Steganographic Poetry – A Rhyme Scheme

I was thinking about rhyme schemes the other day. You basically take a poem, like a limerick, and map the rhymes to letters. A limerick would be: aabba.

a There once was a man from nantucket

a Whose dick was so long he could suck it

b He said with a grin,

b As he wiped off his chin,

a “If my ear was a pussy, I’d fuck it!”

So I was also thinking about steganography. Steganography is the process of hiding a message inside other data. Some interesting applications of this have been the idea of taking a gif, which is really just a set of 1’s and 0’s, and hiding data in the image. The image wouldn’t change visibly, but someone who knew there was a message and knew how to extract the message, could do so while others just admire the vacation photos.

The cool thing about steganography is that it is misdirection, like the old magicians trick of flourishing one hand so that the other could do the important part of the trick. If I just send off an encrypted message, anyone who gets a hold of it not only knows that there’s something fishy going on, but also that it is important enough to hide! They’d know to get cracking on that message. Waste, a product of the amazing Justin Frankel, offers to hide encrypted file transfers by keeping up a steady hum of encrypted noise that only occasionally contains true data. The problem there is that you end up a suspicious guy – why are you always sending out all this encrypted noise?

Another problem with cryptography is that we have to exchange keys – if you don’t have the key to my message, you are in the same position as my enemies. You know there’s something in there, but you don’t know how to get it out! Steganography is letting anyone have the message, but tricking them into not looking for it. So if you know to look for my messages, you don’t need a key.

And when I thought about rhyme schemes it kind of clicked.

1. Write message that you want to encode. “help me”

2. write the letters out uniquely in alpha order. “ehlmp” – p is technically the last letter we will need to encode in our key.

3. Write the alphabet out to the last letter, then put a different rhyme sound next to each letter. We will need 16 rhyme sounds to reach p.

a – bake

b – red

c – crazy

d – shock

e – home

f – bike

g – ripple

h – art

i – fancy

j – jam

k – quiz

l – light

m – door

n – sing

o – lay

p – lie

That was much easier than I expected!

4. Now you write a nice message, each sentence ending with a rhyme word for 16 lines, then ending with words that rhyme with your rhyme words for the rest of it.

Bob,

Don’t know what’s up with you, hope you’ve made some time to go to the lake. Those good old days keep going through my head. Everything is fine here, not working too hard, not being too lazy. Did you see the portrait of “The Man from Little Rock”? Clinton’s going to get hung under the capital dome. Just not how the republicans would like! Don’t know how it will affect the current election, but I suspect we will see some kind of ripple.

How’s your tart? She’s okay with the pregnancy? Just kidding, I know you’re not ready to start a fam. More like ready to start a biz! Her brother’s still living with you, right? No particular reason I’m asking for. Just want to keep up on everything. You know how we say. I know I’m just rambling now, can’t think of anything no matter how much I try. Just wanted to make sure we keep in touch, guess writing this is a start. Old friends, they are important to stay up with, no matter how far we roam. Am I right? Do I lie?

Well, that’s what this letter is for. Didn’t mean to write such a tome

Write back,

mlk

— That was tougher, but not that bad. The bold letters are the bits that contain our actual message, and I’ve italicized the correponding bits in the beginnning. See if you go through the letter and assign a rhyme scheme you will find it looks like this:

a Bob, Don’t know what’s up with you, hope you’ve made some time to go to the lake.

b Those good old days keep going through my head.

c Everything is fine here, not working too hard, not being too lazy.

d Did you see the portrait of “The Man from Little Rock”?

e Clinton’s going to get hung under the capital dome.

f Just not how the republicans would like!

g Don’t know how it will affect the current election, but I suspect we will see some kind of ripple.

h How’s your tart?

i She’s okay with the pregnancy?

j Just kidding, I know you’re not ready to start a fam.

k More like ready to start a biz!

l Your dad’s still living with you, right?

m No particular reason I’m asking for.

n Just want to keep up on everything.

o You know how we say.

p I know I’m just rambling now, can’t think of anything no matter how much I try.

h Just wanted to make sure we keep in touch, guess writing this is a start.

e Old friends, they are important to stay up with, no matter how far we roam.

l Am I right?

p Do I lie?

m Well, that’s what this letter is for.

e Didn’t mean to write such a tome…

So advantages of this form of steganography:

1. Can be done without special equipment

2. Can be quickly decoded.

3. Easy to send disinformation without corrupting the message

Interesting feature:

May be difficult to use for different dialects. My girlfriend is a brit, so she pronounces words differently than I do. She might have a very tough time with my message, since the rhyme scheme may not match up for her. So this may be more useful for people from similar geographic regions.

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