Sunday, January 22, 2017

Garden -- 2017 plans

I know I'm late with this but you haven't missed anything. 

Yet.

Get ready to beautify your lawn cheaply and help the environment.  Read Mike's article which applies to DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
http://wtop.com/garden-plot-living/2016/12/resolve-legal-healthy-lawn-season/

What do you get for this?  Crabs and oysters.
http://wtop.com/garden-plot-living/2017/01/shaping-bay-shaking-tree-socking-beetles/

I don't know what's up with Pennsylvania.  They aren't an island to themselves; no man is..

Next.  If you used to buy Roundup you may see a new company name on it.  When Monsanto's GMOs (inevitably) stopped yielding big crops, they dodged lawsuits from farmers with cancer by selling themselves.  What's the link?  The warranty on the GMOs was null and void unless the farmers used the Monsanto-prescribed pesticide -- Roundup.

It uses the same pesticide as Agent Orange.  Why?  Monsanto invented Agent Orange.  It was used in the 60s to defoliate Vietnam.  The government  has provided specific benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange, obviously agreeing that it was dangerous to humans. Associated cancers include blood cancers like leukemia and both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Apparently Monsanto believed it would lose the farmers' lawsuits, along with those from farmers who lost money on the GMO seed when it (inevitably) stopped yielding big crops, and those from organic farmers who could prove that  the "terminator  genes" didn't terminate and genes from the GMOs contaminated their crops.  So Monsanto sold itself to Bayer. 

Bayer kills bees.  Products on this list contain neonicotinoids which are being banned piecemeal in the US.  You can get ahead of the curve by not using these products in 2017.  Then if your region puts a ban on these products, you won't have to change your ways.

McGrath's archives have lots of ways of making your lawn and garden beautiful without poisoning yourself, your kids, your pets, and the pollinators we rely on to produce our food, and also without  spending a fortune on fixing problems you wouldn't have if you had done what Mike tells you to do.  Read them and if you don't find an answer to your specific question, email him.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- SWLT 1 and finding the words

The first rule of SWLT is that cultures use expressions for culture-specific features and also shape themselves around the expressions they use.  No two languages have words for all the same concepts because no two languages developed inside the same culture.  Translators must choose words that accurately reflect the meaning used by the culture in which the primary document, the source of the translation, was used.  Otherwise the translation suffers in its value for understanding the features of the culture to which the primary document belongs.
It’s also possible to get a false impression of the culture into whose language the translation is made.  I left a concept hanging last week and I’ll discuss it now so I don’t leave you with a false impression.
I discussed raqia and related words in Torah in Genesis, Exodus and Numbers.
What does Septuagint do with those words?  I already said that it misconstrues raqia and uses stereoma, meaning a hard body, suiting the Greek idea of the celestial spheres and ignoring the idea of a thin layer.
What does Septuagint do with Exodus 39:3?  It gives that label to a verse about taking the half sheqel poll tax for use in building the tabernacle.  Exodus 36:10 describes cutting threads of gold but not hammering them out.  Numbers 17:4 has Elazar make the censers into plates for the altar but ignores the issue of hammering out which is specified in Hebrew in that verse.  Septuagint simply ignores words that relate to raqia. 
There are words for “hammer out” in Liddell such as kopto or compounds of kroteo, but most of them have to do with iron-working or welding metal together.  None of them have to do with creating wires or thin plates.  On the face of it, you might think that Greek metal-workers had no concept at all of ductility or malleability, and never created metal wire even for decorative purposes.
But the real issue is that Liddell and Scott record words referred to in Greek writing, sometimes (in “versions for the schools”) including the New Testament.
The writers in Greece in Classical times were those who had the education of freemen, a liberal education in the trivium and quadrivium.  They didn’t know or care about what artisans did.  They didn’t write about it.  Agriculture was different because they were landowners and were supposed to draw their income from agriculture, and to do that you had to know something about farming.
And heavy metal-working produced chariots and armor, paraphernalia of upper class Greeks who served in the army at some point in their lives in many cases and had a vital interest in their armor being well-made.  Weapons also appeared in various histories of wars, such as Thucydides or the Iliad.
What’s more, Liddell and Scott were restricted to using surviving material.  They didn’t have a work on comic poetry supposedly written  by Aristotle, which formed part of the plot line in Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose.  They didn’t have Agatharchides’ 49 volume work on Europe.  About 80 plays by Aeschylus  have disappeared.  Some histories survive only in fragmentary form.  Sappho was a major poet but only fragments of her work survive. 
In the previous paragraph, I was able to include authors by name because surviving Greek material refers to them.  I couldn’t refer to Greek writers who were neither quoted nor named in the work of another writer.  Some material written in classical Greek perished even to the names of the writers.  That material could not affect Liddell and Scott’s lexicon because they didn’t have it.  “Big” Liddell, the full lexicon of which “Middle” Liddell is an abridgement, might have been ten times the size it is, if everything ever written in Classical Greek had survived.  And then we might know what words in Classical Greek referred to beaten metal thin enough to cut wires from.
Or not.  Depending on whether anybody who wrote in Classical Greek took any interest in the subject.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 19, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- letter recognition

