Progress Open Thread: November 2020

by Aaron Gertler1 min read2nd Nov 202014 comments

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The Progress Open Thread is a place to share good news, big or small.

See this post for an explanation of why we have these threads.

What goes in a progress thread comment? 

Think of this as an org update thread for individuals. You might talk about...

  • Securing a new job, internship, grant, or scholarship
  • Starting or making progress on a personal project
  • Helping someone else get involved in EA
  • Making a donation you feel really excited about
  • Taking the Giving What We Can pledge or signing up for Try Giving
  • Writing something you liked outside the Forum (whether it's a paper you've submitted to a journal or just an insightful Facebook comment)
  • Any of the above happening to someone else, if you think they'd be happy for you to share the news
  • Other EA-related progress in the world (disease eradication, cage-free laws, cool new research papers, etc.)
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I won the Stevenson prize (a prize given out at my faculty) for  my performance in the  MPhil in Economics.  I gather Amartya Sen won the same prize some 64 years ago, which I think is pretty cool.

Amartya Sen won the same prize 

No pressure.

 

Just kidding, congratulations!

Damn congrats!!! 

I'm currently #1 on the leaderboard of CSET's foretell; predicting that, before the US elections, China would not add a U.S. company to its newly created Unreliable Entities List, and that no private messages obtained in the July Twitter hack would be leaked to the public just brought me from 2nd to 1st.

CSET's foretell is "a crowd forecasting pilot project launched by Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology that focuses on questions relevant to technology-security policy." CSET received/was created with a large grant from OpenPhil.

congrats that's awesome!

Do you know what's the base rate of questions on foretell that resolves "yes?"

Good question. Of the binary questions which I've predicted and have resolved, 0/10 (!). But 7 were about US-China relations, so you'd expect them to be somewhat correlated. Some of them also seemed like they could have happened, like Microsoft's acquisition of TikTok, or European countries restricting Huawai. So, overall, my gut tells me I'd expect about 10-20% to resolve positively in the future. Note that binary questions (as opposed to questions which ask about different ranges) are relatively scarce; there are 29 questions open right now of which only 4 are binary.

Togo just became the first African country to have officially (according to the World Health Organization) eliminated sleeping sickness!

Myanmar has eliminated trachoma

In 2005, trachoma was responsible for 4% of all cases of blindness in Myanmar. By 2018, the prevalence of trachoma was down to a mere 0.008% with trachoma no longer a public health problem.

Meanwhile, Maldives and Sri Lanka have both eliminated rubella. This appears in the same article as the Myanmar news, because... 

...I guess eliminating diseases nationwide is so commonplace that we don't even need separate updates for each country/disease? That seems like a good thing.

I finished my degree! (BA in economics and philosophy). It ended up being quite a challenging final semester, mostly because of COVID and things going on in my personal life, so it's great to have it done.

I also won an award from my college for my performance (highest GPA), which was pretty cool.

The world's first lab grown meat restaurant opened in Israel: https://www.livekindly.co/first-lab-grown-meat-restaurant/