Surveys related to animal advocacy 2020-08-12T19:38:27.013Z
Collection of good 2012-2017 EA forum posts 2020-07-10T16:35:58.229Z
How much do Europeans care about fish welfare? (An analysis of relevant surveys) 2020-06-22T15:08:05.604Z
A cause can be too neglected 2020-04-03T16:41:55.283Z
Estimates of global captive vertebrate numbers 2020-02-18T17:05:36.160Z
Accuracy issues in FAO animal numbers 2019-12-02T14:56:47.306Z
Effective Animal Advocacy Resources 2019-10-24T10:41:12.057Z
Corporate commitments breakdown 2019-08-28T16:53:06.105Z
List of ways in which cost-effectiveness estimates can be misleading 2019-08-20T18:05:03.872Z
saulius's Shortform 2019-08-13T15:04:34.562Z
Corporate campaigns affect 9 to 120 years of chicken life per dollar spent 2019-07-08T08:01:43.368Z
35-150 billion fish are raised in captivity to be released into the wild every year 2019-04-02T13:16:07.994Z
Rodents farmed for pet snake food 2019-02-20T19:54:28.356Z
Will companies meet their animal welfare commitments? 2019-02-01T10:24:26.297Z
List of possible EA meta-charities and projects 2019-01-09T11:28:29.773Z
Fish used as live bait by recreational fishermen 2018-08-08T20:56:25.455Z
A lesson from an EA weekend in London: pairing people up to talk 1 on 1 for 30 mins seems to be very useful 2018-06-12T11:38:39.913Z
Fact checking comparison between trachoma surgeries and guide dogs 2017-05-10T22:33:21.864Z


Comment by saulius on The motivated reasoning critique of effective altruism · 2021-09-15T13:39:50.069Z · EA · GW

Nice post! Regarding

1. Strong ideological reasons to believe in a pre-existing answer before searching further (consider mathematical modeling of climate change or coronavirus lockdowns vs pure mathematics)
 Unfortunately, effective altruism is on the wrong side of all these criteria.

I'm curious what you think these strong ideological reasons are. My opinion is that EA is on the right side here on most questions. This is because in EA you get a lot of social status (and EA forum karma) for making good arguments against views that are commonly held in EA. I imagine that in most communities this is not the case. Maybe there is an incentive to think that a cause area or an intervention is promising if you want to (continue to) work within that cause area but anything you can challenge within a cause area or an intervention seems encouraged.  

Comment by saulius on EA Superpower?! 😋 · 2021-07-16T23:18:43.271Z · EA · GW

…AND I SHOW YOU HOW DEEP THE RABBIT HOLE GOES is a great slatestarcodex story which explores what can be done with different superpowers. I'd take the black pill which on the face of it looks like low magic.

Comment by saulius on Buck's Shortform · 2021-07-12T13:13:51.497Z · EA · GW

I would also ask these people to optionally write  or improve a summary of the book in Wikipedia if it has an Wikipedia article (or should have one). In many cases, it's not only EAs who would do more good if they knew ideas in a given book, especially when it's on a subject like pandemics or global warming rather than topics relevant to non-altruistic work too like management or productivity. When you google a book, Wikipedia is often the first result and so these articles receive a quite lot of traffic (you can see here how much traffic a given article receives). 

Comment by saulius on Key Lessons From Social Movement History · 2021-07-05T13:45:26.313Z · EA · GW

While there may be some benefits to increasing issue salience, our case studies provide weak evidence that high issue salience can decrease the tractability of legislative change,[35] which is evidence against tactics that are aimed at increasing salience. This might be especially so if advocates are trying to push through unpopular policies.

Because the animal farming industry has a lot of political power in most countries, I feel that it is they who are likely to push through unpopular policies that benefit animal farmers financially but hurt animals. I may be wrong, but I don't think that animal advocates pushing through unpopular policies has much precedent. I'm not sure what leverage animal advocates could use to do that.

Comment by saulius on Looking for more 'PlayPumps' like examples · 2021-05-28T15:34:50.593Z · EA · GW

I don't know much about it, but this talk mentions how sending free second-hand clothing as aid has damaged local textile industry in some countries. Quick google reveals some articles like this that should talk about it in more depth (I haven't read them though). Also, this article came to my mind but it seems that no charity was involved so it probably doesn't fit your purpose.

Comment by saulius on saulius's Shortform · 2021-05-25T12:47:34.308Z · EA · GW

I think it is useful to think about something like this happening in the current world like you did here because we have better intuitions about the current world. Someone could say that they will torture animals unless vegans give them money, I guess. I think this doesn't happen for multiple reasons. One of them is that it would be irrational for vegans to agree to give money because then other people would continue exploiting them with this simple trick.

I think that the same applies to far future scenarios. If an agent allows itself to be manipulated this easily, it won't become powerful. It's more rational to just make it publicly known that you refuse to engage with such threats. This is one of the reasons why most Western countries have a publicly declared policy to not negotiate with terrorists. So yeah, thinking about it this way, I am no longer concerned about this threats thing.

Comment by saulius on Linch's Shortform · 2021-05-24T15:57:12.108Z · EA · GW

I think that all of us RP intern managers took the same 12-hour management training from The Management Center. I thought that there was some high-quality advice in it but I'm not sure if it applied that much to our situation of managing research interns.  I haven't been to other such trainings so I can't compare.

Comment by saulius on saulius's Shortform · 2021-05-24T12:32:20.133Z · EA · GW

Shower thought, probably not new: some EAs think that expanding the moral circle to include digital minds should be a priority. But the more agents care about the suffering of digital minds, the more likely it is that some agent that doesn’t care about it will use creating vast amounts of digital suffering as a threat to make other agents do something. To make the threat more credible, in at least some cases it may follow through, although I don’t know what is the most rational strategy here. Could this be a dominant consideration that could make the expected value of moral circle expansion to be negative for negative utilitarians? Because the intensity and the scale of purposefully created suffering could outweigh the incidental suffering that would be prevented in other scenarios by an expanded moral circle.

EDIT: I no longer think that this is a legitimate concern, see my comment below.

Comment by saulius on Are mice or rats (as pests) a potential area of animal welfare improvement? · 2021-05-12T09:10:05.786Z · EA · GW

I just want to mention that UK government has just released Action Plan for Animal Welfare which has the following paragraph:

"We will also look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control to help make sure rodents are despatched in a humane manner. Glue traps can cause immense suffering to rodents and other animals that inadvertently fall victim to their use."


