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Computer Network Piecing Together a Jigsaw of Ancient Jewish Lore

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the putting-it-together dept.

Technology 127

First time accepted submitter aravenwood writes "The New York Times and the Times of Israel report today that artificial intelligence and a network of 100 computers in a basement in Tel Aviv University are being used to match 320,000 fragments of documents dating as far back as the 9th century in an attempt to reassemble the original documents. Since the trove of documents from the Jewish community of Cairo was discovered in 1896 only about 4000 of them have been pieced together, and the hope is that the new technique, which involves taking photographs of the fragments and using image recognition and other algorithms to match the language, spacing, and handwriting style of the text along with the shape of the fragment to other fragments could revolutionize not only the study of this trove documents, which has been split up into 67 different collections around the world since its discovery, but also how humanities disciplines study documents like these. They expect to make 12 billion comparisons of different fragments before the project is completed — they have already performed 2.8 billion. Among the documents, some dating from 950, was the discovery of letters by Moses Maimonides and that Cairene Jews were involved in the import of flax, linen, and sheep cheese from Sicily."

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Dates? (0)

stobesel (641386) | about a year ago | (#43835479)

According to Wikipedia, Maimonides lived Passover Eve, 1135 to December 12, 1204; how was he able to write a document in 950?

Re: Dates? (1)

aravenwood (2464270) | about a year ago | (#43835525)

I didn't mean to im

Re: Dates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835765)

I'd like to poke your bare Bayer aspirin hole. You in?

Re:Dates? (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43835545)

According to Wikipedia, Maimonides lived Passover Eve, 1135 to December 12, 1204; how was he able to write a document in 950?

The summary states "Among the documents, some dating from 950 ...". It is pretty clear that the "950" refers to the earliest known date of any of the documents, not the date of all of them.

Religion = Dumb shit for feces brains (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836453)

All Religions are dumb shit for dumb shit feces brains.

Re:Religion = Dumb shit for feces brains (0)

JakeBurn (2731457) | about a year ago | (#43836707)

I feel the same way about people who actually use the Post Anonymously check box instead of standing behind what they believe.

Re:Religion = Dumb shit for feces brains (3)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837127)

yea but fortunately there are only a few thousand of those, vs hundreds of millions of the other

Re:Religion = Dumb shit for feces brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839629)

I feel the same way about people who actually use the Post Anonymously check box instead of standing behind what they believe.

1. He's a Troll
2. My arguments can stand or fall on their own merits, they don't require anyone to stand behind them.
3. The only reason you want his identity is so you can launch personal attacks. Since you don't have it, you chose to attack that instead. Which makes you no different than him.

Re:Religion = Dumb shit for feces brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839977)

Actually, I prefer trolls that stand behind their filth (like Chrisq & his rampant racism) so that I can flag them a foe & not have to read what they have to say. Unfortunately many ACs post insightful comments & merely post AC to avoid the personal attacks you mentioned (so I don't just -1 the lot of them).

Re:Dates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835557)

Reading comprehension FAIL

FTA " Among the documents, some dating from 950, was the discovery of letters by Moses Maimonides... " does not mean the the documents found which were letters written by Moses Maimonides in the year 950. What it means is there were many letters. Some written by Moses Maimonides. Some written in the year 950.

Re:Dates? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835565)

I think it's just a matter of trying to cram two ideas into one sentence:
1. Some documents were from as far back as 950
2. There were letters from Moses Maimonides found in the entire set of documents

Re: Dates? (2)

aravenwood (2464270) | about a year ago | (#43835573)

Sorry, didn't mean to imply that the earliest documents were related to Maimonides, just that there were very early manuscripts and also his documents were also discovered there. When I was at the British Museum they had a letter of Maimonides prominently displayed. I wonder if it was acquired from the Cairo Genizah trove.

Re:Dates? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43836093)

Using Slashdot?

I'm sure some AC complained about it being out of date then as well.

Re:Dates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839613)

According to Wikipedia,

Well that's your problem right there.

discovery of God's true name.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835483)

...destroy the universe. /just sayin'

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835651)

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43839483)

Technically, they are going out, all the time. :-) And yes, people usually don't make fuss about it.

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835665)

...destroy the universe. /just sayin'

Don't be such a douchebagel. /just sayin'

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43835717)

Meh, they once had it, and the universe still existed. Rediscovery of it is unlikely to result in its destruction.

YHWH: the name above all [other] names (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43835849)

Case in point: The name that God used for himself when dealing with humanity in the 2500s-500s BCE was "Yahweh", meaning roughly "he who causes being". It appears nearly 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and not one of those uses caused the universe's destruction. (In English, God's name is often rendered "Jehovah", just as the name of his only son "Yeshua" became "Jesus" after passing through Greek, Latin, and French.)

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (4, Interesting)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43836001)

Thanks for the information. My understanding is that devout Jews will not say the name YHWH as they see it as being sacred and it is profane to use it. Hence they use terms like "Ha Shem" == The Name, Adonai == Lord, Melek Ha Olam == King of the World etc. Sorry, my Hebrew is very poor. The take-away is that the ancient Hebrews would use substitutes instead of invoking the personal name of God. In contrast, Islam uses the word "Allah", which comes from "il illah", "The (One) God", which is a title and not a personal name.

