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marcel varallo’s take on the rubaiyat code

I found this link on cipher mysteries,

http://www.marcelvarallo.com/decoding-the-somerton-man-cypher/

  • this is what Marcel has to say:

tin-hat

“Tin foil hat time.

Once upon a time I was really interested in SIGINT, HUMINT, Encryption and so forth and went a little nutty looking at this case about a mystery death of an unknown man in South Australia who was found to be in possession of a code. While reading into it and discovering cool new side stories never mentioned (like the finding of a syringe near the body or a mysterious German fellow with a doctors bag full of loaded syringes who may be an assassin) I discovered the horrible mistake that lead those trying to crack the code into failure.

BASICALLY THE NEWSPAPER PRINTED A PICTURE OF WHAT WAS ROUGHLY THE CODE BUT CONTAINED TRANSCRIPTION ERRORS.

How did I find this? I wasn’t going to try to decode it because smarter people than I with resources beyond my own have been trying the methods I would start with for much longer than I would be spending on this. And because this exists. If I had encoded something I thought was super important, I would use a strict adherence to this method and it would be mathematically impossible to break. With that as a possibility I thought it would be more interesting to find out what we knew about everything else and hope for something that would let me I.D. the man but what I found was pretty damn shocking.

I’ll keep it as blunt and simple as possible. Anyone on the internet who claims to have taken pictures of the code with infrared or filters or whatever is wrong. Our favourite picture of the code is actually a photo of a photo the code on its actual page taken with a UV light illuminating the page. I have seen it in person. The original code was so hard to see that the UV light (referred to as a “special light” and not in common use at the time) was required to display it adequately. Unfortunately the camera used to photograph the code by the Adelaide Advertiser didn’t pick it up very well at all and this problem was only discovered after the film was developed. The result was faint and unprintable. So what could they do? Grab a pen and trace the outline of the code onto the photo. This becomes evident when we zoom in on a few of the letters, courtesy of a high-def scan of the photo, and the start/stop pooling of the ink betrays the truth. Remember all reports said the code was in pencil.

mv1
INK POOLING AS PEN STARTED AND STOPPED (Marcels’ caps)

mv2

DOTTING LIKE SOMEONE WAS “FEELING” OUT THE LETTER

mv3

DIDN’T EVEN LINE THE LETTER UP

mv4

IS THAT EVEN THE SAME LETTER?

Looking over the HD version and playing with some colour settings makes it apparent that some of the letters have even been traced incorrectly. Could this really be true!? Can we prove that this is not the correct code some other way? Well, there is this document retrieved from the national archives from an editing of a TV news story in which the officer investigating actually described the codes appearance…(see pic on MV’s post)
NEAR THE BOTTOM NEXT TO WHERE SOMEONE WROTE OLA CODE
What!? Uniform letters and square layout? That’s not what we were given! Some encryption methods actually rely on the code having specific layouts and obviously with something this short, one or two incorrect characters could also easily thwart the super-est of super computers attempting to crack it. So this could be a lost cause already. Well it turns out the whole evidence bag has since gone missing so we can’t get another copy of the code. But I did find the articles submitted to the CIB head office at the time, by the officers investigating …

A LITTLE WEATHERED BY LEGIBLY DIFFERENT. (see pic on MV’s post)
Now I’d be more inclined to believe an article written back to base by an officer requesting assistance as more reliable than the local newspaper. It’s looking good for my theory….But just to be sure how about a later snapshot from documents submitted to the senate describing the code differently…

So the newspaper still happened to hold the photo in their media library and guess what we find when we go to look. Picture of a picture. I would have liked to get the photographers name and continue down the rabbit hole but this is about where all the “who are you and is this authorised” started at me. I then got a little distracted by life and this is where I left things.

IN SHORT, WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO CRACK THE WRONG CODE FOR 60 SOMETHING YEARS.

I’d love to upload my raw resource files but it’s 700mb or so and I can’t be hosting it here. Sorry about that.

UPDATE! Trimmed back some of the files but here’s a large sample of what I’ve put together from my scattered backups. Uploaded to Google Drive as a zip.

Anyway, have fun. I’m done with this one.”

All words and images lifted from marcelvarello.com

~

Ok, Marcel, let’s have fun.

Step 1 / Eliminate the blarney, hearsay, inconsequential chit-chat, old news and speculation.

Step 2 / Highlight what is unclear.

Step 3 / Highlight what needs backup, seriously.

Step 4 / Notations added at end of script.

Tin foil hat time. Once upon a time I was really interested in SIGINT, HUMINT, Encryption and so forth and went a little nutty looking at this case about a mystery death of an unknown man in South Australia who was found to be in possession of a code. While reading into it and discovering cool new side stories never mentioned (like the finding of a syringe near the body or a mysterious German fellow with a doctors bag full of loaded syringes who may be an assassin) I discovered the horrible mistake that lead those trying to crack the code into failure.

