A write-up on the TruthCon

February 28, 2011

A few weeks ago, I attended a UFO/truth conference in Atlanta. One of my colleagues, Tom Lolis, who is also interested in conspiracy, also attended and has written up a piece for the Brittain Fellows website, TECHStyle. I haven’t yet been able to write about it here because I am under contract, as it were, for someone else. But I can pimp his experiences just fine.

It’s called, “TruthCon 2011: I Come in Peace.” Click on the link today, won’t you?

RJB


The Week in Conspiracy (26 Feb 2011)

February 27, 2011

You thought you were safe because nothing happened last week, but THIS week is the one we’ve been waiting for. So grab yer guns and head to the bomb shelters. I’ll come and get you when it’s all over. It’s time for the week in conspiracy:

  • Did you hear? There’s an immunocontraceptive in the flu vaccine! What, are we deer? (You can tell that it’s going to be cool when they start with a quote from Gen. Stubblebine, the guy who tried to walk through a wall in The Men Who Stare at Goats. Really.)

Conspiracy Theory of the Week:

There was only one contender for conspiracy theory of the week. It was Alex Jones’s complete freakout, what quickly became known as the “Justin Beibler [sic] Rant.”

Seriously, how is this guy not in some sort of home?

RJB


A real controlled demolition…

February 27, 2011

We saw one this morning just across from Georgia Tech’s campus. It was loud. And sudden. There was no warning, as far as I could tell. Eve and I were about a block away from it. Here is her video. The audio is messed up because of compression or something (that sounded like I knew what I was talking about, didn’t it?):

Here is the reverse angle, from the perspective of those buildings in the background:

And another angle:

Finally, a shot from the official observation area:

RJB


What I Found at the TV Station…

February 26, 2011

On Thursday, after a morning setting up a website for my students to work on, I hopped into a taxi and sped off to the local CBS affiliate, WGCL. A few days ago, in my conspiracy theory post, I mentioned that I would kill to see the emails that they got following the chemtrail story they ran back on the 2nd of this month. Luckily, it did not come to killing. And I don’t think that I would kill to see them anymore. I might beat someone up to see them, but doing them in? Nah.

The emails that the station receives, I am told, are publicly available. Some of the emails that come in from viewers get forwarded to the station for archiving, and they are printed and grouped by month. The administrator who maintains the archive, if I understood her correctly, said that I was the first person ever to come in and ask to see the letters to the station since she had been there. So, wow.

Now, I was interested in the chemtrail responses specifically, but I was surprised by people the number of people just sort of writing in to say how pretty the anchors are or ask them out on dates, which made it one of the creepier folders that I have ever gone through. The chemtrail letters were were mixed in among responses to other stories.

Some of the replies went on for a couple of pages, but most of them were short thank yous for running the story at all. A fairly typical excerpt from the letters, most of which were addressed to the reporter, Jeff Chirico, would include Brent’s comments:

“If you have the opportunity, ask [Georgia Tech's own] Dr. Jim St. John why the plane in the photo I provided kept turning around and spraying more chemicals in over a particular area. [...] I assure you if you continue to report on this, you will be ordered to stop and if you dont your job will be taken from you. It has happened to dozens of other reporters who have taken the risk of uncovering government lies. [...] Would you be willing to consider doing a report on the negative effects of fluoridated tap water? If so, I can provide government documents labeling fluoride as poison and would be more than happy to find respectable and qualified individuals to offer their opinion. Thanks again, I know that it can ruin careers if you even hint at the government lying about something.”

From a practical standpoint, many of these assertions are absurd, and they seem to me to be more of a retrofitting of an overarching narrative that can explain to Brent why nobody takes chemtrails seriously. For instance, the claim that exposing government lies will ruin the career of an investigative reporter must have provided a snicker in the newsroom. (Woodward and Bernstein’s careers certainly didn’t suffer from exposing a humdinger of a government whopper!) I would say that Brent is looking at the news, seeing that nobody is reporting on chemtrails, asking why, and coming up with an answer that accommodates his worldview. I would challenge Brent to find one reporter who was fired because they got too close to the truth. (This is not to say that there might not be people out there who have been fired for, among other things, talking about chemtrails, but a growing obsession with chemtrails may be a sign of something other than getting too close to the truth.)

Albert wrote in, but his message seemed confused.

