InterroLoop: Day 1 – Cryptology Museum

20100503-1-InterroLoopAndrew, my first host. Awesome taste in hats.

Andrew’s couch was sufficiently comfortable that my rugged determination prevented his bay window from rousing me at the crack of 8.  He’s close to the NSA headquarters (or the one we’re allowed to know about), so we shot over to meet Ken Bateman/NovaDenizen at “the parking lot”.  This was a surprisingly difficult task as there’s no real signage for Museum vs. MiniTruth.  Our first three passes were towards the headquarters rather than the museum and each time we dropped off some piece of contraband after passing successive signs starting with our cell phones, then cameras, then our dignity as we learned that the NSA strategically hid their museum behind some planes.


I took a picture of an awesome spy plane which due to cloaking, looks like this one.

I also learned that working for the government wasn’t as glamorous as I thought.


Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

Arriving at the actual museum, we met up with a docent the staff referred to as “General” and who probably cracked codes for Washington.


The "General". In another picture, he looks like diabeetus docent.

He asked us what we wanted to see, but as with most tour guides, he showed us what he knew, which largely consisted of US cryptology through the 1960s.  I asked about steganography (hidden writing) and he kept making “if I showed you I’d have to kill you” references.  At one point he brought up the Global Consciousness Project and he went from friend to foe.  Such unmitigated woo as the Princeton eggs lack a mechanism, rigor, and grounding.  I refused to cede the point and Ken suggested to me that I may have been IRL trolled.



The guide again hit my skeptic nerve when he indicated the complexity of DNA was proof of a creator.  DNA isn’t a code, it’s a recipe.  With a code and an encryption scheme, one can go from codetext to plaintext and back.  There is no such option with a recipe; as one can’t determine the exact ingredients and process of a cake by looking at it, one can’t determine a genome strictly from the phenotype.  Ken and I noted that the displays had calibration stickers on them (which he’s looking at above) and during this discussion we somehow picked up a barnacle.


Das Barn

His opening question was “so what was your first computer” which sounds like what would happen if we were being picked up by a gay assembly code programmer.  We lost him in the gift shop after he asked us about bible codes and we traded his presence for a stereotype that reminded Nova of the art style of TF2.


I'd say more Monty Python than CF Leyendecker

I had a delightful dinner with the two and departed for Langley Air Force Base.  The Virginia sunset between tree breaks was fiery and I stopped to capture it.


4 stop tonemapped HDR of sunset.

I called my next host, realizing this was the first time I’d actually heard him, and he guided me into Langley Air Force Base.


Guess where?

Chris/Captain Obvious is a mental health professional for the air force with a 8-5 job and weekends off which is probably the most immasculating combination in the eyes of more “hardcore” service members from other branches, I think he’s swell.  He largely works with people dealing with stress, and PTSD, which makes sense when servicing people who work in intelligence. Additionally, he makes fine nachos.

We played some TF2 which was difficult as my laptop was perched on a night stand with a web-like net of cables connecting it and under the commandment of “Thou shalt not wake the neighbors”, demand I rarely have to worry about otherwise.  The night ended with Chris refusing to read me a bedtime story. :-(