Christians and Indians (and the Creation)

I was struck the other day at how both of these groups respond to the idea that their idea of the creation may not be scientifically accurate.

The Christians are dealing with the rejection of the idea that an all-powerful being made the earth in 7 earth days, 6000 years ago. The Religious Indians are dealing with a variety of beliefs, for instance, that they lived in an underworld, and climbed up a large bamboo or a pine tree or ... through a hole in the ground, to the American Southwest. Or perhaps, we are all living on the back of a giant turtle.

I am intensely curious as to what the average creationist American would have to say concerning the religious beliefs of the Native Americans. Would they scoff and point out the DNA evidence that shows they came from Asia? Would they accept their stories as true and factual?

Most religious groups will be defending their standpoint against "Science" to their last breath. And, "Science" will be putting forth their ideas as well. The difference between science and other systems of belief is Science loves to change, to find more truth! And most of the others are trying to keep their old ideas firmly established. Hopefully they will remember that their version of the story is really no more factual than any religion (well, maybe a *little* more factual), we still have a long way to go before any of us really understands what happened in the beginning of the universe, the beginning of this galaxy or the beginning of the human race.

Free Rice

I'd like to let everyone know about this great site! For every vocabulary word you can define, 20 grains of rice are donated to hungry people around the globe! It's an addicting game, and even more so when you know that your high scores help people!

I've created 20,000 grains of rice with a vocabulary level of 44. How about you?

Let's play 'Guess that State'!

Can you guess which states these are? The images are based off of the private land area in that state.

No? How about the next one?

Here's a hint, the next one isn't Utah.

How many did you guess?

Are you curious about what the rest of the United States looks like?

Huh ... What happened to the western half of the USA?

If you want to look at more detailed maps, check out this page: The National Atlas

The Constitution states in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17:
[The congress shall have power] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

In other words, the federal government only has the right to own a ten-mile square piece of land for the above specific purposes. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 declared that new states entering the union would have equal footing with the already existing 13 states - all land would belong to the state, and the federal government would need to buy any tract of land it needed for its purposes (listed above).

Well, as you can see by the map, they did pretty well at first, and most of the eastern states remain intact. When the federal government began buying or conquesting land, and creating territories - a new policy came into place. When Ohio was made a state in 1803, the government kept possession of any land not privately owned, rather than turning it over to the state. They promised to sell the land to private parties as quickly as possible, and they would use the proceeds to pay off the national debt. At first, this worked - the states eventually gained possession of the land, and the federal government got a bit of cash. Most of the Louisiana purchase was dealt with in this way (I wonder how much the US Government got back from it's investment?). When Northern Mexico was conquered, and eventually made into states, this policy was not followed (as you can see from the map).

The federal government owns aproximatly:
  • 90% of Alaska
  • 45% of Arizona
  • 45% of California
  • 36% of Colorado
  • 64% of Idaho
  • 30% of Montana
  • 87% of Nevada
  • 35% of New Mexico
  • 52% of Oregon
  • 66% of Utah
  • 30% of Washington, and
  • 48% of wyoming
Coming to a total average of 52% of each state involved. This is a far cry from the limits stated in the constitution. Maybe we should ask why this is true, what they are gaining from the land (as they could sell most of it for a fair profit if they wished).

There is a lot of talk from Native Americans saying how the white-men stole the land .. etc etc. Well, we don't own it either.

With the presidential elections coming up, I wonder how many of them even know (or care) that half of the land in the western USA isn't under the people's care or control? Would the states make better use of the land? Maybe so, but we'll never know.

Import and Export

In economics class, it is taught that it is preferable for a country to export more than it import. This allows you to have some international leverage, and make some money too.

In light of that concept, It does not matter where the country you reside in stands in this matter, nor your state, province or even city, if you, as an individual or a household do not also follow this pattern of exporting more than you import.

