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Opinion | Why Do People Stay When a Hurricane Comes?

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During survey interviews, survivors who stayed focused on interdependence, emphasizing themes of sticking together, religious faith and communal and family ties. In fact, over two-thirds of those who stayed explicitly discussed the importance of connections to others.

“We had a good community” one Katrina survivor in the New Orleans area said. “All the people here help one another.”

Another said, “I was worried and not only for myself, but for a lot of the people.”

As critics of storm holdouts may suspect, nearly half of those who stayed also discussed the importance of being tough or strong in the face of hardship, but this was never the sole factor.

The silver lining of residents weathering a dangerous storm with one another is visible in the ways communities come together in a chaotic aftermath to share boats, food, and emergency supplies. Such acts of neighborly bravery have been caught on camera, or retold on social media, during ad hoc rescue operations for multiple hurricanes.

These benefits may especially resonate with working-class Americans, who are more likely to think of themselves as part of a broader social network, with responsibilities to vulnerable neighbors; in contrast, members of the middle- and upper-class, who tend to evacuate, are more likely to think of themselves as independent families, free to come and go as they please.

Considering the government’s slow and inept response to recent natural disasters, it is not surprising that people — especially those in working-class and minority communities — frequently do not trust the government’s disaster preparation. When the sentiment that the government doesn’t care about “people like us” is widespread, the likelihood of those people complying with mandatory evacuation orders drops.

Like Hurricane Katrina before it, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, in 2017, was a tragic reminder that our government desperately needs to improve its ability to respond effectively to the immediate and long-term needs of citizens who endure natural disasters.

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3 days ago
Texas, Earth
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Netflix can't be trusted. It has turned its back on American families.

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Shiny and powerful, Netflix is the entertainment industry’s Trojan horse — a seeming gift for families, allowing parents some control over what their kids can watch. In reality, what Netflix delivers should give parents extreme pause.

In just over 20 years, Netflix has gone from being a relatively small-scale DVD sales and rental company to an entertainment industry superpower with an estimated 125 million subscribers worldwide and the ability to attract A-list writing and acting talent while garnering top awards and industry accolades.

Unfortunately, during these years of stratospheric growth, Netflix seems to have given little thought to the family audiences that have proved to be the backbone of the company and provided the solid foundation for growth and stability that has attracted investors and enabled Netflix to make multimillion dollar development deals.

Netflix has been happy to build its business on the backs of family audiences — throwing them the occasional bone of a reboot of an older, favorite TV series like "Gilmore Girls" or "Full House" or offering a reliable, yet oddball collection of children’s programming (that runs the gamut from "The Little Prince" to "Captain Underpants") or even announcing a commitment to building faith and family-based shows. (Netflix hasn’t released any detail about what this will look like.)

But Netflix has been unwilling to make the kind of meaningful reforms that would make family viewing a safe and enjoyable experience for all members of the family, and has been too willing to defend potentially harmful, problematic, even pornographic, content.

Netflix distributes pornographic content

Last year, Netflix released "13 Reasons Why" — an original series based on a popular young adult novel of the same name, about a teenage girl who commits suicide, despite concerns from school counselors and suicide prevention experts about the possibility of “suicide contagion.”

After it debuted, Google searches on how to commit suicide spiked by 26 percent. Nevertheless, Netflix renewed for a second and even a third season.

When asked about the controversial program during the 2018 shareholder meeting, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings callously remarked, “Nobody has to watch it.”

Well, of course nobody has to watch it. But people do. Kids do. And based on news reports, some of those kids have been inspired by it to consider taking their own lives.

More: Doctor visits about suicidal thoughts rose with '13 Reasons Why.' Handle Season 2 with care.

'This Is Us': Toxic stress on TV is reality for many Americans

How '13 Reasons Why' gets suicide wrong: Voices

Last December, Netflix began airing Argentinian film "Desire," which depicts a 9-year-old girl masturbating to the point of orgasm. In response to critics, director Diego Kaplan said, “Everything works inside the spectators’ heads, and how you think this scene was filmed will depend on your level of depravity.”