Comment by saulius on Insects raised for food and feed — global scale, practices, and policy · 2021-05-04T17:22:09.623Z · EA · GW

I’ve noticed a slight inaccuracy in this article (I’ve already discussed it with Abraham and he agrees that it is an inaccuracy). 

> Global fishmeal production was 15.8 million tonnes in 2014 (FAO 2016). As an example, we might reasonably expect insect meal to replace 25% of global production, or 3.95 million tonnes.

The source does claim that “In 2014, fishmeal production was 15.8 million tonnes” but I am now certain that this claim is misleading because in another place it says “Almost all of the remaining 21 million tonnes was destined for non-food products, of which 76 percent (15.8 million tonnes) was reduced to fishmeal and fish oil in 2014”. This page claims that 15.8Mt of fish were caught to produce 4.7Mt of fishmeal. And other sources like this also claim that fishmeal production is about 5Mt. The question is which number is more relevant. I think it’s the smaller one. Abraham said that the model uses the dry weight of insects, which should be closer to the protein / oil weight than to the total full body weight. I imagine that the conversion ratio between insect dry weight and insect protein is not 1:1 but I don't know what it is.  The guesstimate model assumes that the conversion ratios of fish to fishmeal and the dry insects to insect protein are the same but they are probably not. I think it follows that  insects replacing fishmeal would require fewer individuals.

From what I read, insect protein would not be replacing fishmeal, but it would likely be an additive that has some health benefits for fish and allows producers to claim that they are sustainable. I'm not sure it would lead to more sustainability, as they would probably continue to produce as much fishmeal as it's possible to produce without totally depleting the oceans at an even faster rate (I think fishmeal production has been constant). And fishmeal is likely to remain to be cheaper than insect protein. What insect production might allow is continued growth of fish farming because now the growth might be limited by the amount of available protein feed. 

In general, Rethink Priorities has done more research on this topic since this article was written but it's not published. If anyone is interested in doing anything about insect farming, please contact us, and we can share our new research. There are also some other new sources on this topic, like this report (it's written by a major investor into insect farming though so might be biased).  This and other similar reports predict insect farming to grow really fast.

Finally, note that Rethink Priorities is hiring an Executive Director of the Insect Welfare Project who will see what (if anything) should be done about the welfare issues explained in this article. Please apply if you think you are suitable or share with whoever you think is suitable. And we've just hired an entomologist (insect expert) to look into welfare issues and how they could possibly be mitigated. 

Ah, this comment is all over the place, but I have little time and I thought that writting an unorganized update would be better than nothing.

Comment by saulius on Rodents farmed for pet snake food · 2021-05-04T15:31:27.086Z · EA · GW

An owner of many snakes wrote to me about this article about some inaccuracies. I corrected the article in some places based on what they said. In this article sources on many questions were very poor so it didn’t take much evidence for me to change my opinion. I thought I would also just paste the relevant bits of the email conversation about this (with their permission), in case anyone else was interested in looking deeper into this cause.

Snake owner:  I read your article on rat/mice farms and how the quality of life is bad. Thats not true for some rodent farms but i believe most cases its true. i totally agree with banning all chain stores from selling exotic repitles including snakes. I personally own abandoned snakes from owners. I read your estimates for feeding snakes and its completely wrong. An adult ball python on average eats 1 medium rat every month! Not every week u will make it sick and die. second the corn snake was correct 1 large mouse every 14 days. Your boa one was soo far from reality. As a baby you feed them every week but an Adult eat 1 rat per month!! Any more offten and you are going to make your snake so obesse it will die! So please do your research! I work with a few rescues and do volenteer work on education on exotic snakes and parrots. My personal goal is to educate and make aware how hard to truely care for these animals are, so when i see a well writen and honest document that you wrote up for the welfare of animals that blaitenly ignores basic feeding guildlines to make insaine number for how much these animals eat takes away from your message. Please update your paper with the corrections of feeding quantites. On top of that adult BOAs and adult Ball Pythons only eat once a month dont always eat every month. Most ball pythons go on hunger strikes that can go as long as 1 years without food. So in actual fact you estimate a boa eats 12 rats per year the ball might only eat 8

so Yah your feeding numbers are totally far fetched. Also many other animals eat rats like tegus, savana monitors, hedgehogs eat pinky mice, most lizards.... so its not only about snakes.

Me: Thank you for your message about my article about rodents fed to pet snakes. I am the author of that article but I am by no means knowledgeable on the subject. My numbers of how many animals it takes to feed were based on a couple of hours of googling and are based on sources that are linked. So I agree that they are likely to be off and it would be good to make them better. 

> An adult ball python on average eats 1 medium rat every month! 

Your boa one was soo far from reality. As a baby you feed them every week but an Adult eat 1 rat per month!! 

For ball pythons, my sources are this, this, and this. Each of these sources indicate that they are fed more than one rodent per week. For Boa Constrictors, this page says “Once boas near adulthood, they will thrive while being fed every 10 to 14 days. It is okay to feed your boa more or less often” Could you please tell if you think that these websites are wrong, or if maybe I am misinterpreting them somehow? Also, this page and some other pages indicate that for example, instead of feeding one medium rat, you can feed 2 small rats, or 4-5 adult mice. Do you know if snake owners often choose to feed more smaller rodents instead on one big one? Because that might inflate the numbers.

> Most ball pythons go on hunger strikes that can go as long as 1 years without food.

Interesting, I didn’t know this. Could you tell how snake owners usually react to this? Do they still try to give them rodents every week? If yes, what happens to uneaten rodents? 

The only figure that matters for the final estimation is my guess that on average pet snakes are fed 31 to 94 vertebrates per year. This includes snakes of all ages and species. And this also includes vertebrates that snakes don’t eat who are discarded (if they are actually discarded). If you could tell what figure do you think I should use here instead of 31 to 94 vertebrates per year, that would be very appreciated and I would adjust my model accordingly. Do you think it should be 20? Or 10?

Snake owner: Thank you so much for contacting me on this subject means a lot that you want to get more accurate feeding numbers.