All right, here we go.  Genesis 1:1.
 
א בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ:
 
Transliteration: B’reshit bara elohim et ha-shamayim v’et ha-arets.
Translation:     At the beginning Gd created the heaven and the earth
Letters in this lesson: בּ, ר, א, שׁ, י, ת, ל, וֹ, ה, ם, שּׁ, מ, ץ
 
Vocabulary in this lesson:
 
בְּ
on, in, at (place or time), by (swear by), with (by means of), against
בְּרֵאשִׁית
at the beginning
בָּרָא
created
אֱלֹהִים
Gd
אֵת
direct object particle
הַ, הָ
the
שָּׁמַיִם
heaven
וְ
and, or, continuation particle
אָרֶץ
earth, land, world
 
Remember I said the letters are used as numbers?  That’s what that alef is doing at the start of the first verse.  It shows this is the first verse of the chapter, which also is numbered alef. 
 
Oh yeah, you did know that you read Hebrew from right to left, not left to right?  Sorry. So the alef is at the start of the verse and it’s just the verse number.  The next letter is the first letter of the actual verse, and it’s what?  Pronounced how?
 
First rule.  When I transliterate using a single quote, that’s a shva that you say.  I would put in the upside down “e” that usually represents a schwa e but the single quote is more convenient.  So when you see a single quote that means say a schwa e.
 
Notice that in this lesson you only have one letter with dagesh.  If you have been practicing, maybe you can remember whether this is a letter that changes sound when it has dagesh.  If you don’t remember, use the transliteration as a clue.
 
You also have two sofit letters.  See if you can match one of them to its other version, which is also in this lesson.
 
The vocabulary is in the same order as each word appears in the verse.  Go over them several times and try to say them using the pronunciation in the transliteration.
 
I’m going to stop here but I will use this verse again in the next lesson. 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I'm just saying -- WE CAN DO THIS

But we need to change how we do it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, did  an interview about peanut allergies.

The conventional wisdom has been if your baby throws out a rash when exposed to peanuts, you make life a misery guarding against any more contact with peanuts, and you give in to corporate greed to make sure you have a couple of epi-pens around.

What Dr. Fauci said is, when your baby throws out that rash, get to the pediatrician and get a referral to a program that prevents the allergy.  (NIH statement)

It's going to break the back of the epi-pen companies.  We need to do more of this.

Tobacco companies.   Nearly 20% of Americans still use tobacco.  Close to 7 million people were diagnosed with cancer between 2006-2010 (2% of US population).  About 2.8 million of those cancers wouldn't have happened -- if nobody in the US used tobacco.

Fake food companies who have made their packet pushing sugar, fat, sodium and chemicals instead of good nutrition.  Kind of like what I posted the other week about getting sodas and fake whipped cream out of your diet and making your chocolates and ice cream yourself.  (Chassaing, B. et al. Nature http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14232 (2015).)

Supplement companies.  Kind of like what I have posted before about how important sleep is in weight loss, along with exercise and eating fewer and smaller portions of healthy food.

Antibiotics pushers.  Stop demanding antibiotics from your doctor; it helps breed MRSA and the like.  You should, however, demand that meat and egg producers stop feeding antibiotics except in cases of actual illness. 

Chemical companies. Aside from helping the fake food companies, the FDA banned 39 chemicals used in anti-bacterial cleaners because they are no more effective than plain soap.

