All of Mike Cassidy's Comments + Replies

Improving science: Influencing the direction of research and the choice of research questions

Thanks for writing this post and your efforts to address these issues! As someone who works in  scientific research I have frustrations about the framework/criteria by which science is funded- so I'm really glad someone connected to effective altruism is looking into this, and I agree that this a really important cause area!

Often the criteria used to judge proposals is based on things like how innovative, novel, timely the science is, if it uses cutting-edge methodology and how suited the candidate is to that study area. Also, as a reviewer of proposa... (read more)

2C Tilli3mo
Thanks a lot for your comment and offer! I'll send you a message =)
On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Thanks Ken! Glad you appreciate the importance of this topic.

I'm afraid I've not come across much research about the potential correlation between grand solar minimums and volcanic activity, but let me know where you've come across this and I can look into it.

On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Thanks for this Toby. I like your suggestion about factoring the risk in this way, and we'll keep you informed about where this all leads. Regarding civilisation collapse & recovery, there's certainly a lot of parallels to abrupt cooling from nuclear and asteroid winters, though the nearer-field hazards (and resulting cascading impacts), may be significantly different. One major uncertainty in this seems to be the location of a super-eruption, which will strongly dictate its effects on society, e.g. similar magnitude super-eruption occurring in the Med... (read more)

How a ventilation revolution could help mitigate the impacts of air pollution and airborne pathogens

Thanks Jackson for forwarding on these interesting posts and info on this topic, I'm glad others have interest in this issue. I wonder if the topic is slightly underrated because its effects are often manifested as 'long-lived' insidious chronic issues, meaning that judging the cost-effectiveness of different interventions with relatively short randomly controlled trials is much more difficult compared to for instance infectious disease interventions. Perhaps that's where your short-term cognitive effects might be a really useful diagnostic/measure of effe... (read more)

How a ventilation revolution could help mitigate the impacts of air pollution and airborne pathogens

Thanks Ramiro, I hadn't listened to that 80kh interview-so I'll do that! But yes it could fall into both 'Global health and well being', but also longtermism categories (bio-risk mitigation-wise). 

Also, sorry if this is stupid, but it seems that, unlike CO2, risks from many pollutants (like particulate matters and pathogens) could be significantly mitigated by effective dispersion; so even a normal ventilator could have observable effect on indoor air quality, right? Thus, I wonder if there are / could be any relevant policy recommendations along this

... (read more)
How a ventilation revolution could help mitigate the impacts of air pollution and airborne pathogens

Quite timely - I've just noticed the first peer-reviewed 'real-life' study showing that air filters (HEPA) used in Covid wards in one hospital significantly reduced the presence of airborne SARS-CoV-2: Press-release:  https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/air-filter-significantly-reduces-presence-of-airborne-sars-cov-2-in-covid-19-wards 

Paper: https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciab933/6414657?guestAccessKey=248e14cc-d920-4782-99b7-634e47cdaa0e 

(For context: In the UK more than 11,000 people were thought to have died ... (read more)

On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Hi Marc, 

Clive Oppenheimer's, 'Eruptions that shook the world' is a great introduction to volcanoes and their role on society. Cheers!

On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Hi David, yes totally agree and meant to add this to my answer above. In fact, I think our post only strengthens the case for looking into resilient foods.

On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Hi Gordon, I think by reading the 'challenging assumptions and why we think the current risk may be underappreciated' and 'Conclusions and the future' sections, you'll get a summary of most of the main points. 

On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Thanks! 

As the authors put it in that paper: 

"Interventions that delay the eruption have the risk of making the future eruption more intense"

I think this is right, and until we can competently model how a magma will respond to any interventions that we might do, it's perhaps too risky to do at the moment. Nevertheless volcanologists have gone the other way and completely dismissed this whole concept of intervention. Personally, I think it be very worthwhile to investigate this concept in the lab and with numerical models, as after all, humans hav... (read more)

5MarcSerna7mo
Great post and answers I really enjoyed it. I am concerned about the volcanos that are not being monitored in developing countries. I actually live in a vulcano that is very likely to not be properly monitored (Mt. Cameroun) and that has had activity in recent decades. Is there anything that small NGOs, local Universities, local governments, and civil society can do to help monitor vulcano activity? what risk mitigation measures can be realistically planned and promoted in low income countries? Sorry if I am out of topic. I thought of writing privately but someone else might find the answer useful.

One of the authors here - yes there is risk trying to prevent an eruption. Lower risk and providing protection against many other catastrophes than volcanic is preparing to scale up resilient foods quickly. It is also more cost effective.

On the assessment of volcanic eruptions as global catastrophic or existential risks

Thanks for your input! 

My main question is: How tractable are the current solutions to all of this? Are there specific next steps one could take? Organizations that could accept funding or incoming talent? Particular laws or regulations we ought to be advocating for? Those are all tough questions, but it would be helpful to have even a very vague sense of how far a unit of money/time could go towards this cause.

Yes we think there are tractable solutions to reduce the impact from these large eruptions, and we're currently planning these behind the scen... (read more)

5AppliedDivinityStudies7mo
Exciting to hear about your upcoming plans, thanks!