Comment by allison_smith on Inverse p-zombies: the other direction in the Hard Problem of Consciousness · 2013-08-06T05:52:30.996Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I woke up while having my wisdom teeth pulled. I was not in pain, just the ordinary discomfort of all dental procedures.

Comment by allison_smith on Arguments Against Speciesism · 2013-07-31T04:41:53.356Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

some anaesthetics used for surgery basically paralyses you and disable memory formation

Without also functioning as pain control, or in addition to that role? In either case, I'd be interested to know which anaesthetics these are; it seems like there might be interesting literature on them. (For instance, I'm curious to know whether they are first-line choices, or just used when there is no viable alternative.)

Comment by allison_smith on Why Eat Less Meat? · 2013-07-25T16:19:49.228Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I tend to figure that price increase on individual ingredients is compensated for by the fact that avoiding animal products encourages me to buy food in an earlier state of processing, which tends to be less expensive. Also, some aspects of a vegetarian or vegan diet are less expensive than the alternative; for instance, protein from dried beans is often cheaper than protein from meat. I have never found groceries a problematically large portion of my budget.

I think imitation syrup is usually high fructose corn syrup with colors and flavors added, so in most cases it is probably vegan. I'm not sure it would taste good in this recipe, but you could experiment.

Comment by allison_smith on Why Eat Less Meat? · 2013-07-24T21:59:51.012Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There seem to be a lot of vegan dessert cookbooks out there these days, but of course they are of varying quality. My personal favorites are by Isa Chandra Moskowitz; the link goes to the Desserts category of her blog, so you can see if you like her style.

One really specific recipe that I found surprising, in terms of successfully replacing a food that depends heavily on dairy, is this chocolate mousse. The other creamy food it is easy to successfully replace milk in is pudding; a blancmange (aka Jello cook'n'serve) will work fine with soymilk or with a thick enough nut milk. (Rice milk in particular is thin enough that you have to adjust the ratios or cooking time to get it to set properly.)

Comment by allison_smith on Why Eat Less Meat? · 2013-07-24T17:13:50.385Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I am not Alicorn, but I also like talking about delicious food and I do not eat eggs and dairy. Unfortunately, there is no general solution to the egg/dairy substitution problem, especially for the eggs end of it.

There are some things I just don't try to adapt: meringue, pastry cream, and whipped cream fall more-or-less into this category. I have had delicious dairy-free versions of whipped cream that seem to have been based on the fatty part of coconut milk, but I haven't made any myself.

There are some substitutions that are easy and consistent. In baking cakes, cookies, and similar things, you can usually use any unsweetened soy or nut milk 1:1 for milk, and use margarine in place of butter, or mild flavored vegetable oil in place of melted butter. It is easiest to get good results if your recipe is for spice or chocolate cake, or is otherwise meant to taste like something other than butter, as even the best non-dairy butter substitutes do not taste quite like the real thing. Eggs are a slightly harder thing to substitute for, so for a really easy experience, go for a recipe that does not use them; sometimes these are "light" cakes or recipes written when food was expensive or rationed.

Eggs, even in baking where they are non-obvious in the final product, can be tricky to substitute for because they do so many things. If the eggs are mainly adjusting the consistency of the batter or dough, you can substitute for 1 egg with 1/4 cup of soft silken tofu , applesauce, or soy yogurt, or anything of a similar texture that you think would taste good. If I expect the egg to actually do some work on helping the rising process, I use 1/4 cup of the liquid from the recipe or of soy milk, plus 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed or 1 tsp ground psyllium husk. If there are more than 1 or 2 eggs called for, I re-evaluate whether I want to use this recipe (things that are supposed to get flavor from eggs, or that use eggs in complicated ways, like with yolks and whites separated, are beyond my skill level to adapt), and if I still want to, I use some combination of the substitutions available to me, to avoid the food tasting heavily of flax or applesauce when I didn't intend that.

Comment by allison_smith on [SEQ RERUN] Of Gender and Rationality · 2013-05-14T00:04:23.904Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It is interesting to me that possibility 1 in this post (hypothesis: men and women are annoyed by different mistakes) manages to avoid giving the most obvious (to me) difference in what mistakes men and women are annoyed by, namely: in comparison to women, men tend to be much less sensitive to, and much less annoyed by, sexism in otherwise rational discourse. In fact, there's even a "mirror image" counterpart: men tend to be more annoyed than women by mention of sexism in situations where it is not clear that sexism is relevant, or where it is clear that no one was explicitly attempting to be sexist.

I suppose that this may have been a conscious omission, as part of the attempt to avoid making things worse merely by bringing up the topic for discussion. But for me it was very confusing, and somewhat alienating. Many male-dominated fields and communities stay that way (sometimes despite the explicit desires of the majority of the community) in part because members of the community engage in casual sexism, sometimes not noticing that they do so, and the other people present, who are mostly men, either don't notice or don't think it is important to point this out. Women who enter the community tend to notice the sexism, but may not address it directly (because they are insufficiently self-confident or disagreeable, or because addressing it directly has been a failure in the past) and instead allow it to prompt them to leave the community sooner than they otherwise would have. I don't know why there should be an assumption that "rationalists" would not share this problem to some degree, and not seeing it listed among possible causes of the gender imbalance here suggests to me that there is a taboo on discussing sexism here, even when doing so is necessary to understanding the phenomena we are discussing. That taboo, if it exists, certainly would make it harder for me to engage with this community. Since I don't know if there in fact is one, or what general rationalist principles it would follow from, though, I'm currently mainly confused.