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RE: Strange Signal <wheatwizard@puzzling.se>, Jul 25 2017

    Ok so remember that signal I was telling you about.  We'll I think I've figured
    it out.  I was noticing some periodic pattern in the data so I converted it to
    a bitmap and played around with the width until I got it to line up.  It's
    definitely a image. I know this sounds crazy but I think these are actually
    aliens.  I went back and did some analysis and the signal has a slight blue
    shift, which means whatever is making it is approaching, and fast.  So we have
    to do stuff soon.

    I've attached the image, hopefully you can make something out of it, it just
    looks like scribbles to me.  You've always been better at this stuff than I.  

    Thanks

    - Wheat Wizard

    -- On July 12th you wrote --
    |>

Attachment

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  • $\begingroup$ Love it! Too bad it's got solved so quickly. $\endgroup$ – hiergiltdiestfu Jul 26 '17 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ Has a correct answer been given? If so, please don't forget to $\color{green}{\checkmark \small\text{Accept}}$ it :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Aug 1 '17 at 0:42
20
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Each scribble represents

the path across a typewriter keyboard traversed when typing one word. (One of the scribbles is empty -- unless there was a single pixel I failed to spot -- because it corresponds to a single-letter word.)

The message says

PEOPLE OF EARTH YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE THIS IS PROSTETNIC VOGON JELTZ OF THE GALACTIC HYPERSPACE PLANNING COUNCIL AS YOU WILL NO DOUBT BE AWARE THE PLANS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE OUTLYING REGIONS OF THE GALAXY REQUIRE THE BUILDING OF A HYPERSPATIAL EXPRESS ROUTE THROUGH YOUR STAR SYSTEM AND REGRETTABLY YOUR PLANET IS ONE OF THOSE SCHEDULED FOR DEMOLITION THE PROCESS WILL TAKE SLIGHTLY LESS THAN TWO OF YOUR EARTH MINUTES THANK YOU

(and yes, I checked all the words rather than just assuming after reading the first few).

If you happen to know

anyone by the name of Ford

then I would suggest getting in touch quickly.

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer is correct. May I ask what method you used to figure it out? This was very fast. $\endgroup$ – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Jul 25 '17 at 23:42
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ You're welcome to ask but I don't think I have a very enlightening answer. The thought process went something like this: 1. That looks pretty incomprehensible. 2. Hmm, they all seem to fit into a thing of about the same shape. 3. Hmmmm, seems like slightly less than 10 things on each of 3 lines; perhaps each position coresponds to a letter. Looks like we don't use the extreme bottom right. Perhaps it goes A-I, J-R, S-Z or something. 4. The rows don't quite line up. 5. Duh, of course there's another way to arrange the letters on three rows. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 25 '17 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ Then the third word was pretty easy to get, at which point I was sure my guess about the encoding method was right. The first two words followed, and at that point there was an obvious guess at the message. Checking was easy because (1) I know the text pretty well and (2) I'm a decent touch-typist and when I think of a word I can fluently imagine where my fingers go. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 25 '17 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ I liked the puzzle, by the way. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 25 '17 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Also, great movie reference $\endgroup$ – Shirkam Jul 26 '17 at 10:40

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