“You did good by running the report… but are you REALLY following truth or are you a collared dog on a leash? [...] The meteorologist [there were two] you had on was total disinfo. Contrails are like a propeller wash in a boat…they dissipate. PERIOD!!!”

He also tried to present undeniable proof, as he saw it, that the government was secretly spraying us, and he found that information on the web at http://downloads.climatescience.gov/sap/sap2-3/sap2-3-final-report-all.pdf. (Does anyone else sense something slightly amiss here?)

The report he linked doesn’t mention airplanes, doesn’t mention intentional spraying, doesn’t mention aluminum, and doesn’t in any way suggest that there is a vast government program to spray. It is an examination of the impact “anthropogenic aerosols,” and these seem to include the smoke from fires and different forms of pollution. The report’s introduction is accurate:

This report critically reviews current knowledge about global distributions and properties of atmospheric aerosols, as they relate to aerosol impacts on climate. It assesses possible next steps aimed at substantially reducing uncertainties in aerosol radiative forcing estimates. Current measurement techniques and modeling approaches are summarized, providing context. As a part of the Synthesis and Assessment Product in the Climate Change Science Program, this assessment builds upon recent related assessments, including the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4, 2007) and other Climate Change Science Program reports. The objectives of this report are (1) to promote a consensus about the knowledge base for climate change decision support, and (2) to provide a synthesis and integration of the current knowledge of the climate-relevant impacts of anthropogenic aerosols for policy makers, policy analysts, and general public, both within and outside the U.S government and worldwide.

Nary a word about spraying out of airplanes. PERIOD!!!

Matt wrote in to say:

“You guys have just diminished your credibility regarding the contrail/chemtrail issue. I suppose you didn’t read the Reuters article regarding the UN admitting they are doing chemtrail experiments for ‘global warming.’ You in your bias in only bringing in a “Dr.” for the opposing side of the issue in your story just makes this laughable. People are smarter and that’s why they’re turning off from this kind of propaganda and going onto real news from the Internet. Thanks for not bringing all the facts into the story. I recommend doing some research before diminishing your credibility on another issue.”

Clearly, some people are impossible to please. Matthew runs a film production house in Missoula, Montana, which he advertises in his signature line. A quick visit shows a number of projects related to all sorts of conspiracies, from the Illuminati to the Federal Reserve to…yes, the moon landing conspiracy. Yeah.

John’s letter to Chirico gives a short list of sources he encourages the reporter to read, including “Owning the Weather by 2025.” This was fascinating, but it also says in the opening lines that the technologies discussed are beyond current capacity and, on page 14, preliminary theoretical foundations have been discontinued by the government. Big fail for the idea that we are currently spraying! Also, it restricts the concept to its military applications (the actual title is “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025″), and the report mentions neither aluminum nor geoengineering. At the end, of his email, John adds,

“The problem with denial is it is built into people’s self-awareness, getting peopel to change their self-awareness is like changing a Zebra’s stripes. So those who deny the truth, right before their very eyes, must be ignored as they add no intelligent discussion, only blind ignorance and that includes your weatherman.”

A wonderful example of how one can justify to themselves not even listening to the other side. Folks like John have moved away from debate and negotiation to deliberately excluding anything that could upset their preexisting beliefs.

Snowleopard, from France, says:

“A handful of men controlled the world and its resources, they now want to control our health and fertility, they are desperate to bring down human fertility, that is why there has been a revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, the tyrant did not want to spray their people and their families with these [toxins] it is incredible that [dictators] have come to the limit, but [the] usa (cia, Illuminati, bilderberg) they do so without mercy. God save american people, it’s a good people but so blind, so blind (9/11).”

This was a truly novel interpretation of the revolutions in the Middle East, that the uprisings are apparently being orchestrated by America because the dictators are too nice. I don’t even know what to say to that. I have no doubt that Gaddafi, however, would not hesitate for a moment to spray his people. I read a report today that he was firing antiaircraft guns into crowds.

Katrina writes in and asserts: “The chemtrail pictures from all states sure do speak volumes, don’t they?” To which the only rational reply is, “They sure indicate that planes are flying over every state! But that’s about it!”

She encourages Jeff to follow up on the story and push the story into the national spotlight. By way of leads, she offers:

  • Bill Gates has dumped millions into geoengineering research.
  • In December 2010, 190 nations vowed not to move forward with geoengineering research. The US was NOT one of them.
  • Have our rain/snow tested for an increase in aluminum and sulfur
  • The World Health Organization reports 4 million lives will be lost each year to geoengineering our climate through aerosol spraying. The pollution from this science could have devastating consequences on our health and environment.
  • The US government published a document titled “Owning the Weather in 2025.”

