Running an EA outreach project involving high school students? Let us know! 2021-12-28T15:50:23.880Z
Snapshot of a career choice 10 years ago 2021-09-23T19:05:58.692Z
Backyard dinner and discussion 2021-09-09T01:01:04.588Z
Backyard dinner and discussion with Ajeya Cotra 2021-08-19T20:24:23.846Z
Julia_Wise's Shortform 2021-04-29T17:50:37.215Z
Charges against BitMEX and cofounders 2020-10-02T21:05:08.534Z
Introducing Luke Freeman as head of Giving What We Can 2020-07-27T20:35:20.145Z
Finding equilibrium in a difficult time 2020-03-18T02:50:14.119Z
It's OK to feed stray cats 2020-01-28T10:33:37.543Z
More info on EA Global admissions 2019-12-23T20:20:09.969Z
Countering imposter syndrome 2019-08-28T01:55:10.565Z
You have more than one goal, and that's fine 2019-02-20T01:08:48.269Z
Submit questions about Giving What We Can for Q&A session December 30 2018-12-30T00:51:03.555Z
Open beta of the new EA Forum now available 2018-10-18T02:59:49.556Z
Forum moving to open beta this week 2018-10-15T21:24:30.107Z
Additional plans for the new EA Forum 2018-09-07T15:35:47.733Z
Self-care sessions for EA groups 2018-09-06T15:55:12.835Z
EA syllabi and teaching materials 2018-09-05T18:19:10.207Z
How to use the Forum 2018-09-05T17:22:55.831Z
Upcoming AMA with Holden Karnofsky on job openings at the Open Philanthropy Project (Monday March 26, starting 9:30 am Pacific) 2018-03-23T13:57:53.133Z
A contact person for the EA community 2018-01-12T17:04:14.404Z
Changes to the EA Forum 2017-07-02T17:34:18.441Z
Upcoming AMA with Luke Muehlhauser on consciousness and moral patienthood (June 28, starting 9am Pacific) 2017-06-21T21:56:48.696Z
A mental health resource for EA community 2017-05-06T02:07:05.630Z
Advisory panel at CEA 2017-03-07T01:49:08.971Z
Practical political action on global health 2017-02-27T15:01:54.575Z
Clarifying the Giving What We Can pledge 2017-02-06T20:07:29.719Z
EAs write about where they give 2016-12-09T16:00:28.601Z
Running an EA reading group 2016-12-02T16:21:45.435Z
Making EA groups more welcoming 2016-07-29T01:09:18.503Z
Guidelines on depicting poverty 2016-03-28T14:24:32.423Z
Against segregating EAs 2016-01-21T16:15:37.410Z
An embarrassment of riches 2015-11-19T18:23:28.370Z
Burnout and self-care 2015-10-23T13:15:26.672Z
Meetup : Boston dinner/discussion 2015-02-20T02:47:41.839Z
On making spaces friendlier to parents 2015-01-27T22:06:13.728Z
How much does it cost to have a child? 2014-12-24T15:06:18.236Z
Aim high, even if you fall short 2014-10-11T17:26:53.809Z
Where I'm giving and why: Julia Wise 2013-12-27T20:05:48.000Z
Giving now vs. later: a summary 2013-07-23T04:00:39.000Z
Cheerfully 2013-06-21T04:00:03.000Z


Comment by Julia_Wise on Open Thread: Winter 2021 · 2022-01-18T17:52:55.690Z · EA · GW

You're not alone in finding these topics mind-boggling and distressing!

If you'd like to talk to people and there's not an EA group near you, you could join the EA Anywhere group:

There's also the EA Peer Support group:

Comment by Julia_Wise on Why Charities Usually Don't Differ Astronomically in Expected Cost-Effectiveness · 2022-01-10T15:58:56.642Z · EA · GW

This was useful pushback on the details of a claim that is technically true, and was frequently cited at one point, but that isn't as representative of reality as it sounds.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Beware surprising and suspicious convergence · 2022-01-10T15:40:39.764Z · EA · GW

I think of this post often - the pattern comes up in so many areas.

Comment by Julia_Wise on It's OK to feed stray cats · 2021-12-27T16:13:47.058Z · EA · GW

To be clear, this was an indoor foster cat, formerly a stray.

