Tuesday, January 7, 2020

More biblical text visualizations

I love these kind of visualizations. How helpful are they? I'm not sure, but they do provide a big picture perspective of relationships between the biblical texts. I'm pulling this from this thread on Twitter.
The first is by Cody Kingham who writes:

Formulaic Language in the Pentateuch
In reading through the Pentateuch, I've noticed that several sections contain a lot of repetition. This formulaic language seems to serve as a way of organizing and carefully structuring segments of text. In this notebook, we will visualize this phenomenon in the Pentateuch with a heatmap. A heatmap is a graph which visualizes integers as "temperatures". The lower a value, the "cooler" it is, and vice versa. The colors blue and red are used to represent cold and hot values. 
Also in that Twitter thread, Camil Staps writes:
Here is a similar project of mine: on the internet, which verses are frequently mentioned together? There's quite some noise, but nevertheless you can see the popularity of Gen 1-11, Ps & Isa, vs. e.g. Est & Lam. Also note the synoptic parallels in Kgs/Chr and Mt/Mk/Lk!
The darker red square in the lower right is the NT. In the upper left of that square is a slightly darker red that indicates relationship between the Gospels.
Thanks to Kingham and Staps for sharing these!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Religious apps with sinful permissions

I just came across this October 2019 article on C|NET whose lead is: "Religious apps with sinful permissions requests are more common than you think: Christian Android apps account for hundreds of millions of downloads on the Google Play Store -- and too many are data devils"
I will acknowledge that I've naively assumed that the Bible apps I use are not problematic, but it's worth checking out the permissions your Bible app requests. If you're like me, you usually just click through those things.
The article highlights problems with some King James Bible apps and especially notes issues with apps connected to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Mingle and Christian Matrimony, Cold Case Christianity, and the Bible Verses App from SpringTech. (This last is identified basically as a browser hijacker.) I haven't used any of those apps, but there is a long section on the YouVersion Bible app which I do use and have on my phone now. Apparently they have been reducing the number of permissions it requires, but I just went and looked on the Google Play store for what's going on with the Android version. Here's what it says:
YouVersion
This app has access to:
Contacts
  • find accounts on the device
  • read your contacts
Wi-Fi connection information
  • view Wi-Fi connections
Identity
  • find accounts on the device
  • read your own contact card
Location
  • approximate location (network-based)
  • precise location (GPS and network-based)
Photos/Media/Files
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Storage
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Camera
  • take pictures and videos
Other
  • receive data from Internet
  • run at startup
  • prevent device from sleeping
  • connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi
  • allow Wi-Fi Multicast reception
  • view network connections
  • use accounts on the device
  • control vibration
  • read Google service configuration
  • full network access
Someone else who knows better than I do can comment about which of those permissions are really necessary. I'm wary that it has access to my contacts, accounts, wifi, location, and hooks into Google. This got me to check the other Bible apps I regularly use.

Logos
This app has access to:
Contacts
  • find accounts on the device
Identity
  • add or remove accounts
  • find accounts on the device
Location
  • precise location (GPS and network-based)
Photos/Media/Files
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Storage
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Other
  • receive data from Internet
  • create accounts and set passwords
  • read Google service configuration
  • use accounts on the device
  • view network connections
  • full network access
  • prevent device from sleeping
That's not much different from YouVersion's permissions.

Accordance:
This app has access to:
Photos/Media/Files
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Storage
  • read the contents of your USB storage
  • modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
Other
  • view network connections
  • full network access.
Accordance certainly is the least invasive as far as permissions are concerned. Again, someone else may be able to confirm what permissions an app needs, so these may all be perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, you may want to go into your App settings and turn off some off some of the permissions such as location sharing.