ACX Grants ++: The Second Half
This is the closing part of ACX Grants. Projects that I couldn’t fully fund myself were invited to submit a brief description so I could at least give them free advertising here. You can look them over and decide if any seem worth donating your money, time, or some other resource to.
I’ve removed obvious trolls, a few for-profit businesses without charitable value who tried to sneak in under the radar, and a few that violated my sensibilities for one or another reason. I have not removed projects just because they’re terrible, useless, or definitely won’t work. My listing here isn’t necessarily an endorsement; caveat lector.
Still, some of them are good projects and deserve more attention than I was able to give them. Many applicants said they’d hang around the comments section here, so if you have any questions, ask!
(bolded titles are my summaries and some of them might not be accurate or endorsed by the applicant)
You can find the first 66 of these here.
#67: Investigate Weighted Belts As An Appetite Suppressant
I’m a data scientist with experience in healthcare and human subject research. I’m interested in the efficacy of weighted belts as an appetite suppressant. Over the last several years there's been interesting research on the gravitostat, a body weight homeostat independent of leptin that is controlled by the amount of weight loaded on the large bones. Two years ago, results from a “proof of concept” RCT were published showing that wearing weighted vests seems to reduce body weight and fat in humans. More research is needed, and more is being done (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04809129), but none has focused on long term compliance or long term weight loss in humans wearing weighted clothes. I’m planning on sending subjects weighted clothing (various belts and vests), a randomized amount of weight, and instructions and guidance covering the theory etc. Compliance and body weight will be tracked and reported for two years along with surveys of what subjects' experiences have been. Resulting data and findings will be published. Improving compliance and intervention effectiveness through improved weighted clothing is something that academic researchers may be slow to focus on but could be of incredible value. Costs of the weighted clothing are estimated to be at least $5000. To provide funding or suggestions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#68: Educational Software To Hit Developmental Windows In Babies
One way to counteract the growing burden of knowledge and increase innovation is to teach people more in less time. Early childhood education could be useful to this end. Indeed, very young children appear to have developmental windows that close as they age; for example, after a certain point children can't learn perfect pitch or discernment of certain foreign language phonemes. However, early childhood education does not always focus on explicitly teaching skills and knowledge. Some educators even push back against the idea of explicitly teaching the very young, claiming it is developmentally inappropriate. This view lacks evidence, and explicit teaching has proven successful with small children. I plan to create a simple computer interface with accompanying educational software specifically targeted at babies. The interface will be simple enough that a baby can intuitively use it, and the software will make it easy to develop learning modules for babies. I'll first test a learning module helping babies acquire perfect pitch. I need money for hardware prototypes, developing the software, and compensating volunteers who test the product. For further details, email me at email@example.com. I’m interested in a variety of efforts to accelerate education and would love to hear from anyone working on or interested in that.
#69: Guided Reading Program To Help Children Catch Up
More than 1 million children are behind on their reading due to the Pandemic. 11 year olds have the reading age of 7, and secondary schools are having to teach phonetics. Remote classes has led to disjointed learning and inconsistent teaching and the gap between the poor and the moderately well off is growing exponentially. Education systems do not have the capacity to deal with this difference as funds are stretched. A Multilevel, individual, across discipline approach is needed to encourage students to catch up. ECST is exactly this – a remediation guided reading programme that allows students to work at their own pace and move ahead as fast as their learning rate and capacity will let them. They are encouraged through various rewards to work independently, keep going and to progress. The reading materials have been chosen to enhance well-being. They are all classic books that have stood the test of time and apart from cracking good stories they feature archetypes who share their innate human knowledge and thus empower the reader. The readings are guided by videos of talented narrators reading the stories out loud. This stripped down approach, creates an intimate atmosphere, an accountable connection and aids true communication between author, narrator and student. ECST already has 40 titles and over 90 hours of stories and is looking for $25000 to facilitate the next stage of growth to create more titles and to market to schools, councils and education departments. [Contact Cecile@englishclassicstorytime.com]
#70: Video Courses For Language Learning
We are building a “Metaversity” to help democratise language learning. We film on location, with teachers and genuine students, to create a 360 video course that anyone with a VR headset can use to learn from. Students learn from a world class teacher, feel present in an intimate classroom setting, pause/rewind, and interact with our AI speech recognition.
#71: Oculus App For Language Learning
We have a prototype Oculus Quest app called Dynamic Spanish, available here: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/4231524270226603/ The co-founders are a husband-wife team from the UK. Dave is a chartered chemical engineer by trade, and is the camera operator, post-production lead, and general techie. Katie studied languages at university, has worked as a language teacher for many years, and is responsible for managing syllabus creation with language-specific experts. The next few years will be spent filming the classroom scenes for more languages (in London), before travelling to film native speakers in interactive scenarios around the world, and capturing the sights and sounds of the countries for students to virtually explore in narrated guided Trips. We are creating courses that can be completed over a few months, giving learners the confidence to speak their new language in real life, and connect more deeply with the cultures that speak it. We hope this project is appealing to a generous do-gooder, who is excited by the prospect of helping to build a positive vision of accessible education.
#72: Teach Reproducible Research
There is a reproducibility crisis in the world. My project is for three summer months. I will dedicate this time to prepare online open source class to teach how to do reproducible research in Computational Modelling Field. [Contact firstname.lastname@example.org]
#73: Create A New Kind Of Money And Cities
The combination of markets and ideas has reduced suffering somewhat. This trend must continue, but I think a global median income of US$30,000 by 2049 is possible. We just need to teach everybody the same skills that Americans have. To enable this, 2 areas where improvement can be made and no new technology is needed are: a new money, and cities welcome to everyone. A new money is needed because the current financial system is not burdened with the risks it creates. Cities don’t grow like they did in the past. Over a 50 year period at the turn of the twentieth century Detroit grew 10X, whereas in this era the Bay Area has not even doubled its population. Nowadays cities that attract the best talent only attract the best talent. If we had a Hypothetical-Bay-Area-City grow like American cities of the past, it would have a population of around 45 million people and GDP of $4.5 billion. What would an asset be worth if it had a $4.5 billion income stream? A little bit of money and land is needed to make a start, but mostly I need you and your talents. Here is my new Substack with details: https://marketismandidearism.substack.com/p/a-new-money-and-cities-welcome-to . Please sign up to make a global median income of US$30,000 by 2049 a reality. P.S. I am talking money here. Accounting entries. Do not talk to me about Bitcoin. Bitcoin is an attempt at cash. 99.99999% of money transactions are not done with cash, they are done with IOU’s. Please. Spare. Me.
#74: Apply Constructor Theory To AI
Constructor theory is a framework developed by the physicist David Deutsch which seeks to express scientific theories as claims about which physical transformations are possible and which are impossible. This is in contrast to the standard framework which describes physical systems in terms of their initial conditions and laws of evolution. It is hoped that this framework will solve fundamental problems in physics and other fields. I believe that there is an analogy between the problems in the natural sciences which constructor theory was developed to solve and the AI alignment problem. I would like to spend a couple of months thinking about this and fleshing out my ideas as posts on LessWrong/The Alignment Forum and opening them up for discussion. I am currently in the final few months of a PhD in theoretical physics during which I have published two papers. After my PhD finishes, I would like to spend some time (two or three months) researching this problem and will need some funding to do this full time during this period. If you would like to fund this work or discuss the idea further, please send an email to AlfredSPH@protonmail.com .
