Will Howard

Software Engineer @ Centre for Effective Altruism
22London, UKJoined Aug 2022


I'm a developer on the EA Forum (the website you are currently on). You can contact me about forum stuff at will.howard@centreforeffectivealtruism.org or about anything else at w.howard256@gmail.com


Topic Contributions

My overall feeling is that:

  • Some of those things (slack, discord, facebook) are sub-optimal because they are private, things being public is good for acculturation of new people, and so it's good to make a public place that competes with these
  • The discussion section on the other topics is intended for discussing what should be in topic description (although this isn't that clear at the moment, maybe we should change the blurb at the top)
  • I'm also just like 🤷‍♂️ eh, how bad is it to have competing standards anyway? Competition makes it more likely that the best place for discussion will win out in the end, it's kind of bad because it splits the discussion between multiple places. I have a weak opinion that the first thing is more important

Overall I disagree with the general thrust of this post on the grounds that the risk of death from nuclear war (conditional on nuclear use in Ukraine) seems so much higher than from covid for the typical EA demographic, but I would like to +1 the point that people may be able to eliminate most of their risk without moving to completely the middle of nowhere.

Russia has enough active nuclear weapons to completely destroy something like 1-500,000 km^2*. The UK alone has a land area of 250,000 km^2, the US is around 10 million km^2 and NATO as a whole is 25 million. So even in a total nuclear war scenario it's likely that just going to a relatively small town will eliminate most of the risk, and there are many places like this where you can have a good work from home setup and commute to the big city occasionally.

*rough estimate, where "completely destroy" means kill most people in the area:
 - Russia has 1588 active warheads, with a total yield of ~800MT, so ~500 kilotons each
 - This tool says that a 500kt warhead can destroy around 100-250 km^2
**another way of arriving at the same conclusion is that the US has 20,000 towns, which is far higher than 1588

Not currently but there will be soon

It looks like he is already a member, welcome Nir! Invites are a good idea though, we will probably add that at some point in the future, for now just dm-ing someone the link is pretty much the best way

Upvote this if you would prefer the default to be that you do not get a daily notification if there are unread comments in the subforum

Upvote this if you would prefer the default to be that you do get a daily notification if there are unread comments in the subforum

We're working on adding a daily notification for new subforum comments, would you all prefer that this was opt in by default or opt out? You will be able to opt in/out either way, probably with a little bell at the top of the page. (upvote the replies below to vote)

Hi Devin, it should work if you refresh the page. There is a bug where it fails the permissions check the first time you visit the page but then it passes the second time, this will be fixed properly later today

lmk if you have any more issues!

Happy to see python holding its own against the real languages 😌

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