The online Danish newspaper Altinget.dk has been running a debate series on vegetarianism featuring a panel of politicians, industry actors, and NGOs. The debate, in Danish, has been heating up quickly, particularly in the wake of an opinion piece by Karen Hækkerup, the CEO of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, which is the premier representative of Denmark’s farming and food industries.
In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Katrina Fox defends the claim that veganism is going mainstream. Anyone who follows the movement will agree that the last couple of years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of people in the Western world who identify with veganism, but estimates in most countries still put the proportion of vegans in the range of 0.5% to 4%. Certainly that makes it premature to say that we are anywhere near mainstream adoption, but Fox presents some frankly astounding developments on the business side of things to bolster the claim. For example, in the US, plant-based dairy alternatives are estimated to make up 40% of the total demand for dairy and dairy alternatives within three years. Sales of cow’s milk declined 5% last year, while plant-based milk sales grew 3.1%. Sales of plant-based foods in total increased by 8.1%. Rabobank estimates that within five years, alternative protein could represent one-third of European meat demand.
Here’s a list of things I’m currently working on:
A recent article on the Guardian lauded Portugal’s radical drug policy, asking why the rest of the world hasn’t yet copied it. It seems now that at least some countries are starting to take note: Norway, in a historic vote, has become the first Scandinavian country to decriminalize drugs.
Nature recently commissioned a comment piece in which they asked five influential statisticians to recommend one change to improve science. The contributors agree that the problem does not lie with maths but with ourselves. More accurately, it is in the interaction between statistics and human researchers/audiences that we discover the roots of the reproducibility crisis in science. Here are the main points from each of the contributors:
I’m in a slow-moving, gradual transition towards setting up the Atom text editor as my primary writing environment. The Atom text editor is an open source, ‘hackable’ text editor supported by the Github team. ‘Hackable’ simply means it’s easy to configure. Github support means Github integration, making version control and backups very simple. Since my webpage is hosted on Github pages, I also use Atom to write posts and edit my site. When you push changes to Github from within the editor, the webpage updates automatically. Since Github pages is based on Jekyll, you can write everything in Markdown and have it automatically rendered in HTML.
Together with Javier Garcia-Bernardo at the University of Amsterdam, I’ve started a Google Group for people who are interested in learning and using Python for social science.
I’ve recently started getting into Python programming for social science, and I’m finding it particularly helpful as a way to formalize and organize some of the analytical steps that I previously left undocumented and unreproducible. It’s also very empowering to discover how quickly you can learn to make computers work for you in your analytical work. The natural choice for most researchers in political science and sociology is the R programming language. R is unbeaten when it comes to state-of-the-art statistical calculations, but I think Python is the better choice for me for three main reasons: (1) webscraping, (2) natural language processing, and (3) simplicity and readability.
My personal website is now online. The purpose of this site is to create a landing page or hub that connects my various online presences, such as my profiles at Academia.edu, Researchgate.net, LinkedIn, and so on. I will also use this site to showcase my research and projects, and add blog posts every now and then with reflections and commentary on my works-in-progress.