Praesidium

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Berry Smoothies

We recently acquired a new blender (this one if you're interested - Amazon affiliate link) and, as a result, have rediscovered our love for smoothies. Luckily for us, this coincided with receiving some vouchers from Tesco for money off their summer berries and cherries range, which meant we #TriedForLess.

Here I'm getting things started, with bananas, raspberries, and blueberries...


 
 
You may notice this isn't our new blender - that was waiting to be washed, so using our old smoothie maker in the meantime.
 
'Recipe' 1 just uses milk (soya milk alternative in our case), plus two bananas and about half the packet (100g) of raspberries.
 

 
 
The result looks like this:

 
 
That was it for my partner, since she doesn't like blueberries in smoothies (she describes the texture as 'gloopy'). Nonetheless, blueberries are supposed to be very good for you, so here's 'recipe' 2 - pour out my partner's raspberry smoothie and now add a small handful of blueberries (about 40-50g):
 
 
The result is clearly darker:


 
 
The downside of the blueberries is that they do make more of a mess of whatever you're drinking out of - but that's what the dishwasher is for!
 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

School Trip Lottery

Lotteries are often used to distribute goods (e.g. scarce resources such as transplant organs) and bads (e.g. military conscription). Of course, this isn't particularly surprising since any lottery distributing a good can be re-described as one distributing the bad of not getting that good, and vice versa.

Recently in the news was this case of five primary school children who were excluded from an over-subscribed school trip to Disneyland. The headline highlights that names were drawn from a hat to decide who WOULDN'T go, but names could just as easily have been drawn to decide who would go - it would simply have taken much longer and not obviously been at all preferable.

The bullet point below ("School says drawing names was fair way to deal with over-subscription") also seems to implicate that a lottery was not fair - since it does not state this as fact but only as something the school says (though no better alternative is suggested).

To be clear, we have to separate two distinct issues here. The first is whether it's necessary to exclude five children from the trip at all. One might argue that the school could somehow have avoided this situation arising. However, if we take as given that there are 54 people wanting to go and only 49 places, so that the only question is how to allocate the good of places fairly, then a lottery seems pretty clearly fair.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Publication: Fairness and Aggregation

Now published (online) in Utilitas - available here (with subscription).

This was my first experience of co-authoring a journal article - something that's common in many fields (particularly the sciences) but still pretty rare in philosophy. It's something that I'd be happy to do again though.

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