Project Drawdown released their 2020 Update last week. It's now completely freely available and, in my opinion, the most accessible quantitative reference on climate solutions.
Updated table of climate solutions: https://drawdown.org/solutions/table-of-solutions
Drawdown 2020 review (requires email registration to download): https://drawdown.org/drawdown-framework/drawdown-review-2020
Notably, Reducing food waste has moved up to take the top rank, followed by Health and Education and then Plant-based diets. Refrigerant management, the previous top priority, is now ranked fourth, followed by ... (Read more)
I'd like to thank Parker Whitfill, Andrew Kao, Stefan Schubert, and Phil Trammell for very helpful comments. Errors are my own.
Many people have argued that those involved in effective altruism should “be nice”, meaning that they should cooperate when facing prisoner’s dilemma type situations (  ). While I believe that some of these are convincing arguments, it seems to be underappreciated just how often someone attempting to do good will face prisoner’s dilemmas. Previous authors seem to highlight mostly zero-sum conflict between opposing value systems... (Read more)
As a community, we should think more about how to create and improve our collective epistemic institutions. With that, I mean the formalized ways of creating and organizing knowledge in the community beyond individual blogs and organizations. Examples are online platforms like the EA Forum and Metaculus, events like EA Global and the Leaders Forum, surveys like the EA survey and the survey at the Leaders Forum. This strikes me as a neglected form of community-building that might be particularly high-leverage.
I sometimes see people claim that EA research tends to be low-quality or "not taken seriously" by scholars in relevant fields.
There are cases where this clearly isn't true (e.g. AI alignment questions seem to have at least split the scholarly community, with a lot of people on both sites).
But I worry that, as a non-scientist, I'm living in a bubble where I don't see strong critique of GiveWell's methodology, FHI's policy papers, etc.
Does anyone have good examples of respected* scholars who have reviewed EA research and either praised it highly or found it lackluster?
*I'm using this... (Read more)
Low back pain (lumbago) is a leading cause of disability and reduced productivity around the world, and the EA community seems no exception. Since I have had quite a bit of back pain, and spent hundreds of hours searching for solutions, I thought I might as well share some of the many useful tips and resources I've found.
Thanks to the hacks I list below, I've gone from having intense, crippling low back pain to maximizing my wellbeing in an Epicurean sense. (Needless to say, what follows is not medical advice, and may not work for everyone; low back pain can have many causes, and you... (Read more)
I really enjoyed "What posts are you planning on writing?"
This is the lazy version, for people who want a post to exist but want someone else to write it. Given that we're all stuck inside anyway, I'm hoping we can use this opportunity to get a lot of writing done (like Isaac Newton!)
So: What are some unwritten posts that you think ought to exist?
If you want something to exist badly enough that you'd pay for it, consider sharing that information! There's nothing wrong with offering money; some really good work has come from small-scale contracting of this kind.
I am working on a civic handbook - something to guide political engagement for the ordinary person. It has a combination of practical advice for making a difference, and policy guidance for several important issues where strong evidence and expert agreement exists. I welcome input and writing from others; here is the current draft which you can edit. We will hopefully post or publish it in a more convenient and appealing form when it is done.
The EAG 2020 team has invited Charity Entrepreneurship (CE) to conduct an AMA on the sidelines of this year’s virtual conference. CE helps start high-impact charities through extensive research and a two-month incubation program.
Hi EAG, Patrick here. I joined CE in the summer of 2019 as a Charity Mentor and have since become more involved, most recently as a Director of Communications. Besides communications, I contribute to developing the curriculum and content of the upcoming incubation program.
COVID-19 is a tragedy with more everyday social implications in the developed world than anything since World War II. Many EAs are wondering what, if anything, to do about COVID to help the world. To try to investigate further, I am helping articulate possible research ideas for further discussion and consideration.
The kind of research we need to do in this situation is very different from the kind of research EA is used to doing well. We normally spend several months carefully researching a single topic that doesn’t change very much. With COVID, everything about this is reversed—the situation... (Read more)
The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity is out today. I’ve been working on the book with Toby for the past 18 months, and I’m excited for everyone to read it. I think it has the potential to make a profound difference to the way the world thinks about existential risk.
How to get it
What you can do
Hi all! I'm Sam, a US-based web developer & designer. My apologies for the clickbait title, but some basic research has led me to think that insomnia is a neglected, burdensome problem on a global scale with a tractable solution. Specifically, based on assumptions laid out below, I think insomnia has a burden of ~130 million QALYs lost annually (compare to malaria's 55 million for scale). Furthermore, I think a (technically simple) implementation of a proven therapy intervention can drastically reduce the above number. I'm building a project to att... (Read more)
Robert Wiblin mused about how it's very likely there will be a long spate of public distrust and criticism of expert communities in medical research, public health and epidemiology, whose collective failures, perceived or real, will be connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert analogized this illustration to how public trust in expert communities of economists plummeted after the Great Recession. He gave a brief but broad overview of different aspects of this.
I've seen more of the EA community feel a similar ambiguity about the relationship of expert communities to the public, and t... (Read more)