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The Voynich Manuscript
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WhistlingJackOffline
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PostPosted: 06-06-2012 11:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aw...

I really thought they were on to something... Confused
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MyrtleeOffline
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PostPosted: 08-06-2012 10:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

JamesWhitehead wrote:
I recently came across some interesting ideas about the Voynich MS by a writer called Sean B. Palmer:

http://inamidst.com/voynich/


The months associated with the zodiac seem like a few tiny lights being turned on in a very large, dark room! Smile


In this article/website Palmer mentions the difficulty posed by the fact that much of the writing is too faint to make out. I watched the Antikythera documentary on BBC4 the other day and it occurs to me to wonder if anyone has tried the "Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM)" techniqiue on the Voynich manuscript? They use a dome with flashes mounted inside to take lots of photos which build up an incredibly detailed image - it's been used on the Antikythera to reveal writing previously too crusted/damaged to decipher. http://www.hpl.hp.com/research/ptm/index.html info about PTM
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krakentenOffline
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PostPosted: 17-06-2012 03:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ankitheria device is a real poser-analysis has suggested it was a sophisticated device for casting horoscopes and doing astronomical calculations.

Sort of like the Magic 8 Ball. Which is a marvelous mechanism in itself, there's an inside look on line. Neat!

The Romans were just at the brink of modern civilization. They had invented the corporation, were doing great things with gears(there's a gravity powered flour mill in Italy that was automation at its best. Pour grain in the top, flour came out the bottom!) Hero of Alexandria was building automatons and mechanical dramas. The siphon was all the rage, everything that could fold, did.....

Then the barbarians came along, and it was a thousand years without a bath.

Heigh-ho.
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krakentenOffline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2012 02:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taman Shud is now well known, having morphed into a novel and a TV show, thanks to Stephen King.

Wonderful case, may never be solved.
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Heckler20Offline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2012 10:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

krakenten wrote:
Then the barbarians came along, and it was a thousand years without a bath.

Heigh-ho.


It is an interesting what if, would the Roman empire have remained a benevolent technologically but humanistically cruel enitity or would it have matured, had it not collapsed?
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krakentenOffline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2012 14:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember, the Eastern Empire persisted until the 1450s, and was still Rome.

Byzantium seems to have remained rather static, the technology was coming from Alexandria, much was being done there.

The Roman latafundia, an enterprise that was able to function like a corporation might have led to an industrial revolution centuries earlier.

Or destroyed everything. Once Libya was a breadbasket, but Roman greed turned it into a dustbowl. Later, the Arabs, under Beybars, enlarged this to make Crusader invasions impossible.

A study of the Crusades will shed light on the current situation in the middle east. Harold Lamb's book is not the most accurate, but it's sure fun to read, and hits the high points.
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JamesWhiteheadOffline
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PostPosted: 20-11-2012 01:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

escargot1 wrote:
Next Tuesday, 9pm, National Geographic Channel: New Ancient X Files, featuring 'the bizarre Voynich text'.


This has shown up on YouTube

Show has usual sluggish and plush tableaux of olde-tyme people but also covers the recent experiments on ink and parchment samples. As mentioned above, the date of the parchment is firmly stated to be early Fifteenth Century, while a curious detail of a castle's battlement-shape is said to fix it in Northern Italy.

Somewhat upholstered but well worth a look. Smile

edit 17th April: "it in" not "in in Northern Italy."


Last edited by JamesWhitehead on 17-04-2013 11:33; edited 1 time in total
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Zilch5Offline
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PostPosted: 17-04-2013 06:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great article from tabletmag.com - they have come up with a pretty reasonable explanation as to what the VMS actually is:

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/129131/cracking-the-voynich-code?all=1#

I found it hard to disagree with their conclusion!
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PostPosted: 19-04-2013 16:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
“After a few weeks, we found something no one else had seen,” Rugg says. His book, The Blind Spot, is due out in May, and has a chapter on the Voynich.


Aaaaargh! Surprised


Quote:
I found it hard to disagree with their conclusion!


