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Answer by PagwNov 11, 202232

My gut feeling is that people who were expecting to live on any granted money for the next few months should be able to do so until they've had time to sort out another income stream - it doesn't seem good for people to face hardship as a result of this. Using other funding sources to pay back money from FTX that has already been spent also does not seem good. I'm not sure about funding beyond that.

It seems like there are quite a lot of people/orgs who made plans based on promised money that now seems unlikely to arrive. Is there a lesson that can be learned about how to reduce risk in grant awarding e.g. by waiting until funds are securely in the foundation's hands? Or is there no way to avoid this risk given potential clawbacks, even in cases of bankruptcy that don't involve any fraud?

I think, if grant money has been spent in good faith, then it makes ethical sense to treat it as gone and not needing to be repaid. I don't think anyone should make themselves financially worse off for having received a grant.

I feel pretty sure that you are not ethically obliged to pay anything out of your savings. And you haven't done anything wrong so I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about.

Peer review is very variable so it's hard to say what "the depth of peer review" is. I checked the bits I was asked to check in a similar way as I would a journal article. No I didn't myself really review the methodology. The process was also quite different from normal review in involving quite a few back-and-forth discussions - I felt more like I was helping make the work better rather than simply commenting on its quality. It also differed in that the decision about "publishing" was taken by John rather than a separate editor (as far as I know). 

I'm a researcher in weather and climate science and this post is very interesting to me - weather forecasts, and forecasts of events that depend on those like for flooding, can be quite skilful and it's possible that more could be done to tailor that information to people's needs and get it out to them. Colleagues of mine would know more. If you happened to want to discuss that further, feel free to PM me.

"I don't want to put words in their mouths, but Peter overall seemed very positive"

As Peter, just in case this should come back to bite me if misinterpreted, I just thought I'd say I could give an informed review of certain physical climate science aspects and the report seems to capture those well. I am positive about the rest as being an interesting and in depth piece of scholarship into interesting questions, but I can't vouch for it as an expert :-)

"it is well-known that the IPCC must moderate its conclusions and focus on better-case scenarios for political reasons, i.e. so as to not be written off as alarmist"

As a climate scientist reading this, I just thought I'd pick up on that and say I have not got that impression from reading the reports or conversations with my colleagues who are IPCC authors. I've not seen any strong evidence presented that the IPCC systematically understates risks - there are a couple of examples where risks were perhaps not discussed (not clearly underestimated as far as I've seen), but I can also think of at least one example where it looked to me like IPCC authors put too much weight on predictions of large changes (sea ice in AR5). (This is distinct from the thought that the IPCC doesn't do enough to discuss low-likelihood, high-impact possibilities, which I agree with.)

When thinking about whether to donate to Helen Keller International's Vitamin A supplementation program, I wondered whether this is problematic for animal welfare, since Vit A is usually derived from animal sources as I understand it. So I asked HKI and they said their Vit A is chemically synthesised without animal origin, though their capsules do contain gelatin sourced from cattle. My perception is that the use of gelatin wouldn't be expected to contribute a lot to animal welfare problems (though it might matter for people who never want to fund purchasing of animal products). I just thought I'd share this in case anyone else wondered.

I only just saw your reply. Here's a (fairly old) report that discusses organic farming in the UK, including management of disease, that may be useful - though note it was sponsored by a organic-promoting organisation, but it does include criticism and doesn't just seem to be a piece of marketing: . I don't know of any other thorough reports - it would be useful if there were more. 

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