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Accomplishments Open Thread - May 2016

 

Publicizing our good deeds is really valuable for optimizing global flourishing. So please share any EA-themed accomplishments you have not yet shared on previous Accomplishment open threads, whether recent achievements or ones from long ago. This includes one-time accomplishments or ongoing activities on which you are  continuously working. This thread is a completely safe space, with no social norms of "don't be a braggart" applying - just share and be safe in your sharing. Share as many or as few good deeds as you wish.

 


Please both share about your own good deeds and respond to what other people share with your authentic responses, ranging from upvoting to comments :-) Doing so will help motivate each other to greater accomplishments going forward and build capacity for the EA movement. 


Now, sharing about our accomplishments may seek awkward at first, since it goes against social norms, but we in Effective Altruism know the benefit of trying out unorthodox approaches for good reasons. Sharing about our goods deeds results in many benefits for the world:


1) Inspiring others to emulate some aspects of those good deeds through social proof and network effects.


2) Support each other doing good deeds through providing social connections, positive rewards, and warm feelings, which are vital forencouraging further pro-social activities.


3) Amplifying the signal about things you want others to know about, such as EA projects you are involved in, EA articles you published, etc.

 

 

P.S. The Accomplishments thread project is very open to optimization - besides sharing about your good deeds, please suggest ways to improve any aspects of it. For the history of previous Accomplishment Open Threads, see here and also this .impact FB discussion.

Comments (31)

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 06 May 2016 10:12:01PM *  13 points [-]

Of my recent EA accomplishments, I'm most pleased about the piece I recently wrote for the EA Forum on Collaborative Truth-Seeking as a means of figuring out the truth that provides an alternative to debates. It seems that this approach will help fellow EA participants make progress on discussing difficult and emotionally triggering issues. I hope that it contributes to making our movement more welcoming for people who are less inclined toward rhetoric and debate, but still care a lot about figuring out the truth.

I interviewed Boris Yakubchik in the first video of the "Everyday Heroes of Effective Giving" series. These are meant to show the motivations of EA members, whether more dedicated ones or typical movement members, and show them as human beings to whom non-EA participants can relate. The aim is to share such videos widely to help promote EA-themed messages. I also conducted two other interviews, and the videos are currently being processed. I'll make an EA Forum post about them later when they're done.

I published a blog post for The Life You Can Save entitled "The Panama Papers Reveal the Solution to Global Suffering." It's currently under consideration by a non-EA broad venue for publication there.

I helped write up a proposal for an EA Marketing Resource Bank project, which is meant to provide resources on marketing to EA participants and effective charity staff. It's a collaborative project between the Local Effective Altruism Network and Intentional Insights, with assistance from The Life You Can Save. Watch for updates on that soon.

Made some progress on the collaboration between Intentional Insights and The Life You Can Save to promote Giving Games to secular audiences. I'll be going on a secular podcast soon to talk about that. Also, organizing some Giving Games at Ohio State, where I work in my day job as an academic.

Well, that's all for this one, look forward to seeing what others post!

Comment author: StephenR  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 10:57:43PM 3 points [-]

You've been busy, Gleb!

Comment author: cafelow  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 07:04:56AM 8 points [-]

You guys are doing great jobs!

I'm getting crazy good-busy with outreach at the moment.

I am working a lot on Students for High Impact Charity (SHIC) http://www.shicschools.org/, working on a high school level Effective Altruismish programme, which is really exciting. I am a teacher so I think that is where my comparative advantage is. After ranting about EA to some of my senior students (when we should have been doing physics) they asked if I could give a course, so they asked management, and now I have a no-credit elective 20 hour course on EA for my seniors (17-18 yo), which I repeat later in the year, and another 10 hour elective course with a 15-16 yo crowd. I've only had one lesson so far, but it went great.

I've also been doing some adult outreach, with a Giving Game for a choir group I know (very receptive and some significant giving changes!) and one to Skeptics (some receptive and some very argumentative, as you would expect). I was also interviewed for the NZ Skeptics podcast - but they have yet to edit out all my mumblings so it is not out yet... I am pretty nervous about hearing it.

Comment author: StephenR  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 10:55:03PM 5 points [-]

It's been great watching SHIC grow, thanks for sharing.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 05:16:32PM 1 point [-]

Wow, you're really doing outstanding outreach! Congrats on getting the school management to approve a course! Have you considered doing a GG as part of it? Also cool to hear about the other GGs you're doing and the podcast, great work!

Comment author: LKor 08 May 2016 08:51:34PM *  3 points [-]

Normally I would not double-post an item, but I'd like to increase the chance people see this, and I don't know if it warrants a front-page posting.