Indeed. Perhaps the saddest explanation, as with far too many things, is the correct one.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 22-06-2013 05:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

But then again...

Mysterious Voynich manuscript has 'genuine message'
By Melissa Hogenboom, Science reporter, BBC News

The message inside "the world's most mysterious medieval manuscript" has eluded cryptographers, mathematicians and linguists for over a century.
And for many, the so-called Voynich book is assumed to be a hoax.

But a new study, published in the journal Plos One, suggests the manuscript may, after all, hold a genuine message.
Scientists say they found linguistic patterns they believe to be meaningful words within the text.

Whether or not it really does have any meaningful information, though, is much debated by amateurs and professionals alike.
It was even investigated by a team of prominent code breakers during WWII who successfully cracked complex encrypted enemy messages, but they failed to find meaning in the text.

The book has been dated to the early 1400s, but it largely disappeared from public record until 1912 when an antique book dealer called Wilfrid Voynich bought it amongst a number of second-hand publications in Italy.

Marcelo Montemurro, a theoretical physicist from the University of Manchester, UK, has spent many years analysing its linguistic patterns and says he hopes to unravel the manuscript's mystery, which he believes his new research is one step closer to doing.
"The text is unique, there are no similar works and all attempts to decode any possible message in the text have failed. It's not easy to dismiss the manuscript as simple nonsensical gibberish, as it shows a significant [linguistic] structure," he told BBC News.

Dr Montemurro and a colleague used a computerised statistical method to analyse the text, an approach that has been known to work on other languages.
They focused on patterns of how the words were arranged in order to extract meaningful content-bearing words.

"There is substantial evidence that content-bearing words tend to occur in a clustered pattern, where they are required as part of the specific information being written," he explains.
"Over long spans of texts, words leave a statistical signature about their use. When the topic shifts, other words are needed.
"The semantic networks we obtained clearly show that related words tend to share structure similarities. This also happens to a certain degree in real languages."

Dr Montemurro believes it unlikely that these features were simply "incorporated" into the text to make a hoax more realistic, as most of the required academic knowledge of these structures did not exist at the time the Voynich manuscript was created.

Though he has found a pattern, what the words mean remains a mystery. The very fact that a century of brilliant minds have analysed the work with little progress means some believe a hoax is the only likely explanation.

Gordon Rugg, a mathematician from Keele University, UK, is one such academic. He has even produced his own complex code deliberately similar to "Voynichese" to show how a text can appear to have meaningful patterns, even though it is "gibberish hoax text".
He says the new findings do not rule out the hoax theory, which the researchers argue.
"The findings aren't anything new. It's been accepted for decades that the statistical properties of Voynichese are similar, but not identical, to those of real languages.
"I don't think there's much chance that the Voynich manuscript is simply an unidentified language, because there are too many features in its text that are very different from anything found in any real language."

Gordon Rugg does not believe it contains an unknown code, which is another theory of what the text may be: "Some of the features of the manuscript's text, such as the way that it consists of separate words, are inconsistent with most methods of encoding text. Modern codes almost invariably avoid having separate words, as those would be an easy way to crack most coding systems."

As to its enduring appeal, an unsolved cipher could be "hiding almost anything", says Craig Bauer, author of Secret History: The Story of Cryptology.
"It could solve a major crime, reveal buried treasure worth millions or in the case of the Voynich manuscript, rewrite the history of science," he adds.

Dr Bauer's opinion of whether it is meaningful is often swayed, he admits. While he recently believed it to be a hoax, the new analysis has now shifted his opinion.
But despite this, he still believes it is a made up language, as opposed to a real naturally evolving one, or "it would have been broken years ago".
"However, I still feel that it's very much an open question and I may change my mind a few times before a proof is obtained one way or the other."

But Dr Montemurro is firm in his belief, and argues that the hoax hypothesis cannot possibly explain the semantic patterns he has discovered.
He is aware that his analysis leaves many questions still unanswered, such as whether it is an encoded version of a known language or whether a totally invented language.
"After this study, any new support for the hoax hypothesis should address the emergence of this sophisticated structure explicitly. So far, this has not been done.
"There must be a story behind it, which we may never know," Dr Montemurro adds.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22975809

More info on page.
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dreenessOffline
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PostPosted: 24-06-2013 23:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

krakenten wrote:
Then the barbarians came along, and it was a thousand years without a bath.



