Thursday, July 23, 2009

BibleWorks: New Aramaic Resources

As reported today on the BibleWorks forum:

We are pleased to announce new Aramaic resources available for BibleWorks 8.

The first new resource is the Introductory Lessons in Aramaic, by Eric D. Reymond. This introductory Aramaic grammar includes exercises, answers to the exercises, and a glossary.

The second new resource is a set of Aramaic Paradigms for Aramaic verbs, produced by Jan Verbruggen. Included in a future update will be the full set of sound files by Jan Verbruggen for each paradigm. The sound files will be posted shortly, after making some adjustments to the updater to install the sound files correctly.

This is a free download for BibleWorks 8 users.

It is available through the BibleWorks 8 updater under Help | BibleWorks on the Internet | Check for updates.
This continues BibleWorks' tradition of providing some new resources for free.

Logos Bible Software on SD Card

You knew that something like this was coming eventually... With the increasing popularity of netbooks, many of which have little storage space and no internal optical drive, the big Bible software programs had to figure out another way of being accessed. There are ways of hooking up a netbook to an external drive or another computer that has an optical drive. (These options from Logos work in general for any program.) Laridian has offered PocketBible for Windows on a USB stick for some time (and it has the advantage of storing your notes on the stick so that they are portable as well).
Logos announced today that you can now directly buy its media on a SD card, a great solution since virtually all netbooks have a built in SD reader. You will still need to buy a base package first (can't this be part of the SD card?), and then you can buy a 2 or 4GB SD card depending on the library you own for $9.95 or $14.95 respectively. Of course you could create your own SD collection of resources and eventually we may all be computing off the cloud, but this is a convenient solution for now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Animated Dead Sea Map

A.D. Riddle (whose mapping skills I have previously highlighted) and David Parker have posted an animated map of “The Dead Sea: A History of Change” showing its water levels, shorelines, and nearby settlements. According to their description:

This is an animated map of the level of the Dead Sea throughout the late Holocene (3500 BC to present).
Lying along the great Afro-=Arabian Rift, the Dead Sea marks the lowest point on the earth’s surface at 422 m below sea level. Because of its low elevation the Dead Sea collects runoff from an extensive catchment area, and since it is a terminal lake with no outflow, the lake acts as a rain gauge, a good indicator other region’s climate.
To create our map, we have drawn upon the synthetic studies of Frumkin and Beitzel which utilize, among other things, pollen values and the locations of ancient harbors to determine the lake’s size.
A.D. Riddle indicated to me that the map was created in Adobe Flash with the interactivity coded in ActionScript.

It’s a fascinating and helpful depiction that does an excellent job of making better sense of the history in the Dead Sea region. Thanks for sharing this map!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Visual Links to Education Faves

AllMyFaves: Very nice visual display of links to Education favorites. There is also a general page of links and other pages for Canada or the UK, travel, shopping, etc. The links associated with the Religion subcategory are pretty decent
[HT: Downes]

Friday, July 3, 2009

Google Proves: Jesus Is Bigger than the Beatles!

Okay, now that my title got your attention, it's an excuse to point out another Google Labs tool called Google Trends. It allows you to compare up to five terms, and it returns results showing relative frequency in search requests and news articles. Results can be further refined by date and (sub)regions. So, I tried comparing: jesus, beatles, "michael jackson".
As the chart shows (clicking on the chart will bring you to the actual results), Jesus has always been bigger than the Beatles! Michael Jackson (during his trial in 2005 and now with his death reflected in the sharp spike at the latest date) has occasionally outdone Jesus.

As with all statistics, results may not be entirely meaningful and can be easily manipulated. (E.g., in my search above, it doesn't distinguish between Jesus Christ and any person named Jesus.) I was trying to think of some other meaningful searches, however. How about: "old testament" apocrypha "new testament"
As you would expect, the Apocrypha greatly trails either of the Testaments, but perhaps you might not have predicted that the OT and NT would in fact be so close in 'popularity'. Also note in this example that the most popular references are highlighted in news articles. Clicking on the "More news results" option will bring you to the News Archives Timeline where you can refine time periods for your search.

One more example I searched for is: "gospel matthew" "gospel mark" "gospel luke" "gospel john" (Note that I had to do it this way, because if I just did "matthew, mark, luke, john," all the references to John McCain and the presidential elections dwarfed everything else.) Now before looking at the chart, do you have a guess about which Gospel is most popular? (And in this case, I focused my results on just the United States.)
As one might have expected, John is the most 'popular' Gospel. I had thought that I might see some changes in interest related to the changes in focus based on the lectionary cycle, but the results are minimal. Do note in this example the additional data about results related to regions. Nebraska and Rhode Island (go figure?!) were the top spots searching for the Gospels. The relative popularity between the Gospels is also distinctive with Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina showing a distinct preference for John. Rhode Island showed the most balance.
The data can also be exported into a CSV file for further inspection/manipulation in Excel.

In any case, I'm not exactly sure how to make good use of this research tool, but it is interesting. If you come up with something significant, please share it here.