avi says. "Cravenly backstabbing the ex-SEAL who served six years of combat duty in Vietnam, and who has scary and well-connected friends all over the world," Randy adds.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 8373-79 - Added on Sunday, July 02, 2017, 09:05 AM

"And you still have a copy of this chart with you?" Bischoff asks skeptically. "Nah," Shaftoe says, with a flip coolness that in a less charismatic man would be infuriating. "But the lieutenant remembers it. He’s really good at remembering numbers. Aren’t you, sir?" Enoch shrugs modestly. "Where I grew up, memorizing the digits of pi was the closest thing we had to entertainment."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 8752-55 - Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:05 AM

It would be an idyllic tropical paradise if not for the malaria, the insects, the constant diarrhea and resulting hemorrhoids, and the fact that the people are dirty and smell bad and eat each other and use human heads for decoration.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 8823-25 - Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:12 AM

"You’ll notice there’s no umbilical," Doug says. "Normally that is mandatory for an ROV. You need the umbilical for three reasons." Randy grins, because he knows that Doug Shaftoe is about to enumerate the three reasons. Randy has spent almost no time around military people, but he is finding that he gets along with them surprisingly well. His favorite thing about them is their compulsive need to educate everyone around them, all the time. Randy does not need to know anything about the ROV, but Doug Shaftoe is going to give him a short course anyway. Randy supposes that when you are in a war, practical knowledge is a good thing to spread around.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 9012-17 - Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:24 AM

Amy jams the kris back into its sheath, smiles sweetly at Randy, and plugs her face back into the rig. Randy is speechless for a while. The question of whether or not she is a lesbian is rapidly becoming more than purely academic. He performs a quick mental review of all of the lesbians he has known. Usually they are mid-level, nine-to-five city dwellers with sensible haircuts. In other words, they are just like most of the other people Randy knows. Amy is too flagrantly exotic, too much like a horny film director’s idea of what a lesbian would be. So maybe there is some hope here. "If you’re gonna stare at my daughter that way," Doug Shaftoe says, "you’d better start boning up on your ballroom dancing." "Is he starin’ at me? I can never tell when I have my face stuck in this thing," Amy says. "He was in love with his watch. Now he has no object for his affections," Doug says. "So, hold on to your hats!"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 9055-62 - Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:28 AM

After a minute or so, he goes out to join Doug, who is ritualistically lighting up a cigar. "This is a good time to smoke," he mumbles. "Want one?" "Sure. Thanks." Randy pulls out a folding multipurpose tool and cuts the end from the cigar, a pretty impressive-looking Cuban number. "Why do you say it’s a good time to smoke?" "To fix it in your memory. To mark it." Doug tears his gaze from the horizon and looks at Randy searchingly, almost beseeching him to understand. "This is one of the most important moments in your life. Nothing will ever be the same. We might get rich. We might get killed. We might just have an adventure, or learn something. But we have been changed. We are standing close to the Heraclitean fire, feeling its heat on our faces." He produces a flaring safety match from his cupped palms like a magician, and holds it up before Randy’s eyes, and Randy puffs the cigar alive, staring into the flame. "Well, here’s to it," Randy says. "And here’s to whoever got out," replies Doug.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 9153-61 - Added on Monday, July 03, 2017, 01:33 AM

But now he knows how Alan must have felt after they turned decryption into a mechanical process, industrializing Bletchley Park. He must have felt that the battle was won, and with it the war. The rest might seem like glorious conquest to people like the General, but to Turing, and now to Waterhouse, it just looks like tedious mopping-up. It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movement; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers. From here on out, it’s all can openers.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10120-24 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:43 PM

Mary is a tiny, white-skinned, red-headed person who is often seized by little fits of self-consciousness. When this happens she averts her eyes from his and swallows, and when she swallows there is a certain cord in her white neck, rounding the concavity from shoulder to ear, that stands out for a moment. It draws attention both to her vulnerability and to the white flesh of her neck, which is not white in a pallid sick way but in another way that Waterhouse could never have understood until recently: viz., from his little stint in New Guinea, where everything is either dead and decaying, or bright and threatening, or unobtrusive and invisible, Waterhouse knows that anything this tender and translucent is too vulnerable and tempting to hold its own in a world of violently competing destroyers, that it can only be sustained for a moment (let alone years) by the life force within. In the South Pacific where the forces of Death are so powerful, it leaves him vaguely intimidated. Her skin, as unmarked as clear water, is an extravagant display of vibrant animal power. He wants his tongue on it. The whole curve of her neck, from collarbone to earlobe, would make a perfect cradle for his face.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10146-54 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:45 PM

Shaftoe is gripped with a sort of giddy queasiness that, he knows, is the most pleasant thing he will feel here. "Morphine takes away the body’s ability to experience pleasure," says the booming voice of Enoch Root, his wry, annoying Virgil, who for purposes of this nightmare has adopted the voice and physical shape of Moe, the mean, dark-haired Stooge. "It may be some time before you feel physically well."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10206-9 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:50 PM

Everything has been reorganized, General MacArthur is still very high in the tree, walking a brace of giant lizards on steel leashes, but now the hierarchy is filled with grinning Arabs holding up lumps of hashish, frozen butchers, dead or doomed lieutenants, and that fucking weirdo, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, dressed in a black, hooded robe, heading up a whole legion of pencil-necked Signals geeks, also in robes, holding bizarrely shaped antennas above their heads, wading through a blizzard of dollar bills printed on old Chinese newspapers. Their eyes glow, flashing on and off in Morse code. "What are they saying?" Bobby says. "Please, stop screaming," says Enoch Root. "Just for a little while."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10218-23 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:53 PM

Root is sitting on the opposite bunk with the cigar box on his lap. He holds up his hand in a V for Victory, then levels it at Shaftoe’s face and pokes him in the eyes. "I cannot help you with your inability to find physical comfort—it is a problem of body chemistry," he says. "It poses interesting theological questions. It reminds us that all the pleasures of the world are an illusion projected into our souls by our bodies."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10239-42 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:54 PM

All of these names sound alike to Shaftoe, but Root says, "A Russian?" Shaftoe is really coming around now, reemerging into the World. He sits up straight, and his body feels stiff, like it hasn’t moved in a long time. He is about to apologize for the way he has been behaving, but since no one is looking at him funny, Shaftoe sees no reason to fill them in on what he’s been doing these last few minutes.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10254-56 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:56 PM