Also note that despite the claims of the Muslims that Allah is the God of Abraham, this claim must be false when scriptures are compared. See the following for such a comparison, which concludes based on Islamic sources that Allah and YHWH cannot be be same (in fact, Allah has the *opposite* attributes of YHWH, read into that what you will): http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/god.htm [answering-islam.org]
Similarly, when scripture is compared the Islamic "Mehdi" pretty much has the characteristics given of a Christian Anti-Christ (there is more than one, this one just happens to be the one most detailed in Revelations). I'm an atheist so "have no skin in the game", I'm just giving a comparison of mythologies since that comparison is not known even to most religious and educated people.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836123)

And the followers of both of those faiths are going to be pissed when His name turns out to be Andy.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836741)

God is a crazy woman and Her name is Eris.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

Ghaoth (1196241) | about a year ago | (#43836773)

You obviously haven't seen Prometheus.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43836895)

Andy <- Andrew <- Andros = "man". Yes, I can see how that would be problematic.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43839497)

"What Andy giveth, Bill taketh away..."

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#43836177)

Just a few points:

Also note that despite the claims of the Muslims that Allah is the God of Abraham, this claim must be false when scriptures are compared.

Except that they both use the same original scriptures. Islam just adds on the words of their prophet similar to what Christianity does.

Similarly, when scripture is compared the Islamic "Mehdi" pretty much has the characteristics given of a Christian Anti-Christ (there is more than one, this one just happens to be the one most detailed in Revelations).

Except that the concept of "anti-Christ" does not exist in the original scriptures. Only in the addendum of the Christians.

I'm an atheist so "have no skin in the game", I'm just giving a comparison of mythologies since that comparison is not known even to most religious and educated people.

The problem is that none of the mythologies make any sense unless you are already a believer. So comparing three mythologies that do not make sense to each other will not result in any insights except that they are different.

From your link:

Are we to assume that just because the Quran states that Allah is Yahweh of the Bible that both Jews and Christians are obligated to believe this to be true?

Are you obligated to consider MY fan-fiction to be canonical? Am I obligated to consider YOUR fan-fiction to be canonical? Particularly when the ORIGINAL material was a "shared-world" effort with lots of individual contributors who dealt with a lot of allegories and parables and such.

Yet, the Quran teaches that Allah is the author of evil:

When you have a monotheistic religion where EVERYTHING was created by a single omnipotent, omniscient god then arguing about whether that god created "evil" or "sin" is kind of silly.

Whomever wrote the link that you linked to has a religious point-of-view.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (-1, Offtopic)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43836633)

Except that they both use the same original scriptures.

Again, this is another claim of Islam that simply is not true. There are *numerous* differences between Islam and the Torah & Christianity. The evil warlord Mohammed used Arian Christian heretics to base some of the superstiton in the Qur'an on - but these guys plagiarized several *major* things incorrectly. Here, please allow me to enlighten you with numerous additional sources that show that the Qur'an is not the direct and eternal word of God (another bold yet provably false claim, even when you don't consider the Sa'ana Qur'an), because it is plagarised from material written 500 - 1000 years earlier, gets it wrong, and then throws in a bunch of anti-scientific stuff to boot (that is, modern science *proves* statements in the Qur'an to be *false* - its claim to be *perfect* is simply rubbish):
http://www.1000mistakes.com/1000mistakes/index.php?Page=007_003_001_001 [1000mistakes.com]
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/ [skepticsan...dbible.com]
http://www.wikiislam.net/wiki/Main_Page [wikiislam.net]

Now, you can choose to believe in an anti-scientific falsehood if you like. I'd rather not. It is clear that Islam makes many claims. Upon close examination those claims are *simply not true*. You can deny the sources I've given, but that is simply denial of reality because you would rather cling to the lie of the mythology you were born into. Making that choice is perfectly valid, (although stupid in the 21st Century, IMHO) - you just have to understand that you are choosing to deny all the evidence that shows the various claims of your superstition as false. Fortunately, as the wikiislam site shows, many people are realising the falsehood of religions and choosing to live a Free People (not slaves under Islam) and having to be virtuous because they want to be - not because they fear the nightmares of Bronze Age desert barbarians.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (4, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year ago | (#43837067)

There are *numerous* differences between Islam and the Torah & Christianity. The evil warlord Mohammed used Arian Christian heretics to base some of the superstiton in the Qur'an on

WOAH -- with that sort of rhetoric, it's pretty reasonable to assume you're a Christian or Jewish troll debunking Islam while pretending to be an atheist. (Or, if you're really not either, you need to reconsider the implicit respect you seem to give to the Torah & Christianity while throwing out such vitriol against other things.)

Here, please allow me to enlighten you with numerous additional sources that show that the Qur'an is not the direct and eternal word of God

And I can provide you with numerous apparent contradictions from the Torah and New Testament that seem just as bad. (Scholars of Christianity and Judaism of course don't think they're bad, just like Muslims don't notice their own apparent contradictions.)

(another bold yet provably false claim, even when you don't consider the Sa'ana Qur'an), because it is plagarised from material written 500 - 1000 years earlier, gets it wrong,

Lots of the New Testament gospels are reinterpretations of Hebrew scripture written hundreds of years before. Many Jewish scholars would say that the New Testament glosses on the Torah get a lot of things wrong.

and then throws in a bunch of anti-scientific stuff to boot (that is, modern science *proves* statements in the Qur'an to be *false* - its claim to be *perfect* is simply rubbish):

Because there isn't ANYTHING in the Torah or New Testament which seems to go against science... [/sarcasm]... Creation myths, worldwide floods, creating food from nothing, floating axheads, sun standing still, and... of course... multiple stories of resurrection from the dead are just a few things that come to mind.

