Comment author: EschersDemon 15 November 2017 03:58:17PM 0 points [-]

What if I'd like to help but am too busy to work on this full-time?

Comment author: scottweathers 15 November 2017 07:57:11PM 0 points [-]

Shoot me an email! We aren't at the stage to use many volunteers right now but we'd love to hear from you.

Comment author: Lila 14 November 2017 04:51:21PM 4 points [-]

I'm a 4th year PhD student in bioinformatics. I've previously considered doing something similar, though I focused more on stem cell technology, which is most relevant to my current research. However, would definitely be interested in discussing further!

Comment author: scottweathers 14 November 2017 05:43:32PM 0 points [-]

Excellent to hear! Please get in touch! :)

Comment author: che  (EA Profile) 14 November 2017 05:31:05PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for posting this and for opening up the process! It's a fast-moving space, obviously, and it might be best to start with an informal survey of what's currently available and what's under development.

You've probably already looked at GFI's white space doc, but if not then it might be a good place to start:

Comment author: scottweathers 14 November 2017 05:43:12PM 0 points [-]

Thanks! We started there and are definitely considering several ideas on that list.


Looking for People Interested in Exploring Plant-Based Startups

I'm considering founding a plant-based meat startup and would love to be connected to anyone who is interested in further researching this with me (bio at the end). I’m currently researching this option primarily with Daniel Gastfriend and Joan Gass, two grad students at Harvard and Stanford who are also... Read More
Comment author: zdgroff 30 October 2017 06:57:12PM 3 points [-]

Thanks for writing this up! I learned some things here even having managed press previously for Direct Action Everywhere.

One thing I'd note that might help with some bruised emails (and let me know if you disagree) is that this business is highly random. Getting an op-ed published depends entirely on the judgments of a small number of people.

Also, one comment:

Pitch the same piece to multiple outlets at once

This is definitely standard press advice, but I'm actually curious if this is wise. Given that (I think) it's more often than not the case that the chance of getting published is quite low, if a piece is time-sensitive, doesn't this dramatically lower your chances of getting published (many places don't notify of rejections), while if you submit to multiple, the most that happens is you burn someone who might not have been a good contact anyway? I've been wondering if the common wisdom is wrong here.

Comment author: scottweathers 30 October 2017 07:38:50PM *  1 point [-]

Totally agree, it's very random. I would warn folks who pitch against trying to read the tea leaves of why any individual editor didn't respond to your email, because you're probably wrong. It's also tough on your sanity!

If the piece is time-sensitive, I can see the value of the strategy you're suggesting, but it carries a fair amount of risk if you're trying to pitch op-eds in multiple places. If you're placing regular news articles, as opposed to op-eds, that strategy would probably be OK (so long as you say that you've pitched other journalists if they ask).

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 30 October 2017 06:52:31PM *  2 points [-]

(x-post from FB, so phrasing is written more directly as a comment to Scott)

I think this is mostly spot on. There's one or two additional things I might have included based on my experience (would probably emphasize warm introductions more and mention the value in getting on their radar early).

Also just noting that I think the email could have been improved upon, but I'm interested in whether you share this belief. Top suggestion would have been to have one of the key attention-grabbing names in the subject line of the email, and to prioritize brevity a bit more.

I'm glad you wrote this... I do get questions in this vein a lot and expect it to be a helpful resource for many.

Comment author: scottweathers 30 October 2017 07:36:11PM 1 point [-]

Thanks! I agree with the value of warm intros, given that this can be in tension with brevity.

I also think the email could've been improved in the ways you suggest, thanks!


How Two EAs Got Published in the New York Times

This article was coauthored with Sophie Hermanns. Last spring, two EAs (us) were published in NYT as co-authors alongside Mark Bittman, writing about the consequences that factory farming has for human health. We were asked by several people to provide some brief tips about how to publish op-eds in similarly... Read More
Comment author: Sanjay 16 February 2017 11:55:54PM 1 point [-]

There's plenty in this post that I agree with, in particular "Political organizing is a highly accessible way for many EAs to have a potentially high impact". I also appreciate that many EAs would like to use their spare time effectively, and this may provide a potential avenue for that.

However I question whether "moral obligation" is really right here. When Toby Ord wrote about the Moral Imperative towards cost-effectiveness, he was arguing for actions which I think were almost certain to be right (i.e. almost certain to make the world a better place) - hence the moral imperative.

However there are lots of ways that lobbying or other political actions could have unforeseen consequences, and could lead to net negative outcomes.

Comment author: scottweathers 02 March 2017 07:10:13PM 0 points [-]

Great point! We are uncertain about the "obligation" part, absolutely. We would love it if other folks would think about the exact nature of the responsibility/obligation/etc. to organize. While I agree that there may not be any obligation to organize, specifically, I think there is decent evidence that it is among the most high-impact activities we can take. Given that I do believe in an obligation to high-impact things, I think we should strongly consider it.


The Moral Obligation to Organize

This post is coauthored with Sophie Hermanns, PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge and a visiting fellow at Harvard University   Effective altruists are very interested in moral obligations and have developed a set of norms mainly focused on charitable giving and the use of our careers. For example,... Read More
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!

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!

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

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