Where do you stand? Do you create more resources than you consume? Energy, food, materials, instruction and entertainment? What do you export that is of an equal value? They do not have to be the same type of resources, that is the point of trading, but are they of equal value to those around you? I would not include money as a resource, for, if something were to happen to its financial backers, money would become practically worthless.

I would encourage everyone to think about what they're import/export ratio is - write a list if you need to, and then find solutions that will bring that ratio up to or above the equilibrium.

NPCs, Quakers and Pawns

Through a confluence of events, I spent about half an hour yesterday thinking about the roles of heroes, Quakers and chess. I was wondering what a quaker chess set would look like, since they promote the idea that we are all on an equal playing ground - that the king is no better than the peasant and vice-versa. At first, I considered that the whole set would be pawns. But, that wouldn't be really true, just because everyone is "equal" doesn't mean we are all at the lowest common denominator, or even that we are all the SAME. A lot of people confuse equal with same.

I think equality truly means that we all have an equal chance to become whatever type of chess piece we want to become. Some people will be pawns - just going through life, getting in the way, good luck, bad luck ... being Non-Player-Characters (to use an RPG term) to be used and thrown away when they are through. This may seem harsh, especially since there are people like this - but, I believe it is through their own choice. The alternative to being a pawn, would to be one of the "heroic" pieces, the ones that have more choices open to them about how to act, what they want to achieve and so on.

One could argue that there is a social and economic bar placed over a portion of the population that keeps them from being able to be more than a pawn in life. But, I would argue that this is not true! This is because there are numerous examples of rich people who have lived and died and have only been well educated and comfortable pawns, but pawns none the less. You must also remember that you don't have to be Gandhi, or the president of the united states in order to move away from being a pawn. Anyone who can change the world about them (for good or ill) in a way that will last (hopefully) beyond their own life has moved from being a pawn to being something that has made a difference. And, isn't that one of the reasons we are here? If we do not make a difference, what difference did it make that we were born?

Four (plus one) rules for a good game

I came up with these as I was falling asleep last night:

1) have fun

2) try to win

3) it's okay if you loose, it's just a game

4) no cheating

and, a bonus rule

5) if you win all the time, let someone else win every once in a while.

Dedicating the Statue of Liberty to the LORD

The statue of liberty was a “gift” from the French government to the American people, as if from a knowing father to an unexperienced child. The sculptor prided himself in creating gargantuan statuary that rivaled that of the ancients. The Statue of Liberty was no exception, it was commonly known that this statue would rival the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonder of the Ancient World (which was also situated in the midst of a busy harbor). The design of the Statue of Liberty was intended to be a depiction of the Roman Goddess, Libertas wearing a representation of the Phrygian cap, which was the mark of a freed slave. In her hand she bore a torch, representing (in the mind of the sculptor) the enlightenment of France being bestowed upon America as a gift (as if the Americans could not find it themselves.

This all adds up to a statue of dubious character, and we could all wonder why it has become such a loved emblem of this country. The answer to this lies in the short poem written to raise funds for the base of the proposed statue by a woman named Emma Lazarus. Emma was a Sephardic Jewish woman born in New York City in 1849.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

As most Americans know, this poem was later engraved onto a plaque which was placed on the base of the statue. What most Americans don’t know, however, is the message she was trying to give to the world with her poem. By comparing this poem to a selection of her other poetry and by remembering her Jewish upbringing, we can suddenly see a clear message of revolt from the Babylon of Europe, into the welcoming arms of a new mother, a new Zion where true liberty prevails. Let us take this monumental poem phrase by phrase and learn how this Jewish woman dedicated an unavoidable symbol of the corruption of the Old World into a Declaration of the Light of her LORD to all the people of the earth.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

The poem starts out by proclaiming that this new statue is not like the old Colossus of Rhodes, Apollo, with conquering limbs astride from land to land. Liberty could not be obtained through warfare and domination! What does she replace this standard of European thought with?

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles.