#75: Study The Real-World Effectiveness Of Psychedelics
Psychedelics are set to be approved as medicines as early as 2023. I think that there is a citizen-science project not happening that could add to the evidence base and help the wide-spread implementation of psychedelic-assisted therapies. As founder of Blossom, a project dedicated to providing information on psychedelics - from research to implementation - and effective altruist (GWWC since 2015 & Founders Pledge), I could lead a large-scale citizen-science study to study the real-world effectiveness of non-clinical use of psychedelics for mental health & self-development. I'm looking for $45.000 to dedicate a significant amount of time to this project & pay others involved in the study. [Please contact email@example.com]
#76: Richard Hanania’s Think Tank
I’m Richard Hanania, and I’m seeking funding for my think tank, The Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology (CSPI). We believe that scientific stagnation, identity politics, and widespread risk aversion didn’t come out of nowhere. They’re the result of bad policies and practices – bureaucratization, politicization, and credentialism – that have infected our institutions and spilled over into the larger culture. CSPI is bringing these dynamics to the attention of scientists, intellectuals, and politicians, emboldening them to take steps to reform, deregulate, or defund stagnant institutions. Over the last year, our researchers have had a large impact on the discourse surrounding several important issues. Philippe Lemoine helped discredit the public health consensus surrounding COVID and showed lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions to not be worth the costs. Eric Kaufmann documented political intolerance in academia and worked with the British government to secure enhanced free speech rights for academics. My own work has demonstrated that wokeness is largely the product of civil rights law and the HR bureaucracy that enforces it. We’re seeking additional funding so that we can hire more research fellows and distribute more grants, expanding our influence in the policy space to fight back against failing institutions. If you’re interested in helping, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit our website at https://cspicenter.org.
#77: Computer Programs That Write Themselves
I've been working on faster ways to create computer programs. I'm looking for funding to extend my time to work on this. This could improve the success probability of hundreds of other projects and allow the existence of many more. Tools help reduced the time and resources needed for a project. If someone tried to work on their project without access to a computer or internet, getting them a connected machine would be of high priority even though it has nothing to do with the content of the project itself. And if computers or the internet didn't already exist, it'd be worthwhile to try to come up with them. But we only know this in hindsight and the same could be true of what I'm trying to make. That we should have never tried to do without. The tool that I want to create is a computer program P that is an interactive tutorial for (re)creating P from scratch. But more importantly, P helps recreate significant variations of P. We'd then use P to make other programs that would help with whatever project is at hand. How this work and why it would be helpful is explained in the original grant submission at https://blog.asrpo.com/grant You'll also find contact info and links to some of the project's components there. Instead of funds, you can also help by contributing your own time to the project. If you think you can help with any component or are good at either compilers or thinking abstractly, please feel free to reach out.
#78: Research Questions In Progress Studies
With funding from ACX Grants I will investigate a set of specific and crucial open questions for Progress Studies: What is our capacity to slow technological progress if desired? What are general properties of technology which limit or exacerbate existential risk? How robust are recommendations to different sets of moral ethics? These are crucial to understanding the importance of accelerating progress, but relatively little effort has been devoted to these questions outside of AppliedDivinityStudies’ The Moral Foundation of Progress, and my own Stubborn Attachments From Behind The Veil. In the past, I’ve interned on economic policy at the CATO Institute and The Charter Cities Institute where I published on growth and governance. ADS has also agreed to mentor me over the summer, and provides a vote of confidence. If you’re able to provide funding, please email email@example.com.
#79: A Method For Solving Coordination Problems
My name is Bendini, and I’ve figured out how to solve coordination™. Okay no, that’s an overstatement. What I’ve actually done is figured out a general method for turning some intractable coordination problems into a set of merely difficult ones. I call this general method Intentionality, and it can be summarised as follows: A) Get people to state their intentions explicitly and honestly. B) Put everything in place that’s necessary to ensure that people actually do A, instead of just pretending to do it. The core insight is A, but it’s irrelevant without B’s infrastructure. As such, I’m writing a yellow paper aimed at smart laypeople that explains all of B’s interlocking parts and how to bootstrap them into existence. This is a huge task, and I have no credentials that would grant plausibility to my claims, but here are 4 reasons to treat them as plausible anyway: 1) I’ve never set foot in California. 2) Scott rejected my application without asking to see a draft of the yellow paper, so its ideas are yet to be judged. 3) The paper is written in plain language similar to (https://bendini.uk/systematic-cooking-intro), so unlike Ribbonfarm, it should be easy to tell if the ideas hold water. 4) I’m not asking for funding, only feedback to get it published ASAP. If you think this either 1) sounds plausible, or 2) sounds fake, but worth a Pascal’s mugging on the chance that it’s real, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @BendiniUK on Twitter.
#80: A “Mnemonic Medium” To Replace Textbooks
What comes after the book? Is it pictures of pages on screens? Videos of people lecturing? Why are all the answers to this question so boring? Where are the powerful ideas about memory, psychology, sociology? I’m Andy Matuschak, and I’ve been developing a “mnemonic medium” which embeds interactive memory supports to make it easy for readers to remember and apply what they read. To test these ideas, physicist Michael Nielsen and I created a quantum computing textbook called Quantum Country. Hundreds of readers have now demonstrated long-term retention of the text’s fine details. I’ve been running experiments to understand and improve the medium, both in that textbook and by expanding the technology to a variety of other contexts. I believe that this medium, refined and widely deployed, could help people learn difficult topics much more easily and reliably. Now, here’s where you come in: I used to lead R&D at Khan Academy, but now I’m independent and crowdfunding a research grant. You can read more about my work and help make it happen at https://patreon.com/quantumcountry.
#81: Entheogenic Plant Program For Addictions
Natura Care Programs (NCP) is a new, cutting-edge, longitudinal spiritual care program for individuals struggling with a broad range of addictions. NCP integrates entheogenic plant medicine ceremonies, a social model for recovery with peer support, contemplative practice instruction, and nature immersion with an online curriculum. Our online component offers process-oriented recovery, individual and group counseling, and integration. NCP is lead by Celina De Leon, Todd Youngs, and Alex Olshonsky. We are a non-profit seeking funding to help provide scholarships to veterans, BIPOCs, and underrepresented communities to attend one of our first cohorts in 2022. Learn more and get in touch here https://naturacareprograms.org/.
