Written anonymously in an indecipherable language using an unknown alphabet, the Voynich manuscript (Wikipedia) is one of our most mysterious historical texts. Slipping in and out of history, the text first surfaced during the 1600s when it entered the private collection Georg Baresch, an alchemist in Prague. Baresch considered the manuscript a useless waste of space, and contacted Athanasius Kircher, a scholar of language at the Collegio Ramano. When Baresch died, Jan Marek Marcia, a mutual friend and scholar, sent the manuscript to Kircher with a letter. The letter, dated 1665, disappeared along with the manuscript until 1912. At this time it was aquired by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich as part of a bulk purchase during a Collegio Ramano fundraising sale, with the 1665 letter still inside the front cover. Voynich died in 1930 and his wife maintained possession until her death in 1961. In 1969 the manuscript was donated to Yale University, where it remains.
Widely believed to be a cyphertext, the manuscript has thwarted codebreakers, linguists, cryptograhers, and all other comers. The many colorful images contained within allude to various scientific topics, such as biology and astronomy, but none of this can be substantiated without deciphering the text. The only widely accepted assumption about the manuscript is that it was written in the 1400s. Until recently, this was supported by analysing the style of the drawings and appearance of the people portrayed in them. Now, a group of researchers at the University of Arizona have proven the accuracy of this date. Through carbon dating, these researchers have narrowed the creation of the manuscript to somewhere between 1404 and 1438. This discovery will hopefully lead to further insight in to the origins and meaning of the Voynich manuscript.
Read more about carbon dating the manuscript at PHYSORG.
Guntram Weber discusses the fascinating search for his father and the startling discoveries he made along the way.
This reminds me of the mug shots they took of the Polish children,” says Guntram Weber, 67, as EXBERLINER photographs him. He acquiesces patiently though, posing this way and that – no model, but a man bred to the ‘purely beautiful’ – the child and pride of the bygone utopia of a pure Aryan world. His genes, in fact, were once amongst Germany’s most prized, but his parentage remained a mystery to him for decades. Born in 1943 in the Third Reich’s Posen (now Poznan in Poland), Weber is a child of Lebensborn, one of National Socialism’s most insidious schemes.
(Reuters) – Google Inc admitted for the first time its “Street View” cars around the world accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed — including complete emails and passwords — potentially breathing new life into probes in various countries.
The disclosure comes just days after Canada’s privacy watchdog said Google had collected complete emails and accused Google of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.
WASHINGTON — Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.
The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that caused technical problems for surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.
A union representing federal scientists has launched a campaign targeting what it calls the government’s “worrying trend away from evidence-based policy-making.”
“If the science isn’t supported … then you’re going to find that decisions are going to be made more at the political level,” Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said Monday as the union launched a website called publicscience.ca.
The site aims to highlight science done for the public good — much of it taxpayer-funded and carried out by government scientists — and to “mobilize” scientists and the public to pressure politicians to support it. It features interviews with federal scientists about their work, along with interviews with science policy experts.
Introducing “Insane Clown Posse,” a US-based band from Detroit (these days better known as hell), that started in 1984 and made its mark with 1995 Riddle Box which pushed the band to prominence up to such an extent that Disney purchased their contract only to relinquish it for the sake of rebuilding its “family values” public image.