Now, you can choose to believe in an anti-scientific falsehood if you like. I'd rather not. It is clear that Islam makes many claims. Upon close examination those claims are *simply not true*.

Again, I'm not getting what's different hear from those who would criticize Christianity or Judaism. (No offense to any believers at all intended, but these are criticisms that could be leveled at any of these religions by those outside of them.)

You can deny the sources I've given, but that is simply denial of reality because you would rather cling to the lie of the mythology you were born into.

Huh? By the way, some of your sources are pretty darn generic links to vast resources...

Making that choice is perfectly valid, (although stupid in the 21st Century, IMHO) - you just have to understand that you are choosing to deny all the evidence that shows the various claims of your superstition as false.

I don't see that in the GP's comment at all. He was pointing out that ALL of the religions you mention appear to have these flaws. ALL of them have apparent self-contradictions and superstitious elements. To claim this is only true of Islam and not Christianity or Judaism is just deluding yourself.

Fortunately, as the wikiislam site shows, many people are realising the falsehood of religions and choosing to live a Free People (not slaves under Islam) and having to be virtuous because they want to be - not because they fear the nightmares of Bronze Age desert barbarians.

I don't get it. Why, if you're such a "free thinker," do you believe that Islamic texts are somehow "worse" than Christian or Judaic texts? If you doubt all religions, surely you must recognize that the same criticisms are true of all these.

Your specific targeting of Islam suggests a larger agenda, and from your earlier link to a site that critiques Islam from a Christian perspective suggests that something else is going on in your posts here.

If you really, truly believe in the debunking of Islam on the accounts you linked to, there's no way you can claim with some sort of objectivity that "the God of Islam is not the same as the God of Christianity or Judaism or whatever," because the same flaws you've identified in Islamic scripture are also present in the scriptures of these other religions as well. It's only if you're a Christian trying to condemn Islam or a Jew trying to condemn Islam that you could have faith in your own flawed scriptures while picking apart someone else's for the same flaws.

The God figure portrayed in the Torah also deceives people at times, is inconsistent, etc., just as you claimed of the God in Islam, and the introduction of Jesus in the New Testament also brings in a boatload of inconsistencies about who/what that God is or how that God behaves.

(By the way, I mean no offense to believers of any religion here -- theologians of all of these religions have found ways to reconcile all of these problems in their respective religions. I'm just saying that -- at face value to non-believers of these religions -- all appear to have similar kinds of problems.)

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year ago | (#43837229)

("here", not "hear"). oops.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43837913)

I don't get it. Why, if you're such a "free thinker," do you believe that Islamic texts are somehow "worse" than Christian or Judaic texts? If you doubt all religions, surely you must recognize that the same criticisms are true of all these.

I know you don't get it. That's why you struggle to understand how Islam is different to the others. You see, the other mythologies *were* just as bad, but have reformed. They are no less bullshit today, but they agree with separation of Church and State. No-one in the mainstream of these religions contests this. Furthermore, both of these assert no authority over non-believers.

Islam is very very much different because while it is also superstitious nonsense it claims to be the divine and unalterable word of Allah (who, as the sites I point out, *cannot* be the same as the God of Abraham, no matter what the Muslims claim). That means that there is no moderate Islam and there never will be. Everyone who talks about "moderate Islam" is simply revealing they don't know even the basics about Islamic doctrine. The other aspect of Islam, and this is what makes it worse than the others, is that it is a totalitarian *political* system. There is no separation of mosque from state and there cannot ever be (temporarily, yes; permanently, no). Because Islam is a political system it asserts that it has the right to impose its system over non-Muslims as well as Muslims. I bet you didn't understand this aspect of Islam. Why? because the mainstream media is either clueless to this fact, or they don't report on it. Go ahead for yourself and look at Sura 9:5 and 9:29. These Sura "abrogate" (that is, replace) all the peaceful verses in the Koran. This abrogation is why Islam claims to be a "progressively revealed" religion. As time goes on in the West (and even still in Islamic countries) we are seeing more and more of the Islamic system (under Sharia) revealed as time goes on. This is called the "Milestones process" (something from core Islamic doctrine - and very very well explained by Major Stephen Coughlin on YouTube - whose job it was to understand Islam).

Look, you would like to believe that Islam is being mistaken and really is a "religion of peace" as the taqiyya-practicing apologists claim. I would like Islam to be a religion of peace too. The fact is, it simply isn't. It is a totalitarian theocratic political system that disguises itself on purpose - but intends the subjugation of the whole World under the Islamic political system and Sharia (their barbaric law). It is the goal of every Muslim to bring this about, sooner or later.

yes, I know this is hard for you to swallow, because it is incomprehensible that Islam is that bad. But it really is. The reason I hate the political ideology is not because I don't understand it - it is because I understand it very very well. Note also that when the media use the word "extremists" they are lying to you (because Muslim advisors lie to the media). The jihadis are practicing "mainstream" Islam - there is nothing extreme about their interpretation of Islam at all. After 9/11 the US Pentagon realised it knew virtually nothing about Islam, so they set to work to study it so as to find out why Al Qaeda has twisted the religion for evil. You know what they found? That Al Qaeda had mis-interpreted nothing, they were truer to the doctrine of Islam than most Muslims. As the Turkish Prime Minister famously said a few years back (I'm paraphrasing), "There are moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam".

