The third Merlot link I came upon was one desinged by author Russell Schwager. Schwager?s webpage entitled ?How Does The...
The third Merlot link I came upon was one desinged by author Russell Schwager. Schwager?s webpage entitled ?How Does The Enigma Work?? For those who are history buffs, the Enigma Machine (which has a strong resemblance to a typewriter) was the device that the Third Reich employed to send and receive coded messages, during WWII (more recently, the Enigma machine was prominently shown in the fictional WWII films ?Das Boot? and ?U-571?). For years the Enigma Code played havoc with the Allies and their ability to crack and be capable of deciphering the encoded messages. One man, Alan Turing, is credited with near genius for his successful efforts in cracking the Enigma Code. The arrogant Germans were over confident in their technology and never realized that their machine and Enigma codes had fallen into the hands of the Allies. Consequently, the Allies were enabled to keep track of all the German orders, field commands, and troop deployment and positions. The curious feature about Schwager webpage is that a workable applet (facsimile) is displayed which allows the viewer to work with the machine as it was employed during the war. Another nice feature about Schwager webpage is its detailed explanation of how all the components, ?a plug board, a light board, a keyboard, a set of rotors, and a reflector (half rotor) [were] used in the machine.? Of particular note was that this machine happens to function quite similarly to our Math G discussion of the algebra ?input and output? diagram. There are several other links that offer the viewer the history I encapsulated here, along with multiple links to the Polish Academic Information Center, Bletchly Park, A Story on the Breaking of the Enigma Machine, UK Science site with a whole section devoted to Code-breaking, Another Enigma simulator, Code and Ciphers in WWII, The Code War, JHU?s Cryptology Class, The Enigma Exhibit at the NSA Museum, Making Magic, U-Web, The U-BoatWar 1939-45, The Enigma, More on the Enigma, and Think Quest Entry on Encryption. Encryption has been with humankind for thousands of years. But for those of us living in the Twenty-first century encryption is common place, in fact, it is ubiquitous; from military applications, to protecting intellection property (think Microsoft and its current OS: XP), and computer privacy (for example, making a purchase online with a credit card). On Schwager's webpage I read for a couple of hours (made use of several links) about encryption and the complex mathematical calculations that are routinely used in everyday software and internet usage, and toyed with the cipher applet as instructed (which I found fascinating). For students who envision becoming programmers, Schwager webpage hosts detailed information about how the encryption process is addressed and employed throughout the world; therefore, I suspect this somewhat historical as well as current application usages would be of benefit for math students and their instructors for in-class discussions, and I can not perceive an instance wherein this webpage would not enhance any classroom environment. Schwager's webpage appeared to me as having the highest quality content of the three I have visited thus far. Properly employed by an instructor, I think that a student?s knowledge of said subject would be immeasurably enhance, because there is the Enigma applet itself (how it worked), multiple links that accord consideration of history, applications, and instruction of the mathematical processes (concepts laid down with easily comprehendible language). Overall, I was rather impressed, and did enjoy having my knowledge expanded considerably (I like to understand how things work and their relationships in the real world). My overall evaluation of the Schwager webpage, its design and function, should not challenge anyone with the most basic knowledge and experience with computersand the internet.