#82: Create AGI
I’m Sainadh Chityala and I’m developing a general purpose machine learning architecture that could potentially make any device intelligent. I have chosen a radically different approach to get this done, that is by developing a self-driving car in India. A self-driving car ML pipeline is the closest to the brain’s physiology than any other that humans are working on. An architecture of this sort could reduce the resources, time and effort for projects that involve massive R&D like in the case of Development of Rockets and New Treatments by automating and emulating everything. Basically everything would eventually become an application of this. This architecture paves the way towards a post scarcity world. My goal with this is to develop AGI (Which might seem too much but who knows). [Contact me at email@example.com]
#83: Detect And Fight Healthcare Fraud
Our company is using data to detect fraud against the government. Access to quality healthcare is dwindling in the United States. There is an estimated hundred billion dollars in fraud every year leading to lower standards of care and making healthcare unaffordable. We’re seeking a hundred thousand dollars to buy data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. This will allow us to find fraud and file lawsuits on behalf of the government. The Department of Justice signaled a new level of support for independent companies using data methods to identify fraud in June of last year when they picked up a case brought by Integra Med Analytics. For the past twelve months we’ve been working with attorneys specializing in this area (qui tam). We’ve been consolidating data returned from broad FOIA requests and begun assisting law firms with data science. Our team combines broad technical expertise (Google, NASA, LANL, NIST, UC Berkeley) with business acumen and investigative experience. The three of us have been working together on projects with positive externalities for five years. Previous successful projects include providing flexible housing, and a micro-targeting methods for political action. [Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help]
#84: Study Cognitive Strategies, Argument Distillation, And Build A Better Social Network (3)
Hi, I'm a regular pseudonymous commenter here (and in other Rationalist spaces), but my real name is Isaac P. Burke. Some of you may know me from the Irish SSC meetups. I submitted three proposals: the first, a Rationalist nonprofit to conduct studies on effective cognitive strategies, initially focusing on group rationality in toy scenarios/competitions. The second, a nonprofit social network, not subject to advertiser pressure or clickbait incentives, with a focus on providing users with choices in terms of the moderation and algorithms they want to experience - think AO3. The third, a collaborative tool, based on Gwern's proposal here: https://www.gwern.net/CYOA but focusing on user-submitted arguments, distilling debates down to a dialogue between the most persuasive crowdsourced points on both sides (this would also be useful as an artistic tool for collaborative storytelling, but that's less EA-relevant.) In terms of qualifications, I'm a programmer with experience primarily in games and web design, and a passionate EA, currently working part-time for a small educational nonprofit. None of these proposals necessarily require a huge budget, at least to reach the "minimum viable product" stage - maybe $15k-$20k - but all would require a lot of collaboration (even more so if more than one of them gets interest). If you're interested in volunteering/funding/collaborating on any of these proposals, you can reach me at Isaac.Philip.Burke[at]gmail[dot]com.
#85: Study The Neuroscience Of How The Self Matures
The ‘self’ matures and change throughout adulthood, progressing through distinct stages. Social scientists have demonstrated that individuals at each stage have a unique outlook on life and way of interacting with the world. In earlier stages the focus is on exterior stimuli, while in later stages the exploration is of one’s interior experience, and how the exterior world is interpreted through our interior experience. Qualities such as compassion, dis-identification from the concept of self, and an understanding of the constructed nature of experience, become stronger and more nuanced at each stage. Professional coaches exploit this knowledge to help their clients achieve personal and professional goals. Yet, this maturity (or ‘vertical development’) model has been almost completely ignored by psychologists and neuroscientists despite the potential for this knowledge to transform our understanding of individual differences in how the mind works. Our team, led by renowned Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar, is seeking funding to conduct a series of experiments to characterize the maturity process in scientific language and situate it within the fields of psychological and cognitive neuroscience. Charitable gifts of $50,000 to $500,000 will allow us to conduct essential preliminary studies to establish proof of concept and enable us to seek federal funding. Please contact email@example.com with questions.
#86: More Accurate Measurement Of Mental Health
Even Mental Health is a startup working on improving how we measure mental health. Current approaches rely on asking individuals to summarize how they’ve felt in the past. This yields a blurry and often inaccurate depiction of one’s mental health. Our app, Even Mind, takes a different approach that avoids recall bias altogether (you can find out more at https://evenmind.app). We believe more accurate measurement tools will lead to significantly improved treatments and outcomes for individuals. We’re looking to connect with others interested in improving mental health measurement or mental healthcare more broadly. We’re also raising an initial round and looking for investments in the $50,000 - $100,000 range. If you’d like to connect, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#87: Gather Data On Successful Arguments
I would like to create an Argument website that asks users to create their argument for particular proposals (Dogs are the best pets; The Rock would make a great president). Once we have a reasonable number of arguments, we would then ask users to vote for the best arguments by ranking 3 arguments at a time. Over time, we'd have good data on what types of arguments are more likely to be successful and why. I would need to be able to hire a better coder than I am (5-10k) to put this together and then figure out how to promote it. [Email email@example.com]
#88: Daniel Ingram’s Nonprofit For Studying Emergent (ie spiritual) Phenomena
Emergence Benefactors (EB: https://ebenefactors.org/) is a 501(c)(3) charity established in 2021, striving to reduce global suffering and promote long-term human flourishing through an in-depth understanding of emergent (spiritual, mystical, energetic, psychedelic, and related) phenomena. We are designed to support the roadmap of the Emergent Phenomenology Research Consortium (EPRC: https://theeprc.org/) and its allied entities. This way, we fund and support methodologically rigorous, ontologically agnostic research on emergent experiences, practices, and their effects. Furthermore, our aim is to promote the culturally-sensitive incorporation of this scientific and clinical knowledge into global, evidence-based knowledge bases. We draw insights from rationalist and effective altruism frameworks. EB’s Board and team of contractors ensure a diverse range of professional skills and talents. Dr. Daniel M. Ingram (CV: https://tinyurl.com/dringram), the self-funded Acting CEO and Board Chair of EB, has over 37 years of professional and personal experience with emergent phenomena. We welcome both unrestricted donations and those intended to support specific projects and activities. We do appreciate valuable feedback from the ACX community on how to make this project the best it can be. The EPRC Whitepaper contains all the detailed information: https://hypernotes.zenkit.com/i/UFIY1UO1cp/84TWK0BwQlq/?v=M6pP_Tb7W6 For inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
#89: A Wiki For Rebuilding Civilization After Disaster
My name is Jehan, I've created the site Wikiciv.org as a guide to rebuilding civilization in case of global catastrophe. Its editing is crowdsourced like Wikipedia because a project this large is far too much for one person, or even a team. Technologies and raw materials are linked so both upstream and downstream technologies are easily accessible. There are other projects with similar goals, but they are 1) Not publicly accessible 2) The wrong scale. Books such as "The Knowledge" and "How to Invent Everything" are too cursory to be a practical guide for recreating critical technologies like steel, fertilizer and antibiotics. Meanwhile the "Manual for Civilization" from the Long Now Foundation is 3500 paper books in one corner of San Franciso. Wikiciv fully open and available for database downloads. Distributed backups are encouraged to ensure resiliency during a disaster. WikiCiv could be be helpful even for regional supply-chain disruptions. For example during the Covid-19 pandemic, there were critical oxygen shortages in India. It turns out that a reasonable oxygen generator can be made from zeolite and an air compressor. Wikiciv aims to be a single, interconnected database of "from scratch" manufacturing instructions for situations like these. It is the eventual goal of Wikiciv to be accepted as a Wikimedia Foundation project (like Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wikivoyage etc). The better Wikiciv becomes, the more likely this is. Get in touch at email@example.com
#90: A Crowdfunding Platform For Bounties On Beneficial Projects
viaPrize.org is a free and open crowdfunding platform for bounties on socially beneficial projects. There currently are organizations like the X Prize Foundation which host these sorts of contests, however there is no platform which allows open submissions of both bounty ideas and bounty funding. viaPrize.org unbundles ideas, funding, and execution by permitting anyone to submit great bounty ideas, regardless of their resources or know-how. It further unbundles the funding by crowdfunding contributions which then combine into a larger and more worthwhile bounty prizes. If you're interested you can help in the following ways: 1) Post bounty ideas to the site (no funding need) 2) Try to win existing bounties 3) Pledge or contribute funding to bounties 4) Help out with the project by volunteering, promoting the site, advice, or useful contacts (e.g. X Prize). Some bounties up right now that you might like: Transparent bank accounts, A no-login shareable calendar, A hotkey standardization app. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
#91: Protein-Based Desalination
I would like to conduct research into aquaporin protein bearing GUVs (lipid bilayer spheres ~50μm wide) and their ability to uptake pure H2O within a saline/sucrose solution. This research would benefit the field of biomimetic membrane filtration and possibly pharmacokinetics. I'm a fourth year Bio-Chem undergrad, graduating this Spring, so I'm not able to apply next year for typical undergrad research grants. I'm a mature student with a strong scientific mentor network and experience in taking on and completing other high risk and complex projects. I would require money for lab space rental (which I can negotiate from my school) and the necessary reagents/lipids/cultures. For more info or suggestions on other funding avenues besides this one, please email email@example.com (or even comment on this thread if possible)
#92: Do Gay Rights In India Reduce Discrimination?
