The QR code leads here and there’s a PDF on that page.
After much thought:
- The hints say only that it can be solved with pencil and paper, and that you do not need to write code.
- Clearly the answer must be describable in a few words, so the solution can be checked.
- I believe the colors are not significant. The lines might be differently colored to help distinguish them.
- I am guessing that the answer is a phrase in English. Are 4 and 9 the endpoints?
- Some of the numbers look like hexadecimal. These all end in 6. Coincidence?
- None of the numbers end in 0, 1, 2, 3, 8, or 9.
This was on the inside back cover of the current issue of Science News