He also prefaced this remark by saying, “Because I knew this scene might cause some controversy at some point, there is ‘Making Of’ footage of the filming of the entire scene.” Why should he have anticipated that the scene might cause some controversy if the “depravity” is all in the viewer’s head?

This is the kind of hollow defense of indefensible content Netflix is making more and more often these days.

Petitions to cancel teen-targeted "Insatiable" for fat-shaming content have fallen on deaf ears. Same with the petitions to cancel the disturbingly sexualized animated series about puberty called “Big Mouth.”

Difficult for parents to monitor child experience

A 2017 analysis by the Parents Television Council revealed that nearly 60 percent of Netflix’s original offerings were rated for mature audiences only; just 1 percent were rated for general audiences, and only 8 percent were rated PG.

And although Netflix does offer some parental controls, our research found that even if a child might not be able to stream adult-rated content when those controls are turned on, there was nothing to prohibit a child from browsing through an adult user’s profile, where he might see highly sexually suggestive titles and cover art, like "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" or "Nymphomaniac."

Our research also found adult titles grouped with child-targeted content, so that titles like "Sausage Party" — with its cartoonish yet suggestive cover art — appeared next to family titles like "The BFG"; "Family Guy" appeared next to "Finding Dory"; and the image of a sex toy on the cover art for "Grace and Frankie" was displayed just above the “Children and Family” menu options. We also found that it was difficult for parents to entirely eliminate categories of content they didn’t want displayed at all.

It's important to note that Netflix recently added a way to let parents block individual titles — and that’s a good step. However, this also requires parents to know about each and every title available on the platform. With the thousands of titles available at any one time, that’s impossible.

Families have become increasingly reliant on Netflix as an alternative to traditional broadcast and cable television, but the reality is that Netflix is not trustworthy. And to date, Netflix is defiant when it comes to owning any responsibility for the potentially harmful products it delivers.

At a time when all of Hollywood is rightly consumed with #MeToo, and when the most powerful are falling left and right, how can Netflix execs simultaneously ask us to be entertained by rape-driven teen suicide? Or to laugh at the sexualization of children? To be amused by girls struggling with vicious bullying and fat-shaming? 

Netflix executives need to adopt some old-school principles and realize that they’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. They can’t have it both ways. Unless Netflix is willing to better serve families and distance itself from these more problematic programming choices, or until Netflix shareholders use their voices to drive change from within the company, families would do better to choose alternative streaming services. 

Tim Winter, a former NBC and MGM executive, is president of the Parents Television Council. Follow him on Twitter: @TimWinterPTC.

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20 days ago
Texas, Earth
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1 public comment
20 days ago
There's an easy way to fix this: Cancel your Netflix. Best place to hurt someone is in the wallet. Read books. Watch DVDs you choose. There are many options.
20 days ago
This ^ [Or limit the availability of the service to a single shared screen in the house (just like how we grew-up in the 80s)]
20 days ago
My son's TV is within view of my desk. Of course, he normally watches Youtube instead of netflix.
20 days ago
@kazriko - Smart.

The big double standard on child sex abuse no one is talking about

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By now, you’ve heard stories like this too many times. Father McFarlin had a reputation for sexual deviancy. He crossed the line in conversations with children with sexually suggestive language.

By 2005, his Bishops had investigated complaints by six different children in his diocese. But they didn’t report him to police or remove him from the priesthood.

Instead, they let him become someone else’s problem. They hid his behavior and let him go minister somewhere else.

In one memo, a bishop said, “This incident does not have to end McFarlin’s career,” and recommended the diocese conduct “a graceful exit.” He landed in another place where no one knew his record.

By 2011, he struck again, this time having sex with a 16-year old girl.

Like I said, it’s an all-too-familiar story.

Except, this was not really “Father” McFarlin, it was “Mr.” McFarlin, and he was not a priest, he was public school teacher.

And the people who covered for him were not bishops and cardinals, they were public school administrators and school district attorneys.

I took all the details for the scenario above, much of it verbatim, from a (rare) USA Today story about Kip McFarlin, a public school teacher at Orangefield Independent School District (Texas).