The one that gets me is the suggestion that we test for increases of aluminum in our snow and water. Even if you find an increase, it does not tell you anything about where it is coming from. Sigh.

A new review of the week in conspiracy theory is coming out tomorrow. Thanks to Jeff Chirico and Cary Bond at WGCL for sharing the global response to their segment with me! Hopefully, I will see a real, live controlled demolition tomorrow morning. None of this silly 9/11 stuff!

RJB


History Channel Attempts to Do History, Fails

February 26, 2011

Ah, the History Channel, the place to go to find out everything you could possibly want to know about 2012, Nostradamus and ancient astronauts, except the truth. Every now and then, they attempt to deal with some actual historic event. They’re not very good at that either:

funny facebook fails - History Channel FAIL
see more Failbook


Homeopathic grenade? Sure, I’ll dive on that.

February 23, 2011

From NewsBiscuit, via @postielinley from the twitterverse:

New Age Terrorists Develop Homeopathic Bomb

RJB


The Week in Conspiracy: The I Should Be Grading Edition (20 Feb 2011)

February 21, 2011

I’m sorry if I got you all worried last week when I said that global events were coming to a head. It was this week. This week is the most consequential week in history as we scream toward the culmination of vast, unseen machinations. I swear.

 

Conspiracy Theory of the Week

David Horowitz is usually so wrong he makes me vomit blood, but this week he had a pretty funny Top 13 Zionist Animal Conspiracy Theories. I shall go back to opposing everything he has stood for for the last twenty years tomorrow.

RJB


Notes in the margins

February 21, 2011

A nice little piece about marginalia and the digital age in the Times today. I don’t think that I will go digital until ebooks come in paper format. :)

RJB


Do We Need to Involve Shakespeare in this Argument?

February 20, 2011

Recently, novelist and attorney Scott Turow and other members of the Authors Guild wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times called “Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?” in which the authors bemoan the prevalence of copyright infringement and piracy on the Internet. They warn of a dire future if copyright is not strictly protected:

Certainly there’s a place for free creative work online, but that cannot be the end of it. A rich culture demands contributions from authors and artists who devote thousands of hours to a work and a lifetime to their craft. Since the Enlightenment, Western societies have been lulled into a belief that progress is inevitable. It never has been. It’s the result of abiding by rules that were carefully constructed and practices that were begun by people living in the long shadow of the Dark Ages. We tamper with those rules at our peril.

Oh noes!!!1!!1 teh internets will send us hurtling back to the barbarity of the time before teh movable type printing press! I can’t imagine what relevance the early Middle Ages could have to the question of modern copyright law except to suggest an over-dramatic sense of Badness. Oh, and they also talk about Shakespeare for some reason. I say “for some reason” because, as the authors make clear, the first copyright law was enacted in 1709, almost 100 years after Shakespeare’s death. I don’t know, there’s something about the playhouses’ admission charge being a “paywall.” Plus, hey, Dark Ages=Bad; Shakespeare=Good.

The Turow piece has inspired a response from Kevin L. Smith, the Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University. According to the Scholarly Communications Office, Smith is “both a librarian and an attorney experienced in copyright and technology law.” Smith says,

It seems a little bit unfair to critique these editorials because they are usually manifestly uninformed; several critiques of Turow have already appeared, and I don’t want to seem to be piling on.

Nevertheless…

…he does so. And I’m afraid I have to say, “A plague o’ both your houses!” On the one hand, I admit that my immediate reaction is “Oh, boo hoo, Scott Turow isn’t making enough money.” In addition, using a writer who made a nice living without modern copyright protection as an example of why authors need copyright protection is definitely a bit problematic.  Also, they were rude about my beloved Middle Ages.

On the other hand, Smith actually strikes me as “manifestly uninformed” and perhaps a bit hard of reading. For one thing, he attributes the New York Time piece to Turow alone. In fact, Turow has two co-authors, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro. Shapiro is the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among Shapiro’s publications are the books Rival Playwrights : Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare; Shakespeare and the Jews; 1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare and Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? He is currently working on a book called The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. Granted, Turow is the best-known of the three authors, but under the circumstances, it seems borderline dishonest to ignore the contribution of so eminent a Shakespeare scholar. Who do you think knows more about Shakespeare, Smith or Shapiro?