The Mother of Exiles is a mighty woman carrying a torch, but who is she? To answer that question, we can turn to another of Emma’s poems, 1492 (written in 1883) which describes the “two-faced year” in which the Jews were exiled from Spain and a New World was discovered for them to flee to.


Thou two-faced year, Mother of Change and Fate,

Didst weep when Spain cast forth with flaming sword,

The children of the prophets of the Lord,

Prince, priest, and people, spurned by zealot hate.

Hounded from sea to sea, from state to state,

The West refused them, and the East abhorred.

No anchorage the known world could afford,

Close-locked was every port, barred every gate.

Then smiling, thou unveil'dst, O two-faced year,

A virgin world where doors of sunset part,

Saying, "Ho, all who weary, enter here!

There falls each ancient barrier that the art

Of race or creed or rank devised, to rear

Grim bulwarked hatred between heart and heart!"

One cannot help but see the similarity between these two lines: Then smiling, thou unveil'dst, O two-faced year, // A virgin world where doors of sunset part and Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand // A mighty woman with a torch. The lands of America (North and South) were a refuge for the Jews who were being actively cast forth from their homes. Where else could they turn? In another poem, written by Emma during the same time period as The New Colossus, we catch another glimpse of this Mother of Exiles.

By the Waters of Babylon

Part V. - Currents

Vast oceanic movements, the flux and reflux of immeasurable tides oversweep our continent.

From the far Caucasian steppes, from the squalid Ghettoes of Europe,

From Odessa and Bucharest, from Kief and Ekaterinoslav,

Hark to the cry of the exiles of Babylon, the voice of Rachel mourning for her children, of Israel lamenting for Zion.

And lo, like a turbid stream, the long-pent flood bursts the dykes of oppression and rushes hitherward.

Unto her ample breast, the generous mother of nations welcomes them.

The herdsman of Canaan and the seed of Jerusalem's royal shepherd renew their youth amid the pastoral plains of Texas and the golden valleys of the Sierras.

Hark to the cry of the exiles of Babylon, the voice of Rachel mourning for her children, of Israel lamenting for Zion. The Jewish people have been exiled from their homes, cast forth by religion and government, they are crying for peace and freedom. They burst forth from the Old World like a broken dam and flow into the New World, welcomed by The Mother of Nations. Zion and Israel are often depicted in the Scriptures as a woman, the bride of the LORD. It is fitting then, that their lamentations were answered with a new land, a new Zion, where they could proser without turning away from their LORD.

From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

The imprisoned lightning that glows in her torch is a welcoming light for all the world, and this is exemplified by the imagery which casts her as a guardian of the harbor (which, incidentally, was the original purpose of the Colossus of Rhodes) in the next few lines:

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

The message hinted at in the first lines are now brought home; Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! America has no need of the corruption and religious persecution that had cast so many from their homes. You might also compare the wording of these lines to the end of her poem, 1492. And so, we come to the last line of this poem:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The lamp of the Mother of Exiles could represent one of many things, but the most compelling is referenced in yet another of Emma’s poems, titled Gifts:


"O World-God, give me Wealth!" the Egyptian cried.

His prayer was granted. High as heaven, behold

Palace and Pyramid; the brimming tide

Of lavish Nile washed all his land with gold.

Armies of slaves toiled ant-wise at his feet,

World-circling traffic roared through mart and street,

His priests were gods, his spice-balmed kings enshrined,

Set death at naught in rock-ribbed channels deep.

Seek Pharaoh's race to-day and ye shall find

Rust and the moth, silence and dusty sleep.

"O World-God, give me beauty!" cried the Greek.

His prayer was granted. All the earth became

Plastic and vocal to his sense; each peak,

Each grove, each stream, quick with Promethean flame,

Peopled the world with imaged grace and light.

The lyre was his, and his the breathing might

Of the immortal marble, his the play

Of diamond-pointed thought and golden tongue.