Comment by Julia_Wise on You have more than one goal, and that's fine · 2021-12-14T17:16:38.044Z · EA · GW

Stuff I'd change if I were rewriting this now:

  • not include the reference to "youngish" EAs wanting to govern everything by cost-effectiveness. I think it's more a result of being new to the idea than young.
  • make clearer that I do think significant resources should go toward improving the world. Without context, I don't think that's clear from this post.

This post is pushing against a kind of extremism, but it might push in the wrong direction for some people who aren't devoting many resources to altruism. It's not that I think people in general should be donating more to their friend's fundraiser or their community arts organization - I'd rather see them putting more resources towards things that are more important and cost-effective. But I would like people to examine whether they're doing things for more self-regarding personal reasons, or for optimizer-y improve-the-world reasons. And enjoy the resources they put toward themselves and their friends, but also take seriously the project of improving the world and put significant resources toward that. Rather than being confused about which project you're pursuing, which I think is suboptimal both for your own enjoyment and for improving the world.

Comment by Julia_Wise on I am taking a break from the EA community. Here are a few words about why. · 2021-12-11T16:12:00.212Z · EA · GW

I'm really sorry things are so bad. PMing you

Comment by Julia_Wise on A contact person for the EA community · 2021-11-16T19:24:12.186Z · EA · GW

I’m adding info about some mistakes I’ve made so people can be aware of my track record. While I’ll do my best to keep confidential anything you want to talk to me about privately, I can’t guarantee that I’ll never make a mistake. So far, I know of two situations where I’ve failed to maintain confidentiality.

I tally that in the 6 years I’ve been in this role, I’ve handled about 135 situations where confidentiality was implied or requested by members of the community (not counting more standard situations like internal work emails). Here are the two mistakes I know I’ve made around confidentiality:

  • Someone sent me a draft of a critique of my colleague’s book, which I agreed to keep confidential. In deciding what to do with the email chain the following week, I forgot that they had asked for confidentiality in the first message, and sent it to my colleague. You can read more detail here.
  • Someone confidentially told me about a problem in the community they had heard about. We agreed that I would look into the problem and talk to one of the people involved. In investigating the concern, I talked to some other people involved in a way that I thought was probably ok with the person who initially talked to me, but I didn’t check. They actually weren’t ok with it. I should have checked with the person to clarify whether they were ok with me investigating in a way that revealed some of the information they shared with me. It’s possible that my talking to people involved made it harder for the victim to do their own evidence-gathering about what happened.

It's very important to me that EA is a place where people trust each other, and I really regret both these mistakes.

If you know of other mistakes I’ve made that I should learn from, you can contact me at, my manager, Nicole Ross, at, and/or CEA’s executive director, Max Dalton at You can also contact CEA anonymously via our contact form (which goes to our operations staff, but they can route to other staff if you request that.)

Comment by Julia_Wise on Is there anyone working full-time on helping EAs address mental health problems? · 2021-11-02T17:33:23.804Z · EA · GW

Gina and several other therapists in EA are listed here:

Comment by Julia_Wise on Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more) · 2021-11-01T14:30:29.280Z · EA · GW

Done! Thanks for posting this!

Comment by Julia_Wise on APPLY NOW | EA Global: London (29-31 Oct) | EAGxPrague (3-5 Dec) · 2021-09-10T13:45:48.152Z · EA · GW

It's a good question. For some people who have already considered their plans pretty carefully and who don't expect much benefit from meeting others in the community, it might not be worthwhile. Or just people for whom the travel / time costs would be unusually high (personally, I'm in that category this year).

I expect it to be most valuable for people who are considering some kind of change of plan in how they might have impact. Hearing about projects in the community and getting input from other people on your plans could be really valuable, allowing you to have much more impact than by donating the monetary cost of attending the conference.

I realize people who had an unusually good experience are more likely to write posts about a conference, but here are some posts giving a sense of the kinds of value some other people have gotten:

Comment by Julia_Wise on What is the closest thing you know to EA that isn't EA? · 2021-08-15T16:32:06.531Z · EA · GW

A couple of historical predecessors:

The scientific charity movement starting in the 1870s:

And John Wesley advocating earning to give in the 1700s:

Comment by Julia_Wise on EA syllabi and teaching materials · 2021-07-06T14:20:02.681Z · EA · GW

Thanks, added to the post!

Comment by Julia_Wise on AMA: Working at the Centre for Effective Altruism · 2021-05-25T19:15:10.436Z · EA · GW

For me it might be two sides of the same coin (particular to my role on the community health team).

