Padiel, Changes to the Key, and an Entropy Calculator!
Progress is slow as usual here in Trithemius land, but I’ve actually added quite a bit of content over the last month. First, both the Latin and English versions of Chapter 2, Padiel, have been posted — Hooray! Padiel is really the first full chapter of the Steganographia since it is the first chapter to contain a proper example (actually two examples) of a covertext concealing a plaintext.
While coding-up the “key” functionality to reveal the plaintext messages, I realized that it makes much more sense for the
button to appear directly below the text of interest rather than in the navigation menu, which was perhaps a much less obvious spot. As a side-effect of this change, each
now only controls one and only one section of text. Again, this seems much more sensible since had I continued with the universal
, pressing it would have caused so much plaintext to appear that the reader would have lost his or her place in the document.
Lastly, I added a brand new and potentially very worthwhile functionality to the Spirit Summoner. In addition to being able to “summon” each spirit individually on some text, you can now summon all the spirits at once by selecting “Pandemonium”. This performs — but does not display — the operations of every spirit and then ranks the outputs according to the relative entropy of the result as compared to the frequency distribution of a given language. Right now, the basis text is the Latin Vulgate version of Genesis but in the future I’d like to include English and German as well. This topic deserves a more in depth description which I hope to provide down the road. As for now, though, the ranking capability isn’t super interesting since I’ve only coded-up two “spirits”, Pamersiel and Padiel. The bigger idea, though, is that in the future, when examining a text for evidence of Trithemian steganography, this feature will allow one to rapidly determine which “spirits” are worthy of closer investigation. That is, spirits who produce a set of letters with a frequency distribution similar to a the frequency distribution of Latin (or English or German, etc.) may actually encode an intelligible message, whereas a spirit who produces nothing but z’s and q’s can be safely dismissed. As always, keep checking back for more exciting developments. Next stop: Camuel!
April 6th, 2016 by ACB