All of arikr's Comments + Replies

When can I eat meat again?

Just wanted to note that I really appreciate the clarity of the visual summary / ballpark timeline.

Insomnia with an EA lens: Bigger than malaria?

Tried in an online course. Hope the book helps

Insomnia with an EA lens: Bigger than malaria?

For what it's worth, I tried CBT-I and it wasn't successful for me, then tried ACT for insomnia which solved the issue. Specifically via a book called "The Sleep Book" by Guy Meadows. Highly recommended.

Thanks for sharing - can I ask in what form you tried CBT-i? (e.g. with an in-person therapist, online course, book etc). Have run into ACT for insomnia in an article or two, but haven't met anyone like you who's used it. Have downloaded the book and will give it a read!
Concerning the Recent 2019-Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

For people living in the US, at what point does it become particularly important to start following these methods? I assume it’s always beneficial, but risk adjusted not particularly important until there start being more cases in the US or until we start having more cases. Is that assumption right or dangerously wrong?

4Juan Cambeiro2y
There doesn't seem to be any local transmission in the US yet - so for now, I guess it probably wouldn't help much (though it would still help prevent the spread of the common cold/flu!). If/when there is local transmission, following this advice will be very important.
[Link] Research as a Stochastic Decision Process

Could you please elaborate on how I could apply this? Or where can I learn more?

I just noticed your question, since I've only recently started looking at EA forums, and I mostly look at the discussions on science, economics, climate change, and on EA methodology and practice (eg the recent one about basic income projects in Malawi by Givedirectly or some other similarily named group). This is one reference [] . I am mostly self-educated in stochastic processes, but this is a standard topic in texts. It basically means if you are doing a search --or many searches -- you try to estimate how much time/resources you will spend pursuing one search (or allocate time and resources among several alternative searches), before you will call it a success, or a failure, and give up. I sort of know this 'intuitively' from hiking in mountains---i sometimes have had to check out several different paths to get to where i want to go, so you try following one for a while, and then decide whether to keep going because it seems to going the right place, or you go back and repeat the search on other trails. (It has been the case that at times all the trail options turned out to 'fail' (headed to cliffs that were impassable to me) so you end up going nowhere at least for awhile. Multiobjective optimization is another standard topic --utility maximization in economics is one example (often solved via calculus of variations, or for more complex problems via computer algorithms). Intuitively for me this is like a hike where have several attractive choices to go to (different scenic high spots, waterfalls, valleys, or areas with special kinds of flora and fauna --I'm a sort of amateur naturalist) , and usually you can't go everywhere (especially with time constraints) , so have to select some subset which is 'optimal' (and maybe save the ones you missed for another day). Since my math skills are 'suboptimal' I have been trying to develop my own formalism, which is a 'toy model'
2Aaron Gertler3y
Thanks for clearing that up! I'm glad we don't have to track down a categorization bug :-)
[Solved] Was my post about things you'd be reluctant to express in front of other EAs manually removed from the front page, and if so, why?

Thanks! I think it's very unlikely that I was viewing the all posts category but I don't have a screenshot. And I don't think I was viewing the community page either, because I distinctly remember showing my partner that it was neat that my two posts were both on the front page one after the other at positions #2 and #3. is it possible it was re-classified as community as mentioned below by larks?

But it's mostly a moot point anyway as sounds like if it was ever on the frontpage, that was either an error or I'm mis-remembering, so it mostly clears up my question anyway :)

And makes sense that this post should be in the personal blog category, thanks!

What to know before talking with journalists about EA

I highly recommend the book "The Media Training Bible" – I found it to be surprisingly insightful and broadly useful.

Specific to this thread, it teaches you how you can maximize the odds of being represented in a way you're happy with, rather than feeling disappointed when you see how you're quoted / the final article.

+1 to "The Media Training Bible" being good.
What opinions that you hold would you be reluctant to express publicly to other EAs?

Thanks. Your comment helped me realize that I didn't accurately describe my position. My position is more accurately: I think that most people who think it's terrible that Trump is President are heavily biased by tribal ideology, and that this makes it hard for them to see clearly, and hard for them to realize that they're not seeing clearly.

What opinions that you hold would you be reluctant to express publicly to other EAs?
Answer by arikrSep 07, 201917

That I've wondered if reducing abortions might be a suitable focus area for EA (more abortions per year in the US than people dying of smoking related illnesses in the US).

