Friday, 6 March 2015

The Worst Supper

The Last Supper - Before things kicked off.

Thanks to Leonardo da Vinci, we all know what the last supper looked like. Admittedly it wasn't painted until 1498 but it is the picture most people think of when they think of the last supper; and it shows from left to right: Bartholomew, James, Andrew, Judas Iscariot, Peter, John, Jesus, Thomas, James the Greater, Philip, Matthew, Jude, Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot.

The painting, supposedly depicts the reaction to the news that one of them will betray Jesus. But what Leonardo da Vinci couldn't capture is the conversation taking place. The Bible doesn't help either; and we only get a few lines of what is said:

"Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." (Matthew 26:20-35, KJV)

Maybe if they had recorded the whole conversation; it would have been like this:

Jesus: One of you will betray me.
Peter: I bet is it Judas. Nobody likes him.
Jesus: Peter; shut up. I am not saying who it is.
Jude: Did he say Jude? What did I do?
Jesus: No, he said it was Judas.
Peter: Told you I was right.
Jesus: No you are not right Peter. I didn't say you was.
Judas: So it isn't me then?
Jesus: I didn't say it wasn't you.
Thomas: So why don't you just tell us?
Jesus: Because then you would all treat him differently.
Thomas: Well that makes things easier.
Peter: It does? How?
Thomas: He said 'he'. So we now know it isn't a woman.
Peter: So that rules out Mary his wife and Mary his mother. Great going there Sherlock.
Thomas: Mary is his wife? When did that happen?
Peter: Ask John, he writes all this stuff down.
Thomas: Hey John, can you pass the salt. And by the way when did Jesus marry Mary?
John: OK mouth, shut it. That is on a need-to-know basis, and you obviously didn't need to know.
Thomas: So you don't know?
John: Yes I do. Just that I was instructed by God not to tell you.
Thomas: How did you know it was God?
John: He had his God hat on.
Thomas: Who did?
John: Jesus.
Jesus: What?
John: Nothing. I was just explaining the trinity to Thomas.
Jesus: Good work there John.
John: Thanks Jesus
Philip: I bet it is me.
Thomas: Why do you say that?
Philip: Everyone picks on me.
Andrew: Oh, here we go with the gay rights again. Just drop it Philip. Nobody cares.
Philip: I know.
Jesus: (shouting) Will you all shut up. Nobody but me knows who it is. And I have something important to tell you.
John: Should I be writing this down?
Jesus: Yes. I thought you wrote everything down.
John: Well, I did until you and Mary went into that room for some spiritual healing; and you said it would be better not to write it down. Then you said if it was important you would tell me.
Jesus: I just said it was important.
John: I thought Mary receiving the Holy Spear was important but you said not to write it down.
Jesus: Look. Just write everything I say down; starting from now.
Philip: I can write neater than him, but nobody asked me to write anything down
Jesus: (shouting) For my sake, I swear to me I could not have picked 12 more useless disciples than you lot. Philip pass the bread and wine out. John write everything down. And everyone else can just be silent while I tell you something important.
Philip: So no fish today then?
Jesus: Do you see any fish? No. Then if there is no fish you can't pass fish out.
Philip: Didn't see any wine two minutes ago but that is there.
Bartholomew: OK. What did I miss?
Jesus: Where have you been?
Bartholomew: I had to go to the toilet. I told Peter to tell you.
Peter: Whoa! Actually you said if he asked to tell him. You never said to just go up to him and mention it.
Jesus: It doesn't matter. He is back now. So we can get on with the meal. Who wants to say the prayer?
Simon: Me.
Jesus: Anyone else?
Simon: Me.
Jesus: OK, Simon say the prayer before we eat.
Simon: We give thanks to you Lord, who is really Jesus, for this food that is on the table; even though Judas paid for it. We would like to take this time to ask you why you as God couldn't give you as Jesus a couple of fish to go with this bread. But you don't have to answer now as you are here as Jesus; and praying with us. We ask you, as God once again, to watch over Mary as this morning I heard her crying, and she said it was your fault, well you as Jesus. She said that even though she was late you were going to die. But as she was there and you are not dead, well you as Jesus wasn't, I never met you as God so you could be, I think she may be possessed by demons. Also can you get me a new camel. Amen. Well your men, not our men by any means. But I'm never sure whose men they are. Are they yours or are they Jesus' especially as you and Jesus are the same. Anyway Thaddeus keeps kicking me under the table so I better let you get back to being Jesus so that we can eat. Amen again.
Jesus: Right, before we eat I have something to say.
James: (mumbling to himself) It is always talking with these people. And it is always religion.
Jesus: Take this bread, it is my body.
Philip: (screams)
Jesus: What is the matter now?
Philip: (crying) I already bit you. I didn't know it was your body. And then Simon's prayer just kept going and going. I got hungry and took a bite. I didn't mean to bite you.
Jesus: It is just symbolic of my body it is not really my body.
James: (mumbling to himself still) And I suppose the table is symbolic of your bed and we are all involved in some weird cult sacrifice.
Jesus: You know I can hear you mumbling James.
James: (mumbling again) And I can hear you talking instead of sitting down, shutting up, and letting us all eat.
Jesus: Do you want to miss the last supper? You keep this shit up I have no problem kicking you out. You can go and eat with the Jews.
James: (mumbling once again) I bet they already ate. I noticed the smoke coming from the oven when we arrived.
Jesus: (shouting) If everyone could sit still, shut up, and allow me to continue.
James: (mumbling still) Might as well. Not like we are missing anything. Bread looks stale, and that wine tastes like vinegar. Son of himself and he can't even magic up decent wine.
Jesus: And the wine is my blood.
Jude: Oh that is just sick.
Peter: What kind of person serves blood as wine?
Thomas: Your blood seems to have a high alcohol content. You might want to get your arse to Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm sure that might be the reason you are dying. I think this whole prophesy might just be a cover up.
Jesus: (shouting) For fucks sake! It is symbolic again. It isn't really my blood.
John: Should I write that down as if you were joking about it being blood or should I just forget the bit that it was your blood?
Jesus: It is symbolic. It is like the parables. It means something.
James: (mumbling) Yeah, means you were too tight to go to the shops and buy a couple of bottles. No wonder they call you the king of the Jews.
Jesus: I give up. Look. Soon...
Philip: (interrupting) How soon?
Jesus: Real soon.
Matthew: Do we have time to eat first or should I wrap this bread in a napkin and save it for later?
Jesus: You have time to eat. When I finish talking.
Thaddeus: I have an appointment tomorrow. Should I cancel it or what?
Jesus: Anybody else got anything going on tomorrow, that they might be too busy to attend my crucifixion?
Peter: I was going to rake the sand tomorrow; but I suppose I could put that off. Will I be OK to pencil it in for Monday?
Jesus: Yes. Monday I will be home.
Andrew: Home? I thought you was dying?
Jesus: My father's home.
Andrew: But you are your father. Or did I mess that whole trinity bit right up?
Jesus: Look. Tomorrow I will be taken by the Romans...
Jude: (interrupting) Death to the Roman scum!
Jesus: Forget it. I give up. You can all go to Hell for all I care. Tomorrow the Romans are going to take me and you will all deny knowing me. Then I will be crucified. Then I shall go up to Heaven.
Peter: I won't deny knowing you.
Jesus: Peter, you will deny me three times before the cock crows.
Philip: How come he gets a cock? What do I get?
Jesus: It is not a real cock.
Philip: Is this one of those idols of men that women defiled themselves with according to Ezekiel?
Jesus: No, it is a cockerel.
James: (mumbling again) Why didn't you say that in the first place then? Maybe if you stopped talking in riddles and just said what you mean people would have a clue what you was on about.
Jesus: Look. I told you what is going to happen. Mary was right. She said you people were dumber than a box of Roman rocks. She said I might as well talk to the wailing wall. But no, I stood up for you, I said you'd all understand. But it seems she was right.
Philip: Women are always right. Trust me I know.
Jesus: Let me just get this out the way Philip, I didn't know you was gay when I chose you as a disciple. I thought maybe a positive influence, such as me, might help you see the errors of your way. But no. So we will all be going to Heaven and you will be burning in Hell.
Philip: That is discrimination.
Jesus: Sodom and Gomorrah didn't teach you anything?
Philip: I heard about it; and I was just going to wait for time travel and maybe go back there for a weekend.
Jesus: It was a warning.
Philip: No need to warn me; time travel hasn't been invented.
Jesus: Anyone else want to pipe in? Anyone else got something to say?
Bartholomew: Just a quick question before the Romans turn up. If you are God, and you are Jesus, yet you claim to be the son of man as well as the holy spirit; do you get paid 4 times or just once. And do you file taxes under each name so you don't get taxed too much?
Jesus: Fuck it. I'm out. I can't wait to die. I was kind of dreading it but after this shambles of a meal I can't wait. I'm kind of hoping the Romans forgo the crucifixion and just cut my head off; get it over and done with.

** Jesus goes to leave.**

James: Just one more question before you go.
Jesus: (angrily) What?
James: As your brother does that mean I get first dibs on Mary? I'm not saying I'll do anything until you are dead and gone. But if the whole thing about a brother marrying his brother's wife is true then I will have to marry Mary. Mum always said I couldn't marry until you did, and then because you kept it secret she'd never let me marry. When she was talking to Sarah once she even thought you was gay. She thought maybe you and Philip had something going on. I tried to tell her it wasn't like that but I couldn't tell her about Mary. But once you are dead I suppose it wouldn't matter too much if I tell her. You'll be dead, not like she can say too much.
Jesus: Do what you want. All of you can do whatever you want. I come to save mankind and you people want me to flood the Earth again. So do what you want.
James: Thanks brother.

** Jesus leaves. **

It may not have happened exactly like that but as the Bible is once again a bit short on details we have to kind of imagine how things truly went down.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Tweet That Never Happened: Anne Frank


Jesus And The Starving Five Thousand

One of the manuscripts found in a cave.
Other than the resurrection the only 'miracle' listed in all four of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is the one known as 'the feeding of the five thousand'. John recounts the event as such:

"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.  Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." (John 6:5-14, KJV)

This is a miracle? Not entirely sure why it was ever listed as a miracle. You want to see some miracle feeding, then head back to World War II when rationing was in effect; women fed their entire families on less. They would dream of having five loaves and two fish.

As is usual with Biblical stories there is very little recorded about the details; for example there is no mention what size the loaves of bread were. Also it does not bother to mention the fish. So, we have to go with measures from the same time period and use them as a guide.

The bread. Nothing came up with regards to the size of a loaf of bread in Biblical times. Not a thing. The only useful thing that came up was that bread has been around since 8,000 BCE. But nothing about how much the bread would have weighed. At present there are two bread standards - 400 grams for a small loaf and 800 grams for a large loaf. With nothing to go on I am just going to go with 600 grams for a medium loaf.

The fish. All that is said about the fish is that they are small. But in the preceding verses it says: "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea  of Tiberias." (John 6:1, KJV). This means we can look at what sort of fish were in the area. There are believed to be somewhere between 18 to 24 different species of fish in the Sea of Galilee. However the fish that it is believed to have been is the sardine; which is found in the Sea of Galilee. The sardine can be anywhere from 80 grams up to 300 grams. But it is said the fish were small, so based on that I will just use the average weight of a sardine; which is 150 grams.

There we have it. We have five loaves weighing 600 grams each; giving a total of 3,000 grams (3 kilogrammes). We have two fish weighing 150 grams each;giving a total of 300 grams (0.3 kilogrammes). All that needs to be done now is divide it among the 5,000.

But wait. It is not that simple. It is 5,013. It says there were 5,000 men. Then there is Jesus and the 12 disciples. So that is the figure.

I know an extra 13 doesn't make a big difference but it does say: "So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would." (John 6:10-12, KJV) If it is important enough for the Bible to mention the figure of 5,000 and then mention Jesus and the disciples; I might as well follow that lead.

That would mean that everyone got 0.598 grams of bread and 0.0598 grams of fish to eat. So approximately about 0.6 grams of food per person.

This is not a miracle it is an impossibility. On the side of a mountain Jesus' disciples managed to weigh out 0.6 grams per person; all around the time of 30 AD. The only possible miracle here is that someone had travelled in time to the future to pick up a set of digital scales to weigh this food out.

And we are meant to believe there was 12 baskets of bread pieces left over at the end. 12 baskets? There was only five loaves to start with. Did the disciples travel into the future once again and steal 12 baskets from Barbie's play house?

Maybe, and it is just a possibility, the story was edited to make things look good. Maybe it never happened that way. Maybe the whole thing went down completely different.

Jesus: I am starving. All this preaching is tiring work. What we got to eat Philip?
Philip: What?
Jesus: Wake up man. It is a simple enough question. What have we got to eat?
Philip: I didn't know I would be supplying the food. Nobody told me. Oh shit. Am I going to Hell for this?
Jesus: Relax. I won't send you to Hell for forgetting the food. But it will be noted for when you reach the pearly gates. One more screw-up like this and you will be making toast for eternity in Hell.
Philip: Oh God. I mean Oh God forgive me. I didn't know. Nobody said. We passed through the market on the way. Would have have been nice if someone had said "Hey Philip pick up snacks it is going to be a long day." But no, nobody did.
Andrew: Hey Jesus, see that small lad down there he has 5 loaves and a couple of fish. We could eat them.
Jesus: I don't know. We start pulling out loaves of bread and fish and we will have to share.
Andrew: True. Remember that time you pulled out a glass of wine and all of a sudden everyone wanted some?
Jesus: Yeah. And then the Rabbi confiscated it. Never did see that wine again. Bet the old drunkard drank it.
Andrew: Most likely. Maybe we could just eat it without anyone seeing.
Philip: That isn't very Christian like.
Jesus: Pardon? I'll decide what is Christian or not. After all it is named after me. If I say it is so then it is Christian like.
Philip: Sorry Jesus. But all these people are hungry too.
Jesus: And that is my problem? I know if I was going to be following someone all day I would bring food with me and a drink. If they can't be prepared that is not my fault. Kind of like when the end times come. I'm not going to be hanging around taking the blame that people weren't ready.
Andrew: Yeah. Let the bastards starve.
Jesus: Whoa! Where is this coming from?
Andrew: I was just agreeing with you.
Jesus: That is not what I said at all. This is why I try not to say too much. You say one thing and some idiot thinks it means something completely different. All I said was that it wasn't my fault.
Philip: Yeah Andrew pay attention.
Andrew: Shut up Philip you forgot the food.
Jesus: OK. I have a plan.
Andrew: What is it?
Jesus: Philip you go down there and distract the boy. Do that thing where you juggle three rocks. It will keep him amused for ages. Andrew, while the boy is distracted you steal the loaves and the fish.
Philip: That is the plan?
Jesus: You got anything better?
Philip: Well, no.
Andrew: Just one problem.
Jesus: Oh great here we go again. And you wonder why when we play The A-Team you never get picked Andrew. What is the problem?
Andrew: Stealing. Isn't that like one of the ten commandments?
Jesus: Do I have to explain the whole trinity thing to you again? I am God. I am Jesus. I am the Holy Ghost. I am one but I am three. So if as God I made the commandments; I as Jesus can break them. I make the rules so I can change them.
Philip: We can break the rules?
Jesus: No. I can. It is not monkey see monkey do.
Philip: Pity. Because I have had my eye on my neighbour's ass for a while.
Jesus: What?
Andrew: Is there something you want to tell us Philip?
Jesus: Isn't your neighbour that man that lives on his own; called Abdul?
Philip: Yeah and he has a wonderful ass. I was watching it the other day.
Jesus: I don't think forgetting the food is your biggest concern when you try to get into heaven.
Andrew: I don't feel too good. We showered in the temple together. I didn't know.
Philip: What? It would make a great companion for my donkey.
Jesus: (laughing) Thank Dad for that. I thought you was trying to tell us you were gay.
Philip: I wouldn't tell you that.
Jesus: OK. Back to the plan. Let us get this done and eat.
Andrew: Just another...
Jesus: (interrupting) What is it?
Andrew: How do we make sure nobody sees?
Philip: Good point.
Jesus: OK. Make them all sit down first. We are at the top of the mountain, they are below, if they sit down they can't see what we are doing.
Philip: But...
Jesus: Look we get it. You are gay. You don't need to advertise it. It is 30 AD. There is no such thing as gay rights. So stop going on about asses and buts. Just get down there and start juggling. Andrew will steal the food, and we all get to eat.
John: Hate to interrupt Jesus.
Jesus: I swear there are days I wish I had just agreed with the devil. What is it?
John: Well, you know how I am chronicling all this, writing everything down, so that people can read it?
Jesus: Yes, and?
John: Got to say, at the moment you kind of look like a bastard. You are homophobic, you are stealing from a child, and you are being deceitful and uncaring.
Jesus: You write everything down?
John: Well, not what goes on when you and Mary have them special lessons alone.
Jesus: Good. Just cross all that out. And re-write it. Use your imagination. Make me look real good. Say I didn't worry about myself and fed everyone. Try to make Philip less gay too; you know how rumours start.
John: But wouldn't that be lying?
Jesus: OK. I'm putting my God hat on now...
Philip: (interrupting) I don't see a hat.
Jesus: It is a figure of speech. It just means I am talking as God now.
Philip: Oh right. I didn't know God had a hat.
Jesus: I don't.
Philip: But God does. Maybe you could borrow it.
Jesus: I give up. I swear some days you disciples are enough to make a saint swear.
Peter: (in the distance) Fuck off you heathens!
Jesus: John, as God I inspire you to write the story of me feeding the five thousand.
John: But you are not.
Jesus: I know I'm not. But now you don't have to lie. It is the word as inspired by God.
Philip: Who forgot his hat it would seem.
Jesus: Look! I'm hungry. You go write this the best way you can. You go down and juggle your rocks. You go steal the food; and I will tell all these people to sit down and talk amongst themselves for a few minutes. Got it?
Philip: Got it.
Andrew: Got it.
John: Got it.
Jesus: Right then. Get to it and we can get some food. It took so long explaining it to you monkeys the fish have most likely gone off.
Peter: (in the distance) Who the fuck are you? Charles Darwin? Sit your arse down before I throw you off this mountain.
Jesus: Oh me, oh me, why have I forsaken myself.

I'm not saying it did happen like that. But the chances of 13 eating rather than 5,013 are a bit more likely.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Noah And The Magical Ark

You ever wonder if the story of Noah and his Ark is just some fairytale the brothers Grimm wish they had come up with? If the answer to that question is "Yes I have." then read on. If the answer was "No" or "Who the Hell is Noah?" you might want to just read something else.

Giraffes have always been a nightmare for Ark builders everywhere.

"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." (Genesis 6:14-22, KJV)

Moses was supposedly a learned man. He gets the credit for writing the first 5 books of the Bible, even though he was not around for a good chunk of the beginning; and towards the end of the 5 books it mentions things that happened after his own death - But that is a whole different post all on its own.

You may be wondering why Moses is being picked on for a story involving Noah and God. And you would be right to. But the simple answer is that Noah may have been a great Ark Builder, but he was never noted as having great penmanship. So where did Moses get the figures for the size of the Ark? Shem, the son of Noah? Admittedly it never says that Shem spoke to Moses; but God, Noah, and his sons are the only people that knew the dimensions.

But even then you have to question why Moses didn't wonder about the measurements:

Shem: So my Dad was told by God to build this Ark that was 300 cubits long, by 50 cubits wide; and 30 cubits high.
Moses: When you say cubits, whose arm was he using?
Shem: His own.
Moses: And how long would you say that was?
Shem: From the tip of his finger to his elbow. Same as every cubit.
Moses: No, I mean how were his arms. Were they long and dragging the floor almost, or short little stubby things?
Shem: About the same as my arms.
Moses: About? That is a big difference. Say it is 2 inches difference, with 300 cubits that is 600 inches either added or lost.
Shem: Moses why don't you use centimetres?
Moses: I'm not messing with any new-fangled idea that will just be another fad.
Shem: I think it will catch on.
Moses: Anyway. Why did God want your Dad to build this Ark?
Shem: To save all the animals.
Moses: (laughing) You are kidding me. There is no way that all the animals could fit on an Ark of that size.
Shem: Don't laugh, you didn't even know what an Ark was 10 minutes ago.
Moses: According to mu Sundial it has only been 5 minutes. Look Shem, it is a nice story but nobody is going to believe your Dad built an Ark and then put all the animals on it.
Shem: Not all the animals.
Moses: I see, I poke holes in your fanciful tale and now you want to change it.
Shem: No. It was just two of every animal. One male and one female.
Moses: Has anyone done the woodworm joke yet?
Shem: Yes, about 100 times already.
Moses: Two of every animal?
Shem: Yes, two of every animal. Obviously there was no need to bring the animals from the water. And a lot of the birds just sat on the roof.
Moses: Wait a minute there. So if it was a flood, and you obviously can't kill fish with a flood, doesn't that mean that the fish now outnumber every other kind of animal?
Shem: I suppose so. Never gave it much thought really.
Moses: But even so, take all the water animals out, and all the animals that fly out, you still have lots of animals. Way too many for an Ark.
Shem: Look, they all fitted. Just write it as I told you.
Moses: I have to say I'm not totally comfortable with any of this.
Shem: Would 50 Shekels make you more comfortable?
Moses: That it would. So there is your Mum and Dad, you and your brothers, and your wives? That it for people?
Shem: That was all of us.
Moses: How many animals?
Shem: Two of each.
Moses: But no fishes and no birds?
Shem: Some birds.
Moses: What? Now the birds are in the Ark? This is what I mean. You have to keep your story straight.
Shem: The birds that couldn't fly were in the Ark.
Moses: You ever wonder what sort of sick person creates a bird and makes it unable to fly? I mean it is the whole basis of being a bird; the ability to fly. Take the dodo for example.
Shem: (interrupting) I'd be grateful if you left the dodo out of the details.
Moses: Excuse my blasphemy but Jesus fucking Christ. You forgot the dodo?
Shem: No. No. No. We remembered the dodo. Two of them like all the other animals.
Moses: So why do you want me to not mention the dodo?
Shem: Well, we celebrated Christmas.
Moses: Why didn't you eat turkey like everyone else?
Shem: Firstly, there was no everyone else. God had drowned all the sinners in the flood. Secondly, Mum had named the turkeys Trevor and Thelma. She wouldn't let us eat them.
Moses: So you ate the dodo?
Shem: Ugly bird. Nobody will miss it.
Moses: Anything else you don't want me to mention?
Shem: Dinosaurs.
Moses: Them big bastard things? Don't tell me you ate them.
Shem: Hey you wasn't there. 190 days trapped with smelly animals. After the first 5 days I used to wake in the morning wishing I was a sinner and had been washed away. You know what sort of smell you get with that many animals? You think of the worse smell you can think of and then multiply it by the number of lies you have already written.
Moses: That is pretty bad. I'm only just starting the 6th chapter of the first book and I already got more lies covering more shit than I know what to do with. I don't even know what is real anymore.
Shem: I feel you man. I did 190 days eating nothing but dinosaur meat. Only break I got was the dodo. With 8 people them two birds didn't go too far. Japheth got the beak. Boy was he not happy. Didn't get any presents for Christmas and then got stuck with a dodo beak to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Moses: Jesus?
Shem: Yeah. Don't mention him either. If you really have to mention him do it a lot later. On second thoughts just don't mention him.
Moses: No dodo. No dinosaurs. No Jesus. Anything else you'd like me to leave out?
Shem: Them sizes if you could.
Moses: I don't know. They seem pretty important. People are going to wonder.
Shem: Well I'm not too sure about sizes.
Moses: What?
Shem: Dad was telling me one night while we were floating in the stupid Ark. Well that day the elephants had a case of the shits and wouldn't you know it was my day to be on 'Elephant Duty'. So while he was trying to tell me the sizes I was thinking to myself - "Just shut up Dad. Just shut up. I have been shovelling elephant shit all day while you tended to the earthworms. I don't care how big the Ark is I just want to get some sleep; because tomorrow I have to trim the tiger's claws while you tend to the sloth. So just shut up and go bother someone else will you."
Moses: Freud was right. You have some serious father issues there.
Shem: Tell you what, put whatever sizes you want. Not like anyone else is going to build an Ark to hold all the animals of the world. Nobody will be reading your stupid book thing, and use it as a guide to building an Ark.
Moses: It is called a Bible.
Shem: Sure. Whatever. Look I told you what happened. Here is another 25 Shekels. Do your best and make sure me and the family don't look like a bunch of arseholes.
Moses: Sure thing King Shem; leader of all the animals on Earth and in Heaven.
Shem: What? How much have you had to drink today? Just leave me as Shem; son of Noah and Naamah.
Moses: OK Shem. I will.
Shem: You better. I just gave you 75 Shekels; and I know where you live if you mess up.

Admittedly the chances of this conversation taking place are slim to say the least; especially as Shem and Moses were never actually alive at the same time. But if you can speak to God, then speaking to the dead son of a Ark builder should be no problem.

NOTE: For those that really want to know, it is believed Moses was born in 1393 BCE. As it is believed Shem was born in 2568 BCE, and lived to be 600; Shem would have been dead for 575 years before Moses was born. So Moses either got the figures from a descendant of Shem, or someone at some point wrote them down. Which would suggest Moses was not inspired by God and was merely lazy and copied the work of someone else.

Now on to the figures.

The Ark was 300 cubits in length (approximately 155 metres). It was 50 cubits wide (approximately 26 metres). And it was 30 cubits high (approximately 16 metres). So, the Ark was 155 metres long, 26 metres wide, and 16 metres high. Which gives a volume of 64,480 cubic metres.

Now to fit the animals in. Giraffes are about 1.8 metres tall when they are born and can grow to 5.5 metres tall. So with that being said you could in theory split the height into 3; and have 3 levels. But not all the animals are as tall, so the number of levels could be higher; after all the smallest animal, which is a shrew, is about 2.5 centimetres long.

Then you have the weight to consider too. The largest animal alive today is the African elephant; which weighs in at 6,500 kilogrammes. The white rhinoceros weighs in at 3,600 kilogrammes. The hippopotamus weighs in at 2,300 kilogrammes. The gaur weighs in at 1,000 kilogrammes. And our tall friend the giraffe weighs in at 1,600 kilogrammes. So take these 5 animals, and their mates, and you end up with 30,000 kilogrammes from just 5 animals and their mates. But at the other end of the scale is our friend, the shrew, who only weighs in at 14 grams.

As to how many animals were on the Ark there is a huge divide. Some estimates are close to 2,000,000 and some are close to 1,600. But the general consensus is approximately about 50,000.

Taking an average weight of a sheep (just the first mid-size animal that came to me) to be approximately 120 kilogrammes; and then multiplying by 50,000 gives a total of 6,000,000 kilogrammes (approximately 6,614 tonnes). Not including the 8 people, the food for the people and animals, and the weight of the Ark itself. But if the figure of 2,000,000 is close then it would be 240,000,000 kilogrammes (236,209 tonnes).

These animals have to eat. Using the sheep example; these animals eat about 2 kilogrammes of food per day. With 50,000 animals that is 100,000 kilogrammes of food per day. Or a total to last for 190 days - 19,000,000 kilogrammes (approximately 186,999 tonnes) of food.

Now to the waste. Urine isn't going to be counted because I'm guessing Noah and his sons just threw it out the window. But the fecal waste of these animals would have been massive. Using the sheep again; the average sheep puts out 2 kilogrammes of manure every day (After all what goes in must come out). With 50,000 animals that is approximately 100,000 kilogrammes of manure. They were in the Ark for a total of 190 days; so you have a total manure weight of 19,000,000 kilogrammes (approximately 186,999 tonnes) of shit!

This leaves a manpower problem. There are 8 people on the Ark moving 100,000 kilogrammes of food, and 100,000 kilogrammes of manure each and every day. Now if they sleep for 8 hours it leaves 16 hours to get all this done. This would mean each and every person would have to move 1,562 kilogrammes (approximately 1.5 tonnes) per hour.

Let us just say that they were able to keep up on the manure problem. This still means that the Ark was holding 186,999 tonnes of food and 6,614 tonnes of animals. A grand total of 193,613 tonnes of weight; not including the weight of the boat structure itself.

One of the world's biggest ships, the Triple-E Maersk can carry 18,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) with each TEU holding at maximum 21,600 kilogrammes. A total of 388,800,000 kilogrammes (approximately 382,659 tonnes).

Along with the manpower problem, we now have the problem that Noah built an Ark, out of wood, that could hold half of the tonnage that a modern ship built with all the available technology and design skills can hold; all back in 2348 BCE.

Is it possible that Noah and his sons built an Ark, and took two of every animal inside? Maybe. But there are so many variables that come into play that cannot be verified; including:
  • The exact design of the Ark is unknown.
  • Nobody knows what animals were taken into the Ark.
  • It is unknown how feeding and waste removal were handled.

Finally there is this problem that nobody can find this massive boat. It is not looking for Bin Laden in some caves in the middle of nowhere; it is looking for a massive boat in a desert area. Unsurprisingly there is not much call for boats in a desert and I'm guessing one would stand out like George W. Bush at a MENSA meeting.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Accessing Linux On Windows

Running portable applications is nothing new. Linux has been available, in one form or another since the first Live CD (Yggdrasil Linux) was released back in 1992. And since then the Linux Live CD has gone from strength to strength.

But alas (or "thank goodness for that" depending on how you look at it) the Live CD is no more. It still exists but the ISO images are so big it is either burned to a DVD or a USB drive.

USB drives have revolutionised the way a Linux Live CD distribution works. Thanks to the 'persistence' option in some of Live CD distributions you can now update the live distribution, add more programs, keep your various settings, and save files to the same USB drive that you boot from.

I have about 4 USB drives which have various live distributions on them. And they have all worked like a charm; except one which was hardware failure rather than anything to do with the the live distribution.

When having overnight stops at friends I no longer need to take a laptop. I just plug in the USB drive, reboot the computer, and 99% of the time away it goes and all my settings are there, all my files are there, and it is just like working on my laptop without actually working on my laptop. So far, from personal experience the only problems I have had is when using computers with USB wifi. Anything with an Ethernet connection has always just worked.

The other day, however, I went to use my sister's computer. I was about to plug in my USB drive and boot into Linux when I heard a whining noise behind me. It was my sister who was complaining about the risks of a USB drive having viruses. I explained it was virus free but she insisted that it be scanned before booting from it.

The first problem was Windows 7 didn't recognise the US drive purely because it was formatted in the ext4 format. The second problem, entirely linked to the first, AVG couldn't scan a drive that Windows didn't recognise. It could be easily solved by installing the drivers necessary for Windows to recognise the various Linux drive formats, which in the past has always been solved by the excellent Ext2Fsd (Ext2 File System Driver for Windows) which supports Ext2/3/4. But the problem there is that it needs installing; which when you are merely using a machine for a hour or so seems like too much hassle - download the program, install the program, copy a few files across, uninstall the program, and finally clean the Windows registry.

Ext2explore - Main Screen

Enter Ext2explore. No need to install and no registry entries. Download the zip file (3.5MB) extract the executable and run. My Ext4 format USB drive was accessible. Admittedly Windows still couldn't scan it, and I still couldn't run my own desktop, but at least I could get to my own files.

Now, the chances of the same situation arising again, except at my sister's house, are pretty slim. But to be on the safe side I thought I'd drop Ext2explore on another USB drive just in case. But it got me thinking. Why isn't there a Windows Live CD? Well there is. OK. Sort of there is. You can create one using BartPE which lets you create a Windows Live CD.

For me that wasn't much use. If I could just boot off a CD or USB I'd just use Linux. If I had to use Windows I just needed access to my files which were on an Ext4 USB drive. And to me hat just meant I would need to run Ext2explore from one USB and read my files my regular USB. But that meant 2 USB drives in the same machine.

There had to be a better way. And the solution I came up with may not be the ideal solution but it works for me.

Booting into my regular Linux desktop, on my laptop, I used GParted to resize my main Ext4 partition (I shrunk it by 256MB and moved it to the right) I then created a 256MB Fat32 partition at the front of the drive. Windows will only recognise the first partition on a USB drive by default so that is why it was created at the front.

Then I installed Grub2 on the USB drive; then the only change was to set the time out of the Grub2 menu to 5 seconds. In theory 0 seconds could be used to avoid a delay but if anything ever goes wrong it is nice to have a little bit of time to see what is going on with Grub.

Bingo! Everything worked (after a few minor modifications). Plug the USB drve in when Windows is running and I can get to Ext2explore. Plug the USB drive and boot from it and it ends up on my Linux Ubuntu desktop.

PortableApps Menu - Activated by the icon in the System Tray

That is all that is needed. But I went one step further. Using yet another USB drive I installed the PortableApps menu system on to it. I then copied the files created to the Fat32 partition of my Linux USB drive. I then installed a few portable applications (also from PortableApps).

Finally I left it alone. But now I can boot Linux, and if I have to use a Windows machine I have the PortableApps menu and a few tools and utilities at hand also. The one, and possibly the main, advantage is that using Ext2explore I can take files from the Linux partition, work on them and transfer them back to the Linux partition in Windows.

That is where I stopped. But it should be possible to have all the files that I need to edit on a regular basis stored in the Fat32 partition. And just access them from both Windows and Linux and leave them in one place. It should be just a matter of resizing partitions (I knew I should have made the Fat32 partition bigger). Copy all the files to a folder on the Fat32 partition (PortableApps does create a folder called "Documents") and then they are available at all times.