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 their native language not known by the enemies. 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. By using only two words the code is easily cracked. Unlike the Navajo Marines, this process does not add security because it easily can be decrypted and is also much slower than simply transmitting the file over a network.

The title text states that Randall used "neutral" instead of "zero" because this word doesn't exist in Navajo.


[A man is looking at a computer monitor and speaking into a microphone.]
Code talker: 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,
[Two men are talking nearby.]
Cueball: For added security, after we encrypt the data stream, we send it through our Navajo code talker.
Friend: ...Is he just using Navajo words for "Zero" and "One"?
Cueball: Whoa, 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 ~~~~)