Eddie Murphy was ‘spotted looking dapper in the 1920s’
The next photo is that of comedian and actor Eddie Murphy, alongside a dapper-looking man.
The unnamed photo on the left is supposedly dated to the 1920s but the resemblance is so uncanny even the most staunch of critics would be forgiven if they were fooled.
But not everyone was convinced by the bizarre image and online sleuths proposed a number of plausible explanations.
Many online commentators have speculated the image was photoshopped, while others suggested it was a manipulated still from the film Life, which is set in 1932.
Jay – Z ‘photographed in 1939’s Harlem’
Another vintage picture that was snapped on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, shows what appears to musical sensation Shawn Corey Carter, popularly known as Jay-Z.
Officially, Jay-Z was born on December 4 1969 in Brooklyn, although the unearthed photo might cast some serious doubt on that part of his biography.
The 1939 photo was snapped in Harlem by photographer and activist Sid Grossman and was discovered after several decades by the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture at the New York Public Library.
Otto Wallin has the ‘power and size’ to break Andy Ruiz Jr’s punch resistance in a clash of heavyweight contenders that would ‘make sense,’ says promoter Dmitriy Salita.
The Swedish heavyweight is eager to secure a big-name fight after his career-best win over Dominic Breazeale, a dominant points victory in February.
Former unified champion Ruiz Jr sealed a unanimous decision win over Chris Arreola in May, and Salita hopes to guide his fighter Wallin into a high stakes showdown with the rival contender.
“Beating Breazeale the way he [Wallin] did shows how much he has improved since the Fury fight,” Salita told Sky Sports.
“I am sure his size, skills and devotion to his craft is making world class fighters think twice about sharing the ring with him.
“Otto and Andy gave the toughest challenge to two of the current world heavyweight champions. It makes sense for them to fight, especially if Tyson Fury fights Anthony Joshua [in and undisputed world title fight].”
Wallin emerged with credit from his only defeat, a bloody decision loss to Fury in September 2019, while Ruiz Jr stopped Anthony Joshua in June 2019, only to lose his world titles in an immediate rematch in December of that year.
The Californian withstood Joshua’s punches in a points loss, but he was floored in the second round by Arreola, and Wallin has been backed to become the first man to stop Ruiz Jr.
Asked if Wallin could win by knockout, Salita said: “Definitely and I believe he has the skills, power and size to do it!”
Wallin has previously told Sky Sports that he hopes to earn a second fight with Fury, who went on to stop Deontay Wilder in his next fight to claim the WBC belt.
“My dream is to fight and win the world title so for right now I just have to keep fighting and improving so when I get the shot I’ll be ready to grab it with both hands,” said Wallin.
“The Tyson Fury rematch is not my top priority but I truly hope I get another shot at him.
“I just have to keep fighting and winning and show that I’m worthy of a rematch and when the time comes I’m ready to go in and beat him.”
Mikkel Damsgaard handed Denmark a shock lead against England in their Euro 2020 semi-final with a stunning free kick, but the goal should not have stood, according to FIFA’s Laws of the Game.
The midfielder struck a wonderful effort from 30 yards after Mason Mount had conceded a foul outside the penalty area.
The ball flew over the England wall and beyond goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The Everton shot-stopper received some criticism by commentators and pundits for not stopping the effort, which went in slightly left-of-centre of the goal.
But Denmark appeared to breach FIFA’s rule book in the build up to Damsgaard stepping up.
Attacking players are not meant to be within a yard of the defensive wall until the ball is struck and is back in play.
Denmark set up a three-man wall just next to England’s. However, they moved closer to the Three Lions players just before the ball was struck.
The incident was noticed by Twitter user David Mooney, who quoted a section from FIFA’s Laws of the Game.
“Where three or more defending team players form a ‘wall,” they say, “all attacking team players must remain at least 1m (1 yrd) from the ‘wall’ until the ball is in play.”
England had set up a five-man wall, which included Kalvin Phillips lying on the ground to prevent a low shot.
Declan Rice, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Harry Kane were the players attempting to block Damsgaard’s kick.
But Damsgaard’s strike was excellent and it would have felt incredibly harsh to rule it out.
Gareth Southgate’s side had started nervously but equalised just before half-time.
Bukayo Saka’s cross was turned into his own net by Denmark defender Simon Kjaer.
“Most definitely [Pickford should have done better].
“We feared the worst when they lined up.
