Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A security conundrum in Between Silk and Cyanide

One of the advantages of being a fairly public person (having written a book and having a popular-ish blog) is that I have a small coterie of regular correspondents who send me interesting links and thoughts. One of these is a gentleman who sent me a copy of Leo Marks' Between Silk and Cyanide as a gift.

Along with the book came a cryptic note that there was an unsolved mystery in the book. Later I asked him about the mystery which turns out to be this passage:

I've thought about this and am having a hard time coming up with a solution. What could one agent be told that he would not forget but would be unable to recall? Something he could pass on (not in writing) to the other agent, but that if captured and tortured he'd be unable to reveal.

Any clever thoughts?

PS The only thing I got reminded of was this paper: Passwords you’ll never forget, but can’t recall. Perhaps PANDARUS took a photograph (or many photograph) and showed it (them) to MANELAUS. One would have meaning to MANELAUS but not the others, to PANDARUS none would have meaning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

'Sea trials' of a commercial 'Ponyo' boat

So, I bought a little putt put boat to complement the one that I made.

Here's a little film of it being tried out in a swimming pool.



Here's a closer shot of the little boat. It's entirely made from recycled materials. The heat comes from a sort of spoon containing a small wick and filled with candle shavings. In this photograph the spoon is inserted under the boiler.

And here's the spoon itself. I'd already used it and had filled it up with shavings from old birthday candles (they seem to burn very hot and work well).

On the bottom of the boat you can see the two tubes from which water shoots to power the boat forward.

With the roof slid off you can see the little boiler inside. The top surface moves making the pop-pop sound when the boat is moving.

And here's a shot of the top interior showing the markings of the (Italian) can of wood filler from which it was made.