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Re: Glen's Rant


    Funny, intuitive, condescending, and motivational! Interesting
Where does one begin to respond?

    Well- I guess: The facts of VMS Characters (not the characters studying
the VMS)...
> The G/picnic table combination has two styles, one
> with a full looped G and one with no leading loop.
> My sense is that these are the same character.

    There are slight variations that may be same character, but can we
safely say they are - because those variations show up a lot.

> When an N occurs at the end of a word, it has a
> tail, but when one occurs in the middle of a word
> without a tail, is it a different character or
> still an N?

    What's an N without a tail look like? Are you saying two (god forbid
EVA) i's make an N - even if there is no ligature finishing the character
so (you gotta love it) daiiiin would be 8ann?

> I think it's interesting that new characters are
> only introduced on the "nocturnal time-piece".  I
> read an earlier posting where someone thought
> these might be actually related to zodiac signs,
> (I'd say more probably certain stars in a zodiac
> sign).  I don't remember who sent the post, but I
> think it was a pretty good call, and in line with
> my own observations as to the meaning of this
> diagram.

    First, it's really coincidental this 'nocturnal time-piece' discussion
is taking place now - my son just did his Science fair project on building
one to tell time with Polaris, Dubhe, and Merak!

    I'm not sure if someone correlated this page with zodiac signs before -
I don't recall. However, f68r3 may mark the four seasons with stars from the
zodiac signs...

> As I said earlier, it is very necessary to
> evaluate these patterns and determine the actual
> unit of character.

    Agreed - problem though... what happens when you have
characters like a perfectly formed 'o' that have a ligature on top
of them? Slight variations of this sort happen throughout the document -
including the 'n' that is fixed snug up against an 'a' to look like an @.
For 'n' alone - we have @, an, ain, aiin, aiiin, and aiiiin(I think).

    If you make in = N, and iin=M, then what are the @ and aiiiin types?
    There are a number of characters that finish with a ligature that they
shouldn't - by strict character definition. 'chy' where the 'y' isn't
separated from the 'ch'...  This is why I favour some kind of ligature
'vowel or doublet' marking system - but unfortunately that reduces the
character far below acceptable...

> I think there's a way of statistically determining
> what a character unit is, what is a valid unique
> as opposed to a simple variant.  (I've been
> striving to eliminate variants for some time, but
> hindered by the poor quality of the copyflo.
> Fortunately this last year or so has made
> available approximately half of the VMS in image
> format, which allows much more reliable
> verification.)

> Anyhow, someone posted an
> example of a message board that accepts font
> values.  http://www.discusware.com/discus/index.php.  One
> of my favorite simpler "skins" is viewable at
> http://www.zodiackiller.com/messageboard/messages/
> board-topics.html.

    I posted a sample form that allows users to input using a font
installed on their system (and the server). I'll check out the message
you reference above, but haven't heard whether most users would want to
migrate to a message board environment over the email. In fact, this is the
only message that alludes to the use of the open-forum that I've seen since
posting the sample form.

> This is a very good middle ground for those who
> are frustrated with the UNIX-Vision of monospaced,
> mono-typed text adhered to by those who go
> ballistic every time you forget and leave your
> e-mail set to HTML.
> What good is the greatest aid to
> communication in human history if it's stuck in
> 1980 Wang-Word-Processor Mode?)

    Nice (and Valid) Rant... Similar to one I've used in my work environment
that includes people who are using very obscure web browsers (or very old).

> that the "greatest" cryptologist in history tried
> and failed, as if discovering the key to an
> astrological cipher was that great and
> insurmountable a mental feat.  Our imaginations
> make this far more baffling that it should be.

    Our imaginations are our biases - yes. As for the motivational challenge
that the geniuses haven't solved it, well - sometimes genius is simply
seeing the simplicity that everyone else has excluded 'because if it was
that simple - it would have already been solved/inventend/discovered...'

> Meanwhile, performing entropy calculations on pen
> strokes certainly keeps the mind occupied, but
> unless the entire 10,000 characters of the Chinese
> language can be reduced to 23 or 24 distinct
> character forms, this popular activity is of
> little useful interest.

    What is pinyin?

> mentioning "dain daiin".  Both patterns are three
> characters, not four or five, (8an and 8am).  Why
> make life so difficult?

    Because there are too many forms of 'n' to simply say
in = n and iin=m (per above).

> The standard argument is that we have no idea what
> the language is or what constitutes a character.
> On a scale of dung to crap I give that argument a
> BS+.  You have hundreds of characters throughout
> the manuscript standing all by themselves,
> screaming "look at me, I'm a unit"!

    Nowhere do I see an 'ii' by itself to say scream "I'm a unit - without a

>  I focus on the "systematic" as a
> good thing, meaning there is some method or system
> behind this to be discovered.  If you choose to
> focus on the "unintelligible" as a bad thing, the
> "system" has achieved it purpose and you're off
> tallying pen strokes.

    Now, now... Systematic is a good thing - but why say tallying
pen strokes isn't systematic? You're doing it yourself when you said that
you're trying to reduce your character set from 36 to 23 - excluding
'variations' (what are the variations but additional penstrokes that don't
fit your 'basic' character).

> I'm not here to argue with those of different
> minds this time around, as I believe we're both
> entrenched enough that this is pointless.

    Yes, we are human and subject to our own biases, even when we feel we're
open minded. The only way to bend our individual mindset - is to nudge us
slowly by small factual statements that we can concede the point.
The more points you score - the more our biases are realigned with yours...

> This is only the means by which
> Nervana is obtained.  I strive only for the Pizza.

    Nice finishing touch. Thank Jorge for bringing in the award!

John Grove.