EdMathieu

Head of Data at Our World in Data since 2020

Member of Effective Altruism France since 2019

GWWC pledge (10%) since 2018

Get in touch: LinkedIn, Twitter, email

Topic Contributions

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What share of British adults are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian?

My (unverified) suspicion is that these people wanted to pick something that they considered to be a specific diet but that isn't related to meat-eating and therefore wasn't listed, e.g. 'gluten-free'. That could also explain the correlation with age if younger people tend to adopt these 'alternative' diets in a higher proportion.

What share of British adults are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian?

Thanks for the feedback Jakub! I've added a clearer mention of the self-reporting aspect in the article & charts.

Case for emergency response teams

I love this idea! I've also been thinking a lot about the lack of quick-response capabilities within EA during the pandemic, so I think it could be a very impactful project. Having coordinated Our World in Data's work on COVID for the last two years, I'd be very happy to be in touch and contribute to anything data-science-related once you start to plan things.

New forum feature: preview & embed Our World in Data charts

The current implementation doesn't include them. I guess it would be possible to do it, but they're quite larger than Grapher charts in terms of interface, so I'm not sure we would manage to find a user-friendly way to make them fit within the width of a forum post.

Host an EAG(x) preparation evening for EAG London and EAGx Boston

We also did this for EA France a few days before EAGx Oxford (on Tuesday), and it was indeed very helpful. We answered many questions that people had about 1o1, explained how to use Swapcard (some people hadn't quite realized how important it would be during the conference), the 'etiquette' for contacting people on the app, important physical & mental health tips, etc.

I'd also suggest creating a WhatsApp or Messenger group. It's very useful for practical coordination before (hotels, admin stuff, COVID restrictions, etc.) and during the event, and gives first-timers the feeling of going to the conference as part of a larger group.

How are you keeping it together?

Very sorry to know that you're feeling this way. And yes, I think this is a perfectly good place to post this question. A good community should also be there to support its members during times like these. Here are a few things that come to my mind.

Avoid doom-scrolling

Much like for the first few weeks of the pandemic, we all feel the compulsive need to get constant updates on what's happening in Ukraine. But each new tweet or update on The Guardian's live feed doesn't really add much information to your knowledge of the situation. Worse, it can give you the impression that things are continuously worsening while they have only "stably worsened". In this kind of situation, I find it useful to:

  • choose one way to be updated on the situation (reading a specific newsletter that I like, listening to a daily podcast in the morning), stick to it, and avoid other low signal-to-noise sources throughout the day.
  • favor things that summarize the situation so far, rather than continuously tell me how it's evolving. As a stats-oriented person, I find it more useful to check this forecast on Metaculus every few days, rather than reading every bit of news about nuclear threats.

Take a step back

If you feel overwhelmed, maybe it's also good for a short period to browse EA-related websites a little less. By the very nature of our focus on the long-term future of humanity, we've all been very caught up by the renewed prospect of a nuclear war for the last couple of weeks. And so if you're already seeing it mentioned everywhere in non-EA media, maybe reading in-depth EA analyses on top of that might not be the best thing for you right now.

Accept that you can't really do much

Somewhat relatedly, the EA community focuses on how to do the most good, and how to fix things. And so it's natural for all of us to wonder exactly the same thing now. And while I do think that, on the margin, we can do some things to help steer the discussion in the right direction (e.g. explaining to people why the idea of a No-Fly zone is very bad), it's also important to accept that, right now, the main stakeholders are basically elected officials and army generals, and there isn't that much we can do in the very short term to "solve the situation" like we always try to.

Try to see the bigger picture

By far the most likely outcome is that this crisis will be solved at some point, without any nuclear weapon being fired. And while the geopolitical equilibrium will be different, we'll most likely go back to working on the many other very important problems of the world that we all feel so passionate about. For example, even in the current context, I've personally found the announcement of the FTX Future Fund to be a great source of hope for the future, and I'm very excited to see what it's going to allow the EA community to do in the coming years.

Don't blame yourself for feeling this way

While I don't think this is the end of the world as we know it, it is likely to be a pivotal moment in 21st-century history (akin to 9/11), and what's happening is really pretty horrifying. Especially if, like me, you've never known anything but peace in your part of the World for your entire life. But given that the situation is already bad, you might as well spare yourself the double punishment of feeling bad about the situation and feeling bad about feeling bad.

How can we make Our World in Data more useful to the EA community?

Update: we now have a couple of charts on outer space objects

  • Cumulative number of objects launched into outer space (line, bar, map)
  • Yearly number of objects launched into outer space (line, bar)
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