Tyler Johnston

Corporate Communications Specialist @ The Humane League
Working (0-5 years experience)

Participation
4

  • Attended more than three meetings with a local EA group
  • Attended an EAGx conference
  • Attended an EA Global conference
  • Completed the Alt Protein Fundamentals Virtual Program

Posts
1

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Comments
14

Answer by Tyler JohnstonNov 23, 202221
🙌5
❤️9

Thanks to everyone who has shared. Here's mine so far, ordered by recency:

  • Our World In Data
  • Healthier Hens
  • Shrimp Welfare Project
  • The Good Food Institute
  • Faunalytics
  • Mercy For Animals
  • My local homeless shelter

Looking forward, I'm hoping to diversify more and add longtermist causes to balance out my main focus of animal welfare, and also donate less to organizations directly and outsorce more to groups like EA Funds.

I'd be open to any feedback. I'm also pursuing the further pledge, and would like to speak to anyone who has advice on choosing a manageable baseline. Thanks for creating this thread!

For me, one of the main takeaways of the FTX debacle was a reminder of the fact we have something to lose. That a load of money isn't just a number or a means to personal enrichment, but rather its value is weighed in the absolutely mind-boggling number of people and animals that our efforts today could impact.

So, in a strage way, I'm really glad that I'm surrounded by people who care enough for this to have hurt, and for it to have hurt for the right reasons.

It's a reminder that this community is largely comprised by people who are remarkably driven to make the world better a better place, even long after they're no longer in it. It helps me recalibrate to see this as a bump in the road and focus on the next steps, knowing there's a lot of talent and a lot of motivation and a lot of care around me.

So, thanks to you all! I appreciate you.

Man, this interview really broke my heart. I think I used to look up to Sam a lot, as a billionaire whose self-attested sole priority was doing as much as possible to help the most marginalized + in need, today and in the future.

But damn... "I had to be good [at talking about ethics]... it's what reputations are made of."

Just unbelievable.

I hope this is a strange, pathological reaction to the immense stress of the past week for him, and not a genuine unfiltered version of the true views he's held all along. It all just makes me quite sad, to be honest.

OPP was making grants in the Global Health and Wellbeing space (which includes animal welfare) long before this.

The data exist via their grants database [1] — it doesn't look to me like there was any shift away from longtermism that coincided with SBF/FTX entering the space (if anything, it looks like the opposite could be true in 2022).


  1. Credit to Tyler Muale for data collection ↩︎

I gotta plug Tulsa, OK here. I was in a similar boat and moved for reasons along the lines of what Nicole Janeway Bills discusses in this post. Definitely not for everyone, but happy to chat about my experience so far if you're interested.

If "EA is a question," and that question is how to do the most good, I think Peter Singer will always consider himself an effective altruist.

However, he seems to disagree about whether the answer to that question entails a predominant focus on common longtermist topics. I suspect, while he will always see himself as an EA, it will be as an EA that has important differences in cause area prioritization. For more info, he discusses his views about longtermism here, perhaps captured best by the following quote:

When taking steps to reduce the risk that we will become extinct, we should focus on means that also further the interests of present and near-future people. If we are at the hinge of history, enabling people to escape poverty and get an education is as likely to move things in the right direction as almost anything else we might do; and if we are not at that critical point, it will have been a good thing to do anyway.

Consider Using a Reading Ruler!

Digital reading rulers are tools that create parallel lines across a page of text, usually tinted a certain color, which scroll along with the text as you read. They were originally designed as a tool to aid comprehension for dyslexic readers, based on what was once a very simple strategy: physically moving a ruler down a page as you read.

There is some recent evidence showing that reading rulers improve speed and comprehension in non-dyslexic readers, as well. Also, many reading disabilities are probably something of a spectrum disorder, and I suspect it’s possible to have minor challenges with reading that slightly limit speed/comprehension but don’t create enough of a problem to be noticed early in life or qualify for a diagnosis.

Because of this, I suggest most regular readers at least try using one and see what they think. I’ve had the surprising experience that reading has felt much easier to me while using one, so I plan to continue to use reading rulers for large books and articles in the foreseeable future.

There are browser extensions that can offer reading rulers for articles, and the Amazon Kindle app for iOS added reading rulers two years ago. I’d be curious to hear if anyone else has had a positive experience with them.

Thank you so much for writing this up! I've also found a lot of benefits from ACT, and it seems like there is quite a strong empirical grounding. I'd also second your recommendation that anyone interested seek out the book A Liberated Mind by Steven Hayes, one of the progenitors of ACT.

In that book, Hayes also mentions some research they did on ACT for goal-related outcomes, like improving school grades and chess performance. I don't have the links on hand, but I recall that they saw significant effects from relatively minor interventions, so I think it could be especially promising for people looking to deal not only with larger mental illness issues, but also smaller life goals.

I have found more benefit from ACT than traditional CBT myself. As this post mentions, one of the fundamental differences is that CBT tries to change your thinking about difficult things, whereas ACT simply asks you to accept them wholeheartedly. Because of this, I've sometimes felt like CBT is kind of just gaslighting yourself, which may in fact be effective, but I suspect that ACT might produce more stable long-term improvements — especially for people who have epistemic issues with the idea of simply reframing difficult truths. I think ACT also has many similarities to mindfulness practice and certain forms of Buddhism, and people who find those ideas interesting and helpful will likely see some benefit from ACT.

I'm very sympathetic to some of the signalling benefits of being (or at least appearing to be) frugal.

I just graduated from a uni with a large EA presence, and most of my very-motivated do-gooder friends were outside of EA (either affiliated with a homeless shelter I worked at, grad student union organizing, or various social justice causes on campus). Most of them were seemingly convinced that the EAs on campus weren't actually interested in doing good, because there was money being spent on sending students to fly abroad for conferences, hosting discussion groups, opening an office/hang out space in our insanely expensive city, etc. Which, to be fair, was a far cry from how the campus homeless shelter I worked at was spending money — we cherished small donations from our fundraising drives, spending it almost exclusively on programs benefitting the guests we served, often just getting together basic bits of clothing and hygiene products.

I tried to explain to my friends the EA argument for spendy-ness (I still believe it is the best way to do good, deep down) but I just couldn't seem to convince them that it wasn't a ruse of motivated reasoning. Looking back on it, I'm bummed that some of my most passionate and talented friends, who were already choosing careers based on serving others, were turned off by this. I wish my friends' first image of EA had even more similar to mine — things like the GWWC pledge and Singer's famine affluence and morality — as I think that would have sold them on EA in the same way it first sold me on it. But they just saw social gatherings and professional development, and for students who were skipping out on studying and social events to do on-the-ground organizing and volunteering and public service, EA just didn't seem all that selfless to begin with. I couldn't really convince them otherwise, and I'm sad about that.

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