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Re: LSC and the VMS
Jorge, I fully agree with your conclusion. Indeed, LSC test revealed in
VMS features identical with meaningful texts we explored. On the other
hand, if we assume that each voinichese symbol is a letter, then the
letter frequency distribution in VMS is much more non-uniform than in any
of 12 languages we tested. Furthermore, in one of my papers you can see
the LSC results obtained for a gibberish which I created by hitting
(suposedly randomly) the keys on a keyboard. It has some features of a
meaningful texts, but also has some subtle differences from meaningful
texts. You probably noticed that my conclusion was that, if we rely on
LSC data, VMS can be either meaningful or a result of a very sophisticated
effort to imitate a meaningful text, in which even the relative
frequencies of vowels and consonants have been skilfully faked. I can
hardly imagine such an extraordinarily talented and diligent forger, so I
am inclined to guess VMS is a meaningful text, but some doubts remain.
Moreover, if VMS symbols are not individual letters, all LSC results hang
in the air. Best, Mark
Jorge Stolfi wrote:
> Mark's LSC tests applied to the VMS give results typical of natural
> languages, and quite different from those of monkey text.
> This is very good news, at least for those of us who still believe
> that there is a text in there to be read. As for myself, I have
> remarked several times in the past that the distribution of words in
> the VMS seemed to be far from uniform; it is nice to see that vague
> feeling turned into a quantitative measurement.
> Unfortunately, even this powerful test still leves some room
> for doubt.
> For one thing, while the LSC can unmask ordinary monkeys, it too can
> be fooled with relative ease, once one realizes how it works. One
> needs only to build a `multiscale monkey' that varies the frequencies
> of the letters along the text, in a fractal-like manner.
> Of course, it is hard to imagine a medieval forger being aware of
> fractal processes. However, he could have used such a process without
> knowing it. For instance, he may have copied an arabic book, using
> some fancy mapping of arabic letters to Voynichese alphabet. The
> mapping would not have to be invertible, or consistently applied: as
> long as the forger mantained some connection between the original text
> and the transcript, the long-range frequency variations of the former
> would show up in the latter as well.
> Moreover, I suspect that any nonsense text that is generated `by hand'
> (i.e. without the help of dice or other mechanical devices) will
> show long-range variations in letter frequencies at least as
> strong as those seen in meaningful texts.
> Thus Mark's results do not immediately rule out random but
> non-mechanical babble or glossolalia. However, it is conceivable that
> such texts will show *too much* long-range variation, instead of too
> little. We really need some samples...
> All the best,