The ball python sources are correct you would be going on the adult feed schedule since they up the feeding quantities very quickly as babies. They grow fast and hit adult in approx. 2 years. They hit their full weight is 3 years but are usually eating their adult food size in 2 years. So, you would be basing the feeding amount on every month Approx. 28-56 days. At that weight if it’s a female 1 medium rat (approx. 4-5 foot) if it’s a small male 1 small rat (approx. 2.5-4 foot) The article is wrong on one point Ball pythons only eat rats since it has a higher fat content. Its also bad to feed multiple rodents over 1 rodent since they get more nutrients out of 1 rodent vs 2 smaller ones.

The boa article is extremely wrong and doesn’t give actual rat size per snake weight. is a much better feeding guide but it does mix up BCC vs BCI. BCC are common boas they only get up too 6-8 foot on average for females and the BCI are true red tail boas they are kept wilder and can often get 8-14 feet for females. Most owners have a BCC boa since they are much easier to handle. In the article it mentions baby-adult and I would recommend quoting the adult feeding since their adults’ way longer (30 years like ball pythons). A boa needs a large to extra-large rat every month or longer as adults they need a bigger meal rather then small meals and less frequently due to the fact, they expand their heart during feeding and require a longer time for the heart to return to normal size. If you feed to frequently you ‘power feed’ this reduces the life span by 15 years. Boas NEVER refuse food and tend to be obese.

For snakes that go on hunger strikes a lot of owners will either have multiple snakes and dethaw less rodents and feed the picky ones first and own a snake that always eats to eat the unwanted ones. If you have one snake you’re trying to feed once a month if the weight remains the same there isn’t any worry. Males go on hunger strikes during the mating season. This can be predictable but hard to judge. Most owners will continue to feed the non-feeding snakes once a month and the uneaten rodents are thrown away since you can’t refreeze them and risk being sick. I personally know friends with tegus that can eat rotten food, so I save them and give them away. For your article assume they are tossed.

There are also milk snakes, corn snakes, king snakes that are the most popular snake in north America. They only eat mice since they need a higher calcium food then a higher fat. These snakes eat more frequently and eat 1 large mouse every 2 weeks. They don’t refuse food and are commonly found obese. They are one of the easiest snakes too keep and commonly labeled as beginner snakes. is a good food reference for these snakes since they are almost identical in feeding and care. These snakes belong to the colubrid family, which is the largest snake family in the world, they also include hognose and are commonly active during the day. A good reference is if the eyes are round, they are daytime active like us. If the eyes are slitted, they are active during the night like cats. These snakes live 20 years on average the rest mentioned tend to live 30 years.

Hognose snakes are rising in popularity and males get to 1.5 foot on average and females reach 3 foot on average. They eat once every 2 weeks but only eat mice. They can be picky eaters, in the wild they eat frogs and toads and are mildly venomous. They rarely bite and being rear fang venomous they require thawing on the prey for a while but to humans it’s a minor bee sting at best. is a good feeding reference for hognose. Again, hognose can be picky eaters I have mine not eat every once and a while, but I feed them to my corn snake but commonly a would assume they are tossed.

I personally owning 14 snakes, owing 5 species of snakes (children’s python, hognose, corn snake, ball python, and boa) will have to discard 1 or 2 rodents every 4 - 8 months due to only having one animal that eats the larger sized rat. [...]

I’m glad you are bringing attention to these rodent farms and the unethical manner they have in treating the rodents. I personally researched my supplier and found one that ethically treats their rodents and even sells the tamer ones as pets. They kill the rodents but gassing them with carbon dioxide to have a quick death. Also, I would investigate the other prey items such as chicks and rabbits. A lot of snakes prefer quail or small chicks as a food source over rodents and are usually housed in the same facility with the same mistreatment. Also, some people will buy the cheap wild undesired ball pythons and then feed these poor snakes to their larger snakes such as reticulated pythons or Burmese pythons. These massive snakes are commonly illegal in most places since they can regularly obtain 15 -20 feet. [...]

For feeding per year, I would not make a total for all snakes I would break it down to species and then mention that corns, kings and milk snakes meeting the most popular pet snake eating 24 invertebrates per year, and larger snakes eating over average 12. With the larger snakes having a higher waste of uneaten invertebrates per year. Mention that ball pythons notoriously going on hunger strikes having the highest waste of uneaten food, being that they are vastly becoming the most popular pet snake. You can also mention that most snake owners tend to own multiple snakes and that due to the morph popularity have the highest number of discarded snakes with the popularity of certain morphs falling out of popularity.

There is a lot of controversial topics in that, morphs, discarded snakes and owning snakes just based on colour quickly being abandoned.

Again, thank you so much for reaching out to me, I really enjoyed knowing that there is someone speaking out on behave of the massive number of rodents being killed. There is not only snakes but large lizards that greatly consume a vast amount of rodents like tegus or savanna monitors. I know being a snake owner myself looing the ability to own these amazing animals would be a crime but forcing higher regulations for the care of these rodents should be required. Plus trying to restrict numbers of snakes you can own should be also mentioned. I own 14 but only bought 5 the rest were abandoned or rehomed after a pathic 3 years (adult hood) since their cute baby snake is a boring adult or the novelty has worn off.

Me: [...] I already made some changes to my article but I would like to ask you a few more questions if that’s ok. 

1. The most important question I want to ask is this. Do you know at what age most mice and rats farmed for reptile food are killed? I know that it differs a lot, but I need an average for my estimate and I am very uncertain what that is. So if most mice and rats are killed for adult snakes, about how old are they at the time of slaughter?

2.  > "I would recommend quoting the adult feeding since their adults’ way longer (30 years like ball pythons)"

I remember reading somewhere that while snakes can live that long in captivity, many of them don’t due to mismanagement, and that a high proportion of them die after a couple of years. Do you know if there is any truth in that?

3. > "I personally researched my supplier and found one that ethically treats their rodents and even sells the tamer ones as pets."

This gave me an idea of a welfare certification scheme for rodents. Such schemes exist for animals farmed for human consumption, and I may ask those certifiers if they would be interested in something like this. Could you tell what is the name of the ethical supplier that you found?

4. > "Also, I would investigate the other prey items such as chicks and rabbits. A lot of snakes prefer quail or small chicks as a food source over rodents and are usually housed in the same facility with the same mistreatment."