BASICALLY THE NEWSPAPER PRINTED A PICTURE OF WHAT WAS ROUGHLY THE CODE BUT CONTAINED TRANSCRIPTION ERRORS.

How did I find this? I wasn’t going to try to decode it because smarter people than I with resources beyond my own have been trying the methods I would start with for much longer than I would be spending on this. And because this exists. If I had encoded something I thought was super important, I would use a strict adherence to this method and it would be mathematically impossible to break. With that as a possibility I thought it would be more interesting to find out what we knew about everything else and hope for something that would let me I.D. the man but what I found was pretty damn shocking.

I’ll keep it as blunt and simple as possible. Anyone on the internet who claims to have taken pictures of the code with infrared or filters or whatever is wrong. Our favourite picture of the code is actually a photo of a photo the code on its actual page taken with a UV light illuminating the page. I have seen it in person.

The original code was so hard to see that the UV light (referred to as a “special light” and not in common use at the time) was required to display it adequately. Unfortunately the camera used to photograph the code by the Adelaide Advertiser didn’t pick it up very well at all and this problem was only discovered after the film was developed. The result was faint and unprintable. So what could they do? Grab a pen and trace the outline of the code onto the photo. This becomes evident when we zoom in on a few of the letters, courtesy of a high-def scan of the photo, and the start/stop pooling of the ink betrays the truth. Remember all reports said the code was in pencil.

Looking over the HD version and playing with some colour settings makes it apparent that some of the letters have even been traced incorrectly. Could this really be true!? Can we prove that this is not the correct code some other way? Well, there is this document retrieved from the national archives from an editing of a TV news story in which the officer investigating actually described the codes appearance…
NEAR THE BOTTOM NEXT TO WHERE SOMEONE WROTE OLA CODE*
What!? Uniform letters and square layout? That’s not what we were given! Some encryption methods actually rely on the code having specific layouts and obviously with something this short, one or two incorrect characters could also easily thwart the super-est of super computers attempting to crack it. So this could be a lost cause already. Well it turns out the whole evidence bag has since gone missing so we can’t get another copy of the code. But I did find the articles submitted to the CIB head office at the time, by the officers investigating…
A LITTLE WEATHERED BY LEGIBLY DIFFERENT.
Now I’d be more inclined to believe an article written back to base by an officer requesting assistance as more reliable than the local newspaper. It’s looking good for my theory….But just to be sure how about a later snapshot from documents submitted to the senate describing the code differently…

So the newspaper still happened to hold the photo in their media library and guess what we find when we go to look. Picture of a picture. I would have liked to get the photographers name and continue down the rabbit hole but this is about where all the “who are you and is this authorised” started at me. I then got a little distracted by life and this is where I left things.

IN SHORT, WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO CRACK THE WRONG CODE FOR 60 SOMETHING YEARS.

*We remember the document retrieved from the national archives from an editing of a TV news story which mentioned that one of the two telephone numbers written on the back of the Rubaiyat belonged Alf Boxall. 

Feature pic is Varallo, Italy.

Any mistakes or omissions in Marcel’s post are mine and unintentional.

 

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. It’s yet another hoax.

    February 27, 2017
  2. Don’t underestimate Marcel, he reckons he’s right onto it and besides, he has NP in his corner. Tres formidable, non?

    February 27, 2017
  3. No, not formidable. Bit of a giggle really. No idea who Marcel is, could be a decent sort of bloke and it does seem he has spent some time on the subject.The hoax is on the other link to what I think is Nick’s subsite? The versions of the code page he introduced are not ‘authentic’ images of the code page. No provenance at all for either of them, one has had its aspect ratio altered which immediately disqualifies it and the ‘higher resolution’ image of the code is nothing more nor less than a scan of the 400 dpi Advertiser code image saved at 1200 dpi. We did this exercise 9 years ago on the Uni FB page and it was simply wrong. You would think Nick would have known the issues with that. You have to be a complete muppet to fall for it.

    Interesting how it appeared when we put a name to SM. 🙂

    February 27, 2017
  4. Pelling isn’t an endorser unless there is something in it for him, this I can understand, bloggers like to keep their readerships up. It’s a vanity.
    But this bloke, Marcel, has just dived into the Somerton pool and splashed up a couple of hundred words of unedifying and amateur content … but, remarkably, has achieved the Dome’s unqualified approval.
    He must be relaxing his intellectual standards.

    February 27, 2017
  5. The battle between NP and I has gone on for some years. He has been unable to disprove any of the work I have put forward on each and every occasion, this latest effort will be no exception. His post is either deliberately misleading everyone or he just doesn’t know enough. He is either the perpetrator of the hoax or he is the victim.

    In my view, there is not a lot of difference between the style of NP and that of Marcel.