I’m looking for funding for research that will test whether the expansion of the legal rights of gay people in India reduces discrimination by coordinating a shift in the social norms surrounding anti-gay behaviour. Using the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that decriminalised homosexuality across India, I will use an RCT to measure the effect of exposing individuals who are not already aware of this law to the information that homosexuality is legal. I will measure how this information impacts participants’ anti-gay behaviours and sentiment. Being told about the law is likely to act as a signal to people that being homophobic is no longer socially acceptable. Even if the information doesn’t change their private attitudes, they may therefore be more likely to act kindly towards gay people when their actions are visible to others. Relatedly, they may be more prone to positive communication about gay people, e.g., they may share less anti-gay news stories on social media. This reduction in anti-gay narratives could in turn help the longer-term process of positive social change. If you’re interested in this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
#93: Found A Non-Territorial Nation-State
My idea is founding a non-territorial nation-state of souvereign individuals, to offer a viable and better alternative to tackle both global and local issues. Globalization and its implications doesn't "care" about borders, like pandemics or climate change, or other man-made complexity induced problems; community activities are impaired by state dependencies. Corporations bypass this and act like international and networked entities with both global and local influence. We need something better in an increasingly complex and interdependent world that allows us to make a change for the better. This is already being partially addressed (Club of Rome et al.), models of human progression have been developed, and new philosophical constructs emerge (metamodernism etc.), thinktanks like Berggruen Institute explore possibilities. Yet we are still stuck on a philosophical level instead of walking the talk. There currently is no structure that would allow for ultimate "global thinking, local acting". It's not intended to be a global government, but the mission must be to have a seat at the UN to at least co-exist with other countries. The goal is not to revolt against or replace current countries, or dreaming up another utopia (nirvana fallacy, ignoring tribalism etc.). For this and in its urgency, I'm looking for funding to work full time on this, to build a platform, to attract experts and professionals, to examine and offering an actionable, viable, better alternative to what is. [Email email@example.com]
#94: A Clinic That Practices A New Model Of Community Medicine
Open Source Wellness (OSW) is an Oakland-based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to transforming health care and health outcomes in partnership with communities. OSW delivers “Community As Medicine” via a “Behavioral Pharmacy” approach, in which patients struggling with chronic conditions such diabetes, hypertension, and depression are supported with four universal pillars of wellbeing: physical activity, healthy food, stress reduction, and social connection. OSW specializes in partnering with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) serving patient populations that are predominantly low-income and communities of color, utilizing a Virtual Group Medical Visit model that generates revenue for clinics while achieving critical health outcomes. These visits combat social isolation, and are led by culturally-relevant health coaches and peer leaders in addition to primary care providers. Peer-reviewed, published research outcomes include reductions in ED visits, blood pressure, depression, and anxiety and increases in weekly physical activity, and fruit/vegetable intake. Seeking funding from $50,000 to $150,000 to support two key project areas: Continued expansion of the OSW model to clinical and community orgs nation-wide. Development of a nationally accredited health coach training program, which will create a certification and employment pipeline for our diverse and under-employed participants and peer leaders. Visit www.opensourcewellness.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
#95: Make Programming By Voice More Practical
I'm Michael Arntzenius (rntz.net) and I'd like $5-40K to work on making programming by voice more practical. Many programmers at some point suffer from repetitive strain injuries (RSI) that make typing difficult; I'm one. To mitigate this I use a tool called Talon that lets me control my computer by voice. Thanks to recent advances, voice control is increasingly practical, and voice programmers form a small but rapidly growing community. However, idioms and tools for coding by voice are in their infancy. I believe now is the right time to push hard on voice-oriented editing: the underlying voice recognition tech is ready, we have a creative, dedicated community willing to experiment with new approaches, and mature editor technology like language servers and online error-robust parsing (eg. tree-sitter) supports editing commands at a higher level than character-by-character. Specifically, this money could support me working part-time for 6 months ($5k) up to full time for 2 years ($40K). I could work on: contributing to Cursorless, the state-of-the-art open-source voice editing framework for VSCode; porting cursorless to other editors to increase its reach; incorporating ideas from recent research on structural editing and typed holes; and on my duties as co-maintainer of the de-facto default Talon script-set. If you're interested, contact me at email@example.com.
#96: Improve The Readability Of Scientific Writing
I want to research, demonstrate, and facilitate the adoption of better norms in scientific writing. Science papers are more tedious to read than their inherent complexity requires, in part due to misaligned incentives in science publishing, but also because of ossified expectations of what a paper "should" be. This has several drawbacks: 1) Less productivity for scientists, who have to expend energy to understand papers. 2) Fewer papers are read, which means less usefulness of scientific work and less cross-pollination between fields. 3) It may contribute to people leaving science. 4) Less accessibility of science to educators, leaders, professionals, and the broader public. I've been researching language in science for several months; see my work at https://jawws.org/. The new norms I suggest follow two principles: reduce cognitive load for readers, and avoid requiring more work from authors. One idea is to create a new journal to publish rewritten versions of existing papers, showing that new norms are possible without sacrificing scientific content. (The goal is not science journalism.) I would love to talk to you if you have any interest in science publishing and editing! If you'd like to contribute funding, it would help me cover living expenses; it would also allow me to offer prize money for a "Make a Tedious Paper Fun to Read" contest, on the model of the ACX book review one. If any of this sounds interesting, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#97: Start An EA Club At A Turkish University
I am Berke, a philosophy major interested in Effective Altruism from Istanbul, Turkey. I am interested in EA since 2019, and currently I am a research volunteer at Kafessiz, an organization working to end the use battery cages for hens in Turkey. EA doesn’t have much presence neither in Istanbul nor the country in general. There are no EA clubs at colleges, and I intend to start the first one at my college. We plan to do seminar programmes (fellowships) similar to the ones in Oxford and increase EA outreach at both our college and in online Turkish language platforms. If we find enough people interested, we plan to start a fellowship program in one or two months and a few other things. If you’re interested you can contact me at email@example.com . What would be achieved in the name of utility if you fund an EA Society at a college you've never heard of? For certain EA causes, there is a lot to be achieved in Turkey. For example, the number of hens in battery cages in Turkey is something around 100 million. Establishing a non-trival EA presence at my college would be good first step because it is the most selective college in the country. In Turkey you enter college via a central exam, and 70% of the 1000 people who scored highest in the exam chose to be here, and this is not a flex, I am just trying to say:If one wants Effective Altruist ideas to spread in a country of 80 million, or at least among the future Turkish elite, my college is a good place to start.