When he gets back, von Hacklheber is just winding up. "It all came down to a problem of sifting through large amounts of raw data—lengthy and tedious work." Shaftoe cringes, wondering what something would have to be like in order to qualify as lengthy and tedious to this joker.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10279-81 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 06:57 PM

He throws a dressing gown over his pajamas, steps into slippers, and opens the door of his flat to reveal, predictably, a small, prematurely withered man backed up by a couple of classic Gestapo killers in long black leather coats. "May I proffer an observation?" says Rudy von Hacklheber. "But of course, Herr Doktor Professor. As long as it is not a state secret, of course." "In the old days—the early days—when no one knew what the Gestapo was, and no one was afraid of it, this four in the morning business was clever. A fine way to exploit man’s primal fear of the darkness. But now it is 1942, almost 1943, and everyone is afraid of the Gestapo. Everyone. More than they are of the dark. So, why don’t you work during the daytime? You are stuck in a rut." The bottom half of the withered man’s face laughs. The top half doesn’t change. "I will pass your suggestion up the chain of command," he says. "But, Herr Doktor, we are not here to instill fear. We have come at this inconvenient time because of the train schedules."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10327-35 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 07:01 PM

"Certain materials I use in my research. They had been scattered among many libraries, all over Europe. Göring brought them all together for me—it makes men like him feel powerful, to do these little favors for their slaves. I departed from Berlin last week, on the pretext of going to Hannover, to do my Leibniz research. Instead I made my way to Sweden through channels that were quite involved—"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10471-74 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 07:11 PM

"Enoch the Red, your organization can get us to Manila," von Hacklheber says. Shaftoe snorts. "Don’t you think the Catholic Church has its hands sort of full right now?" "I’m not talking about the Church," Rudy says. "I’m talking about Societas Eruditorum." Root freezes. "Congratulations there, Rudy!" Shaftoe says. "You surprised the padre. I didn’t think it could be done. Now would you mind telling us what the fuck you’re talking about?"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10489-94 - Added on Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 07:12 PM

Progress halted for several minutes while they marveled at the pens' handy clicking mechanisms and doodled on the palms of their hands. The American t-shirts were, in other words, not worn as Americans wear them but in the same spirit that the Queen of England wore the exotic Koh-I-Noor Diamond on her crown. Not for the first time I was overtaken by a strong not-exactly-in-Kansas feeling.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10827-29 - Added on Saturday, July 08, 2017, 09:02 PM

That certain people have a lot of money that they badly want to spend. And that if we can give them a way to spend it, through the Crypt, that these people will be very happy, and conversely that if we screw up they will be very sad, and that whether they are happy or sad they will be eager to share these emotions with us, the shareholders and management team of Epiphyte Corp.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 10904-7 - Added on Saturday, July 08, 2017, 09:06 PM

Shaftoe consults the instructions. It does not matter that these are printed in Russian, because they are made for illiterates anyway. A series of parabolas is plotted out, the mortar supporting one leg and exploding Germans supporting the opposite. Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans, and he turns into Thomas Fucking Edison. Shaftoe scans the terrain, picks out his killing zone, then climbs up and paces off the distance, assuming one meter per pace.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 11119-24 - Added on Monday, July 24, 2017, 07:16 AM

"How many engines?" "Probably two." Root turns out to be right on the money. Two large black Mercedes issue from the forest, like bad ideas emerging from the dim mind of a green lieutenant. Their headlights are not illuminated. Each stops and then sits there for a moment, then the doors open quietly, Germans climb out and stand up. Several of them are wearing long black leather coats. Several are carrying those keen submachine guns that are the trademark of German infantry, and the envy of Yanks and Tommies, who must go burdened with primeval hunting rifles.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 11127-31 - Added on Monday, July 24, 2017, 07:16 AM

"Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum," he is saying. "It is Latin. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." "Jew? I thought Jesus was Christian," said Goto Dengo. The man in the black robe just stares at him. Goto Dengo tries again: "I didn’t know Jews spoke Latin."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 11428-30 - Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 05:34 AM

They were a bit quieter than many others, they took up less space in the room, but then that was normal for people trying to raise three kids, and so they passed.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12070-72 - Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 12:30 PM

He is a little unnerved by how rapidly Waterhouse is coming up to speed. But one of the responsibilities of leadership is to mask one’s own fears, to project confidence at all times. Comstock grins and says, "You sound awfully sure of yourself, Waterhouse! I wonder if you can get me to feel that same level of confidence."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12232-34 - Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 12:43 PM

"What’s an electronic banknote look like, Randy?" "Like any other digital thing: a bunch of bits." "Doesn’t that make it kind of easy to counterfeit?" "Not if you have good crypto," Randy says. "Which we do." "How did you get it?" "By hanging out with maniacs." "What kind of maniacs?" "Maniacs who think that having good crypto is of near-apocalyptic importance." "How’d they get around to thinking any such thing?" "By reading about people like Yamamoto who died because they had bad crypto, and then projecting that kind of thing into the future." "Do you agree with them?" Amy asks. It might be one of those pivotal-moment-in-the-relationship questions. "At two in the morning, when I’m lying awake in bed, I do," Randy says. "In the light of day, it all seems like paranoia." He glances over at Amy, who’s looking at him appraisingly, because he hasn’t actually answered the question yet. He’s got to pick one thing or the other. "Better safe than sorry, I guess. Having good crypto can’t hurt, and it might help." "And it might make you a lot of money along the way," Amy reminds him. Randy laughs. "At this point, it’s not even about trying to make money," he says. "I just don’t want to be totally humiliated." Amy smiles cryptically. "What?" Randy demands. "You sounded just like a Shaftoe when you said that," Amy says.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12566-80 - Added on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 01:27 PM

It flowed across the blasted volcanic scab land of central Washington in (Randy supposed) a more or less continuous laminar sheet that, when it hit the rolling Palouse country, ramified into a vast system of floods, rivers and rivulets diverging around the bald swelling hills and recombining in the sere declivities. But it never recombined exactly the way it was before. The hills had thrown entropy into the system. Like a handful of nickels in a batch of bread dough this could be kneaded from place to place but never removed. The entropy manifested itself as swirls and violent gusts and ephemeral vortices. All of these things were clearly visible, because all summer the air was full of dust or smoke, and all winter it was full of windblown snow.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12819-24 - Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:49 PM

