# The new GG's binary banner: what's it mean?

David Johnston, the new Governor General, has the digital world confused.

Just what is the meaning of that 33 character-long string of ones and zeros that is emblazoned across the bottom of his fresh new Coat of Arms

According to the GG's website, "The wavy band inscribed with zeros and ones represents a flow of information, digital communication and modern media."

Alrighty then. But does it have any meaning?

Maybe. But if so, it's well and truly hidden.

Perhaps a real code monkey could divine an answer. But the smartest computer guy I know, my brother, couldn't figure it out.

Now, granted, he only took a quick stab at it. But, that quick stab resulted in not very much. Here's how the character string on the GG's Coat of Arms read: 110010111001001010100100111010011

As mentioned, it's 33 characters long, which, in itself is an odd construction for binary code. Each set of 1s and 0s in binary is usually lumped into strings of eight. So, on first blush, there's an extra digit in there.

But if you take the first eight digits, and translate them, you end up with an ASCII Ë, Hex cb, Base 64 yw==, or Dec 203.

Second eight ends up, in the same code order, like this: ?, 92, kg==, and 146 I could keep going here, but it's really not much help at all.

What if we put the whole thing in one string?

ASCII: Ë?*é Hex: cb 92 a4 e9 01, Base 64: y5Kk6QE=, and DEC 203 146 164 233 1

Here, I have two odd thoughts. First, what if we take the Hex code, and treat those eight numbers and letters as a Blackberry PIN address?

David Johnston seems to love RIM. He's spent a lot of time in Waterloo, Ont., you know, where RIM is based. He even talked about Blackberry in his installation speech. Oops. it's two digits too long. So, that won't work.

But, if we take the DEC code, and turn it into an IP address (but drop the final 1, like this: 203.146.164.233) we end up with a computer registered to the Loxley Information Company Ltd., in Thailand (which, according to it's annual report had 10,280.24 Million Baht in revenues last year. Sweet).

Anyway, at MY first blush none of this means anything. So, over to my bro for his help.

He translates things a little differently then my online binary translator: So the Hex String is 0xCB92A8E9 (0x is the Hexadecimal indicator). Run those through a Hex-ASCII converter and you get garbage.

But, it could be Unicode. But if it's Unicode, then we'd need to know what the character set is (and by the way, GG is not a character set) and we don't.

But my bro points out, 110010111001001010100100111010011 is a palindrome. That means, it looks the same if you write it from left or right, or from right to left.

Look:
Frontwards: 110010111001001010100100111010011
Backwards: 110010111001001010100100111010011

So, it's 33 bit code, and it is palindromic.

Brother says he tried chopping it into blocks of 7 and left padding with zeros to make 8 bits (ASCII only uses the lower 7 bits).

He split it at the center of the palindrome, and started chopping that way, but all he was able to come up with were some non-printable control characters -- characters used when communicating with devices.

Perhaps, of interest is that 110010111001001010100100111010011 (backards or forwards) has a decimal value of 6,830,770,643.

Turn that into a dollar figure (\$6,830,770,643) throw it into the Googles and...

"Your search - \$6,830,770,643 - did not match any documents."

Now, it's important to point out here that my brother has a job and his efforts pretty much had to be set aside for the day at this point.

But, there was something hidden in those 33 characters, but only if you "toggle the bits."

"The only thing that got me anything useful, was to toggle the bits, and take the first 16 characters which gave '4m'," my brother writes.

"So, the design process might have been: Designer's girlfriend's name is Mary. I'm doing this for Mary. 4M"

4m = 0011010001101101 Flip the bits, 1100101110010010. Reverse it 0100100 111010011. And stick a 1 in the middle before you join them together, and you get 110010111001001010100100111010011!

Of course, M could be anyone. Methuselah, for instance. Mobilaje. Or me.

But the fact those 33 characters are palindromic, has my brother convinced they were DESIGNED in Binary, instead of TRANSLATED into it.

So, perhaps those 33 1s and 0s really don't mean anything at all.

But they could have, and perhaps this is where the Coat of Arms design fails.

As my smarty-pants (and patriotic) bro points out, with seven more digits, they they could have written "01000001 01001101 01010101 01000001 01001101," which actually does mean something!

"AMUAM," an abbreviation of "A Mari Usque Ad Mare."

From sea to sea. Nice one bro.

(Oh my. Addendum here. There IS something freaky in that code, after all.

Turns out the ASCII character translation of 110010111001001010100100111010011, mentioned above, is some kind of evil machine code that inserts EIGHT blank pages into this story, if you print it from the Avid company's Inews program. Weird.)