All of Chriswaterguy's Comments + Replies

EA for dumb people?

Perhaps these posts could start with a note on "assumed context", similar to the "epistemic status" notes.

(A downside might be if it discourages someone from reading a post that they actually would have got value from, even if they didn't understand everything. So the choice of wording would be important.)

Sleep: effective ways to improve it

It's worth noting that being outside in sunshine gives much more intense light exposure than any mainstream SAD treatment. (My personal experience is that it can give a large boost in alertness, and probably helps my sleep significantly. But I'm in Sydney – I can't speak for northern Europe or Canada.)

1Ben Williamson2mo
This makes sense and seems pretty plausible. Can speak to personal experience of the intensity of the sun in Australia!
Sleep: effective ways to improve it

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin. I imagine that this would have a much slower and less predictable effect, less suitable for helping to go to sleep in a particular time range.

I share the concerns about possible overuse of melatonin, though I've found out helpful at times. I try to adjust light exposure (morning and night) as a higher priority than melatonin.

I may also go back to using low dose melatonin, though, as it's been helpful in the past and may be needed in modern technological society.

Sleep: effective ways to improve it

My favourite is Ten Percent Happier – it's very accessible and it has a lot of meditations and teachings by Joseph Goldstein, who also appears in the lectures in Waking Up. I've also found some value from Sam Harris's meditations, especially the early ones he released long before the app. Ten Percent Happier don't have the free option AFAIK, but they do have an 8-part free intro. And they have significant discounts at times through the year.

Cultured meat: A comparison of techno-economic analyses

What's the story with Eat Just selling cultured chicken bites in Singapore – are they being sold at a loss, and/or does the product only contain a small amount of the chicken product?

I've read elsewhere that the initial version wasn't quite 100% vegan, but they later eliminated the need for fetal blood.

2Charles He2mo
Here are some lines from the article: Someone I know has a "personal aesthetic, world view or ideology" that's absolutely ruthless and skeptical when it regards situations related to business and money—particularly and especially when they are (conveniently) adjacent to "non-profit" narratives[1] [#fnrxm8x7van2l][2] [#fnj6zs5botfp]. This ideology would read in between the lines of this article quoted above, and call these actions performative. For example, this event is consistent with not having a viable commercial path and instead is trying to "get buzz" as part of a larger business strategy to support investment and interest. This doesn't indicate anything positive about the feasibility of the product (especially in the context of substantial existing impartial analysis) and isn't an update. 1. ^ [#fnrefrxm8x7van2l]Like, informed from decades of interactions with multiple instances of people in small businesses, non-profits, enterprises, big corporations, FANGs, e.g. working with the middle and upper management, marketers, from each of these instances 2. ^ [#fnrefj6zs5botfp]So the reason why this footnote and the above footnote exists is that this person specifically claims these experiences and model of the world is powerful and much faster than tracking down/interviewing/investigating, because they can read things almost immediately that are being telegraphed.
It's a good question. In 2021, we tried tracking the 1880 Eat Just chicken nuggets and they were actually quite elusive. (supposed to be only sold only once a week, and then only available online at a specific time of day, and then our contractor in Singapore couldn't get access to it after trying for two weeks). I haven't followed the space since. Would be excited to see other people comment.
On Sleep Procrastination: Going To Bed At A Reasonable Hour

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos gets a full 8 hours.

Another data point: IIRC, Will MacAskill says he gets 9 hours or he doesn't function at his best. (I think I heard that in his Tim Ferriss interview.)

Some things that have helped me to sleep, in case they help you:

  • 10 minutes of sunlight within 2 hours of your average wake time, preferably within 30 minutes. In practice I like to get more sun than this, as it makes me more alert.
  • Soft lights at night. E.g. I have a lamp with a 5W LED (and an extra paper shade to stop flare from the top); and right before bed I
... (read more)
Should we call them something other than retreats?

"Mini-summit"? Less elegant, but maybe more fitting.

