Random links

Why we should tax meat that contains antibiotics
Makes sense to me. "The use of antibiotics in meat production is a major contributor to one of the biggest threats facing human health in the 21st century: antibiotic resistance. ... One way to tackle this would be to introduce a tax on meat produced with the use of antibiotics, to take account of our moral responsibility for the cost of our actions. And most meat eaters are responsible."
Trump Says He Offered China Better Trade Terms in Exchange for Help on North Korea
"Mr. Trump said he told his Chinese counterpart he believed Beijing could easily take care of the North Korea threat. Mr. Xi then explained the history of China and Korea, Mr. Trump said. 'After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,' Mr. Trump recounted. 'I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power' over North Korea,” he said. 'But it’s not what you would think.'"
Pierre Brassau
"a chimpanzee and the subject of a 1964 hoax perpetrated by Åke “Dacke” Axelsson, a journalist at the Swedish tabloid Göteborgs-Tidningen. Axelsson came up with the idea of exhibiting a series of paintings made by a non-human primate, under the presumption that they were the work of a previously unknown human French artist named 'Pierre Brassau', in order to test whether critics could tell the difference between true avant-garde modern art and the work of a chimpanzee. ... Critics praised the works, with Rolf Anderberg of the Göteborgs-Posten writing, 'Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.' After the hoax was revealed, Rolf Anderberg insisted that Peter/Pierre’s work was 'still the best painting in the exhibition.'"

The Justice Department doesn't have a great history on forensics

The current US Attorney General seems to be doing some stupid shit when it comes to investigating the possibility of false convictions:

I happen to agree with a lot of press commentary that it's outrageous - it's just that it seems to be almost par for the course when it comes to the possibility of false convictions. As an example, see the actions of the US Attorney General under Obama from September last year:

Random links

AI will make life meaningless, Elon Musk warns
"When asked if he thought A.I was a good or a bad thing Musk said: 'I think it is both.' 'One way to think of it is to imagine you were very confident we were going to be visited by super intelligent aliens in 10 years or 20 years at the most.'"
The Uttar Pradesh Association of Dead People
"Lal’s cousins had bribed a local official and declared him dead in order to take his land. One would think it a fairly easy procedure to prove that you aren’t dead but even in the United States this can take months. In India, it took 17 years."
Suicide Risk Assessment Doesn't Work
"But how good are we at predicting the level of suicide risk? Not very good at all, it seems, according to two recent meta-analyses of the last forty years of suicide risk research. One group of authors even suggests that the process of suicide risk assessment itself might increase the likelihood of suicide."
Secondhand Smoke Is Not Nearly As Dangerous As We Thought. Shouldn’t That Matter?
I'm kind of glad for the existence of secondhand smoking bans ... but the claims used to justify them appear to be overstated.

An interview on philosophy, trust, and skepticism

This interview with Onora O'Neill was a rather interesting I thought. My favourite excerpt:

As a scholarly discipline, do you think philosophy still commands respect and importance within the global academy?

I think philosophy gets the respect it deserves. Of course, where purported philosophical argument is replaced by dogmatic, trivial or ideological claims, respect is rapidly lost – as it should be.

Over your career, you’ve written extensively about trust; what is its role and function in society?

When we manage to place trust intelligently in trustworthy institutions and persons, life can be easier, pleasanter and less risky. So it is trustworthiness and judging trustworthiness well that matter to us. Misdirected trust is not valuable to anyone – except to the untrustworthy recipient.

Do you think we’re living in an age of heightened scepticism, where trust and belief in people are hard to come by?

I sometimes think we are living in an age of heightened credulity rather than of heightened scepticism. Many people worry about appearing gullible, but are fairly relaxed about appearing cynical.


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