Other times, like if you tried to catch one in your hands, it would vanish—but then you’d look up and see another one just like it twenty feet away, running away from you. The whole concept of matter spontaneously organizing itself into grotesquely improbable and yet indisputably self perpetuating and fairly robust systems sort of gave Randy the willies later on, when he began to learn about physics.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12837-40 - Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:51 PM

There was no room for dust devils in the laws of physics, as least in the rigid form in which they were usually taught. There is a kind of unspoken collusion going on in mainstream science education: you get your competent but bored, insecure and hence stodgy teacher talking to an audience divided between engineering students, who are going to be responsible for making bridges that won’t fall down or airplanes that won’t suddenly plunge vertically into the ground at six hundred miles an hour, and who by definition get sweaty palms and vindictive attitudes when their teacher suddenly veers off track and begins raving about wild and completely nonintuitive phenomena; and physics students, who derive much of their self-esteem from knowing that they are smarter and morally purer than the engineering students, and who by definition don’t want to hear about anything that makes no fucking sense. This collusion results in the professor saying: (something along the lines of) dust is heavier than air, therefore it falls until it hits the ground. That’s all there is to know about dust. The engineers love it because they like their issues dead and crucified like butterflies under glass. The physicists love it because they want to think they understand everything. No one asks difficult questions. And outside the windows, the dust devils continue to gambol across the campus.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12840-50 - Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:52 PM

From the wind’s frame of reference, it (the wind) is stationary and the hills and valleys are moving things that crumple the horizon and then rush towards it and then interfere with it and go away, leaving the wind to sort out consequences later on down the line. And some of the consequences are dust or ice devils. If there was more stuff in the way, like expansive cities filled with buildings, or forests filled with leaves and branches, then that would be the end of the story; the wind would become completely deranged and cease to exist as a unitary thing, and all of the aerodynamic action would be at the incomprehensible scale of micro-vortices around pine needles and car antennas.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12854-58 - Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:53 PM

The portrait is securely bolted to the cinderblock wall of the lobby and imprisoned under a half-inch-thick slab of Plexiglas that must be replaced every couple of years, as it fogs from repeated scrubbings and petty vandalizations. Seen through this milky cataract, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse is grimly resplendent in full doctoral robes. He has one foot up on something, his elbow planted on the elevated knee, and has tucked his robes back behind the other arm and planted his fist on his hip. It is meant to be a sort of dynamic posture, but to Randy, who at the age of five was present for its unveiling, it has a kind of incredulous what-the-hell-are-those-little-people-doing-down-there

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12878-82 - Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:55 PM

"The question reduces," Uncle Red says, "to a mathematical one: how do you divide up an inhomogeneous set of n objects among m people (or couples actually); i.e., how do you partition the set into m subsets (S1,S2, . . . ,Sm) such that the value of each subset is as close as possible to being equal?" "It doesn’t seem that hard," Aunt Nina begins weakly. She is a professor of Qwghlmian linguistics. "It is actually shockingly difficult," Randy says. "It is closely akin to the Knapsack Problem, which is so difficult to solve that it has been used as the basis for cryptographic systems."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 12912-18 - Added on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 01:58 PM

Farming might have been an adequate sort of booby prize for one or at most two of their sons, sort of a fallback for any offspring who happened to suffer major head injuries or fall into chronic alcoholism.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13225-26 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:08 AM

It had been a standing joke among her male offspring that Mom could walk unescorted into any biker bar in the world and simply by her bearing and appearance cause all ongoing fistfights to be instantly suspended, all grubby elbows to be removed from the bar, postures to straighten, salty language to be choked off. The bikers would climb over one another’s backs to take her coat, pull her chair back, address her as ma’am, etc. Though it had never been performed, this biker bar scene was like a whole sort of virtual or notional comedy sketch that was a famous moment in entertainment for the Waterhouse family, like the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or Belushi doing his samurai bit on Saturday Night Live. It was up there on their mental videocassette shelves right next to their imaginary newsreels and B-movies of what the Patriarch had done in the war.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13234-40 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:10 AM

Whenever any of her offspring came to visit, someone would discreetly slip out to the garage to yank the dipstick, which would always be mysteriously topped up with clear amber-colored 10W40. It eventually turned out that her late husband had summoned the entire living male lineage of the Patterson family—four generations of them—into his hospital room and gathered them around his deathbed and wrought some kind of unspecified pact with them along the general lines of that, if at any point in the future, the tire pressure in the Lincoln dropped below spec or the maintenance in any other way lapsed, all of the Pattersons would not merely sacrifice their immortal souls, but literally be pulled out of meetings or lavatories and dragged off to hell on the spot, like Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus. He knew that his wife had only the vaguest idea of what a tire was, other than something that from time to time a man would heroically jump out of the car and change while she sat inside the car admiring him. The world of physical objects seemed to have been made solely for the purpose of giving the men around Grandma something to do with their hands; and not, mind you, for any practical reason, but purely so that Grandma could twiddle those men’s emotional knobs by reacting to how well or poorly they did it.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13246-55 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:11 AM

The ability of the Lincoln to run flawlessly for a quarter of a century without maintenance—without even putting gasoline in the tank—had only confirmed Grandmother’s opinions about the amusing superfluity of male pursuits.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13257-59 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:11 AM

Randy’s father dumps the contents out on a ping-pong table that inexplicably sits in the center of the rec room at Grandma’s managed care facility, whose residents are about as likely to play ping-pong as they are to get their nipples pierced.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13267-69 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:13 AM

"How about this guy we’re going to see in Seattle? He’s a computer guy too? Ooh, you’re getting this look on your face like ‘Amy just said something so stupid it caused me physical pain.’ Is this a common facial expression among the men of your family? Do you think it is the expression that your grandfather wore when your grandmother came home and announced that she had backed the Lincoln Continental into a fire hydrant?"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13313-16 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 04:05 PM

Randy’s body has now finally had time to deploy a full-on fight-or-flight reaction—part of his genetic legacy as a stupendous badass. This must have been very useful when saber-toothed tigers tried to claw their way into his ancestors’ caves but is doing him absolutely no good in these circumstances. "On behalf of whom?" "Oh, come on, Randy. There aren’t that many candidates."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13750-53 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 04:32 PM

"But I don’t think that teenagers are the way they are because of their age. It’s because they have nothing to lose. They simultaneously have a lot of time on their hands and yet are very impatient to get on with their lives." "And that’s kind of where you are right now?" "It’s exactly where I am."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13883-86 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:24 PM

