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Re: VMs: Random Text Generation
I should perhaps also mention that, in the VMS, the ligatured "4o"
character looks (to my eyes) like an afterthought, added to the code at a
late stage. This is because it really doesn't have the same flow or
geometric structure as any of the other letters of the cipherbet.
My guess is that, when presented with a problem that needing solving, the
code creator fell back on a cipher character which had proved useful in the
past, rather than adding one within the same scheme (which, as mentioned
here before, I think was quite possibly borrowed en masse from a shorthand
I should perhaps also point out here that the cipherbet design trick of
using rotational symmetry (like Giovanni de Fontana's vowels) wasn't
possible, because of the unconstrained orientation of labels, and the
existence of (a few) data columns: this meant that a design criterion of
the VMS was that the cipherbet should be *rotation-invariant*.
So, my current (admittedly weak) inference is that EVA "4" was the last
character added to the cipherbet, and was used to encode a certain category
of plaintext that proved to be too unwieldy. I believe that the EVA "o"
added to it was simply intended to try to partially hide its connection to
the following character, but that (though we're still stumped by the rest
of the tricks), this one didn't really fool us. Nice try, but no cigar. :-)
What do I think "4o" codes for? As I think the core of the VMS' coding
system is likely to turn out be some kind of number code system based on
(stego) Roman numerals, paradoxically the one thing it wouldn't have been
very good at handling is... numbers. So: my guess is that "4o" is (in
modern programming terms) a kind of "escape character".
In short, I suspect that "4o" + (number) --> (number), whereas (number) -->
(dictionary entry #number). This is of course just a prediction... but it's
certainly an intriguing possibility. :-)
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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