“The goal was coming, Denmark were getting through us far too easily, it’s a long way out and I always think if the ball goes in the corner there’s no problem. The ball goes in the centre of the net, and the goalkeeper has to do better.
“His big problem is that ultimately he’s blocked, he doesn’t see it until late, then he goes late himself.
“But he has to get in a position where he can go earlier, it’s right above him and he’ll be really disappointed.”
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An unofficial version of WhatsApp – the world’s most popular messaging service – that enables users to reply to deleted messages, hide read receipts, and much more, could be a sign that your significant other is no being faithful, users have warned. Dubbed GB WhatsApp, users can sign in with their existing WhatsApp account to unlock new capabilities not available in the official version of WhatsApp.
The third-party app is only available on Android. That’s because GB WhatsApp isn’t available in either of the main app stores – the Play Store on Android, or App Store on iOS. However, Android users can download and install software from third-party app repositories and websites (provided they make some tweaks in their Settings menu). GB WhatsApp is available to download from a number of sites, with users sharing the links amongst themselves.
Using an unofficial messaging app, like GB WhatsApp, with an existing account is against the terms and service that you had to agree to when signing-up to WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned app issued a warning to its two billion users that anyone found to be using apps like GB WhatsApp could face a permanent ban from their account.
However, despite the risks, people are still flocking to GB WhatsApp.
On social media, some WhatsApp fans have suggested those flirting with a permanent block from WhatsApp are doing so because GB WhatsApp makes it easier to cheat on their partner. “WhatsApp GB is for cheaters!,” one commenter on Twitter summed up.
It’s certainly true that some of the features built into GB WhatsApp would lend themselves to this type of behaviour. For example, when using the official WhatsApp app, disabling others’ ability to see whether you’ve read a message will deprive you of the same privilege. GB WhatsApp changes that – so you can see when contacts were last online, which messages they’ve read and at what time… while nobody has any idea whether you’ve read the conversation and are choosing not the respond, or just haven’t caught up yet.
GB WhatsApp can also hide when you’re typing or recording a voice memo …something that WhatsApp doesn’t offer at all. Likewise, users with GB WhatsApp can hide when they had last appeared online. So, if you were texting someone else last at night, the fact that you were “Last Online” in the wee small hours last night wouldn’t be visible to every one of your contacts in WhatsApp – like it is in WhatsApp.
And there’s even more than that. Deleted messages, which have been completely expunged from your chat history, can still be seen and replied to when using GB WhatsApp. That includes text messages, as well as photos and videos too.
This has all led to the impression that those most keen on GB WhatsApp and its feature are likely to be those engaged in subterfuge.
“Dump your partner if they have WhatsApp GB,” one person shared on Twitter alongside a screenshot of the dizzying array of features available in GB WhatsApp that you won’t find in the official app, which is developed by the WhatsApp team in California.
One shared their experience interacting with someone who was using GB WhatsApp. On Twitter, they posted: “Didn’t understand WhatsApp GB until last month when I sent her a break-up message and how a pain in the ass she has been, deleted the message “For everyone” minutes later she replied to the deleted message”
“You must be a psycho and insecure to have whatsapp GB,” another added.
It’s impossible to tell whether the people you’re messaging are using GB WhatsApp. However, keeping an eye out for any clues that they’re able to hide the date and time they were last online, read receipts, or anything else that’s unique to GB WhatsApp could be a good indication.
Distance runner Shelby Houlihan’s case went ahead in secret for five months and was published just days before the start of U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
Shelby Houlihan, the American record holder in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, was banned for four years after failing to prove that tainted pork caused her positive test for an anabolic steroid, sport’s highest court said Tuesday.
Houlihan blamed a pork burrito bought at a Mexican street food truck when she revealed her doping case in an announcement on her Instagram account Monday.
A case that went ahead in secret for five months was published days before the start of U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, where the top three in each event earn a spot to the postponed Tokyo Games. Houlihan finished 11th at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the 5,000 meters.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed Tuesday its panel of judges “unanimously determined that Shelby Houlihan had failed” to prove how the anabolic steroid nandrolone got into her system.
The case was fast-tracked with the consent of all parties to be heard on June 4 by video link with the court in Lausanne, Switzerland. The verdict was announced without a detailed verdict.
It stayed confidential until Houlihan’s own announcement of the positive doping test and ban that runs to January 2025. It also rules her out of the 2024 Paris Olympics and the first track worlds to be held in the United States, next year in Eugene.