Scenarios for cellular agriculture

Thanks for the analysis.

A point of disagreement: "if cultured meat is at least as expensive as farmed animal meat, it is doubtful that a substantial fraction of consumers would substitute, given the current unwillingness to replace animal products with similar vegan substitutes."

Not at all comparable. I have yet to find plant-based meat substitutes that I want to eat. They either taste disappointing compared to meat, leave me with pains in the gut, fail to meet my nutritional expectations, or a combination of the three. I actually prefer tofu or... (read more)

Yes, I think you're right, at least when prices are comparable.
Concerns with Intentional Insights

Thanks – helpful feedback (and from Owen also). In hindsight I would probably have kept the word "cultish" while being much more explicit about not completely endorsing the feeling.

Concerns with Intentional Insights

I read "active" to mean actually involved in things, whether socially, online, finding, or campaigning.

The word "activist" has a stronger connotation in spite of the same root.

Fair enough
Concerns with Intentional Insights

That's an important distinction, and acting against that (trying to act as the EA community's representative) doesn't automatically mean banning from the movement.

Concerns with Intentional Insights

I deliberately said "My System 1 doesn't like this." and "that feels cultish" – on an intuitive level, I feel uncomfortable, and I'm trying to work out why. I do see value in having effective gatekeepers.

I'm not even sure what it means to be "banned" from a movement consisting of multiple organisations and many individuals. It may be that if the process is clearly defined, and we know who is making the decision, on whose behalf, I'd be more comfortable with it.

3Ben Pace6y
Thanks for clarifying! Just in case you're interested: I think the word 'cultish' is massively overloaded (with negative connotations) and mis-used. I'd also point out that saying that a statement is one's gut feeling isn't equivalent to saying one doesn't endorse the feeling, and so I felt pretty defensive when you suggested my idea was cultish and not compatible with our community. I wrote this because I thought you might prefer to know the impacts of your comments rather than not hearing negative feedback. My apologies in advance if that was a false assumption.
Concerns with Intentional Insights

I'd suggest that we should be more trusting that when someone in the community criticises someone else not in the community, they're doing it for good reasons. However, writing that out is almost self-refuting - that's what all insular communities are doing.

Yes, insofar communities do that, but typically in emotive and highly biased ways. EA at least has more constructive norms for how these things are discussed. It's not perfect, and it's not fast, but here I see people taking pains to be as fair-minded as they can be. (We achieve that to different deg... (read more)

9Ben Pace6y
Scientific departments have ethics boards. Good online communities (e.g. Hacker News) have moderators. Society as a whole has a justice part of governance, and other groups that check on the decisions made by the courts. Suggesting that it feels cult-y to outsource some of our community norm-enfacement (so as to save the community as a whole significant time input, and make the process more efficient and effective) is... I'm just confused every time someone calls something totally normal 'cult-y'.
Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016

I played a small part in helping EAGx Melbourne to happen two weeks ago, by volunteering for the weekend. The team and the speakers and facilitators did a great job, there were lots of interesting and engaged people, and it was definitely a case of doing good while having fun.

Also at the conference, I facilitated a discussion group on Effective Environmentalism. It went fairly well - I'm still learning to facilitate and there are things I will do differently next time, but the discussion raised a bunch of important issues, and we got to meet others who are concerned about this.

Interesting stuff about Effective Environmentalism. Can you share some relevant links for people who might want to learn more?
Accomplishments Open Thread - August 2016

At first I assumed that "risks" was autocorrected to "foods", but then I got to the part at the end on "Feeding Everyone No Matter What" by you and Joshua Pearce. I know Joshua and I love that you've done this. For anyone interested, there's some more about it on Appropedia.

Great article.

Why don't many effective altruists work on natural resource scarcity?

"We are running out of uranium" – we have 200 years supply at current rates, and if we started using a lot more and prices went up then that would make breeder reactors, for example more financially viable. These use less than 1 % of the uranium needed for current LWRs.