The greater problem

Perhaps the most shocking point in my recent article on the sexual abuse problem was the problem in the public schools. We wrote,

One study from Hofstra University laments that while there are a number of federally funded national studies on child sexual abuse, there are none that document educator sexual abuse. Gleaning what it can from related studies and databases, this report notes that 9.6 percent of students grades 8 to 11 have reported sexual abuse, and 21 percent of these alleged abuses are by educators.

This represents roughly (by my quick math) about 300,000 cases of sexual abuse.

Other sources confirm this problem is big—“far more common” than you want to believe. Further, just like the Catholic problem, public schools “continue to conceal the actions of dangerous educators in ways that allow them to stay in the classroom.”

Further, one study says that between 1 and 5 percent of teachers sexually harass or abuse students. Given that there are 3.2 million school teachers, those numbers represent between 32,000 and 160,000 predators in the schools.

Despite this startling problem being laid before the U.S. Department of Education in a 2004 study entitled, “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of the Literature,” it was related to me that there are no updated stats or studies. Despite the overwhelming indications, there have been no national or even statewide studies of student experiences of educator sexual misconduct. Fifteen years have gone by since this study!

So, while they are raking the Roman Catholics over the coals, they are totaling ignoring—averting the eyes, covering the ears, running to avoid—the same issue in the public schools where all indications are the problem is far greater.

The double standard in law and the media

Meanwhile, the media are not only drubbing the Catholic Church for the same sins they ignore in the public schools, but now they have taken to a theme of how evil that Church is for lobbying against efforts to reform statute of limitations laws.

These laws, the reader will recall, limit how much time after an alleged offense the victim has to speak out and bring a case. After so long, you lose that right. Many forces in society are attempting to lengthen that period of time in order to punish sexually offenses that may have happened decades ago.

Big news has been made of the fact that the Roman Church has spent millions lobbying against such legislation. The New York Daily News put made the dollar figure into a headline, as if it were exceptional: “Catholic Church spent $2M on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform.”

Meanwhile, nothing at all is said about who else is opposing that same legislation with even more money.

That $2.1 million was spent by the Catholics over a nine-year period (2007–2015). Meanwhile, when we go sweep the corners of the internet, we find out that New York teachers’ unions spent $1.1 million in a single year alone fighting the same legislation (which would have imposed lighter burdens on them than on the Catholic Church).

In other words, the teachers’ unions have spent five times as much per year as the Church. But hardly anyone blinks over this.

A search for news stories specifically on how the Catholic Church lobbies to block statute of limitations reform for sexual abuse allegations finds targeted pieces from the Associated Press, NBC, NPR, the New York Daily News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Economist, and Business Insider, among others.

Not one of these articles mentions the even greater lobbying efforts from the public school teachers’ unions.

Nor did any of them mention the other opposition. According to one report on the legal website Justia, it includes “lobbyists for the Catholic Church, Baptists, Orthodox Jews, Boy Scouts, chambers of commerce, teachers’ unions, insurance lobbyists, and even the ACLU.”

Again, where is the media outrage and focus on the groups represented by these lobbyists? Where is the targeted focus on opposition to SoL reform from the teachers’ unions?

Aside from either obscure reports or buried references, hardly anyone takes issue with the teachers’ unions role in the same issues. Of the ones who have, probably half of them are Roman Catholics objecting to the double standard in proposed reforms.

For example, a public relations spokesperson for the Catholic Church in New York objected to a recent proposal because it “protects the teachers unions and public school system from the same retroactive civil lawsuits it wants for the Church.”

“We’ve made our share of mistakes, but there is no question that there are many more children abused in public schools than in the Church,” he wrote. “It is fair to argue that the Church should be held to a higher moral standard, but it must not be held to a higher legal standard than the public schools.”

And he’s right. Why the blatant, sickening hypocrisy? Is it only because the public schools are a much more difficult political target? Is it because it would be a much tougher—nearly impossible—legislative task to target the schools, whereas the Catholics are easier?

