I'd love to join, but it looks like the form is going to the July link.
Thank you! I appreciate the kind words :)
Hi Richard, I recently wrote a post that tackles the concern on whether personal choice on veganism can have meaningful consequences: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/aMFFWhiQX5DvaZSDp/the-tipping-point-case-for-vegan-advocacy
Short answer, yes. Personal choices can help shift the S-curve for the transition, which has huge consequences.
Indeed. To be clear, when I refer to publications, I refer to traditionally published ones: where the papers are submitted to journals, editors will determine if it's impactful enough, and then it's sent out to review. This is such a belabored process, especially in the age of the internet. And for what it's worth, the competition is exacerbated by the lack of space in lofty journals.
And sure, we can't jettison publications without something taking it's place. It still could be papers, just not traditionally published ones. We saw this play out durin... (read more)
Thanks for this post. I agree with many of your points. I see science as a problem-solving engine, and yes, if it's not operating as well as it could be then that's a huge opportunity cost for issues such as treating diseases, transitioning to clean energy/meat, etc.
One thought about the publishing and incentives: If funders can be convinced not to care about publications or to weigh other efforts the same or more, e.g. posting and commenting on pre-prints, then that could break the strangle that the publishing industry holds on the scientific enterprise. ... (read more)
Private funding for alternative food is eye-popping, to say the least. "Buzzy" is a good descriptor :)
I hesitate to make any proclamations on what's too much or too little, as it does depend on the counterfactual. I think the problems that Beyond Meat are trying to solve are worthwhile. Giving them cheaper capital helps their efforts. Glad it's going there versus, say, Palantir.
I spent Chapter 9 discussing specific funding opportunities, but I thought of a couple of ones since the book went to the presses:
The details will matter as far as what will have the most impact.
If she's starting another plant-based burger or milk company, a la Beyond Meat or Oatly, then I'd say she can't add so much value because there's already a ton of activity solving that problem. But if she has novel solutions; for example, a new way to make semi-solid lipids at scale, then she can add a lot. Semi-solid lipids are a problem for nearly every alternative food effort; there two "natural" options with coconut oil and palm oil. Also, for what it's worth, many of these companie... (read more)
The reports largely echo my worries about the tractability and feasibility of cultured (in vitro) meat. When I talked with my friend at GFI about it, she sent me this post that GFI authored, in particular responding to the Counter article: https://gfi.org/cultivated/tea-statement/
The post indicates that there's more information beyond what's available publicly and that these companies and investors are well-versed with the challenges. I know the post rings of a "trust us; we know what we're doing" sentiment and asks for a lot to be taken at face valu... (read more)