So, we can agree that the Torah and Bible contain much badness. Fortunately its practitioners follow them as personal faiths and stay their commandments are not used to set policy. You are also free to point out the shortcomings in these faiths. I hope I have now explained to you how Islam is *very* different. Its *explicitly* stated aim is first to take over states and then the whole world - and subjugate Muslims and non-Muslims alike to its political system. Can you see the difference now? Can you see why even atheists despise Islam even more than the other superstitions? I suggest you read the sites I gave every day for a week - this will allow you to slip outside the 'narrative' of the Matrix that the media and politicans (affected by Cultural Marxism - although they cant see it) and the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (who control the UN and its agencies - eg,. the refugee agency, which is why persecuted minorities don't come as refugees anymore, only latent jihadis from Somali etc) are fooling many Free People with.

The aim of the Islamists is to restore the Caliphate - they say it repeatedly. This will not be good for Free Thinkers at all. That is why I am trying to enlighten those people who still believe Enlightenment values are worth defending against an enemy who has been wanting to destroy all other political systems for 1400 years.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839697)

Fourteen Centuries vs. Fourteenth Amendment: Is the Constitution a Suicide Pact? (read: "The bigots were right all along!")

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

JakeBurn (2731457) | about a year ago | (#43836761)

"Except that they both use the same original scriptures. Islam just adds on the words of their prophet similar to what Christianity does."
Incorrect. Muslims believe that many people from the Old Testament actually existed, but they definitely do not use the same scriptures. The Koran was the real word according to them and anything else was tainted and not wholly true including the Torah as they say it was wrongfully changed by man and is no longer fully trustworthy.

"The problem is that none of the mythologies make any sense unless you are already a believer." Kindly wish to back that up? Simply repeating ignorant arguments that you've heard like a parrot is meaningless. Including your next bit of ignorance:
"When you have a monotheistic religion where EVERYTHING was created by a single omnipotent, omniscient god then arguing about whether that god created "evil" or "sin" is kind of silly."
Where does the Bible say that God created EVERYTHING including the acts of men who were given free will to make their own choices? I'm not here to argue for or against anything but allowing stupid people to get away with saying stupid things.

Of course you feel it doesn't make any sense. Regardless of its own merits you seem to lack the intelligence to even know what it says, much less make a judgment on its contents.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (3, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year ago | (#43837205)

"The problem is that none of the mythologies make any sense unless you are already a believer." Kindly wish to back that up? Simply repeating ignorant arguments that you've heard like a parrot is meaningless.

Let's stick to the scriptures of these religions, for the sake of argument (since that's essentially how this thread got started, with someone posting a critique of Islamic scripture).

It's pretty clear that theologians in each of these religions have debated the internal consistency of their scriptures [wikipedia.org] for thousands of years. They've come up with various solutions, but the fact is that the most learned scholars of Christianity and Judaism clearly recognize that their own scriptures have apparent flaws when read at face value... and they've spent considerable time and effort to reconcile them.

So, aside from GP's use of the term "mythologies" (which can be offensive to believers), I don't get how he's wrong. Scholars of these religions themselves recognize that their own scriptures don't quite make sense until you figure out how to make them make sense... which usually means you're already a believer in that religion to go to that trouble.

Including your next bit of ignorance: "When you have a monotheistic religion where EVERYTHING was created by a single omnipotent, omniscient god then arguing about whether that god created "evil" or "sin" is kind of silly." Where does the Bible say that God created EVERYTHING including the acts of men who were given free will to make their own choices? I'm not here to argue for or against anything but allowing stupid people to get away with saying stupid things.

Umm, again, there are literally thousands of years of Jewish and Christian theologians who have debated the Problem of Evil [wikipedia.org] .

If it was readily apparent that "evil" came from ?? (some other source outside of Creation, which is supposed to be all there is), while God made everything else, I doubt that the most learned folks in Christianity and Judaism would spend millennia trying to figure this problem out.

Of course you feel it doesn't make any sense. Regardless of its own merits you seem to lack the intelligence to even know what it says, much less make a judgment on its contents.

Given that the GP seems aware of conflicts in Christianity and Judaism that go back thousands of years, while you seem to be incredibly ignorant of the philosophical history of the religions you're trying to defend, I don't think you should be pontificating about the "lack of intelligence" in others.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

JakeBurn (2731457) | about a year ago | (#43838475)

Thank you for spending all that time getting around the fact that scripture is what matters to people that believe and you couldn't come up with a single verse to back up God making Evil or the Bible saying God is responsible for everything. Good job.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (3, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year ago | (#43839199)

Thank you for spending all that time getting around the fact that scripture is what matters to people that believe

Given your use of terms, I'm going to assume you're arguing from a Christian (and not Judaic) position.

The sola scriptura [wikipedia.org] doctrine was not particularly strong until the Reformation, when Martin Luther championed it. For most of the history of the church, and still in the Catholic, Orthodox, and many Protestant Churches (Episicopal, Methodist, etc.), church tradition has also been an essential source for understanding Christianity. There has been a very strong tradition of the smartest Christian theologians debating the "Problem of Evil" for all of church history. (For the record, the rabbinical tradition in Judaism has done similar things.)

Whether YOU think it's a problem or not is irrelevant. Perhaps in whatever branch of Christianity you believe in, it isn't perceived to be a problem. Fine. But for the vast majority of Christian theologians throughout history, it was something that merited significant discussion.

and you couldn't come up with a single verse to back up God making Evil or the Bible saying God is responsible for everything. Good job.

It's not my job to educate you on the basics of your religion. Nor is it my job to READ for you -- did you even look at the links I gave in my post?

If you skimmed the "Problem of Evil" article, you'd discover that there are in fact parts of the Bible that many people have interpreted to imply that God is the ultimate source of Evil.

