Topic Contributions


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

This is a great point. The good news is your concern is shared by CEA and others. It's very exciting to see the work that Jessica  McCurdy at CEA (and others) are doing to support the growth of EA groups at economically diverse R1 universities and smaller colleges, etc. 

EAIF has also funded a small project to try and support groups at so-called "Public Ivies" in the U.S., with a special focus on public honors colleges that can contribute to socioeconomic diversity in EA. Feel free to DM if you're interested in this broader opportunity area, whether in the context of North America / other OECD member countries - or in the context of other regions of the world!

Paul Farmer (1959 – 2022)

Thank you for the reminder to watch Bending the Arc. There were also some moving  tributes to him (with excerpts of his interviews) on Twitter after he passed, such as this one from Ava DuVernay.

Food Preparedness for Disasters

Thank you for writing up this series, Finan!

One note regarding the sections excerpted below: those who are worried about the quantity of food they are able to keep on hand might spend a few minutes reviewing credible intermittent fasting resources from Harvard,  Johns Hopkins, and elsewhere.  For example, Hopkins describes the 5:2 approach this way: "the 5:2 approach... involves eating regularly five days a week. For the other two days, you limit yourself to one 500–600 calorie meal. An example would be if you chose to eat normally on every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays, which would be your one-meal days." This CBS interview with Harvard and Yale faculty who practice IF is also informative.

It may be difficult to jump into intermittent fasting in the context of a distressing disaster, but I hope this gives some comfort to some readers: many individuals can average <14,000 calories a week with a 5:2-style plan for extended periods without putting their health at risk, a fact that may be worth keeping in mind in a crisis.

Food is also not as limiting as water. You can survive much longer without food than without water. 

  • Many online sources agree you need about 2,000-2,500 cal per day. Closer to 2,000 if female and closer to 2,500 if male. Need will also vary with exercise.

...How else can I preserve calories?

  • If you’ve run out of food or you know you’re going to run out of food. You can reduce your need for calories by  . . .
    • Exercising less - exercise causes you to burn calories
    • Staying at a reasonable temperature - if you are too cold or too hot your body has to use energy to thermoregulate.
Should we produce more EA-related documentaries?

Didn't realize Participant had produced Contagion, as well!

Reviewing the list of Participant films , I realize that I saw three of the four 2005 movies they were involved in (the trio that doesn't include Murderball) in theaters or shortly after they came out. All three had a lasting impact on my thinking re: ethics, society, etc.

Should we produce more EA-related documentaries?

An EA version of Jeff Skoll's Participant film production company seems like a worthwhile investment.

Participant funded An Inconvenient Truth, and other films that seem to have had an outsized impact on policy discussions and (perhaps as importantly) the career decisions of the young and impact-minded.

We need 40,000h or maybe even 20,000h

Thanks for sharing your thinking, @Tyner. Will DM you, but had one thought related to these two bullets:

  • All  of the jobs I've seen listed at non-profits pay pretty poorly.  Does it really make sense to take a 70% pay cut?


  • A few times I have helped friends or family with work issues and generally done a really good job.  Like, my friend spent maybe 40 hours struggling with getting a database to do what she wanted and I solved her issues in less than 2 hours.  If I can really be 20x more productive then average then I really am awesome and should be using my skills directly.  But that's probably an outlier.

Rather than committing to a durable pay cut by leaving your full-time job, you could see if there are bite-sized bits of work that well align with your skillset that you can spend a few hundred hours a year on (for pay). You could consider taking a "little bet" by  seeing if you could take a 1-3 month leave of absence — or go to 60% or 80% time in your current job for a few months — while supporting an EA project that could benefit from your skills.

There's a good chance the EA Funds team would fund a well-scoped project where you would invest several hundred hours a year advancing a line of work that currently is under-staffed or missing your technical expertise.

The best EA Global yet? (And other updates.)

Thank you for strong EAGs in 2020 and 2021, in ultra-challenging circumstances! Re:

  • The virtual side of the event underperformed, although it still added around 1,500 connections; it was positively received by attendees, but we did not optimize it.
    • We are reconsidering running hybrid conferences in the future, and might run separate virtual and in-person conferences in order to give more attention to each side.

Sharing across one data point that I found the virtual event and a few subsequent connections very valuable. Conflicting October travel meant I wouldn't have applied/been able to join in-person in London — so it was both useful and encouraging to participate in the virtual side of the event. 

Without endorsing this particular source, this strikes me as a valuable perspective as far as inclusion reasons to keep investing in hybrid options when viable.

1. Hybrid events are more inclusive and accessible than in-person-only events.

There are many barriers people may face to attending an in-person conference, especially if it requires flying or a long drive:

  • Physical disabilities and mobility issues: blindness, deafness, using a wheelchair or walker, inability to walk quickly, chronic pain, chronic fatigue
  • Health issues that require equipment or a regimented medication schedule to manage
  • Caring for children or older relatives at home
  • Complex dietary restrictions

...Hybrid events are more accessible to these audiences because they allow attendees to participate from home without travel or overnight stays.


Should I fly instead of taking trains?

It mostly helps when there are rule-bound matching funds available. Let’s say you think CATF is a very effective charity when it comes to issues you care about, and that Good Food Institute is somewhat less effective. Person B has the exact opposite perspective.

If there’s an Every.org style matching opportunity, and you give $200 to CATF, Every.org will only match $100 of that ($300 total for CATF). Likewise for Person B and GFI: her $200 becomes $300 for GFI. If you find each other through the EA Forum and coordinate to split your $200 personal gifts and each give $100 to CATF and $100 to GFI, then EVERY dollar you both give will be matched. So each charity receives $400 instead of $300 from the same level of donations from you and Person B, as your giving is 100% matched — instead of 50% only.

Should I fly instead of taking trains?

Agree with Lukas: better to book the flight. Not least because a 100 USD donation to Founder's Pledge or CATF can likely be doubled by various matching 2022 opportunities. Every.org's promotion is an example.

A slightly similar choice came up for us when we bought a car in 2020. (A new job required one.) We would've preferred a used EV/hybrid. During the peak of the pandemic, a dealer was willing to deliver a used non-hybrid vehicle to our door for many thousands of USD less. That allowed us to invest a bit more while asset prices were in the doldrums. In the last two months we've steadily donated those appreciated assets to CATF, Carbon180, and dozens of other EA charities.  Through trading donations (e.g., we donated to an AI charity in exchange for another EA giving to CATF or Carbon180) we have driven >1,000 USD to EA-embraced climate charities from that car purchase. More if you consider alternative protein charities to have a climate impact, as we do.

There are also likely strong "pandemic externality" reasons to choose the option that puts you in public for fewer hours. You might want to consult microCOVID's fantastic calculator to see how that math works out.

EA Infrastructure Fund: May–August 2021 grant recommendations

Agreed. Chiming in that the microCOVID Project's calculator and work has been invaluable to our family since 2020. I don't know Rachel, Larissa, or others involved in the project - but they're in our personal pantheon of pandemic heroes. We lost one family member in NY to COVID. It's easy to imagine we and others would have experienced more loss, absent their work.

Could not pass up this opportunity to thank them publicly, and note how excited we are to watch any videos they produce as a result of this funding.

Load More