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2023#15

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2023.05.27 Issue 15

Dear Bodhisattvas, greetings!

The header image for this issue is a stunning crystal generated by Midjourney. The prompt is: Particle basics, visualizing movies, millions of crystals forming smooth and natural dynamics, dynamic forces, constraints, physics simulation optimizing positions, astonishing visual attributes, making crystals even brighter. --ar 16:9 --c 10 --s 1000.

Below is the main content of this issue, with an estimated reading time of about 5 minutes.


1. Reexamining the Status of the US Dollar#

Recently, Reuters published an article discussing the challenges to the US dollar's status as the dominant global currency. The article points out that competition with China, the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine, and the debate over the US debt ceiling in Washington have all led to a new scrutiny of the dollar's status. Russia's exclusion from the global financial system last year due to sanctions also sparked speculation that non-US allies may diversify away from the dollar.

The article presents some arguments explaining why de-dollarization may or may not happen. For example, the share of the US dollar in official foreign exchange reserves fell to 58% in the fourth quarter of 2022, reaching a 20-year low. However, although the share of the dollar in central bank foreign exchange reserves reached its lowest point in 20 years in the last quarter of 2022, this change has been gradual, and the current level is similar to that of 1995.

In addition, the dominant position of the dollar in commodity trading is being challenged, but de-dollarization would require a vast and complex network of exporters, importers, currency traders, debt issuers, and lenders to independently decide to use other currencies, which is unlikely. While there may not be a single successor to the dollar, emerging alternatives could create a multipolar world.

2. Scientists Discover New Antibiotics Through AI#

Scientists have discovered a new antibiotic using artificial intelligence, which may be used to combat deadly and treatment-resistant infections in hospitals. The process, developed by a team including researchers from McMaster University in Canada, paves the way for the discovery of new antibiotics to treat various challenging bacteria.

According to an article published in the journal "Nature Chemical Biology," scientists are urgently seeking to develop new drugs to treat Acinetobacter baumannii, a bacterium listed by the World Health Organization as one of the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria in the world. This bacterium is known to cause pneumonia, meningitis, and wound infections, all of which can be fatal. It is found in hospital environments and can survive on surfaces for a long time. Previous research has also found that this pathogen can acquire antibiotic resistance genes from other bacteria.

However, the development of new antibiotics against Acinetobacter baumannii using traditional chemical screening tests has been challenging due to the time-consuming and expensive nature of traditional methods. In the new study, scientists used AI to predict previously unknown categories of antibacterial molecules and identified a new compound they named abaucin.

Scientists believe that the new compound abaucin has potential because it specifically targets Acinetobacter baumannii. Since most antibiotics have broad-spectrum activity and can affect all bacteria, they may disrupt beneficial gut bacteria in the human body and open the door to serious infections, including those caused by the deadly C. difficile. Targeting Acinetobacter baumannii with a new drug may make it less likely to develop resistance quickly and help create new precise and effective treatment methods.

3. Today's Emo#

Today is very emo because my ChatGPT Plus subscription was canceled, and even my OpenAI account was deleted.

In the morning, I was using the WebPolit plugin for ChatGPT Plus to retrieve materials about the economic situation in Hong Kong for this issue. But suddenly, it stopped working. I went online and saw a lot of people lamenting the same issue. I asked a few friends, and we were all in the same boat.

What makes me most angry and unacceptable is that my account was deleted without any warning or notification, causing me to lose many conversation contents that were not saved. Another point is that it is now difficult to apply for the GPT-4 API, and my account being deleted means that I can no longer use the API.

I wrote an angry email with very sharp words, although I know it is unlikely that my account will be restored.

4. Blog Migration and Restructuring#

Last week, I migrated my blog from Super.so to Nobelium, which is deployed on Vercel. If you visit my blog now, you will find that it looks very different from before.

In the article "Blog Migration and Restructuring," I explained in detail the reasons for the migration, as well as the deployment process and related technical details. If you also have the urge to deploy a personal independent blog, you may find this article helpful.

When I was in junior high school, the concept of "blog" entered China and flourished. Time flies, and I am now in my thirties. The concept of "blog" has gradually lost its popularity and attention with the rise of concepts such as "microblog," "public account," and "short video." However, I am delighted to see that there are still many people, like me, who have been persistently writing blogs, and there are even signs of a revival in the past two years.

Those of us who write blogs use WordPress, Typecho, Hexo, Hugo, and other platforms to build our own independent blogs. The purpose is to share our lives and knowledge, and to better ourselves through writing, as well as to facilitate our own growth. As Liu Weipeng, the author of "Dark Time," wrote in his article "Why You Should (Start) Blogging Now":

Make yourself a person who continues to learn and think, and only write what you have truly thought about and summarized. Everything else will follow.

5. Paid Column Update#

6. Blog Updates#

7. Zen Sayings#

The straight mind is the place of practice, without falsehood.

From the "Vimalakirti Sutra"

If you enjoy the content of this issue, please help share it with your friends and support me to continue writing.
Feel free to reply to this email or send it to [email protected] to communicate with me.

Best regards,

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