Now and then, we’ve talked about the Voynich manuscript, a strange mediaeval work whose baffling code seems undecipherable.
From Libby Plummer and Abigail Beall at Daily Mail:
Many experts argue that the text contains similar features to natural languages, suggesting that it may be a code.
However, Gordon Rugg, a computing expert at Keele University claims to have worked out a simple system that produces similar results in a new study.
The researcher was able to generate a series of words that follow a linguistic pattern, but are actually meaningless, using a rudimentary grid system based on Voynichese words. More.
“Clones” of the book are to be made available for under $10k.
The new theory is intriguing but will not likely end the dispute. For one ting, if it was a hoax, who would have been the hoax-ee envisioned? And why was the technique never otherwise used?
New Scientist also has a story on the new theory of the manuscript:
Marcelo Montemurro at the University of Manchester in the UK has argued that the manuscript does contain meaningful text, and has completed a statistical analysis comparing its structure to classic works in several languages. He disagrees with Rugg’s suggestion of a hoax, arguing that the manuscript has too many layers of complexity for a simple hoaxer to produce.
“It is not impossible that these tables can generate Zipf’s law, in the same way that it is not impossible to win the lottery 10 times. It is still very unlikely,” he says. “Bringing in all of these narratives to explain something makes it sound so far-fetched. They are writing a thriller, not a scientific paper.”More.
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