Secret Codes by Ken Beatty
The most common codes and ciphers are in your wallet and they are used every day.
Do you use secret codes? Do you look for and understand strange symbols?
Do you send and receive messages that only a few other people can understand?
You are probably not a spy, but you certainly use a great number of secret codes, ciphers, symbols and messages. Everyone does! For example, which of these symbols makes you think of the word stop?
Most of these symbols for stop are familiar around the world, but some symbols have different meanings for different people. The colour red might mean stop or danger to some people, but in China it often means let’s celebrate.
Symbols for ideas like stop are not meant to be secret. Many codes are just shorter or faster ways of explaining other ideas. A stop sign really says, ‘Please wait here for a moment and look around. Are you sure there are no other cars or people that might cause you to have an accident?’ It would take too long to read all this at every corner.
Even language is a code. Although you can read the words in this book, you probably could not understand a common word like stop in more than a few languages. Other languages might look like secret codes to you. On the other hand, you may use or invent a new language that older people do not understand. Do you understand the word codes in text messaging? For example, do you understand this message? GR8 2 C U * This is not meant to be secret code, but many people do not understand it.
Only your close friends may understand your personal codes, like hand signs, lesson notes and the special meanings of the clothes you wear. Your clothes often show that you are in a certain mood or belong to a certain group.
For example, what does it mean when you wear a T-shirt and jeans? It could be a code to tell other people that you are relaxed. Uniforms are formal clothes that give information about a persons school or job. Among soldiers, a uniform and its decorations give a lot of information about the soldiers position and abilities…