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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...

Friday 17 May 2024

AI poetry shoot out




A few months ago I had a play with Google's Bard AI product by asking it to produce a poem on 'tea'. I thought it produced a surprisingly good poem.

Given the growing competition in general-purpose AI products, we have seen the release of a number of products by the major players, including Microsoft's Copilot,Open AI's ChatGPT, Anthropic's Claude and Google's Bard.
SO I thought why not re-visit the poetry challenge and see what these competing products produce. Here are the results. In each case, the prompt was "Please produce a poem about tea".

Copilot

Steeped Tranquility

In porcelain cups, warmth unfurls,
Amidst fragrant leaves, secrets swirl.
A sip of solace, a whispered plea,
Tea, the elixir of serenity.

Amber hues dance in morning light,
A symphony of flavors takes flight.
From jasmine blooms to chai's embrace,
Each brew tells tales of time and space.

Steam-kissed lips, a gentle sip, 
The world outside begins to slip. 
In quietude, we find our way, 
Tea, the muse of a tranquil day.

So raise your cup, let worries cease, 
Sip the magic, find inner peace. 
For in this humble leaf, we see, 
A universe steeped in harmony.

Claude

The Warmth of Tea
Fragrant tendrils of steam unfurl,
Rising from the ceramic's curl.
Amber liquid, deep and clear,
Inviting me to linger here.
A ritual steeped in calm delight,
A moment's pause to savor right.
Floral, earthy notes entwine,
Nature's balm in this cup of mine.
With each sip, I am transported,
To lush gardens zephyrs courted
Peace cascades with each beat,
In the warmth of this cuppa replete.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​



ChatGPT 3.5

In porcelain cups, a world unfolds,
Where leaves dance in waters bold.
A brew of warmth, a soothing balm,
In every sip, a quiet calm.

From misty hills to ancient lands,
Tea whispers tales from distant strands.
Its fragrance floats on gentle breeze,
A melody to bring us ease.

In morning's light or twilight's gleam,
Tea beckons with its tranquil stream.
A ritual, a sacred rite,
To pause, to savor, to invite.

From jasmine's kiss to bergamot's zest,
Each flavor a journey, a quest.
With every cup, a journey's start,
To mend the soul, to soothe the heart.

So let us raise our cups on high,
To tea, the poet's endless sky.
In its embrace, we find release,
A moment's peace, a sweet release.
and finally the original produced by Google's Bard

Bard

"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."

They all sound pretty good to me. What do you think?

Sunday 12 May 2024

The Ultra Safe Nuclear reactor

 Nuclear energy has re-emerged as an essential component of any Net Zero future. While many, mainly Green, groups continue to argue it is not 'essential', the IPCC has accepted this as the case.

The association with Nuclear weapons and the known longevity of nuclear waste products have remained the first visceral objection by those who oppose the technology. They typically bundle these as 'nuclear is just not safe'.

This is despite the exceptional safety record of nuclear power generation over 7 decades, comparable to Hydro and Solar power.  Added to this is the issue of cost. Nuclear technology has required custom design and construction which together with the need to meet onerous environmental constraints, has made each new build expensive and time-consuming. There is a wide range of construction times and costs.

Nevertheless, the drive towards Net Zero has seen a major rethink in addressing these issues. The construction time and cost problems are being solved by the introduction of Small Modular Reactors. Reactors that have lower power from 25-300 MW and mostly constructed using modules built largely off site in a repetitive manufacturing process. These can make significant reductions in construction times, down from a typical 8 years to 3-4 years and with cost per KW generated being halved.

At the same time safety is being addressed with the emergence of novel designs with built-in passive safety. I recently came across the Ultra Safe design, as exemplified in the following short video. Well worth a view.



With Nuclear it is not if but when. And countries that stick to the old prejudices will suffer energy poverty if they try to fulfil their Net Zero dream with solar and wind.

Unfortunately, too many countries, including Australia, are wearing blinkers.

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Odd vaccine that increases your chances of getting the disease!




