back to article Is this the most puzzling DEF CON attendee badge yet on record?

Attending the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas is always an unusual experience, but among the most celebrated features of the event are its unusual attendee badges. Reg man Iain Thomson attended this year's event – the 23rd – and we at Vulture Annex in San Francisco got a kick out of scratching our heads at the mystery …

  1. TheProf


    "It plays at 33rpm " I bet it also plays at 45rpm and 78rpm.

    The correct speed would be thirty-three and one third revolutions per minute. It's Imperial.

    1. Deltics

      Re: Pedantry

      Call that pedantic ?

      Strictly speaking, having been introduced by Columbia Records the system is neither metric nor Imperial (nor even a unit of measure). Merely an analog annotation. ;)

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Pedantry

      To be really pedantic, if you're talking records, this is Imperial.

      Its label also seems to have been encrypted somehow...

  2. P. Lee

    What does it say if you play it backwards?


    Oh I can't be bothered.

  3. Herby

    Of course there is the obvious answer:


    Or if you need letters: forty two.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Of course there is the obvious answer:

      I down-voted you at 4 upvotes to help you towards the mystical 4 up and 2 down :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course there is the obvious answer:

        I up voted before reading your post so it then said 5 2 I can change my vote by clicking on down vote but then it becomes 4 3. There doesn't seem a way to retract a vote, only change it:-(


  4. Stuart Dole

    Androcles and the Lion

    Hint about the script.

  5. Eugene Goodrich

    Both sides together?

    It would be lovely if the numbers in the first side were indexes into pieces of the second side which must be snipped out and laid together.

  6. Marc 13
    Black Helicopters

    1057 the plot.

    Quote: " One side features the number "13782 1A 1057-271828" "

    That ALSO contains the numbers 1057 or LOST as you point out further down...

    Waiting for the black helicopters!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1057 the plot.

      271828 is the first 6 digits of the exponential constant e

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Kaltern

      we are the music makers

      Ode is a poem written by the English poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy and first published in 1873

      Possibly a reference to Edward Elgar's Dorabella Cipher, although that remains uncracked.

      But it's early and my tea has yet to affect my brain...

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime

        Re: we are the music makers

        I thought it was Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and Google... erm the Chocolate Factory

    2. Dabooka

      Hmm, I'm not so sure

      'But the Elan of to is probably supposed to be Elan off to.'

      Possibly but I find it hard to believe that after all this effort and the detail that is put into these puzzles, they'd let a simple typo slip through? Not impossible I know, but stills seems unlikely.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm, I'm not so sure

        (I posted this in reply while you posted your comment. I fully agree, TWO screw-ups, with 1057''s attention to detail.. highly unlikely)


        Since Elan is not proper spelling (It is Elon), and the of/off issue you pointed out. ;)

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      It's much more likely to be 'elcome to defcon...' and it's missing a leading '9' for 'w'

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


        I reckon the first part is probably a traditional substitution cipher. Replacing the numbers with the corresponding letters in the alphabet gives:


        to June 18th Two Thousand Twenty Four


        If this is a substitution cipher, it should yield to frequency analysis (for example, V probably corresponds to E or T). I don't have the time right now to have a crack at it - any takers?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. moo baa

        Well if 105710571057 represents 23 somehow (because it's DEF CON 23) and what with W being the 23rd letter of the alphabet, I'd say "Welcome" seems very likely.

      3. d3vy

        "It's much more likely to be 'elcome to defcon...' and it's missing a leading '9' for 'w'"

        Agreed, bear in mind that this is audio from an analogue source (record) piped into a PC and run through the DTMF software, its possible that some info has been lost due to not using monster gold plated cables. :)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



      Since Elan is not proper spelling (It is Elon), and the of/off issue you pointed out. ;)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. goldcd


    Image linked on website:

    Collar seems like it should have 26 dots, with a white circles covering a set of 2 and 3 dots..

    ..collar also seems to be pointing...

    ..and with this I really need to go to work.

  9. wyatt

    I look forward to reading the write up from the team which decodes it successfully! Last years read was very interesting. I don't think they had time to actually get round Def-Con and do much else!

  10. breakfast

    If it were me I would hide the interesting stuff in the music on the other side...

  11. Alistair Wall

    The script under 'Lost Boy' looks like Shavian:

    if hem ndt

    one thing hes


    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      Good spot. I actually installed a font that does Shavian Unicode glyphs [1] so I could compare the photo and the text. I think the correct (and more meaningful) transcription is

      if hes not

      one thing hes


      The Shavian is a bit random, though. As written, the first word ought to rhyme with 'leaf', the word "thing" ought to have been written with the Shavian 'hung' glyph instead of 'n+g', and there's a character for 'th', too, without using 't+h'. So it's like a transliteration of English words with 1:1 character mapping. I've got no idea what the significance of the phrase is, though. It doesn't seem to have a well-known provenance, if a search engine can be trusted. Could it be a passphrase? That would be a good reason to be character-mapped rather than written in proper shorthand.

      [1] MPH2BDamase

      1. DropBear

        Re: Shavian

        "if hes not one thing hes another" mean like, um, binary?

  12. bscottm

    3 degrees, not 33.

    There are three (3) degrees in Freemasonry, not 33. A full Master Mason is one who has been "raised" to the "sublime" Third Degree. That's all that's required to become a Master Mason and participate in a local lodge.

    There are concordant Masonic bodies, such as the Scottish Rite, who award additional degrees. Scottish Rite has degrees 4-33. Degrees 4 through 32 are earned, whereas the 33rd degree is attained by acclamation (you are voted in, there are limits on the number of 33rd degree Scottish Rite masons wandering around smartly.) York Rite has a similar, albeit, smaller degree structure.

  13. bscottm

    The raised hand... homage to Nimoy?

    Looks a bit like the half-Kohanim blessing that Leonard Nimoy used in the series (yes, every time Spock raises his hand in that particular way, he's giving you half of a ancient Hebrew priestly blessing that translates to "Live long and prosper.")

  14. Trollslayer

    If it was easy

    it wouldn't be fun.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Courtesy of /u/Thorwich on Reddit (

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