I'm a contact person for the effective altruism community: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/hYh6jKBsKXH8mWwtc/a-contact-person-for-the-ea-community

Please feel free to contact me at julia.wise@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

I work at CEA as a community liaison, trying to make the EA community stronger and more welcoming. I'm also the president of Giving What We Can, which is a project of CEA. I serve on the board of GiveWell.

Besides effective altruism, I'm interested in folk dance and trying to keep up with my two young children.

Julia_Wise's Comments

Problem areas beyond 80,000 Hours' current priorities

I agree this is a broad and worthwhile area to think about. The community health team at CEA (Sky Mayhew, Nicole Ross, and I) do some work in this area, and I know of various staff at other orgs who also think about risks to EA and incorporate that thinking into their work. That’s not to say I think we have this completely covered or that no risk remains.

How to Fix Private Prisons and Immigration

I'm very interested in this topic, but found the framing here difficult to follow. (I think in part, as Johann pointed out, because positive and negative impacts are combined into one graph.) As a person who hasn't spent much time reading about math and related fields, equations like "ΠBob=MBob−FundingBob−CrimesBob" don't make a lot of sense to me and require a bunch of scrolling around to remind myself what "ΠBob" is.

It might be easier to understand if a plainer-language summary were included under each equation.

Who should / is going to win 2020 FLI award 2020?

Wow, that's astonishing. I imagine it's more complex than a single person single-handedly developing each vaccine, but still.

Preventing pandemics by not hunting and farming animals

I would expect the low-hanging fruit to be things like closing certain types of operations or outlawing certain practices, not ending animal consumption entirely.

This industry wouldn't just vanish costlessly - it would have to be replaced with something else, in terms of livelihoods for people who currently work in that sector, economic reality for low-income people who raise and hunt animals, and food culture. For example, I'm from Virginia where tobacco used to be a major crop and still is to some degree (despite the frowns of public health experts). When the government decided to start discouraging tobacco use, those tobacco farmers had to be transitioned to another livelihood. For example, in 2004 the federal government offered $10 billion in buyouts to encourage tobacco farmers to switch to another crop.

The study you point to on the "nutrition transition in South Korea" includes in its summary "Major dietary changes included a large increase in the consumption of animal food products and a fall in total cereal intake." Providing lessons to people in preparing traditional plant-based foods doesn't mean that's what people will actually do en masse. 

Preventing pandemics by not hunting and farming animals

I haven't looked into this much, but my impression is that mainstream public health experts are worried about overuse of antibiotics in factory farming, and maybe about specific settings like wet markets, but that calls for stopping meat consumption in general are coming from the animal advocacy side more than the public health side. I'd be interested in whether mainstream public health people think reduction in animal consumption is a tractable thing to push for. My guess is that this looks much more worthwhile to work in if you factor in animal welfare, but on public health grounds doesn't seem to be all that tractable compared to other ways to reduce pandemic risk?

From a sociological perspective, a transition to "not hunting and farming animals" would mean big shifts in economics, food culture, etc. Even if governments decided they wanted to do this, it's a much harder step to take than a lot of other steps they could take toward reducing pandemic risk. When you look at the efforts to reduce poaching of certain species it hasn't been easy or fully successful, and moving to preventing all animal consumption would be many times harder.

Finding equilibrium in a difficult time

An update after about a month at home - I think I was overly optimistic about some of this! I've definitely spent less time than planned watching concerts and more time working out how to procure ice cream. If meditation and such is working for you, great! But no shame if you're like the rest of us and not exactly living up to your lockdown ideals. 

What fraction of posts submitted on the Effective Altruism Facebook group gets accepted by the admins?

(I'm one of the moderators of that group.) I don't think we've tracked the exact numbers, but I estimate that we approve about half of posts. Some others we refer to other groups for specific topics - for example we're referring most coronavirus posts to the coronavirus group right now. We reject some posts that aren't relevant enough or that don't meet the bar for what we think readers will find useful or interesting, which we recognize isn't a firm category. 

Because we have two moderators vote on each post, it can take us a few days to process a post - sorry for the delay.

US Non-Profit? Get Free* Money From the Gov on 3 Apr!

I think there's a difference between "are you affected by economic uncertainty" - which probably applies to all nonprofits right now - and "are you about to lay off staff or not be able to pay them." The fact that loan forgiveness goes to organizations that have not laid anyone off within 8 weeks implies to me that it's intended for organizations that would otherwise lay off staff or be unable to pay them within that timeframe, and I think most EA orgs have more than 8 weeks of runway.

The updated version of the post is clearer, though!

Finding equilibrium in a difficult time

I mean, credit goes to Lewis, and to Harry Peto for linking to it in another EA discussion group!

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