A recent paper titled Effectiveness of the 2023-2024 Formulation of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 mRNA Vaccine against the JN.1 Variant analysed data on the efficacy of mRNA vaccines againstCOVID-19 in a cohort of health workers at the Cleveland clinic. The paper has been published in preprint format inviting peer review.

The analysis comes to a daunting conclusion, that the more vaccine jabs one receives the greater the chances of contracting COVID-19.

Please read the paper in full, but I have reproduced the Abstract below;-
Background.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the 2023-2024 formulation of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine protects against COVID-19 caused by the JN.1 lineage of SARS-CoV-2.
Methods.
Employees of Cleveland Clinic in employment when the JN.1 lineage of SARSCoV2 became the dominant circulating strain, were included. Cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was examined prospectively. Protection provided by vaccination (analyzed as a time-dependent covariate) was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression. The analysis was adjusted for the propensity to get tested, age, sex, pandemic phase when the last prior COVID-19 episode occurred, and the number of prior vaccine doses.
Results.
Among 47561 employees, COVID-19 occurred in 838 (1.8%) during the 16-week study period. In multivariable analysis, the 2023-2024 formula vaccinated state was associated with a significantly lower risk of COVID-19 while the JN.1 lineage was the dominant circulating strain (hazard ratio [HR], .77; 95% confidence interval [C.I.], .62-.94; P = .01), yielding an estimated vaccine effectiveness of 23% (95% C.I., 6%-38%). Compared to 0 or 1 prior vaccine doses, risk of COVID-19 was incrementally higher with 2 prior doses (HR, .1.46; 95% C.I., 1.12-1.90; P < .005), 3 prior doses (HR, 1.95; 95% C.I., 1.51-2.52; P < .001), and more than 3 prior doses (HR, 2.51; 95% C.I., 1.91-3.31; P < .001).
Conclusions.
 The 2023-2024 formula COVID-19 vaccine given to working-aged adults afforded a low level of protection against the JN.1 lineage of SARS-CoV-2, but a higher number of prior vaccine doses was associated with a higher risk of COVID-19. 

These are disturbing results and present a case against vaccination. However, the natural argument would be that being vaccinated may provide protection against the severity of the COVID infection. So even if you are more likely to catch COVID, vaccination will nevertheless protect you against severe illness.

I am looking for a study that looks at the likelihood of severe illness vs vaccine status. Watch this space

Friday 3 May 2024

A. New use for face masks?




For the past few days, I’ve been grappling with a pesky cold. You know the drill—sneezing, coughing, and feeling generally miserable. But my main nemesis during this ordeal has been my nose. Oh, the rhinorrhea! It’s been flowing like a waterfall, and I’ve tried everything in my arsenal to combat it.

I’ve delved into the world of home remedies, following the well-trodden path of nasal spray, steamy hot showers, and copious amounts of liquids. I’ve even experimented with various oils, including the ever-mysterious tea tree oil. These remedies provided some relief, but they demanded regular repetition. And then there were the over-the-counter medications—decongestants and antihistamines—each with its own set of pros and cons.

Among the medications, pseudoephedrine emerged as the unsung hero. But alas, it’s like chasing after a rare Pokémon—it’s restricted, and its impact on sleep is less than stellar. So there I was, caught in the eternal struggle between a runny nose and a good night’s rest.

And then, fate intervened. Today, with an appointment looming, I decided to don the humble blue surgical mask—the kind you’d find in any hospital. My motivation? To prevent my germs from staging a hostile takeover of the waiting room. Little did I know that this unassuming mask would become my unexpected ally.

As soon as I secured it over my nose and mouth, something magical happened. My rhinorrhea retreated, as if it had received a memo: “Attention, nasal passages! We’re creating a humid environment in here—no need for excessive leakage.” And indeed, that’s the secret sauce behind all those home remedies—the elusive humidity factor.

The beauty of the face mask lies in its simplicity. No need for elaborate concoctions or pill-popping rituals. Just slip it on, and voilà! Relief. It worked for me, and I’m passing on the wisdom. So, fellow cold warriors, give it a shot. Wear your mask with pride (and a touch of mystery), and let me know if it works wonders for you too!


Disclaimer: Always consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice. This anecdotal experience should not replace professional medical guidance.