Max Görlitz

Organiser at EA Munich, third year of medical school. My career plans are focused on biosecurity. Plan A is founding a new biosecurity organization in Germany and Plan B is going into either policy or technical research.

Other interests include, but are not limited to: meditation, brazilian jiu-jitsu, forecasting, reading, vegan cooking, running, longevity, effective learning techniques & writing. Feel free to DM me about any of those :)

Here is my Substack: https://glozematrix.substack.com/

(last updated in March 2022)

Topic Contributions

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Death to 1 on 1s

I strongly disagree with the sentiment that 1-1s are dehumanizing, as I have found that most of my 1-1s have been friendly, warm, and fun even though they were mostly confined to 30 min.

Something else I can recommend is taking a walk around the block with someone instead of sitting at a table facing each other. This makes it more casual and less formal.

Overall I understand your idea that 1-1s can seem too business-like but my impression is that there are a few tricks to approach them in a way that is more fun.

Regarding your example of meeting the best people in the strangest places, I also make sure to add randomness to my conferences: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ixdejJKnonBmaiF4T/add-randomness-to-your-ea-conferences

Have you ever made a valuable connection with someone via the Forum?

In two instances people DM'd me about things I posted on the forum which lead to meeting them in person at EAG. These connections probably wouldn't have happened without the prior conversation on the forum and I expect to reconnect with these people in the future. I would thus consider them quite valuable.

How do we create a culture of ambition without deteriorating the community’s mental health?

I think I read this somewhere, but can't remember who to attribute the idea to: Maybe we need something like an EA safety net, similar to an insurance. Knowing that you will have enough money to take care of your family even if you fail at your ambitious project would at least take away some of the anxiety of not succeeding. This would also be helpful in case you suffer burnout (which we should prevent in the first place!). 

The Future Fund’s Project Ideas Competition

DIY decentralized nucleic acid observatory

Biorisk and Recovery from Catastrophes

As part of the larger effort of building an early detection center for novel pathogens, a smaller self-sustaining version is needed for remote locations. The ideal early-detection center would not only have surveillance stations in the largest hubs and airports of the world, but also in as many medium sized ones as possible. For this it is needed to provide a ready-made, small and transportable product which allows meta-genomic surveillance of wastewater or air ventilation. One solution would be designing a workflow utilizing the easily scalable and portable technology of nanopore sequencing and combining it with a workflow to extract nucleic acids from wastewater. The sharing of instructions on how to build and use this method could lead to a "do it yourself" (DIY) and decentralized version of a nucleic acid observatory. Instead of staffing a whole lab at a central location, it would be possible to only have one or two personnel in key locations who use this product to sequence samples directly and only transmit the data to the larger surveillance effort. 


 

Has anything in the EA global health sphere changed since the critiques of "randomista development" 1-2 years ago?

One thing that came to mind is that in the last year, it seems the EA community has payed more attention to the progress studies (PS) movement. They probably take an approach to global health and poverty which is more focused on economic growth. 

Meditations on Caring

Yes, I think it is very much worthwhile to experiment with your own phrasings and with different people. There are nuances and potentially you will find out which phrases work best for you.  

Meditations on Caring

Cool! I remember doing tonglen a few years ago after I saw  a nice info-graphic about it. Wish I could find it again, but thanks for reminding me of its existence. 

I agree, feeling more compassion is what I was trying to achieve here.  Yet I didn't explicitly try to counteract scope neglect in that way. 

You are probably underestimating how good self-love can be

I enjoyed this post and really appreciate all the great resources! Recently I have also been thinking about this and just posted a short article on how to make metta meditation a bit easier for people who struggle with it. Maybe it will be useful to some of you, I would love to hear your feedback.

Here is an excerpt:

Instead of beginning with yourself, you first picture someone with whom you have a really uncomplicated and positive relationship. Wishing them well is much easier. Not only does this help with getting into the groove of building up the feeling of metta, but a certain framing can help you transition the focus to yourself more easily. Personally, I find this works best with a pet.

For example, I may start with thinking of my dog and wishing him well using my preferred metta phrases. Then I try to imagine viewing myself through the eyes of my dog and also silently saying phrases like "May You be well." To me, it comes very natural to imagine that my dog loves me a lot and is really happy to see me. Because of that, it isn't hard to put myself into the position of my dog, imagining him e.g. being petted by me and wishing me all the best.

Now comes the interesting part. Mirghafori gives the instruction of "joining voices" with, in this case, my dog. That means switching the phrasing to "May I be well" instead of You. Instead of viewing myself from the outside perspective of a friend, I now try to have a loving awareness of the body and mind which I experience from the inside.

Sleep: effective ways to improve it

About mindfulness: I have been meditating daily for a few years and have tried a bunch of different apps.

The one I can recommend the most and use personally is Waking Up (https://wakingup.com/). Not only is it IMO the best app for mindfulness meditation, but they are also EA aligned. They signed the GWWC pledge and were among the first batch of companies to do so. If you can't afford the subscription, you can email them and get it for free.

Would be curious to hear what experiences others have had with meditation apps.

Sleep: effective ways to improve it

Thanks for writing this up, this is a good list. I used to struggle with getting to sleep for years, taking 1-2 hours to fall asleep on most days. To everybody with sleep problems, I want to encourage you to experiment with some of the above mentioned interventions. It is possible to improve your sleep. I have tried most of the things on this list and have had great success. 

Just as an anecdotal data point: 

One of the problems I had specifically was just going to bed way too late because I didn't get tired earlier than midnight. Being a night-owl isn't a problem per se, but honestly the world is more tailored to benefit early-risers. It sucks to have to cut short on your sleep because you have a mandatory Uni course at 08:00. 

For a few months I have been taking this 300mcg melatonin every day exactly at 17:00 after reading this article. It reliably makes me tired at 22:00-23:00 and I fall asleep astoundingly quickly if I go to bed in that time range. Something interesting I noticed is that when I go to bed later than that time, e.g. at 02:00, my tiredness is gone again and I find it much harder to fall asleep. Not sure if this is just placebo. Keep in mind that this will vary from person to person and my experience is probably different from yours. Also I do at least 5 other things to sleep better so there are many confounders and I don't know how much to attribute to using melatonin. Just experiment and see what works for you.

(I'm not a doctor and this is not medical advice)

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