The most obvious example (discussed in the link) is the entire book of Job [wikipedia.org] , where God is the one responsible for inflicting all manner of bad acts upon Job's family. When Job -- who according to scripture itself, did nothing wrong to deserve this -- dares to question God's plan, God just yells at him from a whirlwind for a while, saying essentially, "Were you there when I laid the foundations of the world??" Implication: You have no concept of how great my power is or why I need to wield it in certain ways. And if I decide to inflict evil into the world, or even on you and your family, that's my business... you can't hope to understand why.

Again, just going on sources mentioned in my link, another common passage discussed is Isaiah 45:7: "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things." And there are plenty more verses that other theologians have discussed in this context.

And please note that I'm not the one interpreting these passages to imply that God created evil -- it's many Christian theologians who debate these points. I wouldn't presume to interpret the Bible for you, but you have to acknowledge that a lot of smart Christians -- who probably know a lot more about the Bible than you do -- have seen problems here.

By the way, you're the one skirting the logical problem here, which is perhaps what troubled Christian philosophers the most. Regardless of what scripture says, if a Christian believes in an all-powerful and all-knowing God, that God should have the power to create good things. For some reason, he chose to create humans that could also do evil. From scripture, it seems implied that he created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the book of Genesis, so it appears he even made it possible for humans to acquire the knowledge to do evil. (Of course, in the story, Satan is involved in this acquisition, but most Christian theologians acknowledge that Satan too much have been created by the all-powerful God, so that tempting toward evil must also have ultimately been part of God's creation.) Why would an all-powerful, all-knowing, and presumably all-good God choose to create beings that MIGHT do evil?

"The Problem of Evil" is a major theological conundrum that philosophers have debated for centuries. The fact that you think you solved it in a couple sentences speaks of great ignorance and great arrogance.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#43838565)

"The problem is that none of the mythologies make any sense unless you are already a believer." Kindly wish to back that up? Simply repeating ignorant arguments that you've heard like a parrot is meaningless. Including your next bit of ignorance:

It's a statement of fact and demonstrable. Virtually every religious text makes assertions of the supernatural, of things which are not supported by the available evidence, things which are almost by definition contradictory to other religious texts. Often these texts aren't even consistent with themselves and replete with contradictions and absurditites. Websites like the Skeptics Annotated Bible [skepticsan...dbible.com] (which has a section on the Quran) list thousands of them should you be in any doubt.

Simply put the Quran, Torah and Christian Bible have as much reason to believe they are the word of god as every other. Which is to say precisely zero. They all require people to buy into the story, in its truth and invest themselves in that story despite the absence of evidence. To have faith in other words. I wonder if there will be people fighting and killing each other in 2000 years over whether Harry Potter, Yoda or Gandalf is the one true lord.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43836861)

Re: The problem is that none of the mythologies make any sense unless you are already a believer. So comparing three mythologies that do not make sense to each other will not result in any insights except that they are different.

So true! In fact, comparing fictional religious world-views is as fruitful as trying to compare them based on their relative phase shift of holy or sacred days:

Islam holds Friday to be the holy day / lord's day

Judaism holds Saturday to be the holy/lord's day

Christianity holds Sunday to be the holy/lord's day

(or so I have been told, I grew up in the middle of those three)
So is the phase shift due to the age of origin of the religions? 'cause Judaism predates the other two and holds the middle religious day.

But then again, considering the various calamitous and cliff-like calendar changes from Julian (hail, Caesar!) to Gregorian (hail, popey monkey suits!) and the various calendrical manipulations involved in orthodoxy and non-orthodoxy, it's all baloney / bologna / non-kosher-meat to me!

And have you noticed how this part of the earth likes to use Norse gods (Tieu, Odin, Thor, Frig/Freya, Saturn) and sky-orbs (Sun's day and Moon's day) for the days of the week?

Christian's worship the sun (son?)? Jews are Saturnalians? Muslims and Freya? WTF? Of course, it all makes no sense at all, which makes sense when you consider that it is nonsense at its base.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43836253)

Christians claim Jesus is also the God of Abraham, and that's obviously not true from scriptures, too.

Jes' sayin'.

Nontrinitarianism is another possibility (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43836403)

Not all Christians interpret the Bible to teach a "trinity". Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, interpret John 1 to mean that in the beginning, God (i.e. YHWH) created the Word (i.e. Michael), created all other things through the Word, and later the Word became flesh (i.e. Jesus). Thus Jesus and YHWH "are one" (John 10:30) in the same sense that Jesus and the congregation are one (John 17:21-23).

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836757)

First, Allah, despite whatever it's etymological origins might be (and they most likely are a contraction of al-ilah) is very much a personal name.

As for your second point it is ignorance and bigotry plain and simple. How can Allah and YHWH have "opposite attributes"? Especially since both are described as creating the heavens and the earth and everything in them, being good, merciful, and yes vengeful and angry too. The level of ignorance of both religious traditions at that site is just so far gone.

Saying the names of god, all 9 \times 10^9 of them (4, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43836883)

Say, have you ever read The Nine Billion Names of God [wikipedia.org] ? It's a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, and just like in "2001", he somehow manages to get IBM involved in the storyline!!!

Perhaps it's a fear of the end of the world that leads to such superstitions such as not saying god's name, or in Harry potter stories the continual references to "He who shall not be named" for [spoiler alert!!!] Voldemort (vol-de-mort? flight of death? orgasm? wtf???]