EA Toronto

I just created the Effective Altruism Toronto meetup. I'm already in touch with the organizers of LW Toronto. My goal is to reach a monthly meeting tempo over the next 3 - 6 months with a small core of regulars, and then reach a twice-monthly tempo.

Please spread the word to anyone who might be in the GTA!

Promotion help

If anybody has suggestions about how to best promote/spread the word, that would be super-great. I'm one of those tin-foil hat Facebook holdouts, but I'm willing to blow the dust off my account to do some promo for this. Pointers to FB groups/highly-connected-individuals/whatever, as well as non-FB related ideas would be really appreciated.

Comment author: cafelow  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 07:09:29AM 3 points [-]

That is great. I read somewhere on this forum that starting a meetup is supposed to be super impactful! Facebook is very useful... but I have found meetup really good too. My facebook feed also makes me a better EA too - I have joined so many groups and friended loads of lovely EAs so I now get no Latte Art, and only get inspiring stories of people doing wonderful things and thinking interesting ideas, and that keeps me inspired and active.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 02:28:52AM 2 points [-]

Congrats on your activism! For spreading word, try the Local EA FB group. Are you in touch with the Local Effective Altruist Network? If not, get in touch with them.

Comment author: KierenWatkins 07 May 2016 08:45:27AM 7 points [-]

Hey everyone! So at the moment I'm just a student with an earn-to-give attitude and attempt to educate friends (by my estimation those I can have most influence on) on effective altruism so I've got less on the side of action and more on money! I've donated 10% of the money I got from a university scholarship this year and also for last semester to Against-Malaria Foundation (AMF) on the recommendation of Givewell which came to my biggest ever in one donation of $900! Whilst maybe not the most effective of charities, I participated in Live Below the Line last week just gone for the Oaktree Foundation who work to improve education in PNG, Timor-Leste and Cambodia and raised $177. Alright, Sir Bragsalot is over and out.

Comment author: cafelow  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 07:05:44AM 2 points [-]

That's an amazing amount for a student! You rule Kieren.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 07 May 2016 03:19:08PM 2 points [-]

Nice to hear you doing what you can, and congrats on your biggest-ever donation!

Comment author: JohnC2015 06 May 2016 11:34:12PM 3 points [-]

Hey! I want to speak up!!! :)

Well, perhaps I can say that speaking up on my recent EA accomplishments and inspire others to speak up, too - will be on top of my list. I have been reading articles and following Gleb 's threads, and this one encourages me to finally share the simple ways that I believe worth sharing.

As a person, I love helping people in a very simple way. Part of my summer activities, is always making sure that I find myself in the "Tahanang Walang Hagdan" or if I may translate it in English - "A House Without Stairs". This organization helps people who cannot walk or in a wheelchair. As part of my advocacy to help these people, I helped organized a Fun Run and proceeds will go to the Tahanang Walang Hagdan Foundation . After the Fun Run, participants are entertained with people with disabilities, thanking them for their help.

Next month, I am looking forward to renew my Eagle adaption at the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

All these simple things are actually making a big difference, not only to the people I get it touch with, but also within me. :)

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 07 May 2016 03:18:29PM 4 points [-]

Thanks for sharing what you did, and helping inspire others as well!

Comment author: StephenR  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 10:56:49PM 2 points [-]

In the past couple of months I've been working at .impact, which manages the Local Effective Altruism Network. My main accomplishment there thus far is seeding 48 new locla meetup groups. Seeding involves contacting people on the EA Hub who aren't near a meetup, asking them if they'd like to provide a presence in their area, and setting up infrastructure for them if they agree.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 10 May 2016 03:11:00PM 0 points [-]

48 groups, nice!

Comment author: Jon_Behar 09 May 2016 05:01:45PM 2 points [-]

Love these threads, very nice (and inspiring) to read what people are up to.

Plenty of recent good news on the Giving Game project. We got our biggest external donation to date for sponsorship of GG, started work on a lab experiment (slated to run in the fall) that will look at whether GG produce medium term (probably ~1 month) changes in giving attitudes and behaviors, ran our first GG in Russia, had GG pitched as a workshop to a large network of middle school teachers, and continued to make good progress running GG w/ secular audiences.

And while I had nothing to do with it, big shout-out to my colleagues at The Life You Can Save who have significantly improved our newsletter subscription rates through an "exit intent" campaign (basically a popup that comes up when people are about to close the window).

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 09 May 2016 05:14:46PM 1 point [-]

Congrats on the biggest external donation for GG, and it's exciting to see all the other aspects of GG improvement. GGs I think are one of the best means of promoting EA-themed ideas. Nice to hear about the newsletter subscription rates as well!

Comment author: Leah_E 12 May 2016 05:23:05PM 1 point [-]

Thanks Gleb for the heads-up on this thread!

