257: Code Talkers

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Code Talkers
As far as I can tell, Navajo doesn't have a common word for 'zero'.  do-neh-lini means 'neutral'.
Title text: As far as I can tell, Navajo doesn't have a common word for 'zero'. do-neh-lini means 'neutral'.


Code talkers are persons who communicate using a coded version of their native language. The most well-known code talkers were the Navajo-speaking Marines serving during World War II.

This comic shows a Navajo code talker transmitting an encrypted binary file by speaking "one" and "zero" (actually "neutral") into a microphone. Unlike the Navajo Marines, this process does not add security and is slower than simply transmitting the file over a network.

The title text states that Randall used "neutral" instead of "zero" because he was unable to find a common Navajo word for it.


[A man is looking at a computer monitor and speaking into a microphone.]
Man 1: A'la'ih, do'neh'lini,
do'neh'lini, a'la'ih,
a'la'ih, do'neh'lini,
do'neh'lini, do'neh'lini,
a'la'ih, a'la'ih,
do'neh'lini, a'la'ih,
do'neh'lini ...
[Two men are talking nearby.]
Man 2: For added security, after we encrypt the data stream, we send it through our Navajo code talker.
Man 3: ...Is he just using Navajo words for "Zero" and "One"?
Man 2: Woah, hey, keep your voice down!

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I am a little bit disappointed of Randall, that he didn't hid a secret message here. 101010000100110 doesn't translate in to anything (If you fill in the missing number). Nils w (talk) 11:44, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Since the binary data is said to be encrypted, it could contain any secret message you'd like, you just have to apply the right one-time pad. Hiding a plaintext message in a sequence told to be encrypted would be unlike Randall, don't you think? 13:26, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
All people always try is trying to interpret zeroes and ones as ascii codepoints... In this case it would actually just be T&. Does it mean anything? Well it's all in the *printable* and *first 127* ASCII characters so it might as well anyway. Sinni800 (talk) 10:00, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

In the Volume 0 book, the code changes and is 00111100 00110011 which means <3 Potato Gunman3 (talk) 02:00, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

I think that the comic is also about people not understanding cryptography.~JRM (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)