Quote:
The term ‘soap’ as we know it is derived from the Old Irish word ‘sle/ic’ or ‘saipo’. The Celts are thought to have introduced the substance to the Romans, who previously used sand and strigils (sticks) to clean themselves.

Some sources state that the Celts actually invented soap yet information of such is limited. Pliny the Elder, 1st century Roman soldier and author of a 37-volume “Natural History,” wrote that the Celts were indeed responsible for it inception. It is known that isolated tribes or groups discovered soap independently. Along with the Celts, The Vikings made a form of it as well. Yet, the Celts are thought responsible for introducing soap to Britain.
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CochiseOffline
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PostPosted: 25-06-2013 09:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

Semantic analysis has always been against it being a hoax - or if it was a hoax, it had to be that the hoaxer knew one heck of a lot about language construction. The analysis has always suggested it is a language with some of its characteristics obscured by the repetitive way it is encoded.

Still could be, of course, but essentially an insoluble question until someone decodes it and it says somewhere 'this is a hoax'. There are no obvious give always such as anachronisms in the drawings or materials newer than they should be.

That doesn't mean that if we did crack it we'd find anything terribly interesting, it seems to be someone self written reference book / opinion / ramblings on certain areas such as botany/herblore. It is the encoding itself which is the main fascination.
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eminaOffline
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PostPosted: 27-06-2013 17:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cochise wrote:
Semantic analysis has always been against it being a hoax - or if it was a hoax, it had to be that the hoaxer knew one heck of a lot about language construction. The analysis has always suggested it is a language with some of its characteristics obscured by the repetitive way it is encoded.

Still could be, of course, but essentially an insoluble question until someone decodes it and it says somewhere 'this is a hoax'. There are no obvious give always such as anachronisms in the drawings or materials newer than they should be.

That doesn't mean that if we did crack it we'd find anything terribly interesting, it seems to be someone self written reference book / opinion / ramblings on certain areas such as botany/herblore. It is the encoding itself which is the main fascination.


I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. I think that most of the analysis drawing comparisons with natural language is interesting but ultimately questionable at best. The list of potential language-like feature which have been identified is very short, very tenuous and in some cases totally self-contradictory. Meanwhile the list of obvious language features which are missing is as long as your arm.

With regard to this latest addition; I've just read the paper, and all I can say is that it's one more to add to the mildly interesting pile. It contains very little that we didn't know already,although the methodology is perhaps a novelty, and the way it's presented is simply awful. Personal opinions presented as fact. Cargo cult science. Straw man arguments. Overblown claims. Presumptive premises. The convenient omission of glaring facts that don't fit the hypothesis... You'll find it all in there!
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CochiseOffline
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PostPosted: 28-06-2013 06:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem with having a different opinion. I haven't the time - or in fact sufficient interest - to investigate it myself, but the chief characteristic of the text is its repetitious nature - or to be more accurate, the repetition of certain character sequences which would appear to be an artefact of the encoding used.

This characteristic reminds me of some encoding I saw while in government service some 35 years ago, in which the repeated character sequences were all 'noise ' except for one relevant letter. The repetition arose from the fact that in the method used, among other things, letter sequences in the noise would also be encoded - as a trivial example, imagine the letter X is prefixed by the 'noise' XAB - giving XABX - in this system the 'noise' X would also be expanded so you got something like XABXABX of which only the final X would be a 'real' letter.

In such a system, the encoded text was several times longer than the actual message contained. I'm not in a position to go into more details, but the first time I saw the Voynich text - many years after - I thought 'hmm, that looks familiar'.
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PostPosted: 04-02-2014 08:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voynich Manuscript could be extinct Mexican dialect according to New Scientist:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24987-mexican-plants-could-break-code-on-gibberish-manuscript.html
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