Go seek the sun-shine race, ye find to-day

A broken column and a lute unstrung.

"O World-God, give me Power!" the Roman cried.

His prayer was granted. The vast world was chained

A captive to the chariot of his pride.

The blood of myriad provinces was drained

To feed that fierce, insatiable red heart.

Invulnerably bulwarked every part

With serried legions and with close-meshed Code,

Within, the burrowing worm had gnawed its home,

A roofless ruin stands where once abode

The imperial race of everlasting Rome.

"O Godhead, give me Truth!" the Hebrew cried.

His prayer was granted; he became the slave

Of the Idea, a pilgrim far and wide,

Cursed, hated, spurned, and scourged with none to save.

The Pharaohs knew him, and when Greece beheld,

His wisdom wore the hoary crown of Eld.

Beauty he hath forsworn, and wealth and power.

Seek him to-day, and find in every land.

No fire consumes him, neither floods devour;

Immortal through the lamp within his hand.

The Lamp of the Hebrews is Truth from the LORD. This theme can be found in a number of Emma’s other works, including "The Choice," "The Feast of Lights," and "In Exile." It isn’t too far of a leap to suggest that the lamp that the Mother of Exiles holds next to the golden door, might be this same lamp mentioned in her other poetry.

In the end, the original message of the Statue of Liberty became turned around from one of condescending light shining forth from the Ancient and Civilized Lands into the Young Lands guiding their reckless venture of freedom into more traditional and tested forms of power and control into a welcoming light of moral truths on which this country was founded shining forth into the rest of the weary world. Emma Lazarus did our world a favor when she dedicated the Statue of Liberty to her LORD and changed her name to the Mother of Exiles.

I would like to give credit to Daniel Marom and his book Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History for giving me the idea of writing this essay, and also to Emma Lazarus for being brave enough to combat tendrils of Babylon that had begun to creep into her Zion. May we all have as much courage as her in our own struggles.

Update to Fish on Friday

there is a possible Dagon influence to the fish on friday thing ... I'll investigate and report back!

Jews and Indians (and DNA)

I have an acquaintance who believes that he is an Indian. He believes that the Great Spirit changed his DNA, and that he is now a "real" Indian. Why? Because, only actual Indians can speak with the Great Spirit? Because, only Indians can heal though song and ritual? hmm .. what gives a race of people a right to deny their religion, customs or way of life to any other human being? If a person feels their soul being draw toward a certain group of people, they should be allowed to join with them in full fellowship, or practice in solitary as they wish, saying that they are what they are, without the need to have their DNA change in order to legitimately belong to that group. Of course, there is a difference between a person who has been born into a culture, and a person who adopts it later in life. But, even this is a false barrier, for there are newcomers who out -shine those who have lived inside the system their entire lives - it is the fact that they are new that gives them the insights and determination that many lifetime members lack through a sense of complacency and satisfaction with the way things are.

the bible

I love the bible! but I do not believe it to be true.

How can that be? If you love the Bible, you must truly believe it to be true in your heart.

If I believed the bible to be true, I would hate it. Instead, I have loosened my grasping reliance on this book so that I can love it for what it really is. How many things do we love in this world, even though they are not perfect? True love overlooks imperfections and faults. I love the bible, despite its flaws and falsehoods.

Fish on Friday

The Catholic Church had and still has in the minds and hearts of the people a strange rule: no meat on Friday or during the Lent Season, but you can eat fish during those times. I had read somewhere once that after the no meat rule came into place (I don't remember why they came up with that rule exactly), the new converts in the northern regions almost defected from the faith as a result of this rule as they had little but meat to eat during the early spring months. The Vatican quickly revised their policy and stipulated that fish could be eaten. The northern Christians were happy enough and life went on.

How true this story is, I don't really know (but I'll look it up on Wikipedia in a minute and then tell you). But, as my husband and I were driving home tonight we came up with a more religiously meaningful reason for eating no meat on Friday, but still allowing fish to be eaten.

