#1 By: Mark Frauenfelder, February 21st, 2014 14:08
#2 By: Boundegar, February 21st, 2014 14:21
Ten words is an awful small sample size. I think a lot more is needed to break even very simple crypto, unless it's just cleartext in an oddball hand. But if that was the case, it would have been deciphered long ago.
#3 By: Keith_Ulysses_Welch, February 21st, 2014 14:43
I just love to say Voynich.
#4 By: , February 21st, 2014 14:52
Once it is fully decoded, mechanics will be able to fully repair foreign cars.
But not a minute before.
#5 By: Jason Andresen, February 21st, 2014 14:56
Yeah, and this isn't the first guy to claim to have deciphered the manuscripts. I'm still not sold.
#6 By: Jeremy Erwin, February 21st, 2014 14:56
It's not crypto. It's a previously unknown language. From the paper.
It is feasible that the script is a deliberately constructed cipher designed to hide information of some sort. However, given the fact that the plant pages seem in practice to concern the plants depicted, presumably offering knowledge which was available to others already, it is more likely that the script is not aimed at concealment, but was instead constructed simply to write a language which had not previously been written down. To put it another way, if the underlying language already had a script (such as Georgian, or Arabic, or Greek), it seems highly unlikely that anyone would invent a whole new one merely to encode information about plants and nature which was already known.
The video is not pleasant to listen to, so I have not bothered.
#7 By: G Pelkabo, February 21st, 2014 15:02
The headline should say "scholar claims" rather than "scholar finds".
#8 By: Timothy Krause, February 21st, 2014 15:02
He's only claimed to have figured out some characters and, with them, about ten words or so: proper names of plants etc. than can be checked against the words for the same in other languages and texts. From his explanation and program for further study, it seems like he's definitely on to something. Here's hoping he steers some of that grant money toward proper audio!
The lost language–extinct culture hypothesis is fascinating. Very Dictionary of the Khazars.
#9 By: Jonathan Badger, February 21st, 2014 15:02
He's not even the hundredth person to claim to have deciphered it. It's kind of the Rorschach blot of cryptography -- you get out whatever your initial biases were.
#10 By: Keith_Ulysses_Welch, February 21st, 2014 15:03
#11 By: Edwin Gore, February 21st, 2014 15:16
+1 for DotK reference.
#12 By: xzzy, February 21st, 2014 15:17
I'm not sure that just because some of it can be decoded it's not a hoax. I mean, even if the whole thing can be translated it could still be a hoax, right? For all we know the translated text will turn out to be complete gibberish.
Maybe this guy has found the only 10 words in the entire book that have actual meanings.
#13 By: Boundegar, February 21st, 2014 15:47
Except, don't I recall they actually resemble no plants on earth - and some of them have tiny ladies in place of... plant parts? Aha, that's obviously a turnip!
See? T - R - (undecipherable) - P... turnip!
#14 By: snig, February 21st, 2014 15:51
Careful, if you post the name three times you get randomly turned into one of the Voynich creatures.
#15 By: Puck Sr, February 21st, 2014 16:00
Yeah, that is somewhat true. His idea focuses mostly on identifiable plants. If you draw a juniper bush with a ladies leg for the roots...it is still a juniper bush. His assumption is that the text will say something about juniper.
It may not pan out. If the "alternate language" theory is right, we are probably fucked.
I mean, start with Linear A if you are going to figure out an alternate language. His theory, however, is that someone was attempting to record an American native language and creating unique symbols for sounds. If that is true, we know roughly what the original term was for some plants. He might have luck, but is probably fucked.
#16 By: Jim X, February 21st, 2014 16:01
This same "esoteric language" theory was also proposed, with South American languages:
And that also had made some headway. It'll be interesting if it turns out to be both?
#17 By: snig, February 21st, 2014 16:03
But if there were bushes with naked ladies in them, they would likely receive an undue amount of foraging from interested parties. So past generations may have killed the botanical geese that layed the golden eggs.
#18 By: Orchestra Spy, February 21st, 2014 16:05
I viewed the first twenty minutes of this yesterday and that one illustrated green plant is clearly marijuana, with giant sticky icky buds on top. The leaves are not as symmetrical as the other plants he posits them to be. Not to mention a general middle-eastern appreciation for hashish that comes from cannibis, ie. Sour Diesel. I can appreciate his effort, but I am not convinced in this regard.
#19 By: Daemonworks, February 21st, 2014 16:18
They haven't determined that it's not a hoax. They've determined it contains real words. These are not the same thing.
#20 By: Jeremy Erwin, February 21st, 2014 16:22
They've determined it contains real words.
I wouldn't go that far, until the methods presented in this paper prove their worth. It might be a start. It might be a spurious determination.
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