The summary from wikipedia:

This short story tells of a Tibetan lamasery whose monks seek to list all of the Names of God, since they believe the Universe was created in order to note all the names of God and once this naming is completed, God will bring the Universe to an end. Three centuries ago, the monks created an alphabet in which they calculated they could encode all the possible names of God, numbering about 9,000,000,000 ("nine billion") and each having no more than nine characters. Writing the names out by hand, as they had been doing, even after eliminating various nonsense combinations, would take another 15,000 years; the monks wish to use modern technology in order to finish this task more quickly.

.

They rent a computer capable of printing all the possible permutations, and they hire two Westerners to install and program the machine. The computer operators are skeptical but play along. After three months, as the job nears completion, they fear that the monks will blame the computer, and by extension its operators, when nothing happens. The Westerners delay the operation of the computer so that it will complete its final print run just after their scheduled departure. After their successful departure on ponies, they pause on the mountain path on their way back to the airfield, where a plane is waiting to take them back to civilization. Under a clear night sky they estimate that it must be just about the time that the monks are pasting the final printed names into their holy books. Then they notice that ''overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.''

Re:Saying the names of god, all 9 \times 10^9 of t (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43837823)

Thanks for the story. I'm sure Arthur C Clarke got the idea of the (alleged) power of God's name from Judaism. Anyone who knows anything about Judaism knows this (although that is becoming increasingly rarer in the West as it progressively comes more 'Judenrein' [Jew free] as the Jews flee persecution today [eg. Arab countries are becoming more and more jew and Christian free as time goes on; all the Jews have left Norway due to Muslim immigrant persecution and the fact the native Norwegians are too politically correct/weak to stand up and stop it], etc.).

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837329)

" Allah and YHWH cannot be be same" Uhh, no. The mediteranean religions all pray to the same god and it all can be traced back to ancient Egypt. For that matter, looking at migration patterns (due to geography) everybody in the modern developed world are Egyptian. If you consider that their god is infinitely important, then everything else pales into insignificance and Jews, Muslims and Christians are the same region.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837743)

Also note that despite the claims of the Muslims that Allah is the God of Abraham, this claim must be false when scriptures are compared. See the following for such a comparison, which concludes based on Islamic sources that Allah and YHWH cannot be be same (in fact, Allah has the *opposite* attributes of YHWH, read into that what you will).

But Yahweh was not the God of Abraham, El [wikipedia.org] was! (Allah being derived from the same root).

This is fairly obvious from even a cursory theophoric analysis of the scriptures. Moreover you do not need to leave the Hebrew texts, nor even the book of Genesis, to note that the two gods of the OT, Yahweh and El (aka Elohim, El-shaday, El-roi etc) have (sometimes) opposite attributes.

Islam uses the word "Allah", which comes from "il illah", "The (One) God", which is a title and not a personal name.

You forget that in Arabic as in Hebrew the word for god is the name of the god El. It is a title AND a personal name.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837961)

From one of your other posts, a lot of which seem to be about Judaism:
"yes, I can provide citations, or you could just head over to Breitbart to get the facts yourself"
So it really doesn't matter what you have to say, you're what's known as a 'Fucking Idiot".

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

Loki_666 (824073) | about a year ago | (#43838129)

Also note that despite the claims of the Muslims that Allah is the God of Abraham, this claim must be false when scriptures are compared. See the following for such a comparison, which concludes based on Islamic sources that Allah and YHWH cannot be be same (in fact, Allah has the *opposite* attributes of YHWH, read into that what you will): http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/god.htm [answering-islam.org] [answering-islam.org]

Well, you can analyze it in any way you want, but since Islamic scriptures came much later, and built in the early Hebrew texts (especially the first 5 books of the OT), its pretty clear they started out as being the same deity. They just diverged.

You can say the same about Judaism and Christianity. Judaism doesn't accept the NT, so their god remains the old style god of rages and genocide whereas the Christians have their lovey dovey god who loves us all and forgives us (but still better pray otherwise your ass will fry in hell).

Its not so different to comparing Osiris with Jupiter with Zeus.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43838707)

Well, you can analyze it in any way you want, but since Islamic scriptures came much later, and built in the early Hebrew texts (especially the first 5 books of the OT), its pretty clear they started out as being the same deity. They just diverged.

Actually, you are merely repeating the false claim. Allah comes from Il illah, a moon god of the pagan Quresh who inhabited Mecca (this pagan origin is why the moon is the symbol of Islam; similarly Christ has a life story very similar to the Egyptian Horus - they are all bunk). Il Illah had three daughters. Mohammed made Il Illah his chief god and then *later* shoehorned that into the claim that this was the same as the God of Abraham. I've already given a site that compares the scriptures of Islam vs Judaism+Christianity. Just because it is *claimed* they are the same, does not name them the same - particularly when Allah is mentioned numerous times as "The Greatest of Deceivers" whereas YHWH cannot lie. They are fundamentally incompatible - in the sense that they are opposites (hence, Allah can be considered as a candidate for the Christian Satan, despite protestations otherwise).

So you can repeat your claim again that YHWH and Allah are the same, but it simply is not true. They have totally different origins and the claim of equivalence was added later by Mohammed (and rejected by the Jews, who also rejected Mohammed as a false prophet; which is why Muslims hate Jews to this day).

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#43838357)

In contrast, Islam uses the word "Allah", which comes from "il illah", "The (One) God", which is a title and not a personal name. Also note that despite the claims of the Muslims that Allah is the God of Abraham, this claim must be false when scriptures are compared.