I should preface this by telling you that I have been forgoing meat on the Sabbath with the idea that the animals deserve a day of rest as well as we do, so I shouldn't eat them since that isn't very restful for them.

Back to the story, as we were driving home, my husband was lamenting the fact that we would never have great special meals on Sabbath, since to him MEAT = Good Food. He suggested that I move it to a different day, perhaps I should abstain from eating animals on the day they were created (the 6th day). We pondered this for a minute and then realized that this resulted in not eating meat on Friday! wow .. but, you can eat fish (and birds) because they were created on the 5th day! Remember, Saturday is the seventh day of the week. There were factions of Christians who tried to pretend that the Jews were wrong all along and Sunday was the true seventh day .. they didn't succeed, and Sunday is still considered the first day of the week.

So, now that I've speculated, let's look it up and see what scholars (Wikipedia, the Catholic Encyclopedia and a site about the Second Vatican Counsel) say the reasoning behind this rule is.
According to canon law, all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday and several other days are days of abstinence, though in most countries, the strict requirements of abstinence have been limited by the bishops (in accordance with Canon 1253) to the Fridays of Lent and Ash Wednesday. On other abstinence days, the faithful are invited to perform some other act of penance.
the historian Socrates (Hist. Eccl., V, 22) tells of the practice of the fifth century: "Some abstain from every sort of creature that has life, while others of all the living creatures eat of fish only. Others eat birds as well as fish, because, according to the Mosaic account of the Creation, they too sprang from the water; others abstain from fruit covered by a hard shell and from eggs. Some eat dry bread only, others not even that; others again when they have fasted to the ninth hour (three o'clock) partake of various kinds of food"
Throughout the Latin Church the law of abstinence prohibits all responsible subjects from indulging in meat diet on duly appointed days. Meat diet comprises the flesh, blood, or marrow of such animals and birds as constitute flesh meat according to the appreciation of intelligent and law-abiding Christians. For this reason the use of fish, vegetables, mollusks, crabs, turtles, frogs, and such-like cold-blooded creatures is not at variance with the law of abstinence. Amphibians are relegated to the category whereunto they bear most striking resemblance.
Some think that an ounce of flesh meat suffices to constitute a serious breach of this law, whereas others claim that nothing short of two ounces involves infringement of this obligation. Ordinarily, the actual observance of the law is confined to such circumstances as carry no insupportable burden. This is why the sick, the infirm, mendicants, labourers, and such as find difficulty in procuring fish diet are not bound to observe the law as long as such conditions prevail.
Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified;
The forty days represents, according to the Bible, the time Jesus spent in the desert, enduring the temptation of Satan
Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday be freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ;

Now I see--Friday is the day Jesus was crucified, and (even though it is called Good Friday), it is a day of fasting (in more ancient times only until the 9th hour, supposedly because the moment of the death of Jesus had some mystic significance freeing the rest of humanity from death, but I'm not very well versed in Catholic theology, so I might be missing the obvious). Because all things have their type or symbolic representation, every Friday represents Good Friday, and every Sunday represents Easter. But, the Friday abstinence also represents Lent, which is a remembrance of Jesus' 40 day fast in the wilderness. So, which is it? a piece of Lent or a piece of Good Friday or maybe both at the same time. I think the last option is the most fitting one, since abstaining on the Fridays during Lent is much more weighty than any other Friday (aside from Good Friday itself).

I couldn't find any substantiation for my 'fast strike of the northern barbarians' story .. oh well, I've told that tale to many a listener already! and ... I couldn't find anything actually refuting it either ;-)

A few other people mentioned the correspondence between not eating meat on the day that the animals were created and the Catholic observance.

