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Re: Back to basics - or musings of an old bore

    > [stolfi:] zillions of people have learned to write [Chinese]
    > fluently and quickly
    > [Rene:] Yes, but it takes years to achieve this.

Indeed. But we cannot exclude the possibility that the author had been
using Voynichese for many years before he started writing the VMs.

Actually, although there are hints of gradual evolution across the
book, I would say that the handwriting is far too homogeneous for this
book to have been the first use of the "code".

    > #consider_included "chinese_disclaimer.h" 

Thanks... 8-)

    > [stolfi:] I would not put too much hope on [Manly's] "solution";
    > it sounds like another case of self-delusion.

    > [Rene:] Like Fermat? Do we really know what he was on to when he
    > wrote his famous last theorem?

I was thinking of the "extensive use of nulls" part.  

If a decoding algorithm (including the null identification rules) has
parameters with N bits of freedom, then by juggling those parameters
one should be able to extract a passable English plaintext with
about ~N/2 letters from almost any random string. (For example, almost
any random string up to 40 letters can be turned into a meaningful
English plaintext by a simple letter substitution code. At least, that
is what my math says...)

Apparently Manly's "solution" did not yield any useful information
about the book's origin or contents (otherwise we would surely know it
by now). Therefore, my guess is that he (like many others after him)
obtained only snippets of "plaintext" by fiddling the rules locally,
and was unable to find a master rule that would apply to the whole

All the best,