Lots going on at ACE over the past month that we are excited about:

-We've opened registration for Symposium on effective animal advocacy, happening at Princeton in November.

-We've completed our evaluation of undercover investigations.

-We published two new interviews on our website with David Wolfson and Will Potter, both of which have a lot of useful content for effective animal advocates.

-We created a Bequest Policy, to enable donors to give to effective animal charities in their wills.

-We've made new connections with some interesting people and are looking forward to conducting some great interviews and posting some new guest blogs soon on our website.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 12 May 2016 08:27:23PM 1 point [-]

Nice to hear about your progress. Interesting findings on undercover investigations, nice to know about the nuanced findings there.

Comment author: scottweathers 10 May 2016 04:48:43PM 1 point [-]

Love that you do this, Gleb!

This past month, I finalized my internship at the WHO. I'll also be traveling to the World Health Assembly this May for my current job. Over the summer, I'll be working on cost-effectiveness research at the WHO, alongside my current job.

Gleb interviewed me for his "Everyday Heroes of Effective Giving" series, which is a really awesome thing that makes me sound way more badass than I really am! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFCWuRB-pYA

I've also been doing a lot of the Humane League's "Fast Action Network" items - these are things like emailing / tweeting at major companies to go cage-free. I think these are very small things that have extremely high expected value. I'd encourage anyone interested in animal welfare to sign up and participate! http://www.thehumaneleague.com/fast-action-network/

Finally, I took a much needed vacation to Panama. Rest is important!

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 12 May 2016 02:56:11AM 0 points [-]

First, happy to hear you mention rest, Scott! I think we as EA activists are in more danger of burning out than it seems to us, and as someone who has already burned out once, I make sure to prioritize rest.

Second, I think you sound badass because you really are badass :-) Seriously, though, I love how in the video, you highlighted the joy of effective giving - that's the kind of positive image that I think we need to promote this meme broadly.

Comment author: berekuk  (EA Profile) 10 May 2016 03:35:28PM *  1 point [-]

I started the Moscow EA group in February. We had five meetups so far, one every 3 weeks. Our attendance is 5-10 people, with 4-5 people attending on the regular basis.

We're meeting at the local rationality space Kocherga (the website is in Russian only), which me and my cofounder started back in September 2015. There's a lot happening there besides EA, such as popular science lectures, LessWrong meetups, rationality dojos, etc. It's pay-per-time-spent and can be classified as a social entrepreneurship (not a non-profit, among other reasons, because NGOs are problematic in Russia). Kocherga is not profitable yet, but if we manage to get it off the ground in the next few months, I believe we have a lot of potential to grow and use our resources to help EA movement. That's a big "if" at this moment, though.

(On the potential conflict of interest because we're collecting money for attending EA meetups: on our second meetup I announced that paying for the meetup can be redirected to charity of the visitor's choice if they wish to do so. Nobody took this offer, and generally everybody agrees that sending this money our way is a better choice at this point than donating it. I'm ready to revisit this if anybody brings up this issue again.)

On the more specific topics:

1) We organized the first Giving Game on the Physics Day at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. I believe it was the first Giving Game in Russia ever. We collected ~$100 from 68 people, 12 of them subscribed to our EAHub mailing list as the result.

We're going to do another Giving Game at the Moscow Geek Picnic this June.

2) I set up the website for the Russian audience.

3) Our volunteers translated two articles from EA Handbook (these are posted on the website linked above), and a few more are in our editorial pipeline.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 12 May 2016 03:01:29AM 0 points [-]

This is very exciting, congrats on getting the Moscow EA group off the ground and running! I've spent time living in Moscow, and actually researched the Physics Day holiday :-) I can well imagine how many young people there can get behind EA. Please keep us updated about what happens with the group.

Are you in touch with the Local Effective Altruist Network? They can provide various resources and support.

Comment author: berekuk  (EA Profile) 12 May 2016 11:04:58AM 0 points [-]

Yes, we're in touch :)

Comment author: AndyMorgan 11 May 2016 09:34:19AM *  1 point [-]

\Hey everyone,

My recent accomplishment is that I've completed building an API to anonymously record donations made to charities, with the intention of allowing organisations like Giving What We Can and EAHub to automatically update the donation records of their members and to measure their impact (I figured there must be an easier way than individuals manually entering their donations).

At the moment I'm going to start working on integrating it with those organisations, and charities that are the most popular with effective altruists, but I'd also really be interested to hear any suggestions for possible applications for it that I could build?

Maybe something like a web application that exports all your donations to a CSV file?

Or maybe a Facebook plugin (is that what they're called?) that displays your donation total on your profile page?

I'm all ears.