#98: Help People Effectively Navigate Their Local Government
I’m John Kurpierz, a PhD student interested in making local governments more fair and transparent for their constituents. We can do this by improving the sophistication of those constituents. Two ways you can improve the sophistication of regular constituents are: 1) by improving their reasoning skills and desire for good-faith deliberation, and 2) by giving them better information on their rights as voters, responsibilities as voters, and norms of their local government. Working with a multidisciplinary team (Ken Smith, PhD; Theresa Walker, PhD; Wendy Cook, PhD) we’ve developed a pilot program of “cool tools” that help regular people effectively navigate their local governments while remaining in favor of “Niceness, Community, and Civilization”. We’ve done some test runs with underserved communities and have promising initial results, but are currently small-scale. My colleagues are professors and don’t have interest in scaling up these projects to see if they’re viable outside of an academic environment. By contrast, I would like to try deploying this at a larger scale to see if we can feasibly increase the number of individuals we can train and the impact we can have. I would like to seek $10,000 to work on seeking additional interested constituents, deploying the courses at larger scale, and tabulating the results to see if the ROI on outcomes remains high with a larger population. Interested funders or advisors can contact me at JohnRKurpierz@gmail.com.
#99: Research Retraction Insurance To Ensure Retractions Get Publicized
I'm Christopher Akin, and am developing a new financial insurance product for academic research, “Research Retraction Insurance” or “RRI”. RRI is a financial insurance product that pays out to promote new findings and retractions when earlier findings are later proven false. Academia does not equally promote scientific findings when they prove false as when they are originally announced. We see this juxtaposition between the grand public declarations of scientific success and pin drop retractions. We see this is the current replication crisis of ‘classical’ results in the social sciences. RRI will help resolve the current system limitations of professional accountability, limited transparency, the likelihood of learning equally from mistakes, and an ill-informed public holding on to false findings. RRI payouts are earmarked to publicize later research findings that falsify early pronouncements, and the receiver of research funding will voluntarily, or likely be required by funders, purchase the RRI. Researchers only allocate pennies (~.025% of each funding dollar) on the thousands of funding dollars received to insure for promoting future falsifying results. The earmarked PR payouts are ~15X of premium payments, or ~4% of total received funding. I am seeking $50,000 in seed funding to conduct market research, begin RRI product development, and engage leading funding institutions in business development. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.linkedin.com/in/akinchristopher
#100: Tools For Protecting People’s Legacies After They Die
Preserving your memories, beliefs, personality, and expectations about the future should be cheap and easy today. Storage, preservation, and discoverability are all cheaper and simpler than ever before. Yet every year more than 50 million people die, and the vast majority won't leave this kind of legacy. That's a tragedy. Preserving personal legacies has value for the people whose legacy is preserved, for the people who get access to these legacies, and for all of us: a clearer understanding of humanity, its values, and experiences. So what could significantly increase preservation of our legacies? First, simple tools for collecting the material: A well-designed web form with prompts for significant memories, vital stats, family medical history, ethical will, and so on; and tools for collecting, tagging, and preserving photos, videos, and other media. Second, tools, tech, and a plan for long-term preservation. Third, a robust system, designed with legal advice, for specifying who gets to access which parts of the legacy and when. Fourth, convenient, controlled access to the information. Fifth, an effort to promote the project and its reliability. Each of these five components might require a team of professionals. However, there is such a clear void here that even a proof of concept using simple tools would be a big improvement and demonstrate the value of further investment. email@example.com
#101: A Foundation To Support Undercover Journalism
Nellie Bly exposed 19th-century asylum horrors without hidden cameras or recorders. With those tools, Shane Bauer got a book out of his undercover private-prison job, yet few have followed him. Exposing corrupt institutions operating often takes many people bravely coming forward at personal risk. One journalist, outfitted with the right tech and backed by correct legal advice, could do similar work with less risk and get greater personal reward. So why aren't journalists regularly going undercover? It's a coordination problem. No single journalist or organization has the time or resources to make this workable. But an organization dedicated only to this project could recommend tools, provide training videos, offer general legal advice, and consult on projects for any reputable news organization or other qualifying truth-seeking entity. That would make these kinds of projects more rewarding relative to risk, and a thousand stories could bloom from journalists turned undercover staffers in nursing homes, meat processing plants, and other places where vulnerable people are subject to abuse with little recourse. Just the threat of this kind of exposure would cause many previously untouchable organizations to clean up. The idea is to buy the top-rated recording devices, to test them, to produce training videos, and to find First Amendment lawyers to outline legal advice and provide consultations. firstname.lastname@example.org
#102: Screen Addiction Detox Via Competitive Water Fight League
Hi, we’re Michoel and Yitzi, PhD in Neuroscience, BA in Psychology, respectively. We would like to run an active screen addiction detox in the form of a competitive water fight league. The activity would provide a high-adrenaline, physically active, socially collaborative/competitive alternative to ordinary humdrum team sports on the one hand, and sedentary video games on the other. The literature suggests that phone addiction is both extremely pervasive and extremely difficult to address. When interventions do work, it seems to be because they’ve given people engaging activities as a healthy substitute. The water fight league is a novel and relatively-cheap approach that may hold more appeal for children and teenagers who feel no great draw to conventional sports. It would take approximately $3,120 to run a pilot program. If you would like to contribute or discuss, please get in contact: email@example.com
#103: Games To Fight Cognitive Bias
Decades of widespread awareness of cognitive bias, and several impressive projects to help people overcome them, does not seem to have led to any population-level improvement in the fundamental problem. Many specific biases and irrational mindsets probably take hold during school years, and likely in school. But give kids games, preferably ones they can play against each other, that take rationality to win, and they'll have powerful incentives. Show that if they can avoid anchoring they'll come closest to guessing a number. Play with and not against Monty Hall and over time, accrue the winnings. Overcome loss aversion and dominate gamified markets. Bring together a rationalist experienced in turning these biases into stories (Eliezer, Julia) with a videogame maker who'd enjoy the virtuous side project and you could have the most useful and fun educational game around. firstname.lastname@example.org
