Disability and Rarity of Updates

Haven't made any updates to my old site or "new" blog in over a year until yesterday. Even before then, I hadn't made a post talking about my disabilities and past and how badly it affects my ability to get things done.

This post will explain some of those issues, what I've been up to since last year, and what I might be able to do in the future.

Read more…

Forms of Life part 2: Overview of the Phylogenetic Tree of Life and Endosymbiosis

In the first part of this series, I discussed taxonomic terminology such as clades and kingdoms, but didn't go into the actual groups and the lifeforms within them. This article will provide a top-down phylogenetic overview of all lifeforms on Earth, as well as a discussion of how endosymbiosis has provided an alternate path for genetic material and evolution.

Phylogenetic tree of all known Earth Lifeforms

Read more…

The Delightful Diversity of "Cup" Sizes in UK/US/AU/NZ Cooking

Volumetric measurements (using the volume of a container) are inferior to Gravimetric measurements (i.e. weight) in most ways. Weighing is faster (for a given pareto-optimal degree of accuracy), can achieve greater accuracy, and most importantly there will be less dishes to clean up afterwards.

Most irritatingly, "cups" and "spoons" mean different amounts in different countries. Even worse, sometimes three "thirds" of a cup are less than one cup...

[Updated 2020-03-22: Added cup densities for wheat bran and oat bran]

Read more…

10 Minute "Meaty" Vegan Moroccan Pilaf

10 minutes cooking time, that is, so to be honest it's about 12-15 minutes total.

This is my usual standby meal because it meats (heh) all my requirements:
  • High in fibre (wholegrain burgul and veg)
  • High in protein (soya mince and wholegrains)
  • Relatively low in calories
  • Filling meaty taste, but no animal products
  • Each serve contains two 75g Australian "serves" of vegetables
  • Only uses non-perishable ingredients, so no need to plan ahead
  • Faster to make from scratch than to get takeaway
  • Only uses one pan/pot

Read more…

Non-Monotonicity in Australian Preference Voting

There are several methods of voting which allow voters to rank candidates in order of their preference, rather than just selecting a single desired candidate and then doing a single count (Plurality or "First Past the Post" voting). The system specifically used in Australian elections is "Instant-Runoff Voting" (IRV).

IRV is intended to allow for a variety of political parties of various sizes to flourish (unlike the famously two-party-dominated politics of the USA) as citizens who vote for a minor party as their first preference don't "waste" their vote; if their first preference is too obscure to get in, their vote goes to their second preference, and so on.

However, it is still possible for "vote-splitting" to have a negative effect on minor parties - in some cases, giving a candidate a higher preference can paradoxically cause them to lose, as they can be eliminated earlier.

Read more…