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Blog Archive for the ‘The Rosetta Project’ Category

Multi-millennial brain teasers

by Laura Welcher on May 27th, 02009

Put down your crosswords, cryptograms and sudoku.  Instead try boosting your brain power by deciphering an ancient script.  In case you have forgotten which ones are still available and want to stake your claim, here is a catalog with difficulty ranking based on two important criteria:  language (known/unknown) and script (known/unknown).  All have. . .   Read More

What 13,500 pages micro-etched into nickel looks like

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on May 21st, 02009

The good folks over at the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena who organized the Data and Art show that the Rosetta Disk was in, were kind enough to get some really nice photos taken of the micro-etched data side of the disk.  What you are looking at is over 13,000 tiny pages describing. . .   Read More

Historical Chinese characters – an endangered script?

by Laura Welcher on May 5th, 02009

Can a logographic script of a major world language survive its own government bureaucracy?  As reported in the NY Times:

“Seeking to modernize its vast database on China’s 1.3 billion citizens, the government’s Public Security Bureau has been replacing the handwritten identity card that every Chinese must carry with a computer-readable. . .   Read More

The Georgia Guidestones

by Austin Brown on April 29th, 02009

Wired magazine has a very good piece this month on what many are calling the American Stonehenge, (though it’s not the only site to receive this moniker). 90 miles east of Atlanta lies a mysterious and controversial monument known as the Georgia Guidestones. photo via Flickr – Sir Mildred Pierce In a field north of […]

Modern code cracking adventures with ancient Indus Valley Script suggest it represents spoken language

by Laura Welcher on April 29th, 02009


In an article published in the April 24 issue of Sciences, researchers describe how they applied a computational process called “comparative entropy” to a corpus of ancient Indus Valley Script texts.  The results of the analysis show a kind of patterning they argue is only found in glottographic, or speech-based, writing systems.  The complex. . .   Read More

Long Now at the Commonwealth Club

by Danielle Engelman on April 11th, 02009


For those of you in the Bay Area, Laura Welcher and Alexander Rose will be giving a talk on the Rosetta Project and endangered languages at The Commonwealth Club on Monday April 13th 02009. Tickets are available on the Commonwealth Club web site.  The talk will walk through the decade long process of collecting and. . .   Read More

Frame your Google with Afaan Oromoo

by Laura Welcher on April 8th, 02009


Oromo, a language of Ethiopia with about 9,000,000 speakers, now joins languages like Mandarin, English and Spanish — languages with hundreds of millions of speakers — (and yes, Elmer Fudd-speak and Klingon) as the newest addition to Google’s multilingual interface.   This translation effort was made possible by over four years of work by. . .   Read More

Rosetta Disk 1.0 Browseable Archive – now available online

by Laura Welcher on March 23rd, 02009

A fully browseable version of the Rosetta Disk is now available online at The Rosetta Project website. Using this link, you can virtually browse and explore the contents of the disk, just as you would if you were looking at the micro-etched Rosetta Disk with a high-powered microscope.  The viewer for the digital version of […]

Whither our global linguistic future?

by Laura Welcher on February 24th, 02009

Two recent TED talks present a striking contrast in what the near-term future of human communication might be like — a multilingual world increasingly enabled by technology, or one where we all learn a lingua franca to participate in global public discourse.

Given that one out of every six people on the planet speak Mandarin. . .   Read More

SMS: Save my Language…

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on January 3rd, 02009

The Wall St Journal ran a piece in their January 2nd Edition on the narrow group of languages that can use SMS cell phone text messaging.  Our very own Laura Welcher was quoted in the article:

“The idea of having your cultural identity represented in this technology is increasingly important,” says Laura Welcher, director of. . .   Read More