Financially viable thorium reactors would be awesome, but we don't have to wait for that. Uranium is not running out – at least not in the simple and obvious meaning of "running out".

Thanks for the correction - I recall reading that uranium would be exhausted within the century but looks like that was a bad source. Given that timeline solar energy or some other material will presumably be able to displace uranium before we run out.
Against segregating EAs

I'm against segregating EAs, and if we ever have separate water fountains or bus seats for different classes of EA, I will protest. (EDIT: Looking back on this, I was using something of a strawman here. I apologise. My intent was to distinguish between segregation and categorisation.)

Categorisation, however, is something that we inevitably do and which is sometimes useful to do.

If categorisation makes people feel minimised or relegated to second class status, it's a problem. In line with some other comments here, I'm in favour of a term such as hardcore o... (read more)

I like the term "non-hardcore" as the opposite of "hardcore." Good idea!
Accomplishments Open Thread

Update: my friend signed the pledge, and watched Peter Singer's TED Talk on EA with their mother. It apparently has pushed them both to be more strategic about their altruism.

I was careful not to badger them about it at any point - they came to me about it. I would have liked to sign up more friends during the pledge drive, but I started late, and I think I want to continue working in this way, engaging without being pushy.

Accomplishments Open Thread

EA hasn't been a major personal focus for me, yet, and my achievements are more modest.

I was one of the volunteers at the EA Global Summit in Melbourne. The summit would have gone on fine without me, but the things I helped with seemed to make people happy (and I enjoyed it). Creating positive experiences around EA seems valuable.

I've been posting a bit about the Giving What We Can pledge on Facebook, including in a group that I run (Self-Improvement for Nerds). That has led to some positive comments, including a friend saying that they really liked what ... (read more)

Update: my friend signed the pledge, and watched Peter Singer's TED Talk on EA with their mother. It apparently has pushed them both to be more strategic about their altruism. I was careful not to badger them about it at any point - they came to me about it. I would have liked to sign up more friends during the pledge drive, but I started late, and I think I want to continue working in this way, engaging without being pushy.
Congratulations! I think that's really awesome! :D
Intentional Insights and the EA Movement – Q & A

My impression was that the purpose of InIn was to promote rationality, and that EA was a natural aspect of that. This sounds like EA and the values of EA are much more central than that. Could you clarify this, Gleb?

Sure, happy to clarify, and thanks for asking! InIn's goal is to advance human flourishing through improving the way we think and make decisions. To do so, we promote rationality with a particularly heavy emphasis on EA, which is essentially rationality as applied to altruism. The reason for the emphasis on EA is goal factoring [], namely a bigger opportunity to improve the world through getting people to be more rational about their altruism. If people are more rational in their altruism, then it not only improves their own lives but also the lives of others. This is why it makes sense to emphasize EA-themed content in the work of Intentional Insights. An additional reason is that many InIn participants, such as myself, identify strongly as Effective Altruists, which makes us more motivated to advance EA content :-) That being said, we have plenty of content that is not directly EA-related, but advances long-term thinking and rational decision making in other areas of life. Doing so advances human flourishing, and also has positive downstream impacts on issues of importance to EAs, such as existential risk, etc. Likewise, our audience would not be eager to engage with InIn if it was only about effective giving, so we make sure to have a variety of content. Hope that clarifies things!
Intentional Insights and the EA Movement – Q & A

I like the fact that there's an active, strategic effort to engage in outreach, and I'm impressed with the media reach achieved to date. Also with how accessible it is, and how palatable, bypassing issues of tribal affiliation to get to the core principles and how to implement them.

I plan to get involved myself (both to contribute and to learn).

UPDATE, Oct 2017: I ended up not being involved for long. While I still appreciate InIn's intentions and a number of aspects of their work, I didn't feel completely comfortable and didn't have the personal resources (esp time) to dedicate.