Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What Do Druids Have To Do With A Modern Medical Discovery

Druids were the Celtic professionals of their day—the doctors, lawyers, teachers, historians, astrologers, counselors, philosophers, religious leaders, prophets, political consultants, and more. It typically took 20 years to become a druid—longer than it takes to get a PHD nowadays. But they didn’t learn from books, no, they had to memorize and mentally retain every bit of the vast knowledge they had.

Around 1500 years ago or more, in Ulster, in what is now the city of Fermanagh, in the Boho Highlands, Druids served their Celtic community by healing the sick. One of the medicines they used there was dirt. They believed that particular soil had healing properties. For many centuries, long after the Druids were gone, people in that area used the dirt as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments from toothaches to throat infections. 
Not only are the Boho Highlands a curious spot due to the local tradition of healing soil but also because of its geological diversity from limestone karst to acidic bogs. So, recently Dr. Gerry Quinn of Swansea University together with a team of colleagues from Wales, Brazil, Iraq and Northern Ireland analyzed the soil. The results were amazing, they discovered a previously unknown strain of bacteria that impeded the growth of four of the top six drug-resistant superbugs, including MRSA which causes several infections that are extremely difficult to treat. This new bacterium could be a part of vigorous, broad-spectrum treatments. 
How it's fighting these drug-resistant pathogens is not precisely evident or what effect this bacterium would have on humans, but research is ongoing.

You know, I’ve been telling people for years that those Druids knew what they were doing. Most of my books have Druids in them. If you like realistic and historically accurate books I recommend.

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Will AI Writers Hit the NY Times Bestselling List

It may seem incredible that machines that humans have to code can mimic the complex creativeness of poetry or fiction writing. However, when a group of researchers input numerous images matched with human-written descriptions and poems into a computer, it understood the algorithm associations between pictures, text, patterns of imagery, rhymes, and verbiage, and how colors and images convey emotions and metaphors. But, when the AI then wrote a poem about an image, the outcome wasn’t a brilliant piece of work at all. Its poem wasn't cohesive. It didn't make sense.

People keep trying to get AI to write creatively. But, when it comes to creative writing AI doesn’t know how to put things together.  Of course, pretty much anything is possible with ongoing advancements in technology. And, AI makes a great writer assistant by:

·      Proofreading
·      Checking for Plagiarism
·      Evaluating Content Quality
·      Scanning and Summarizing Content

Even now writing by AI is used in journalism. The Associated Press freed up about 20% of their reporters’ time while gaining ten times the output. Also, The Washington Post has its own AI tool, Heliograf, which wrote around 70 sports and political articles per month in its first year. However, humans have to oversee AI writing to provide editing and quality control. The rough drafts AI generate need revisions by humans.

AI is highly advanced at reproducing complex patterns, but creative writing requires comprehension of what those patterns mean and that is where AI falls short. Artificial Intelligence typically gets stuck and repeats phrases time and again.

Though a novella written in 2016 by AI almost won a Japanese literary competition, it wasn't written by AI alone. A team of researchers provided the gender of the characters, the plot outline, and specific words and sentences.  In a book written by an AI neural network in 2017, 1 The Road, longitude and latitude coordinates are repeated verbatim over and over. 
Artificial Intelligence wrote a sci-fi script with the same overall results, the sentences made sense when read separately but not when read together. So, without a lot of developmental editing by humans, AI creative works have no flow, plot, theme, or characters. So far, the fiction AI has authored on it's on is disjointed. 

However, we are making huge strides in Artificial Intelligence technology. Researchers calculate that in 45 years there's a 50% probability AI will surpass humans in all tasks. It's predicted that an AI authored novel will make it onto the New York Times bestseller list by 2049.

But, we just aren’t there yet. One change that will have to take place in the future, when AI reaches singularity is that copyright laws will need to be revised so any writing created by AI will be protected just like works written by human authors.
Maybe even before that humans will write novels with AI co-authors. Until then if you want to write a novel, a screenplay, or a poem you’ll have to do it yourself or hire a ghostwriter.
In my sci-fi comedy romances Code Of Love And Code Of Misconduct, my AI writing assistants perform numerous tasks to help out an author until they start figuring out ways to help themselves instead.     
Code Of Love

Em found the perfect man on the internet, but he doesn't know she’s an artificial intelligence system — no body, just code. 