But for god’s sake, I’m not even sure she’s heterosexual. It’d be madness to put a lesbian in charge of my ejaculatory functions." "If she were a lesbian—exclusively—she’d have had the basic decency to tell you by now," Avi says. "My feeling about Amy is that she steers by her gut feelings, and her gut feeling is that you just don’t have the level of passion that a woman like her probably would like to see as a prerequisite for getting involved." "Whereas, if I stopped masturbating, I would become such a deranged maniac that she could trust me." "Exactly. That’s exactly how women think," Avi says.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 13897-902 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:25 PM

Many soldiers ride atop the trucks. When the sun rises, Goto Dengo savors the novel and curious sight of fresh, healthy, well-fed Nipponese men. They are armed with light and heavy machine guns. They look like Nipponese soldiers did way back in 1937, when they were rolling across northern China. It gives Goto Dengo a strange feeling of nostalgia to remember a day when a terrible defeat was not imminent, when they were not going to lose everything horribly. A lump actually gathers in his throat, and his nose begins to run. Then he snaps out of it, realizing that the big day has finally arrived. The part of him that is still a loyal soldier of the emperor has a duty to see that the vital war materiel, which has just arrived, is stored away in the big vault of Golgotha. The part of him that isn’t a loyal soldier anymore still has a lot to accomplish.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14064-70 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:38 PM

He has, in other words, just slapped big greasy fingerprints all over a weapon that the police are moments away from seizing as evidence. If Tombstone is shut down and grabbed by the cops before Randy can erase those traces, they will know he has logged on at the very moment that Tombstone was confiscated, and will put him in prison for tampering with evidence. He very much wishes that Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe could somehow be made aware of what a ballsy thing he is doing here. But then Doug has probably done all kinds of ballsy things of which Randy will never be aware, and Randy respects him anyway because of his bearing. Maybe the way to get that kind of bearing is to go around doing ballsy things in secret that somehow percolate up to the surface of your personality.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14263-68 - Added on Thursday, July 27, 2017, 05:55 PM

Anyway, if you do a Web search on Ordo, you’ll see this nonsense had absolutely nothing to do with us. Nothing." "That’s funny, because Comstock is denying that it’s a crackdown on Ordo," Doug says. When speaking of official U.S. government denials, Vietnam combat veterans like Doug are capable of summoning up a drawling irony that is about as subtle as having automotive jumper cables connected directly to your fillings, but much funnier. Vodka climbs about halfway up Randy’s nose before he controls it. "They say that it’s just a little old civil suit," Doug says, now using a petal-soft, wounded innocent tone.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14548-52 - Added on Friday, July 28, 2017, 04:16 AM

"What should I call you—Root? Pontifex?" "Pontifex is a nice word." "It’s true," Randy says. "I checked it out, looking for clues in the etymology—it’s an old Latin word meaning ‘priest.’ " "Catholics call the Pope ‘Pontifex Maximus,’ or pontiff for short," says Pontifex agreeably, "but the word was also used by pagans to denote their priests, and Jews their rabbis—it is ever so ecumenical." "But the literal meaning of the word is ‘bridge builder,’ and so it’s a good name for a cryptosystem," Randy says. "Or, I hope, for me," Pontifex says drily. "I am glad you feel that way, Randy. Many people would think of a cryptosystem as a wall, rather than a bridge." "Well, gosh. It’s nice to telephonically meet you, Pontifex."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14582-89 - Added on Friday, July 28, 2017, 04:19 AM

"First a disclaimer: I’ve been out of circulation for a while. Have not picked up the postmodern unwillingness to make value judgments." "Okay, I am bracing myself." "My advice: do try to build the best Crypt you possibly can. Your clients—some of them, anyway—are, for all practical purposes, aborigines. They will either make you rich or kill you, like something straight out of a Joseph Campbell footnote." "So you’re talking about your basic Colombian drug lord types, here?" "Yes, I am, but I’m also referring to certain white men in suits. It only takes a single generation to revert to savagery."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14652-58 - Added on Friday, July 28, 2017, 04:25 AM

"What do you mean?" This is Randy in unaccustomed sounding-board mode, psychotherapeutically prompting Cantrell for his feelings. It must have been a weird day for John Cantrell, and no doubt there are some feelings that need to be addressed. "Holding one of those things in your hands, cleaning the barrel and shoving the rounds into clips, really brings you face-to-face with what a desperate, last-ditch measure they really are. I mean, if it gets to the point where we are shooting at people and vice versa, then we have completely screwed up. So in the end, they only strengthened my interest in making sure we could do without them." "And hence the Crypt?" Randy asks. "My involvement in the Crypt is arguably a direct result of a few very bad dreams that I had about guns."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14863-69 - Added on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 05:45 AM

"They were probably happy to get out of there, and to go sit in a dark cool room and drink beer afterwards. Certainly a lot of them have been sending me e-mail about the Crypt since then." "As an alternative to violent resistance to the United States Government, I assume and hope you mean." "Exactly. Sure. I mean, that’s what the Crypt is becoming. Right?" The question sounds a little querulous to Randy. "Right," he says. He wonders why he feels so much more settled about this stuff than John Cantrell does, and then recalls that he has nothing left to lose.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 14877-82 - Added on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 05:47 AM

He pinches his nose shut, presses his lips together, and begins to blow air into his Eustachian tubes, equalizing the pressure. The others follow his lead.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15195-96 - Added on Saturday, July 29, 2017, 06:15 AM

Intuition, like a flash of lightning, lasts only for a second. It generally comes when one is tormented by a difficult decipherment and when one reviews in his mind the fruitless experiments already tried. Suddenly the light breaks through and one finds after a few minutes what previous days of labor were unable to reveal.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15790-93 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 02:43 PM

Randy has this very strong feeling that Amy doesn’t read bodice-ripper novels. She goes the other way. She can’t tolerate surrendering to any one. Which makes it hard for her to function in polite society; she could not have been happy sitting at home during her senior year of high school, waiting for a boy to invite her to the prom. This feature of her personality is extremely prone to misinterpretation, so she bailed out. She would rather be lonely, and true to herself, and in control, in an out-of-the-way part of the world, with her music-by-intelligent-female-singer-songwriters to keep her company, than misinterpreted and hassled in America.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15793-97 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 02:43 PM