If so, then it’s not really about the abused children and justice, is it? You really don’t want to shine the light on the real problem. The media, legislators, politicians, pundits, and professors (most of them) don’t really want to have to bear the bad news to a public that would not believe them at best, stone them to death at worst, because “our schools are different.”

Mr. McFarin was right there in the thickest of red state, Bible belt, Texas football, Friday-night-lights, heartland America, “our schools are different-dom.” This is not isolated. Twenty-five percent of school districts in the U.S. have dealt with staff sexual abuse in the past 10 years. That only considers the cases actually dealt with and reported.


There is a tremendous disparity between how the Roman Catholic Church is being treated and how the same offenses on a greater scale are being treated in both the law and the media. This is not only a sad fact, it is a huge immorality and abuse of trust itself.

The media virtually ignore both the offenses and the lobbying on the part of the public schools and teachers’ unions. In the few cases they do mention them, they do not mention the double standards already in the law. If they support a particular piece of legislation, they do not mention how that legislation may appear to target child sex abuse in general, but carves out special exceptions for public agencies—schools, police, etc. When the Roman Catholics object, it is implied they are opposing because they wish to protect the abusing priests, money, etc.

It is implied that they don’t care about the victims. I am not defending them on that charge, but I do wish to point out that it is really the law itself, the teachers’ unions, the bureaucrats, and the media all behind this double standard who really don’t care about the victims.

If they did, they would be pressing every bit as hard—or five times harder—where the problem is even greater. Until they do, they have no greater moral integrity than the pedophile priests or teachers themselves.

I don’t support removing all statutes of limitations. That’s dangerous. When groups as disparate as the Chambers of Commerce and the ACLU oppose that, it ought to make you at least think. I support public executions for convicted rapists, and the privatization of all public schools. But the double standards are not only sickening, they share in the guilt of the abuses they protect.

If we don’t rectify that, statutes of limitations won’t protect us from the forces within us that will devour us.

The post The big double standard on child sex abuse no one is talking about appeared first on The American Vision.

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24 days ago
Texas, Earth
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22 days ago

Google Data Collection Research

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Digital Content Next:

In “Google Data Collection,” Professor Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, catalogs how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together.

The key findings include:

  • A dormant, stationary Android phone (with the Chrome browser active in the background) communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period, or at an average of 14 data communications per hour. In fact, location information constituted 35 percent of all the data samples sent to Google.

  • For comparison’s sake, a similar experiment found that on an iOS device with Safari but not Chrome, Google could not collect any appreciable data unless a user was interacting with the device. Moreover, an idle Android phone running the Chrome browser sends back to Google nearly fifty times as many data requests per hour as an idle iOS phone running Safari.

That’s quite a difference.

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28 days ago
Texas, Earth
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Fifteen Myths about Bible Translation – Daniel B. Wallace

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  1. Perhaps the number one myth about Bible translation is that a word-for-word translation is the best kind. Anyone who is conversant in more than one language recognizes that a word-for-word translation is simply not possible if one is going to communicate in an understandable way in the receptor language. Yet, ironically, even some biblical scholars who should know better continue to tout word-for-word translations as though they were the best. Perhaps the most word-for-word translation of the Bible in English is Wycliffe’s, done in the 1380s. Although translated from the Latin Vulgate, it was a slavishly literal translation to that text. And precisely because of this, it was hardly English.
  2. Similar to the first point is that a literal translation is the best version. In fact, this is sometimes just a spin on the first notion. For example, the Greek New Testament has about 138,000–140,000 words, depending on which edition one is using. But no English translation has this few. Here are some examples:

RSV           173,293

NIV           175,037

ESV           175,599

NIV 2011   176,122

TNIV        176,267

NRSV       176,417

REB          176,705

NKJV      177,980

NET         178,929

RV           179,873

ASV        180,056

KJV        180,565

NASB 95   182,446

NASB      184,062

NLT, 2nd ed  186,596

TEV         192,784

It’s no surprise that the TEV and NLT have the most words, since these are both paraphrases. But the translations perceived to be more literal are often near the bottom of this list (that is, farther away from the Greek NT word-count). These include the KJV (#12), ASV (#11), NASB (#14), NASB 95 (#13), and RV (#10). Indeed, when the RV came out (1881), one of its stated goals was to be quite literal and the translators were consciously trying to be much more literal than the KJV.

