Here’s a teaser for a 2009 paper (from Significance, Vol. 6, No. 4., pp. 165-169) which some Voynich Manuscript researchers might possibly be interested in:-

How concentrated is the information in Darwin’s Origin of Species? How heavy a read is Gibbon’s Decline and Fall? Where does a great white whale fit in? And what on earth is the mysterious Voynich manuscript that has baffled scholars for centuries?Marcelo Montemurro and Damián Zanette look at words and the information they contain.

I have to say that I’m somewhat dubious that any practical lessons about information content can be explicitly drawn from Voynichese transcriptions, given the battles that continue to rage over whether it is a hoax, a lost (public) language, a personal (private) language, or a ciphertext [hint: it’s the last, but don’t tell anyone].

Implicitly, however, there’s a big lesson to be learned, which is: if you apply your favourite statistical tools to things you don’t understand even slightly, don’t be surprised if you get paradoxical or uncertain results. That is, rather than computer scientists’ favoured “Garbage In, Garbage Out“, a more accurate high level model would seem to be “Caviar In, Sh*t Out“. Oh well!

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