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Hi Mrs. F., my Dear,

While waiting for an answer from you, I tried to de-crypt (or decode) a peculiar sequence of numbers to find out if there is a meaningful message hidden in it. The sequence reads as following:

5 2 6 0 2 0 4 2 2 4 1 2 0 1 2 1 5 1 3 3 8 1 4 3 2 4 0 1 4 2 1 2 0 1 2 4 1 2 1 3 3 2 3

Each digit is the number of messages that I wrote to you before I received an answer (during the last 4 month). Therefore, this sequence was virtually generated by you.
On average, you answered after receiving 2.3 mails from me, what is not too bad, considering that you have been very busy writing your thesis. I already thought how to bring the ratio closer to 1 (i.e. that one mail from you is followed by only one from me). This would mean I have to write less frequently, but this unfortunately  would result in much longer messages – a nightmare for you. On the other side, asking you to write more often would prompt you to shorten your e-mails to an SMS format again. And these very short mails too often lack any opportunity to say something important (although you are much more experienced in saying a lot with a view words only).

To decipher a hidden message in the above sequence of numbers, one can group them pair-wises (i.e. 52 60 20 42 24 …..). Using any text that is only known to you and me (i.e. to the sender and to the recipeint of the hidden message) one can re-derive this cryptic messsage by considering each of these two-digit numbers as the position of the next character within the key-text (method is called book-cipher)  (as above:
1. character at position 52
2. character at position 52+60 = 112
3. character at position 52+60+20 = 132 and so on).

With the introduction of your MSc-thesis as the key-text, the hidden message reads :

n matti nfecatskedatt
On the first glance it might still look very cryptic, but by re-positioning the empty spaces and with some fantasy one might read it like:

inmate at infected cats kedat

Mrs. F., you have to help me further. Although I can read each single word now, I have no clue what you want to tell me. 

Take Care, my Dear
Michael
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Hi michael, 

Oh, I”m surprised how far you got with decrypting this hidden massage. To be honest, I was not aware that there was some “meaning” behind the frequencies of my e-mails to you. The more I am surprised that the words make a lot of sense to me: 


“KEDAT”  is the name of my  “INMATE” at the university, with whom I share an office. She was sick (“INFECTED”) with flue the last time we met. And now it might be that I (“CAT”) caught the infection from her.

I have one general question about the decryption you did: You put the code (the sequence of numbers above) onto your blog, so everybody can read them. Even though the introduction to my MSc thesis is only known to you and me (unless I”m going to publish it in NATURE, ha ha)  I guess with some computing power the hidden message can be deciphered by anybody else, right ?  So how safe is it then ?


Seeing forward to hear you opinion.


take care
/Mrs. F.



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Mrs. F., my Dear,

Sorry to read that you got cold. I hope it was not provoked by my intense search for a meaning behind the numbers (like a self-fulfilling prophecy). For myself, I try to “ban” the flue-bugs by going swimming in the cold once a week. Up to now, it seems to work.

Take Care, get better
Michael