Hand sanitizers mostly include alcohol, leading to tests showing alcohol in doctors.  Do you want them practicing on you?  And some schools are insisting that our kids use them.

WE CAN DO THIS.  We can drop medical costs all over the country -- if we stop doing things ass-backward.

I'm just saying....

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- SWLT One

The first rule of SWLT is that cultures use language for culture-specific expressions and also shape themselves around the expressions they use.
The first part of the first rule used to lead to the proposal that Eskimos have lots of words for snow, each for a specific type of snow. Where I live we know of only the fluffy dry snow that is easy to shovel, and the heavy wet snow that you break your back clearing. As I draft this, we are emerging from a terribly snowy winter and so the difference is fresh in my mind.
It turns out that what took me three to eight words to say above, needs only one word in Eskimo. My multi-word phrases can be expressed in Eskimo, as a single word root with various modifications to indicate the features of weight, moisture content, and effect on clearing. Or something like that. I don’t know the exact details.
In Lakota, a single word can be modified to tell what its result was, such as by pushing either to fasten something down or to insert something into a container.
Russian has a system of motion verbs which can be translated “go” or “come”, but they differentiate between walking, riding a vehicle, swimming, being carried, and so on.
Languages do not invent words as a game or a scholarly exercise. Words come into existence in response to a cultural need for precision. Precision is culture-specific and I have already given part of one example.
In Hebrew, by Mishnaic times, there were two words for animal fat. One was the Torah term chelev, the fat of the gastrointestinal region in animals, taken off and burned during the sacrificial rite as recorded in Torah. This fat was prohibited in Torah for human food. Hebrew evolved the term shuman out of shemen, “oil”, to mean the fat that could be permitted for human food, the way shemen zait is permitted for human food.
Greek culture also had two words for animal fat. One was stear, the fat of ruminants, and the other was pmelin, the fat of non-ruminants. Aristotle discusses this in On Animals. But when it comes to sacrifices, the word is diptykha because the fat used in sacrifices had to be double-folded.
So cultures have separate words for things that are culturally important.
Another example mirrors the Eskimo issue. In Hebrew, Gd creates the raqia on the second day. The usual English translation of raqia is “firmament,” but that doesn’t capture what raqia really means. The Hebrew word is based on a root which, in modern Hebrew, means ductile or malleable. It also relates to two verses in Torah. Exodus 39:3 describes the beaten gold plates from which threads were cut to weave with colored wools to make the efod. Numbers 17:4 describes the beaten copper censers that had belonged to the 250 elders consumed by fire; they were used to cover one of the altars. Raqia is a thin shell like beaten plate metal.
“Firmament” no doubt comes from Greek stereoma, which the Septuagint uses to translate raqia, but which means “hard body.” The Septuagint sets up or benefits from the Aristotelian concept of the celestial spheres, which had to fit inside each other exactly with no empty spaces. That’s because Greek metaphysics rejected the concept of a vacuum.
Jewish culture describes seven raqiot (the plural) in Talmud, each 1000 parasangs thick and separated by 183,500 parasangs. But Jewish culture never takes an interest in what’s between each raqia.
This created discomfort for that stern Aristotelian, Maimonides, who had to admit there was something between each pair of raqiot but couldn’t admit that it might be vacuum. Vacuum was a concept supported by the Mutakallim philosophers against whom Maimonides wrote. You would have to consult Guide for the Perplexed (with the Leo Strauss introduction) to see how he resolved this. At any rate, Maimonides – like Philo – got himself into a mental pickle by adopting the concepts of an external culture and trying to apply them to words in the Biblical Hebrew language.
The meaning of a word is what falls out of its use by multiple people in multiple contexts WITHIN THE  CULTURE over some period of time.
The meaning of a word is NOT its translation, because translations may be a desperate grab for a way to represent material in a different language from that of the culture that developed the meaning of the word. A translation can suffer from ignorance, misunderstanding, or purposeful perversion.
The meaning of a word is not its translation.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 12, 2017

21st century Bible Hebrew -- project description

These Hebrew lessons are only for the Bible. They are for the Jewish Bible.  I’m talking about the Jewish Torah, the one that your normal translation supposedly came from. You can find it on the Mechon Mamre website with all the vowels.
 