"I love you," he says. Amy looks away and heaves a big sigh like, At last we’re getting somewhere. Randy continues, "I’ve been infatuated with you ever since we met." Now she’s back to looking at him expectantly. "And the reason I’ve been slow to, uh, to actually show it, or do anything about it, is first of all because I wasn’t sure whether or not you were a lesbian." Amy scoffs and rolls her eyes. ". . . and later just because of my own reticence. Which is unfortunately part of me too, just like this part." He glances down just for a microsecond. She’s shaking her head at him in amazement. "The fact that the scientific investigator works fifty percent of his time by nonrational means is quite insufficiently recognized," Randy says. Amy sits down on his side of the table, jacknifes, spins around neatly on her ass, and comes to light on the other side. "I’ll think about what you said," she says. "Hang in there, sport." "Smooth sailing, Amy." Amy gives him a little smile over her shoulder, then walks straight to the exit, turning around once in the doorway to make sure he’s still looking at her. He is. Which, he feels quite confident, is the right answer.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15798-809 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:00 PM

Maybe half of the Nips are killed or wounded by this barrage, but they are fighting at such close quarters that two of Shaftoe’s Huks are hit as well. Shaftoe is trying to drag one of them out of danger when he looks down and sees that he is stomping across a mess of shattered white crockery that is marked with the name of a hotel—the same hotel where he slow-danced with Glory on the night that the war started.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15822-25 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:08 PM

"Hey! Tell me something I didn’t fucking already know!" Shaftoe says. "Even winning battles isn’t important to you. Is it?" Goto Dengo looks the other way, shamefaced. "Haven’t you guys figured out yet that banzai charges DON’T FUCKING WORK?" "All of the people who learned that were killed in banzai charges," Goto Dengo says. As if on cue, the Nips in the left field dugout begin screaming "Banzai!" and charge, as one, out onto the field. Shaftoe puts his eye up to a bullet hole in the wall and watches them stumbling across the infield with fixed bayonets.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15899-905 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:12 PM

Finally MacArthur unhands the stiff body of Goto Dengo, steps back dramatically, and presents him to his staff. "Meet Goto-san," he announces. "You have all heard the expression, ‘the only good Nip is a dead Nip’? Well, this young fellow is a counterexample, and as we learned in mathematics, it only takes one counterexample to disprove the theorem." His staff observe cautious silence. "It seems only fitting that we take this young fellow to the Church of St. Agustin, over yonder in Intramuros, to carry out the sacrament of baptism," The General says. One of the aides steps forward, hunched over in that he’s expecting to get a slug between the shoulder blades any minute. "Sir, it is my duty to remind you that Intramuros is still controlled by the enemy." "Then it is high time we made our presence felt!" MacArthur says. "Shaftoe will get us there. Shaftoe and these fine Filipino gentlemen." The General throws one arm around Goto Dengo’s neck in a highly affectionate, companionable way, and begins strolling with him towards the nearest gate. "I would like you to know, young man, that when I set up my headquarters in Tokyo—which, God willing, should be within a year—I want you there bright and early the first day!"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 15968-77 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 06:16 PM

Randy had to bite his tongue not to start asking all kinds of questions about just what "brilliant" meant in an oral-surgery context—questions that were motivated solely by curiosity but that the dentist would be likely to take the wrong way. Among coders it was pretty obvious who was brilliant and who wasn’t, but how could you tell a brilliant oral surgeon apart from a merely excellent one? It gets you into deep epistemological shit. Each set of wisdom teeth could only be extracted once. You couldn’t have a hundred oral surgeons extract the same set of wisdom teeth and then compare the results scientifically. And yet it was obvious from watching the look on this dentist’s face that this one particular oral surgeon, this new guy, was brilliant. So later Randy sidled up to this dentist and allowed as how he might have a challenge—he might personally embody a challenge—that would put this ineffable quality of oral-surgery brilliance to some good use, and could he have the guy’s name please.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16112-19 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 07:09 PM

"It says ignoti et quasi occulti, which means ‘unknown and partly hidden’ or words to that effect," says Enoch Root. "It is the motto of a society to which I belong. You must know that the word ‘occult’ does not intrinsically have anything to do with Satanic rituals and drinking blood and all of that. It—"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16544-46 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:11 PM

"Some complain that e-mail is impersonal—that your contact with me, during the e-mail phase of our relationship, was mediated by wires and screens and cables. Some would say that’s not as good as conversing face-to-face. And yet our seeing of things is always mediated by corneas, retinas, optic nerves, and some neural machinery that takes the information from the optic nerve and propagates it into our minds. So, is looking at words on a screen so very much inferior? I think not; at least then you are conscious of the distortions. Whereas, when you see someone with your eyes, you forget about the distortions and imagine you are experiencing them purely and immediately."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16559-64 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:12 PM

"If you think of the Greek gods as real supernatural beings who lived on Mount Olympus, no. But if you think of them as being in the same class of entities as the Root Rep, which is to say, patterns of neurological activity that the mind uses to represent things that it sees, or thinks it sees, in the outside world, then yes. Suddenly, Greek gods can be just as interesting and relevant as real people. Why? Because, in the same way as you might one day encounter another person with his own Root Rep so, if you were to have a conversation with an ancient Greek person, and he started talking about Zeus, you might—once you got over your initial feelings of superiority—discover that you had some mental representations inside your own mind that, though you didn’t name them Zeus and didn’t think of them as a big hairy thunderbolt-hurling son of a Titan, nonetheless had been generated as a result of interactions with entities in the outside world that are the same as the ones that cause the Zeus Representation to appear in the Greek’s mind. And here we could talk about the Plato’s Cave thing for a while—the Veg-O-Matic of metaphors—it slices! it dices!"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16573-81 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:15 PM

"—so that given a shadow projected on your wall is going to adopt a different shape from the same shadow projected on his wall, where the different wall-shapes here correspond to let’s say your modern scientific worldview versus his ancient pagan worldview." "Yeah. That Plato’s Cave metaphor." At this very moment some wag of a prison guard, out in the corridor, throws a switch and shuts off all of the lights. The only illumination now is from the screensaver on Randy’s laptop, which is running animations of colliding galaxies.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16584-88 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:15 PM