I did mention chicks as a food source. I assumed that chicks that are fed to snakes are male chicks from the egg-laying industry, who are usually culled soon after hatching, as they can’t lay eggs and their breed is not optimized to be grown for meat. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that this is not the case, and that chicks are bred specifically for snake food, right? If that is the case, then I would also appreciate it if you told me how you know this.

Snake owner:

1.Thats a hard one to answer the average size is a medium so they havent reached full size so under a year i would assume im not great on rat ages. Most feeding guides say the sizes but idk the age. Large snakes eat large adult rats. Corn snakes large adult mice.

Average for ball pythons is a medium rat i would estimate under a year old since they arent even full grown.

2.  I would say the majority of snakes do live a full life since an extremely large amount of keepers are generally breeders and experienced owners. For example a new snake owner that window shops is more likely to buy 1. They are the most likely to abandon them. Then theres people like me i own 17 snakes now and most people with a large collection usally spend quite a bit of money on them. Just on speculation i would believe most snakes do enjoy a full life in spite of all the issues you hear. More dogs and cats are abandoned significantly more then any reptile by a massive margin. The difference in snakes espically is they are villanized so they report EVERYTHING.

3.  The supplier i use is called CTC predator. They have top quality. If you dethaw there rats and mice they dont have a smell really. If you dethaw an artic mouse (petsmart brand) they smell terrible and i wouldnt feed them to my snakes.

4. Im really not sure at all where they get the chickens but i assume there males. Most rats are males aswell


Comment by saulius on SoGive's moral weights -- please take part! · 2021-04-06T09:03:44.306Z · EA · GW

I feel it was valuable to me to think about the questions in the survey, made me reconnect a bit with why I became an altruist in the first place. There seem to be some issues in the second survey though. The question with button seven and button eight has some typos (button seven is referred to as button A and then the question asks to compare button seven to button A). And then after I answered a question about education and higher income, I just see a blank screen, and I'm not sure if my answers were recorded.

Comment by saulius on Why Hasn't Effective Altruism Grown Since 2015? · 2021-03-10T12:08:01.625Z · EA · GW

It's probably unnecessary but I tried to think of a metaphor that would help to visualize this as that helps me to understand things. Here is the best one I have. You want to maximize the number of people partying in your house. You observe that the number of people in the landing room is constant and conclude that the number of people partying is not growing. (Landing room in this metaphor is EA). But that is only because people are entering the landing room, and then going to party in different rooms (different rooms are different cause areas). So the fact that the number of people in the landing room is constant might mean that the party is growing at a constant rate. Or perhaps even the growth rate is increasing, but we also learnt how to get people out of the landing room into other rooms quicker which is good.

Comment by saulius on Why Hasn't Effective Altruism Grown Since 2015? · 2021-03-10T11:59:50.758Z · EA · GW

Interesting observations. I only have one thought that I don't see mentioned in the comments.

I see EA as something that is mostly useful when you are deciding how you want to do good. After you figured it out, there is little reason to continue engaging with it. [1] Under this model of EA, the fact that engagement with EA is not growing would only mean that the number of people who are deciding how to do good at any given time is not growing. But that is not what we want to maximize. We want to maximize the number of people actually working on doing good. I think that EA fields like AI safety and effective animal advocacy have been growing though I don't know. But I think this model of EA is only partially correct.

  1. E.g., Once someone figures out that they want to be an animal advocate, or AI safety researcher, or whatever, there is little reason for them to engage with EA. E.g., I am an animal advocacy researcher and I would probably barely visit the EA forum if there was an effective animal advocacy forum (I wish there was). Possibly one exception is earning-to-give, because there is always new information that can help decide where to give most effectively, and EA community is a good place to discuss that. But even that has diminishing returns. Once you figured out your general strategy or cause, you may need to engage with EA less. ↩︎

Comment by saulius on Dutch anti-trust regulator bans pro-animal welfare chicken cartel · 2021-02-25T15:34:10.889Z · EA · GW

It’s interesting that this article was from 2015, so it preceded all the broiler welfare campaigns that are happening now. I think it’s good for animal activists to learn from successes and failures of those who tried to achieve similar goals before us, like the one in the linked article.

Speaking of which, this paper called Market barriers for welfare product innovations describes some other previous efforts to improve chicken welfare in the Netherlands that also failed in interesting ways. Here is one interesting excerpt:

Consumers may find it difficult to interpret welfare attributes. Animal welfare is a so-called credence attribute, i.e., it cannot be verified by the consumer - not even after consumption. Consumers will use certain cues (such as labels and package) and associations (Keller, 1993). Such associations may not always be correct: wrong links could be activated in the consumer's mind, and incorrect information could become associated with a product. An example of this is the failure of the introduction of slow-growing chicken meat in the Netherlands in the 1980s: consumers were not aware that regular chickens only live 42 days, and thought the 56-day grown chickens were slaughtered too young.

Finally, product image may inhibit the growth of welfare initiatives. The Dutch word for barn eggs, 'scharrel' eggs, may evoke an idyllic image of happy animals that live in small couples with a cock and roam around freely on the farmyard pecking about a bit (as suggested by Van Leeuwen, 2005). This perception is actually incorrect as hens are kept indoors. Yet, there is little knowledge amongst Dutch consumers about welfare labels on eggs (Burrel & Vrieze, 2003). Whereas 40% of the Dutch consumers state that they buy outdoor eggs (Anon., 2005c), the actual market share of outdoor systems is less than 4% (Anon., 2005a).

Consider the situation in Germany, where barn eggs are called 'Bodenhaltung' eggs (literally translated: floor-produced eggs) and free-range eggs are called 'Freiland' eggs (literally translated: freeland, 'open-air' eggs). One could argue that the positive and better fitting associations of the Freiland eggs in Germany translated into a better market share: 18.0% in 1999, compared with 2.5% for the free-range outdoor eggs in the Netherlands (Tacken & Van Horne, 2002). This illustrates the potentially powerful role of a positive and fitting image.

(sorry, this is a bit off topic. I wanted to share this stuff anyway but didn’t think it deserved its own post and thought that posting it here would be better than nothing as it might reach the same kind of people I wanted to reach).

