57Joined Apr 2022


Weaver is a Rationalist and EA writer and a full time active duty Army Officer. He is a part of Philly Rats and EA Philly(barely) and you can read all of his writing through his author website: http://storyweaver.quest/ (links to Royal Road fiction)

Sect Leader is an attempt to shovel EA principles into a fantasy narrative(a nod to HPMOR), everything else is just for fun.


Topic Contributions

EA in the mainstream media: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu

I have not. If you could connect the two of us, I would appreciate it. I'll message you this week when I get a chance to talk shop and I hope it will be a productive discussion.

EA in the mainstream media: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu

I wrote a bit about this here: Public Relations: Message & Rapport 

I'll probably have a bit more about this as I think about what specific messaging "how to" would be useful for EAs.

EA in the mainstream media: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu

I'm working on an EA consultancy startup (still in planning phases) but with my experience running a large scale operation, I could fold this kind of talent into the consultancy portion and then farm that out. Part of my job is media training and perhaps that is something that EA lacks? I need to research this more but I tend to get the feeling that EAs disregard politics when it's not convenient or don't engage as much as they could. Messaging is politics as it's basest level, and I'll probably write a forums post on this later- it's about building rapport and speaking clearly what you are doing.  Comment on this with your thoughts as to what you would want with a PR team or media training so I can make some red teaming stuff about it.

Recommendations for EA-themed sci-fi and fantasy?

I wrote this novel as a way to explore how a Xianxia society would combat the existential risk of a threat that could not be defeated in combat. I also wrote an after action review of how it was to write an entire novel explicitly from an EA lens (see my post). The MC is an EA-Rationalist, and... it did a lot better than anything else I have ever written...


Is helping Sri Lanka's economy an EA issue? If not, why? If it is, what can be done to help?

You can ask Sri Lankans what kind of help they want. They might not want meals, they might want something else and without asking you probably wouldn't know, and then be running into the play pumps problem. Here is an article about play pumps: https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2010/07/01/the-playpump-what-went-wrong/#:~:text=If%20demand%20is%20too%20great,put%2C%20there%20is%20no%20panacea.

The idea was great, right? Help generate water from wells, and have a merry go round? Yeah that sounds great! But you have to remember that as EAs we're cautioned against acting in a crisis, or working as triage in an emergency.

But you want to donate money to a cause earmarked to help normal everyday Sri Lankans? Okay well let's try to think about what would be the best way to do that. You'll need some way to distribute the local aid, unless you're going to go in country yourself, and first you need to figure out what aid to give.

Here is how I would approach this if I were going about this seriously. Do an assessment of what the populace wants via interviews, on the ground temperature taking with talks in Sri Lanka, have an interpreter, or a local trusted agent take me around for this part. If I was doing this in my official capacity (US Government) I would have a vetted interpreter (if applicable) and or driver that the embassy had already cleared to work with me, and probably a list of important local organizations leaders to talk with.

I would probably spend about $10-20k trying to understand the problem at hand and who exactly I could vet to be a steward of whatever aid I was bringing. It's one thing to bring in tons of food aid that is unwanted. It's another thing to spin up tons of food aid and then not have a retail distribution setup on ground, this is where proper vetted people come in. 

I would partner with some organization like catholic charities or the World Food Program to do the actual on the ground distribution or a local equivalent. Chances are that the WFP https://www.wfp.org/ is already there in some part helping out, or they are already developing a plan. Again, in my professional capacity I defer to organizations already set up to do this job a lot better than I could even with my logistics and diplomatic background. As an individual, why would they want to work with me? They would have to spend their precious time vetting me on their end, unless I came in as a recognized person. (Hence the professional angle.)

So unless you already came in with good information about how to help out, you're be there trying to hand out the wrong kind of sandwiches in the wrong area, and become a part of the problem yourself.

It's not an intractable issue for an organization, but it is something difficult even for a four person team to accomplish. Can you help by learning how to deliver wanted aid to the right individuals at the right time? Yes. Are those things simple or easy to accomplish? No.

There is enough food to feed the world, however it is in the wrong area and according to my cursory check, Sri Lanka is an island, further complicating their position. It's a big logistics problem and I implore you to look into the WFP and how they run things.

EA Fiction Writing Retreat, Update

I'm supremely interested in if this works and what after action inquiries reveal, also you know to possibly run my own event in the states.

Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement

Directly, probably HR would be the person in charge or hiring someone if they're in country, but HR is not going to be calling Washington to backfill empty roles.

That's what the head of the Embassy would be doing, if enough people raised a fuss.

 The State Department sends people on 3-5 year tours, so they might have a long wait to backfill a role.

Pestering embassies to reduce non-policy barriers to movement

As someone who has had to deal with bureaucratic systems frequently, I think you're asking the wrong person. American Embassies act at the direction of the Ambassador or the Charge D'Affairs in their absence (or non appointment). Many of the people that fill Ambassador roles are career state department workers, but a large portion of these roles are filled by Presidential Appointment. 

In turn, Ambassadors take their cue from the Secretary of State and the President. These are the people that will guide the policy which the Visa process stems from. Ergo, your elected representative has to make this a priority.

A good question would be, can an Ambassador unilaterally change this dynamic, and if so, who is friends with or has the ear of an Ambassador? You could write a letter to Mr. Eric W. Kneedler, who is (as of this writing) the current Charge d'Affairs for the US Embassy in Nairobi.

If not, you could look into doing a FOIA about the visa process and whatever holdups are actually occurring. They will have to respond to a FOIA, although it may not be in a timely manner.

Senior EA 'ops' roles: if you want to undo the bottleneck, hire differently

Well thanks for putting this brain worm into my ear. As I'm trying to make a decision between more project management for the Government or going back to the private sector, this looks very appealing.

Vox on cash transfers vs "graduation programs" for fighting extreme poverty

This reminds me of a video about teaching the different styles of learning (not really backed up by science). The three options were visual learners, auditory learners , etc? It was basic snake oil stuff, someone made a video comparing the styles, and it showed people doing better when....all of the styles were combined into a multimedia presentation.

Um, ok? So do both. 

It's just hard to do a randomized controlled study that way.

So add a third arm, where they do both and compare. That would be a good study.

Source: https://www.educationnext.org/stubborn-myth-learning-styles-state-teacher-license-prep-materials-debunked-theory/

Load More