MonthApril 2007

Statistical analysis of Voynich Manuscript suggests hoax

Is the Voynich Manuscript a hoax? A recent report suggests so:

A breakthrough comes with the publication in Cryptologia this April of an article by Austrian researcher Dr Andreas Schinner, a theoretical physicist and software engineer at the Johannes Kepler University. Schinner analysed the text of the manuscript using specialist statistics capable of handling quasi-stochastic distributions, and found that the manuscript’s statistical properties were consistent with a hoax consisting of meaningless gibberish produced using Rugg’s method or a similar quasi-random method.

Full Story: Knowledge Modeling Group Research Blog.

Peter Drucker on business

Just came across some interesting quotes from The Essential Drucker, via Nivi.

On Results:

Profit is not the explanation, cause, or rationale of business behavior and business decisions, but rather the test of their validity… the root of the confusion is the mistaken belief that the motive of a person – the so-called profit motive of the businessman – is an explanation of his behavior or his guide to right action. Whether there is such a thing as a profit motive at all is highly doubtful. The idea was invented by the classical economists to explain the economic reality that their theory of static equilibrium could not explain.

On Marketing:

… the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.

Why do I find these two quotes in particular so interesting? They fly in the face of the preconceived notion built up by paranoia in the West of the evil empire and brainwashing marketers.

It just turns the mirror of responsibility back on the individual, and if you’re so swayed then you lack the insight to see it. It’s all scapegoating. Anything that isn’t your fault you can work to resolve. As Nivi states on his Twitter site, all problems are opportunities.

Or, as Geuvera said, the job of every revolutionary is to make revolution. Not to sit and bitch about it.

The World According to America

Happy Monday:

world according to america


News virus 2008

The esteemed Technoccult guest-editor Nick Pell has launched a blog covering the 2008 election from his non-Euclidean political perspective:

Giuliani was on the offensive, repeating what will likely be his mantra for the upcoming election, that social issues don’t matter. The Big G still leads in key states in all early polling, and I still maintain that he’s going to name Gingrich as his running mate long before the primary season even begins to wash away his sins. Specifically, his (alleged) socially permissive politics and being from ‘Nooo Yawrk Citaaay?!’ The Manhattan Mussolini once again reiterated his opposition to more government spending on anything other than putting black ski masked thugs on every street corner in America. Internal security and intelligence services on a scale grander than the German Democratic Republic are a great idea but single-payer health care? That’s socialism! He also stated unequivocally that the other Republican candidates are better than Clinton, Obama and Edwards. One can only assume that proto-fascist Tom Tancredo and reanimated corpse Tommy Thompson are included in this assessment.

News Virus 2008.

Death threats, misogyny, and Kos embarrassing himself

Remember the story about the blogger who received misogynistic death threats a couple weeks ago? Kos has chimed in with a post I hope he finds utterly embarrassing. He says “Most of the time, said ‘death threats’ don’t even exist — evidenced by the fact that the crying bloggers and journalists always fail to produce said “death threats.'” Actually, Kos, Kathy Sierra did provide the death threats.

“fuck off you boring slut… i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob”

“the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size.”

There were also Photoshopped images of her head in a noose, among other images which are no long available. Someone in the comments on her post described it:

In the pic she’s being gagged/suffocated like in a horror movie, and at first glance it looks like her head is being split open (before you see it’s panties–and I’m not the only one to do a double-take). Does that not look deeply wrong to you?

This is a bit different from “AIDS will be killing more and more of you liberals every year.” It’s personal, and someone took the time to create detailed Photoshopped images of her.

That said, I’m not sure a blogger code of conduct will solve these sorts of problems. But Kos should have gotten the facts straight before he started shooting his mouth about how Sierra was just a whiney blogger who needs to grow some thicker skin. To quote Adam Greenfield, “If you don’t get why even sophomoric Photoshoppings have to be taken seriously as same in the context of a continued campaign of harrassment and intimidation, then I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

Update: Here’s a more eloquent post about this subject from Bruce Godfrey.

Update 2: FWIW, Daily Kos contributing editor MissLaura gets it right:

Bloggers tend to talk a lot about thick skin, and to pride ourselves on it. But I think maybe we’ve kind of elevated this to a form of machismo – because you have to have a thick skin to deal with the legitimate critiques you face as a blogger, somehow it’s become A Thing that you also have to accept the illegitimate personal ones as well.

Celebrity, misogyny, machismo, the anonymity of online discourse. There are a lot of possible explanations for this crap, and probably each is relevant at certain moments. What do you think, not just about what explains it but about what to do about it? How much do we tolerate? When do we get to point the finger and say ‘this is not merely dislike of someone else but misogyny’?

Update 3: Kos issues a “clarification” (aka non-apology).

Richard Dawkins on faith, at Pop!Tech 2006

Richard Dawkins believes science’s ability to admit ignorance is one of its greatest strengths. On the flip side, he proposes that faith all remains arrogant and all too certain of its validity without any rational set of proofs.

I’ve been watching all the speakers posted up on the Pop!Tech site and this was by far one of my favourites. Dawkins: 1. Faith: uhh, still millions, but whatever. Dawkins makes excellent points.

Lost Robert Anton Wilson book online free: The Sex Magicians

robert anton wilson the sex machines

Some notes about the book on Tribe.

Direct PDF download.

Text file.

(via Hit and Run).

For more on Robert Anton Wilson, check out our dossier on him.

A few new ones from the Viking Youth

The Vikings have done a few new podcasts that I missed, check them out:

Blarney Me Kaisers!.

The Man From Another Place: David Lynch.

Inland Empire.

Cabin Fever.

And don’t forget, the Viking Youth will be recording an episode live at esoZone. There’s less than a week left to buy early bird tickets, so hurry!

Dreamed up phone number leads man to a bride

David Brown, 24, says he woke up one morning after a night out with friends with a telephone number constantly running through his head. He decided to contact it, sending a message saying “Did I meet you last night?.”

Random recipient Michelle Kitson was confused and wary at first but decided to reply and the two began exchanging messages. Eventually they met and fell in love.

Full Story: Reuters

(via T0tem7).

One step forward, two steps back

Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.

Article 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

via Stephen Jay Gould

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