Sunday 21 May 2023

Deciphering Languages with ChatGPT-4: A Deep Dive You Can Take

 For French and Latin, I command ChatGPT-4 to give me both the IPA and translation of each word. This works to some degree with Latin and for French, which I have studied since about age 4. I find it very useful in language learning as IPA is my main bridge to language. It makes mistakes but it is useful. 

I say: For the following sentences, give the French IPA for each word in brackets and the English translation in brackets after it. i.e. French word (French IPA of French word)(English translation of French word) 2nd French word (French IPA of 2nd French word) (English translation of 2nd French word).

An alternative is:

Write a story about a genius adventurer who seeks treasure in exotic locations and engages in action and adventure and solves puzzles. Have the story be detailed. It need not finish at eash stage. Write the story in French, but for each word, next to it in brackets say the IPA pronunciation and then in brackets the English translation. i.e. French word (French IPA) (English translation of French word) Second French word (French IPA of second French word) (English translation of Second French word) etc.

Here is the start of its response to this:

Il (il) (He) était (etɛ) (was) une (yn) (a) fois (fwa) (once) un (œ̃) (a) génie (ʒeni) (genius) aventurier (avɑ̃tyʁje) (adventurer) nommé (nɔme) (named) Théophile (teofil) (Theophile). Théophile (teofil) (Theophile) recherchait (ʁəʃɛʁʃɛ) (sought) des (de) (some) trésors (tʁezɔʁ) (treasures) dans (dɑ̃) (in) des (de) (some) endroits (ɑ̃dʁwa) (locations) exotiques (ɛgzɔtik) (exotic), et (e) (and) s'engageait (sɑ̃ɡaʒɛ) (engaged in) dans (dɑ̃) (in) de (də) (of) l'action (laksjɔ̃) (action) et (e) (and) de (də) (of) l'aventure (lavɑ̃tyʁ) (adventure), résolvant (ʁezɔlvɑ̃) (solving) des (de) (some) énigmes (enigm) (puzzles).

Un (œ̃) (A) jour (ʒuʁ) (day), Théophile (teofil) (Theophile) reçut (ʁesy) (received) une (yn) (a) carte (kaʁt) (map) mystérieuse (misteʁjøz) (mysterious) indiquant (ɛ̃dikɑ̃) (indicating) l'emplacement (lɑ̃plasəmɑ̃) (location) d'un (dœ̃) (of a) trésor (tʁezɔʁ) (treasure) caché (kaʃe) (hidden) au (o) (in) cœur (kœʁ) (heart) d'une (dyn) (of a) île (il) (island) tropicale (tʁɔpikal) (tropical).

Can this be done with other languages you know or are learning? How well does it do?

Friday 21 April 2023

Life sentence for repeated drunk driver

Christopher Stanford, a 50-year-old man from Texas, has been handed a life sentence after his ninth conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Stanford opted for a jury to decide his sentence following his guilty plea to the latest DWI charge. His eight previous DWI convictions spanned four other counties within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, resulting in four prison sentences.

The jury deemed Stanford a habitual offender, significantly influencing their decision to impose a life sentence. Parker County District Attorney Jeff Swain justified the sentence, stating that Stanford would continue to pose a danger to communities if not incarcerated. Stanford's most recent offence involved running a red light and causing a traffic accident with minor injuries to a family before attempting to flee the scene.

Found hiding in vegetation, Stanford demonstrated difficulty standing and aggressive behaviour, including headbutting an emergency worker. He refused a roadside sobriety test but consented to a blood test after his arrest, revealing an alcohol concentration of 0.267, over three times Texas' legal limit of 0.08. The jury took 90 minutes to decide on a life sentence after Stanford testified that he was "very unlucky," which the Assistant District Attorney regarded as a lack of personal insight and concern for others' safety on the roads.

Stanford will be eligible for parole once his time served and good time credit reaches 15 years. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will have the authority to release him from prison. 


Wednesday 19 April 2023

Do Irish Judges Rely on Wikipedia? New Study Strongly Disputes Previous Findings

High Court judges in Ireland have welcomed new research, co-authored by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, which strongly contradicts a previous study which had claimed that Wikipedia influences judicial decision-making in the country. 

Last year, a paper claimed that the creation of a Wikipedia article on a Supreme Court case led to a 25% increase in its citations in subsequent Irish court cases, and identified an alleged "textual similarity" between the Wikipedia articles and the judgments. Judges strongly questioned these findings at the time.

Mr Justice Humphreys and a team of current and former judicial assistants have conducted new research, which they claim exposes flaws in the original study. 

A summary article has been published in the Irish Law Times, and the full paper submitted to the Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Jurisprudence. 

Mr Justice Humphreys stated that what he saw as the original paper's issues stem from both a flawed experiment and flawed speculation as to the meaning of the results. He asserted that public trust in the legal system should not be undermined by what he termed to be poor research. 

The president and other judges of the High Court have welcomed the new findings.


Shifting Sands: When Political Speech Meets Election Interference

A federal grand jury in Tampa, Florida, recently returned a superseding indictment charging four US citizens and three Russian nationals with working on behalf of the Russian government, and in conjunction with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), to conduct a multi-year foreign malign influence campaign in the United States. The Russian defendants are accused of recruiting, funding, and directing US political groups to act as unregistered illegal agents of the Russian government, sow discord, and spread pro-Russian propaganda. Indicted intelligence officers are also alleged to have covertly funded and directed candidates for local office in the US.

Authorities assert that these actions aimed to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the US. The Department of Justice has stated it will not hesitate to expose and prosecute those who sow discord and corrupt US elections in service of hostile foreign interests, regardless of whether they are US citizens or foreign individuals abroad.