The positive is getting to serve a community I really believe in, and supporting people who feel very much on the same team as me as far as big life goals.

The negative is that there's less separation between work life and community life than there would be in a lot of jobs. I'm not a normal community member in the way I was before I worked here - there are more things I have to try to be neutral on, etc. Facebook is mostly a work space for me.

Comment by Julia_Wise on AMA: Working at the Centre for Effective Altruism · 2021-05-25T19:00:30.128Z · EA · GW

I have a similar impression to Amy - when I came on almost 6 years ago and for several years after, things were much looser. There was not a particularly consistent strategy, hiring was sometimes very informal, and we were running a lot of projects without always having adequate staffing to do a good job.

Now things are more settled, more formalized (e.g. annual performance reviews, standard hiring process, clearer communication about who is responsible for what). We're less likely to take on big new projects, and we're focused on better performance on our existing projects.

Comment by Julia_Wise on RyanCarey's Shortform · 2021-05-15T21:06:51.102Z · EA · GW

My favorite example of Slate Star Codex translating into Republican is the passage on climate change starting with "In the 1950s":

Comment by Julia_Wise on Small and Vulnerable · 2021-05-12T13:17:24.869Z · EA · GW

I really appreciate both this piece and your drive to leave this world better than you found it!

This made me think about two of my favorite older pieces about EA, which are both about the tie between one's own losses and a drive to do something positive:

Derek Thompson on donating after the death of his mother: "Malaria is not merely the greatest killer of children in the world, but also it is the greatest killer of pregnant women. The disease plunders motherhood from both sides of the equation. The loss of a mother must be quantifiable by some measure of creative accounting, but in my experience it is immeasurable. This much I knew: There is the thing that I want, I cannot have it, but I can give it to somebody else."

Zoe Savitsky on donating in the aftermath of her cancer: "my current restrictions are stark. These twin recognitions – first, that in spite of my health struggles, I remain one of the most privileged people on the planet, and second, that my physical isolation has made me crave engagement with the world – led me to Giving What We Can."

Comment by Julia_Wise on Being Vocal About What Works · 2021-05-12T12:32:50.001Z · EA · GW

You probably wouldn’t consider yourself an EA if it didn’t improve your life.

I don't think EAs should keep doing things that make them miserable (as with the noisy housing example someone gives below), but I don't think personal benefit is or should be the main reason to do EA. I'm not a fan of the obligation/excitement dichotomy because I feel some of both, but the word that fits best to me is "determination."

I get benefits from being part of EA, like friendships with smart and caring people. But there are other smart and caring people I could have met in other communities, and I'd probably be personally a bit happier if I made some other community my main focus, one with less emphasis on animal suffering and existential risk.

To paraphrase a Greg Lewis piece, it would be surprising if the community that's best for improving the world is also best for my personal satisfaction. I've chosen to make this community my main focus because I think it lets me make progress on problems in the world, and it also feels sustainable for me to do so (even though not the most enjoyable thing I could focus on). And part of what makes it sustainable is also having family/parenting as the other major focus in my life, so that EA is not the only thing going on for me.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Julia_Wise's Shortform · 2021-04-29T17:50:37.607Z · EA · GW

Write roundup posts!

The posts I've made that I think yielded the most value for the amount of work I put in were essentially lists of other people's work.

EA Syllabi and teaching materials

Giving now vs. later: a summary

There are other formats that may make sense, like tags for material on this forum, or wikis. But the general principle is that you can do something really useful by making it easy for people to find existing material on a topic.

Comment by Julia_Wise on EA syllabi and teaching materials · 2021-04-29T17:42:41.213Z · EA · GW

Thanks! Added.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior · 2021-04-19T17:35:17.805Z · EA · GW

The community health team at CEA has been following the situation.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Announcing "Naming What We Can"! · 2021-04-01T14:55:02.711Z · EA · GW

My coworkers got me a mug that said "Sorry, I'm not Julia Galef" to save me from having to say it so much at conferences. Maybe I should have just gone this route instead.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Announcing "Naming What We Can"! · 2021-04-01T14:51:33.302Z · EA · GW

Third time's the charm!

Comment by Julia_Wise on Some quick notes on "effective altruism" · 2021-03-25T19:50:32.332Z · EA · GW

I think I'd expect US culture to be most ok with self-congratulation, and basically everywhere else (including UK) to be more allergic to it? But most of the people who voted on the name in the first place were British.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Please stand with the Asian diaspora · 2021-03-23T18:03:15.749Z · EA · GW

I’m so sorry for the pain and fear that many people are experiencing after the Atlanta shootings. And I know this comes on top of subtle disadvantages, misunderstandings, and slights that wear people down even when something like this isn’t in the news.

