Quick takes

The recently released 2024 Republican platform said they'll repeal the recent White House Executive Order on AI, which many in this community thought is a necessary first step to make future AI progress more safe/secure. This seems bad. From https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/24795758/read-the-2024-republican-party-platform.pdf, see bottom of pg 9.
Do you like SB 1047, the California AI bill? Do you live outside the state of California? If you answered "yes" to both these questions, you can e-mail your state legislators and urge them to adopt a similar bill for your state. I've done this and am currently awaiting a response; it really wasn't that difficult. All it takes is a few links to good news articles or opinions about the bill and a paragraph or two summarizing what it does and why you care about it. You don't have to be an expert on every provision of the bill, nor do you have to have a group of people backing you. It's not nothing, but at least for me it was a lot easier than it sounded like it would be. I'll keep y'all updated on if I get a response.
For those voting in the EU election and general elections in Belgium, here's an overview of the party positions when it comes to animal welfare: (For more details, click this link) ✅ means more in favor    ❌ means more against Federal election (Flanders): policy proposal PVDA 🔴 GROEN ❇️ VOORUIT 🔺 Open-VLD 🔵 CD&V 🔶 N-VA 🔆 VB ⬛️ VAT rate reduction on veterinary care and pet food✅✅❌❌❌❌✅A ban on traditional fireworks✅✅✅❌❌✅✅ Federal election (Walloon): policy proposal PTB 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ PS 🔺 LE 🐬 Défi 🌸 MR 🔵 VAT rate reduction on veterinary care and pet food✅❌✅❌❌✅A ban on traditional fireworks✅❌✅❌❌✅ Flanders election: policy proposal PVDA 🔴 GROEN ❇️ VOORUIT 🔺 Open-VLD 🔵 CD&V 🔶 N-VA 🔆 VB ⬛️ Better living conditions for broiler chickens in Flanders✅✅✅❌❌✅✅A ban on live cooking and cutting lobsters in half✅✅❌❌❌❌❌A phasing out plan of Boudewijn Seapark✅✅✅❌❌✅✅A ban on the painful surgical castration of piglets✅✅✅❌❌✅❌A ban on chick killing✅✅✅✅❌✅✅Stricter legislation around the dog and cat trade✅✅✅❌❌✅✅A duty of care for horses, dogs, cats and rabbits✅✅❌❌❌✅✅The development of cultured meat in Flanders✅✅✅✅❌✅❌Animal testing: for an animal-free strategy in Flanders✅✅✅✅❌✅✅A Flemish ban on the sale of products that harm animal welfare✅✅✅❌❌✅❌Animal welfare as a criterion in environmental permit procedure✅✅❌❌❌✅❌A punishment of animal abuse through GAS fines ❌✅❌❌❌✅✅total score11/1212/128/123/120/1211/127/12Highest score ✅      Walloon election:   PTB 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ PS 🔺 LE 🐬 Défi 🌸 MR 🔵 Total score12/1311/138/1310/136/135/13Highest score✅      EU election (Flanders):   PVDA 🔴 GROEN ❇️ VOORUIT 🔺 Open-VLD 🔵 CD&V 🔶 N-VA 🔆 VB ⬛️ Total score9/1010/1010/108/100/1010/100/10Highest score ✅✅  ✅  EU election (Walloon):   PTB 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ PS 🔺 LE 🐬 Défi 🌸 MR 🔵 Total score9/109/107/109/106/107/10Highest score✅✅ ✅   Brussels election:   PVDA 🔴 ECOLO ❇️ GROEN ❇️ PS 🔺 VOORU
The Belgian senate votes to add animal welfare to the constitution. It's been a journey. I work for GAIA, a Belgian animal advocacy group that for years has tried to get animal welfare added to the constitution. Today we were present as a supermajority of the senate came out in favor of our proposed constitutional amendment. The relevant section reads: It's a very good day for Belgian animals but I do want to note that: 1. This does not mean an effective shutdown of the meat industry, merely that all future pro-animal welfare laws and lawsuits will have an easier time.  And, 2. It still needs to pass the Chamber of Representatives. If there's interest I will make a full post about it if once it passes the Chamber. EDIT: Translated the linked article on our site into English.
A lot of policy research seems to be written with an agenda in mind to shape the narrative. And this kind of destroys the point of policy research which is supposed to inform stakeholders and not actively convince or really nudge them. This might cause polarization in some topics and is in itself, probably snatching legitimacy away from the space. I have seen similar concerning parallels in the non-profit space, where some third-sector actors endorse/do things which they see as being good but destroys trust in the whole space. This gives me scary unilaterist's curse vibes..
Radar speed signs currently seem like one of the more cost effective traffic calming measures since they don't require roadwork, but they still surprisingly cost thousands of dollars. Mass producing cheaper radar speed signs seems like a tractable public health initiative
As someone predisposed to like modeling, the key takeaway I got from Justin Sandefur's Asterisk essay PEPFAR and the Costs of Cost-Benefit Analysis was this corrective reminder – emphasis mine, focusing on what changed my mind: More detail: Tangentially, I suspect this sort of attitude (Iraq invasion notwithstanding) would naturally arise out of a definite optimism mindset (that essay by Dan Wang is incidentally a great read; his follow-up is more comprehensive and clearly argued, but I prefer the original for inspiration). It seems to me that Justin has this mindset as well, cf. his analogy to climate change in comparing economists' carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes vs progressive activists pushing for green tech investment to bend the cost curve. He concludes:  Aside from his climate change example above, I'd be curious to know what other domains economists are making analytical mistakes in w.r.t. cost-benefit modeling, since I'm probably predisposed to making the same kinds of mistakes. 
Winners of the China and Global Cooperation Tournament The China and Global Cooperation Tournament has ended, thank you to everyone who forecasted! Here are the top three finishers: 1. twsummer – $687 2. Ab5A8bd20V – $194 3. Inertia – $80 The China and Global Cooperation Tournament featured questions related to the future of China and its role in the world stage. Participants forecasted on questions such as the global uptake of China’s currency, the number of Japanese Air Force responses to Chinese aircraft, and the combined market cap of large Chinese companies.
Load more (8/46)