The 28-year-old Houlihan said she received an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) on Jan. 14, notifying her that a drug testing sample returned a finding for nandrolone.
She said she’s since learned it has “long been understood by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) that eating pork can lead to a false positive for nandrolone, since certain types of pigs produce it naturally in high amounts. Pig organ meat (offal) has the highest levels of nandrolone.”
Houlihan made a list of all the food she ate leading up to a Dec. 15 test that detected the anabolic steroid.
“We concluded that the most likely explanation was a burrito purchased and consumed approximately 10 hours before that drug test from an authentic Mexican food truck that serves pig offal near my house in Beaverton, Oregon,” Houlihan wrote. “I notified the AIU that I believed this was the source.”
An email and text were left with her agent.
Houlihan added that “although my levels were consistent with those of subjects in studies who were tested 10 hours after eating this source and WADA technical guidelines require the lab to consider it when analyzing nandrolone, the lab never accounted for this possibility. They could have reported this as an atypical finding and followed up with further testing. The anti-doping experts I have reached out to say they should have. I did everything I could to prove my innocence.”
She said she passed a polygraph and had a hair sample analyzed by toxicologists.
“WADA agreed that test proved that there was no build up of this substance in my body, which there would have been if I were taking it regularly,” Houlihan wrote. “Nothing moved the lab from their initial snap decision. Instead, they simply concluded that I was a cheater and that a steroid was ingested orally, but not regularly. I believe my explanation fits the facts much better — because it’s true. I also believe it was dismissed without proper due process.”
Houlihan said she was informed last Friday that CAS “did not accept my explanation of what had occurred and has subsequently banned me from the sport for four years.”
The court said in a statement its judges decided by a 2-1 majority the athlete had not proven her claim that her case and sample were improperly managed.
“I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into just to see how good I was,” Houlihan wrote.
She set the American 1,500-meter record of 3 minutes, 54.99 seconds at the world championships in Doha, Qatar, on Oct. 5, 2019.
Last July, Houlihan broke the U.S. 5,000-meter mark with her time of 14:23.92 in Portland, Oregon.
“I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance enhancing substances,” Houlihan wrote. “I’m not interested in cheating. I don’t do this for the accolades, money, or for people to know my name. I do this because I love it.”
Jadon Sancho – England‘s half-forgotten man – will be sent out against Romania and given the best part of 90 minutes to remind fans there is life outside the Premier League.
The 21-year-old has started just one game of football in England in the last 18 months – the 3-0 international friendly win against the Republic of Ireland in November in which he scored.
He was still recovering with a thigh-injury when the rest of this Dortmund team faced his former club Manchester City at the Etihad in the Champions League in April.
So, as far as the majority of the short-sighted English public is concerned, he might just as well have not existed.
It is a state even Gareth Southgate has picked up on this week, with Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier similarly afflicted.
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“You know, we, of course, are a bit myopic,” Southgate said. “That’s why people don’t talk about Kieran Trippier, because he’s playing in Spain.
“He’s won La Liga, he’s been voted in the team of the season, nobody mentions him. Other leagues have very good players as well.”
Certainly Sancho is one of them as far as the Bundesliga is concerned.
The illness that ruled him out of taking part in Wednesday night’s tepid 1-0 win against Austria has cleared up and he is back in training at Rockliffe Hall ahead of being given another elusive start on home soil against Romania.
Like Trippier, he will be looking to build on a hugely successful, but largely unheralded, season of club football.
But while fans in this country may have been busy watching the Premier League, at the same time the Premier League was just as busy watching Sancho.
Manchester United have long been linked with a big-money move for a player who developed his skills on the blue half of the city before deciding his options would be too limited among such stellar team-mates.
Eight goals and 11 more assists came mainly in an explosive second half to the season, meaning he has been directly involved in 52 goals in his last 59 games.
However, back in the autumn when he last pulled on a Three Lions shirt, he was less convincing.
“Jadon Sancho is not doing it for me – he’s doing it for Dortmund, not for England,” said Chris Waddle, second in the European footballer of the year with Marseille, but another perhaps not quite as appreciated back home while he was lighting up the continent.
With Harry Kane a shoo-in for one of the three forward positions for the opening game against Croatia, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish might all hope to join him, with Bukayo Saka using Wednesday’s game to put in an impressive bid of his own.
In reality, Sancho may just have these 90 minutes effectively to make his mark.
