Communication of information between living things happens in many fascinating ways. Animals and plants pass messages back and forth using visual, auditory and chemical clues. Animal body language conveys silent messages as for example in the four images above. In all human cultures the first expression would communicate surprise. In the second, the subject is purposefully communicating a specific message. The third and fourth expressions are more subtle and so knowledge of the individual’s moods and habits would probably be necessary for an accurate understanding.
Beyond body language, there are myriad other ways humans communicate. For situations when people are at a distance but are in sight of each other,
semaphore uses flags to signal letters and words of messages. Morse code was invented in 1872 to use on the new telegraph machines. Ships at sea hoist flags on their masts to convey messages to passing boats. Sign language using a hand alphabet enables the deaf to communicate effectively. And of course, people communicate using sound, spoken language and written language.
Are you surprised to know that English is the third most common "first" language? It is spoken by than 400 million people while, if all of its varieties are counted together, the language spoken by the largest number is Chinese with over 1.2 billion speakers. Esperanto, a constructed international language published in 1887, devised by L. L. Zamenhof as an easy-to-learn language that would serve for global communication, is estimated to be spoken by up to 2 million people around the world. A vast amount of information communicated among humans now uses tools such as radio, television, telephone and, ultimately, the product of the digital era, the Internet.
Inevitably, people have always needed to communicate secretly and over the centuries many different types of secret writings or codes have been created. During the American Civil War, for example, a code called the Rail Fence Cypher was used. In this code EXPLORIT SCIENCE CENTER! would be encoded in two stages. The first stage would look like this: EX PL OR IT SC IE NC EC EN TE R! and the second, final encoding, would result in: E P O I S I N E E T R X L R T C E C C
N E ! This should be a sufficient clue to help you decypher our stumper puzzlers.
A. An encoded message
written in the Rail Fence Code described in Henry
Lysing’s ‘Secret Writing:
T I K T R I E P O I H N I T Y T X L R T
B. A harder version
(This one uses a similar technique but not the same
Television signals broadcast for reception via satellite dishes are
E R T T R E P A N Y E O E N I C C P D P V T R Y