The smoke signal is one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication. It is a form of visual communication used over a long distance. In general smoke signals are used to transmit news, signal danger, or gather people to a common area.
In ancient China, soldiers stationed along the Great Wall would alert each other of impending enemy attack by signaling from tower to tower. In this way, they were able to transmit a message as far away as 750 kilometres (470 mi)[ citation needed ] in just a few hours.
Misuse of the smoke signal is known to have contributed to the fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty in the 8th century BCE. King You of Zhou had a habit of fooling his warlords with false warning beacons in order to amuse Bao Si, his concubine.
Polybius, a Greek historian, devised a more complex system of alphabetical smoke signals around 150 BCE, which converted Greek alphabetic characters into numeric characters. It enabled messages to be easily signaled by holding sets of torches in pairs. This idea, known as the "Polybius square", also lends itself to cryptography and steganography. This cryptographic concept has been used with Japanese Hiragana and the Germans in the later years of the First World War.
North American indigenous peoples also communicated via smoke signal. Each tribe had its own signaling system and understanding. A signaler started a fire on an elevation typically using damp grass, which would cause a column of smoke to rise. The grass would be taken off as it dried and another bundle would be placed on the fire. Reputedly the location of the smoke along the incline conveyed a meaning. If it came from halfway up the hill, this would signify all was well, but from the top of the hill it would signify danger.[ citation needed ]
Smoke signals remain in use today. The College of Cardinals uses smoke signals to indicate the selection of a new Pope during a papal conclave. Eligible cardinals conduct a secret ballot until someone receives a vote of two-thirds plus one. The ballots are burned after each vote. Black smoke indicates a failed ballot, while white smoke means a new Pope has been elected.
Colored smoke grenades are commonly used by military forces to mark positions, especially during calls for artillery or air support.
Smoke signals may also refer to smoke-producing devices used to send distress signals.
Lewis and Clark's journals cite several occasions when they adopted the Native American method of setting the plains on fire to communicate the presence of their party or their desire to meet with local tribes.
Yámanas of South America used fire to send messages by smoke signals, for instance if a whale drifted ashore.The large amount of meat required notification of many people, so that it would not decay. They might also have used smoke signals on other occasions, thus it is possible that Magellan saw such fires (which inspired him to name the landscape Tierra del Fuego) but he may have seen the smoke or lights of natural phenomena.
The Cape Town Noon Gun, specifically the smoke its firing generates, was used to set marine chronometers in Table Bay.
Aboriginal Australians throughout Australia would send up smoke signals for various purposes.Sometimes to notify others of their presence, particularly when entering lands which were not their own. Sometimes used to describe visiting whites, smoke signals were the fastest way to send messages. Smoke signals were sometimes to notify of incursions by hostile tribes, or to arrange meetings between hunting parties of the same tribe. This signal could be from a fixed lookout on a ridge or from a mobile band of tribesman. "Putting up a smoke" would often result in nearby individuals or groups replying with their own signals. To carry information, the colour of the smoke was varied, sometimes black, white or blue depending on whether the material being burnt was wet grass, dry grass, reeds or other, and the shape of the smoke could be a column, ball or smoke ring. This message could include the names of individual tribesmen. Like other means of communication, signals could be misinterpreted. In one recorded instance, a smoke signal reply translated as "we are coming" was misinterpreted as joining a war party for protection of the tribe when it was actually hunting parties coming together after a successful hunt.
Modern aviation has made skywriting possible.
A beacon is an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location. A common example is the lighthouse, which provides a fixed location that can be used to navigate around obstacles or into port. More modern examples include a variety of radio beacons that can be read on radio direction finders in all weather, and radar transponders that appear on radar displays.
Digital data, in information theory and information systems, is the discrete, discontinuous representation of information or works. Numbers and letters are commonly used representations.
A signal is any variation of a medium that conveys information.
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual messages where the sender uses symbolic codes, known to the recipient, rather than a physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus flag semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post is not. Ancient signalling systems, although sometimes quite extensive and sophisticated as in China, were generally not capable of transmitting arbitrary text messages. Possible messages were fixed and predetermined and such systems are thus not true telegraphs.
A message is a discrete unit of communication intended by the source for consumption by some recipient or group of recipients. A message may be delivered by various means, including courier, telegraphy, carrier pigeon and electronic bus. A message can be the content of a broadcast. An interactive exchange of messages forms a conversation.