Comment by saulius on Dutch anti-trust regulator bans pro-animal welfare chicken cartel · 2021-02-25T15:07:16.629Z · EA · GW

Interesting. The text is not very clear about this, but my understanding is that the anti-competitive aspect of this was an agreement between different retailers and producers to stop selling and producing cheaper low-welfare chicken on the condition that everyone else will do the same. When companies commit to the Better Chicken Commitment or a cage-free commitment, these commitments are not conditional on anyone else doing the same thing. So at least anti-competitive laws are not relevant in these situations, right?

Comment by saulius on Corporate commitments breakdown · 2021-01-29T12:22:08.803Z · EA · GW

I just want to say that a week ago I updated this spreadsheet to include newer commitments

Comment by saulius on The ten most-viewed posts of 2020 · 2021-01-13T14:32:47.493Z · EA · GW

These are total pageviews, not unique views, right? So if I view the same article five times, it counts as five views, not one view, right?

Comment by saulius on The ten most-viewed posts of 2020 · 2021-01-13T14:23:13.304Z · EA · GW

How long does it take to research and develop a new vaccine? was probably viewed so much because it was cited by The New York Times article in 2018 to back up a claim that "it takes 10 years and more than $1 billion to develop a vaccine" (which obviously wasn't talking about the kind of situation were are in now). And I imagine that the New York Times article got some reads in 2020 as it became very relevant.

Comment by saulius on How much (physical) suffering is there? Part II: Animals · 2021-01-13T09:17:18.436Z · EA · GW

It's an interesting project, thanks for doing it. But if you are measuring suffering in DALYs, shouldn't you look at the number of animals alive at any time, rather than the number slaughtered every year? Because most slaughtered chickens live for only about 6-8 weeks, while some animals like diary cows can live for years. I don't see where in the write-up you account for this difference. You can see estimates of how many captive animals of each species are alive at any time here or here. If you want estimates for specific fish species, they can be found here.

Comment by saulius on Big List of Cause Candidates · 2020-12-27T13:36:44.797Z · EA · GW

I feel it should be pointed out that there already is a similar standalone wiki and until recently there was another similar website PriorityWiki but I think that neither of them have received much traffic.

Comment by saulius on Physical Exercise for EAs – Why and How · 2020-12-26T13:05:09.759Z · EA · GW

I just want to add that if the above gym programs seem a bit too intense or time-consuming, I recommend this beginner gym workout routine. I personally do a similar program at home with some substitutions. E.g. pushups instead of bench press.

I'd add some core exercises to this, like situps and planks

I just want to note that multiple sources I trust don't recommend situps in particular. E.g. this

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-19T17:21:33.559Z · EA · GW

Good to know. I've talked to Gautier who wrote the French article I linked to, and he said he had already tried to figure out the scale of the industry in France, but didn't manage to find stats on it. However, he said that there are indications that it is a small industry compared to the U.S. He said there was work on it mostly due to legal precedent reasons rather than direct impact.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-18T12:18:19.998Z · EA · GW

Thank you very much William for your comment! I will follow up with you in private but there are few things that I thought would be suitable to say/ask here as well.

It was very recently brought to my attention that baitfish seems to also be farmed in France and that there is an animal advocacy organization that has a petition on it (see here and here). I don’t know what is the scale of baitfish farming in France or in any country other than the U.S., so I don’t yet know if it is an issue I would recommend tackling in France. I just thought I should mention that in case you or someone else could be interested in doing some lobbying on this issue there.

Also, at Rethink Priorities we try to track any possible impact we had on the projects of animal welfare organizations. So I wanted to ask, do you think you would have worked on fish restocking if this article was never written? And please don’t hesitate to say that you knew about the industry and its size independently of that article and it had nothing to do with it, if that is the case :)

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-16T19:39:00.153Z · EA · GW

Thanks for suggestions Micheal. Haven from FWI is actually helping me to do research on this in his free time. He said that FWI would be open to putting someone who would work on this under their organization if given funding, but not to redirecting the time of the current staff towards the project. This makes sense because they want to continue with the work that they have started doing, and they are not experts on lobbying and I think few if any of them are located in the U.S. I haven’t talked about this with ALI yet (you are right, I should), but from what I hear, I think that they also don’t have expertise in U.S. lobbying, are mostly not located in the U.S., and would probably not want to redirect current staff time to new projects. I don’t know how much previous lobbying experience is important here but my sense is that it is. I feel that what is needed is a person (or two) who would be suitable for leading this, and then we could figure out all the organizational and funding stuff.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-16T18:52:41.805Z · EA · GW

If one is only concerned w/ preventing needless suffering, prioritising the most extreme suffering, would donating to Rethink Priorities be a good investment for them, and if so, how so?

Contrary to organizations like OPIS, Center for Reducing Suffering, and Center on long-term risk, we don't have reducing extreme suffering set as our only priority. We sometimes work on reducing suffering that may not be classified as extreme (arguably, our work on cage-free hen campaigns fall into this category). And perhaps some other work is not directly about reducing suffering at all. Since preventing extreme suffering is not our only priority, I think that we are unlikely to be the best donation opportunity for this specific goal. That said, when I look at the list of our publications, I think that almost all the articles we write contribute to the goal of preventing needless and extreme suffering in some way, although in many cases it is quite indirect. In the end, we are not able to compare whether or not Rethink Priorities is a better donation opportunity for this purpose than other organizations in an unbiased way.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-16T18:42:50.548Z · EA · GW

What are the biggest mistakes Rethink Priorities did?

I can’t speak for the entire organization, but I can talk about what I see as my biggest mistakes since I started working at Rethink Priorities:

