Ada-Maaria Hyvärinen

1043Joined Oct 2021


Career advising lead at EA Finland / data scientist /confused about AI safety / interested in EA communications


Onni works for Rethink Priorities and is part of the board of EA Finland, but does not actively participate in community building efforts in a hands-on practical basis anymore such as organizing events or so. My impression is that he is relieved that other people are doing it now :) 

Good that you asked, since one thing I wanted to highlight with this story was that it is possible to succeed at community building even if it is not your favorite thing or the best personal fit for you considering all abstract possibilities  – if you are the only person able to put in effort at a specific time, you are the best person to do it. (And later you can hand it over to others when you discover a new another opportunity that utilizes more of your personal strengths.)

Good observation, I didn't notice that! Sure makes it harder for non-Swedish speakers to for example become aware of "should I check whether there is a connection to Nationaldemokraterna" if there is no English page that points to that direction.

What comes to Swedish speakers: If the letter of intent would have been signed because of nepotism, the vaccination skepticism part probably would not have come as a surprise since it seems to be a recurring theme in Per Shapiro's NyD contributions (again, if my Swedish does not fail me). Which to me seems evidence to the direction that nepotism did not influence the decision.

Like Elliot, while I think the FLI team has handled the whole thing just fine, I also find it confusing people think the far-right connections of Nya Dagbladet would have been difficult to identify. I didn't know anything about Nya Dagbladed in advance so I checked it:

The complete English Wikipedia article on Nya Dagbladet:

"Nya Dagbladet is a Swedish online daily newspaper founded in 2012,[1] which has a historical connection to the National Democrats, a far-right political party in Sweden. It publishes articles promoting conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, COVID-19 vaccines, climate change, mobile phone towers, and others. Other common themes include immigration, GMOs, Israel, the EU,[2] and pro-Kremlin propaganda regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[3][4] Markus Andersson is its editor-in-chief."

The Swedish summary/beginning of the Wikipedia article on Nya Dagbladed:

"Nya Dagbladet är en svensk nätbaserad dagstidning grundad 2012.[2] Tidningen är nationalistisk, vetenskapsskeptisk och partipolitiskt obunden, med historisk koppling till Nationaldemokraterna. Den betecknar sig som humanistisk och etnopluralistisk med en antiglobalistisk hållning.[3] Den refererar ofta pseudovetenskap och vaccinationsmotstånd."

I tried to check what the newspapers' tone regarding Jews is, and I found this letter from the editor kind of strange. (If my Swedish does not fail me it claims that the Holocaust memory day is "real antisemitism" as many horrors of the Holocaust didn't actually happen.) 

Also, Per Shapiro has written a commentary titled "Den extrema högern" ("Far right") in 2021 about people's negative reactions to his previous article, saying that people on social media accused him of writing in an far-right paper, while (according to Shapiro) the biggest Swedish newspaper is actually a lot more far-right (because it's editor in chief supports American war crimes and Israeli occupation). What I understand from this (again with my limited Swedish and Google Translate) is that Shapiro both strongly rejects far-right but is well aware that many people perceive writing in NyD as far-right associated. So I wonder what the recent revelations of extremism are that shocked him are – maybe something happened that I cannot identify just by looking at the newspapers post history.

Just to give you a data point from a non-native speaker who likes literature and languages, this quote wasn't a joy to read for me since it would have taken me a very long time to understand what this is about if I would not have known the context. So I am not sure what you mean by the best linguistic traditions – I think simple language can be elegant too.

I think for some of the questions the information the information would take an effort to collect. For example, I don't think anyone in CEA or EAIF knows the answer of "How old is EA Finland" (and many members of EA Finland would not know this either). Estimating the size of EA Finland is also a little tricky. When we applied for funding, we gave many different numbers, such as the number of active volunteers and number of people on our Telegram channel, so these numbers EAIF would know, in case they would want to start collecting an info list like the suggested one.

I could find some national organization related approved grants here:, but there is a warning that some data is still missing, because the tool is in beta. When the data is complete, an interested person could do a search by country and create a list of funding received per country, with some info on details such as how much of it goes to salaries. (At least I could find the grant info of the grant we received for EA Finland by searching by "Finland".)

I don't think anyone is publicly listing the rejected grants. Personally, I would be interested to see them – maybe grant applications could ask for approval to list the rejections as well in the application process?

I share your feeling about free books! It is not super common for Finnish (student) organizations to give out free stuff unless it is for advertisement, so I would also be suspicious if somebody handed me over a free book and would probably not read it if I was not very interested in the contents in beforehand. As an alternative we've been selling books for a token sum, hoping it makes students value them more. We've also loaned books so that they can be read by many people.

I've heard Dutch people pride themselves about their straightforwardness, so I can definitely imagine it feels weird for to say you are doing well if you aren't. I also have the same feeling sometimes. In Finland I would try to give an answer with some content other than "good" as a conversation starter even if I would aim to sound positive. For example maybe tell about some good thing in my day so that we can talk about it more if with the person if we can't come up with some more relevant topic.

I also feel like it's really important for EA folks in different places to find ways to do EA from their perspective, not just copy from preexisting EA culture. Aside from being welcoming, this is also good for the variety of thoughts and approaches within EA.

right! I think many of the same benefits can be gotten from starting to attend university courses while in high school and/or studying at a faster speed than the official recommendation. But I realize now typing this that this is also not that commonly possible outside of Nordics. (And could be hard for an upper secondary school student who does not live in a university city. OTOH moving to a different city to live on your own can be harder for some people with 17 than 19, even if they are very bright.)

The most common age for Finns to finish upper secondary school is the year they turn 19, so the lower bound comes from having done the matriculation exam, not because the university would not allow younger students. (So if you've started your school a year earlier than most kids or skipped a grade or done your upper secondary school in 2 instead of 3 years, you could start university the year you turn 18; if you've done several of these things then even younger.) 

But gap years are quite common because trying an entrance exam several times can make it possible for you get in the program of your choice, and also many people consider this a good time to try out something else than "being at school" to gain more self-sufficiency. Although there are people who do as you recommend and study abroad to avoid having to try an entrance exam several times. I considered going to Germany for this reason (I was actually accepted in a program in psychology but decided to go for math in Helsinki) and one of my best friends studied political science in Glasgow (psychology and political science are both popular programs, so hard to get in).

Out of curiosity, what do you think is the benefit of starting university at 17 or 18? I know some Finns who have done this but I don't know if I can directly point at the upsides it has had in their lives/careers.

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