Due to politicization, I'd expect reducing farm animal suffering/death to be much cheaper/more tractable per animal than reducing abortion is per fetus; choosing abortion as a cause area would also imperil EA's ability to recruit smart people across the political spectrum. I'd guess that saving a fetus would need to be ~100x more important in expectation than saving a farm animal for reducing abortions to be a potential cause area; in an EA framework, what grounds are there for believing that to be true? Note: It would also be quite costly for EA as a movement to generate a better-researched estimate of the parameters due to the risk of politicizing the movement.
I'm curious about your reasoning on this. Can you elaborate?
[Links] Serendipity and discovery, and a tool for making progress on hard questions/problems

I think the "how" is roughly:

If you do not know the steps to your goal with high confidence, then do the following:

You can imagine that you're looking at a map, and your distant goal is somewhere on the map, but the map is blurry / not yet revealed all the way to your distant goal

So then identify what options you *do* know the steps to (the ones that _are_ visible on the map), and then pick the option from those that is most novel

This is because the more novel it is, the more likely it is to reveal large and unexpected portions of the map, p... (read more)

[Link] Ideas on how to improve scientific research

Thanks, fixed.

@AaronGertler it seems there's a bug when pasting a link in between braces ().

What books or bodies of work, not about EA or EA cause areas, might be beneficial to EAs?

My suggestions so far:

  • “The Secret of Our Success”
  • “Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”

Other suggestions and brief summary of what you'll get out of them:

  • “SPIN Selling” and “To Sell is Human.” Sales seems to be an often undervalued but important skill, these are good "how" and "why" books, respect
... (read more)
[Link] Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Ah, sorry. That's my mistake! I've fixed that now by adding it to the OP.

Aaron what would you recommend so that this post has a fresh chance to get visibility? Deleting and re-posting it, leaving it as is, or something else? Thanks!

3Aaron Gertler3y
It looks like more people have seen and voted on it since your update, so I'd recommend leaving it as-is. Thanks for adding the new material!
[Link] A Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email

I like this!

Bonus points if the org used software to encourage this, e.g. making the inbox not visible without a second "yes, I'm sure" click unless it was during the email checking hours.

[Link] A Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email

Yes, I hear your thoughts that if the culture was a certain way, then it wouldn't be an issue.

I resonate with the author's point though too, that because the marginal cost of email is now so low, it requires an explicit cultural intervention to improve the harm-benefit tradeoff of email.

The cultures didn't have the problem, then email came around, now they do have the problem, so in some ways the problem is both the culture and the tool, and could be solved by modifying either.

[Link] A Modest Proposal: Eliminate Email

Could you explain how Slack is better on these fronts than email? My intuition is that Slack would be worse on these fronts than email (I think in part because I've seen one or two medium posts that talk about the always on IM culture and how it makes it harder to do focused work).

4Aaron Gertler3y
Slack's not perfect, but here are some features I like: * Emotes let you "respond" to a message in less than a second with zero typing. At CEA, we have an "eyes" emote that means "I've seen this message", which saves me 30 seconds over sending a "thanks for sending this, I've read it" email. We have lots of other emotes that stand in for other kinds of quick messages. I send a lot less email at CEA than I did in my most recent corporate job, at a tech firm with pretty standard messaging practices. * Channels act as a proactive sorting system. CEA has an "important" channel for time-sensitive things that everyone should read and a "general" channel for things that everyone should read, but that aren't time-sensitive. If all the messages on those channels were emails, I'd wind up reading them all as they came in, but in Slack I can ignore most of them until I hit the time in my day when I want to catch up on messages, without spending any energy on sorting. Slack also has a feature that lets you set "statuses" in the same way the HBR article discusses (e.g. "working on important thing, available after 4:00 pm"), which takes less time than writing an auto-reply and also doesn't add dozens of automated emails to other people's inboxes when they try contacting you.
EA Forum 2.0 Initial Announcement

I'd like to echo a strong concern that karma based voting will lead to groupthink etc.

I'd feel substantially better if it was karma based upvotes only, and no karma based downvotes. Karma based downvotes allow community insiders to effectively kill posts.

Upcoming AMA with Holden Karnofsky on job openings at the Open Philanthropy Project (Monday March 26, starting 9:30 am Pacific)

Possible suggestion (for Julia): Posting the thread a day or two in advance will allow people to submit questions early (and vote on which questions they want to see answered), so that Holden's time can be maximized by giving him more questions to answer on Monday. So that he's not waiting on Mon, ready to answer questions but with no unanswered questions available.

(This only applies if you think that otherwise there might not be enough questions posted to fully utilize the 3 hours)

Thanks! We'll consider that for the future.
Where I am donating this year and meta projects that need funding

You note that CEA and 80K don't seem to be struggling for funds.

What makes you say that? (Not saying I don't agree, just am unsure)

Unfortunately I do not have a single easily quotable source for this. Furthermore it is not always clear cut - funding needs change with time and additional funding might mean an ability to start extra projects (like EA Grants). However, unlike Rethink Charity or Charity Science Health, there is not a clear project that I can point to that will not get funded if CEA 80K do not get more funding this year. If you are donating in the region of £10k+ and are concerned that the larger EA orgs have less need for funding, I would say get in touch with them. They are generally happy to talk to donors in person and give more detailed answers (and my comment on this matter has been shaped by talking to people who have done this).
2017 LEAN Impact Assessment: Evaluation & Strategic Conclusions

Thanks very much for posting this series. Thorough!