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Design inference: And you thought the genetic code was difficult to crack …

File:Voynich manuscript bathtub2 example 78r cropped.jpg

From the "biology" section, Voynich manuscript

In “How Revolutionary Tools Cracked a 1700s Code” (New York Times, October 24, 2011), John Markoff reports on the world’s toughest codes and the design inferences used to crack them, most notably the 18th-century German Copiale cipher:

Uncertain of the original language, the researchers went down several blind alleys before following their hunches. First, they assumed the Roman characters and not the abstract symbols contained all of the information.

Eventually they concluded that the Roman letters were so-called nulls, meant to mislead the code breaker, and that the letters represented spaces between words made up of elaborate symbols. Another crucial discovery was that a colon indicated the doubling of the previous consonant.

Some codes have never been cracked.

But the white whale of the code-breaking world is the Voynich manuscript. Comprising 240 lavishly illustrated vellum pages, it has defied the world’s best code breakers. Though cryptographers have long wondered if it is a hoax, it was recently dated to the early 1400s.

But maybe not. What makes code-breaking so difficult is that the guy who wrote it may be smarter than the cryptographers.

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4 Responses to Design inference: And you thought the genetic code was difficult to crack …

  1. I am reminded of the Bible Code. Whatever happened to that?

  2. 2
    material.infantacy

    Funny, I was just thinking to myself, “What ever happened to the non sequitur?”

  3. Funny, I was just thinking to myself, “What ever happened to the non sequitur?”

    Approximately 80 bh/p, but it’s not been terribly reliable.

  4. DNA Computer
    Excerpt: DNA computers will work through the use of DNA-based logic gates. These logic gates are very much similar to what is used in our computers today with the only difference being the composition of the input and output signals.,,, With the use of DNA logic gates, a DNA computer the size of a teardrop will be more powerful than today’s most powerful supercomputer. A DNA chip less than the size of a dime will have the capacity to perform 10 trillion parallel calculations at one time as well as hold ten terabytes of data. The capacity to perform parallel calculations, much more trillions of parallel calculations, is something silicon-based computers are not able to do. As such, a complex mathematical problem that could take silicon-based computers thousands of years to solve can be done by DNA computers in hours.
    http://www.tech-faq.com/dna-computer.html

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