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My idea for a Bible class was based on a fourth way to select Bible verses for study, making use of a mathematical principle that provides an effective way to gain knowledge about complicated things:  A large body of information can be comprehended reasonably well by studying more or less random portions of the data.  The technical term for this approach is stratified sampling.  It something like the Gallup poll, in which a lot  can be learned from studying comparatively little.  Stratified sampling is a surprisingly good way to magnify our perceptual abilities.
  —  Donald E. Knuth
From the Forward to his book:  “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated
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On This Day In:
2018 Weight / Health Update
What’s Happening With You?
2017 The Great Leveler
Conservative Depressions
2016 Election + 1 Month
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change.  And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.
  —  Peter F. Drucker
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On This Day In:
2018 Seek A Clear View
2017 Living With Myself
2016 Still Looking In Mirrors?
2015 Fear No Evil
2014 And Nothing Can Be As Tragic As…
2013 Your Tax Dollars At Work
2012 Historically Unacceptable
2011 Niners Are NFC West Division Champions!!
The Essence Of Leadership

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3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated”  —  book review
Today’s review is for “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated” (1991©) written by Donald E. Knuth.  Back in 2011, I read another book by Knuth, titled: “Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About“. (Review here.)  That book, was a discussion about the author’s faith and his prior book, which is being reviewed in this post.  When I retired (in 2017), I was presented with an Amazon gift voucher, which I promised to “waste” on books, music or technology.  In this case, part of it was used to buy this book (along with a number of other Knuth books).
To save everyone the time of reading my earlier review, basically, Knuth wanted to know if one can learn anything unique or unusual about the Bible by doing a stratified (but random) sampling / review of a particular Bible verse.  In theory, if you have a sufficiently large sample to draw from, you can gain “some” knowledge about any topic by analyzing a random sample of the topic’s data.
Because Knuth was not sure this type of investigation would work for literature, Knuth chose a verse he knew would have at least one interesting data point: “Chapter 3 Verse 16”.  The chapter and verse he was confident about was John Chapter 3: Verse 16 – “Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only child, so that all people with faith in him can escape destruction, and live forever.
The first problem Knuth encounters is that not all of the books of the Bible have 13 verses in their chapter 3.  To get around this, he simply carried the sample forward the same number (count) of verses and take up wherever that left him.  There were, however, a number of books which were simply to short to use even this method.  In those instances, he simply chooses to drop the book. Knuth ends up with a sampling size of 59 verses.
The second issue was Knuth found scholars did not always (rarely, in fact) agree on what exactly was meant by the writings in the various Bible sources.  Not only were the scholars interpretations differing, so were the texts across the various Bible versions.  There was (is) even disagreement on if some source material is valid and / or should be included in the Bible.
In order to determine why this was happening, Knuth determined to read the Bibles in their original Hebrew / Aramaic and Greek / Latin.  He could then present his own translations as he felt they should be interpreted.  In addition, he felt he needed to translate the verses immediately before and after the target verse to ensure he was accurately relating context as well as the literal meaning.
The method of describing each of the 59 verses itself is interesting.  Each verse is covered in four pages.  Page one provides overall historic, geographic and character background information.  The second page is devoted to a calligraphic representation of the verse.  The final two pages are a word by word breakdown of the verse.  In order to do this in a manner which makes sense, Knuth sometimes adds an analysis of the preceding or following verse(s).  Just a word on the calligraphy.  Knuth approached a friend who happened to be a world renowned typeface designer to assist with the book cover illustration.  The friend (Hermann Zapf), in turn commissioned calligraphers from over 20 countries to provide the “illustration” pages.  This calligraphy, in turn, became part of a formal exhibit which I believe is currently “owned” by the San Francisco Library.  I don’t know if it (the entire exhibit) is ever shown publicly.  I know it was back in 2011, but I was not able to go view it back then.  My loss, I am sure.
So, is this book interesting?  Is it entertaining?  Is it enlightening?  Yes.  Yes, and Yes!  I am a life-long Roman Catholic, but I have never read the Bible through cover to cover.  I tried to a few years back, but had limited knowledge of the names and places and found it rather boring.  I attempted to co-read Isaac Asimov’s “Guide To The Bible“, but even this was of limited value.  I now think I just gave up too soon.  Mea culpa.
Almost every chapter of this book explained something I didn’t know or fully appreciate about the book being covered in that chapter.  Some were simple “interesting”.  Some were “that never occurred to me”.  And, some (a few) were “Wow! I’ve got to go back and read that!”  Anytime I read a book which prompts me to read more or more in-depth, I am grateful to the author.  (I’m still not sure if I’m weird that way…)  In any case, I’m now more determined than ever to read more of Knuth’s books.
In this case: final recommendation – very highly recommended!!  Even if you are not a Biblical scholar or particularly religious, this book will provide insight into one of the greatest books in all of literature.  At less than 270 pages, this is a fast read and the calligraphy is truly beautiful.  Two final notes: 1) in the afterward, Knuth wonders if his selection of “3:16” was not “influenced” and therefor not entirely random.  His conclusion was, with further analysis, it may have been, but was not intentional.  He adds, however, that he enjoyed the process so much he intends to use the methodology for further future study of other verses.  And, 2) I’ve seen in various places this book was copyright in 1990.  My version says 1991 and that’s the year I’m using above.
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 34th Anniversary, Hil!!
2017 Happy 33rd Anniversary, Hil!!
2016 Happy 32nd Anniversary, Hil!!
2015 Happy Anniversary Hil!!
2014 30th Wedding Anniversary
2013 Number 29 (And Counting)
2012 Hammer ‘N Roses
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2011 I Can Hear It Now

