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How Randomised Trials won the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805

Published on July 13th, 2018

Listening to Karl Kruszelnicki’s Shirtloads of Science podcast episode on June 24, 2018 – titled Randomistas – they’ve won wars, healed the sick and helped us learn revealed an interesting example, in Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, as to the value of randomised trials in shaping the World. The interviewee was Andrew Leigh, author of Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed Our World.

To set the scene, Andrew Leigh points out that in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) scurvy caused the vast majority of deaths. A huge 180,000 men died in the British Navy in those seven years and a less impressive couple of thousand were killed in the fighting. Scurvy was that bad.

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Making All Grain Beer with BIAB (Brew in a Bag)

Published on June 4th, 2018

BIAB (Brew in a Bag) is a relatively cheap entry point for making beer from the rudimentary elements of grain, hops and yeast. Why do that? I can see a lot of people look at the home brewers out there like we’re all crazy – a whole day making booze? No way!

Why do BIAB Brewing?

Well, imagine the difference in taste and quality between a cake you make from a packet (or buy in the supermarket) and a cake you make from carefully sourced fresh quality ingredients at home in an oven where you control the variables of cooking. That’s a large part of the answer right there. Quality.

Another part of the answer is cost. No, it’s not ever going to be cheap to make all grain beer because equipment costs serious money. But BIAB is a way of doing all the things relatively cheaply in one pot. So it’s really not that expensive. Once the equipment arrives it’s going to cost you a few bucks a 700ml bottle. That’s not bad.

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A Brave Simple Cure for Tasmania’s Housing Crisis

Published on April 24th, 2018

Before you even read about the question or the constraints I’ll give it to you here. For free. Start building new affordable housing targeted at the young families who want and need to buy into a property future. There. Was that so hard to digest?

OK, the problem is more complicated. In the short term, people need shelter and security. And we should do that like it was a State emergency; we should be activating our situation room as though a suburb burned to the ground last week and we need to house and feed everybody who lived there. But we won’t. We would, as decent human beings, except consecutive governments have gone down the road of vilifying anybody who is unemployed and/or homeless as burdens in our society. Giving the poor too much of a leg up out of the gutter just won’t happen… too many Tasmanians would complain.

So, while you’ll see a lot of meetings and discussions in the public sector, it will always end in croissants at noon and everybody back to their safe warm office buildings by afternoon tea. Public servants and their masters just don’t care about the homeless. Not enough to fix the problem. However convincingly their tears.

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More Articles on StevenClark.com.au

  1. Making All Grain Beer with BIAB (Brew in a Bag)
  2. A Brave Simple Cure for Tasmania’s Housing Crisis
  3. Identifying Sloe Berries from Damson Plums
  4. Charles Gatewood (1942-2016)
  5. The Kitan Club: Strange Stories & Curious Tales

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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