Smith summarizes Turow, Aiken and Shapiro’s argument as follows:

The core of the argument is that Shakespeare and his contemporaries flourished because their work was rewarded financially, owing to the innovation of producing plays in an enclosed environment and sharing the income from theater admissions with the playwrights.  Turow then analogizes this physical barrier to theater admission with the “cultural paywall” of copyright in order to argue that the Internet threat to copyright must be addressed with stronger laws.

This is a fair summary, as is Smith’s criticism of the analogy between theater admission and copyright. However, Smith goes on to say,

First, Shakespeare lived before there were any copyright laws in England….so his productivity is evidence that there are ways to support authorship other than with copyright.  In truth, it was not so much his share of theater revenues that paid Shakespeare’s bills as it was patronage.

In the first place, it should be noted that Turow, Aiken and Shapiro themselves note that the first copyright law was not passed until well after Shakespeare’s time. Secondly, the assertion that “patronage” was Shakespeare’s main source of income is simply not true. The acting company to which Shakespeare belonged had a patron. It had to: according to the 1572 Act for the Punishment of Vagabonds and for the Relief of the Poor and Impotent, any acting troupe that lacked an aristocratic patron was regarded as a group of vagabonds. Shakespeare’s livelihood, however, did not depend primarily on the company’s patron; he made a good living from the company’s earnings and business deals.

We don’t really know if Shakespeare himself ever had a patron. He dedicated two poems to the Earl of Southampton (perhaps significantly, he produced these poems when the theaters were closed because of an outbreak of plague), but we don’t know whether or not Southampton actually was Shakespeare’s patron. Regardless, any money he may have received from Southampton for these two poems is trivial compared to the income he earned as actor, shareholder and principal playwright for the Lord Chamberlain’s/King’s Men.

Smith further argues that

The second reason Turow’s choice of a hero for his piece is unfortunate is that Shakespeare was, himself, a pirate (in Turow’s sense), basing most of his best known plays on materials that he borrowed from others and reworked.  If Boccaccio, or Spenser, or Holinshed had held a copyright in the modern sense in their works, Shakespeare’s productions could have been stopped by the courts (as unauthorized derivative works).

While it is certainly true that Shakespeare’s plots are not original, Spenser and Boccaccio also borrowed material. Since none of them were affected by modern copyright law, it seems unfair to imagine what would happen if only Shakespeare were constrained by it. In addition, Boccaccio’s work would, I assume, have been out of copyright by the time Shakespeare was writing. Holinshed was writing non-fiction, so I don’t think he could have won a lawsuit against a playwright (think about what happened when the authors of the non-fictional Holy Blood, Holy Grail tried to sue novelist Dan Brown for plagiarism).

What I suppose I find most odd about both the Turow et al. piece and the Smith piece is that neither discusses the publication of Shakespeare’s works. We know there were pirated editions of Shakespeare’s plays printed in his lifetime; we also know that the acting companies, which owned the plays, weren’t too happy about such piracy. Shapiro discusses the publication process in Contested Will, so he knows all about it, and it seems more germane to the issue than the performance of those plays.

Shakespeare, what do you think of these two articles calling on you to defend two opposing positions?

That’s what I thought.

ES

Big shout out to Maria Walters, a.k.a. Masala Skeptic, of skepchick.org for pointing me toward the Smith article.


Is the Voynich Manuscript the Product of an Alien Intelligence?

February 19, 2011

Of course the hell not, but by sticking to the evidence, I find myself regrettably unable to run out into the quad and shout: “IT’S A COOKBOOK! THE VOYNICH MANUSCRIPT IS A COOKBOOK!” Sticking to evidence, however, has never been the strength of the writers at Above Top Secret, which delivered a rather soggy excuse for a story entitled: “Voynich Manuscript–Diary of an Alien or a Mad Man? 100 Years Older than First Thought.”

Already wrong, but I’ll get there.

The Voynich Manuscript is a genuine mystery. Currently housed in Yale’s Beineke Library, the Voynich MS totally skipped my mind when I went up there to do research for my dissertation. Nonetheless, it is there, which has until recently been just about the only thing we’ve known for sure about it.

