Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Is it just me...?

Is it just me, or are people being less precise these days? Less precise in speech, less precise in... well, just about everything. I just got told off by a gentleman who claimed that "The Catholic Church Banned the Bible!". Well, no, they didn't. What they did do was ban vernacular translations, most of them because they were not accurately translated.

Before the advent of the printing press, in 1470, any book had to be hand-copied. Doing that took time, because the copy had to be accurate, and only literate people could copy books. That meant going to a monastery or other house of worship, because most scholars didn't have the time to copy books. Books were big, heavy, and usually heavily illustrated, all of which took a long time to do. (In fact, we find scribal notes in the margins of old, hand-copied books with sayings like "Thank God, it's finally done," or "Another fifteen pages to go, how will I do it?"

To get a copy of a book, one generally had to give the church or monastery in question some kind of big donation: money, land, a holy relic..., so it was expensive as well. Generally, the only people who could afford such books were the Kings and nobility of the lands. The lower and middle classes couldn't read Latin, and didn't have the money to afford hand-copied books.

All that changed with the advent of the printing press. In 1470, Johannes Gutenberg published his first book... a Bible translated into German. The Catholic Church (actually, the *only* church at the time), promptly banned the book, as they hadn't put their seal of approval on the translation.

The Church was trying to keep the "Word of the Lord" from being translated incorrectly. There were also some pretty egregious printing errors back then, too. There was the "Adulterer's Bible" which eliminated the word "not" from the admonition "Thou shalt not commit Adultery", and the "Sinner's Bible", which said "Sin on more" rather than "Sin no more".

So let's get it straight. Don't say 'The church banned the Bible!" if what you mean was "They banned vernacular versions". One doesn't mean the other. Say what you mean, not a general approximation. I will thank you for it, should I encounter you online.

Nybbling and Byting

Well, it's taken over three months, but my computer is now just about up to par. Now I can blog from home, not just from my work location, and my Mac is running on OSX 10.3.2. In addition, I added an 80 Gig external Hard Drive, quadrupling the storage space of my old Hard Drive, and will shortly be adding a DVD burning drive. Are you afraid yet? :D

What totally blew my mind when I went looking for new external hard drives was that they now have Terabyte Drives, for about $1 a Gig. 1 Terabyte is enough storage space to fit about 1/10 of the books in the Library of Congress! That's pretty frightening. For a moment, I thought, "Wow, we're talking Star Trek-type storage space here!"

After Terabytes, what's next? The Petabyte, Yottabyte, Zettabyte and Brontobyte. 500 Petabytes would hold all the words spoken since the human race gained speech, and after that point, your mind is literally not big enough to envision the amount of space each iteration holds. Heck, I certainly can't manage it! Instead, I think I will just sit here imagining the amount of space for games each would hold. ;) Will we ever need things that fill those kind of spaces? I sure hope so. Ever onward and upwards!