I also found this fascinating theory:
The Hebrew scriptures also tell of Leviathan, a primordial gigantic enigmatic sea-creature (think Jonah's whale) that represents death. So carving up and eating Leviathan on the day that Christ killed death makes great sense to the biblical imagination. Because of Christ's victory, the great monster death is now nothing more than fish sticks on your plate!

--The Free Library

Mormon Quote

"Mormonism be it true or false, holds out to men the greatest inducements that the human mind can grasp. And so it does... It teaches men that they can become divine, that man is God in embryo, that God was once man in mortality, and that the only difference between Gods, angels and men is a difference in education and development. Is such a religion to be sneered at? It teaches that the worlds on high, the stars that glitter in the blue vault of heaven, are kingdoms of God, that they were once earths like this, that they have been redeemed and glorified by the same laws, the same principles that are applied to this planet, and by which it will ascend to a perfected and glorified state. It teaches that these worlds are peopled with human beings, God's sons and daughters, and that every husband and father, may become an Adam, and every wife and mother an Eve, to some future planet."

- Orson F. Whitney 1895


I've merged my posts from Feminitiation and Becoming Eve because, I couldn't keep interested in posting to three different blogs all at the same time. I'm leaving them up though because both of them are very pretty. I'm still keeping Star Tome and my cooking blogs separate though.

/end notice

The Ideal Translation Helper Software

I ran into an awesome program the other day, The Hebrew Interlinear Bible. It lets you create your own translation of the bible by assigning the appropriate word to each hebrew word. When you make an association, every instance of that word in the entire old testament is "translated" as such. So, that was really cool and everything, but there are a few problems. As an individual issue, I seem to get a whole lot of I/O errors when doing simple things like scrolling through the pages or searching for a word. My husband (who runs linux) has no troubles at all, and neither do a lot of other people. But, even I/O errors aside, there are still some key features missing. The ability to export - at all. you can print the file, but there is no print dialog, it just sends the print command to your printer. I would like to have more than one translation going at a time, and the programs says you can, but I couldn't get it to work - mostly because of all the errors. I'd also like to add a new set of "strong's numbers", because, I feel that they are fundamentally flawed being based on the King James translation of the bible. This *is* possible, but then you loose the ability to use the real strong's numbers! The last actual problem with the program is that the creator hasn't released a new version since 2003, so I know none of these complaints will ever be taken care of. I didn't know I even wanted this program a few days ago, and now I can't do without it!

I looked online for a program that does a similar thing and found Paratext, but it was more like a gated community than a piece of software. I decided to make a list of what my ideal translation program would do...

Languages and Fonts:
Ability to translate texts from more than one language. Hebrew, Greek or any custom language the user could think up. Basically, you would name the language, pick a font and character mapping (unicode would be default but custom maps would be available for custom true type fonts) and then you would be able to assign new numbers and words to it. You would also be able to start out with a new blank language or base it off of an already existing one.

You would be able to apply a language or more than one language at the same time to a book and see what the differences are. An example would be Modern and Middle English. There are words that are the same, and there are words that have a completely different meaning today. This applies to all languages! not just English, and you should be able to use different sets of translation data for them.

One of the coolest things about the HIB was the built-in Hebrew word database. It knows which words are related to which other words, the only problem being that it was based on strong's numbering system which seriously needs updating. The creator of the program should not be expected to create a word and roots database for every language, so, there should be quick and easy ways for the user to do so. Everyone likes to use their own interpretation anyhow. The way this would work is by letting the user create base and root words, variations and assign "numbers". The numbers may only be for internal consistency for the actual program and the user wouldn't even have to see them. They would serve the same function as the base word data. Every word has a base and a root. Most of the time, they are the same word, but not always, and in the case of compounded words, they can have more than one of each. It would be nice to allow some way to include compound words into the system.