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Every human pastime — music, cooking, sports, art, theoretical physics — develops an argot to spare its enthusiasts from having to say or type a long-winded description every time they refer to a familiar concept in each other’s company.  The problem is that as we become proficient at our job or hobby we come to use these catchwords so often that they flow out of our fingers automatically, and we forget that our readers may not be members of the clubhouse in which we learned them.
   —  Steven Pinker
[Apologies to all you linguists out there.  I believe I just turned a noun into a verb.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Good-Bye AG Jeff Sessions
2017 On Our Wall (Part 2)
2016 I Beg The Question
2015 By Their Fruit
2014 Proven Worth
2013 From Missouri
2012 Recipe To Write: Start With One Aching Urge
2011 Ip And Rib
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2010 Final Competition

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The following image is from the United Nations Development Program, who’s task it is to gather and provide information related to helping people build a better life for themselves.

Image of 2016 Climate Related Population Disruption

2016 Climate Related Population Disruption / Displacement

Relative to the complete human species (roughly 7 billion people), a figure of 15 million people being displaced due to climate related issues in a single year (2016) may not seem like a large number.  What needs to be understood is this is just the canary – coughing and wheezing –  in the coal mine, or (probably) a better image might be the first trickle of water from the smallest of cracks in a gigantic dam.  And this is just the wet weather data…  It does not show displacement due to drought and water shortage (increased fires) or winter storms and tornado damage.
New Orleans (LA), Seaside (NJ), Houston (TX) and Puerto Rico are just the beginning…   And, yet, we (the United States) are withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords…  We need to wake up and smell the coffee.  Climate change is already here, not coming in the future.  The question is:  What are we going to do to mitigate its effect on our country and our civilization?  This is a national security issue, not some pie in the sky hoax started by environmentalists.  The longer we wait, the more difficult (and expensive) our response will be.  …And the more catastrophic the period between now and whatever becomes “the new normal”.
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On This Day In:
2018 Be My Hero – Vote Tomorrow!
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2017 Black And White
Advice For #DumbDonald
2016 Mirror, Mirror
2015 Speaking With Forked Tongue
2014 The Code
2013 Eventually Formed
2012 Remember To Vote Tomorrow
2011 It Sounds Like Chaos Theory To Me

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In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.  In practice there is.
  —  Yogi Berra
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On This Day In:
2018 Keep America Great – Vote This Tuesday
2017 Old Style Ear Candy
2016 Next Tuesday
2015 Wanna Trade?
2014 Brothers And Friends
2013 So Suddenly
2012 At The Center
2011 Live Long And Thinner
Got Health?
2010 SF Giants – 2010 World Series Champions!!!
52 – 54 – 56 – 58
2009 Diet Update
Pictures from Chicago Trip…

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Much advance publicity was made for the address the Master would deliver on “The Destruction of the World” and a large crowd gathered at the monastery grounds to hear him.  The address was over in less than a minute.  All he said was: “These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness.
  —  Anthony de Mello, SJ
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On This Day In:
2018 Too Significant
2017 Shadows
2016 Still Blurry
2015 For Awhile Anyway
2014 By Contrast
2013 A Very Long Time…
2012 Raise And Support
2011 Naturally
2010 A Quick Sunday Morning Read
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