Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School


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Other places are resurrecting flood meadows, moving earthen levees back from river banks where space permits. In an experiment in the Central Valley, researchers from the University of California, Davis, have flooded an almond grove to see how the trees cope with knee-high water while it leaches through the permeable soil. All such schemes have one aim in common: to capture runoff that would otherwise escape to the sea, and storing it in underground aquifers for later use.

For thirsty California, it is too good an opportunity to miss. The gift comes courtesy of the changes in surface temperature that ripple periodically across the Pacific Ocean. This huge body of warm water disrupts the equatorial jet stream, affecting weather patterns around the globe, allowing in the process storms to travel as far north as California. Probably, the extreme conditions of the past few years represent nothing so much as a dry run for what climate change has in store for the American southwest.

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There is a growing awareness that the depth and water content of the snowpack on the Sierra Nevada mountains, as important as such measurements are, do not alone define the severity of a drought, nor the likelihood of recovery. Overall, California's farmers use four times more water than all urban consumers combined. These vast underground aquifers—many lying beneath the agricultural heartland of the Central Valley—can hold at least three times as much usable water as all the surface storage areas combined.

In the past, farmers could let fields stand fallow when irrigation water was in short supply. That has become less of an option. The trend to permanent, rather than seasonal, crops—orchards and vineyards of fruit and nut trees instead of fields of lettuces, tomatoes and alfalfa—has made fallowing impossible in many parts of the state. To survive, they need a year-round supply of water. Unlike surface water—the allocation of which is strictly regulated in California—groundwater has been managed in a more casual manner.

Until recently, farmers have been essentially free to pump as much as they wanted. That has caused problems, lots of them. Sucking aquifers dry, for instance, has prompted the land above to subside, damaging roads, bridges and irrigation canals. Also, lowering groundwater levels in aquifers has sucked water from nearby rivers and streams, reducing their flow and harming their aquatic life. In basins close to the coast, aquifers are being replenished by seawater as much as freshwater.

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The salinity of the water pumped up for irrigation can then wreak havoc on crops. Meanwhile, the deeper the wells go, the greater their contamination from chemical fertilisers and manure as well as industrial waste. The majority of rural settlements rely almost exclusively on groundwater for drinking purposes. Treating it to remove such contaminants is a costly business—more than many small townships can afford. Trucking in daily supplies of bottled water could soon become a necessity. The law requires groundwater users to devise ways of managing the aquifers they tap, so extraction does not exceed replenishment.

Local agencies will have the authority to monitor the amount of groundwater withdrawn, and to charge users pumping fees. The fact is, California has all the storage capacity it needs—in its vast underground basins. What it is short of is water to fill them. A more realistic policy might be to use the surface reservoirs, not simply for supplying water to farms and cities during the dry summer months, but also for recharging aquifers during the wet winter months. At this point, it is customary to ask why so little attention is paid in California to desalination or recycled wastewater?

Actually, the state has tinkered with both. A desalination plant is currently being completed near San Diego, to serve 3. Recycling wastewater is a better bet. Some , acre-feet of municipal wastewater is used each year in California for agricultural and landscape irrigation, and increasingly for recharging groundwater aquifers.


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Even so, Californians discharge over six times more treated wastewater than this into the ocean or inland waterways. That could be recycled for residential and commercial use. A study done in by the WateReuse Research Foundation estimated that purified wastewater could yield more than a billion gallons a day of potable water—enough, says foundation chairman Doug Owen, to meet the needs of over 8m Californians. Coping with the extreme conditions caused by a prolonged drought like the present one has not been helped by inflexible, compartmentalised management. According to Jay Lund of UC Davis, the state uses six different accounting frameworks, in two separate state agencies, simply to track how much water is available for farmers and urban rate-payers.

As Dr Lund likes to explain, "A man with one watch knows what time it is, but someone with two watches is never sure. Dealing with the fickleness of nature is difficult enough. IN BASMANE, a gritty neighbourhood in the heart of the Turkish port city of Izmir, a plump, smartly-dressed young man, who asks to be known only as Uday, flips through videos on his expensive smartphone.