  1. Writing articles about interventions I think are promising and thinking that my work is done once the article is published. Examples are baitfish (see the comment above), fish stocking, rodents farmed for pet snake food. The way I see things now, if I think that something should be done, I should express that opinion very clearly and with fewer caveats, find funders who want to fund it, find activists that want to do it, and connect them. Or something like that. And that is the kind of work I am doing at the moment, even though I think I am much better at writing articles than at doing this.
  2. Avoiding expressing opinions too much. It’s related to the point above. I think that in the past I was too afraid of writing something that could later turn out to be wrong. Hence, I wrote articles in such a way that sometimes the reader could not even know what I think about a problem I am writing about, how important I think it is in the context of other things, etc. I wanted decision makers to read my articles and form their own opinions based on what I said. I now think that this is not ideal because decision makers may not have the time to form nuanced opinions based on subtle details in my long articles. But someone has to form actionable opinions, and it is me who has the context and the time for that. So I want to try to write more articles of the “This is what I think you should do and I’m going to explain why” type, rather than the “Here is a 40 page summary of everything I've ever read on this topic” type. I sometimes want to write articles of the former type because then my managers, funders and myself can all clearly see what I’ve been working on for all this time. But my end goal is making an impact so I try to not think about that too much. Note that if I pledged to only ever write articles that are purely of the former kind, I might end up not writing a single paragraph all year. I don’t think I should go that far.
  3. Spending too much time on finishing articles that I know won’t have that much impact. In some cases, it’s better to just drop them, admit to yourself that you wasted some time, and move on to the next project. That said, there were some articles that I had strongly considered abandoning, but in the end I was happy I finished them.
  4. Spending any time on details that I know right away won’t be that important. There are some examples of this in Estimates of global captive vertebrate numbers article. Did I really need to write about pets, civet farming, and other relatively minor problems that I know effective altruists won’t work on? I guess I wanted the list to be complete, but I don’t know why. It wasted not only my time, but also the time and the attention of the readers.
  5. Being too frugal. In the beginning of working at Rethink Priorities, I wanted to either take a low salary, or spend as little money as I can and donate the rest. But the problems that it caused made me less productive and possibly decreased my impact. Now I allow myself to spend more and I think I'm better off because of it.
  6. Not doing more to address some of my productivity problems, especially negative self-talk about myself and my work. Almost every day I hate myself for not doing enough work. It is exhausting, and it tires me out more quickly and hence I become even less productive. I still haven’t found a good way to deal with it. I tried therapy multiple times but I never emphasized this specific issue so that is on my to-do list. I also want to try more meditation, maybe that can help.
Comment by saulius on Global cochineal production: scale, welfare concerns, and potential interventions · 2020-12-16T13:47:24.591Z · EA · GW

I just wanted to inform that I looked into the possibility of doing public campaigns against carmine and decided that it would not be a good idea. The main source of suffering in carmine production seems to be due to farmers adding many cochineal juveniles that suffer from natural deaths early in their life, just as they would in uncontrolled wild populations. However, around 80% of carmine is wild-harvested and I found out that they actually harvest pregnant females before they lay most of their eggs. Hence, wild harvesting prevents the very same type of suffering that farming introduces. And I think it prevents more suffering because the scale is bigger. I am not totally sure about all this, it wasn't easy to find reliable information about the industry, but based on what I found I decided to not look any deeper. I also didn't manage to come up with any way to decrease the number of farmed cochineals but not wild-harvested cochineals. If someone wanted to look into this industry deeper, please contact me and I can share sources that I found.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-15T20:39:01.504Z · EA · GW

I also tried organizing some brainstorming sessions with members of the EA community. It was a bit useful, though I'm not sure it was wroth it (despite great participants), mostly because I get stressed about running events and then overprepare. And also because it would have taken too much time to explain all the relevant context in which I needed ideas. I think that in the right hands and the right situation, this is a tool that could be used productively though.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-15T20:34:22.573Z · EA · GW

I did try it on some occasions with people who wanted to do research similar to the kind of research that I do. I think that it saved me less time than the time it took me to think of good questions to outsource and explain everything, and so on. This might be partly because there is a skill in outsourcing that I haven't mastered yet. I don't know if it helped anyone to decide whether they should pursue this type of career. If it did, then it was very much worth it.

One way I used volunteers (and friends whom I forced to volunteer) productively was making them read texts that I wrote and asking to comment aloud (not in writing) on everything that is at least slightly unclear. Then I didn't explain, but rewrote that part, and asked them to read again and asked if they understand it now. I found that this is important for texts that contain some complicated ideas/reasoning. E.g., it was very useful for the explanation of optimizer's curse and other things in this article. Not important for simple texts.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-15T20:07:27.021Z · EA · GW

I haven’t read that report in full, but I imagine that it's such a big issue in the X-risk research because it grew very quickly from an obscure field, to a field with a lot of funding available and a lot of people wanting to work in it. I think it’s a rare situation, and I don't feel that it's a significant problem in the kind of research that I do (farmed animal welfare). I remember hearing that it is a problem in cultured meat R&D though, and it makes sense, the situation is similar.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-15T18:53:21.284Z · EA · GW

What do you think individuals could do to become skilled in this kind of research and become competitive for these jobs?

There are some relevant answers in here and here.

Comment by saulius on Ask Rethink Priorities Anything (AMA) · 2020-12-15T18:43:56.610Z · EA · GW

What new charities do you want to be created by EAs?

For me it's a lobbying organization against baitfish farming in the U.S. I wrote about the topic two years ago here. Many people complimented me on it but no one did anything. I talked with some funders who said they would be interested in funding someone suitable pursuing this, but I haven’t found who could this be. The main argument against it used to be that the industry is declining. But the recently released aquaculture census suggests that it is no longer declining (see my more recent thoughts on numbers here).

Using fish as live bait is already prohibited in some U.S. states (see the map in Kerr (2012)). Many other states have import and movement restrictions (see this table). It seems that all of this happened due to environmental concerns. And the practice is banned in multiple other countries. To me this shows that it is plausible to make progress on this.

Take a look at this graph I made of the number of animals farmed in the U.S. at any time.


I used yellow and black colours to represent ranges. So for example, I think that there are between 1 billion and (5+1=)6 billion baitifsh farmed in the U.S. at any time. It’s more likely to be closer to 1 billion than to 6 billion though. Still, if we wanted to decrease the number of vertebrates farmed for the U.S. consumption by say 500 million, it would seem very difficult to make Americans decrease their chicken and egg consumption by 25%, or decrease their farmed fish consumption by 13%-42%. Decreasing baitfish production by a 500 million might also be difficult but I think it is much more easily achievable.

I am doing a bit more research on this right now (in parallel with other projects), and I might make another EA forum post about it at some point but I don’t know if that is what is needed to make this happen. I think that at this point someone should just try to do it.

If anyone is interested, please schedule a meeting with me here or write to me at saulius at rethinkpriorities dot org .