On the Thursday evening MSC Cruises’ new flagship MSC Virtuosa departed UK shores, Mr Paradiso recalls “many smiling, happy faces”, as well as some tears of joy. “I’ve seen many, many customers being emotional because it means so much to be onboard of a cruise ship again after 15 months,” he told Express.co.uk.
While MSC cruise guests were still able to enjoy many of the traditional aspects of a luxurious cruise – an array of restaurants boasting global cuisines, opulent bars and dazzling stage productions – all of these are conducted in line with Covid-safe regulations.
This begins with pre-departure testing, which MSC have already made progress towards streamlining.
“The first embarkation took a tiny bit longer but I was still very happy with the results because the average time to board the ship, including a swab test which is the most time-consuming part of the embarkation process, was one hour and 10 minutes,” explained Mr Paradiso.
Since then, MSC staff managed to slash this time to just 37 minutes by their second sailing.
“We’ve made a few tweaks because we’ve learned a lot. Also terms of guests flow and paperwork that we have we have to check – passport, travel insurance, proof of vaccinations, etcetera,” continued the cruise boss.
“So we have improved our already smooth embarkation process.”
Once onboard, guests can expect social distancing in public areas and face masks where this cannot be achieved.
“What I keep on saying to everyone is that yes there are some small changes, but the overall onboard experience remains exactly the same,” he explained.
“Yes, when there are public areas or when they are walking from one part of the ship to another, guests are kindly asked to wear face masks.
‘If they use the lifts we don’t accept more than four people at a time in our lifts just to make sure that there’s plenty of distance between each customer.
“But other than that, the second you sit at a restaurant or you sit at the bar, you can remove your face mask and just enjoy your cocktail or your meal.
“I think people, after a couple of hours, actually forget that we have all of these measures in place because I think we’re so used to them after the 14 or 15 months of Covid.”
Combined with pre-embarkation testing, Mr Paradiso says these measures create a “safe bubble onboard the ship”.
“We want to make sure that everyone is safe at all times,” he said.
“All in all, excluding a few changes here and there, the overall experience hasn’t changed at all.”
With the first sold-out four-day sailing having proved such a success, welcoming 1,000 passengers to enjoy their first cruise holiday since the first lockdown, Mr Paradiso believes it will encourage travel on a wider scale.
In fact, he believes these changes could be just weeks away.
According to Mr Paradiso, though, while the social distancing and testing requirements in place may be a little different to cruises of the past, they act as proof “it is safe to go on holiday”.
“MSC Virtuosa was a message of hope for everyone, not only the cruising industry but for the wider travel industry,” he said.
“It’s all about restarting again and building that confidence. That’s why it was so important for us you know to get the first few sailings right, just to prove to the world that it’s actually safe to go on a cruise ship and it is actually safe to go on holiday.”
He continued: “You may need to respect some safety measures, but I think it’s about time we start travelling again. I’m optimistic and I’m confident that things will just get better and better.
“With Virtuosa we’ve proven to the world that travelling is safe if you just follow some very basic rules, and I’m hoping that from June 21 many of these restrictions will be lifted.”
The scientific model of the cosmos states the Big Bang gave birth to the universe some 13.8 billion years ago. Within this incredible period, stars appeared, galaxies developed and planets took shape, with our solar system forming in the last five billion years or so. The US space agency NASA, for instance, states: “When the solar system settled into its current layout about 4.5 billion years ago, Earth formed when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become the third planet from the Sun.”
How do scientists come to these conclusions? They look at the geological record, sediment deposits, and even by dating rocks that have come to our planet from our cosmic neighbours.
But there is a body of so-called Young Earth Creationists who reject attempts to date the planet, through what they believe are flawed methods.
Young Earth Creationists, instead, believe the planet’s history can be traced from the moment of creation to Jesus Christ’s death by closely studying the pages of the Bible.
Although the estimates vary, Young Earth Creationists typically claim the Earth is only 6,000 to 10,000-years-old – and they believe they can back these astonishing figures.
How old is Earth: Many people believe the Earth is only 6,000-years-old (Image: GETTY)
Tom Meyer, a professor of Bible studies at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, has told Express.co.uk why he thinks the Earth is considerably younger than what we have been taught in schools.
Professor Meyer is sometimes known as the Bible Memory Man thanks to him memorising more than 20 books from the Holy Bible.
Mount St Helens entered a period of intense activity in 1980 that killed more than 50 people.
