Hi GC and welcome back - hunting season for Voynich decryption/authorship leads is definitely still open and we look forward to further interesting contributions from you.
Luis, the one guy I thought I'd hear from in my absence. Where you been?
Not much anew here - certainly no major breakthroughs. Activity on the list has mostly focused on proving (or disproving) Rugg's conundrum; Wayne Durden proposes Dacian as source; some comments on the castle shapes (swallow-tail merlons); a few emails speculating on Baresch and his probable identity & family origins; some reviews on a proposed solution/paid course. Other than that, nothing too significant to report... on the crypto there were a few interesting exchanges regarding nulls and general structure. There are some promising newbies out there. Again, good to see you back and hope you can bring us some very much needed fresh air of innovation or decent controversy - that's where good ideas dwell.
Thanks for the synopsis, I really needed it, and it doesn't seem that I missed much. Rugg's Conundrum - please bring me up to speed. I gave up on those who were trying to locate the Voynich in European terms when my note on the fact that there were few "dark hairs" in the drawings, rather blondes and brunettes, was countered by an argument that hair dye was available. Come on, these are farm girls depicted, not blue-bloods - Clairol was available and affordable to the common folk even in Voynich times? These are drawings of life around the author, which does not depict court life or higher society. I said before, and I say again, write down all you know about the Voynich, in detail, before making such inane statements or comparisons. Dyeing of the hair for common people, in England especially, would have been viewed as "vanity", which is a sin in church terms, especially under Henry. That's what I call "skewing the evidence", and I wasn't too happy about the course that conversation took in the overall.
As to Baresch, I'm very happy that Rene and others are continuing their exhaustive work on the history of the manuscript's travels, as this is just as important as the solution, in the scheme of things. I'm waiting for the "English connection", since it began its travels in England, most probably through Roger Ascham, who acquired it after the death of his brother around 1558. After Roger's death in 1562, Dee was one who purchased most of Roger's library, but there were others. Damn, without other information, we're back to Dee again as the deliverer of the document to Rudolph's library, and that through a certain degree of deception, no doubt.
As to nulls in the Voynich, I can't comment on the discussion and how nulls relate to the structure of the Voynich, as I have not read the exchanges, but I wonder how a country doctor became so involved in cryptology as to understand the use of nulls, especially when he was building off of a shorthand, the very idea of nulls being moot in such an effort. I can only say that I have found no use of nulls in my studies. I think that considering the use of nulls in what is obviously a medical document, at the time it is supposed to have been written, is anachronistic, especially given the educational level of the person who drew the pictures. The concept of human communication only allowed spaces for clarity, and to go a bit further and add extraneous nonsensical bits at this educational level is extraordinary. Just my opinion.
I'd like to personally meet the promising newbies - I am always glad to meet my betters.
I say now as I've said in the past, (except I hope to word it a bit better in the future), that one has to list each known fact and examine this list on its own terms, without interpretation. To my knowledge this has not been done on-list by anybody, and I am not the one to accomplish this feat, at least not in public. Bias always creeps in when interpretation is performed, and I have my own bias, nevertheless, a set of absolute facts, no matter how small, is the first foundation in understanding.
Thanks again Luis for the update, and I hope to contribute more than simple criticism as I grow acclimated.