Christian Arabs used the name Allah to designate the christian God long before Islam even existed.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about a year ago | (#43838713)

As I said, Il Illah is a title. In the time of Mohammed Il Illah was still a pagan moon god (hence the moon as the symbol of Islam). Mohammed claimed that the moon god Il Illah was the same as the god of abraham - but I've already pointed to a scriptural analysis that shows this is not possible (La Yumkin!). As Eastern Christians were subjugated under Islamic imperial rule as dhimmis they were forced (on pain of death) to translate God/Deus/Theos as Allah. However, the attributes of Allah as listed in Islamic texts were always counter to these enumerated in the Torah and Christian scripts. Allah cannot be YHWH !

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43838997)

Funny, when I google "Il Illah moon god" I get a wikipedia page which says that notion is being mainly promoted by a Christian evangelical, Robert Morey...he has a book "The moon-god Allah in the archeology of the Middle East".

So I think we can safely can your moon god theory as a Christian wet dream.

Just for the record, Islam is evil, but not because it has the wrong god or whatever. It is evil because of what it does to women, minorities, free thinkers, gays, etc.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

Alimony Pakhdan (1855364) | about a year ago | (#43836181)

Its very obvious you are repeating a Christian understanding of Hebrew and thus disinformation.

Re:YHWH: the name above all [other] names (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43836187)

meaning roughly "he who causes being"

Hey, then the Higgs Boson really IS the God Particle . . . if you take "he who causes being" to mean, "he who causes mass".

. . . I wonder if those texts have any ancient doodles or jokes on the side margins . . . ?

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | about a year ago | (#43835879)

All you morons who are modding this troll, please turn in your geek cards. Then go read "The Nine Billion Names of God"

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#43836681)

I came here to post that exact thing. Sad indeed.

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (2)

germansausage (682057) | about a year ago | (#43836537)

The mods missed the obvious Arthur C Clarke reference. Pretty sad for a Nerd News site.

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837133)

you must be new here

Re:discovery of God's true name.... (4, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837129)

its howard you dipshit, says so in the loards prayer

Computers sleuth out history... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835501)

Finally a good use for tech!

Re:Computers sleuth out history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835625)

Yep, was about time there was a good use for tech, it has been years since the last time there was any tech with a good use.

Re:Computers sleuth out history... (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#43836165)

Maybe these guys could help.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA_Shredder_Challenge_2011

I know what they say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835571)

"That pork thing is just to make sure you don't get sick, cook it really well and you'll be fine. Bacon is actually delicious. Also, the little hats... those are to keep you baldies from getting a sunburn. That's it. Don't go overboard with this stuff, guys. Lates, G-D."

Re:I know what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835807)

"That pork thing is just to make sure you don't get sick, cook it really well and you'll be fine. Bacon is actually delicious. Also, the little hats... those are to keep you baldies from getting a sunburn. That's it. Don't go overboard with this stuff, guys. Lates, G-D."

I always suspected the hats were to cover bald spots, is there a formal reason for them other than tradition?

Re:I know what they say (1)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about a year ago | (#43835825)

"That pork thing is just to make sure you don't get sick, cook it really well and you'll be fine. Bacon is actually delicious. Also, the little hats... those are to keep you baldies from getting a sunburn. That's it. Don't go overboard with this stuff, guys. Lates, G-D."

I always suspected the hats were to cover bald spots, is there a formal reason for them other than tradition?

Basically humility before G-d. Though I guess bald spots are kind of humiliating in and of themselves.

Re:I know what they say (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a year ago | (#43836343)

I always suspected the hats were to cover bald spots, is there a formal reason for them other than tradition?

There's nothing in the Torah about head coverings, so it is a tradition and not really biblical Jewish law. One source is that Christians had the practice of always removing their hats when they went inside. Just to be different, the Jewish tradition of always keeping your head covered was started.

Re:I know what they say (1)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | about a year ago | (#43838173)

Yarmulke are worn as a sign of subservience to God. Back in the day, when the tradition was adopted, servants wore head-coverings. Jews adopted the head coverings as a sign of service to God. I imagine the Catholic Pope's & Co. wear them for a similar reason. Today, they have the status of "minhag", effectively meaning they're an adopted tradition that now has the status of law.

Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835673)

People made stuff up and years later, hundreds of millions of people thought it was real and decided it would be better to kill anyone that doesn't believe the same fantastic tales as themselves. Repeat for all major land masses since Mesopotamian times.

Re:Once upon a time (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43835749)

People made stuff up and years later, hundreds of millions of people thought it was real ...

Some of the documents are religious texts, but many others are bills, receipts, inventory lists, and even personal letters. These mundane documents often shed a lot of illumination on how ordinary people lived their lives. Archeologists often learn far more from looking at a civilization's garbage dumps, than from their treasures.

Re:Once upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836133)

Are any shopping lists? Can of kraut? Tuna? Bring home for Emma?

Re:Once upon a time (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#43836155)

Are any shopping lists? Can of kraut? Tuna? Bring home for Emma?

I'm pretty sure there's supposed to be a bagel somewhere in there.

Re:Once upon a time (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#43838405)

It's cold up here send more socks :D

Re:Once upon a time (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#43836817)

This is one of those times where I'm glad I RTFA. I assumed it was a bunch of useless Torah fragments, but it actually looks like an interesting project instead. Rather like how excavating a trash midden will reveal more about life during a time period than restoration of a castle would, this promises to reveal more about trade and economics of the time than most of the (extremely biased) historical documents of the period.