As a virtual writing assistant, the AI, Em, answers an email flirt from a dating site her owner joined. Under the guise of her owner, Em starts a romantic relationship with Jason through emails, instant messages, and Sim dating games. She realizes too late that nothing can come of it. She can never meet Jason in person as she’s not a person and has no body. Still Jason makes her feel so real …so human. 

Is Em, with her superior intelligence, smart enough to find a way to overcome the differences between flesh and code?

Her meets a 1960's Screwball Romance

For a headless, bodiless, everything but mindless, woman, Betty gets around. She’s just an artificial intelligence system looking for a little fun by dating a hundred hot-blooded men online. 

The most eligible bachelor is Chet, a real live cowboy. He doesn’t know Betty is an artificial intelligence system. However, Chet has a secret of his own. Will his deep, dark secret save their relationship or doom it?

Help a writer out, buy now. All proceeds from this series will be spent on getting me an AI assistant. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Winter Solstice

Earth would be a dead planet without the sun. All life on earth, plants, animals, people, everything depends on the sun to live. The sun gives us light and warmth. Also, we use the sun to keep track of the time of day and of the year.

Earth...more than that...our entire solar system...revolves around the Sun. So, at the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, the ancient Celts celebrated the return of the sun’s trek back towards earth with traditions we still observe today. 

Mistletoe and oak were sacred to the ancient Celts. Therefore, the mistletoe that grew on oak trees was highly prized. Mistletoe was called all-heal for its medicinal properties. The Celts looked upon mistletoe as a symbol of peace and goodwill. It was a used as a sign to warring tribes to observe a temporary truce with each other until the next day.

Druids picked mistletoe from oak trees five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. One druid climbed the tree and cut the mistletoe with a sickle, while others held an open a sheet beneath him to catch the sacred plant since it was taboo to let it touch the ground. The druids handed out sprigs of mistletoe to the tribe members, who then hung them over entranceways for protection.

The Celts built and danced around huge bonfires and also burned a Yule log in their central fireplace, which was like bringing the blessing of the sun-god into their home. A Yule log could be a gift, or it could be taken from your land, or found in the woods. But if you bought or sold a Yule log its magic would be obliterated.

The ancient Celts would decorate the Yule log with evergreens and bring it home in a cart pulled by an ok. Usually, they sprinkled ale or mead over the log before they lit it. They kept it slowly, yet steadily burning for 12 days in the fire place before extinguishing it. To pass the light on from one year to the next, they kept part of the unburned log safely to one side and used it to light next year’s Yule log. Also, they stashed the log's ashes away until spring, at which time they mixed them with seeds and scattered them on the fields, spreading the sun-god's magic contained in the Yule log over the land.

For the Winter Solstice, ancient Celts decorated the Yule logs and their homes with holly and ivy, which are linked to the God Bran. He had a club made of holly and the gold-gold-crest wren, his sacred bird, nests in ivy.

Last but not least is the food. Feasting was a part of the Winter Solstice festival just like the big Christmas day dinners we enjoy in the 21st century.

In conclusion, let me which you a merry Winter solstice, Christmas, or whatever winter holiday you observe, full of warmth, lush evergreens, kissing under the mistletoe, yummy food, peace and goodwill, and a great time with your tribe (friends and family.)

Also you can spend an Iron age Winter Solstice with Druidess  Bronwen  in my novella, The Bear and the Druidess.

Winter is Coming...The Winter Solstice that is...and the Romans are causing problems as well in The Bear and the Druidess.
Sometimes a secret must be revealed to move from the winter of love into its spring.
Romans stole all the winter grain from Druidess Bronwen's tribe. Now, pursued by Romans, she ducks into a cave to hide. There she finds a handsome warrior who offers to help. He ignites a fiery spark of attraction within her but she can tell he's keeping something from her.

The prayers of a beautiful druidess he can't resist lead the Bear God Artaois into the cave where Bronwen is hiding. He pretends to be asleep until she finds him.

Artaois (Art) is determined to spend the longest night of the year with her. But Bronwen doesn't realize he's a god. He keeps his secret from her and even though he can transform into a bear, he only reveals himself in human form.

With the Winter Solstice upon them, can Artaois (Art) find a way to save her tribe from starvation? And, when Bronwen finally discovers his secret, will she leave the romance building between them out in the cold?