Indecipherable manuscript isn’t a hoax, keep trying!

The Voynich manuscript is a total mystery since a century. It has lots of very detailed illustrations, but it’s written in a language that nobody can understand.

Of course, it’s easier to dismiss it and talk about an elaborate hoax, but some very serious scientists would disagree. According to a new analysis, it would be a real language.

For a writer, there are still a lot of theories to imagine about this book. A new Da Vinci trying to hide his knowledge? A book lost by a Fairy? By an Alien marooned on our planet? It’s up to you…

Dear Clark Kent: you’re not qualified for a job at the Daily Planet

Adding more and more realism to super-heroes stories has a downside. If you want to be truly realistic, your character might end up homeless and without a dime in their pocket.

Man-eating tree, life on the Moon, cloned man and other litterary hoaxes

Orson Welles’ radio version of the War of the Worlds is quite famous, but there are other similar cases of imaginary stories that people actually believed. Who will write a story about someone believing in an unbelievable story?

Even when a meteor doesn’t hit the ground, its dust spreads all around the globe

Maybe one day a meteor will desintegrate in the atmosphere, but spread Fairy Dust all around. Or poison. Or worse? Here is a video showing how Chelyabinsk’s fireball spread all around the globe…

How far will tiny go? Car, TV screen, artificial heart: the smallest objects in their category

Miniaturization is always fascinating. How far can we go? These examples are quite fun, though.

As above, so below? Stars and human families are very much alike…

This isn’t a new age theory, but data collected by a real astronomer. He compared two different statistic charts: the distribution of multiple stars (solar systems with one, two, three… suns) and the number of adults in a household (in 6 different countries). The result is close to a perfect match. Quite surprising…

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: where are they?

I was playing with the new Google Maps when I got this silly idea : since it’s a great tool for writers who can’t afford to travel all over the world every time they need to describe a place, why not using it to make some virtual trip to the ancient world? I started some research about the location of the Seven Wonders, did some screen captures, worked on the images a bit to give them a more “antique” look, and here we go:

1- Easy: the Great Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)

What is there to say? Even if we tried to review the antique notion of the Seven Wonders and include some monumental wonders from other parts of the world (like Stonehenge, Macchu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, Tiahuanaco and a few others), the Great Pyramid would still be among them.   pyrmid2

2- Less easy: the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey)

Scattered ruins all over the place, as you can see on the Wikipedia picture of the site. But the satellite view from Google Maps is quite interesting too. mausoleum1

3- Still not too hard: the Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)

I remember sitting in the port of Rhodes, years ago, contemplating these two sides of the port, trying to imagine how it would have been to see a giant statue, one foot on each extremity, boats passing inbetween his spread legs. Unfortunately, there is nothing left, just the port… colossus2

4- We can find it: the temple of Artemis in Ephesus (Turkey)

I once walked the alleys of Ephesus, the Greek and Roman city on the shores of the actual Turkey. I wasn’t impressed by the remains of the temple itself, more by the library… and the sewer system, a pure example of Roman architectural genius.



5- A bit tougher: the statue of Zeus in Olympia (Greece)

The statue isn’t there anymore and the temple is in ruins. But it is said that Phydias’ masterpiece was truely a wonder.


6- Deep: the tower of Pharos in Alexandria (Egypt)

As the base of the tower has been used later to build a fortress, some of the remains of the old tower, the ancestor of all lighthouses, have been discovered by archaeologists in the harbour.


7- Hardest: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon… or is it Ninive?

Until recently, it was a common belief that the Hanging Gardens were in Babylon. But a recent theory, quite well argumented, points out to another Mesopotamian city: Ninive. If you’re interested in the controversy, you can see Ms. Stephanie Dalley’s findings here


The sewers of Rome and the greatness of the Empire

Years ago, I was visiting the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus, in modern Turkey. Our local guide was quite good at pointing out detains and interesting anecdotes. Ephesus was a great city, and had a very good sewer system, as all Roman cities of that time. The guide explained that when there were heavy rain storms in the area, the sewers of the modern town of Kusadasi, a few miles away, overflowed, while those of the ancient city were still perfectly functional.

This morning, I found out a story about Herculaneum’s sewers, and the way Romans were using them and maintaining them. It made me realize quite intensely  that Romans’ greatness wasn’t only in their administration, but also their organization of the daily life in the whole Empire. Those familiar with Roman history might remember “Cloaca Maxima,” the great sewer of Rome (the History Blog also have quite an documented article on it here)

Maybe Roman sewers could be a very interesting setting for a past story. Or a present one … who knows ?

(Photo from

Sailing to Mars

When I was a kid, I read a series of books by an obscure French writer. I was totally amazed by the way he talked about terraforming Mars, and also about travelling to other planets with solar sailing ships. Today, I read about UK Space Agency and Nasa developing a solar propelled spacecraft, and it brought me back in time, when I was reading these epic stories.  I didn’t read anything like that in years.

I daydreamed about a space transposition of the XVIIth century world, with these bold sailors exploring new seas, new worlds. Sailing spaceships tacking in the asteroid belt, going from Mars to Titan space stations just by the power of their solar sails. It would be fun, really.

The fate of the Queen of old…

It was the time when men erected a circle of stones that would defy the ages. A place we call Stonehenge. She was a Queen in Windsor, and she died, and was buried there with all the ceremonial appropriate to her position. Who was she, we do not know. Her people didn’t put the stories in writing. They might have composed ballads about her. Maybe they told tales which became legends. But we don’t know. Maybe someone will tell her story ?


Here are the findings about that woman