[Humanist] 29.19 when the signal is the noise: a tool

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue May 12 07:31:40 CEST 2015

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 19.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 11 May 2015 11:50:43 +0100
        From: Alexander O'Connor <Alex.OConnor at scss.tcd.ie>
        Subject: SCIGen steganography tool for CFPs

SCIpher is a program that can hide text messages within seemingly innocuous scientific conference advertisements. It is based on the context-free grammar used in SCIgen, but instead of randomly piecing together sentences, it uses your input message to control the text it generates. Then, given SCIpher output, it can recover the original message by reverse-engineering the choices made at encoding-time.

One useful purpose for such a program is to communicate secret messages that don't look like secret messages. Encrypted emails, for example, might signal to snoopers that you are an interesting person who bears investigation. However, in our experience when you send out a Call for Papers (CFP) announcement, it's very unlikely that anyone will read it.

In addition, you can use these context-free CFPs to solicit submissions to your very own academic conference. If WMSCI could do it, why not you?


For when the signal is the noise.

Dr. Alexander O'Connor
Knowledge & Data Engineering Group
School of Computer Science & Statistics
Trinity College, University of Dublin 
Dublin 2, Ireland
Alex.OConnor at scss.tcd.ie

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