"I think we can stipulate that the wall in front of you, Randy, is considerably flatter and smoother, i.e., it generally gives you a much more accurate shadow than his wall, and yet it’s clear that he’s still capable of seeing the same shadows and probably drawing some useful conclusions about the shapes of the things that cast them."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16589-91 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:15 PM

We start out with Chaos, which is where all theogonies start, and which I like to think of as a sea of white noise—totally random broadband static. And for reasons that we don’t really understand, certain polarities begin to coalesce from this—Day, Night, Darkness, Light, Earth, Sea. Personally, I like to think of these as crystals—not in the hippy-dippy Californian sense, but in the hardass technical sense of resonators, that received certain channels buried in the static of Chaos. At some point, out of certain incestuous couplings among such entities, you get Titans. And it’s arguably kind of interesting to note that the Titans provide really the full complement of basic gods—you’ve got the sun god, Hyperion, and an ocean god, Oceanus, and so on. But they all get overthrown in a power struggle called the Titanomachia and replaced with new gods like Apollo and Poseidon, who end up filling the same slots in the organizational chart, as it were. Which is kind of interesting in that it seems to tie in with what I was saying about the same entities or patterns persisting through time, but casting slightly different shaped shadows for different people. Anyway, so now we have the Gods of Olympus as we normally think of them: Zeus, Hera, and so on. "A couple of basic observations about these: first,

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16601-10 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:17 PM

Randy is mounting a known-ciphertext attack: the hardest kind. He has the ciphertext (the Arethusa intercepts) and nothing else. He doesn’t even know the algorithm that was used to encrypt them. In modern cryptanalysis, this is unusual; normally the algorithms are public knowledge. That is because algorithms that have been openly discussed and attacked within the academic community tend to be much stronger than ones that have been kept secret. People who rely on keeping their algorithms secret are ruined as soon as that secret gets out. But Arethusa dates from World War II, when people were much less canny about such things.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16726-30 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:40 PM

There is a compromise between the two extremes of, on the one hand, not knowing any of the plaintext at all, and, on the other, knowing all of it. In the Cryptonomicon that falls under the heading of cribs. A crib is an educated guess as to what words or phrases might be present in the message. For example if you were decrypting German messages from World War II, you might guess that the plaintext included the phrase "HEIL HITLER" or "SIEG HEIL." You might pick out a sequence of ten characters at random and say, "Let’s assume that this represented HEIL HITLER. If that is the case, then what would it imply about the remainder of the message?"

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16732-37 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:41 PM

And sure enough, Randy learns from the Cryptonomicon that Azure was an oddball system used by both the Nipponese and the Germans that employed a mathematical algorithm to generate a different one-time pad every day. This is awfully vague, but it helps Randy rule out a lot. He knows for example that Arethusa isn’t a rotor system like Enigma.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16751-53 - Added on Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:43 PM

"I know that all the bright lights fled Germany in the thirties—Einstein, Born—" "And Schrödinger, and von Neumann, and others—but do you know why they fled?" "Well, because they didn’t like the Nazis, of course!" "But do you know specifically why the Nazis didn’t like them?" "A lot of them were Jews." "It goes deeper than mere anti-Semitism. Hilbert, Russell, Whitehead, Gödel, all of them were engaged in a monumental act of tearing mathematics down and beginning from scratch. But the Nazis believed that mathematics was a heroic science whose purpose was to reduce chaos to order—just as National Socialism was supposed to do in the political sphere." "Okay," Randy says, "but what the Nazis didn’t understand was that if you tore it down and rebuilt it, it was even more heroic than before." "Indeed. It led to a renaissance," Root says, "like in the seventeenth century, when the Puritans tore everything to rubble and then slowly built it back up from scratch. Over and over again we see the pattern of the Titanomachia repeated—the old gods are thrown down, chaos returns, but out of the chaos, the same patterns reemerge."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16893-903 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:28 AM

"Ares always reemerges from the chaos. It will never go away. Athenian civilization defends itself from the forces of Ares with metis, or technology. Technology is built on science. Science is like the alchemists’ uroburos, continually eating its own tail. The process of science doesn’t work unless young scientists have the freedom to attack and tear down old dogmas, to engage in an ongoing Titanomachia. Science flourishes where art and free speech flourish."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16904-7 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:29 AM

"Sounds teleological, Enoch. Free countries get better science, hence superior military power, hence get to defend their freedoms. You’re proclaiming a sort of Manifest Destiny here." "Well, someone’s got to do it." "Aren’t we beyond that sort of thing now?" "I know you’re just saying that to infuriate me. Sometimes, Randy, Ares gets chained up in a barrel for a few years, but he never goes away. The next time he emerges, Randy, the conflict is going to revolve around bio-, micro-, and nanotechnology.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16907-11 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:29 AM

Root, not surprisingly, has an answer: the gold was stolen from all of Asia by the Nipponese, who intended to use it as backing for a currency that would become the legal tender of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and that while it goes without saying that those particular Nips were among the most egregious buttheads in planetary history, some aspects of their plan weren’t such a shitty idea. That to the extent life still sucks for many Asians, things would get a lot better, for a lot of people, if the continent’s economy could get jerked into the twenty-first, or at least the twentieth, century and hopefully stay there for a while instead of collapsing whenever some dictator’s-nephew-in-charge-of-a-central-bank loses control of his sphincters and wipes out a major currency. So maybe stabilizing the currency situation would be a good thing to accomplish with a shitload of gold, and that’s the only moral thing to do with it anyway considering whom it was stolen from—you can’t just go out and spend it. Randy finds this answer appropriately sophisticated and Jesuitical and eerily in sync with what Avi has written into the latest edition of the Epiphyte(2) Business Plan.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16916-25 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:32 AM

Seattle’s full of guys like this who flipped a coin when they graduated from college (heads Prague, tails Seattle) and just showed up with this expectation that because they were young and smart they’d find a job and begin making money, and then appallingly enough did exactly that. Randy can’t figure out what the world must look like to a guy like this. He has a hard time getting rid of the guy, who shares the common assumption (increasingly annoying) that just because Randy’s in jail, he doesn’t have a life, has nothing better to do than interface with visitors.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 16982-86 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 03:38 AM

