Futility Closet book ad

A Hidden Message

Print our alphabet on a series of dials, like a combination lock, and you can arrange them to spell I GOT UP TO FAINT:

I GOT UP TO FAINT lettershift

In a sense this sentence is latent in our alphabet; it’s an artifact of the customary order in which we list the letters.

Further hidden messages, for what they’re worth:

  • AH ME, I AM A SERBIAN BOY!
  • I AM A FRENCH VET; I RAP MY TIN BOX.
  • OH, MY LAX FUR PEW! AS IF SHE LET ME BY A CROATIAN DAM.

In Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel Contact, an astronomer discovers that if pi is expressed in base 11, a field of 1s and 0s appears 1020 digits from the decimal point. If carriage returns are inserted at certain intervals, this field produces the image of a circle — apparently the signature of a designer who devised our mathematics itself. But even in the book, no one knows what this means.