Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Have Jesus' Disciples Fattened Up Over the Last 1,000 Years?

from TreeHugger.com
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

Grist points us to a compelling study published by the International Journal of Obesity, which reveals that the portions on the plates of Jesus' disciples in depictions of The Last Supper have "increased dramatically" over the last 1,000 years. Looking at 52 different paintings produced over the time period, it was discovered that entres grew in size by 70%, the bread by 30%, and that even the plates grew 66%. So what are the implications of having better-fed disciples over the years? A fatter Judas? Peter with adult onset diabetes? No, not exactly--but it turns out that the trend reveals some important culinary clues to the eating trends of the last millennium.

You see, conventional wisdom posits that the skyrocketing size of food portions is an unwelcome trend that took root over the last couple decades. And to be sure, portion sizes have grown significantly since the 1970s in the United States--but it turns out there's a far longer timeline involved.

... Read the full story on TreeHugger

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Study predicts United Church decline will continue

from Canadian Christianity.com
By Lloyd Mackey

THE United Church of Canada (UCC) could become a shadow of its former -- or even present -- self, when it turns 100, according to an analysis of trends recently produced by a soon-to-retire minister of a North Vancouver church.

David Ewart of Capilano United Church, a long-established neighbourhood congregation, did the analysis recently as part of a continuing interest in the way churches and denominations grow, develop or decline.

Ewart applied projection analysis to try to see where national denominational statistics might be if trends of the last 10 or 15 years continued until 2025. That would be the year that marks a century since the United Church was formed out of a merger of the Methodists, the Congregationalists and a substantial proportion of Canadian Presbyterians.

While Ewart told CC.com the project took quite a bit of time, it was made relatively simple because his software adapted well to the electronic data he received the statistics from Tom Broadhurst, the UCC data chief.

Noted Ewart: "Rates of participation by Canadians in the UCC -- as shown by membership, baptisms, weddings and funerals --have all shown steady decline since at least the mid-1960s. [The exception was] a temporary increase from 1980-1990, as the Baby Boom generation returned with their children."

... read more story at Canadian Christianity.com

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bible Geocoding

from the Scout Report

Religious scholars and others have always been interested in the place names found in the Bible, and this site will be a delightful find for anyone who shares this interest.

This site, created by a graduate of Wheaton College, features interactive maps of every place mentioned in the Bible. For its main data source, the site uses the Morrish Bible Dictionary, which contains the coordinates for many place names listed in the Bible. Drawing on this material, the site also uses satellite imagery along with shaded relief details from the United States Geological Survey.

It's easy to get started; visitors can just click on the "Complete Bible" link at the top of the homepage to look around. It might be more interesting and less overwhelming to use the "Individual Books" area to look around via discrete sections, such as "Genesis", "Matthew", and "Psalms". ...visit the website here

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2010.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Who Do We Think We Are? Canadians say some ethnic groups still face discrimination:

Exclusive CBC News/Environics Poll

AND www.CBC.ca ON MARCH 15

TORONTO, March 12, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - One in three Canadians will belong to a visible minority by 2031, according to the latest Statistics Canada report. But, an exclusive CBC News/Environics poll reveals that we have mixed feelings about this new reality. In its ongoing series Who Do We Think We Are? CBC News investigates Canada's multicultural makeup beginning Monday, March 15 - and what we're getting right and wrong.

The exclusive CBC News/Environics poll finds Canadians more accepting of others, yet at the same time we have some distance to bridge when it comes to complete racial tolerance. One-third of Canadians still feel specific identifiable groups face intolerance.

The survey results are significant because Canada boasts the highest rate of immigration in the developed world. Multiculturalism is part of our national identity, something Canadians say they're most proud of. But the perception of discrimination lingers. CBC News explores the issues surrounding this. Stories that will be covered on CBC Television, CBC Radio, CBC News Network and CBCNews.ca include how the city of Prince George, B.C. is building a mosque in an effort to encourage Muslim professionals to stay in this northern community; the status of Muslims and South Asians in Quebec, where the effort to integrate minorities is frequently undermined by inflammatory incidents; the narrowing of the gap in opinions about racial tolerance between older and younger generations; a look at the cultures that poll respondents feel still face discrimination and a report on the changing multicultural makeup of Canada.

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beasts of the Bible

Biblical myth-busting meets investigative archaeology in state-of-the-art documentary special, premiering March 31

TORONTO, March 4, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The serpent that seduced Eve. The whale that swallowed Jonah. The snake that triggered the Exodus and the four-headed, multi-winged angel that appeared to the prophet Ezekiel.

The Bible is filled with such strange and fascinating creatures. But did they ever really exist, outside the realm of myth? An original new Canadian documentary holds the answer.

Beasts of the Bible, the latest offering from Toronto-based Associated Producers Ltd. (The Naked Archaeologist, The Exodus Decoded) uses envelope-pushing 3D CGI techniques to bring the Bible's miraculous creatures to life in an in-depth historical, archaeological and scientific investigation of their existence.

VisionTV presents the Canadian television premiere of Beasts of the Bible on Wednesday, March 31 at 9 p.m. and Midnight ET / 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT.

Beasts of the Bible airs as part of VisionTV's special "Investigating Easter" programming event, which begins Monday, March 22.

The feature-length documentary assembles historians, Bible scholars, archaeologists, cryptozoologists and herpetologists to guide an investigation into the creatures that may have inspired the authors of Scripture. These experts debunk common myths and unveil new findings about the Biblical beasts, revealing what they might have looked like -- and who their present-day descendents might be.

"In Beasts of the Bible we take a fresh approach both visually and intellectually to the iconic Biblical stories that all of us know," says Producer Ric Esther Bienstock. "I think audiences will be truly surprised by the information we've uncovered about some of the 'beasts' they have been hearing about since childhood."

Filmed on location in Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Canada and the U.S., this eye-popping film decodes ancient writings, unlocks the hidden meanings of age-old legends and symbols, and uncovers the secrets of the most famous and mysterious creatures of all time.

Beasts of the Bible was produced by Associated Producers Ltd. in association with Animal Planet in the U.S. and VisionTV in Canada. It was written and directed by Graeme Ball. The Producers are Ric Esther Bienstock and Felix Golubev. The Executive Producer is Simcha Jacobovici. Joan Jenkinson is the Executive Producer for VisionTV.

The long-awaited third season of The Naked Archaeologist, another Associated Producers Ltd. production, will also premiere during VisionTV's "Investigating Easter" event. The first two episodes of the new season air on Monday, March 22 at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. and 7:30 pm PT.

Beasts of the Bible was produced with the participation of the Rogers Cable Network Fund and the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry CTF: Licence Fee Program, The Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit and the Ontario Media Development Corporation Film and Television Tax Credits.

Toronto based Associated Producers Ltd. has produced documentary films for practically every major broadcaster in the world and has won almost every available industry award, including a Gold Medal from the International Documentary Festival of Nyon, a Certificate of Special Merit from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, a Genie Award, three U.S. Cable Ace Awards, two Gemini Awards, an Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia University Award, a British Broadcast Award, a Royal Television Society Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and an unprecedented three Emmys for "Outstanding Investigative Journalism" in 1995, 1996 and 2007.

VisionTV, an S-VOX company, is Canada's multi-faith and multicultural broadcaster, dedicated to entertaining and insightful programming that celebrates diversity and promotes understanding and tolerance among people of different faiths and cultures.

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