The first time the user opens a new language file and a book in that language, they can edit the options for any particular word. They would be able to denote a base word, if it is the base word, a root word, an etymology or notes section, if they like, about that word and create new translations of anticipated word combinations. For instance, if the first word they opened was Ran, they could set the root and base word as run, and then edit that base word and add runs, running, runner or any other word they liked as 'children' of the base of run. The, as they go through the book they are translating, and they come upon a new variation of run that they had forgotten, no big deal, they just type run in as the base word and it is automatically added in as a child of run. Why is this useful at all? Mostly for future reference, especially useful if you don't know a language well. Think of all the ways people have used the strong's reference numbers - now imagine they were words that meant something to you instead of numbers - you would be able to create word indexes, or create super-intelligent search algorithms. It would also be possible for someone to create a word relation index and then share it with another user but let them actually translate the word. This would be great for language students who are still struggling to know where words end and conjugations begin. This would also help anyone understand the original meaning of a text, since any translation is approximate - you could click on any word and see where it came from and view all the various translations possible for that word in various circumstances.

This base and root word function is nice, but the program would still 'work' without it. The functionality would just be limited, but someone could just manually enter the translation for each word individually and not worry about whether they are translating one instance of eretz as earth and when an and is added to it translate it as land.

The actual translation of the words would involve picking a translation for a specific word that will work for most circumstances, and then, when needed, choosing a separate translation for a single word instance. You could also denote if it is really the same word, but it needs to be translated a little differently in order to make sense in the language it is being translated in, or if it's actually a separate word that happens to be spelt alike. We can use our run example again. Run as in run a race could be denoted as having the base word of run1 and run as in I have a run in my pants could be denoted as having the base word of run2. In this case, they would share the same root word, because they really do mean the same thing in a twisted sort of way.

Note, I think it might be useful to have a tool specifically designed to create root/base relationship files for languages without having to open a text for that language.

Interlinear and Comparative:
One main function of this program would be to create interlinear texts. To one side you could have an accepted translation of the text, loaded in by yourself with markers added for chapters and an automatic parser for paragraphs, sentences or verses. These markers would have to be matched with your original source text file - and this would also be able to be done with a parser if possible, or a point and click system if necessary. The main section of the screen would be taken up with the main text to be edited. Underneath each word would be your own personal translation of the text, root words, base words, some other person's word for word translation of the same text and a place to create a more flowing version of the text with corrected word order, connecting words and grammar (or in some people's cases, theological manipulation). the order these appear, or if the appear at all would be up to each user, if you double click any of these rows, the edit screen pops up with whatever you selected in the focus. For instance, if you double click the root word spot, your cursor will be set in the root word edit box on the edit screen. You will still be able to click on any of these if they are empty (except the source text, obviously). Another, quicker, way to enter text would be to use the tab key - just click once in the appropriate row, a cursor would appear, and then type the word. Pressing tab would move you on to the next word. If you wanted to choose a separate meaning for the word, you would either double click the space or hit an F key, I think to automatically set it to the corresponding meaning.

The only thing that would work differently is the new 'flowing' version of the translation, each sentence/verse/paragraph should be visibly separate in the flowing version - this tool is for literal translations, after all. As above, these marks could be added all at once, or as you create the flowing part of the text.

You should also be able to change the source text - I think of instances where you have more then one version of the text you are translating, and you would need to choose the most likely version to trust in certain cases - these should be marked somehow when you do, however!

Output is a necessary step! You should be able to output the text as a PDF, plain text, xml, LaTex, html, odt, and others... this would be hard to do though .. I thin k that if the text always lives as xml, the export wouldn't be that bad.

It would be best if the output wasn't strictly for interlinear translations. You should be able to switch between pure interlinear, interlinear with a side translation, side by side comparisons, just the plain translation and so on. It could be / would be formatted in a two column format, with the mormon-style footnotes or commentary style footnotes, depending on the amount of footnote data involved. Just like in the mormon footnotes, these would be denoted in the footnote area by what type of footnote it is - for instance, a cross reference, a topical reference, a language note, commentary and so on. These types and their abbreviations would be set by the user.

