Binary Code

In the episdoe 'Cry Your Name' when Liz discovers that Alex signed a receipt
with binary code, moments before his death, it sparked a flurry of speculation
and theories on the Roswell boards.

Some thought it was a message or coordinates and many spent hours trying to crack the code.
Below is what I've saved.

What is Binary Code?
(I'm not sure if all of the following was written by one person, but some of it was written by ClaireBehr)

Computers don't have fingers to count numbers on, they don't even know what numbers are. Computers are made up of millions of switches. These switches can either be ON or OFF. This is Digital switching, from the Greek root di meaning two. This is where Binary code comes in, from the Latin root bi meaning two. Binary is represented by 1 and 0. Just as the Decimal system has ten digits(0-9), Binary has two(1 and 0). The numbers 0 and 1 are for human reference only. The computer knows nothing about numbers, only that a siwtch is ON(1) or OFF(0). At some point you may have seen a theater marqueue with hundreds of lightbulbs on it. The lightbulbs go on and off in a rapid sequence that spells out words humans can read. A single lightbulb being turned on and off is meaningless, but hundreds in of them synchronized can create words and pictures. This we communicate with computers. We send instructions for the computer to turn on certain switches and turn off other switches. In return, for each different combination of on/off switches the computer does something different.

One switch(one 1 or one 0) is called a bit. Eight bits (eight ones and zeros) is called a byte. The byte is basic unit in binary code.


Each one of the above sequences means something different. This is where the math comes in. Within the byte, each position is valued differently, unless it off in which case in is zero. A 0 bit is always equal to zero. Think of the eight bits as different positions. Just as explained above, when a 1 is in the ones position, it is equal to 1, when it is in the tens position, it is equal to 10.

I wiped the cobwebs from the brain and got this hexidecimal translation:
11100100100111011001 breaks into:
1110 = E
0100 = 4
1001 = 9
1101 = D
1001 = 9
So, E49D9

Octal also reads from right to left but you group the binary number in sets of 3:
011 100 100 100 111 011 001
In octal that becomes: 3 4 4 4 7 3 1
As I said before, if you take the binary number as a whole and just plug it into your calculator and convert binary directly to decimal you get: 936,409 I've tried grouping differently by adding 4 zeros to the right even though that's not what is ever done just to see what happened. I even tried lining the hex and octal number up with the alphabet. Nope, nope. Believe me, I was convinced Tuesday morning when I woke up that it would spell either Tess or Kivar. You should have seen me. I'm sure it was quite funny. ::redhawk sits up straight in bed and goes, "Aha!" Like a lightbulb went off in my head or something:: Nope. Nothing so far. The closest I've come is if you group the binary number in sets of 8 starting from the right just like I did for the translations to character sets, but instead convert each group of eight directly to decimal. (Yep, I know it's not usually done this way.) I got 14 73 217. I immediately thought of longitude and latitude and maybe a date. 14-73 ends up near Sweden, but up in the Norwegian Sea. Hmm... somehow I don't think that's what they meant. And 217 as in February 17th. I don't think that was when Alex was gone to Sweden, was it?

I think the numbers if they're going from left to right.. they are 14 - 4 - 9 - 13 - 9. 1449139. If they're from right to left it's 9 - 11 - 9 - 2 - 7. 911927.

When you take the numbers you guys found, 14-4-9-13-9 and line them up with the alphabet (ex. 1=a, 2=b, 3=c ect.) You get the letters: N-D-I-M-II don't know if that means anything but, it's worth a try.-Claire------

fan quote: OK, everyone--I just want it to be known exactly how "Nutz" this binary riddle is driving me! I was up most of last night trying to make some sense out of this. I came up with the same figures Terracore posted, he is absolutely correct regarding the the binary to decimal conversion. However, those numbers don't equate to anything meaningful. Examples: The ASCII codes for 1,2, and 3 are a white face, a black face and a heart (like on playing cards) respectively. Therefore, the 2-bitoffset arrangement can be deciphered using just those three symbols, plus zero, which is null. The four-bit offset reads as: 14: Two tied eighth notes (musical) 4: A diamond (again, like on playing cards) 9: An open oval symbol 13: A single eighth note 9: See above The five-bit offset reads as: 28: A math symbol, looks like a backwards "L" 18: A vertical 2-headed arrow symbol 14: The tied eighth note symbol 25: A vertical single headed (down) arrow /

The ten and twenty bit offsets are well outside of ASCII range. Now, this is not where the story ends. . .in addition to ASCII, I tried to decipher them using EBCDIC, another type of character set. I also tried converting the binary to Hexadecimal and Octal, butthe character translation in both ASCII and EBCDIC is nonsensicle. Nothing seems to make sense, and the sad thing is, this kind of conversion is not new to me, and I don't generally regard it as being difficult. Lastly, Clint, I think I know what you are getting at about the7+1 bits, but all that does is allow you to drop the character set down to the first 128 character, effectively lopping off the high-bit characters. This is primarily used in data communications, where symbols like boxes and circles are not sent in raw data format. I did, however, investigate this avenue as well, you see the 20 bits WOULD equal two characters in a modem transmission, because the communication hardware and software has to append a start bit and a stop bit to the basic 8-bit character. Therefore, if you divide the twenty bits in half, then strip off the first and last bit of each half, you are left with two 8-bitcharacters:

11001001 = Standard uppercase "I" 11101100 = The infinity symbol Of course, I don't think this is the right route because dividing the string in half leaves a zero as some of the stop bits, and this would not work--it would have to be a one. So, after many hours of scratching my head and staring, bleary eyed, at a legal pad, I am left wondering this: Does this really mean anything at all, or is it just random bits that they will SAY means this, that or the next thing? I hope they didn't drop an important clue, and then not bother to have it checked out by someone technical. I know that not just everyone can do binary, decimal, hexadexcimal and octal conversions, but hey--I'm not THAT old, and there are a lot of people who still do that kind of thing on a daily basis! PS: The symbolic characters referenced above are the "Windows Generation" equivelant to the original ASCII sysmbols that occupied those postions, but those traditional characters are control codes (non-printing). If anyone is interested in the control codes, let me know.

Originally posted by ClaireBehr: When you take the numbers you guys found, 14-4-9-13-9 and line them up with the alphabet (ex. 1=a, 2=b, 3=c ect.) You get the letters: N-D-I-M-I I don't know if that means anything but, it's worth a try. -Claire/

Morse Code?

This was sent to me by Josh D. - originally posted by Roswell Code on FF in 2004

In case someone has not seen this episode yet, I won't make this a spoiler, but in this episode Alex get's into deep trouble. He is depressed and signs a bill with 1's and 0's, and not his name. It looks binary, but I could not make any sensible words or numbers out of them. Then I tried morse:

can be morse for:
and if you split it like this:
- -- . . - ..- ..- -- .- -..-
it says:
I'm going to meet you max.

I don't know if this is just a coincidence, but at least it is a kind of sentence and it sounds like a message to Max. (But why use double uu?)

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