Treachery of Images

I had that discussion on different chats few times already, but it is always troublesome for people (not just programmers):

Representation is not data

And this concept is confused a lot.

Almost any of you know that you can do ping 1.1.1.1, however did you know that you can also do ping 16843009 and the result will be the same? Magic? Not really. What we commonly treat as an IPv4 address 1.1.1.1 is only textual representation of the IPv4 which in reality is single 32-bit number which is represented as dot separated 8-bit values just out of convenience. The same applies to SHA-1 hashes, UUIDs, etc.

We people are great in finding patterns and simplifications, so when one sees something like:

-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
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…
X5tXXRd2Jx3rkquLhlOaIfwx5ZKkc0jFvFq6L6iQ8M3w2osTTQ8wzLVrKcA/1E37
vzFw0eLlAHxqKKx8AGXhlG+bu4z9
=HbWE
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

Then they will automatically say that this is PGP public key, however it is not! This is only armored (textual) representation of such. We can find infinite amount of ways to represent this in different formats that will suit our needs. We can use binary format, we can post it as huge integer:

1657454081776872747238013876359322713234391537499703933766980145269184386317049
8330933605635736383746482612365150874768089262930090931944711968773749521913699
7027071169368463413472374786860753667060249108643195012586135134901393013828317
1125513524511702912188470760919764295140961468869648430645347829208242125220011
3151968877120814976862830922750002170809783899223077039784557147675345249970781
5464553976008128226157133495317638249211710007765696991167161819945117066390428
3919051957061561015867974004807638646034325543036054946820462087690124141551114
9854678368254378572150652196681912690617688434615368858186497935662439355552496
4729580502224487557084501045154245589928832642849687361389957940229955065758222
6366651257907657297666835432894495612402178521246832570964915000759172307812244
6160593540459285722105074344450899751799861113519463231780643100018160335021016
1172711806124926227346822406879926575104066365513850591901167977031017773147553
3494796072257580113875396010361380353105632085492892479603715336182682602428143
5608690637230685977144014723666813959973503662453370415571851701179428151882882
8889353256564968091064157105454996484998754991348566666564916601887263240881070
4832198618558083182213501188928625277122728831796445123889707032846261305648630
2527176048898518342591580941543224978208167594213111446673112848581061191825984
1291021894031447958561527430552161385666081569185835507259834732917990092146589
8117077934368522739843309368028814069423002395997449936891495583107309283509271
1180077432800679370662483747523408021854844321836016009650358574989381886337852
1722516883913145519094014205375128862340002341518180047810642843228568880540172
3417922325879216322183112046755680152782225539937453280161300294135511699130848
0976433759293246140554344092404212626999402181891603820290765820423321186458935
1984485518225135337585187247603955326905920439923621172092130464391731498388744
8750392578000721268878463072511675222925230106406594118598329633269324358794764
4929066475821912729913815944439237132097525066761248367529760023296968812652711
1354078624366444615698555226671150629567656072692570827367021777825853318746140
2863318577339635525264674498700520998767957283494612638659115064541050609931927
0626267703727694820552442716314957841578389580288169926927235290811137237887434
4221841397313800123531757418475100660454200912589623058183943877051413097869194
2339339754985429142461984170624136785051296102102697817632037910221364646864651
9855796964298457614203439681372147302465919398126442059583983219983682993673878
5195511144366725918343436684113783818943460018156359275075623210303933783990867
1450770230403557029292899962005967013424432778295850913345133681904640414130225
6074976712103846157531047532174675106877834562907257767751866399263004265826476
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1549556332762444079547546812082703704589345493095057789148939194264110489919019
4566170053142149254913384680974964028594308712215301647785051390937700375621904
6850793920957951588471978130651986351908543266002688052663010508763853950782008
2184664457189708083557342565742275344614046037371745586008320578024563750973078
8918522749313602046891225282398255933496131418430638794803291508377033406843725
5993318777198284973711860102116509775279126577240620025658230260626934855295524
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5408385218092192305802900158223031488228733997920493838052062060383233685427730
2479303637471252558356068491271641497786414938837109276566129349124360527596986
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2547253114427400839942700506775082503198395916277602696346477632254520324291510
7176423995375530679412205690580599798550778233049642580773735945645101772412041
9770061447364487938863821369661007066965634140967634082532169232884947757170676
4001778436464233464495522570739848976059303542657842980445747616892332657374307
3505719849994753220744681385854225182109628156151628193674787620122409837550175
0873904989000402627417710830371222663052469412680310145900108150056384479011904
2835209300157229749112634620468892621559922849964862659975166458450846483410310
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6795438095408475881223956725863549758305981513146677968273034768754628733774741
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4444464568286807145435412305718175821967958934523535510530750957533464207224580
2279373368828019548205439249352189164575083536583721094688224573324098240189090
5336968277502282844656778779596324101840145138970262636945152077842421376473220
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8489075707866445180273917549185493159488867602009975459154326516617446093785735
7657409659738148136025968774346968795138906298743560267773358615395905430092434
