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Re: Re: Re: VMs: Further investigatio of folio f1r

Hello Jan,

I enjoy reading at your website and your commentary on the list. 
I would like to address a few of the issues of your latest message 
and I will set off my remarks between dashed lines.  

    From: "Jan" <hurychj@xxxxxxxxx> 	
    Subject: Re: Re: Re: VMs: Further investigatio of folio f1r 	
    Date sent: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 18:31:10 -0500

 	 ---  Come to think of it, our different tools are mostly telling 
us what the VM cannot be, which is of course some help too, while on 
the other hand there are not too many tools that can help us to get 
closer to the solution, not mentioning the fact we are running out of 
possibilities. Well, it does not look like, judging by the  traffic 
of this conference :-), but truly, the best linguists and 
cryptographers so far failed mainly because we have here three 
unknown variables: the script, the language and possibly the coding. 
Is there any way out which would help us to establish at  least one 
of those three?  

--- Now let's get into the mind of the author, who - one thing we are 
all almost positive about - wanted to conceal the text, that is the 
content of the text (that applies even for the hoax :-). He didn't 
care that it looked	strange or  maybe he wanted it to  look strange :-
)?  Hardly, unless it was a hoax. That's why I do not think Roger 
Bacon Bacon wrote it: he already had enough problems with his 
superiors and strange script would certainly attract the unwanted 
attention,  not talking  about those naked women :-). Bein g 
intelligent, he would probably choose something less conspicuous, say 
like Francis Bacon binary cipher with steganography.  

--- But why would the author use  strange script (or we should call 
it rather "scripting", since we do not know if it is one-to-one thing 
:-) AND strrange language AND maybe even cipher? The most 
questionable is the use of rather strange natural language, unless it 
was his own. As far as artificial language, I do not see any point 
there: who else could be then able to read it? It would be like the 
whole unknown code-book. So it is highly possible that the language 
USED was the one known to author and probably even to us. Again, the 
linguists cannot establish what language it was because none did  fit 
so far. Neither can cryptographers establish the cipher or code, not 
getting solution  in any known language. 

There are many possible rational motives and more possible irrational 
motives. Start with: intellectual exercise, creative expression, 
improve on existing writing, to amuse, to fuddle, to get rid of an 
(imaginary) extra ear. 

I am not keen on assigning authorship to a historical person without 
evidence. We cannot know a small percentage of the people who could 
have created the manuscript even if we should know the time and the 
general location.  

We do not know who, if anyone else, the author hoped would learn to 
read it. 

---So there must be still something else and now we are really 
getting deep into the jungle. With all due respect to the VM  author, 
the complexity could not be that high, provided that it was written 
to be read by somebody who should be able to figure it out only with 
pen and paper.  

So . . .
I believe we can pretty well rule out sophistication but 
let's not rule out complexity on a conditional observation. 

. . . what it was it that eluded the solution for so long and made us 
so blind? I know this is mainly philosophical question, but here are 
only two answers: a) it is something we half-checked and discarded, 
or b) something completely new. Comparing it with military messages, 
which supposedly need only 500 letters so they can be able to be 
cracked down (I believe that applies for monoalphabetic cipher, known 
language and no code),   the VM author gave us generously plenty of 
ammunition for statistic evaluation, for observing certain rules and 
work it out. Still, the high quantity here does not mean that much - 
doesn't it tell us something?  

>From general reading, it is my understanding that one of the first 
things a cryptanalyst does is to compare letter frequencies. It is 
astounding to think there were no letter frequency comparisons made 
with the most elegible texts until recently (by you). Did everyone 
assume the early heavyweights covered all the basic stuff and then, 
themselves, only attempt elaborate methods? Did everyone do this on 
their own and take it for granted that everyone else did the same? 
Surely, I am missing something here. I would like to see it done with 
larger samples. No doubt there were differences in individual writing 
as there are in modern times. See: 
http://cryptogram.org/cdb/words/etaoin.txt But, for now, I am 
impressed with the results as they are. 

... One interesting thing: while there are meny methods published for 
solving the substitution ciphers, there are only few for 
transposition ciphers and ac tually quite cumbersome ( see Lanaki 
lectures on Net On the other hand). Stuill, those are the  most 
underestimated ciphers and in complex form very difficult to solve 
(especially if we do not know the language). Cobinations go to high 
factorials and that's why they are used more and more in computer 

My agreement has no bearing on the matter but I do agree.

Best regards.  Jan  

Ciao ........... Knox

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