JDR

Jeroen De Ryck

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I'm wondering if advocating for cycling infrastructure could be more beneficial here. It's much cheaper and faster to develop, faces less opposition and cycling also has health benefits for the user and less externalities than public transit. 

Why are April Fools jokes still on the front page? On April 1st, you expect to see April Fools' posts and know you have to be extra cautious when reading strange things online. However, April 1st was 13 days ago and there are still two posts that are April Fools posts on the front page. I think it should be clarified that they are April Fools jokes so people can differentiate EA weird stuff from EA weird stuff that's a joke more easily. Sure, if you check the details you'll see that things don't add up, but we all know most people just read the title or first few paragraphs.

Good point. I'm going to do that right away! Edit: You can sign up here.

Thanks for the comment. I agree with your criticism. It would be nice to have a newsletter similar to how the EA Opportunities Board newsletter works. I decided against that for a few reasons:

  • The newsletter should indeed be automated, but this increases complexity and initial time investment. This is a time investment I'm currently not able to make.
  • There needs to be a steady flow of project submissions before such a newsletter makes sense. I found it really hard to guess this, as we tend to only see successful projects posted. Maybe everyone has a folder with 10 abandoned projects and adds new ones every other month, maybe I'm the only one. I'll maybe re-evaluate this after a month when I'll have some more time to work on this.

Thanks for the feedback and submitting a project! I'll make that field non-mandatory when I'm doing some updates :)

Small question: Do you want anyone to fill in the form or only people working for EA related organisations?

Could you explain more what you mean with this:

 and rising sea levels provide even more reason to expand shorelines

This seems quite counterintuitive to me. Creating more low-lying areas where people will move to that will then flood seems like the opposite of what we want? One way to solve this would be by making the reclaimed land high enough to not flood after future sea level rise, but that'll require much more materials (and hence higher costs). Another way to solve this is with technological solutions like the Netherlands does, but these are very costly, too.

What are your thoughts on this?

What are some examples of EA forum posts or comments that had a big influence on EA as a whole or on an EA-aligned organisation?

I'll share the text that I submitted for useful search methodologies here:
 

I'll start by saying that I might get some of this stuff wrong, as I only found out about this contest two days before the deadline so I didn't have the time to do the proper research. However, it seems to me that currently, cause areas are identified by looking at neglected problems and finding the most cost-effective solutions for them. Sometimes, there are less neglected problems, such as traffic safety or US criminal reform, that still make it on the list. However, often the solutions presented are found within the context of a clearly defined problem and are very cost-effective at solving that (and only that) problem. I am certainly not the first to notice this, as I've often heard people say that GiveWell should focus more on systemic change or general economic growth. I think there might be another way, however. Instead of focusing on cost-effective solutions for a clearly defined given problem, there might be actions or interventions that only partially solve a very large variety of problems, such that everything taken into count, it is still the most cost-effective way to improve people's lives. An example of the top of my head: increasing cycling rates in cities (instead of car usage) is good for many things: less noise, less air pollution, more active people, more spatially efficient, in cities it's still relatively quick, etc... But in many of those things, there are solutions that are better: walking is quieter and more spatially efficient, going to the gym is more active and taking trains is quicker. But improving all those things to solve each problem separately is probably much more expensive than building bike lanes around the city, even though it makes relatively less progress on each problem individually. (There are also quite some costs to cycling as well and I'm not saying we should build bike lanes everywhere, but I hope it's clear what I'm trying to say). On occasion, this seems to happen already, but only when a cost-effective solution is already found for a given problem(e.g. bednets for malaria) and we're trying to get a better idea of the impact of it on society at large and we learn that it's even more cost effective when we take that into count. Figuring out how this intervention benefits society at large, hence is only an afterthought, if it happens at all. I haven't seen any information about those effects for most other charities recommended by GiveWell (but I'll probably have missed some). There are, of course, some problems with this approach as well. It requires much more research and there is much more uncertainty. Tractability will also be harder: measuring how much we're solving a not very clearly defined problem seems hard, but measuring it in QALYs should partially solve that (although there are many uncertainties there too).

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