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Re: VMs: NSU review of Rugg (2003)...

Dear Gabriel,

Regarding the coding mechanisms, one simple method involves using the midfix
syllable to represent a single character, with the prefix and suffix being just
padding. So, for instance, "che" might represent "a". This doesn't look
consistent with the degree of repetition in the VMS (e.g. "qokedy qokedy dal
qokedy qokedy"). The second method is more complex to describe, but it would
result in non-random distributions of words in the same "column" of a page (e.g.
the third word in each line of the page), regardless of the table and grille
being used. If it were used, then you would not expect to find many instances of
the same word in vertical succession. I think the degree of similarity between
successive words in the same "column" is too high to be consistent with this.
Both of these are easily testable on a larger scale, and I'd be happy to be shown
wrong, especially if someone finds meaningful text encoded in this way!

Regarding weirdos, one thing which works fairly neatly is to include a few
wildcard symbols in the table - it easily produces an impression of greater
complexity, and conceals some of the regularity produced by the tables.
Similarly, I suspect that many of the dains were included to break up the
"rivering" (i.e. parallel columns of text) that can result from having too many
words of similar length on successive lines.

In general, I found it surprisingly easy to produce apparent complexity using
this approach, whether as a hoax or as padding.

Best wishes,


Gabriel Landini wrote:

> Hi Gordon,
> On Thursday 18 December 2003 11:36, Gordon Rugg wrote:
> > There are two reasons. One is that there are various hypotheses which are
> > compatible with the table and grille; the main ones are:
> > 1: meaningless gibberish with no meaningful text
> I suspect that this could never be proven to be true.
> I mean, what would be a next step to investigate this possibility?
> > 2: meaningless gibberish as padding, plus some meaningful text
> > 3: meaningful text
> Ok.
> > I've identified a couple of ways in which the table and grille could be
> > used for reversible encoding of material. It's possible to eliminate the
> > first fairly definitely, because of the degree of repetition in successive
> > words of the manuscript. The second also appears unlikely to have been used
> > because of the degree of repetition between successive lines of the
> > manuscript.
> This is interesting. Are these degrees of repetition measurable in a generic
> sense or only with a set of constructed tables?
> > In brief, I'm simply saying that the manuscript can be explained as a hoax
> > containing only meaningless gibberish; there's no evidence at present of
> > any meaningful text hidden among gibberish. That doesn't mean that we can
> > definitely exclude meaningful text, and I'd be delighted if someone found
> > some.
> And so would I! :-)
> > > That is interesting too. How complex should this grille have to be to
> > > explain ALL the vms?
> >
> > I suspect that about seven or eight tables were used; I don't know how many
> > grilles. That suspicion comes from two directions. From attempting to
> > replicate the manuscript, I found that the table needs to be changed
> > periodically, and producing a manuscript the size of the VMS would take
> > about half a dozen tables. From the textual evidence in the manuscript, I
> > suspect that the difference between Voynich A and B reflects table A1 and
> > table B1; other sections of the manuscript are probably derived from
> > modifications to table A1 and table B1 (e.g. table A2, table B2, etc).
> What about the weirdoes?
> If table and grille are used, shouldn't these be only restricted to certain
> areas of the vms? (I am talking about weirdoes and uncommon letters that
> appear more than once like eva <b>).
> Have you looked whether these cluster to certain sections and if their
> presence correlate with other unusual occurrences (therfore suggesting that
> the same table/grille was used?)
> Cheers,
> Gabriel
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