Comment by saulius on Estimates of global captive vertebrate numbers · 2020-12-14T14:21:24.403Z · EA · GW

Someone asked me to estimate how many animals are fed to crocodilians, snakes, and stingrays farmed for their skin. I thought that a comment under this article would be a good place to share what I found in case anyone else also would find it useful. Note that I didn’t spend much time on this and I am not confident in what I claim.


For crocodilians, I made this model that estimates how many kilograms of food are fed to farmed crocodiles globally. If we assumed that all they were fed were broiler chickens, then I estimate that they would eat between 20 million and 70 million broilers per year. Since they seem to be mostly fed various waste from farms and various other food (see my notes on that here), I think that eliminating the demand of crocodile skin would spare the lives of fewer farmed animals than 20-70 million per year. How many animals are killed to be fed to crocodiles depends heavily on how much fishmeal they are fed because fishmeal is made from small wild-caught fishes. But I haven’t found any information on that. While some videos talk about large portions of food fed to adult crocodilians, it seems to me that on average they eat maybe 2 pounds per week. I think this is because farmed crocodiles are smaller through most of their lifetime. For alligators bred for watch bands who are killed when small, it would be even less than 2 pounds.


With snakes, I think that tables below from this report show that relatively few animals are farmed specifically to feed them, at least when it comes to Pythons:



Baby chickens and baby quail are probably male chicks from the egg industry, which is a by-product. I suspect that whole chickens and whole ducks are spent hens from the egg-laying industry. But if they are broilers, then there are some animals farmed to be fed to snakes. According to the text in the report, most rats seem to be caught, but it mentions one farm in Thailand that breeds its own rats. If more farms do that, then there could be many animals farmed to be fed to snakes. But most of the feed animals seem to be not specifically farmed for the purpose of feeding pythons, it seems. Of course, any profit from by-products helps to sustain the factory farming industry. Number of animals fed to snakes would be quite large based on the tables above, but I think that citing it would be misleading as most of them are by-products so I did not estimate it.

Based on the same report, it seems that pythons are farmed for 1-2 years before they are slaughtered.

Various sources also seem to disagree on whether a large portion of snake skins that are labelled as farmed actually come from wild-caught snakes but more serious sources seem to say that most of those snakes actually are farmed.

Some snakes seem to be killed in extremely cruel ways. (trigger warning, the next paragraph should not be read by sensitive people):

“Larger captured snakes are often first starved to loosen their skin and then stretched by being forcibly pumped with water. Snakes are routinely nailed to a tree and skinned alive, their bodies thrown on to heaps where they can take two days to die.”


I’m unsure if stingrays are even really farmed for meat and skin in significant quantities. There is surprisingly little information about it, just a few mentions that they are commercially bred. When exotic animals like that are farmed, there usually is some media coverage. Now, I just see a few articles mentioning in passing that they are farmed, without any evidence. Some sellers also claim that they use farmed stingray skin (, Maybe they are lying to avoid concerns about the environment or something, although stingrays are not a threatened species so I don’t see why they would do that. I saw some videos about them being bred to be pets. In those cases, they are fed a significant amount of shrimp. But I imagine that it would be too expensive to feed stingrays farmed for skin and food with an expensive feed like that. So if the industry exists at all, I have no idea what they are fed. This screenshot from FAO yearbook suggests that stingrays are only caught from the wild not farmed.


This page also claims that stingrays are not farmed, that they caught from the wild only. And that stingrays are caught for their meat, and leather is only a by-product. But the page does not look at all dependable. But we know from FAO stats above that stingrays are caught from the wild, so it seems likely that at least some of the stingray skin comes from wild-caught stingrays, because why wouldn’t they use that (perhaps there is a reason, I don’t know)

Comment by saulius on Careers Questions Open Thread · 2020-12-09T10:57:23.992Z · EA · GW

You seem to assume that if (and only if) you do well in a good college, then you will almost certainly be good at direct work. I'm not convinced that there necessarily is that much of a correlation because these things are so very different. I myself did quite badly in a mediocre university but people seem to think that I have been doing well working as a researcher at an EA organization.

Comment by saulius on Cost-effectiveness analysis of a program promoting a vegan diet · 2020-11-17T11:30:54.095Z · EA · GW

Some more thoughts: If someone were to look into the program deeper, maybe it is possible to run an RCT. You could randomly assign some participants who sign up to the program to the control group. You could just send a document to these people explaining how to be vegetarian or something, and not make them join any groups. And then you could send them the same questionnaire to them as to others. This has some flaws but would be better than nothing. But it’s pretty clear that the program should continue so I don’t think it’s worth the effort.

Another mildly useful thing to do would be to check if meat consumption in Israel has gone down in general, and use that as a control group. It could be mildly useful because it would make you dismiss hypotheses that they consumed less meat because of unrelated reasons that apply to all Israelis like increased meat prices, or increased availability of plant-based options, or meat-related health scare.

Comment by saulius on Cost-effectiveness analysis of a program promoting a vegan diet · 2020-11-17T11:28:09.859Z · EA · GW

Hey, thanks for doing this! I think you did a good job at considering most of the uncertainties. My main disagreement would be that this is a moderate limitation: graph

I think that it is a major limitation. In general, since it seems that most of the work is done by volunteers, the situation reminds me of an example I gave in this article:

Imagine many volunteers collaborating to do a lot of good, and having a small budget for snacks. Their cost-effectiveness estimate could be very high, but it would be a mistake to expect their impact to double if we double their funding for snacks.

You could imagine that program being run without any paid staff and any expenses, and having an infinite cost-effectiveness. But it wouldn’t follow that this is a good opportunity for donors. If volunteer involvement is the major reason for cost-effectiveness, I don’t see a reason to think why the cost-effectiveness of related activities like expanding advertising and accelerating the development of an app would be at all similar to the cost-effectiveness of the program so far. These seem to be totally different activities.

That said, the cost-effectiveness estimate does inform us that expanding the program into more geographic locations, cultures and languages could be promising. But if this is what you use the cost-effectiveness estimate for, maybe you shouldn’t adjust the estimates of future costs towards the lower present day costs, because in that case the set up costs are relevant. Also, in that case I wouldn’t feature the cost-effectiveness figures so prominently in this analysis if the target audience is Israelis wanting to donate to local charities.

Another thing is that if participants switched to a vegetarian diet and started eating more eggs to get enough protein instead of eating beef or lamb, the program might have caused more suffering than it prevented (see I imagine that they were encouraged to get their proteins in other ways though, but it is still something to consider.