    February 27, 2017
  6. Hmmm…

    Putting to one side the issue of whether or not this new image is genuine, can I take it as read that there is indeed no microwriting to be found on it?

    Surely that at least we can agree on.

    February 27, 2017
  7. When you say ‘on it’ I’m supposing you mean on the pics Marcel put up, the photos of photos of photos of the end result of someone smearing ink over the ‘line of indentations’ found imprinted on the back of the Rubaiyat?
    Can we start here, Nick?
    Is this how you understand it?

    February 27, 2017
    • The evidence: one or more scans of a photograph of an overdrawn photograph of the Rubaiyat code. Unless there are other photographs still extant, that’s all we have to work with.

      Gordon’s long-standing claim is that the lines comprising the original Rubaiyat code were in fact made up (to some degree) of microwriting: and that this original microwriting is still visible (though only just) through the later overwriting (that was probably added by SAPOL).

      We would therefore expect any such feature intrinsic to the photograph of an overdrawn photograph to be visible not only in a single scan, but also in a higher resolution scan. If those same specific features are not visible in a higher resolution scan, then the original claim (that the image contained microwriting) would seem to be incorrect.

      This is how I understand it.

      Gordon looks at this evidential landscape and concludes that these other images must therefore be fake. I look at this evidential landscape and conclude that if these are real (and I don’t currently see any reason to think that they aren’t), then his claim is false.

      However, what I hope he and I can agree on is that there is no microwriting visible in these new images: in which case the only actual question is as to their authenticity.

      February 27, 2017
  8. Are you contesting a procedure that demonstrates that residue ink is left in the indentations after the overwrite has been stripped back?

    February 27, 2017
    • No procedure can reconstruct something that didn’t happen in the first place. The question is about what happened, nothing else.

      February 28, 2017
  9. One procedure says the underlying code exists, if you wish to prove Gordon wrong, replicate it. We are just wasting words here.

    February 28, 2017
    • (deleted)

      The reconstructive procedure implies that one claimed “microwriting” mechanism ***might have** existed. This is an argument by possibility, which is a very weak kind of thing indeed.

      The evidential reasoning says that if the microwriting isn’t on the new scans AND the new scans are genuine, then what was on the old scan was not microwriting… which, by way of comparison, is a very strong kind of disproof.

      March 1, 2017
  10. How I love your supercilious bullshit, Nick, you have the ability to command a majestic flow of nonsense that appears to make sense on the first read, but then deconstructs into a puddle of homemade definitions and shady comparisons. Lovely stuff, I suppose your deep background in computer games gives you the edge here.
    Not to forget your standout successes with the VM and those various coded notes left by sundry rapists and murderers.
    My advice: get something behind you, son, even a small success, something you can back yourself with when the going gets tough.
    Remind me … what exactly have you achieved over the last seven years? I’ve been reading Cipher Mysteries that long and have seen no successes.
    Anything?

    March 1, 2017
    • petebowes: I’ve learnt some very wonderful things about ciphers over the past few years.

      Just not from you.

      March 1, 2017
      • Best to keep it all hidden, is it?

        March 1, 2017
        • Finally, a proper sledge. It’s been a long time coming. 🙂

          March 1, 2017
  11. We’ve both had enough practice, you’re not too bad at it yourself.

    March 1, 2017
  12. On the question of the code said to have been submitted to Marcell. A few important points and a question or three.

    Of concern is that this is not a new scan it is a rescan of the original Advertiser code and it apparently has no provenance, does anyone know who created it? What type of scanner was used? When was it done? The problem is no one would be able to say if the rescan had been altered in some way. I am sure that Nick with his eye for correctness would be able to supply the necessary information.

    The next, and perhaps most concerning aspect of the rescan is that it used the 400 dpi original Advertiser scan, scanned it and then saved it at 1200 dpi apparently with the aim of providing a far higher resolution image. Sadly that is not true.

    When you take such a source image and increase the number of pixels it contains, those new pixels end up in the image but they take on the characteristics of the nearest pre-existing pixels. So, if the nearest pre-existing pixel is a light grey then the new pixel effectively guesses that it should also be a light grey. If it was a darker grey, the new pixel becomes dark grey. As you can imagine, that leads to a poorer quality image and some blurriness in the 1200 dpi image which is indeed the case wth Marcel’s image.

    That is not to say that the entire image suffers from lower quality, some areas may even benefit. But the bottom line is that when you are dealing with such fine lines, it is far better to stick with the known and proven version of the code page which, unlike the one preferred, has the right credential and provenance and produces the best possible quality.

    For those interested, you can read more here:

    http://www.graphics.com/article-old/photoshop-fundamentals-changing-image%E2%80%99s-resolution-and-size

    BTW, I have examined the rescan code and there are indeed examples of microcode within it, I will publish them this weekend.

    March 2, 2017

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