The All-Thing

All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.


淮上喜會樑川故人 (韋應物)


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Tue, 07 Oct 2003

Voynich Manuscript

This is pretty cool.

"The Voynich manuscript dates back at least to the seventeenth century, though it is possibly much older. It is approximately 240 pages long, and its pages are filled with hand-written text and crudely drawn illustrations. The illustrations depict plants, astrological diagrams, and naked women. These illustrations are strange, but much stranger is the text itself, because the manuscript is written entirely in a mysterious, unknown alphabet that has defied all attempts at translation."

sample page (and many more, e.g. the Google Directory entry).

Though I hadn't heard of it, this is apparently pretty well-known in the NLP community as it's a nice, compact and compelling open question (e.g. Eric Brill used it as a project in his classes). And it follows Zipf's Law, suggesting that there is an actual natural language underlying the document.

Posted at 16:04 | /media/books | (leave a comment) | permalink


Truth is the most valuable thing we have -- so let us economize it. -- Mark Twain