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The Voynich manuscript

  1. Aug 15, 2004 #1

    wolram

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    A quarto of about 250 pages, it looks like a late medieval document
    but is written in an unrecognisable language, that has had experts
    baffled for 90 yrs.
    the manuscript was found in a Jesuit collage in Frasscati just outside
    Rome, It has been attributed to the 13th century English friar and
    scientist Roger Bacon.
    Several attempts to decipher have failed, has anyone come across
    this manuscript?
     
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  3. Aug 15, 2004 #2

    Evo

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    Very interesting. It seems the latest concensus is that it may be a 17th century hoax created to dupe Emporer Rudulph II.

    This is a very good link to the manuscript.

    http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_13.htm

    Here is a link to some information on the manuscript along with pictures.

    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/voynich.html

    Here is (I believe) the most current on it. Of course, no one knows for certain.

    "Dec. 17, 2003: Computer scientist Gordon Rugg claims to have solved the mystery of the Voynich manuscript. He claims the book was created by a a sixteenth-century Englishman named Edward Kelley, using an encryption device called a Cardan Grille, in order to con Emperor Rudolph II. "

    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/the_voynich_manuscript_solved/

    This explains some of the reasoning behind why it was created.

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/voynich.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2004
  4. Aug 15, 2004 #3
    I've been wondering about this too... it's a really cool looking script, even if fake. Still, the debunking isn't airtight on this one yet, and I hope to see a more solid conclusion.
     
  5. Aug 15, 2004 #4

    wolram

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    So far the script i have seen is unclear, so it is difficult to form an opinion,
    is it possible that it is written in some lost language? it seems to elaborate
    for a hoax, i bet velum was not cheap in the time it was composed.
    Wow evo you sure are good at finding information, has the manuscript been
    carbon dated?
    Im sure anyone into codes would be able to spot a script that is "nonsense",
    as code breaking has become a science, that has only in modern times has
    been beaten.
     
  6. Aug 15, 2004 #5

    Evo

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    I haven't read that it's been carbon dated, but everyone seems to be in agreement that it is at least from the 15-17th century.

    It seems to be thought that the manuscript was made to sell to the Emperor, they sold it to him for what would be equivalent to $14,000 today. I agree, a heck of a lot of work for that amount of money. Or maybe part of the benefit was the pleasure of fooling the Emperor?

    I don't think anyone has been truly successful in translating the manuscript.

    What's up with all the women sans apparel in the weird bathtubs? I'd love to hear what that's supposed to be about.
     
  7. Aug 16, 2004 #6

    wolram

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    Evo
    What's up with all the women sans apparel in the weird bathtubs? I'd love to hear what that's supposed to be about.
    Art? i have just read that the british tax payers are funding the uprooting of an oak
    tree, which will be re planted upside down, and it only cost £30,000.
     
  8. Aug 16, 2004 #7

    Evo

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    :bugeye: And the statement this "artist" is trying to make? And why are the taxpayers paying for it? :confused:
     
  9. Aug 16, 2004 #8
    Did you see "A Beautiful Mind"? It's a true story, and the main character was a brilliant mathemetician who was also crazy. He could take any random array of letters and figure out a code in which those letters had specific meaning. He thought he was decoding messages that were already deliberately placed in the letters, but in fact, he was inventing the code whereby those letters would mean something.

    It made me realize that nothing in the universe is so random that the human mind can't attribute some pattern to it. I think it would be hard for a code breaker to ever come to the conclusion that he had a nonsence code on his hands, even if he did.
     
  10. Aug 19, 2004 #9

    wolram

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    Zooby
    yes great film, have you seen a legible image of the V script, it may be
    a challenge to PF members to leave it posted somewhere and see if they
    can crack it.
    Evo,
    sorry i am at a loss, may be this artist is a genius, the point is some of us humans
    can think in such "abstract", ways as to baffle the rest, or are we just being coned?
     
  11. Aug 19, 2004 #10
    No, I can't see the script very well.

    Oliver Sacks had a special on PBS a few years ago about autistic people and one of the several individuals featured was an autistic woman who created daily "charts" of her moods according to a system understood only by her. These charts had both illustrations and text. I would imagine that this Voynich manuscript is the same sort of thing: an extremely personal code created by a person with one kind of mental challenge or another whose content would end up being extremely uninteresting if we knew what it was.
     
  12. Aug 19, 2004 #11

    plover

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    A site with lots of Voynich info and images. (I have no idea how good the info is -- I only read a little and that was a while ago.)


    The code that turns any message into the equivalent of random noise (the 'one-time pad') is quite simple though I can't remember how far back it goes. (I would not be surprised if it was known in the 17th century, and I would not be surprised if it wasn't known in the 13th -- how's that for carefully worded vagueness? :rolleyes: )

    In non-computerized form, a 'one-time pad' is essentially just a randomized sequence of letters. Each letter in the sequence is used as a key to encode one letter in the message. Since the sequence of keys is random, all possible decodings of the encoded message are equally likely. In other words, this method, if it is used correctly (i.e. the one-time pad is generated in a sufficiently random fashion) is entirely unbreakable. The reason why it is not a useful form of cryptography for most situations is that every person who needs to decode the message needs to have a copy of the pad, and also have some means of determining where on the pad to start the decoding process for any given message.

    I this description isn't too condensed. I'm sure it would be easy to find a more detailed description at any decent cryptography site though.
     
  13. Aug 19, 2004 #12
    I read somewhere that this manuscript may be an alchemist's notes written in code form to avoid pursecution.

    The thing that I find interesting is that the plants, although very realistically depicted, are not actual known plants.

    The little nudes swimming in the strange plumbing fixtures just adds another bizzarre dimension to this intriquing document.
     
  14. Sep 17, 2004 #13
  15. Sep 17, 2004 #14

    selfAdjoint

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    Dearly Missed

  16. Sep 17, 2004 #15

    russ_watters

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    You have heard of the "Bible Codes," right? You can pull pretty much any short phrase you want out of any sufficiently long text via computerized pattern recognition.

    RE: one-time pads: According to Tom Clancy, the gov't uses one-time pads via cd's recorded with random atomospheric noise.
     
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