For weeks it comes in bits and pieces, and then one evening, some switch turns on in Lawrence Waterhouse’s mind, and he knows, in some preconscious way, that he’s about to get it. He works for twenty-four hours. By that point he has come up with a lot of evidence to support, and none to contradict, the hypothesis that this calculation is a variant of a zeta function. He naps for six hours, gets up, and works for another thirty. By that point he’s figured out that it definitely is some kind of zeta function, and he’s managed to figure out several of its constants and terms. He almost has it now. He sleeps for twelve hours, gets up and walks around Manila to clear his head, goes back to work, and hammers away at it for thirty-six hours. This is the fun part, when big slabs of the puzzle, painstakingly assembled from fragments, suddenly begin to lock together, and the whole thing begins to make sense. It all comes down to an equation written down on one sheet of paper. Just looking at it makes him feel weirdly nostalgic, because it’s the same type of equation he used to work with back at Princeton with Alan and Rudy.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17164-72 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 01:01 PM

(4) The room is referred to as the Basement, even though it’s only part of the basement. When "the Basement" is written down, it is capitalized. When someone (let’s say Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock) is going to verbalize this, he will come to a complete stop in mid-sentence, so that all of the preceding words kind of pile into each other like cars in a colliding train. He will, in fact, bracket "the Basement" between a pair of full one-second-long caesuras. During the first of these, he will raise his eyebrows and purse his lips simultaneously, altering the entire aspect ratio of his face so that it becomes strikingly elongated in the vertical dimension, and his eyes will dart sideways in case any Nipponese spies somehow managed to escape the recent apocalypse and found a place to lurk around the fringes of his peripheral vision. Then he will say "the" and then he will say "Basement," drawing out the s and primly articulating the t. And then will come another caesura during which he will incline his head towards the listener and fix him with a sober, appraising look, seeming to demand some kind of verbal or gestural acknowledgment from the listener that something appallingly significant has just passed between them. And then he will continue with whatever he was saying.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17182-90 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 01:02 PM

Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock tried to enter the Basement to inspect it. But owing to a clerical error, Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock’s name was not on the list, and so a difference of opinion ensued that culminated with one of the Marines drawing his Colt .45 and taking the safety off and chambering a round, pressing the barrel of the weapon directly into the center of Comstock’s right thigh, and then reminiscing about some of the spectacular femur-bursting wounds he had personally witnessed on places like Tarawa and in general trying to help Comstock visualize just what his life would be like, both short- and long-term, if a large piece of lead were to pass through the middle of said major bone. To everyone’s surprise, Comstock was delighted with this encounter, almost enchanted, and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Of course, now his name’s on the list.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17193-99 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 01:03 PM

He could very easily take care of the Hunk of Burning Love problem now that he has privacy, but astonishes himself by electing not to. This may be perverse; he’s not sure. The last month and a half of total celibacy, relieved only by nocturnal emissions at roughly two-week intervals, has definitely got him in a mental space he has never been to before, or come near, or even heard about. When he was in jail he had to develop a fierce mental discipline in order not to be distracted by thoughts of sex. He got alarmingly good at it after a while. It’s a highly unnatural approach to the mind/body problem, pretty much the antithesis of every sixties and seventies-tinged philosophy that he ever imbibed from his Baby Boomer elders. It is the kind of thing he associates with scary hardasses: Spartans, Victorians, and mid-twentieth-century American military heroes. It has turned Randy into something of a hardass in his approach to hacking, and meanwhile, he suspects, it has got him into a much more intense and passionate head space than he’s ever known when it comes to matters of the heart. He won’t really know that until he comes face to face with Amy, which looks like it’s going to be a while, since he’s just been kicked out of the country where she lives and works. Just as an experiment, he decides he’s going to keep his hands off of himself for now. If it makes him a little tense and volatile compared to his pathologically mellow West Coast self, then so be it.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17291-301 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 04:16 PM

He’s scarcely recognizable. Before the beginning of this the Third Business Foray he kind of assumed that, going into his mid-thirties, he had figured out who he was, and that he’d keep being the way he was forever, except with a gradually decaying body and gradually increasing net worth. He didn’t imagine it was possible to change so much, and he wonders where it’s going to end. But this is nothing more than an anomalous moment of reflection. He shakes it off and gets back to his life.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17305-8 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 04:18 PM

This building is of the sheer-walls-of-solid-glass school of architecture and so the windows go floor-to-ceiling, providing, through a bead curtain of raindrops, a view of nighttime Tokyo that stretches over the horizon. Menus are handed out, printed in French only. Randy and Avi get the girl menus, with no prices. Goto Dengo gets the wine list, and pores over it for a good ten minutes before grudgingly selecting a white from California and a red from Burgundy. Meanwhile, Furudenendu is leading them in exceedingly pleasant small talk about the Crypt.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17680-84 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:36 PM

The sommelier comes around with the wines and Goto Dengo interrogates him in a mixture of Nipponese and French for a while, until a film of sweat has broken out on the sommelier’s brow. He samples the wines very carefully. The tension is explosive as he swirls them around in his mouth, staring off into the distance. The sommelier seems genuinely startled, not to mention relieved, when he accepts both of them. The subtext here would seem to be that hosting a really first-class dinner is a not insignificant management challenge, and that Goto Dengo should not be bothered with social chatter while he is coping with these responsibilities.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17693-97 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:38 PM

Dinner arrives; and so everyone has to eat for a bit, and to thank Goto-sama for his excellent recommendation. Avi gets a bit reckless and asks the old man if he might regale them with some reminiscences about Douglas MacArthur. He grins, as if some secret has been ferreted out of him, and says, "I met the General in the Philippines." Just like that, he’s jujitsued the topic of conversation around to what everyone actually wants to talk about. Randy’s pulse and respiration ratchet up by a good twenty-five percent and all of his senses become more acute, almost as if his ears have popped again, and he loses his appetite. Everyone else seems to be sitting up a bit straighter too, shifting in their chairs slightly. "Did you spend much time in that country?" Avi asks.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17713-19 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:41 PM

"You are going to take the gold out and dump it into the ocean, then?" "No," Avi says, with a nervous chuckle. Goto Dengo raises his eyebrows. "Oh. So, you wish to become rich as part of the bargain?" At this point Avi does something that Randy’s never seen him do, or even come close to doing, before: he gets pissed off. He doesn’t flip the table over, or raise his voice. But his face turns red, the muscles of his head bulge as he clenches his teeth together, and he breathes heavily through his nose for a while. The Gotos both seem to be rather impressed by this, and so no one says anything for a long time, giving Avi a chance to regain his cool. It seems as though Avi can’t bring words forth, and so finally he takes his wallet out of his pocket and flips through it until he’s found a black-and-white photograph, which he pulls from its transparent sleeve and hands across to Goto Dengo. It’s a family portrait: father, mother, four kids, all with a mid-twentieth century, Middle-European look about them. "My great-uncle," Avi says, "and his family. Warsaw, 1937. His teeth are down in that hole. You buried my uncle’s teeth!" Goto Dengo looks up into Avi’s eyes, neither angry nor defensive. Just sad. And this seems to have an effect on Avi, who softens, exhales finally, breaks eye contact.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17794-804 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:51 PM

