20.01.2020 Sauniere Magnitude Scale (SMS, French: Echelle de Saunière)

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Sauniere Magnitude Scale


L’Échelle de Saunière propose de mesurer la capacité d’émerveillement des êtres humains, à l’annonce de la découverte d’un supposé trésor. De nature logarithmique, elle prend en compte la propagation de la nouvelle dans différents langages ainsi que le nombre de publications en papier ou en ligne. Elle ne mesure que la magnitude de l’intérêt suscité, indépendamment de la véracité des annonces ou des valeurs relatives des trésors annoncés. En étudiant dans un second temps l’équation des ondes de propagation des nouvelles, on ne manquera de rencontrer d’intéressants résultats sur la présence ou l’absence de corrélation avec la réalité desdits trésors.

The Sauniere Magnitude Scale (SMS) suggests a way of measuring the sense of mystery or wonder, the potential marvel for present times by announcing the discovery of a presumed treasure. Logarithmic in nature, it takes into account the spread of this news in a variety of languages and in a number of publications. It only measures the magnitude of the interest generated, regardless of the declared veracity compared to the relative worth of the revealed treasures.

It was devised by a small group of Amateurs in Senigallia in January 2020.

The Da Vinci code, inspired by Abbé Saunière’s life and adventures, Chinese Edition, People’s Literature Publishing House (May 1, 2009). The Treasure of Saunière reached a SMS of 6 when the inspired interpretation of Dan Brown became a treasure with a SMS of 8.

Magnitudes are usually determined from measurements of the number of publications of the invention of a treasure as recorded in the different media. Magnitude scales vary on which media are considered and how they are measured. Different magnitude scales are necessary because of differences in figures in time, since the appearance of language, of writing, of printing, now of the internet. And especially since a decade, with AI online tools and large databases measuring the output of an individual’s scientific research or the impact of a single article with the so-called H-Index, Eigenfactor, Impact Factor (IF), Journal Citation Reports, and Citation Analysis.

Gustave Le Gray,
A Muisca Zipa covered in gold dust on his raft, body art at the origin of the wonder of El Dorado.

Volume of information, articles, books, tweets, and qualitative observations (using terms ranging from “secrete” and “discrete” to “colossal” and “universal”) are used to determine the propagation value. The scale is open-ended with the largest treasures in human history given magnitude 9.

A value of 0 is given for secret discoveries, defined as less than 100 persons informed, without any referenced publication; 1 with at least one publication, but less than a 1000 supposed readers or followers, and 9 representing a colossal propagation which can reach more than a quarter of the Earth human general population.

George H. Johnson (Attr.) California gold miners with rocker and sluice, c. 1850, daguerreotype from the AIC on show at Nelson-Atkins. The discovery of the daguerreotype became a wonderful event of second generation.

With indices running from 0 to 8, the SMS associated with a supposed discovery is dependent on the propagation of the information in different languages, to what geographical area, and how long the wave lasts. The scale is logarithmic from SMS-2 and up; an increase of 1 index indicates an eruption of curiosity that is 10 times as powerful.

The discovery of the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, 210 BC was kept secret until 1974, then all the weapons had disapeared.

As such there is a discontinuity in the definition of the SMS between indices 1 and 2. The lower border of the volume of wonder jumps by a factor of ten between all higher indices. In the following table in progress, the frequency of each SMS indicates the approximate frequency of new supposed discoveries of that SMS and higher.

Priam’s Treasure, first discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in modern Turkey, 1873, then by the Red Army in Berlin, May 1945, last, by the general public, in September 1993 at the Pushkin Museum.

Happy 2020 full of Wonder !

Happy New Year Twenty-Twenty !
Bonne année 2020 !
Tanti auguri per 2020 !
Serge Plantureux
Palazzo Augusti Arsilli
Via Marchetti 2
60019 Senigallia


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