Weighing Animal Worth

It's common for people who approach helping animals from a quantitative direction to need some concept of "moral weights" so they can prioritize. If you can avert one year of suffering for a chicken or ten for shrimp which should you choose? Now, moral weight is not the only consideration with questions like this, since typically the suffering involved will also be quite different, but it's still an important factor.

One of the more thorough investigations here is Rethink Priorities' moral weights series. It's really interesting work and I'd recommend reading it! Here's a selection from their bottom-line point estimates comparing animals to humans:

Humans 1 (by definition)
Chickens 3
Carp 11
Bees 14
Shrimp 32

Commonsense Good, Creative Good

Let's say you're vegan and you go to a vegan restaurant. The food is quite bad, and you'd normally leave a bad review, but now you're worried: what if your bad review leads people to go to non-vegan restaurants instead? Should you refrain from leaving a review? Or leave a false review, for the animals?

On the other hand, there are a lot of potential consequences of leaving a review beyond "it makes people less likely to eat at this particular restaurant, and they might eat at a non-vegan restaurant instead". For example, three plausible effects of artificially inflated reviews could be:

Text Posts from the Kids Group: 2022

Another round (previously: 2023) of liberating kid posts from Facebook:

(Some of these were from me; some were from Julia. Ones saying "me" could mean either of us.)

Feedly Breaks MathML

A few days ago I wrote about my experience with MathML, and despite being somewhat positive on it in that post I've decided to stop using it for now. The problem is, it doesn't display for people who follow my blog through RSS on (I'm guessing) most popular RSS system.

Here's a screenshot from my most recent MathML-containing post, on my website:

And here's the same portion of that post running in the web version of Feedly on the same browser:

Honor System for Vaccination?

In June the social dance I help organize decided to drop its requirement that people be vaccinated and boosted:

Checking vaccination cards at the door requires an additional volunteer, is a hassle for attendees, and at this point the communities we draw from are overwhelmingly vaccinated. While we still recommend staying up to date on vaccinations (including your flu shot and covid booster in the fall!), we're dropping this requirement starting with our July 2nd dance.

One question we got, both in person and electronically, was why not keep requiring vaccination on the honor system? Speaking for myself and not BIDA, I think this is rarely a good policy for events.

Hand-writing MathML

When I write posts I use raw HTML. Yes, the modern thing to do is probably Markdown, but HTML was designed for hand-coding and still works well for that if you don't want anything especially fancy. But what if you want math?

Previously when I've wanted to do math I've written it out as fixed-width ASCII:


In my editor this looks like:


This is reasonably readable, works anywhere, and I like the aesthetic. I probably should have stuck with it, but after helping publish a report that included some traditionally-formatted equations and learning that MathML has been supported cross-browser since the beginning of the year (thanks Igalia!), I decided to try it out. I wrote the equations in two recent posts in it, and am mixed on the experience.

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