December 3rd, 2010

news

The Voynich Manuscript crops up again

The Skeptical Inquirer also has an English translation of Klaus Schmeh's German article [with some nice full-color images] on the Voynich MS. As do I, Schmeh comes down on the side of old hoax as the most likely explanation, though other explanations are not ruled out. But I was a little surprised by the information that an (as yet unpublished) radiocarbon dating of the MS puts it at 1404-1438. I had been sort of pulling for Edward Kelly/John Dee as the hoaxers or hoax-instigators, but (barring the unlikely use of old vellum) that date makes that impossible. It also excludes Roger Bacon, the name probably most often associated with the MS, at least in the early years of its study. Plunking it down in the early 1400s makes the damn thing more mysterious still.
atheist teacher

But there's no 's' in 'Burt Bacharach'.

The latest from Tepid Nightmare Theater:

I dreamt I went to work.... unshaven. Dun dun DAAAAH! [lightning/thunder SFX]


So. About that atheist billboard at the Lincoln Tunnel.

I give it thumbs down. I was comfortable with the good without god ones, and the you're not alone ones. They seem narrowly tailored to appeal directly to non-believers. And if believers take offense at that, that's just too bad.
Although AA is trying to spin "You KNOW it's a Myth" as though it too is appealing only to those who do indeed know it's a myth, I think the phrase is clearly confrontational to people who don't know that. It's on par with You KNOW you're going to Hell. And while clearly there are provoking billboards of that nature, I don't think it's helpful to stoop to that level.
The CFI bus ad skates pretty close to the edge, too, I think. More importantly, I'm not sure how effective it is likely to be. I'd rather it just had the slogan, and a bigger CFI logo and link for people who want to know more. The slogan's a good one, and I think it would be valuable to just have it out there, like 'Be kind to animals' or 'Have you hugged your kids today?' or 'Gnothi Seauton'. I'm not a huge philosophy fan-boy, but surely those would be an improvement over ads for the Double Down.