Although tragic, Young Earth Creationists believe the eruption has highlighted a flaw in attempts to date the planet’s age.
According to Professor Meyer, attempts to age the newly formed cap on the volcano using Potassium-argon dating (K-Ar) have proven “far from accurate”.
The method and its supposed shortcomings were famously highlighted by Young Earth Creationist Dr Steve Austin and the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), when they analysed samples collected from the volcano in 1986.
This has even led to the Mount St Helens Creation Information Center being established “for the purpose of witnessing to the truth of God’s Word in Genesis”.
Professor Meyer said: “The severe faultiness of the dating method should cause everyone who adheres to the belief that the earth is 4,600,000,000 years old to reconsider that belief.
“According to the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (Volume 10. No. 3, pp-335-343, 1996), using the conventional K-Ar dating methods, the porphyritic dacite which solidified on the surface of the lava dome six years after the eruption dates to 50,000 to 350,000 years old.
How old is Earth: Mount St Helens eruption in 1980 (Image: GETTY)
How old is Earth: Who do you believe? The Bible or scientists? (Image: GETTY)
“Also, the mineral concentrates from the dacite which formed in 1986 gave K-Ar ages of 60,000 to 2,800,000 years old; this pyroxene concentrate was only six years old at the time they tested it.
“The same radiometric dating methods that date the extinction of dinosaurs to 65,000,000 years ago and the Big Bang to 4,600,000,000 years ago dated Mount St. Helen’s porphyritic dacite to 50,000 to 350,000 years ago when in reality it was six years old.”
Professor Meyer believes these discrepancies cast a shadow of doubt on other methods used to date our planet.
He added: “Scientists admit that the K-Ar method isn’t reliable for dating samples less than 6,000 years old; if indeed the universe is 6,000 years old, then of what use is the K-Ar dating method?
“Natural catastrophes like Mount St. Helens continue to be fresh evidence that geological formations aren’t as old as everyone claims. The Earth is young.”
Scientists have, however, tried to explain the Mount St Helens conundrum.
Kevin R. Henke, an American geochemist formerly of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Geology, challenged the Young Earth theory in regards to the US volcano.
A baker boy cap, popularised by the drama Peaky Blinders, set the standard for week three of The Great British Sewing Bee.
All the talented contestants, including East Yorkshire’s very own Cathryn Tosler-Waudby and Andrew Aspland, impressed the judges last night.
Hull maths teacher Andrew was the least fazed by the fiddly pattern challenge, being the only sewer to have made hats before.
But when his soft tailored cap – dubbed “the hoodie of the 19th century” by host Joe Lycett – came under scrutiny, judge Esme Young attacked the hand-covered button that topped off the design.
“I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley on a night,” said Andrew. “Not only did she destroy the button, she pulled it off the hat as well.”
At the opening of the BBC One show, Andrew had said Gent’s Classic Week suited his style but he hoped pride would not come before a fall and, as the stitchers all began to struggle with their hats, he admitted: “I’ve left myself short of time.”
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After the three hours given to create the hats from 19 pattern pieces, judge Patrick Grant said: “There are one or two that look half-baked.”
Patrick liked Andrew’s choice of colours and “very good” alignment of the cloth pieces but felt it was and untidy sew that earned Andrew only seventh place.
Former dinner lady Cathryn, from East Yorkshire, was placed fourth for her “good-looking hat”, according to Patrick.
The next test of their sewing skills saw the stitchers transforming second-hand men’s suit jackets and blazers into a woman’s garment, with Cathryn saying: “Repurpose, recycle, I am very up for that. I love the idea that something can be something else.”
In the 90 available minutes, Cathryn fashioned a little tunic dress out of her old jackets, but Patrick thought there was “too much going on” with it and Esme said: “It doesn’t look very thought-out to me.”
The creation gave Catherine ninth place and Andrew fared only a little better in eighth spot with his skirt made from four sleeves, laced together with contrasting cord.
It was looking like only three of the contestants were safe, not including Andrew or Cathryn, as the stitchers went into the final made-to-measure round, fashioning a casual utility jacket with at least three pockets for a real male model.
Andrew’s metal worker-inspired jacket in orange and blue twill jacket had no fewer than eight pockets, while Cathryn’s design, with a fun contrast fabric under the collar, was inspired by her son Shaun, who was an air cadet.
