Issue Two Of Asterisk
…the new-ish rationalist / effective altruist magazine, is up here. It’s the food issue. I’m not in this one - my unsuitability to have food-related opinions is second only to @eigenrobot’s - but some of my friends are. Articles include:
Beyond Staple Grains: In the ultimate “what if good things are bad?” article, economist Prabhu Pingali explains the downsides of the Green Revolution and how scientists and policymakers are trying to mitigate them.
The Health Debates Over Plant-Based Meat, by Jake Eaton (is this nominative determinism?) There’s no ironclad evidence yet that plant-based meat is any better or worse for you than animals, although I take the pro-vegetarian evidence from the Adventist studies a little more seriously than Jake does (see also section 4 here). There’s a prediction market about the question below the article, but it’s not very well-traded yet.
America Doesn’t Know Tofu, by George Stiffman. This reads like an excerpt from a cultivation novel, except every instance of “martial arts” has been CTRL-F’d and replaced with “tofu”.
Read This, Not That, by Stephan Guyenet. I’m a big fan of Stephan’s scientific work (including his book The Hungry Brain), and although I’m allergic to anything framed as “fight misinformation”, I will grudgingly agree that perhaps we should not all eat poison and die.
Is Cultivated Meat For Real?, by Robert Yaman. I’d heard claims that cultivated (eg vat-grown, animal-cruelty-free) meat will be in stores later this year, and also claims that it’s economically impossible. Which are true? This article says that we’re very far away from cultivated meat that can compete with normal meat on price. But probably you can mix a little cultivated meat with Impossible or Beyond Meat and get something less expensive than the former and tastier than the latter, and applications like these might be enough to support cultivated meat companies until they can solve their technical obstacles.
Plus superforecaster Juan Cambeiro on predicting pandemics, Mike Hinge on feeding the world through nuclear/volcanic winter (his organization, ALLFED, got an ACX grant last year), Dynomight on how a big NIH alcohol study went wrong (hopefully you already read this on his excellent blog), Jordan Hampton with the obligatory wild animal suffering article, Matt Reynolds on oral rehydration therapy, and more.
Congratulations again to Clara, Jake, and the rest of the Asterisk team! As always, you can subscribe here.