I can understand the worry about getting sidetracked by current events that are culturally important but not as large-scale/neglected/tractable as other problems EA already focuses on. But I agree with Will’s comment - we can still acknowledge pain that’s happening, especially pain felt by fellow EAs. To me, the reason it's so important to do the math and focus on impact is a sense that the lives involved are precious and irreplaceable. EAs will still be hit hard personally by specific situations, even while knowing other irreplaceable lives are lost all the time.

(I read a good argument that sex workers are another population targeted by the Atlanta attacks, and because of stigma against that work there’s been little acknowledgement that sex workers face a lot of danger in general as well as in this specific case. I also want to acknowledge the unfairness of the stigma and danger that sex workers experience.)

Comment by Julia_Wise on Please stand with the Asian diaspora · 2021-03-23T14:04:49.503Z · EA · GW

I don't see much in that paper, but it's been written about elsewhere, e.g. Harvard's Impossible Personality Test

Comment by Julia_Wise on Response to Phil Torres’ ‘The Case Against Longtermism’ · 2021-03-21T23:37:55.533Z · EA · GW


Comment by Julia_Wise on Response to Phil Torres’ ‘The Case Against Longtermism’ · 2021-03-19T21:19:25.149Z · EA · GW

A little historical background - one of my first introductions to proto-effective altruism was through corresponding with Nick Beckstead while he was a graduate student, around the time he would have been writing this dissertation. He was one of the first American members of Giving What We Can (which at the time was solely focused on global poverty), and at the time donated 10% of his graduate stipend to charities addressing global poverty. When I read this passage from his dissertation, I think of the context provided by his personal actions.

I think that "other things being equal" is doing a lot of work in the passage. I know that he was well aware of how much more cost-effective it is to save lives in poor economies than in rich ones, which is why he personally put his money toward global health.

Comment by Julia_Wise on What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard · 2021-03-15T17:30:44.884Z · EA · GW

I think "The Privilege of Earning to Give" by Jeff Kaufman (who I'm married to) helped bridge a gap between us and our non-EA friends, who tend to have much more standard leftist views than we do.

Comment by Julia_Wise on What Makes Outreach to Progressives Hard · 2021-03-15T17:15:04.770Z · EA · GW

Ironically, the situation in which I have most frequently been asked about whether EA is elitist is while giving intro talks about EA at MIT, Yale, etc.

Comment by Julia_Wise on [deleted post] 2021-03-15T15:56:53.647Z

My pet peeve about this argument is that the Shakers lasted from 1770 to the present (although now with just two elderly members). That's nothing to sneeze at for a utopian movement - compare them to the longevity of many 1960s communes that produced plenty of babies.

Comment by Julia_Wise on [deleted post] 2021-03-15T15:53:24.347Z

I've done all these things, and the time still has to come from somewhere. Imagine a normal workday, and then imagine it while also getting snacks, resolving disputes, helping someone find their shoes, etc. Even while living with extended family and friends, we have never lived with someone who wanted to volunteer for this. We are just now getting to the point where it's viable to do for two days a week with a 5- and 6-year-old while both parents work full-time from home. Even that much is pretty suboptimal for both parents and kids.

Comment by Julia_Wise on [deleted post] 2021-03-15T15:47:54.347Z

Childcare in the early years is a major expense. Housing is another major one (and one that doesn't go away once they're old enough to be in school).

Comment by Julia_Wise on Can a Vegan Diet Be Healthy? A Literature Review · 2021-03-13T14:40:42.386Z · EA · GW

I think Greger probably does provide good advice for people who have already decided to be vegan, but at least his website I think is not clear that it starts from a premise of veganism and then addresses health rather than starting with the question of what's best for health. Wikipedia says Greger became a vegan as a college student when he toured a stockyard. I certainly respect that decision as a personal one, but I think his nutrition advice doesn't clearly address his non-health reasons for recommending veganism.

