Happy Birthday King James Bible, and GPS


Yep, two things happened on May 2 that changed humanity. First, the King James Version of the good book was published May 2, 1611, after a multi-year effort spearheaded by King James I in 1604. There had been previous translations from the original Greek, Latin and Aramaic texts, dating back to Henry VIII, but this new King wanted a version that was up to date with the teachings of the Church of England. So 47 scholars got to it, and the resulting work is possibly the most published book in history.

It was the beneficiary of being the go-to text for the Bible when modern, 19th century printing press techniques hit.

Of course that common version has left out the books of the Apocrypha. But hey.

And it also caused every grandmother in the west to think Jesus was a 6 foot Caucasian that spoke in formal Protestant English. He wasn’t and he didn’t. Verily.

And then we have GPS, which means Global Positioning System. So a little science here. The system works essentially like this. Take four, or more, satellites with internal atomic clocks. Know the exact position of those satellites. The satellites transmit radio signals that contain data regarding the time and where it was when the signal was broadcast. Whatever picks up the signal also has a clock and the difference in time between the broadcast and the reception tells the receiver how far away the satellite is. Do that with four and measure all the signals from all the satellites and you get a precise spot on the Earth.

So you know, your Lyft can find you. And ads can be Geo-fenced around you. And your ex lover can track your phone. So I hear.

And GPS, like many things, was developed by the military. In fact, most of the cool tech we play with was developed by the people with weapons. And NASA. My grandmother was convinced space exploration was a waste of time. Yet literally nearly every modern convenience we have was born from scientists in one country space-racing scientists in another, often for military purposes.

GPS was one of those things, born in the 1970s and by the 90s was deeply embedded in the tech of our modern military.

President Ronald Reagan actually saw the potential of GPS and ordered the tech available for civilian use. And then on May 2, 2000, based on a directive from President Bill Clinton, the precision of GPS was opened up to the general public. Prior, the U.S. military could control the signals etc and render the system useless, or intentionally vague. After May 2, the signal was good to the precision of an area of about 16 feet.

Today it is precise to a matter of inches. Lots of terrorists smoked by Reaper and Predator drones learned this the very hard way.

So two things were given to the masses on May 2. The King James Bible, yea I say unto you, and GPS, which has fundamentally altered the very way we live. See some knucklehead on a Bird or Lime scooter? Thank GPS. Feel a bit guilty for blowing off church for the last seven years? Maybe dust off the KJV.

Which one, I wonder, will be the bigger deal, 300 years from now? Sure the Bible has a huge head start, but GPS has interconnected us in a different, but maybe more meaningful, way. Who knows.

What I do know now is that God, if he exists the way the KJV implies, knows where you are this very moment.

So does your phone.