Several billion years ago, I set a challenge. I posted a passage of text in an unknown script. Could people decipher it?
Actually it was in 2007. I fully expected it to be solved within days, perhaps a couple of weeks at most, because I’d solved it myself fairly quickly. Before we had computers.
But it took ages. Years.
Finally, Italian computer scientist Dario Besseghiniâ€‹ solved it in February 2012. That’s him pictured above, on the right.
I’d promised a prize, and Dario provided an Amazon wishlist for me to choose from. And then I forgot about it. Until the other day.
I have just ordered for Dario a copy of In the Land of Invented Languages: A Celebration of Linguistic Creativity, Madness, and Genius by Arika Okrent. That’s it pictured above, on the left. The theme of invented languages seemed particularly appropriate.
So, Dario, my apologies for the delay, and my best wishes for the holiday season.
I know you were fretting because you hadn’t written up your solution method in more detail, but there’s certainly no rush!
I’ve closed comments on this post, so that any conversation will continue at the original place.
Postscript: As an indication of how little I participate in consumer culture, it turns out that this was the first time I’d ordered anything from Amazon since some time before 1 July 2007. How do I know? Because I started doing my bookkeeping in Saasu on that date, so if there had been a purchase there’d be a record of it.