According to Curt A. Zimansky, writing in Philological Quarterly (before it went all corporate–haha), says that the manuscript was originally found in the library of Rudolph II and that it was in the possession of Father Athanasius Kircher in 1666. It then dropped out of sight for centuries, until it was acquired by a Polish bookseller named Voynich in 1912 during one of his book buying tours of Europe. The provenance of the manuscript is only certain, as far as I can tell, once it is in Voynich’s hands. He found it in a trunk at Villa Mondragone, in Frascatti. Upon Voynich’s death, it passed into the hands of Hans Kraus and eventually ended up at Yale.

It’s a beautiful book–nearly 250 vellum pages–an example of fine craftsmanship, beautiful and elegant and nobody has the faintest idea what the crap it says. You see, it is written in an unknown script in a language that does not seem to exist outside of the manuscript. Based on the illustrations that accompany the text, scholars have divided up the book into parts, including the herbal section, astrological section,  biological section, cosmological section, pharmaceutical section, and “recipes,” but really, we have no idea how closely the text corresponds to the images. But even with the, say, “herbal” sections, the plants that appear are unknown. As Voynich is reported to have asked, “WTF?”

A lot of people have stepped forward to offer their interpretations of the MS. The first person to attempt to answer the question was an otherwise reputable scholar at Penn by the name of Newbold.

In April 1921, Newbold announced that he had deciphered the Voynich MS. Hurrah! He said that it was a monograph written in a secret hand by Roger Bacon. Bacon was a 13th-century English monk and one of the first Europeans to embrace empiricism and experiment; and such he is considered a founding father of modern science. Hurrah!

Among the fantastic revelations that Newbold, uh, revealed, was that the manuscript was written in two codes. The first was a surface code, a Latin-text cipher. This cipher was so rife with arbitrary rules of substitution and anagrams that it could yield basically anything. The second cipher was a more subtle, much more interesting cipher, the shorthand cipher. The premise of this cipher was that tiny, literally microscopic strokes appeared on each character, and that a complete reading of this second, more secret text depended on deciphering these marks.

He revealed that the Voynich MS revealed the invention of the telescope in the 13th century! Doctor mirabilis!

As evidence of this exceptional assertion, Newbold produced the Latin text which  he said was associated with a peculiar image in the manuscript:

The Latin decipherment Newbold associates with this diagram partially reads:

Vidi stellas in speculo concavo, in cochleae forma agglomeratas…

If my eyeballing of this snippet is correct, it reads: “In a concave mirror, I saw stars formed into the shape of a snail.” (That is, a spiral.) The rest of the passage makes this clear he is talking the Andromeda Galaxy:

Well, Holy Haleakala, Batman! Newbold pushed the history of the telescope back hundreds of years.

But, wait, there’s more! Bacon also invented the compound microscope, as evidenced by the images of what Newbold interpreted as ova and spermatozoa. (Not to mention the shorthand cipher itself, which could only be seen through a microscope.) The Voynich MS was the most important discovery in the history of science, and scholars generally accepted Newbold’s interpretation. Probably because nobody could understand his process of deciphering the manuscript.

In 1931, following Newbold’s death, John Matthews Manly wrote what should stand as one of the most thorough debunkings in the history of debunking, a spectacular and thorough treatment of Newbold’s assertions. He showed that the encryption that Newbold could not reliably generate text for the recipient. He illustrated that the cipher could achieve and had achieved “results” when applied to texts known not to be written by Bacon, to texts written long before the Voynich MS, and to mistranscriptions of the Voynich manuscript that Newbold used. In Newbold’s decipherments, sometimes the same passage revealed different messages. Manly demolished the content of the messages that Newbold had found to show that they could not square with what was known with the period. Newbold’s assertion defied even the laws of physics. Newbold apparently had simply shrugged off the objection that the Andromeda galaxy could not possibly have changed so radically in the time between the manuscript’s production and the 20th century. Also, he seemed not to worry that the spirals could not be seen by the naked eye even in a modern telescope–our images come from long exposures. It was in every way a thorough and complete trashing of the Newbold interpretation, and it left Newbold’s legacy in tatters. One may consider it a professional courtesy that Manly waited until Newbold had died before publishing his rebuttal.

It also meant that we had not progressed a single jot toward understanding what the heck this manuscript was.

