Scott Smith

126 karmaJoined Apr 2020Pursuing an undergraduate degreeSeeking workAlbury NSW, Australia



I used to be a people manager in a fraud detection team, however I have now returned to fulltime study (psychology) in search of more fulfilling daily work and having more time for EA-related interests.

I am trying to help regrow EA @ Macquarie University. I am volunteering as an analyst at SoGive and facilitator for Virtual Programs.

I'm not focused on any particular area of EA. I would like to help in global poverty, animal welfare, improving our long-term prospects and/or general movement building.

How others can help me

Ideas and connections for postgraduate study and research related to psychology. I am interested in subjective wellbeing, moral psychology, mental health and decision making (really, anything that could have a good impact).

How I can help others

I have several years of experience with low and middle management of an operations team for an online company. Includes involvement in fraud investigations and development of detection systems (mostly bot-detection).

What is likely relevant is that I can people manage and organise various other admin to improve operational quality and efficiency.


Topic Contributions

Also worry about the weirdness. Ariel said themselves:

When I started as an EA, I found other EAs' obsession with animal welfare rather strange. How could these people advocate for helping chickens over children in extreme poverty? I changed my mind for a few reasons.

This might not be realistic for Ariel, but it would have been ironic if this obsession was even greater and enough to cause Ariel to shy away from EA, so that they never contributed to shifting priorities more to animal welfare.

But I also agree this isn't necessarily a reason to shy away. Being disingenuous about our personal priorities to seem more mainstream seems wrong - like a bait-and-switch or cult-like tactics of getting people in the door and introducing heavier stuff as they get more emotionally invested. I like the framing of being more humble/agnostic, but maybe we (speaking as individuals) need to be careful that is genuine epistemological humility and not an act.

Hello Patrick.

For WHO estimates of case incidence and deaths since 2000 (as of 2022 report), go here, click on "Annexes in Excel Format" and it is Annex 4-F.

If you are want country numbers by estimate approach, I did that manually by combining Annex 4-F data and text from World Malaria Report 2022 (same link above), Annex for Table 3.1 (pp 132 - 136). This is it

If you are after GBD data (regarding Appendix), this is the tool to use

I hope that is helpful. Let me know of any questions.

Vegan advocacy groups should consider regularly donating blood as representatives of their groups. At my local blood donor centre (in Australia) there is a poster in the waiting area where companies/orgs are listed in order of contributions. Having your group up there will likely help to dispel:

  • perceptions of vegans as dissident outgroup members (i.e. they can have more traditional and "common sense" values, norms and cares as well).
  • myths regarding poor health.
  • (getting even more speculative and not even sure this is a thing) myths that their moral position is based on being overly squeamish rather than rationality.


On the second point, another reason is that myths regarding poor health are not entirely unfounded, and vegans are more likely to have low haemoglobin which is tested prior to donation. Once for me, it was slightly low and I was asked to get another official test before donating again (it was fine in the subsequent test, probably in part to me deliberately upping iron intake including a daily vitamin). They test for other things as well - infectious diseases as standard before transfusion, but I believe it could be tested for anything if the blood ends up being used for that purpose (in which case, you would be informed if there is anything to be concerned about, however I suspect this scenario playing out is quite rare)

Nice one George. Some thoughts:

  • My naïve intuition is that it would be good for many EA orgs to decentralise further and/or move bases out of expensive areas, due to lower operating costs and I think better optics leading to greater cost-effectiveness. But after considering that many smarter and more knowledgeable people think otherwise, I would be slightly surprised if this intuition was correct (having tried to comprehend everything in a GiveWell model, I can see the benefit in people regularly being in the same room). 
  • Would you agree that location vs value-based is a false dichotomy and they represent two extreme ends of a spectrum? In reality, I understand the majority of companies benchmark using local competitive rates, but this does not have to be the case. My intuition leans towards a norm of using both location and value-based components in deciding salary. This would mean a worker based in San Francisco would be paid more than one in Nairobi, but less relative to local cost of living.
  • On #5, I think these salaries need to consider averages, not exceptions. Also, I believe it is greater job opportunities that lead to organisations needing to set higher wages.
  • The example of the Kenyan employee effectively redistributing their disposable income seems a bit idealistic to me. Offering high wages for the region would attract a greater proportion of less-altruistically minded people who would not necessarily redistribute generously and impartially. In addition, GiveDirectly (and other NGOs) have developed their own ideas on how these funds could effectively be used. Even with the individual's advantage of being in the region, the NGO must view this as an expected cost to their broadly-defined goal of global development. There are likely overall benefits to the NGO in terms of image and employee morale, but (I think) not in the explicit benefits from philanthropic investments made by the individual.

To repeat myself a little. Thanks for the post and perspective. My admittedly uniformed hunch is that it would be great to see more EA-aligned orgs hiring remote workers in less developed and expensive regions. I think ideal remuneration for the positions would involve location and value-based components.

I've been informed that in UK, MEDACT is a registered charity doing this work. 

They are an affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which is registered charity in the USA. 

And NTI is also a registered charity in the USA.

Thanks kind person.

Edit: now see via GWWC that for donations to:

  • NTI
  • Council on Strategic Risks — Nuclear weapons policy work
  • Federation of American Scientists — Nuclear Information Project

citizens of USA, UK and Netherlands can get tax benefits.

On behalf of all fools, I really appreciate the "April Fools' Day" tag.

I was wondering this too. If you haven't found out already, submit one per form (after submitting you will be asked if you want to submit another).

Money begets money

Or, and this is a bit more of a slogan:

If you want your money invested wisely, find the person who needs it the most.

I am not working on MAP. That is a  project mostly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That post I made a week ago was just intended as a potentially-interesting description, however as I mention there MAP estimates drive both WHO and GBD estimates. I was also surprised to only recently find out about MAP given that role, and their own slick site.

I have acquired some general knowledge about malaria doing volunteer research for SoGive (to whom I am grateful). Outside of that, I am now reading up on the An. stephensi threat to Africa, but I would stop short of calling that a project. If you have a malaria-related question you want answers to that doesn't involve advanced math, there is a reasonable chance I can help.

Strong upvote for the analysis. And a more general congratulations on what you are doing with ODH (even if it doesn't turn out as effective as hoped).

I agree with the biggest weakness identified.

A quick thought (i.e. excuse me if this is stupid) is that you could use the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) pixel data

to estimate burden at the location of ODH centres and analyse based on expectation of shifting mortality rate* closer to other regions where there are closer health care centers. 

A few notes:

  • MAP does incorporate proximity to health care center in their modelling but I do not know how to download in a format I can use (only see TFF option).
  • Proximity to health care obviously correlated with urbanisation, which reduces the malaria burden itself, but you can probably largely control for this off incidence or prevalence rates.
  • Obviously less helpful approach to non-malaria burden, but I think estimations of improvement could be generalised across other health issues.
  • This modelling (or at least a prior form) is a core contributor to the GBD data.

If you think there is possible merit here, I am happy to discuss.

*can be converted to DALYs, although this might be an issue if we are to consider "lives saved" in the same way as GiveWell (i.e. not using DALYs).  I have not quite got my head around if/how this is an issue yet.

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