Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cryptonomicon Footnotes

Cryptonomicon Footnotes

1. 1940 being a good year to begin experimenting with venereal diseases in that the new injectable penicillin was just becoming available.

2. As the Nipponese were invariably called by Marines, who never used a three syllable word where a three letter one would do.

3. "Hypo" is a military way of saying the letter H. Bright boy Waterhouse infers that there must be at least seven others: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie. etc.

4. Assuming, provisionally, that Alan is wrong and that human brains are not machines.

5. An evident paradox, but nothing out of the ordinary being out of America has just made this kind of thing more obvious to Randy.

6. A deprecatory term for a fighting man not good enough to be in the Corps.

7. Men with experience in Asia use the word "Nip." The Colonel's use of "Jap" suggests that his career has been spent in the Atlantic and/or Caribbean.

8. He has no hard data to back this up; it just seems like a cool idea.

9. He has made up his mind that he will use the English words rather than making a spectacle of himself by trying to pronounce the Qwghlmian ones.

10. According to the E.Q., derived from lichen.

11. Cantrell alludes to the fact that Plan One brought them a couple of million dollars in seed money from a venture capital outfit in San Mateo called the Springboard Group.

12. Shaftoe had had nothing to do for the last couple of weeks except play Hearts using KNOW YOUR ENEMY cards, so he could now peg model numbers of obscure Kraut observation planes.

13. The first one, mi, meaning "secret" and the second one, fu, having a dual connotation meaning, on the one hand, a symbol or mark, and on the other hand, Taoist magic.

14. Ever since the four wheel Enigma was broken.

15. 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.

16. Half an hour ago, as Epiphyte Corp. was gathering in the lobby, a big black Mercedes came in, fresh from the airport. 747s come into Kinakuta four times a day, and from the time that a person presents himself at the registration desk of his luxury hotel, you can figure out which city he flew in from. These guys came in from Los Angeles. Three Latino men: a middle aged fellow of great importance, a somewhat younger assistant, and a palooka. They were met in the lobby by the solitary fellow who showed up late yesterday with the cellphone.

17. This is dry humor, and is received as such by everyone in the room; at this point in the war, a U boat could no more run up the English Channel than it could travel up the Mississippi, sink a few barges in Dubuque, and make its escape.

18. Nipponese Army speak for "retreat."

19. It goes without saying that the Finns have to have their own sui generis brand of automatic weapon.

20. This phrase is a Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe parody.

Why? Just because, is why.
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