#104: Bring Big Tech’s Optimization Experiments To The Masses
The most efficient and profitable companies constantly run experiments on their own products, optimizing directly for profit or indirectly through customer acquisition and retention or other metrics. Optimizely and other companies provide platforms for managing and measuring experiments, and many companies have built their own systems in-house. These can support greedy optimization algorithms such as multi-arm bandit. Yet when we want to measure the effect of minor variations in diet, or of playing chess on certain days, or anything else, we have to build all that from scratch -- or risk wasting all that effort on tracking on subpar conclusions. That, in turn, likely dissuades many curious people from even trying. A simple Bayesian system with even some of the features Big Tech uses would be a big improvement, and a boon for personal, relationship, and child-rearing optimization. It could also be deployed in small, nonprofit, and government organizations, for internal processes as well as external-facing products. A few months of part-time work for a programmer and a data scientist. email@example.com
#105: Fully Transparent Patient Advocacy
Patient advocacy tends to be one-on-one, high-priced work, where the professional is incentivized to hoard expertise to apply for future clients. That tends to maintain the collective action problem for patients in a system so bad that those who can pay a lightly credentialed person >$100/hour just to help them get even the mediocre care and billing that is their poorly protected sorta right. This proposal is for a starter fund to get off the ground a lower-priced patient advocacy business with a very different goal and model. Clients get to pay less or nothing in exchange for cooperation in recording everything about the process -- including, where valid by local laws, recording phone calls with the billers, schedulers, and occasionally doctors who immiserate fellow human beings because they can, with impunity. And everything recorded is shared, minus identifying details and in accordance with medical privacy laws, on a free website alongside commentary about how readers can apply what was learned for their own greater success in the system. Consider the popularity of the Substack Sick Note, Freddie DeBoer's account of his experiences with the psych system, and Scott's posts on how to interact with psychiatry. There is enormous informational asymmetry in so-called health care. A fully transparent patient advocacy, and any copycats it inspires, could shift the balance of power toward patients. firstname.lastname@example.org
#106: Undercover Hospital Boss Program
If everyone who worked in hospitals had to spend a night in theirs as a pretend patient every six months, the experience ought to get much better fast. Imagine a place optimized for healing, rest, calm, and happiness and you'd be hard-pressed to name anything you'd imagined that's present in most hospitals. Yet the people who can bring the vision and reality closer together often are blinded, or blind themselves, to what's happening in their places of work. To get started: Create a pilot program in one department of one hospital. Start with the top administrators. Don't proceed until COVID-19 isn't a significant risk for the program. And, to start gently, everyone knows the "patient" is really a boss. Then they report back to everyone what they experienced and saw. Budget is for an outside consultant to design and run the program, record impressions, facilitate discussion, and outline possible expansion of the program. The work will be in finding the hospital department and consultant. The budget will be to pay for the consultant and some amount for the hospital's time and bed. email@example.com
#107: RADVAC: Open Source Vaccines
RaDVaC is a non-profit organization working to maximize access to vaccines when & where most needed: the first days of a disease outbreak. Since March 2020 we have developed & published 12 coronavirus vaccine designs under an open-access license, and worked to catalyze vaccine development globally. We envision a renaissance in vaccinology that is -- Diverse & Decentralized: enabling a diverse, distributed participation in vaccine R&D through lower tech barriers to vaccine design & development -- Transparent: fostering broad, open access to R&D, tools, and data (with less opportunity for distrust) -- Collaborative: optimizes vaccine formulations and their immunological & epidemiological relevance using pooled research, standards, and data -- Resilient: tech platforms that are easily modifiable to adapt to new variants, and centered on conserved domains for durable, mutation-resistant utility -- Rapid: able to deploy high-quality vaccines, at scale, at the earliest days after an infectious disease is identified -- These goals are achievable through the proliferation of open, accessible, & adaptable technologies in vaccine design & production, and improved vaccine trialing models (RaDVaC is developing a novel challenge trial model for safer, faster, lower cost clinical trials). Funds will be used for additional staff and hours, research supplies and services, and cultivating an ecosystem of vaccine developers around the world. More information about supporting the project can be found at https://radvac.org/support/.
#108: EEG For Dementia Screening
BrainTrip has developed a fast, early, and affordable dementia-screening solution based on EEG measurement. BrainTrip’s novel biomarker can detect the disease at its pre-symptomatic stage and can also be used to measure its progression. Traditional naked-eye inspected EEG has been of little use in dementia because large EEG changes are often only evident late in the illness when other clinical signs become obvious. However, the brain’s electrical activity contains many hidden features which can be extracted by sophisticated signal processing and inference modeling. The core of our innovation - the BrainTrip Dementia Index (BDI) - is based on such models. The BDI combines neuroscientific knowledge with complex mathematical models, relying on specifically developed AI optimization and machine learning. The BDI is a numerical score calculated from a test subject’s resting-state EEG, and it can detect subtle dementia-specific EEG changes early on, long before symptoms become evident. BrainTrip’s solution comprises a 15-minute EEG recording which detects even early stage dementia with an accuracy of 85% and can be administered by minimally trained staff. The BDI has already been CE marked as a Class I Medical Device used for dementia screening. We are now looking for 30-100k for a validation study on up to 500 individuals in Slovenia, before bringing the BDI to market.
#109: Writing That Explains And Normalizes Hybrid Remote/In-Person Schools
I'm Sebastian Garren, and I am building hybrid schools. Traditional five-day schools are not the future. They demand too much conformity, too much peer socialization, and don't allow for enough independent exploration. Hybrid schools meet in person for fewer than five days per week (normally three). I want to write the official guide on how to start and run a Hybrid School. I have started one hybrid school myself and been Dean at another for seven years with a total of 227 students, expecting 280 next year. I believe up to 20% of students would be better off in a hybrid school than a traditional one, and now is the time to start helping people opt out of the current system and normalize educational non-conformism. I am looking for $17,000 - $34,000 to help me take time to research and write. I have a matching grant up to $8,500, and I need an experienced editor or publisher to bounce ideas off of. The digital version will be free to the community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to fund or advise this project.
