Statement of bias

Positive bias:

I am impressed with work being produced through a Blogger blog called ‘Theorecalist’, by a student at Gonbad Kavous University.

Without republishing the whole of voynichimagery, It would be impossible to explain fully just why I’m impressed by Mr. Jooybari’s still somewhat halting efforts at translation, but it has to do with a convergence of information and, much more importantly, the independent courses taken to reach that convergence.

Mr. Jooybari is focused on the written text; my work on the drawings. Mr. Jooybari’s interest in seems to have begun after I’d closed voynichimagery and I encountered his work only by accident, today.

If our research-results co-incide, therefore, it’s the manuscript itself which brings the convergence about – no question of cross-contamination, plagiarism, efforts at influencing or even ‘agreeing with the idea’.

In his translations there are sections the significance of which even Mr. Jooybari seems not fully to appreciate.

I am a little concerned, though, that one or two of the more rabid theorists might now try to proselytise this genuinely original voice in Voynich research. Let’s hope they can find the self-command to let him proceed in peace without any efforts to convert him by flattery or by its opposite.

The good news is that the written text may have a single author even if it turns out to include many quotations.

Negative bias

Lost language of Braveheart, and Robert de Bruce King of Scots – author named as Katie Tucker.

Katie’s hoping to make some money from the Voynich manuscript by selling books created by herself and an anonymous group she calls STEM.

To judge from what she’s put online, her method is to type in all the Voynich buzz-words and key words from genuine research, perhaps adding a few more from G/gle and Amazon metrics, then churning out a story likely to attract the largest possible number of click-bait buyers.

I’m so tempted to indulge my imagination and see her more as an AI than a genuine person.

A blog called Captain’s (b)log is full of baseless and sometimes brainless assertions made with the ‘How Dare You Doubt’ tone which reminds me of certain ‘Rudolfine court’ theorists, but Katie and STEM have jiggled a bit and made it what she calls ‘the Scottish court’.

Note added (29th March 2022). I have been made aware that in American slang, ‘jiggle’ is used as a euphemism. I am not American. The dialect of English I speak is not an American one.

Nothing indicates that Katie or any member of STEM has bothered to do original investigative research of any sort, not even doing work as easy as reading wiki articles.

Let me illustrate that.

Her latest ‘advertisement’ blogpost asserts that “the Scottish Court” under/after Robert the Bruce knew how to navigate using clocks to determine longitude, and that the Voynich manuscript is about those clocks.

It’s total rubbish because the facts are these:-

Efforts by Europeans to determine longitude at sea by using clocks began in 1657AD when Christiaan Huygens patented his pendulum clock, intending it to serve that purpose.

Robert the Bruce had died three centuries before – in 1329.

The Voynich manuscript was already made before the coiled spring was invented, this for the first time allowing time-pieces to be made smaller than town-hall tower size, and to become portable.

After 1657, Huygens’ pendulum clock was tried out as means to determine longitude at sea, but the ship’s motion so upset a clock’s equilibrium that the experiment didn’t work and was eventually abandoned. So Robert the Bruce’s secret was… what?

To as late as the last quarter of the eighteenth century, people kept trying to use clocks rather than astronomy and when Captain James Cook set out to take a look at the Pacific, he took two clocks. One – by Kendall – ran madly ahead of time, and the other by Arnold was always very slow. You can guess how Cook hoped to use them to determine his longitude.

Nearly all that information I got from just one wiki article.

How come Katie and her whole ‘team’ didn’t know any of it?

On the other hand, though apparently not terribly keen on work, Katie and her team are clearly keen on getting people to hand over some dosh and are happy to do whatever it takes, including plagiarism and saying things that have no basis in fact – so if you enjoy a laugh or like reading historical-fantasy why not help her and her ‘team’ out by buying a copy of L.L.B &R. de B.K of S.? You will excuse me if I don’t.

5 thoughts on “Statement of bias

  1. In an effort to be fair – if you substitute the word ‘astrolabe’ for ‘clock’ there could be some sense in one passage allegedly translated by Katie and co. For example, she writes:

    Folio 67r-73v: Set up of Clock Background Plate: Every time you change 30 degrees latitude you have to change the background plate of the clock which alters the time calculations.

    Now this is more or less right if you were talking about changing the plates in a non-universal astrolabe.
    I’m not endorsing the transcription or the translation. Nor does latitude change the *hour* itself – because that’s a function of longitude – but thirty degrees of latitude makes a substantial difference to the number of daylight hours vs. number of hours of night. So if you were a person who counted your hours beginning from sunrise – as not everyone did – then a change of thirty degrees’ latitude would see a difference in the stars’ disposition at your ‘first hour’.
    So where’s the evidence for how Katie’s “Scottish court” counted its hours?

    Unfortunately. it becomes much harder to believe that Katie and Co when the illustration included with the ‘clock’ material shows Huygens’ 17thC patented pendulum.

    I’m having difficulty getting the image out of my head of some little fifteenth-century Scottish ship bearing tied to its mast, like a mechanical Odysseus, a huge clock-tower.


  2. it should also be kept in mind that time and direction were matters of interest to people other than mariners – such as those needing to be fairly accurate about times and direction for prayer.


  3. And of course we wouldn’t call Dondi’s Astrarium “a clock” in the usual English sense of that word, even if it is called an ‘orolgico’ in Italian. We’d call it instead a planetarium or astrarium.

    The reconstructed version of Dondi’s astrarium measures 98 cm x 90 cm diameter and weighs 80 Kg. I don’t know what the original measured.

    It never worked properly after Dondi’s death in 1389, according to Christophe Roulet.

    following da Dondi’s death, it never really functioned correctly and, like any other broken clock, ended its days on the scrap heap.

    “This in no way diminished Giovanni da Dondi’s glory,” write Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum, Philippe Braunstein and Olivier Mannoni in their book History of the Hour. “On the contrary: because no-one was able to repair the mechanism or maintain it in working order, the maker of this construction, considered one of the wonders of the world in the Lower Middle Ages, was seen as an extraordinary genius to whom many of his contemporaries would pay tribute, among them Petrarch and Philippe de Mézières.”
    A little too delicate to be carted around on heaving seas, one would think.


  4. If you’re keen on clocks, the Almanus ms is available in an English translation.

    The manuscript itself is now
    Staats-und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg, Codex in 2 no. 209, (Rome circa 1475-circa 1485)

    Its digitised.


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