This sort of works in with my idea for a lulu book generator, and if I could get that produced, I would certainly have this tool able to interface with it so you could go straight from translator to published book with only a few simple steps in between. But that, is really dreaming.

Why do I care?

While reading a book today, the thought struck me - 'why do I care what these men think so much, if I disagree so strongly about their fundamental views on females and gender roles? Why am I devoting so much of my time and energies learning about them?'

Part of the answer is simple- the spiritual and mystical ideas that they have come up with concerning our eternal progression and the nature of God are intriguing and make a lot of sense to me (at least until I ask how I fit into the plan).

The other part is a little more complex and of shady certainty. I feel like the prophets and/or their successors really didn't think much about where women fit into their schemes, and so, when they asked God a question, he would have answered their questions. From experience, even if God did expound upon the role of women, if you aren't listening for something, you won't hear it. This is perfectly illustrated by the common phenomenon of hearing a newly learned word many times in a week which you had previously never heard before. Logic implies that the new word had been there all along, but you had never noticed it rather than a freak coincidence.

All this boils down to Women seeking inspiration from "God", and sharing it with her sisters. If this knowledge isn't shared and recorded, it is lost and all we have left are the pondering of men regarding the only thing they have had experience with - the life and concerns of other men.

Jehovah and Women

Note: I started writing this post months ago, and I don't really know what I was going to say - so I'm posting it incomplete with a follow-up post expressing some new concerns.

After reading the Bible, or other Hebrew-based literature, I can't quite shake off the feeling that something is out of place with the idea of a "loving father who only wants the best for all His children". Some examples of what disturb me are: Certain writings by Paul (all the women know which ones I mean), the fact that the Old Testament seems to be written by men and for men, speaking of the women in third person and using the male-only pronoun rather than the neutral (we don't notice this when reading in the English bible, as they are both translated as man, and we assume that women are included, since that is the way English works).

Moving on to the modern era, in Mormonism, men are required to have at least three wives in order to become a god (at least they think they do), where women are to only have one husband. Consider the eternal implications of this! We know that there is an equal number of male and female children being born. This is true all over the world in every country. If in eternity each male is partnered with three females, that leaves two thirds of the male spirits without a mate, and without a hope of eternal progression. I can see two possible solutions to this within the doctrines of traditional Mormonism. Either the third of the host of heaven who fell in the pre-existence and most, if not all those who are dammed in this life are male- therefore creating a large mis-balance between the genders and a reason for the 1:3 ratio (incidentally, I have read a journal from the 1800s that agrees with this theory). Or,

we do not believe in reincarnation ....

Here are some thoughts:

1) Men receive revelation for us, and they are sexist. God tells them correct principles, and they color them with their own ideas.
2) Jehovah doesn't like women (or think of them as being worth the same as a man)
3) Women were evil in the life before this, so they are paying for it now
4) Men are evil and they made Jehovah up so they could be mean to women

Chimp Spears

I recently read an article about Chimps in Senegal using spears to hunt small animals. While fascinating in itself, there is one point that relates especially to this blog:
What makes the discovery all the more remarkable, project leader Pruetz said, is who the hunters are: predominantly mature females and immature-youngsters between about two and ten years old.
In normal Chimpanzee social structure, the males do the hunting rather than the females. To see the females taking the initiative with this new technology is intriguing. In modern human society, the males are expected to be the ones who "invent" or discover new technologies. While we are taking steps to address this inequality, if you made a list of famous or influential inventors of the last 100 years, it would consist primarily of men.

Were the females the leading inventors in early human development? If so, what has changed? Why has innovation been labeled as a male activity? Are women still endowed with the power of invention? Or, do the value a different sort of invention - one that directly benefits their lives, rather than abstract acquisition of knowledge?

To answer these questions I think we need to examine the next generation of women - give them a chance to test their skills. Ask the question and see if they will bear out the answer, then ask another question.