Some translations of the New Testament into other languages:

Modern Hebrew NT             111,154

Vulgate                                    125,720

Italian La Sacra Bibbia      163,870

Luther                                     169,536

French Novelle Version2   184,449

La Sainte Bible (Geneve)    185,859

3.    The King James Version is a literal translation. The preface to the KJV actually claims otherwise. For example, they explicitly said that they did not translate the same word in the original the same way in the English but did attempt to capture the sense of the original each time: “An other thing we thinke good to admonish thee of (gentle Reader) that wee have not tyed our selves to an uniformitie of phrasing, or to an identitie of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done, because they observe, that some learned men some where, have beene as exact as they could that way. Truly, that we might not varie from the sense of that which we had translated before, if the word signified the same thing in both places (for there bee some wordes that bee not of the same sense every where) we were especially carefull, and made a conscience, according to our duetie.”

4.    The King James Version is perfect. This myth continues to be promoted today, yet even the translators of the KJV were not sure on hundreds of occasions which rendering was best, allowing the reader to decide for himself. Again, the preface notes: “Therfore as S. Augustine saith, that varietie of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversitie of signification and sense in the margine, where the text is not so cleare, must needes doe good, yea is necessary, as we are perswaded… They that are wise, had rather have their judgements at libertie in differences of readings, then to be captivated to one, when it may be the other.” The original KJV had approximately 8000 marginal notes, though these have been stripped out in modern printings of the Authorized Version. Further, some of the typos and blatant errors of the 1611 KJV have continued to remain in the text after multiple corrections and spelling updates (weighing in at more than 100,000 changes) through the 1769 edition. For example, in Matthew 23.24 the KJV says, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” The Greek means “strain out a gnat.” Or the wording of Hebrews 4.8, which says, “For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.” Instead of ‘Jesus,’ Joshua is meant. It’s the same word in Greek, but the reader of the text will hardly think of Joshua when he or she sees ‘Jesus’ here since ‘Joshua’ is found everywhere in the OT.

5.    The King James Version was hard to understand when it was first published. Again, the preface: “But we desire that the Scripture may speake like it selfe, as in the language of Canaan, that it may bee understood even of the very vulgar.” The reality is that the KJV was intended to be easily understood, yet today this 400-year-old version is difficult to comprehend in all too many passages.

6.     There has never been an authorized revision of the KJV. There were three overhauls of the KJV up through 1769, involving more than 100,000 changes (the vast majority of which merely spelling updates). The KJV that is used today is almost always the 1769 revision. And the Revised Version of 1885 was an authorized revision of the KJV. It used a different Greek text than the KJV New Testament had done.

 7.    The Apocrypha are books found only in Roman Catholic Bibles. Although the Apocrypha—or what Catholics call the Deutero-canonical books—are an intrinsic part of Roman Catholic translations of scripture, a number of Protestant Bibles also include them. Even the King James Bible, a distinctly Protestant version, included the Apocrypha in every printing until the middle of the nineteenth century. To be sure, the apocryphal books were placed at the end of the Old Testament, to set them apart (unlike in Roman Catholic Bibles), but they were nevertheless included.

8.    Homosexuals influenced the translation of the NIV. It is true that a woman who later admitted to being a lesbian was a style-editor of the NIV originally, but according to Dr. Ken Barker, one-time editor of the NIV, she had zero say on the content of the NIV.

9.   No translation can claim to be the word of God except the King James Bible. It may seem as though we are beating a dead horse, but the KJV-Only crowd is persistent and continues to exercise an inordinate role in some circles. In the preface to the KJV, the translators noted that the king’s speech is still the king’s speech even when translated into other languages. Further, even poor translations of the Bible deserved to be called the word of God according to the preface to the KJV. And yet, in all particulars, only the original Greek and Hebrew text can be regarded as the word of God. Something is always lost in translation. Always.