Tactical communications are military communications in which information of any kind, especially orders and military intelligence, are conveyed from one command, person, or place to another upon a battlefield, particularly during the conduct of combat. It includes any kind of delivery of information, whether verbal, written, visual or auditory, and can be sent in a variety of ways. In modern times, this is usually done by electronic means. Tactical communications do not include communications provided to tactical forces by the Defense Communications System to non-tactical military commands, to tactical forces by civil organizations, nor does it include strategic communication.
In cryptography and computer security, a man-in-the-middle attack (MITM), also known as a hijack attack is an attack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe that they are directly communicating with each other. One example of a MITM attack is active eavesdropping, in which the attacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them to make them believe they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker. The attacker must be able to intercept all relevant messages passing between the two victims and inject new ones. This is straightforward in many circumstances; for example, an attacker within the reception range of an unencrypted Wi-Fi access point could insert themselves as a man-in-the-middle.
In cryptography a blind signature, as introduced by David Chaum, is a form of digital signature in which the content of a message is disguised (blinded) before it is signed. The resulting blind signature can be publicly verified against the original, unblinded message in the manner of a regular digital signature. Blind signatures are typically employed in privacy-related protocols where the signer and message author are different parties. Examples include cryptographic election systems and digital cash schemes.
The Polybius square, also known as the Polybius checkerboard, is a device invented by the Ancient Greeks Cleoxenus and Democleitus, and made famous by the Ancient Greek historian and scholar Polybius. The device is used for fractionating plaintext characters so that they can be represented by a smaller set of symbols, which is useful for telegraphy steganography, and cryptography. The device was originally used for fire signalling, allowing for the coded transmission of any message, not just a finite amount of predetermined options as was the convention before.
End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a system of communication where only the communicating users can read the messages. In principle, it prevents potential eavesdroppers – including telecom providers, Internet providers, and even the provider of the communication service – from being able to access the cryptographic keys needed to decrypt the conversation.
The Selk'nam, also known as the Onawo or Ona people, are an indigenous people in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina and Chile, including the Tierra del Fuego islands. They were one of the last native groups in South America to be encountered by migrant ethnic Europeans, mainly British in the late 19th century. In the mid-19th century, there were about 4000 Selk'nam; by 1919 there were 297, and by 1930 just over 100.
The Yaghan, also called Yagán, Yahgan, Yámana, Yamana or Tequenica, are one of the indigenous peoples of the Southern Cone, who are regarded as the southernmost peoples in the world. Their traditional territory includes the islands south of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, extending their presence into Cape Horn. They have been there for more than 10,000 years.
Military communications or military signals involve all aspects of communications, or conveyance of information, by armed forces. Military communications span from pre-history to the present. The earliest military communications were delivered by runners. Later, communications progressed to visual and audible signals, and then advanced into the electronic age. Examples from Jane's Military Communications include text, audio, facsimile, tactical ground-based communications, naval signalling, terrestrial microwave, tropospheric scatter, satellite communications systems and equipment, surveillance and signal analysis, encryption and security and direction-finding and jamming.
Fuegians are one of the three tribes of indigenous inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America. In English, the term originally referred to the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuego. In Spanish, the term fueguino can refer to any person from the archipelago.
Codes and ciphers were used extensively in World War I. The decoding by British Naval intelligence of the Zimmermann telegram helped bring the United States into the war.
Phryctoria was a means of communication used in Ancient Greece.
A hydraulic telegraph is either of two different hydraulic-telegraph telecommunication systems. The earliest one was developed in 4th-century BC Greece, while the other was developed in 19th-century AD Britain. The Greek system was deployed in combination with semaphoric fires, while the latter British system was operated purely by hydraulic fluid pressure.
The Haush or Manek'enk were an indigenous people who lived on the Mitre Peninsula of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. They were related culturally and linguistically to the Ona or Selk'nam people who also lived on the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, and to the Tehuelche people of southern mainland Patagonia.
Naval flag signalling covers various forms of flag signalling, such as semaphore or flaghoist, used by various navies; distinguished from maritime flag signalling by merchant or other non-naval vessels or flags used for identification.
The Selk'nam genocide was the genocide of the Selk'nam people, one of three indigenous tribes populating the Tierra del Fuego in South America, from the second half of the 19th to the early 20th century. The genocide spanned a period of between ten and fifteen years. The Selk'nam, which had an estimated population of 4,000 people, saw their numbers reduced to 500.
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