Something I have been wondering about is how social/'fluffy' the EA Forum should be. Most posts just make various claims and then the comments are mostly about disagreement with those claims. (There have been various threads about how to handle disagreements, but this is not what I am getting at here.) Of course not all posts fall in this category: AMAs are a good example, and they encourage people to indulge in their curiosity about others and their views. This seems like a good idea to me.
For example, I wonder whether I should write more comments pointing out what I liked in a post even if I don't have anything to criticise instead of just silently upvoting. This would clutter the comment section more, but it might be worth it by people feeling more connected to the community if they hear more specific positive feedback.
I feel like Facebook groups used to do more online community fostering within EA than they do now, and the EA Forum hasn't quite assumed the role they used to play. I don't know whether it should. It is valuable to have a space dedicated to 'serious discussions'. Although having an online community space might be more important than usual while we are all stuck at home.denise_melchin on Parenting: Things I wish I could tell my past self
Thank you so much for this post! It's one of these posts that gives the community a more community like feel which is nice.
To share my experience: I have two kids, they are 10 and 3.5. What I would tell my younger self before my first kid mostly revolves around "slack", everything else went very well! I think my predictions around what having a kid would be like were mostly pretty decent and mentally preparing for a lot of challenges paid off.
But one thing I did not fully account for is how having slack for my future plans matters and how having a child would reduce the amount of slack I had a lot. Slack would have been most relevant in case I wanted to change my future plans which I did not expect to change much (this is more of a young person error). I did not properly budget for opportunities opening up/maybe changing my mind. E.g. it had not occurred to me that going to university abroad might be a better option than in my home country, but that would have been very difficult with a child.
I think my predictions and mindset were actually more off before my second child. I think I was much less mentally prepared for challenges and did not budget for them in the same way as I had before my first child. Some of that was due to underestimating how different children can be and how much your experience can differ between different children. I had heard this from other parents, but did not really want it to be true, surely I knew what was up after one child already? As it turned out, my experiences were pretty different with both my children - with my first, sleep had never been that big of a deal, my second still does not quite properly sleep through the night at the age of 3.5 years. However, taking care of my second during daylight hours has been a lot easier than with my first, I didn't realise babies could be so easy!
Not mentally (and practically) preparing for challenges the same way for my second as I had before my first was partially the same mistake, but deserves its own mention. I find it a bit tricky to say how 'wrong' that was however, would I actually want to let my younger self before my second child know about the challenges I had? I was more engaged with wishful thinking, but babies are hard work, and maybe parents need a bit of wishful thinking to actually be willing to have another one. Otherwise hyperbolic discounting would stop them.
This is also the way I feel now - I'm hoping to have a third child soon-ish, but pretend to myself that everything will be easy peasy, because my tendency to hyperbolically discount might deter me. Deluding myself might just be correct.
I don't think I changed much as a person due to having children.ben-pace on Correlations Between Cause Prioritization and the Big Five Personality Traits
(Yes, I'm pretty sure this is the standard way to use those terms.)michaela on AMA: Markus Anderljung (PM at GovAI, FHI)
In addition to Markus' suggestion that you could consider applying to the GovAI fellowship, you could also considering applying for a researcher role at GovAI. Deadline is October 19th.
(I don't mean to imply that the only way to do this is to be at FHI. I don't believe that that's the case. I just wanted to mention that option, since Markus had mentioned a different position but not that one.)tom_beggs on The Intellectual and Moral Decline in Academic Research
I wouldn't expect a marked difference in the quality of non-controversial research whether funded by a national granting agency or private industry. That said, I'm not an expert on the topic, either.
As for "controversial" science in the sense of "any science that business/industry doesn't like," the pattern is quite similar whether we're talking about lead, asbestos, climate change, et cetera:
Find a couple of researchers who will play ball to say your product is safe despite all the evidence to the contrary. Point to this repeatedly any time the topic comes up. Ignore the mountain of evidence that says you're wrong at all costs, and undermine it any way you can. Buy as many politicians as you can to try and prevent regulation.
As for vaping, I'd need to see some examples of bad academic research. I'm not sure you can blame the scientists for the consequences of poorly-regulated businesses. They can only test the products that they're given and tell you whether they're safe. They can't tell you if a manufacturer is going to change the oil they use or decide to include heavy metals.
That's up to the regulators to prevent.michaeldickens on On GiveWell's estimates of the cost of saving a life
GiveWell's full cost-effectiveness calculations are available here: https://www.givewell.org/how-we-work/our-criteria/cost-effectiveness/cost-effectiveness-modelsgrayden on Correlations Between Cause Prioritization and the Big Five Personality Traits
Really interesting article. Just one quick question: does high emotional stability mean low neuroticism?leandrod on LeandroD's Shortform
Is there any plan to translate Doing Good Better to other languages? Spanish in particular. I think it would be the best introductory material to EA.linch on Some thoughts on the effectiveness of the Fraunhofer Society
Great post! Do either you or other commentators here have a sense of how Fraunhofer compares to publicly funded research groups in other countries, like NASA, NIH, etc?
Also, have there been unusually strong success stories from other groups in that reference class?larks on Some thoughts on the effectiveness of the Fraunhofer Society
This was a really interesting article on a subject I'd never heard of before, thanks very much. I assume similar issues affect government research organisations in other countries as well.