As far as I can tell, the most interesting fabrication of Newbold’s mind was the secondary shorthand cipher. The little tails and swoops and signs that Newbold had found under a microscope were either clearly examples of ink bleeding into the cracks on the surface of the vellum and therefore meaningless, or they disappeared entirely when others looked at them. This strikes me as a close corollary to Lowell’s “discovery” of canals on Mars a few decades earlier, when the astronomer declared that he could see artificial channels on the surface of the Red Planet and spun a rather fanciful story to explain them. Turns out they weren’t there at all, but were artifacts of Lowell’s imagination.

By the way, I strongly recommend the conclusion of the Manly article as perhaps the epitome of the “don’t be a dick” school of skeptical criticism.

In the intervening years, a number of hypotheses have been floated about the content and meaning of the manuscript.In 1943, a bloke named O’Neill announced that he had deciphered the manuscript. In 1944, a botanist, James Feeley, have claimed that New World pepper plants and sunflowers appeared in the manuscript, which would place the manuscript after 1492. But even these botanical identifications are dubious, especially in the light of the vellum’s carbon-dating.

Without a doubt, my favorite “translation” appeared in Science in 1945, and it underlines why specialists in the humanities should be given their due respect. It came from Leonell C. Strong, who said that he had finally, really, actually cracked the code, but because of the current state of war, thought it was an inopportune time to reveal how he had uncovered its cryptological secrets (ahem, yeah). Voynich, Strong claimed, was written by 16th-century astrologer Anthony Askham. Most of the manuscript, he reported, discussed “the effects of plants on physiological processes in health and disease, especially, the diseases of women, and a conception of pre-Harveian generation and parturition” (608).

The cipher translated into something called “Medieval English,” which reads like: “When skuge uf tun’c-bag rip, seo oogon kum sli of se mosure-issue ped-stans sku-bent, stokked kimbo-elbow crawknot.” This passage, he says, is about the birth of a baby: “when the contents of the womb rip, the child comes slyly from the mother-issuing with the leg stance scewed and bent, while the arms, are knotted (above the head) like the legs of a crawfish.” I can’t imagine that anyone with a postgraduate degree in English at the time (Old English and history of English were still generally required graduate courses) did not howl with laughter when they read the “Medieval English.” It looks like it wants to be “Old English”: for instance, the “seo” is a feminine form for “that” and there are some…compound-y words. Unfortunately, it has the letter “k,” not found in Old English (you’d see it Old Norse), and words like “issue” that seem to be from a romance language. And it’s nothing like Middle English either. And what the hell’s up with that apostrophe? Strong further claimed that Ascham knew about antibiotics!

A group of cryptographers waiting to be released from the military after the Second World War spent their free time trying to decipher the sucker. I even found a reference to a report produced by the NSA on the shelves at Emory, but when I went to pull it, the report had mysteriously disappeared. Others have seen it, however, and report that the NSA was unable to crack the cipher. Take that, NSA! (Please don’t hurt me.)

A 2007 analysis of the characters by theoretical physicist Andreas Schinner suggests that the manuscript has been “generated by a stochastic (random) process rather than by encoding of encryption of language.” Damn it.

Nonetheless, crafty science types at the University of Arizona have at least pinned down the age of the vellum (which is slightly different from pinning down the age of the manuscript). The critters that died to make the MS snuffed it in the early 15th century. In the release at physorg.com, the author says that the writing doesn’t “resemble anything written–or read–by human beings.” This statement seems to have lead the imaginative author at ATS to a new hypothesis–aliens wrote it!

On vellum.

In the 15th century.

The poor guy writes, referring to the “galaxy” image above: “I will start with the picture that shocked me the most. To me, this is on par with the Sumerians knowing things they should not have been able to.”

Sigh. Me too, my friend. Me too.

RJB

References:

Kennedy, Gerry and Rob Churchill. The Voynich Manuscript: The Unsolved Riddle of an Extraordinary Book Which Has Defied Interpretation for Centuries. London: Orion, 2005.

Manly, John Matthews. “Roger Bacon and the Voynich MS.” Speculum 6.3 (1931): 345-391.

Schinner, Andreas. “The Voynich Manuscript: Evidence of the Hoax Hypothesis.” Cryptologia 31 (2007): 95-107.

Strong, Leonell C. “Anthony Askham, the Author of the Voynich Manuscript.” Science 101.2633 (15 June 1945): 608-609.

Zimansky, Curt A. “William F. Friedman and the Voynich Manuscript.” Philological Quarterly 49.4 (Oct 1970): 433-443.


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