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8397267947223750920443272557916925997060835636847307503958963847413230458654999
1510218368567378788057116023931994479266585942028846093606765504042151064449401
7535053560571943565326163798733090077562063019270432774405336624206120162684878
2795961016400131165092351347259003395336488326011264715606875560607985355101479
1760498444803027184543196012361666512501664115266209446783611568980849759393366
9004607206787763941830633066297736259437811557856982004496007136271945140295164
1021123058841472126203195417354602182201593697351601555663719500088120144234523
6489841188841869277921900098197497636848312736842577887524394082685476810652434
4368023998666968889307055236194661569426524463555778731728379410827687126847841
9767542567328134223554830928399001003746312827667717886760656045983730239481725
0247192299979431368314503262526820359421826762698555934534502139292008724527340
8566373287784944330515935635629564982235980178134875308234950470548865802766425
3860142806266365958072884321048903006167833769100547151312160642686817573070175
8517347856656124090595544002510378196552188147101332012713619529417880258338847
9548595874229820385574539354556804227765871124740709294288382971201998678678558
1135393032892116765181068789505132747404363007086649489491404624220840121961493
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0131194615371938999731752172864595591147593535783229858980094812827904216900881
0264484164635513605434976822336090709152508883040986176420243997392303278619543
7132483818824284005791373572104029624554831023783619373272102143855002602772145
1625555397693952027234647740913597061447733291018249879406776786602117249183252
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3794929412192609471679420879441380627388660584277219132508113058600032222404868
2912812185436951502936757180777020507704813293182422695970566889605944405493165
1013050164683342445192514465075993459075480256309099680013258781889270979210377
2978191200620386753171174166739274414356307635252359045515977252139725132495302
4643451106675617568043015073444443099894159838269138387489278049925887086707284
7829572513234800005657626866917894409850513692287942317924246061209211855433159
9474862901923613493886199119281189221558415812534549155894713481042125093206748
5327877884372067603958264162802943954426330867112852706462838411380034486572690
0832825677844671600199639823373591008100835318576086939856769129801540454104086
1677822021197754242364262145059312498290181267047980332959890135114462272477083
2267001649763807453258389353505463199327476285470780889266423077199955133598911
4228000626496272875548822896127419699372645929502724379809375313984715132685176
4622127184084472238931211915326009413737074357833496656532089093339434182463301
4308133856938907909683630708624133178764345576977957526210285792755588339502313
8908965753207073692034844982785108219589789141504389489294521808974273153775683
4710352841094853913320997396720648350856909009547717827126308937619267105900330
5101845147776164022119091114165228791856934734405699522377750777712347632477472
1009173135645423776920173241282009759190193451325534130721465706915799208352319
7599436014849832502702741642253476812447287458898351283245611697635355626967353
1666248190388798775893317097285333032144668959144551590316718826094121548655064
7327190413743862383571166391385591854324294967408637687666499017919659934556270
6341760473807628223322195796330107447627192021125501916257505545056806593020009
7877518699192190569125611877551646125360935329152981694983591991442830972118425
6024578420108611596786779391910078283535602332400676206290364979979566874130677
6262721807685562884678614519635750114010818380727834704599313495363241399979019
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1934990177507763078658788020042351989886877390781804018450451154174423611071016
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0297580281513471442798728664035839834832168788094160691038978903832691745390723
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2645973159719700472616661742318567810513248327998862965177705803004760763074321
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3798100254154945537756689378818628238489975669085399495869198707118002332356201
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1324281031601472803905094128246361871536795078781179969095901324385165589352908
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5213445919902677380093249284489832185317941999559970629694476644944502557922299
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5999517514967645625805546197521789593944893957635299668589873242979729214565080
2261124045260532526154306748833731566597485067054072337617187788422439611692535
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2067544365025698588181983841271622441543580184070308095038169545529105805899001
5825565028451412722300055213104773432923209992505613530612435181227942384006400
6523874291660768676182135558923684054785558197662748591717032047925055385422584
8826587112169068650291428518318455696828296955217726852703371476729712500873714
9472757285042561083989577043290348125840395005244750850424202067248954262318073
3815815411200758900340511052777147951522351782525348580404031636340281256009099
3622685663270098759448305092624146163465790024589793366278716865415624355235291
3985878069536487297514629837101726802175517221106646456169044468305875210017956
3762872046696988950422497705388225997904571624738961093738188347083184831994615
5653340873908308859802165057177945265893576798033839250748977766722025452484918
4969906442004769360577067228954632576483279588054785969942183381969384204862823
5527295851917376805942967603231125591852023457112648669282453139677076502138626
9831545895899997311194908866099892662200438185858903893802349550297108232343975
7063807807

Before you ask - yes, this is my PGP public key as a single decimal integer.

Next time you will see someone asking for “shorter UUID” you can point them there and say - just pick shorter representation.