Biblical Hebrew is not the same as the Hebrew of the Mishnah, which is the basis of Talmud. It is also not the same as Modern Israeli Hebrew. The latter two use verb tenses and they use auxiliary verbs (periphrasis) to express some concepts that Biblical Hebrew can express in morphology.
 
I am going to teach you declension and conjugation because you need to know them. But I’m not going to ask you to spit out morphology. I’m going to show you how morphology reaches into the heart of the Jewish Bible. In a few places, this explains Jewish folklore – aggadah – but in even more places, it explains Jewish law – halakhah. I’m trying to write a functional grammar, that teaches you why people used the grammar they did in writing Torah.
 
Some of what I will teach you is totally 21st century. In 2014 I read the doctoral dissertation of John A. Cook which I downloaded from online. I realized that it dovetailed with the basic work on oral narratives by Axel Olrik (Principles of Oral Narrative Research), and the two men not only never met (Olrik died in 1921), I don’t believe Dr. Cook ever read Olrik’s work. If he has done so now, it might be because I emailed him, told him about my first blog, and specifically pointed him to the post that talked about the relationship.
 
So I will be discussing more than grammar in these posts.  I will also discuss how they fit into a tradition that was transmitted only by word of mouth for centuries, probably for millennia all things considered. Olrik pointed out the sort of features that such material must have, features which show up in oral traditions all over the world. The grammar and oral features dovetail to such an extent that it makes no sense to discuss one without the other.
 
I will also be using terminology that you probably never saw before. I got the inspiration, if you can call it that, from learning Arabic to study the Samaritan tradition. Unless you’re using a book on Quranic Arabic or one with majority input from somebody who speaks Arabic as a native language, you have probably been exposed to the same grammar terms you used in learning your first language, or your second if it wasn’t a Semitic language. In fact, the labels slapped onto Arabic by western writers don’t really help understand it, they’re just a security blanket for the teachers. They interfere with treating Arabic as something worthy of respect in its own right; they treat it as a left-handed version of western languages.
 
It’s been the same with Biblical Hebrew. I’m kicking some terminology to the curb because these western labels don’t teach you how to understand why the Bible uses the grammar it does – just like the morphology doesn’t teach you that.
 
If you don’t want to learn anything new about the Bible, there are plenty of more traditional commentaries on the web. Please use them.

And now...
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 8, 2017

DIY -- emulsifiers

An interesting report last year showed that just as purchases of sodas dropped, the Type II diabetes epidemic came to a stand-still and so did the obesity epidemic.  Now we can turn things around and bring those numbers crashing down.

It's not conclusive, but you can save a lot of money by drinking water instead of sodas, save wear-and-tear on your teeth from the acids in sodas, avoid DNA-altering BPA that's in the lining of the cans, and probably also lose weight and fat.

Here's the next target.  Food preservatives.  Specifically, emulsifiers.

Where do  you find  them?

Chocolates.  This includes everything from expensive Godiva down to Reese Cups and Hershey's bars.  It's not the sugar or fat; the experiments delivered the emulsifiers in the  water supply, not the food supply.

If you need your chocolate, make brownies, chocolate cake, DIY chocolate buttercream frosting (not the canned crap, that's mostly chemicals) and make truffles according to the on-line recipes.  They won't have preservatives in them; freezing them works pretty well.

Polysorbate-80.  Check the ingredients listed on your ice cream and your Jello pudding.  Both these product types also contain fat and sugar, which you should be cutting down on anyway.

Iced tea is just as cooling as ice cream -- I've been testing this for two summers now using Constant Comment, and in 2016 I made sun tea almost every time.  So is lemonade.  Try making ice cubes from fruit JUICE, the ones with no sugar on the label.  But if you have to have your ice cream, invest in an ice cream maker and you won't get the chemicals.

Ditch the Redi-Whip and Cool Whip.  These are mostly chemicals anyway; what isn't chemicals is fat and sugar.  And yes, they both contain polysorbate. 

DIY with some heavy cream if you have to have a whipped topping -- but mostly you put it on sweets, don't you?  And you're cutting back on sugar for your health, right? 

So when you are indulging -- hey, you MUST indulge once in a while -- make it from scratch, not from a box or a can, and avoid the emulsifiers.  WE CAN DO THIS.

Chassaing, B. et al. Nature http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14232 (2015).

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved