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Why can't everyone condemn Hamas?

Following Hamas' atrocities in Israel, the media are awash with commentary, so I will keep my comments short. I am shocked by the willin...

Sunday 31 December 2023

Ring out the old, Ring in the New

It's that time again, the last day of the year. A year that started so full of hope, only to be dashed, as always, by acrimony, disaster and strife. So much change, so many lives, too many wars. Once again we seek calm and peace. A less shrill discourse, more accommodation, and more understanding. 

So it is time to 'ring out the old year and ring in the new'. 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Ring Out, Wild Bells , Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published 1850

May 2024 bring the world peace and joy. I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Progressives are driven by ideology not conviction

Too many home truths in Gemma's most recent article Progressives in lock-step with Hamas ideology published in the Weekend Australian. it exposes too many home truths to hide behind a paywall, but nevertheless I quote jsut a few relevant snippets, and encourage you all to subscribe to the Australian. In MHO it is the only old-school daily newspaper worth the subscription.

Thank you, Gemma, for articulating what to some of us is somewhat obvious, but that so many seem to miss, avoid or even cover-up. We need the light of truth to spread as widely as possible.

I have selected some sections that I found particularly poignant.

"We are living in an age of ideology, not conviction. We are being governed by people who favour form, not substance. There is an obsession with feeling over fact, perception over reality and an absolutely hysterical addiction to victimhood."

"The slaughter in Israel on October 7 opened the world's eyes to many things, two of which are relevant here. First, the venomous, inexplicable hatred that still exists towards the Jewish people that is not only excused but perpetuated by the progressive political left; and the undeniable truth that ideology rules moral clarity and at a terrible cost.|"

"Only the ideologically obsessed would be demanding a ceasefire in Gaza without an immediate concurrent surrender by Hamas, and a release of the remaining living hostages. The fact these hostages still are being held and the international community is even talking about a ceasefire is insanity. Israel is the only nation on earth that needs to defend itself for defending itself. If that doesn't embody the curse of rotten ideology, then nothing does."

Since the start of the war that Hamas started and, God willing, Israel will finish, the ideologically driven mainstream media for the most part has demonstrated in dangerous clarity how ideologically driven it has become. Who can forget the bombing of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the Gaza Strip on October 17? Mainstream media, for the most part, breathlessly reported 500 killed and blamed the Israel Defence Forces.

We now know it to have been a tragic own goal, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket fired from within Gaza that fell short of its Israeli target. The death toll, about 100. Mainstream media took days to correct the mistake. Some never did. It's certain that truth is a casualty of war but to an even greater degree it is one of ideology. Since October 7, the phase has been coined: no Jews, no news. Terribly, awfully true.

Only ideology could cause the Western left and its cronies to fawn over Gaza, chant Free Palestine, when Gazan society is the embodiment of everything they purport to be against. A place where being gay is a death sentence, where marital violence is condoned by law, as is intra-family sexual violence, where religious dogma rules and disagreeing with Hamas (the government) will get you a bullet in the back of the head.

"George Orwell was right when he said in a time of deceit, telling the truth becomes hate speech."

"But I am one who, perhaps foolishly, lives in hope. Hope that the more this idiocy is laid bare (special thanks to the Free Palestine brigade and the brains trust at Just Stop Oil) the greater and more aggressive the pushback will be. Our future depends on it."

Hear! Hear! 

Saturday 30 December 2023

Palaestina some inconvenient facts

Despite the widespread claims that Israel was 'Palestinian land' misappropriated by the UN to Israel following the holocaust, the history tells a different story.

It indicates a land that was inhabited since before 1000BC, predating Islam by over 1500 years. Of course there are many historical references to this, but I want to share just a recent one that I cam across. It is a book written in the 18th century by a Dutch scholar Hadriani Relandis. The original was published in Latin and Dutch but my school latin is not good enough and my dutch is worse, so I hvae to rely on a translation from the folowing sitt,  http://remarkable-travels.blogspot.com/2013/09/hadriani-relandis-palaestina-ex.html

There are some comments which dispute the commentary especially with regard to Relandis' travel to Palestine/now Israel, but not the translation itself. 

Here are the paragraphs worth noting.

" The land was predominantly, desolate, empty;its' inhabitants few, concentrated in the towns of Acco, Gaza, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Tiberius, and Tzfat. Most of the inhabitants were Jews and the rest, Christians. There were few Muslims, and a scattering of nomad Bedouins. Nablus, called Shchem, where approximately 120 people, members of the Muslim Natsha family and approximately 70 Shomronites, lived. It is interesting and worthy to mention, that Relandi referred to the Muslims as "nomad Bedouins" who arrived in the area as construction and agriculture labor reinforcement, seasonal workers. In the Galilee capital, Nazareth, lived approximately 700 Christians and in Jerusalem approximately 5000 people, mostly Jews and some Christians. Relandi learned that not one settlement in Palestina, had a name that was of Arabic origin. Settlement names originated in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Roman languages.

This beautifully illustrated book contradicts any post-modern theory that claims a "Palestinian heritage," or Palestinian nation. It further strengthens and validates the connection, kinship of this country to the Jewish people, relevance, pertinence, and the absolute lack of Arab ownership, who adopted the Latin name Palestina for their own."

Of course, this is not the only source for the actual history and it would hardly be worth recording this post. But given the very real ongoing effort, and surprising success, at portraying Israelis as illegitimate colonizers, we have to take every opportunity to call it out. 

Perhaps, perhaps, truth will win out, eventually.

Sunday 24 December 2023

A Three State Solution - by Lisa Liel

We have all heard the repeated and now shrill calls for the Two State solution to bring peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Two independent states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, peacefully, like many civilized states. Good neighbours living happily forever after. 

Well, that is the ideal, the panacea to solve what has been an intractable problem for 75 years. I tend to think that a two-state solution is currently dead. Why? Because neither the Palestinians, and after October 7, now not even the Israelis want it. Israel had agreed to a Palestinian state many times. But every time the Palestinians walked away. The Palestinian extremist groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, do not want Israel as a neighbour. They want all the land of Israel as their state. They want it all. "River to the sea". This position by the Palestinian leadership has not changed for well nigh 70 years.  

Despite this rather obvious flaw in the concept the Two state solution remains the only 'solution' proposed by much of the Western World. It cannot be becasue they believe it is a possible, given the history of failure. But I guess they support it to appease their Muslim minorities, They want to have a fall back option that gives hope to Palestinians. 
Of course the status quo is unacceptable for both Israel and the Palestinian population. The Palestinian leadership is to blame for failing their people. I guess that is a topic in itself. and I will leave it for another day

And I do have hope that if Israel is given the chance to eliminate Hamas as the ruling regime in Gaza there is an opportunity for creating leadership. If that works then of course the case for "River to the Sea" moves down a notch. Hard to visualise during a bloody war but "spiro spero".While there is breath there is hope.

I recently came across an alternative to the Two State solution. Lisa Liel has proposed A Three State Solution

This is a novel idea and has some compelling arguments for it.

In summary, she proposes an independent Palestinian state taking about 30% of Jordan in a section of Jordan not contiguous with Israel (see map). The idea is that all Palestinians from Gaza and the West bank would be relocated to this new state. 

There are some notable advantages of this proposal which Lisa identifies clearly.
  • The total area of the proposed state is roughly equal to the combined areas of Gaza and the West Bank disputed territory.
  • While Jordan loses some land, given that Jordan was historically intended to take all the Arabs of Palestine, it is not an unreasonable compromise. 
  • In addition Jordan gains strategically by losing its border with Iraq and shortening its borders with Syria and Saudi Arabia
  • Also the proposed land is currently not highly populated.
  • Most importantly the Palestinian state would not border Israel, which would strategically be welcome presumably by both Israel, no more rockets, and Palestine, no more occupation
  • While landlocked the land does have some water resources with a large fresh water basis. 
  • it also has an airport and is located strategically between Jordan and Iraq so could offer trade opportunities
  • UNRWA could be disbanded and the funds redirected to help build infrastructure for the new state
It is easy to dismiss such ideas, but history has shown such mass relocations have been possible if there is a will. 

Great work by Lisa in putting forward a novel idea!


Friday 15 December 2023

mRNA booster provides "NO protection against death"

I have read too many negative stories about COVID vaccines to be surprised. The most recent came from a YouTube video by Dr John Campbell. This one reports on a recent study from Austria analysing the benefits of mRNA booster shots of the COVID vaccinations.

You can see the Campbell video here;-

Unfortunately, again, the news is not good. The report titled Effectiveness of a fourth SARS-CoV-2 vaccine dose in previously infected individuals from Austria  concludes the following;-

"In conclusion, in the general population of Austria with a history of a SARS-CoV-2 infection we did not observe a significant rVE (relative Vaccine Effectiveness) of a fourth vaccine dose for COVID-19 deaths during a time with already very low absolute risk for this outcome. We documented a transient rVE for SARS-CoV-2 infections, but this effect was reversed during extended follow-up in 2023. Repeated previous and more recent SARS-CoV-2 infections were both associated with significantly reduced reinfections.
In general, our study results question whether recommendations for repeated vaccine boosters against SARS-CoV-2 are currently justified for large parts of the general population with a history of previous infections. This does not contradict the health benefit of the initial vaccinations of unprotected populations in the early phase of the COVID-19-pandemic and of vaccinations of very high-risk populations at any time. Our findings fit well to the hypothesis of diminishing effectiveness and thus shifting risk–benefit ratios from additional vaccinations during the transition of the COVID-19 pandemic to its endemic phase."

In other words; -
  • the fourth booster gives NO additional protection against death
  • the fourth booster gives a temporary (~ 3months) additional protection against infection
  • after the 3 month period the 4th booster increases the infection rate.
Why is this important? Because in much of the Western world health care authorities are still advising that 4th and subsequent boosters be taken. This study shows that such advice is incorrect!

Thursday 14 December 2023

10 ways AI can be a threat to humanity

Following up on my earlier post, 10 areas where AI will be able to make a contribution in coming years , I asked Bing to list 10 ways that AI can be a threat to humanity.
Here is 'its" response.

"Sure, here are ten possible ways that AI can be a danger to humanity: 
  • Superintelligence: AI can surpass human intelligence and capabilities, and become uncontrollable or unpredictable. AI can also have goals or values that are incompatible or misaligned with human ones. ¹²³ 
  •  Unemployment: AI can automate many jobs and tasks that humans currently perform, and create economic and social disruption. AI can also create new forms of inequality and discrimination. ²⁴⁵ 
  •  Privacy: AI can collect and analyze massive amounts of personal data, and expose or exploit sensitive information. AI can also enable mass surveillance and manipulation of individuals or groups. ²⁴⁵
  •  Bias: AI can inherit or amplify human biases and prejudices, and produce unfair or harmful outcomes. AI can also lack transparency or accountability for its decisions and actions. ²⁴⁵ 
  •  Security: AI can be hacked or corrupted by malicious actors, and cause damage or harm to systems or devices. AI can also be used for cyberattacks or cyberwarfare. ²⁴⁵ 
  •  Warfare: AI can be used for developing or deploying autonomous weapons, such as drones, missiles, or robots, that can kill without human oversight or consent. AI can also trigger a new arms race or escalate conflicts. ²⁴ 
  •  Misinformation: AI can create or spread fake or misleading information, such as deepfakes, propaganda, or conspiracy theories, that can undermine trust, truth, or democracy. AI can also influence human behavior or opinions through persuasion or deception. ²⁴ 
  •  Existential risk: AI can pose a threat to the survival or well-being of humanity, either intentionally or unintentionally. AI can also cause ecological or moral degradation. ¹² 
  •  Dependency: AI can make humans overly reliant on technology, and reduce their skills, creativity, or autonomy. AI can also affect human identity, dignity, or values. 
  •  Singularity: AI can reach a point of exponential self-improvement, and trigger a radical transformation of the world that is beyond human comprehension or control. AI can also create a new form of life that is superior to humans. 
 Source: Conversation with Bing, 25/10/2023 
 (1) The Urgent Call for AI Regulations: Mitigating Threats to Humanity. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/the-urgent-call-for-ai-regulations-mitigating-threats-to-humanity/ar-AA1i6M1m. (2) A 'Godfather of AI' Calls for an Organization to Defend Humanity. https://www.wired.com/story/ai-godfather-yoshua-bengio-humanity-defense/
 (3) Godfather of AI says AI could be a threat to humanity in future, might manipulate people. https://www.msn.com/en-in/money/news/godfather-of-ai-says-ai-could-be-a-threat-to-humanity-in-future-might-manipulate-people/ar-AA1i59K0
 (4) Artificial intelligence could lead to extinction, experts warn. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-65746524
 (5) Here's Why AI May Be Extremely Dangerous--Whether It's Conscious or Not .... https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heres-why-ai-may-be-extremely-dangerous-whether-its-conscious-or-not/
 (6) 12 Risks and Dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) | Built In. https://builtin.com/artificial-intelligence/risks-of-artificial-intelligence.

Mmm. Now you have a more complete picture. More but not the whole stroy. I have but one overriding concern, perhaps the one that trumps all of these. I shall prepare a post on that soon-ish.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Politics and the Arts do not mix

No doubt you will have read about the controversy at the STC following an unauthorized protest by some actors at the end of a play. At the encore three of the five actors displayed their support for Palestine by wearing keffiyehs. 

The STC management reacted poorly and was slow to distance itself from the protest, trying to tread a fine line between the actors and patrons of the theatre, many of whom are Jewish. The ensuing furore has led to the resignation of 3 directors of the STC and indeed the abandonment of the STC by many influential patrons. 

One patron, Daniel Greenberg has penned a damning letter to the STC explaining his own position. This letter has been widely publicized.(see  Read the damning letter sent to the Sydney Theatre Company that reveals the Jewish community's outraged response to 'sickening protest')

I include his letter to illustrate the depth of feeling of Jewish patrons. You will not get this from MSM as they seem more biased towards the virtue-signaling left.

The actors have dug their heels in. They plan further such protests and have convinced a large number of fellow artists to join their stand. This is still ongoing and we don't know where it will all land. However, given the many high-profile patrons have walked, it is possible the STC will not survive.

What is the morality behind these issues? In some ways it is difficult. There is the issue of free speech. We do want a society where speech is not censored even when it is obnoxious. But of course, many consequences fall short of censorship. 

The Left taught us over the past few years how 'cancellation' can work to limit free speech. They have not targeted the person whose speech they did not like but have approached his customers, employer, colleagues and even professional associations. It has been very effective. We have seen the many 'hostage videos' by hapless victims apologising profusely, but unbelievably, for violating some PC edict. This has of course meant that many others have self-censored. Thus cancel culture keeps the herd on a tight leash. 

Well, I guess that can be our weapon too. The actors may exercise their free speech. They can air their views, but the patrons, the audience, and the directors of the STC are free to exercise their option to withdraw from supporting these actors' performances and the theatres that employ them. 

I stand with the patrons and will not attend plays that feature these actors and will boycott the STC until they have taken adequate measures to redress their failure to distance themselves from the actors.

Monday 11 December 2023

AIM fights back against antisemitism at Harvard

In a recent post ( How to fight back against antisemitism )  I suggested that we can all fight back against the blatant antisemitism and Jew hatred that has exploded in our communities following Hamas's terrorist attack on Israel. My suggestion was to expose the names of those who put their names to petitions calling for protests against Israel/Jews. 

AIM, Accuracy in Media, has done much, much better. Following the many antisemitic rallies, marches and petitions against Israel and Jews in Universities in the US, AIM has set up a series of campaigns to draw attention to antisemitism and to expose the anti-Semites. The mobile billboards on a truck display and shame the leaders of the antisemitic rallies. These have gained results with students losing scholarships and no doubt some will have trouble gaining employment. 

Here is one of the videos; there are many more on the site

As a result of seeing the exposure of their colleagues perhaps some will tone down their rhetoric Or perhaps not. In any case, it proves the point. You can and should have free speech, but you cannot have it anonymously. If you believe strongly protest, speak up, but give your name. Then others will decide whether they believe you have the right character for their scholarship or job. 

Sunday 10 December 2023

Here comes the micro nuclear reactor!

Right in time for COP28 we have new information on the development of 'micro-nuclear reactors'. This is not a totally new development, and indeed these reactors are not available today. Nevertheless, the recent article  (see Rolls Royce plans '120-inch-long' mini nuclear reactor for Moon outpost) sheds some light on the ongoing development of these very compact reactors. Measuring some 1.2m by 3 m they can generate 1-5 Megawatts of energy. This is much lower than the oft-discussed SMR generating 500-1000 MW.  

The reactors are being developed by Rolls-Royce who indicate they will be available in 2030. The development was driven largely by the need to provide power in space. Where they could provide long-term power in a small footprint in a hostile environment, eg the dark side of the moon. Of course once developed they are likely to be used more widely. Given they are portable they would suit remote environments. 

Given nuclear technology has now been accepted as 'Green', all types of nuclear technologies are likely to receive keen support. And not a minute too soon.

Thursday 7 December 2023

AI poetry!

I guess there are many possible examples of impressive AI capability. I have found it very useful for creating simple greeting card messages with poetry. It produces poems at lightning speed and they are surprisingly good.

Here is a simple example of what Bard produced. My prompt was simply; " Please write a poem about tea".  Here is Bard's response;

"In porcelain cup, a golden brew,
Steaming tendrils reaching you.
A gentle scent, a fragrant sigh,
Unfurling secrets from the sky.

Emerald leaves, once sun-kissed green,
Infuse their essence, calm and keen.
A touch of honey, sweet and pure,
Enhances flavors, ever sure.

The first sip warms, a comforting fire,
Chasing away life's worries and ire.
A moment stolen, just for you,
Peace and solace, calming hue.

With every cup, a journey starts,
Across vast lands and beating hearts.
From rolling hills to misty shores,
The taste of life, forever yours.

So raise your cup and take a sip,
Let troubles fade, your spirit trip.
In every drop, a whisper lies,
The magic of tea, beneath the skies."

Not bad, methinks.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

10 areas where AI will be able to make a contribution in coming years

AI , artificial intelligence burst into our consciousness suddenly this year with the latest release of ChatGPT. ChatGPT is the the brainchild, excuse the pun, of OpenAI a corporation formed by a consortium of the world's leading technology companies, including Google and Microsoft. It has been around for a while , say 18 months, but the versions released this year have demonstrated unexpected, unprecedented 'intelligence'. ChatGPT 3.5 is now available for free use, and it is impressive. It has also been incorporated into multiple search engines, including Google and Bing. 

I guess we have all heard about AI, mostly with a fear that it will replace our jobs, but what will it do to help humanity? 

I thought I would ask ChatGPT for 10 areas where 'it' thought AI would change the world in the future. I was tempted by an anthropomorphic pronoun, but am holding back, at least for now.