#110: Invest In Organic Kolanut For Startup
We are a small social startup from Germany needing organic kolanut for our production. As there was no organic kola at the European market, we partnered with a young organic farmers cooperative to supply us. In West Africa kolanut is used traditionally, but usually not dried and exported. Relevant exports would help to diversify the income for the farmers and open new perspectives with a traditional product. We got first small shipments of kola so we are able to use it in our own production and supply others with samples. We already have inquiries for 20-30t, but we can't deliver these demands without firstly helping our African partners in extending their quality management and invest in the supply chain more than we can currently afford. We do not look for usual venture investment because we don't want to optimize our business for profits. When we are big enough we want to incorporate steward ownership (https://purpose-economy.org/en/) to keep our business this way. If we could get a grant of 10,000€ we could buy some needed equipment, travel to Africa or even find some consultants to improve quality management. We are also looking for Investors to found a non-profit importing company, having more sustainable positive impact, but also needing substantial Investment (~100,000€). If we don't find such an Investor, we have to find a established importing company to partner with. Contact: email@example.com. Homepage: https://kolakao.de/kolanuss (still only in German, sorry)
#111: Long-Termism + Progress Studies Unconference
Long-termism + Progress UnConference. We intend to solve the problem of unproductive conferences and the challenges of the interdisciplinary nature of long-termism, existential risk and progress studies by applying participatory techniques (OpenSpace) in an UnConference format. We need collaborators more than money, but budget is c. $15K. What: An innovative conference format bringing cross-silo thinkers and doers together to think about the long-term and progress. Typical conferences work badly. Hierarchies and old networks impede new connections and growth in social and relationship capital. The best conversations occur in the corridors of typical conferences. Why: The long-term is vital for humanity. Ideas are multidisciplinary and emergent. There is debate as to how much progress was are making and what we can do. The challenge cuts across a wide range of domains. Governments and traditional institutions are struggling to rise to the challenge. New ideas are needed. For those interested in these ideas, we believe participatory meeting events could lead to fruitful new ideas and connections. Perhaps low probabilities or very impactful outcomes/meetings. How: The Long-termism UnConference will be a one/two day event bringing together a range of thinkers from a wide range of domains and backgrounds to discuss long-term challenges and solutions in a self-selecting participatory manner. More on me: thendobetter.com/links or @benyeohben Pod: Ben Yeoh Chats
#112: Think Tank Of Mediators To Help Countries Understand Each Other
Today many political, social and business processes are ruined due to mutual misunderstanding between countries and nations - misunderstanding of other parties’ motivations and goals, reasons of doing things in a certain way, ways to understand and value what is said or done by others. When the sides do not hear each other or only hear what they want to hear, discussions, actions, projects and even wars always go wrong. But being able to stand above one’s national “self” and explain in general and in details other side’s goals, motivations, limitations is vital. Placing plans and relations in the right context of cultural codes, mentalities and psychos may much improve the success rate, decrease tensions and intensity of conflicts. One does not necessarily have to accept but have to understand. I suggest to build a think tank-like non-profit international panel from skeptically and rationally thinking “mediators” with vast international and intercultural experience. Such panel being always outside wrong paradigms may provide convincing explanations & advice for different audiences. Combination of persistence and patience with absence of agitation will (slowly!) lead to strong reputation. My own successful >22 years of intercultural experience and international business representation was always partially based at such explanatory “mediation”. Plans do not work without money, your questions please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. More details at https://cutt.ly/eOo6pTR
#113: Increase Own Intelligence, Then Write About How
My name is David Gretzschel and I want money to increase my own intelligence full-time for about a year. Once I have succeeded (more than I already have), I will teach others how to do this. The benefits of this are obvious. And I already know how to do that for the most part. I have a concrete foundation in the form of a synesthetic encoding scheme, that I can build on. I merely need the time to do an intense amount of training without being distracted by either having a job or not having one and starving. And practice how to use them on various mathematical and computational problems. And a bunch of other things. Details are in the long pitch (see below). So I need 20.000 dollars to not worry about rent and food for that time. Please send them in Bitcoin here: 3Qcm3UJRuFca1fTkf2iPPEkU3PevpzPuwP I certainly would have use for more money, too. (though it'd not be necessary, I don't want to dissuade you from it, if that's an option) So do feel free to shower me with the stuff, if you have it and believe in my cause. (or you only believe in it 10%, but know that the expected value calculation still ends up with a happy face /pascal-mugging) With 10.000 dollars I'd still commit to a year, though that would be a bit tighter than I’d like. The longer pitch is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/170WETB6enUOzQEzwbwmOCVHz9VkBe4R86rCh_ewvOcg/edit?usp=sharing . If you have further questions/conditions/need more persuasion, send an email to: email@example.com
#114: Analyze Policy Failure In The COVID Pandemic In Germany
The management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany revealed some classical modes of policy failure, but also some rather new or underexplored ones. I want to analyze those in-depth in a type of study that has a minimum of societal reputation. In a second step, if results will be interesting, I want to feed them back into the political process to induce change. I’m a mid-career person with a background in science, including working with a Nobel prize winner, and in project management. I have enough contacts in the ‘Kanzlermeile’, the political center of Berlin, to make the results relevant for change. I’m looking either for seed funding between 5000 and 20000 Euro for finding funds through grants or others or for 75000 Euro total to finalize the whole study and if relevant take first steps for exploiting results. If you can support this in any way, please contact me at policy.failure.analysed at gmail.com. If you’re working on similar topics, please also feel free to get in touch.
#115: Fight Factory Farming In Turkey
“Turkey without Cages” (Kafessiz Türkiye) is an animal welfare organization working by Effective Altruist principles to end cage egg farming in Turkey. We reach out to companies that have cage eggs in their supply chain and secure cage-free pledges from them. Turkey is in the top 10 egg-producing countries with around 120 million laying hens. Turkey is also a major egg exporter with an increasing volume each year. Therefore, animal welfare standards in the region depend on the progress in Turkey. In a few years, we have secured pledges from 20 companies. This will enhance the welfare standards of roughly 1 million hens. Our progress is due to the extraordinary efforts of a limited number of employees and our network of volunteers. This year, we plan to expand our efforts to the fish farming industry and initiate similar NGOs in the countries close to us geographically and culturally. The number of fish farmed in Turkey is estimated to be between 1-2 billion and 60 percent of the production is being exported. At an early stage of our fish welfare endeavor, we secured a pledge from a major wholesaler, Metro AG in Turkey, which will considerably impact the welfare of 10 million fish. In 2022, we want to expand our capacities to maximize the number of animals we impact. If you think you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how you can support us. You can also visit www.kafessizturkiye.com
#116: Chart Enlightenment Hacking Technology
The Enlightenment Hacking group is looking for funding and collaborators to tackle the problem of charting the current state of knowledge with regard to neurotechnological enhancement or substitution of progress at meditation practice. We think this is an important opportunity for humankind because meditation experience offers a) reductions of stress and suffering, b) broad enhancement to very general cognitive capacities, and c) reduced selfishness - an almost ideal package of human enhancement that benefits both individual and society. Currently, benefits are known to accumulate over years and decades of meditation practice, but in the potential for (neuro)technology to speed up or substitute this progression remains largely unexplored. Widespread adoption of such technology might change the world for the better. If you can offer help, please email us at email@example.com.
