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Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth (Part One)

Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth (Part One)
This is the first installment in a two-part series. The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes… — Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” NOTE: This is a follow-up to my quiz that ran in The Times, “Are You an Optimist or a Pessimist?” I would like you to read my essay and then take the quiz. Wikimedia CommonsThe Torino Impact Hazard Scale Here is my confession. I picked a passage from David Deutsch’s second book, “The Beginning of Infinity” — a passage about “unprecedented safety” — and embedded it in my quiz for The Times, “Are You an Optimist or a Pessimist?” If a one-kilometer asteroid had approached the Earth on a collision course at any time in human history before the early twenty-first century, it would have killed at least a substantial proportion of all humans. But for the moment, I was interested in something somewhat less apocalyptic. Wikimedia Commons (Greg Robson) Don’t get me wrong. Renaud had written 52 essays in total. G.C.

The Voynich Manuscript The Voynich Manuscript has been dubbed "The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World". It is considered a Manuscript codex and dates to the early 15th century (1404-1438), possibly created in northern Italy. It is named after the book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, who purchased it in 1912. Much of the manuscript resembles herbal manuscripts of the 1500s, seeming to present illustrations and information about plants and their possible uses for medical purposes. We will never fully understand all of the messages - some easy to discern while others resemble allegory making them subjective to the reader. Mysterious Voynich manuscript has 'genuine message' BBC - June 23, 2013 The message inside "the world's most mysterious medieval manuscript" has eluded cryptographers, mathematicians and linguists for over a century. Analysts have split the book into five thematic sections based on the illustrations: biological, astrological, pharmaceutical, herbal and one section on recipes The Journey of the Book

A History of Vice Presidential Picks When Barack Obama presented Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008, it seemed clear what the 36-year Senate veteran was bringing to the ticket: experience. As TIME’s Massimo Calabresi wrote at the time: In the end, Obama picked him for the simplest of reasons: The six-term Senator from Delaware is strongest in areas where the freshman from Illinois is weakest. Biden’s tenure in the Senate, his foreign policy expertise, his religion, and his suburban middle-class background, all fill gaps in Obama’s own presidential profile. But four years later, Biden’s importance to the Obama reelection campaign is another thing entirely: where Obama is viewed as cool and reserved, his Vice President is a tenacious, wholehearted fighter for the Administration’s agenda, one with a rare ability to speak to the hearts of American working class voters. As TIME wrote earlier this year: Read the magazine story by a Los Angeles DUI Attorney, “How Joe Biden Became the Obama Campaign’s Secret Weapon.”

voynich John Baez January 30, 2005 The Voynich manuscript is the most mysterious of all texts. It is seven by ten inches in size, and about 200 pages long. It is made of soft, light-brown vellum. It is written in a flowing cursive script in alphabet that has never been seen elsewhere. It contains pictures of various things, including plants, stars... ... and most strangely of all, nude maidens bathing in what looks like some very elaborate plumbing: An interesting puzzle, no? Its recent history It seems that in 1912, the book collector Wilfrid M. Its earlier history When Voynich found the manuscript, there was a letter in it! The letter was written by Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland, and addressed to Athanasius Kircher. If you don't know these figures, you probably don't realize how interesting this is. Emperor Rudolph II Rudolph II (1552-1612) was an emperor of the Holy Roman Empire - which by that time was neither holy, Roman, nor even much of an empire. Athanasius Kircher Roger Bacon References home

Towns With Unfortunate Names Some people claim their town is boring. But somehow it just takes on another meaning when you’re in Boring, Oregon – a real, live town. According to a completely unscientific survey conducted by the genealogy website, the most unfortunately-named town in the United States is Toad Suck, Ark., which makes its debut at the number one spot. Climax, Ga. falls to number two, while Boring, Ore. and Boring, Md. tie for the third spot. While we can’t vouch for accuracy of these rankings, Roachtown, Ill. could probably creep up a few more spots. (MORE: Towns of Boring, Ore., and Dull, Scotland Forge Partnership) Of course, each town’s name is rooted in its very own history. (MORE: Unfortunate Austrian Village May Finally Change Its Name) Others have more innocent explanations. (MORE: What’s in a Name? The complete list includes:

The Voynich Manuscript Decoded? I give examples to show that the code used in the Voynich Manuscript is probably a series of Italian word anagrams written in a fancy embellished script. This code, that has been confusing scholars for nearly a century, is therefore not as complicated as it first appears. All attempts over the past century to decode this mysterious manuscript have met with failure. This is probably due to the initial error made by Voynich and his followers attributing the authorship of the manuscript to Roger Bacon, the 13th century British scientist, monk and scholar. As I showed in a previous paper on my Website, The Voynich Manuscript, was the author left handed? Determine the language used in writing the manuscript Correlate the Voynich alphabet with the modern English alphabet Decipher the code If Leonardo da Vinci was the author of the VM, he would have used the language of Dante, i.e. medieval Italian, so I have assumed the VM language to be Italian. The Italian alphabet does not use the letter X.

The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time from our September 2012 issue Introduction Ian Christie rings in the changes in our biggest-ever poll. And the loser is – Citizen Kane. But it does mean that Hitchcock, who only entered the top ten in 1982 (two years after his death), has risen steadily in esteem over the course of 30 years, with Vertigo climbing from seventh place, to fourth in 1992, second in 2002 and now first, to make him the Old Master. So does 2012 – the first poll to be conducted since the internet became almost certainly the main channel of communication about films – mark a revolution in taste, such as happened in 1962? Ian Christie’s full essay on changing fashions on our new poll is published in the September 2012 issue of Sight & Sound. The top 50 1. Alfred Hitchcock, 1958 (191 votes) Hitchcock’s supreme and most mysterious piece (as cinema and as an emblem of the art). After half a century of monopolising the top spot, Citizen Kane was beginning to look smugly inviolable. 2. Orson Welles, 1941 (157 votes) 3. 4.

Voynich Manuscript Based on the evidence of the calligraphy, the drawings, the vellum, and the pigments, Wilfrid Voynich estimated that the Manuscript was created in the late 13th century. The manuscript is small, seven by ten inches, but thick, nearly 235 pages. It is written in an unknown script of which there is no known other instance in the world. The Voynich Manuscript is a cipher manuscript, sometimes attributed to Roger Bacon. It is abundantly illustrated with awkward coloured drawings of:: unidentified plants; what seems to be herbal recipes; tiny naked women frolicking in bathtubs connected by intricate plumbing looking more like anatomical parts than hydraulic contraptions; mysterious charts in which some have seem astronomical objects seen through a telescope, some live cells seen through a microscope; charts into which you may see a strange calendar of zodiacal signs, populated by tiny naked people in rubbish bins. No one really knows the origins of the manuscript. View Voynich photos

Top 10 Typography Crimes Technology Graphic design is a burgeoning industry. With the rise and ubiquity of the Internet in the last decade, web design especially has become prevalent. (Note: to clear up further confusion, a “font” is a specific weight or style such as Arial 16 Bold, whereas “typeface” refers to the broader, all-encompassing Arial). Computer Styling (stretched type, compressed type, etc.) In essence, a good font should be left alone. Signals such as: bold, underline, all caps, oblique, and italics are all uniquely different ways to add emphasis to type. One of the most common type-crimes; designers will cringe upon hearing these words. “Dummy” Quotes & Hanging Quotes There is a difference between hatch marks and quotation marks. Incorrect Use of Hyphens Technically more of a grammatical error, yet just as applicable to design as it is to grammar. A good designer can always find a way to make a paragraph look relatively straight and crisp at the edges. Poor Kerning, Tracking, & Leading

Voynich Manuscript Written in Central Europe at the end of the 15th or during the 16th century, the origin, language, and date of the Voynich Manuscript—named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912—are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undeciphered text. Described as a magical or scientific text, nearly every page contains botanical, figurative, and scientific drawings of a provincial but lively character, drawn in ink with vibrant washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue, and red. For a complete physical description and foliation, including missing leaves, see the Voynich catalog record. Read a detailed chemical analysis of the Voynich Manuscript (8 p., pdf) History of the Collection Like its contents, the history of ownership of the Voynich manuscript is contested and filled with some gaps. References Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. 2005. Romaine Newbold, William. 1928. Manly, John Mathews. 1921.