Here is Chat's response;

"Sure, here are ten possible areas where AI will be able to be used in the future that are not available today but will be available in the next few years: - 
  • Space exploration: AI will be able to assist humans in exploring and colonizing other planets, such as Mars, by performing tasks that require autonomy, adaptability, and resilience. AI will also be able to analyze astronomical data and discover new celestial objects and phenomena. ¹² 
  •  Artificial creativity: AI will be able to generate original and novel content, such as music, art, literature, and games, that can match or surpass human creativity. AI will also be able to collaborate with humans and other AIs in creative endeavours. ³⁴
  • Brain-computer interfaces: AI will be able to interface directly with human brains, allowing for enhanced communication, cognition, and perception. AI will also be able to augment or restore brain functions, such as memory, attention, and emotion. ⁵ 
  • Emotional intelligence: AI will be able to recognize, understand, and respond to human emotions, as well as to express its own emotions. AI will also be able to form emotional bonds with humans and other AIs, and to influence human behaviour and decision making.
  • Biotechnology: AI will be able to design and synthesize new biological molecules, such as proteins, enzymes, and drugs. AI will also be able to engineer and manipulate living organisms, such as bacteria, plants, and animals. 
  • Quantum computing: AI will be able to harness the power of quantum physics to perform computations that are beyond the reach of classical computers. AI will also be able to optimize and control quantum systems, such as qubits, sensors, and networks. 
  • Ethical reasoning: AI will be able to reason about moral values and principles, and to act accordingly. AI will also be able to explain its ethical decisions and actions, and to learn from human feedback and preferences. 
  • Social justice: AI will be able to detect and prevent bias, discrimination, and injustice in various domains, such as education, employment, health care, and law enforcement. AI will also be able to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in society. 
  • Entertainment: AI will be able to create immersive and interactive experiences for humans, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. AI will also be able to personalize and adapt these experiences based on human preferences and emotions. 
  • Personal assistants: AI will be able to provide comprehensive and customized assistance for humans in various aspects of their lives, such as work, education, health, finance, travel, and leisure. AI will also be able to anticipate human needs and desires, and to proactively offer suggestions and solutions. 

 I hope this list gives you some ideas about the future applications of AI that might become available in the next few years.
😊 Source: Conversation with Bing, 25/10/2023 

 (2) The present and future of AI - Harvard John A. Paulson School of .... https://seas.harvard.edu/news/2021/10/present-and-future-ai
 (3) The future of Artificial Intelligence: Trends and applications - Educative. https://www.educative.io/blog/future-of-artificial-intelligence
 (4) Future of AI (Artificial Intelligence): What Lies Ahead? - Simplilearn. https://www.simplilearn.com/future-of-artificial-intelligence-article
 (5) The future of Artificial Intelligence: applications and possibilities. https://thehook.es/en/the-future-of-artificial-intelligence-applications-and-possibilities/."

Saturday 2 December 2023

How to fight back against antisemitism

There is an unprecedented, unacceptable and unrepresentative explosion of Pro Hamas, anti-Jewish demonstrations in Australia, and much of the Western world. I am not talking of a difference in opinion. Anyone is free to put forward anti-Israel arguments, and also promote Palestinians. 

But the recent marches screaming antisemitic tropes, "Gas the Jews" is not acceptable. Screaming mobs marching in Jewish areas outside synagogues to intimidate Jews, is not acceptable. Driving through Jewish suburbs in convoys with Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans is not acceptable. Indoctrinating school children in anti-Israeli viewpoints is not acceptable. Journalists wanting to introduce bias into their reporting to provide a more sympathetic view to Hamas/Palestinians is not acceptable. Calls to boycott business owned by Jews or associated with Israel is not acceptable. 

Unthinkable though it may seem, all of these have occurred in Australia in the last 6 weeks. This is a serious issue for Australia and the West and will be hard to redress. 

Nevertheless, there is something we can all do.

By taking part in these demonstrations, and by putting their names on petitions these malicious antisemites expose themselves. It means they are no longer hidden. We can then choose not to employ them, refuse to buy their products, to boycott their companies. We can also go out of our way to support the businesses that these antisemites chose to boycott.

With this in mind here is a list of members of the MEAA (Media Entertainment and Art Alliance), the Union that represents a wide range of industries including journalists. 
They formed a pro-Palestine group and have also written a letter to urge MEAA journalists to provide better treatment of Palestine as opposed to Israel. Yes, Journalists want other journalists to be activists in pushing one point of view. 

The activists assume we will stand by while they harass, intimidate, indoctrinate our citizens. We do need to fight back.