A new and more useful way to rate how much you like something (e.g. food, experiences)

Usually when you ask someone to rate how ‘good’ something, people will rate it out of 0 to 10. For example, if you ask someone ‘how much did you enjoy that food?’, people will give a number from 0 to 10 where 0 means it was bad and 10 means it was perfect. This is fine in theory, but in practice I think it isn’t the best scale to use.

I prefer to use a scale of -10 to 10 where 0 is the neutral point. 0 means that you would be equally happy experiencing vs not experiencing that food or thing. Anything negative means you would have rather not eaten it, and anything positive means you are glad you ate it.

The benefit of using this scale is that it makes it clear whether the experience was positive or negative. With the scale of 0 to 10, the halfway point of 5 should in theory mean a neutral point, but the scale doesn’t seem to get used that way all of the time. Sometimes it seems like people use 3 to mean ‘it was a little bit good’. There also seems to be asymmetry between the peak of 10 and the trough of 0. 10 usually means ‘perfect’ while 0 usually means ‘mediocre to below average’. -10 to 10 removes this confusion.

Another example is for watching a movie. If I’m rating a movie, a negative score means I would rather have done something else (some average, mundane activity for example) than watch that movie in hindsight. I think this is more useful when someone is considering whether or not to watch a movie and wants your thoughts. Assuming they have similar tastes to you, a negative score clearly implies that they should not watch the movie.

Why am I writing about this? Who cares?

Well, I think communication is important, and this could be a tool to improve communication.

There it goes, the very last tree [environmental poem/art]

My mum Janine Dello and I made this together (I wrote the poem, she put everything together) for a fundraiser event to support artist studios.

There it goes, the very last tree. 

This will make a great spot for our new factory. 

The koala watched from the top of the hill, 

As foul fluid from a dozer began to spill. 

The bear felt despair, but no longer cared, 

With their family gone they were no longer scared. 

It wasn’t their fault you see, 

That’s just the way they were raised to be. 

Their society tells them that this is normal, 

And they all desperately want to be conformal. 

To clear the land for the sake of a steak, 

This practice is humanity’s greatest mistake.  

To take a native’s home to breed others, 

Then take the children away from their mothers. 

If this is the way of the human race, 

Then this koala hopes that they will be replaced. 

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Should we cull known reservoirs of COVID-19 such as minks and humans?

Denmark is engaging in a mass cull of millions of mink, individuals who are farmed for their fur, because they are a reservoir of COVID-19. Funnily enough, humans are also a reservoir of COVID-19, but the thought of culling humans to save humans is unfathomable (and rightly so).

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen became tearful when discussing (get this) the plight of the mink *farmers*. Apparently not so much sympathy for the minks themselves. Our desire to get get flesh, fur and secretions from non-humans is what produces most zoonotic pandemics in the first place, and yet it’s the farmed animals who are chosen to suffer and die first.

The problem with this whole thing is that none of the rationales we commonly use to justify doing what we do to non-humans would work if applied to humans.

“We need to eat them to be healthy.”

“We need to cull them to protect ourselves.”

“Their flesh and secretions just taste soo good.”

“I’d stop eating them but it’s just so inconvenient.”

Ultimately what it comes down to, whether people admit it or not, is that they just see non-humans as not being worthy of moral consideration as soon as our convenience or way of life is threatened. There is no reason for this. Non-humans can feel pain just like us, and some might even have a greater capacity to feel pain than humans. Should we cull humans to protect the interests of such non-humans with a greater capacity for suffering? No? Then maybe we should rethink how we view non-humans in the first place.

Danish MP Mette Frederiksen weeping, 26 Nov 20