It's currently set up to record a donor ID, a charity ID, the amount donated, a reference number, the date, and the time the database record was created.\

Comment author: SamDeere 11 May 2016 11:10:59AM 2 points [-]

Hey Andy, I'm currently working on something very similar as an upgrade to Giving What We Can's My Giving dashboard. Did you want to shoot me an email at sam.deere@givingwhatwecan.org to discuss — either as an opportunity to collaborate or to work out if there's significant overlap?

Sam

Comment author: AndyMorgan 11 May 2016 08:42:38PM *  1 point [-]

Oops, totally retracted my whole comment haha.

Will do, Sam! :)

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 12 May 2016 03:07:03AM 0 points [-]

Well, I'll reply to this since you retracted the comment. I think a Facebook plugin would be a very neat feature! Some way of gamifying and displaying donations would appeal to a certain segment of donors who want to be open about their donations and start conversations with others.

Comment author: mostlivesinyourlife  (EA Profile) 07 June 2016 07:18:33AM 0 points [-]

Hi Sam and Andy, I've been thinking quite some time about a mobile app which uses The Life You Can Save's charity impact calculator (or else you're own estimates) to show a graphical overview of much bednets you've caused to hand out, etc. It be cool to make it easier to note donations and have the visceral feeling of knowing how much you've already done to improve the world.

Remmelt

Comment author: EADPhenrik 10 May 2016 09:36:55PM 0 points [-]

Dear Effective Altruist community, Should we not put our money where they matter most, especially when the subject is very hard for most people to relate to? At EADP we need only $2.5-12 per life-year to save millions of human lives from death, and will on top save further millions from the destruction of their homes. How is explained in details in the link, and why there is so much bias against this – possibly also in you – is explained in the text below: http://asteroiddefence.com/#threat

We are a Danish based NGO called Emergency Asteroid Defence Project (EADP), in the process of establishing an asteroid defense in relation to short warning time asteroids - we have worked hard on this since 2011, full time since 2014. Statistically, these medium-sized asteroids have a far larger likelihood of striking us, than most people know and the risk of death can be said to be larger than for example death in an airplane crash. Read more about the threat, as well as our project and our massive scientific support in general, right here: http://eadproject.com/endorsements/

We are raising funds through various means to ensure that we can have one or more HAIV’s (Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle, to be used by a government with a nuclear explosive device in order to transfer enough energy, when we’re dealing with a short warning time scenario – it has been researched deeply by the best experts, and is internationally legal: http://eadproject.com/partners/frans-von-der-dunk/), ready to be used by a capable governmental agency, when an asteroid impact is imminent.

We started our outreach by raising funds through an Indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/…/help-defend-earth-against-aster…), where we ensured a portion of the amount needed for the study. Most of all, we made sure that we are known to the world as an organization, where we have received a lot of media attention and it enabled us to carry on our work: http://eadproject.com/eadp-in-the-news/ We have also gained a new partner, the economist and blogger Alex Tabarrok, who was interviewed by the Washington Post on why asteroid deflection is so hard to finance: http://eadproject.com/economist-alex-tabarrok/

Why such topics in general can be hard for most people to act upon is relatively quickly scientifically explained and documented in detail here, from University of British Columbia: http://www.gci.org.uk/…/BlockingSustainability%28Final0910%…

Now, this is the reason why I’m reaching out to all of you in the Effective Altruism society. Our crowdfunding campaign last year didn’t work as well as one could hope (due especially to human psychological limits in understanding these kinds of issues), so now we’re instead working to bind together industry partners, who might in some way gain from either the production of the HAIV or the fact that there would be an asteroid defense – you can see the business plan here, which all parties have by now mostly agreed to: http://eadproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EADPbp.pdf This is going slow but steady, very slow really due to lots of bureaucracy and commercial nitpicking. It is a scenario we are very skilled in navigating, but we still need funds to keep going.

I am, in other words, writing here to you guys in particular because I know that you above all are the kind of people who would understand this kind of threat. You are the kind of minds who understand how most people don’t “get” the threat, and therefore don’t donate to it. And how these reasons are exactly the same, in regards to why governments are either not doing enough or not doing anything at all.

As we understand it, our kind of project is exactly the kind that should be communicated to this crowd, so I’m asking all of you to donate an amount, for example five dollars, to help us keep going. We will from now on keep you all updated on our progress and make sure you can follow it is going.

Thank you all in advance for your understanding and help – we only get anywhere when rational people help attain the critical support for the masses to follow: http://eadproject.com/donations/

Comments and criticism are always very welcome, but please check our documentation first.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 12 May 2016 03:10:49AM 1 point [-]

I think it would be helpful if you wrote a top-level post comparing the case for asteroid defense to the case for a top GiveWell charity, and explain why you believe folks should donate to the former rather than the latter. That's what I've noticed tends to lead to the most successful fundraising posts on this forum.