Comment by Julia_Wise on A full syllabus on longtermism · 2021-03-07T03:20:45.907Z · EA · GW

Good to see! I've added this to the list of EA syllabi and teaching materials. Let me know if you want to be credited as something other than jtm.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Resources On Mental Health And Finding A Therapist · 2021-02-25T19:43:51.570Z · EA · GW

Seconding this. My partner was spooked by seeing a family member on heavy-duty medications for a more serious mental health situation, so our vague impression was that antidepressants might really change who I was. I did need to try a couple meds and try different times of day, etc to deal with side effects, but at this point I have a med and dose that makes my life better and has very minor side effects.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Resources On Mental Health And Finding A Therapist · 2021-02-25T19:42:09.132Z · EA · GW

I also like the writeups there. I was hoping I could refer community members to the actual practice, but Scott writes in a recent post: "Stop trying to sign up for my psychiatry practice. It says in three different places there that it's only currently open to patients who are transferring from my previous practice."

Comment by Julia_Wise on Charges against BitMEX and cofounders · 2021-02-25T19:32:53.856Z · EA · GW

Well you did announce the policy change as a comment on an article about Delo!

Sorry, I mean my most recent comment specifically - the reasons we're considering these kinds of changes are not just because of this one situation but also because of others that could arise. I'll edit to clarify.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Charges against BitMEX and cofounders · 2021-02-25T03:12:56.392Z · EA · GW

I don’t want this comment to read as all commentary on Delo or BitMEX specifically; we're also thinking about how to be prepared for other situations that could arise. [Edited for clarity]

A lot of what’s happening here is CEA realizing that there are a lot of potential donors who make money in crypto or other emerging fields where society is still trying to figure out how to apply legal and ethical frameworks. We need better systems for thinking about that. Many of the steps CEA is taking or considering are not strictly legally required, but that’s not our only consideration.

EA has long included the idea that some ways of making money could create net negative impact even if you donate your earnings, for example 80,000 Hours’ post on Why you should avoid harmful jobs even if you’ll do more good.

There are other ways of making money that don’t reach that bar, but that involve enough harm that their overall effect could be really damaging to EA, for example by spreading a norm that it doesn’t really matter whether you make your money in an ethical way as long as you donate it afterwards. 

CEA’s guiding principles include this section on integrity:

Because we believe that trust, cooperation, and accurate information are essential to doing good, we strive to be honest and trustworthy. More broadly, we strive to follow those rules of good conduct that allow communities (and the people within them) to thrive. We also value the reputation of effective altruism, and recognize that our actions reflect on it.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Charges against BitMEX and cofounders · 2021-02-22T20:47:01.159Z · EA · GW

I am checking with operations staff about this.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Charges against BitMEX and cofounders · 2021-02-17T21:21:00.664Z · EA · GW

Here’s an update from CEA's operations team, which has been working on updating our practices for handling donations. This also applies to other organizations that are legally within CEA (80,000 Hours, Giving What We Can, Forethought Foundation, and EA Funds).

  • “We are working with our lawyers to devise and implement an overarching policy for due diligence on all of our donors and donations going forward.
  • We've engaged a third party who now conducts KYC (know your client) due diligence research on all major donors (>$20K a year).
  • We have established a working relationship with TRM labs who conduct compliance and back-tracing for all crypto donations.” 
Comment by Julia_Wise on In diversity lies epistemic strength · 2021-02-12T15:06:29.607Z · EA · GW

This stood out to me, too. The situation that came to my mind was an extreme one, but maybe it illustrates the importance of having some basic shared beliefs about how to seek truth:

I used to live upstairs from a neighbor who was from a culture that considered witchcraft a real and serious problem. When she heard noises that she considered strange, she came to my door and told me to stop practicing witchcraft against her. She was not interested in hearing my objections that I was not practicing witchcraft, because she was very sure that I was a witch. I was very sure that I was not (but of course that’s what a witch would say!)

Let’s just say the sharing of our different perspectives did not lead to any epistemic breakthroughs.

Comment by Julia_Wise on In diversity lies epistemic strength · 2021-02-12T15:05:34.117Z · EA · GW

I agree with something in this direction, though not with everything as stated.
Some ways I see research affected by demographics:

  • Research of all kinds has been shaped by the viewpoints of people with more status, money, etc.
  • Sometimes this leads to serious slants in our understanding of the world - for example, the fact that so much psychology research has been done on WEIRD undergraduates means that our understanding of human psychology is badly skewed. Medical research that’s primarily carried out on one demographic group may not be generalizable to other populations, meaning worse health outcomes for less-studied groups.
  • In some other cases, findings are less susceptible to bias coming from the demographics of the researchers or research subjects. I can imagine how some aspects of climate science are swayed by demographics: do we look at how people of different geographies, ages, and genders are affected by food and water shortages, for example? But it's hard for me to see how some other aspects, like how polar ice melts, are all that susceptible to demographic bias.