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to directly and substantially influence democratic elections in the US by clandestinely funding and directing the political campaign of a particular candidate for local office in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 2019. Ionov and Popov are alleged to have planned to extend their election interference plot beyond the 2019 local election cycle in St. Petersburg, and subsequently discussed that the “USA Presidential election” was the FSB’s “main topic of the year.”

Ionov is alleged to have engaged in a years-long foreign malign influence campaign targeting the United States, recruiting members of political groups within the country to participate in the influence campaign and act as agents of Russia in the US. These groups include the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement (APSP) in Florida, Black Hammer in Georgia, and a political group in California.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald commented on the case, expressing concerns about implications of the indictment on freedom of speech and a potential effect on political activism. He alleged that American black leftist groups and activists were being charged with felonies in the cases, for posting memes and other political content against the war in Ukraine, allegedly on behalf of Russia.

Greenwald showcased a video of a Ukraine peace rally, featuring Omali Yeshitela, a leader of one of the groups.

Across the aisle, a recent conviction of a Donald Trump supporter for tweets made during the 2016 election, along with the current indictments on the left, suggest sanctions for certain political speech and expression, such as memes and tweets, may become more common.


Sunday 26 February 2023

South Africa collapse: With the USA embassy warning its citizens, we thought to ask an AI

 South Africa's Stage 8.

If South Africa has hit stage 8 load shedding in 2023, what does that imply?


Load shedding is a controlled power outage implemented by a power utility company when there is insufficient power supply to meet the demand. In South Africa, load shedding is measured on a scale of stages from 1 to 8, with stage 1 being the least severe and stage 8 being the most severe.

If South Africa were to hit stage 8 load shedding in 2023, it would imply that the country is experiencing an extreme power shortage, and the power utility company is unable to generate enough electricity to meet the demand. This could be due to various reasons, such as aging power infrastructure, lack of investment in new power generation capacity, or unexpected events such as extreme weather conditions or unplanned power plant outages.

Stage 8 load shedding would have a significant impact on businesses and individuals, as it would result in prolonged power outages and disruptions to daily life. It could also have severe economic consequences, as businesses would be forced to shut down, resulting in job losses and a decline in productivity.

What else would it mean?


In addition to the impacts on businesses, individuals, and the economy, hitting stage 8 load shedding in South Africa in 2023 would likely indicate a broader failure of the country's energy system and infrastructure. It would suggest that the government and energy authorities have not adequately planned for or invested in energy security, resulting in a vulnerable and unstable power supply.

The situation could also lead to social and political unrest, as residents and businesses become frustrated with the extended power outages and lack of reliable energy supply. This could put pressure on the government and energy authorities to find solutions quickly, potentially leading to policy changes or increased investment in energy infrastructure.

Furthermore, stage 8 load shedding could have ripple effects throughout the region, as South Africa is a major economic and political power in Southern Africa. Neighboring countries that rely on South Africa for electricity imports could experience their own power shortages as a result, potentially exacerbating regional economic and political instability.

Overall, hitting stage 8 load shedding in South Africa in 2023 would have significant implications for the country's economy, society, and political stability, as well as for the wider region. It would signal a need for urgent action to address energy security and ensure a stable and reliable power supply for the future.

Media says South Africa has twice hit stage 8 in the last few days, that is, by shedding over 7000 MW of electricity. Eskom confirms the amount but did not inform the public of the stage, rather just shedding that amount. Is this cause for concern. 


Yes, the fact that South Africa has twice hit stage 8 load shedding in the last few days, resulting in the shedding of over 7000 MW of electricity, is cause for significant concern. Stage 8 load shedding is the most severe level of load shedding in South Africa, indicating a severe shortage of electricity supply and an inability to meet the demand. It suggests that the power utility company, Eskom, is struggling to keep up with the energy needs of the country, and that there are serious issues with the country's energy infrastructure.

The fact that Eskom did not inform the public of the stage of load shedding, and only disclosed the amount of electricity being shed, could also be a cause for concern. It may suggest that the company is not being transparent about the severity of the situation, which could undermine public trust and confidence in the company's ability to manage the energy crisis.

The impacts of stage 8 load shedding on businesses, individuals, and the economy as a whole can be severe, leading to job losses, reduced productivity, and potential economic recession. It can also have health and safety implications, such as increased risk of crime, fires, and accidents.

Therefore, it is important for the government and energy authorities to take urgent action to address the energy crisis in South Africa, investing in new energy infrastructure, improving energy efficiency, and diversifying the country's energy mix to ensure a stable and reliable power supply for the future.

How should the US embassy warning US citizens in South Africa to stock up at least 72 hours of food and water in case and to be alert for civil unrest be viewed?


The US embassy warning US citizens in South Africa to stock up on at least 72 hours of food and water in case of civil unrest should be viewed as a serious indication of the current security situation in the country. The warning suggests that there may be a risk of civil unrest or other security threats that could lead to disruptions in essential services such as food and water supplies.

It is not uncommon for embassies to issue travel warnings or security alerts in response to potential security threats in the countries they serve. In this case, the US embassy is advising US citizens in South Africa to take precautions and be prepared in case of an emergency situation.

It is important to note that this warning is not specific to US citizens and may apply to other foreign nationals and South African citizens as well. The warning highlights the importance of staying informed about the local security situation, following guidance from local authorities, and taking appropriate precautions to ensure personal safety and security.

In summary, the US embassy warning to stock up on food and water and be alert for civil unrest should be taken seriously and viewed as an indication of the current security situation in South Africa. It is important for all individuals, both foreign nationals and South African citizens, to take appropriate precautions and stay informed about the local security situation.

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