In one of them, recorded last summer, a rubber boat heaving with passengers begins to motor toward Greece. On shore, a visibly slimmer Uday, then an apprentice smuggler, smiles into the camera and waves goodbye to the migrants on board. Some of them wave back. Uday explains that he used the videos to convince refugees to choose him and his gang over the competition. Uday, who studied law in his native Syria before escaping to Turkey in , has no qualms about his work as a smuggler.

The Early Years

But today, Uday is out of a job. Turkish police have made the migrant trade risky and unprofitable, he says.


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For much of last year, Turkey looked the other way as an estimated , migrants crossed by sea into Greece. Turkey has since stepped up patrols in the Aegean. Some 92, migrants were rescued at sea last year, according to officials in Ankara, and operations against smugglers have yielded 3, arrests. In Izmir, taxi drivers face a stiff fine or a prison sentence for taking migrants to the coast. The crackdown has taken a toll on local trafficking networks.

He says the neighbourhood is thick with undercover police; avoiding them and Turkish gendarmes can delay crossings for weeks. Where he once sent up to 35 people per day across the Aegean, he says, he now manages perhaps 15 per week. His own wife is in Lebanon, and he frets that Macedonia could soon close its border with Greece, cutting off the migrant flow north to Germany, before they get the chance to cross to Europe themselves.

Yet the wheels of the smuggling economy continue to spin. Migrants huddle inside grimy hotels, waiting for buses to the coast. Jewelry shops trade pawned refugee gold. According to the International Organization for Migration, migrants have drowned or gone missing at sea since the start of the year.

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The number of refugees reaching Greece dropped from , in December to about 60, in January, but once the warm weather returns in March it is likely to shoot back up again. Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, says Turkey can do more, particularly in prosecuting smuggling networks. But that prospect is as distant as ever. Turkey has done more for the refugees than any EU country save perhaps Germany.

Home to roughly 2.

The welcome extended to them by the Ankara government is a big reason why most Syrians residing in Turkey have stayed put instead of heading for Europe. Most of the Syrians now crossing the Aegean are those newly displaced by the war. But the Turks are starting to close the door. In January they reimposed visa requirements for Syrian nationals arriving by air and sea, making it harder for refugees in Jordan and Lebanon to enter the country.

All land crossings with Syria are closed, meaning Syrians must be smuggled across the border to enter. Turkey is reinforcing parts of the mile border with fences and walls.


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  5. Human-rights groups accuse Ankara of deporting over a hundred people to Iraq and Syria, violating international law. Turkish officials deny such charges. Over the past few days, Turkey has pledged to open one of its crossings to tens of thousands of people fleeing the fighting in Syria's Aleppo. It has not done so yet. A recent Dutch proposal envisages ending the Aegean smuggling route by quickly returning all refugees to Turkey, and accepting applications for asylum to Europe from there.

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    tell tales out of school

    Getting Turkish agreement would require proving that EU countries would accept hundreds of thousands of asylum requests. In the short term, enabling better treatment of Syrian refugees in Turkey may do more to slow the flow. At least , Syrian children in Turkey are not in school, and health care and social services, though theoretically free, are underfunded. Most important is employment. As of January, Syrian refugees can officially apply for work permits in Turkey, though some restrictions remain. But, did you know vowels rarely are found in groups of three and almost never in groups of four?

    The, That, Then, and There The, that, then, and there are very common words that share several characteristics. Punctuation Some phrases, of course, contain punctuation. You can use such punctuation as a clue to help you zero in on probable words. The trick is figuring out which is which! Authors Cryptograms featuring famous quotes are often referred to as cryptoquotes.

    If so, you may be able to leverage this to your advantage. Common Patterns Sometimes, you just need to look for word patterns found in common words. Consider the following list and notice the positions of the repeating letters — both consonant and vowel. I do love the multiplicity of its interpretation.

    This short story is a marvel. It appears confusing and contradictory, but if you stop and consider who is actually speaking then its true nature is revealed. Admittedly, on my first read I was a little lost, though after a second read I began to see it for what it was. But, the short story is wonderful, truly wonderful. It highlights the working of the mind in a state of sheer depravity; it is disturbing and brilliant.

    Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School
    Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School
    Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School
    Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School
    Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School
    Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School Conscience of a Cryptographer: Telling Tales Out of School

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