Appraising the emerging creations, the judges said Andrew’s jacket looked “far too small”, while Cathryn was hammering in fasteners, saying: “I am not an aggressive person, honestly.”
Of Cathryn’s design, Esme said: “I really like this fabric and I love that you have made the under-collar vibrant and bright.” Patrick said the garment was “neatly sewn”.
Patrick said of Andrew’s creation: “You had a great big issue with the size of this jacket but you recovered it and pretty well.”
Esme thought Andrew’s jacket was “great”.
Both East Yorkshire stitchers now go forward to week four – International Week – of the ten-week contest to find the UK’s best amateur sewer.
The Great British Sewing Bee airs on BBC One on Wednesdays at 9pm.
Author: Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica
This post originally appeared on Business Latest
Most of the scribes who copied the text contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls were anonymous, as they neglected to sign their work. That has made it challenging for scholars to determine whether a given manuscript should be attributed to a single scribe or more than one, based on unique elements in their writing styles (a study called paleography). Now, a new handwriting analysis of the Great Isaiah Scroll, applying the tools of artificial intelligence, has revealed that the text was likely written by two scribes, mirroring one another’s writing style, according to a new paper published in the journal PLOS One.
As we’ve reported previously, these ancient Hebrew texts—roughly 900 full and partial scrolls in all, stored in clay jars—were first discovered scattered in various caves near what was once the settlement of Qumran, just north of the Dead Sea, by Bedouin shepherds in 1946-1947. (Apparently, a shepherd threw a rock while searching for a lost member of his flock and accidentally shattered one of the clay jars, leading to the discovery.) Qumran was destroyed by the Romans, circa 73 AD, and historians believe the scrolls were hidden in the caves by a sect called the Essenes to protect them from being destroyed. The natural limestone and conditions within the caves helped preserve the scrolls for millennia; they date back to between the third century BC and the first century AD.
Several of the parchments have been carbon-dated, and synchrotron radiation—among other techniques—has been used to shed light on the properties of the ink used for the text. Most recently, in 2018, an Israeli scientist named Oren Ableman used an infrared microscope attached to a computer to identify and decipher Dead Sea Scroll fragments stored in a cigar box since the 1950s.
A 2019 study of the so-called Temple Scroll concluded that the parchment has an unusual coating of sulfate salts (including sulfur, sodium, gypsum, and calcium), which may be one reason the scrolls were so well preserved. And last year, researchers discovered that four fragments stored at the University of Manchester, long presumed to be blank, actually contained hidden text, most likely a passage from the Book of Ezekiel.
The current paper focuses on the Great Isaiah Scroll, one of the original scrolls discovered in Qumran Cave 1 (designated 1QIsa). It’s the only scroll from the caves to be entirely preserved, apart from a few small damaged areas where the leather has cracked off. The Hebrew text is written on 17 sheets of parchment, measuring 24 feet long and around 10 inches in height, containing the entire text of the Book of Isaiah. That makes the Isaiah Scroll the oldest complete copy of the book by about 1,000 years. (The Israel Museum, in partnership with Google, has digitized the Isaiah Scroll along with an English translation as part of its Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project.)
Most scholars believed that the Isaiah Scroll was copied by a single scribe because of the seemingly uniform handwriting style. But others have suggested that it may be the work of two scribes writing in a similar style, each copying one of the scroll’s two distinct halves. “They would try to find a ‘smoking gun’ in the handwriting, for example, a very specific trait in a letter that would identify a scribe,” said coauthor Mladen Popović of the University of Groningen. Popović is also director of the university’s Qumran Institute, dedicated to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In other words, the traditional paleographic method is inherently subjective and based on a given scholar’s experience. It’s challenging in part because one scribe could have a fair amount of variability in their writing style, so how does one determine what is a natural variation or a subtle difference indicating a different hand? Further complicating matters, similar handwriting might be the result of two scribes sharing a common training, a sign the scribe was fatigued or injured, or a sign the scribe changed writing implements.
“The human eye is amazing and presumably takes these levels into account too. This allows experts to ‘see’ the hands of different authors, but that decision is often not reached by a transparent process,” said Popović. “Furthermore, it is virtually impossible for these experts to process the large amounts of data the scrolls provide.” The Isaiah Scroll, for instance, contains at least 5,000 occurrences of the letter aleph (“a”), making it almost impossible to compare every single aleph by eye. Popović thought pattern recognition and artificial intelligence techniques would be well suited to the task.