The practice might be different in different countries, but in many countries (I know the most about NZ) dairy cows are impregnated every year to keep their milk supply at a high level. The dairy cows are slaughtered after about 4 years, so there are far more calves born than can be used by the industry. This means that a decent proportion of the female calves are slaughtered alongside their brothers at a few days old so sex selection of sperm won’t change the number of unwanted calves. If there was a way to induce lactation without pregnancy that would make sex selection very useful.
To make this a low effort action it would be helpful if you could link the voting page or otherwise tell us how to vote and how long it takes to do so.
I’m getting a lot out of these monthly updates David. Thank you. Any chance they could be subscribed to in a newsletter or at least put on a website? I’d like to recommend them as a great way of staying up to date, as a step up from the shorter EA newsletter.
(I know you have the EA London newsletters, which have a lot of overlap to these updates).
Just a note to say that Brenton’s conclusions have been updated above to add estimates of the overall results of the outreach activities mentioned in this post. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/L5t3EPnWSj7D3DpGt/high-school-ea-outreach#Brenton_s_conclusions
I agree Evan. I still give out many Doing Good Betters (hoping people read past the poverty sections) and only send people the Handbook if they’ve engaged with EA ideas for a while. The intro book would ideally be written with someone with a high status in the EA community and the world in general, as even an excellent intro book may not supplant MacAskill and Singer’s intro books. I’m wondering if the best intro book would be a new edition of Doing Good Better with less on global poverty to allow for more on other cause areas. That would give the new book status and mean the outdated edition will automatically stop being the default intro book (Of course that would require a lot of Will’s time, even if a coauthor was brought in).
My impression from my outreach to all ages is that founders effects are pretty significant (including who we network with, and how we usually communicate in a way that people like ourselves would find appealing) - I’ve found a wide variety of people find the basic ideas appealing.
Also the capability to get fully involved is pretty biased towards young people with few commitments and a lot of choice over what career path they take.
But of course that doesn’t rule out a decent skew in who is likely to become deeply interested—I do think a skew is very likely at least for the more “weird” EA ideas.
One thing to note about the the Kagan/Fitz study, is that I believe it used a fairly mild specification of “Interest in Effective Giving” along the lines of whether they support charities overseas rather than in the US, rather than a more out-there specifications including, I dunno, worrying about insect sentience, or what they think of the potential value of interplanetary colonisation.
I presume you mean this survey by Ari Kagan and Nick Fitz? https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/MDxaD688pATMnjwmB/to-grow-a-healthy-movement-pick-the-low-hanging-fruit
3 out of the 5 EA-aligned teachers who contributed to the post were from quite elite schools. In London we only got around to contacting schools with high grades (we had a sorted list, and were slowly working our way down the list). In Greater Vancouver we contacted every high school. I haven’t done any careful analysis, but from eyeballing the data, there doesn’t seem to be a clear correlation between school ranking and interest in running our workshops. Nor does there seem to be a clear correlation between school ranking and interest in advanced workshops.
From the data we collected, there is nothing to suggest students from elite schools are more “interested” in EA than the average population. However, it is probably fair to say students from elite schools are on average more able to act upon EA principles as they get older, so targeting elite schools could be justified for that reason.
Good question Ozzie. In the start of 2018 we mostly focussed on getting into schools and on the surveys (metrics 1 and 2 above), because they were our first hurdles and we were very uncertain on how these would go until we started the project.
However that meant we didn’t optimise our workshops for engaging students long term (metric 3) for several months after starting the project. That meant we weren’t confident in making decisions based on the first indications that we were not meeting metric 3, and ran the project for several more months as a result. If we had planned our long term engagement strategy at the start of 2018 and set success criteria earlier we could have learnt what we needed to in less time.
I agree that the forum does already provide this function to get written feedback, however I’m not sure the written feedback makes it clear whether there is approval or lack of approval in general. Up and down voting helps, but I wouldn’t want to construe a bunch of upvotes as widespread approval to start a project, nor the downvotes as suggesting I’m triggering some terrible unilateralist curse! My thought was not fully formed, but I was thinking a bit more of a rating system, where someone could have a pretty rough idea, gets it checked it over with a few EAs and if it is approved, then they flesh the idea out a bit, and then it gets checked over by more people with more experience. Ideally in a way where people don’t feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas, and people feel okay about checking a box that says “This is likely to hasten catastrophe, don’t do it!”. I’ve been in a position where I’ve thought of starting a project, didn’t feel all that comfortable asking for feedback on the forum or reaching out widely until I had befriended many EAs so I could quietly talk it over with them, and I guess that others might be in the same boat (Although that might be more about me, than about the systems we have in place!).
I’m not quite sure what forum features could be added to help that, or whether there is a market for that beyond me!
That is a really good point Denis!
The only thing we put in to help with preferences, is to allow donors to “reject the swap”—e.g. if they don’t like the charity they are instructed to donate to. But that is clearly insufficient. They could be given more information before they choose to reject.
I’m trying to think of a way of asking for easily accessible information from donors to avoid these problems. This info would be shared with the match. Would “If you don’t get matched where would your donation go?”
with the options
Same charity, and I’ll get tax benefits
Same charity, and I won’t get tax benefits
Charity X and I’ll get tax benefits
Would that be sufficient to avoid the worst of the problems?
Thanks Khorton! We really appreciate you saying those kind words.
Thanks David. As Paul says, it certainly isn’t clear cut. We have had unofficial legal advice, but nothing formal. The general idea from the advice is that some of the laws say things on the lines of “You must not have received goods or services from the charity”—which is still true in the case of swapping. There is also no legal obligation for your matched donor to donate to the charity you want them to donate to, and that is apparently significant. Also the tax rebate isn’t dependent on WHY you chose the charity that you donated to. If the website proves to be popular we will look into getting official legal advice in the countries that want to use it the most.
Thanks Larks! There will be the very occasional swaps where both parties benefit, but most will have just one beneficiary like the example above. We thought briefly about incentivising Robert-type people, but in the end decided to go for the simple “both charities get the same $” for the first iteration. If we are struggling to get Robert-type donors to offer swaps we will definitely revisit this idea.
You show Disney movies at EA meetups!! That is really lovely!
My guess is the main problem occurs when it is very clear to students what the instructors want them to say. Since we don’t talk about water usage, students may not change their answer for the water usage question, but still change their answer to the questions relating to the content (whether or not they have been impacted by the program), so there may not be a shift in the water question, but still a shift in the other questions.
We did test out some different social desirability scales in the surveys, which is a common method. The preliminary analysis suggested that social desirability is a factor, but we haven’t finished that analysis on the full data yet.