"Is Wine Fake?" In Asterisk Magazine
I wrote an article on whether wine is fake. It's not here, it's at asteriskmag.com, the new rationalist / effective altruist magazine. Congratulations to my friend Clara for making it happen. Stories include:
Modeling The End Of Monkeypox: I’m especially excited about this one. The top forecaster (of 7,000) in the 2021 Good Judgment competition explains his predictions for monkeypox. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at a column by some overconfident pundit, this is maybe the most opposite-of-that thing ever published.
Making Sense Of Moral Change: Interview with historian Christopher Brown on the end of the slave trade. “There is a false dichotomy between sincere activism and self-interested activism. Abolitionists were quite sincerely horrified by slavery and motivated to end it, but their fight for abolition was not entirely altruistic.”
How To Prevent The Next Pandemic: MIT professor Kevin Esvelt talks about applying the security mindset to bioterrorism. “At least 38,000 people can assemble an influenza virus from scratch. If people identify a new [pandemic] virus . . . then you just gave 30,000 people access to an agent that is of nuclear-equivalent lethality.”
Rebuilding After The Replication Crisis: This is Stuart Ritchie, hopefully you all know him by now. “Fundamentally, how much more can we trust a study published in 2022 compared to one from 2012?”
Why Isn’t The Whole World Rich? Professor Dietrich Vollrath’s introduction to growth economics. What caused the South Korean miracle, and why can’t other countries copy it?
Is Wine Fake? By me! How come some people say blinded experts can tell the country, subregion, and year of any wine just by tasting it, but other people say blinded experts get fooled by white wines dyed red?
China’s Silicon Future: Why does China have so much trouble building advanced microchips? How will the CHIPS act affect its broader economic rise? By Karson Elmgren.
The Illogic Of Nuclear Escalation: By Pulitzer-winning nuclear analyst Fred Kaplan. The US has almost 4,000 nuclear weapons. Wouldn’t a few hundred be enough to send the message “don’t mess with us”? Why did we build the others?
They May As Well Grow On Trees: Xander Balwit’s report on factory farming in the year 2053. Featuring eyeless, beakless, featherless, near-brainless chickens that “[resemble] something between an animal and a fruit”.
Congratulations again to everyone involved in putting this together! You can add your name to the mailing list to learn about future issues, and at some point they’ll launch a store where you can buy paper copies / subscriptions.
Last weekend I hosted a party to celebrate the launch of the first issue. I told attendees that all the foods had kabbalistic significance; their job was to figure them out.
They got the Taiwanese chips, the plant-based chicken, the expensive Korean food, and the nuclear hot sauce. But nobody caught that the refreshment was a white wine dyed red.