SNIPPETS

Neutrinos can’t travel faster than light: Study

The claim that neutrinos can travel faster than light has been rebutted by an independent experiment. On October 17, the Imaging Cosmic and Rare Underground Signals (ICARUS) collaboration submitted a paper to the preprint server arXiv.org, in which it offered a rebuttal of claims to have clocked neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light. The original results were published on September 22 by the Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Tracking Apparatus (OPERA) experiment. 

Both experiments are based at Gran Sasso National Laboratory near L’Aquila, Italy, and detect neutrinos coming in a beam from CERN, Europe’s high-energy particle physics laboratory near Geneva in Switzerland, about 730 kilometers away.

Eugenie Samuel Reich
Nature News


Copiale Cipher decoded
A strange handwritten message in abstract symbols and Roman letters covering 105 yellowing pages, hidden in the depths of an academic archive. Now, over three centuries after it was devised, the 75,000-character ‘Copiale Cipher’ has finally been broken.

Bound in gold and green brocade paper, it reveals the rituals and political leanings of an 18th-century secret society in Germany. “This opens up a window for those who study the history of ideas and secret societies,” said computer scientist Kevin Knight from the University of Southern California, part of an international team that cracked the Cipher.

Knight and colleagues from the Uppsala University, Sweden tracked down the original manuscript, which was found in East Berlin Academy after the Cold War and is now in a private collection. They transcribed a machine-readable version of the text, using a computer program created by Knight to help quantify the co-occurrences of certain symbols and other patterns.

The code-breaking team began by not even knowing the language of the encrypted document. But they had a hunch about the Roman and Greek characters distributed throughout the manuscript, so they isolated these from the abstract symbols and attacked it as the true code. After trying 80 languages, the team realised that the Roman characters were “nulls,” intended to mislead readers.

The team then tested the hypothesis that abstract symbols with similar shapes represented the same letter, or groups of letters. Eventually, the first meaningful words of German emerged: ‘Ceremonies of Initiation,’ followed by ‘Secret Section.’

Knight is now targeting other coded messages, including ciphers sent by the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who sent taunting messages to the press and has never been caught.

Knight is also applying his computer-assisted code-breaking software to other famous unsolved codes such as the last section of ‘Kryptos,’ an encrypted message carved into a granite sculpture on the grounds of CIA headquarters, and the Voynich Manuscript, a medieval document that has baffled professional cryptographers for decades.
KR

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