138Joined Feb 2021


Risk of famine in Somalia

What are some effective charities that are working to address the situation? 

The GiveDirectly campaign in Yemen seems similar, across the Gulf of Aden. They budget $192/person/4 months for basic needs. 

Emphasize Vegetarian Retention

Most vegetarians and vegans aren't taking the vitamins that would be good for them, and that can be a health problem. What about subsidizing vitamins somehow? Maybe we could get vegetarian meal kits to include vitamins. 

Emphasize Vegetarian Retention

"Veg*n" encompasses both vegetarians and vegans.

The Role of Individual Consumption Decisions in Animal Welfare and Climate are Analogous

I don't think the math checks out here. I do a quick cost benefit analysis here, and meat vs. climate interventions don't seem like comparable orders of magnitude to me. Not eating meat appears to be a much more cost effective sacrifice. 

(Math: Responding to Robi's comparison between not eating 1kg chicken (meat for 3 days) vs not using AC for 3 days. I'm not sure where the 10^(-14) °C number came from, but let's assume it draws ~1,000 watts, or about ~100,000 watt-hours/3days. US power generation apparently produces about 0.85 pounds of CO2 emissions per kWh, so that's 85 pounds of carbon. At about 2 trillion tons of carbon per degree Celcius, that is indeed about 10^(-14) °C of warming.)

Given a value of 10^8 deaths per degree of warming (notes), this comparison implicitly values human to chicken lives at about 1,000,000 : 1. (10^-6 = 10^8 * 10^-14) (1 chicken produces ~1kg meat)

Reasonable EAs disagree, but I guess I value chickens at more like a 10,000:1 ratio to humans, especially given how much suffering factory farming entails. Given that not eating meat for 3 days and not having AC for 3 days feel like comparably small hardships, the impact of not eating meat seems to be about 100 times higher for the same cost. 

This sort of cost-benefit analysis makes me feel like personal sacrifices for the climate are not very high value compared to veganism. 

Are there personal climate sacrifices that are more worthwhile than this, or is this line of reasoning incorrect somehow? 

We are a foundation that fights for malnutrition in Colombian laguajira, where in recent years more than 5,000 children have disappeared from thirst and hunger.

Could you describe a little bit more about the fight against malnutrition? Do you buy food for people, and if so what kind? What other sorts of program do you run? What is your budget like? 

How should people spend money to be more productive?

Pay for all the productivity apps that you're thinking of using. Task managers like Amazing Marvin or note taking apps like Evernote are all slightly better in the paid version, and at least for me it's always been worth it. 

Around the house, spend money on shelving. Having plenty of storage space makes it easier to stay organized. 

Free-spending EA might be a big problem for optics and epistemics

I'm worried that in some cases it might be the case that grant makers and grant receivers are friends who actively socialize with each other, and that might corrupt the grantmaking process. 

EA and Global Poverty. Let's Gather Evidence

Can you elaborate on your endnote that "this discussion won't work"? What would success look like?

andrew_richardson's Shortform

Effective Alternatives to Street Protests in Russia

The War in Ukraine has led many people to protest in the streets. In the west, this slightly affects the world by showing support for the war. But within Russia and Belarus, protesters are often arrested, and it's not clear that they affect public opinion very much. 

This seems like a lost opportunity, because people living in Russia need to be involved in any successful liberalization of the country's government, which affects the rest of the world through the threat of nuclear war. 

It's clear that there's a large number of people who live under a repressive government, who want to change it, and who have gotten the message that marching in the streets with a sign is a good way to do that. They're willing to risk arrest and imprisonment to do it. 

Assuming that there are more impactful things that those people can do, it would be good if someone figured out what those were and wrote them down clearly, ideally in Russian. 

I don't know what the answer is, which is why this is filed under Shortform. I don't have the background to answer a social question like this well. 

EA ideas suggest that most people who go to street protests on the weekend could better serve their goals by pursuing an impactful career, and street dissidents in Russia are probably no exception. 

Cost Effectiveness of Climate Change Interventions

Thank you for your responses! I added edits to the essay to reflect this. 

Overall, as I noted in the edits, this exercise has made me shift from being skeptical about all climate change interventions to considering shifting some donations from global poverty to climate change interventions. Not entirely convinced, but it seems a lot more plausibly effective than I first suspected. 

Some things I don't understand though:

It makes sense that with a convex harms curve, marginal harms will be worse than this back of the envelope linear calculation suggests. But it's surprising that they're 10 times higher. I guess it's just very nonlinear, as you say, but that's surprising to me. 

The $1/ton estimate comes from CATF, which is a lobbying organization. Their cost effectiveness calculations account for money they spend lobbying, but not deadweight loss caused by taxes and regulations. How reasonable is it accept that sort of accounting? 

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