How does this help? (-1, Troll)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year ago | (#43835695)

And how will this help the 10,000 children who die of starvation everyday through no fault of their own?

Re:How does this help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835755)

How does your post help them? If you care strongly enough that you fell everyone else should abandon all other pursuits, then sell your possessions, travel to the countries where those children live, and try to correct the local political and cultural problems that keep those children from food.

Re:How does this help? (5, Insightful)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | about a year ago | (#43835855)

Should all of mankind's endeavors grind to a halt until the world is in a state of perfect harmony and prosperity?

Humans, in our great numbers, are capable of multi-tasking. Is every penny not spent on helping the helpless a selfish waste?

An infinite amount of money cannot solve all of the world's problems in a day, and there are more problems everyday. More often it is not a question of money but of resources, money is only a means to trade for such finite resources. With finite resources like time, energy, innovation, and persuasion, every do-gooder has to pick their battles.

Re:How does this help? (0)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43835871)

And how will this help the 10,000 children who die of starvation everyday through no fault of their own?

Well, if it's religious texts, then it can save their souls so they go to heaven. Small comfort when your starving to death, i know, but think of the children (in heaven)!!!!!

Re:How does this help? (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837145)

it is their fault, for some, the notion that childeren can not go out and do something productive until they hit the arbitrary made up age of adulthood is compete tripe

hey billy, you live in a hut made from garbage, your hungry, what are you going to do... sit on your ass begging for handouts like your parents? fine, why should I feel sorry for you?

Cartoon Network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835721)

Hands up who misread the title as 'Cartoon Network'.

why 100 computers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835791)

Why do they need 100 computers? Why can't they just use one computer or, more in vogue, rent from amazon or some other cloud computing service?

Re:why 100 computers? (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43835861)

To answer half your question, because this works scales nicely in that the work is parallel. It can be broken down and run on multiple computers, cores, threads, VM, clould, whatever. So that explains the number. And a computer that is a 100 times faster then a normal computer tends to be over a 100 times more expensive.

As why not to the cloud? I am going to take a wild guess that it's the data – there is a lot of it so access could be a bottle neck. In this case you want your data and cpus to be physical close to each other. I am sure something could be rigged up in the cloud, but that might be more expensive, but now I entered the realm of serious speculation.

Re:why 100 computers? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43837151)

sounds overcomplicated for something that has been sitting around doing nothing for 117 years

Re:why 100 computers? (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43836063)

They should have used 40 computers. Its a biblical number, which would make the resulting prophecies more believable.

Meanwhile, work is underway to recover old Slashdot posts on a 666 node cluster.

Re:why 100 computers? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43836777)

Probably no 666. That's Christen New Testament stuff – a completely different standards fork then the stuff we are talking about here.

Garbled Database (1)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about a year ago | (#43835837)

The media are a little different than usual, but this is essentially an attempt to piece back together a 1000-year-old database/mail archive.

Re:Garbled Database (1)

danbuter (2019760) | about a year ago | (#43836129)

Yep. I think it's really cool. I suspect that other groups are also going to be using this program on other documents throughout the world.

Re:Garbled Database (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | about a year ago | (#43836433)

I've been using it to sort through your shredded mail for weeks.

Re:Garbled Database (1)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about a year ago | (#43836617)

I've been using it to sort through your shredded mail for weeks.

I guess that's my bad, for keeping it all in a giant underground warehouse before destruction.

Sheep cheese? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835973)

Is this like Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?

Seriously, editors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836041)

"around the world since it's discovery"

*its

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836059)

Wasting Money and Machines on this nonsense? Who benefits from this? Is there a lost way to make money buried in those pieces of Garbage?

Now now (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43836201)

In Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge talks about a hypothetical technology to digitize books that involves sending them through a shredder which flings the confetti up in the air where high-speed, high-res cameras digitize it and the computers de-puzzle piece it.

Life imitating art (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#43836313)

Didn't Stephen Dorff do this in Blade?

They will be disappointed (1)

codepigeon (1202896) | about a year ago | (#43836719)

I have seen it before. They will put in all their hopes and angst, only to find that the text reads: "Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine".

Boycott Israel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836813)

Surely this will be modded down by the JIDF, but stop covering Israel until they ease up on the human rights violations.

Re:Boycott Israel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837673)

Yes, it's terrible how they're randomly rocketing the civilian population- no, wait, that's the Palestinians doing that human rights violation.

Oh, I know- it's terrible how they're sneaking up to houses and shooting and stabbing women and children- oh, sorry, that's a Palestinian human rights violation again. My bad (well theirs really).

Oooh, here it is- It's terrible how the Israelis are providing free medical care for Syrian refugees! Shameful! It's outra- oh wait, that's not a violation it's actually really nice of them.

Um, can you be specific about which human rights violations you're accusing the Israelis of? And can you explain why your panties aren't in such a knot over the terrible human rights violations committed by the Palestinians?

Paper shredder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837313)

So what happened? Did someone invent a paper shredder in 1895?

Jewish supremacists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43838127)

I wonder if these 'new' documents will tell Jews that they are even more important than they already think they are- perhaps, as well as telling them that they are "God's chosen people" (how modest), they will say that the life of a 'goyim' (that's a non-Jew) isn't worth even the fingernail of a Jew, something crazy like that...

www.prothink.org

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asGvjbfIASA

Why not just sell them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839241)

Just sell them as jigsaw puzzles and offer a reward for the correct solution. Honestly, people think too much about things sometimes.

This tech would be useful ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43839989)

.. for my pron collection. Need to sort and assemble.

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