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Friday, August 13, 2010

The worst thing that has happened to me today...

I had almost forgotten that today is Friday the 13th. I noted that just before I went to sleep last night around 11 pm, then promptly forgot it until just about now.

No triskaidekaphobia here, I guess. I learned the word way back around 1st grade when I was about 6 and have remembered it ever since; my memory seems pretty good, but I plumb forgot that today is supposed to be unlucky.

I didn't realize that others may have kept that one item more strongly in their memories. I woke up a little late. My landlady was notably quick to rush out of the way. One of my most friendly neighbors didn't want to say her usually long 'hellos' in the morning as I go past, walking on my way to work. It would be superstitious of me to chalk that all up to Friday the 13th, so I won't, but denying or not recognizing something doesn't make it false or nonexistent.

I don't know what you call my seeming nonrecognition of Friday, the 13th. Avoidance, maybe?

Well, on with my work. Gladly, my grad school course's final exam is NEXT Week, on the 17th. No problemo!

And tonight's LUCKY Chinese vegan dinner ... Yep!

All very lucky!

I was wondering WHY my Asian neighbor was wearing bright RED last night. Entirely UNLIKE her. Usually she wears darks and/or pastels.

Oranges, anyone!?!?

Please note that I DID NOT purchase pears this morning at Haymarket.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Does Chelsea Clinton Have a Vegan "Agenda"? [Oh, don't we wish she had!!!]

Chelsea Clinton and the Vegan "Agenda"
Clinton Mezvinsky Wedding
Getty Images
With all the over-the-top coverage of Chelsea Clinton's not-quite-vegan wedding, the part that I find most interesting is the public reaction to the idea of a vegan wedding. I think that instead of asking whether vegans should impose our diets on our wedding guests, we should be asking whether omnivores should impose their diets on the rest of us. Read more.

Read Doris Lin's Animal Rights Blog at -

Designing Incentives for Online Question and Answer Forums

Anyone who has posted questions to online forums like LinkedIn and Yahoo! Answers could be interested in this paper:

Title: Designing Incentives for Online Question and Answer Forums
Authors: Shaili Jain
Chen, Yiling
Parkes, David C.

Shaili Jain
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Yiling Chen
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

David C. Parkes
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

In this paper, we provide a simple game-theoretic model of an online question and answer forum. We focus on factual questions in which user responses aggregate while a question remains open. Each user has a unique piece of information and can decide when to report this information. The asker prefers to receive information sooner rather than later, and will stop the process when satisfied with the cumulative value of the posted information. We consider two distinct cases: a complements case, in which each successive piece of information is worth more to the asker than the previous one; and a substitutes case, in which each successive piece of information is worth less than the previous one. A best-answer scoring rule is adopted to model Yahoo! Answers, and is effective for substitutes information, where it
isolates an equilibrium in which all users respond in the first round. But we find that this rule is ineffective for complements information, isolating instead an equilibrium in which all users respond in the final round. In addressing this, we demonstrate that an approval-voting scoring rule and a proportional-share scoring rule can enable the most efficient equilibrium with complements information, under certain conditions, by providing incentives for early respon-
ders as well as the user who submits the final answer.

3 new publications from Charles Lindsay Nunn at Harvard

Title: Comparative Chewing Efficiency in Mammalian Herbivores
Authors: Nunn, Charles Lindsay
Fritz, Julia
Hummel, J�rgen
Kienzle, Ellen
Arnold, Christian
Clauss, Marcus

Title: Primate Sleep in Phylogenetic Perspective
Authors: Nunn, Charles Lindsay
McNamara, Patrick
Capellini, Isabella
Preston, Brian T.
Barton, Robert A.

Title: Rapid Evolution of Social Learning
Authors: Nunn, Charles Lindsay
Franz, M

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


A term first used on the Internet by the Neuroskeptic blogger

Monday, August 09, 2010

Searching for a "Long View": Jain Diet (and ANY modern OR traditional diet) can be vegan

I'd see NO strategic OR person problems with being more restrictive in one's diet, as long as one has a scientific (both wholistic AND reductionistic?) view of nutrition AND ensures that s/he consumes adequate nutrients, however they are delivered to the body.

My working idea (developed several decades ago) would be "food columns" or nutrient delivery systems in foods, perhaps supplemented by concentrated substances (perhaps not).

Those whose worldview emphasizes (for whatever reason/s and in whatever way/s) a 'natural' diet may wish to ATTEMPT to avoid consuming 'concentrated substances' (nutritional supplements); however, the historical experience of various vegetarian and vegan communities in the late 20th and now early 21st centuries seems to indicate a shift TOWARDS nutritional supplementation that matches the LEVELS in the GENERAL (nonvegetarian) populations that rely on nutritional supplementation.

Rationalizing, explaining, and/or defending any choice to 'supplement' may relate to one's worldview.

In the West, many demonstrably 'religious' persons "compartmentalize" their "quote quote" "religion" into something they 'do' rather than as a whole way of being.

I find that disingenuous, but that's common practice. Hopefully, self-respecting Jains won't "compartmentalize", but hey: I'm not one to criticize. As in politics, I'm an "independent" (and in Western religious terms, as in the UK and Europe, that's called "nonsubscribing").

Does 'nature' make vegan diets for humans feasible, practical, sustainable? I think that the ample historical evidence (particularly of the many different "Asian" populations) is that it seems to be a means of sustaining people PRETTY well. I do think "anthropologically" about how and why many Indian peoples might have Incorporated symbiosis with dairy cows into their nutritional patterns (feeding themselves through the dairy fluids of cared for cows), but I'm not sure that human life has been all that civil MOST of the time.

I suspect that human differences give rise to partial civilization, but that 'synthesis' of many different human elements CAN become historically sustainable IF lots of mental energy (by thinkers and leaders) works to intentionally BUILD a 'social synthesis' that works for the broad and overwhelming majority.

I think vegan diets CAN do that, and that vegan diets CAN do that better than other diets IF we also count the explosion of human population and the ecological impacts of animal agriculture. But that kind of broad picture, "long view" (long-term historical view) of human nutrition seems relatively rare. More often, immediate "decisions" are sought in terms of self-evident REASONS for "giving up dairy" and "going meatless" or "staying veg" - perhaps doing a disservice to the "long view" that (in my opinion) makes the abolition of ALL animal agriculture (for all reasons) highly desirable - not only because of the personhood of the 'farmed' animals, but also because of future "distributed" "personhoods" (going forward in time/history). We respect personhood far better if we commit ourselves to future well-being than if we only count the "extant" persons living today.

That's MY $00.02 (two cents worth).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

ScienceDirect Search Alert: vegan

1.Green eating
The New Scientist, Volume 207, Issue 2772, 7 August 2010, Page 24
Amanda Baker

2.The compliance of medical staff for the routine administration of iron in the 1st year to their children
Clinical Nutrition, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 5 August 2010
Gabi Haran, Lisa Rubin, Ron Shaoul

3.Recreating semi-natural grasslands: A comparison of four methods
Ecological Engineering, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 31 July 2010
Knut Rydgren, Nordbakken J�rn-Frode, Austad Ingvild, Auestad Inger, Heegaard Einar

4.Distribution of saproxylic beetles in a recently burnt landscape of the northern boreal forest of Qu�bec
Forest Ecology and Management, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 31 July 2010
Yan Boulanger, Luc Sirois, Christian H�bert

5.Why did I eat that? Perspectives on food decision making and dietary restraint
Journal of Consumer Psychology, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 31 July 2010
Melissa G. Bublitz, Laura A. Peracchio, Lauren G. Block