10.    Modern translations have removed words and verses from the Bible. Most biblical scholars—both conservative and liberal—would say instead that the KJV added words and verses, rather than that the modern ones have removed such. And this is in part because the oldest and most reliable manuscripts lack the extra verses that are found in the KJV.

11.    Essential doctrines are in jeopardy in modern translations. Actually, no doctrine essential for salvation is affected by translations, modern or ancient—unless done by a particular cult for its own purposes. For example, those Englishmen who signed the Westminster Confession of Faith in the seventeenth century were using the KJV, yet it is still a normative doctrinal statement that millions of Protestants sign today even though they use modern translations.

12.    “Young woman” in the RSV’s translation of Isaiah 7.14 was due to liberal bias. Actually, ‘young woman’ is the most accurate translation of the Hebrew word ‘almah. Although this created quite a stir in 1952 when the RSV was published, even the NET Bible, done by evangelicals, has ‘young woman’ here. The TEV, REB, and NJB also have ‘young woman’ here. And it is a marginal reading found in the NIV 2011, TNIV, and NLT. The NRSV has a marginal note that indicates that the Greek translation of Isaiah 7.14 has ‘virgin’ here.

13.    Gender-inclusive translations are driven by a social agenda. In some instances, this may be the case. But not in all. The NIV 2011, for example, strives to be an accurate translation that is understandable by today’s English speaker. And the translators note that the English language is changing. In reality, the older gender-exclusive translations may miscommunicate the meaning of the Bible in today’s world if readers understand the words ‘men,’ ‘brothers,’ and the like in numerous passages to be restricted to the male gender. Translations must keep up with the evolution of the receptor language. For example, the RSV (1952) reads in Psalm 50.9, “I will accept no bull from your house.” In today’s English, that means something quite different from what the translators intended! The NRSV accordingly and appropriately renders the verse, “I will not accept a bull from your house.”

One of the great challenges in English translations of the Bible today is to avoid language that can become fodder for bathroom humor. Or, as one of the translators of the ESV once mentioned, a major challenge is to remove the ‘snicker factor.’

14.    Red-letter editions of the Bible highlight the exact words of Jesus. Scholars are not sure of the exact words of Jesus. Ancient historians were concerned to get the gist of what someone said, but not necessarily the exact wording. A comparison of parallel passages in the Synoptic Gospels reveals that the evangelists didn’t always record Jesus’ words exactly the same way. The terms ipsissima verba and ipsissima vox are used to distinguish the kinds of dominical sayings we have in the Gospels. The former means ‘the very words,’ and the latter means ‘the very voice.’ That is, the exact words or the essential thought. There have been attempts to harmonize these accounts, but they are highly motivated by a theological agenda which clouds one’s judgment and skews the facts. In truth, though red-letter editions of the Bible may give comfort to believers that they have the very words of Jesus in every instance, this is a false comfort.

15.    Chapter and verse numbers are inspired. These were added centuries later. Chapter numbers were added by Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the early 13th century. Verse numbers were not added until 1551. Robert Estienne (a.k.a. Stephanus), a Parisian printer, added verse numbers to the fourth edition of his Greek New Testament. The pocket-sized two-volume work (which can be viewed at www.csntm.org) has three parallel columns, one in Greek and two in Latin (one Erasmus’s Latin text, the other Jerome’s). To facilitate ease of comparison, Stephanus added the verse numbers. Although most of the breaks seem natural enough, quite a few are bizarre. Neither chapter numbers nor verse numbers are inspired.

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Pope Francis, The Lord’s Prayer, and Bible Translation

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Predictable Christmas fare: Newsweek’s Tirade against the Bible

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38 days ago
Texas, Earth
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macOS Mojave: How to use new screenshot and screencast tools without Grab

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With some similarities to last year’s screenshot updates that came with iOS 11, macOS Mojave offers up some handy new functionality and changes to taking screenshots. Follow along for what’s new and how to use the new features.


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63 days ago
Texas, Earth
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