Hagelin and NSA

Last summer, I was reading an article about the Enigma machine, you know, the crypto machine that the Nazis amply used to cipher their communications and that was successfully broken by polish an then mostly brits during World War II, when I googled for other portable crypto machines used during the Cold War and I ended reading other article about the Hagelin CD-57.

Isn’t it beautiful?

At first glance, it looked to me as an old transistored radio, like the Sanyo TH-632 that I’ve talked before, but it’s more like a miniaturized version of the Enigma with all its rotors but no keys. Cryptographically improved, of course. This machine is very well described in this web of the online Crypto Museum that I encouraged you to read.

I rapidly got hooked on this gadget and I wanted to know more about the company and the people that made it. It turns out that the history of this machine and the company deserves a spy movie itself. It involves a Russian born-Swedish engineer, a Nobel company, military business with rival countries, an escape to USA, a deal with the NSA, a wayward son and released secret documents. This “Gentleman Pact” deserves your next 15 minutes. Enjoy them!

PS: Recently, some articles appeared in the press about this history (Washington Post, BBC, The Guardian and even in Spanish El País). They talk about how an investigation of the Washington Post reveals how the CIA was able to read the encrypted communications of allies and adversaries. I don’t know how those reporters can say that if the Crypto Museum wrote their information first…

Graeme Obree

O de cómo un ciclista amateur batió el record de la hora. Dos veces. No tenía ni idea de quién era este “Escocés Volador” y me ha gustado mucho la épica historia que resumieron hace ya un tiempo en la web de Tuvalum. Es increíble cómo el dinero y los intereses comerciales se meten en todos lados e intentan frustrar el sueño de las personas. Aún así, me quedo con Induráin.


Or how an amateur cyclist broke the hour record. Twice. I had no any idea who this “Flying Scotsman” was and I really liked this epic story summarized a while back on the Tuvalum website. It is amazing how money and business interests are found everywhere and try to frustrate people’s dreams. Still, I stick with Induráin.

Calculating lines

And now, classic chess. In this video, Kasparov is explaining all his threads of thinking during one of his matches against Karpov. He won sacrificing his Queen, somtehing that is very unusual among Grandmasters. There are two things that impress me the most:

1.- How Kasparov can remember all the positions of the pieces each time he starts to explain one line and how he handles the pieces (mine were propably be all over the ground at his speed).

2.- How Karpov was as amazing as Kasparov. He checks all the possibilities after the last Kasparov’s move in just seconds and correctly decides to resign.

Fake it until you make it

Bad philosphy, especially for a company that plays with human lives. The case of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, perfectly captured in this HBO’s documentary. I highly recommend you to watch it.

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