Comment by saulius on Introducing Animal Ask · 2020-11-12T16:51:27.829Z · EA · GW

Congratulations on the new organization!

I hope you guys have talked with the Aquatic Life Institute or the Aquatic Animal Alliance because I see some overlap. If I recall correctly, they are also working on an ask.

Comment by saulius on Factors other than ITN? · 2020-09-26T13:10:09.619Z · EA · GW

I feel I should also mention that I personally find the framework unnecessary and limiting. My opinion is that we don't need any framework here. I find that it's easier and more productive to simply think about what actions I can take and what consequences those actions will lead to. But this is a bit off-topic and I will explain my view in full another time.

Comment by saulius on Factors other than ITN? · 2020-09-26T13:05:08.083Z · EA · GW

Other factors

If you are thinking about what cause you should work on, you may also consider personal fit. 80,000 hours explain why they didn’t include it as a factor here. Also, none of us is 100% altruistic, so you may also want to consider the personal benefit of working on the cause, although I guess that can go under personal fit as well.

Is it exhaustive?

You could say that there are two ITN frameworks: informal and quantitative. It’s easier to talk about the quantitative framework, so that’s what I will talk about, even though people usually use the informal one.

The quantitative framework cancels out to Good done / extra person or $. If you are a pure consequentialist, I think that this is exhaustive by definition. It doesn’t capture non-consequentialist concerns. E.g., maybe making cost-effective progress on this cause would involve morally questionable means like lying or blackmail. However, you can incorporate these by redefining tractability to something like “tractable with only using means I am comfortable with”. Or you can just assume that in the long run, using these means is bad from a consequentialist point of view anyway, which usually seems to be the case.

Also, it’s exhaustive only if Good done includes all things you intrinsically value like personal benefit, equity, etc. Usually when people use the framework, they assume pure utilitarianism and don’t include these.

Comment by saulius on Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries · 2020-08-07T08:06:29.910Z · EA · GW

When tags were introduced, the post said to "submit new tag ideas to us using this form." I made a bunch of suggestions (don't remember what they were) and probably some other people did too. Could someone who has access to results of that form paste all those suggestions here?

Comment by saulius on List of possible EA meta-charities and projects · 2020-08-05T13:42:17.712Z · EA · GW

I've encountered some other similar lists of ideas:

Comment by saulius on What is the most effective intensive farming video to convert meat eaters? · 2020-07-17T10:18:42.272Z · EA · GW

Also, I just want to share my experience that I tried to convert my family members as well when I first became vegan but then I realized that the chance of succeeding is low and that this isn't at all a good use of my time because I could help animals much more and with less effort by e.g. donating money to effective animal charities. Your situation might be different, but if your brother doesn't seem receptive right away, I'd recommend not pushing it too much. Vegans have a bad reputation of being too pushy in this way and I think that it's important to not reinforce it. Nowadays, I almost never bring up the topic of veganism myself, and I am very casual about it, and I only talk about it if people ask me about it. Ironically, I feel that this may be more effective. E.g., I noticed that multiple people I dated just happened to go vegan while we were together, despite me hardly ever talking about it. I think that my quiet example may have been an influence. Maybe it just showed to them that it is possible and no big deal. That said, I've heard at least one story of a son arguing a lot with his father and in the end convincing him to go vegan.

Also, I see that you want to convert them to vegetarianism. I think vegetarianism is not great from animal welfare perspective because conventional eggs might be one of the worst commonly-consumed foods for animals. E.g. see It could be argued that beef less bad than eggs. Hence, I think it makes more sense to advocate for lacto-vegetarianism which excludes eggs, but includes diary products, or something else.

I don't know if any of these things needed to be said to you, but I thought I would say them just in case.

Comment by saulius on What is the most effective intensive farming video to convert meat eaters? · 2020-07-17T10:15:50.048Z · EA · GW

Vegfund has some recommendations here. Personally, I always thought that What Cody Saw was very good, and I heard it being recommended by some animal advocates. I showed it to a friend once and she was moved by it and considered going vegan but didn't in the end. However, this was a while ago and now I see that Mercy For Animals have taken down the original video so maybe there is a reason not to use it.

Comment by saulius on Annotated List of EA Career Advice Resources · 2020-07-13T10:16:25.025Z · EA · GW

Somewhat relatedly, two years ago I listed all EA career workshop materials that I knew of. Here they are:

Comment by saulius on If you value future people, why do you consider near term effects? · 2020-07-02T15:18:32.337Z · EA · GW

I just want to mention one more post that has some relevance here: Why I'm skeptical about unproven causes (and you should be too)

Comment by saulius on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-07-01T12:41:48.947Z · EA · GW

It's not just about ranking. It's also about how much karma individual users have and (most importantly) about how worthy-of-reading a post looks when you open it based on its karma. I think that the situation where all votes made before the new system are worth one karma point is no less confusing than a system where they are worth two karma points.

Comment by saulius on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-07-01T08:41:15.430Z · EA · GW

Do you mean to do this to comments written by other people? Because you can already do this for your own comments by editing them and making more comments. But even that is problematic if anyone already voted on the comment.

Comment by saulius on EA Forum feature suggestion thread · 2020-07-01T08:36:58.119Z · EA · GW

Double the karma weight of votes made before the new karma system was implemented. All votes used to be worth one point. For example, let's take an old post like this. It currently has 43 karma and 43 votes (probably all of them are upvotes). For comparison, my newest post has 53 karma and 16 upvotes. If you think about it, that old post is clearly more endorsed by the community. There were fewer readers when it was posted and a very high percentage of them chose to upvote it and probably many would have strongly upvoted if that was an option. Nowadays, even a regular upvote by high-karma users is worth two points. Posts like that old post do not appear in forum favourites and other places like that but they should. If you doubled the karma of such old posts, the karma for that old one would be 86 instead of 43 - a much better representation of how much the community endorses that post. Ah, maybe you should even triple the karma weight. Posts like this would then actually make forum favourites and I think they should.

Comment by saulius on saulius's Shortform · 2020-06-29T12:01:14.700Z · EA · GW

There was an interesting discussion on whether EA organizations should reveal the authors of posts they publish here. You may want to check it out if this is relevant to you (not just the linked comment, but also the replies.)