Aside from what or whom is being studied, there is also the question of who is taken seriously in the research community itself.

  • When there are unnecessary slants in what’s seen as professional or credible, we systematically devalue the contributions of groups who don’t fit that mold. Example: someone with an accent perceived as lower-status may be taken less seriously. Or a workplace may treat straight hairstyles as professional but textured hair as less so.
  • Structural problems. Examples: a lack of all-gender or single-person bathrooms in a workplace or conference venue disproportionately affects trans people who have reason to fear harassment in bathrooms. A bad parental leave policy disproportionately affects staff who give birth.
  • Reducing people to their demographic, even if it feels positive. Example: after my first child was born, I went to an EA talk with my baby. Two male friends of mine were there. One talked excitedly in front of the group about the baby and my new status as a parent. The other didn’t mention the baby and only talked to me about EA-related topics, including asking me about an area and pointing out that I knew more than he did about this topic. (He did come over at the end of the gathering to visit with the baby.) While both friends were completely well-intentioned, the first made me fear “Oh no, am I just going to be a mommy now? Is that how they’ll see me?” The second was intentionally trying to avoid that, and he made me feel I was still valued for intellectual contributions.

When you have slants like these that affect who gets published, who gets funded, who gets hired, who can focus better on their work, etc, you lose good contributions. And that’s a loss to the field as well as to those individuals. (And all of this is aside from any knowing/intentional discrimination.)

I think these are problems we should be on guard against. I’m always happy to see people in EA thinking about how to avoid them in workplaces, funding, local groups, etc.

I do agree with other commenters that different backgrounds and demographics will not by themselves necessarily be good for epistemics or truth-seeking.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Killing the ants · 2021-02-10T19:00:57.446Z · EA · GW

Also, this reminds me of Horton Hears a Who.

Yes! I'm not sure what the book was meant to be an allegory for, if anything, but I think of this kind of thing every time I read it to my kids. It's about a character with hearing so keen he can hear the shout for help from a microscopic town, but no one else can hear them and they think he's crazy. The repeated theme is "A person's a person, no matter how small."

Comment by Julia_Wise on Retention in EA - Part II: Possible Projects · 2021-02-08T23:05:00.685Z · EA · GW

Comment by Julia_Wise on Ranking animal foods based on suffering and GHG emissions · 2021-01-21T15:32:58.447Z · EA · GW

I was about to say the same thing - I skimmed for "eggs" and it took me a bit to figure it out.

Comment by Julia_Wise on New infographic based on "The Precipice". any feedback? · 2021-01-14T18:31:53.263Z · EA · GW

I suggest making clearer that these are one researcher's rough estimates. Otherwise I think it gives a false sense of precision. Maybe by titling the infographic "Rough guess at global catastrophic risks from The Precipice" or similar.

Comment by Julia_Wise on My mistakes on the path to impact · 2020-12-05T02:51:25.427Z · EA · GW

Thank you for writing this up! I think it's helpful to see how the different eras of EA advice has played out in people's actual decisions.

Comment by Julia_Wise on What quotes do you find most inspire you to use your resources (effectively) to help others? · 2020-11-19T13:51:33.988Z · EA · GW

"One day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.”
Terry Pratchett (character is Lord Vetinari), Unseen Academicals

Comment by Julia_Wise on Problem area report: Pain · 2020-11-18T19:06:19.731Z · EA · GW

To me "Inhaled analgesia appears to be effective in reducing pain intensity and in giving pain relief in labour" sounds like a ringing endorsement from Cochrane given that their usual bottom line seems to be "not enough evidence." Just about anything for childbirth pain seems to be pretty hit-or-miss, so the fact that it's not that effective for some people seems like not that big of a downside compared to other methods or no method.

Comment by Julia_Wise on Problem area report: Pain · 2020-11-17T15:30:04.707Z · EA · GW

I'm pleased to see this work.

Obviously childbirth accounts for relatively few hours of one's life spent in pain, but I wonder if you've looked into it. Nitrous oxide is safe and relatively cheap and does not need an anesthetist because the patient can administer it themselves. It's commonly used in some Western countries but only getting started in the US, and I can't find anything about its use in middle or low income countries.