The tension has been broken. Everyone’s relaxed, not to say exhausted. "General Wing is very close to finding Golgotha," Randy says, after a decent interval has ticked by. "It’s him or us." "It’s us, then," says Goto Dengo.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17810-12 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:51 PM

"This is Jesus Christ who taketh away the sins of the world," Goto Dengo says. "Enoch Root, no one knows the sins of the world better than me. I have swum in those sins, drowned in them, burned in them, dug in them. I was like a man swimming down a long cave filled with black cold water. Looking up, I saw a light above me, and swam towards it. I only wanted to find the surface, to breathe air again. Still immersed in the sins of the world, at least I could breathe. This is what I am now."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17849-52 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:55 PM

"The world is bleeding. It needs medicine and bandages. These cost money." "But before this war, all of this gold was out here, in the sunlight. In the world. Yet look what happened." Goto Dengo shudders. "Wealth that is stored up in gold is dead. It rots and stinks. True wealth is made every day by men getting up out of bed and going to work. By school children doing their lessons, improving their minds. Tell those men that if they want wealth, they should come to Nippon with me after the war. We will start businesses and build buildings." "Spoken like a true Nipponese," Enoch says bitterly. "You never change."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17863-68 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:57 PM

"My condition is that if that gold ever comes out of the ground, it should be used so that we do not have any more wars like this one." "And how should we accomplish such a thing, Goto Dengo?" Goto Dengo sighs. "You put a big weight on my shoulders!" "No. I did not put the weight on your shoulders. It has always been there." Enoch Root stares mercilessly into Goto Dengo’s tormented face. "Jesus takes away the sins of the world, but the world remains: a physical reality on which we are doomed to live until death takes us away from it. You have confessed, and you have been forgiven, and so the greater part of your burden has been taken away by grace. But the gold is still there, in a hole in the ground. Did you think that the gold all turned into dirt when you swallowed the bread and the wine? That is not what we mean by transubstantiation." Enoch Root turns his back and walks away, leaving Goto Dengo alone in the bright avenues of the city of the dead.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17883-90 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 07:58 PM

John Wayne is patrolling the surf with a cigarette and a pump shotgun. Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe rates the probability of frogman attack rather low because the gold in the pamboat is only worth two and half million dollars, an amount that hardly rates anything as elaborate, and expensive, as a seaborne assault. John Wayne needs to be there in case someone gets the mistaken impression that they’ve somehow managed to pack ten or twenty times that much gold into the pamboat. This seems improbable from a hydrodynamics standpoint. But Doug says that overestimating the intelligence of the enemy is, if anything, more dangerous than underestimating it.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 17927-31 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 08:02 PM

He arouses violent controversy among a loose flock of chickens that is straggling across his path, none of whom can seem to figure out how to get out of his way; they’re scared of him, but not mentally organized enough to translate that fear into a coherent plan of action.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 18059-60 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 08:21 PM

"Yes. Secretary of State Stimson did away with it, he said ‘Gentlemen do not read one another’s mail.’" Comstock laughs out loud at this. He laughs for a long time. "Ahh, the world has changed, hasn’t it, Waterhouse? Without reading Hitler’s and Tojo’s mail, where would we be now?" "We would be in a heck of a fix," Waterhouse concedes. "You have seen Bletchley Park. You have seen Central Bureau in Brisbane. Those places are nothing less than factories. Mail-reading on an industrial scale." Comstock’s eyes glitter at the idea, he is staring through the walls of the building now like Superman with his X-ray vision. "It is the way of the future, Lawrence. War will never be the same. Hitler is gone. The Third Reich is history. Nippon is soon to fall. But this only sets the stage for the struggle with Communism.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 18560-66 - Added on Tuesday, August 01, 2017, 10:13 PM

2. Use a bridge ordering. A description of a set of bridge hands that you might see in a newspaper or a bridge book is about a 95-bit key. If the communicants can agree on a way to convert that to a deck ordering and a way to set the jokers (perhaps after the first two cards that are mentioned in the discussion of the game), this can work. Be warned: the secret police can find your bridge column and copy down the order. You can try setting up some repeatable convention for which bridge column to use; for example, "use the bridge column in your home town newspaper for the day on which you encrypt the message," or something like that. Or use a list of keywords to search the New York Times website, and use the bridge column for the day of the article that comes up when you search on those words. If the keywords are found or intercepted, they look like a passphrase. And pick your own convention; remember that the secret police read Neal Stephenson’s books, too.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 19002-9 - Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:51 AM

  • Baudot code is what teletypes use. Each of the 32 characters in the teletype alphabet has a unique number assigned to it. This number can be represented as a five-digit binary number, that is, five ones or zeroes, or (more useful) five holes, or absences of holes, across a strip of paper tape. Such numbers can also be represented as patterns of electrical voltages, which can be sent down a wire, or over the radio waves, and printed out at the other end. Lately, the Germans have been using encrypted Baudot-code messages for communications between high-level command posts; e.g., between Berlin and the various Army group headquarters. At Bletchley Park, this category of encryption schemes is called Fish, and the Colossus machine is being built specifically to break it.

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 19085-91 - Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:57 AM

"There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer. The system on which a message is enciphered corresponds to the laws of the universe, the intercepted messages to the evidence available, the keys for a day or a message to important constants which have to be determined. The correspondence is very close, but the subject matter of cryptography is very easily dealt with by discrete machinery, physics not so easily."

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 19105-8 - Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:58 AM

"There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer. The system on which a message is enciphered corresponds to the laws of the universe, the intercepted messages to the evidence available, the keys for a day or a message to important constants which have to be determined. The correspondence is very close, but the subject matter of cryptography is very easily dealt with by discrete machinery, physics not so easily." —Alan Turing

- Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson) - Highlight Loc. 19105-9 - Added on Thursday, August 03, 2017, 02:58 AM