#117: Help Nonprofits Share Evidence And Determine Impact
The nonprofit sector’s approach to using evidence in service delivery is fundamentally flawed. A failure to use knowledge from different sources slows progress and harms the people we want to help. Since we can’t reliably know the impact of our services we can’t determine which services have a negative impact, or how to improve them if and when they do. Maturing our approach to generating evidence about our work is critical. A similar situation in academia—the replication crisis—led to a shift in orientation for the entire sector, enabling collaboration that wasn’t possible before. Our issues (like academia’s) are systemic, and solutions can’t be focused on helping one organization at a time. If we ever expect to improve our services, we need to be open to radically altering the structure of the sector. The nonprofit sector needs an “existential crisis” of its own, so that we can collectively address this issue. Ajah is a social enterprise that has more than 20 years of experience working to help stakeholders increase their impact through better use and sharing of data. Our work with some of the largest foundations in the world, and nonprofits across the globe has given us a deep understanding of how conditions in the sector prevent us from knowing our impact. We write extensively about this evaluation crisis and how advances in technology are not a solution. We are also working to build tangible solutions (such as access to administrative data) to solve pieces of the puzzle. [Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org]
#118: CBT App To Help Depression
Depression affects 17 million US adults. Anxiety affects 40 million. For people with these and other mental health challenges, cognitive behavioral therapy is an intervention that is proven to work. Unfortunately, less than half of the people that would benefit from therapy end up getting it. This can happen due to time, cost, stigma, and other constraints. Mobile and web apps can be helpful in overcoming these hurdles, but current products have their fair share of problems. Some are slick, but use "fluffy" content. Others stick to the evidence, but don't prioritize usability. We think there is an opportunity to create a CBT app that is evidence-based, easy to use, engaging, and low cost. Here are preliminary mockups that illustrate what we’re building: tinyurl.com/yckz8k9v Currently, we have an app built that we’re testing internally ahead of a wider release. We’re looking for $5,000 that would go toward Legal consultation, paid user research, marketing and advertising. Would also love advice if you have experience in the space! The team comprises me (Calvin, engineer, linkedin.com/in/calvin-woo), Maria (designer, linkedin.com/in/mhmichelsen), Shwetha (engineer, linkedin.com/in/shweta-patrachari) and Stephanie (clinical psychology PhD student at UCLA, linkedin.com/in/stephaniehtyu) You can contact me at email@example.com
#119: Nonprofit To Reform Psychiatric Crisis Systems
I’m Jess Watson Miller (@utotranslucence) and I’m looking for seed funding for a nonprofit to reform Western psychiatric crisis systems using a systems change strategy inspired by the work of Donella Meadows. Last year I lost my brother to suicide after he had been locked up and spiraling for months in the hospital system, with multiple escape attempts. This story is not unique; many people who have used the crisis system or work in it consider it frequently actively harmful to the people it is aiming to help. I believe there is a lack of creative efforts that are aimed at reform rather than abolition, that seek to do more than minimize risk and cost for payers and clinicians, and with more risk-tolerant sources of funding than Medicaid and government health departments. I have a background in economics and social sciences and am actively looking for partners with clinical and insurance/payer experience. My initial focus is creating research reports on bottlenecks to change and building connections with other reform projects. I am looking for connections to related projects, people with experience working in frontline crisis positions, or administrative positions in hospitals, insurance or health law, and donation funding: $10K would let me keep doing this in the short term; $100K would let me hire others and fund the basics of the organization for up to two years. More info here: shorturl.at/djmJ7. If you want to help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
#120: Tool To Develop Arguments In Parallel
I've been working on a tool that facilitates an argument where two competing theories are developed in parallel in an iterative manner. The goal of the process is: (1) to produce a pair of coherent arguments that stand on their own instead of a long chain of correspondence which can be difficult to follow; (2) to ensure that all relevant counterarguments are addressed, or in the case their not, to make it easy for the reader to notice this; (3) to provide the debaters an opponent to spar with from the start which should result in sounder arguments; and finally (4) to be more feasible than adversarial collaboration since the elusive goal of converging views need not be met. I can't seek funding via Grants++ for legal reasons. But if you're otherwise interested, check out the GitHub repo (tinyurl.com/2p8w4jbe) or the LessWrong post (tinyurl.com/2s3z7ct8) and feel free to contact me (email@example.com).
#121: System To Refine Cell Media Recipes
Essentially all laboratory-based human biological research relies on maintaining cells in appropriate culture media. Most culture media were designed at least 50 years ago; today, we grow a wider variety of cells for a broader scope of purposes, but media formulation has not kept pace. A major obstacle to formulating media is the large design space: a culture medium may have 70 or more ingredients, and some ingredients are themselves complex mixtures of even more ingredients. The usual approaches to handling high-dimensional problems, factorial design and high-throughput screening, cannot deal with design spaces this big. However, there is a better way: iterative mathematical optimization, the same approach we use to train neural networks. As a postdoc, I have built a prototype system using motorized microscopy, computer vision, statistics, and mathematical optimization to iteratively test, evaluate, and refine media recipes. My postdoc is ending, and I am seeking the resources to fully automate and open-source this system. The stakes are higher than just improving culture media: biological research is maddeningly slow, and it’d be faster if machines could do more of the work. Although machines are bad at posing hypotheses, they are very good at iterative optimization. A more thorough description of this project is available at https://www.todhunter.dev. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more or contribute.
#122: In Vitro Gametogenesis
I'm a reproductive endocrinologist and Professor of OB/GYN at Oregon Health & Science University. We work on novel assistant reproductive technologies for the treatment of infertility. We propose an alternative method of in-vitro gametogenesis. Most people working in this field are trying to reprogram adult somatic cells to become oocytes (eggs). Our strategy involves somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT; also known as therapeutic cloning). We basically take a somatic cell (e.g. skin cell) and transfer it into an enucleated donor egg and then induce that reconstituted egg to undergo meiosis resulting in a haploid oocyte which can then be fertilized with sperm to create an embryo and then eventually a baby. This would allow women with age-related infertility or premature ovarian failure and same-sex male couples to have genetically-related children. Because this research involves human embryos, it is not eligible for NIH funding, which is why we are seeking private funding. Please contact me is you are interested in supporting this work at email@example.com. For proof of concept in the mouse model, we just published this paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-022-03040-5
#123: Next-Generation mRNA Vaccines
PopVax is an Indian startup working on next-generation mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, with a team of scientists that includes Moderna’s former Director of Chemistry and leading Indian mRNA experts. Our mRNA platform is built to tackle many of the problems inherent in those of Moderna & BioNTech-Pfizer, including their need for storage and transportation at supercold temperatures (our vaccine candidates use a novel LNP formulation and structural modifications to mRNA to achieve room-temperature stability for extended periods of time), their waning immunity to new variants (our multivalent sequences encode epitopes for existing and predicted future mutations), their extremely low-rate but real inducement of myocarditis in young men (we target delivery to avoid heart tissue), the high costs due to primarily western supply chains (we have built out a fully-indigenized, low-cost supply chain for critical raw materials), and, most importantly, their inability to produce sterilizing immunity in the mucosal membrane (our strategy involves an intranasal booster that we expect will, in most cases, block transmission). We have received a small amount of funding from the Gates Foundation, and are looking for a combination of grants and investment to fund both our clinical trials and simultaneous buildout of manufacturing in the existing GMP facilities of a large Indian pharma company, with the intent to bring online 1 billion+ doses of new capacity/year in 2022. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#124: Develop New Systems For Understanding Model And Human Genetics
I’m Dr. Bryan Andrews, a molecular biologist who studies the principles of genotype-phenotype mapping. I’m concerned that the strategies being used to assess human genetic variants today are fundamentally not scalable. That is, learning a lot about Gene A doesn’t improve your prior predictions about Gene B, and this fundamentally constrains computational predictions of gene function. It doesn’t have to be this way, and subtle but non-intuitive tweaks to how we assay gene function could make the data legible at a genome-wide scale to machines and humans alike. I’m currently developing new systems for functional genetics in model organisms, but I am seeking research support to help bridge the gap to human genetics. If you’re interested in providing such support, or wish to know more, please contact me at email@example.com.
#125: Plant Trees For Carbon Capture
My name is Dan Sparkman and I want your help to plant trees for carbon capture. There are plenty of people planting trees and they are mostly worthy of support. However most reforestation projects are eventully going to be cut down. I aim to plant forest gardens which should stand for hundreds of years. The first principle of sustainablity is (or ought to be) sustain the caretaker. Your porject needs to look after them so that they have the time, money and incentive to look after the project. Most reforestation project aim at maxim growth for maxim carbon capture. Because of this, when local people have a need for that land, the carbon capture forest will be cut down. I plan on planting a mix of trees that provides income for locals every year. This mix will be centered on Black Walnuts and American Chestnuts. Both native climax trees. This mix of trees will provide food and wood, for years into centries, all with minimal human intervention once it is started. There have been recient studies on the west coast with forest gardens still triving after 200 years of neglect. I have no specal skills, just a passionate amature, but I do have the connections with local land owners, goverments, and tree hobbiests to plant 1000 trees for $10 000. Give me more money and we can start to see real change. That's my project in a nut shell. Help me plant trees. Trees which provide a food crop, supporting the farmer/land owner/locals so they won't be cut down. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
ACX Grants ++: The Second Half