Comment by Patrick on Open Thread #44 · 2019-03-10T21:04:26.828Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

The talks from EA Global 2018 in San Francisco have been available on YouTube for a few months. They're now also available in podcast format at EARadio . (The podcast is an aggregation of publicly available talks relevant to EA. It isn't affiliated with the CEA.) The EA Global London talks will be released over the next couple of weeks.

Subscription links:

Comment by Patrick on How to improve EA Funds · 2018-04-06T03:53:28.641Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I also admit that it isn't "free" to invest the money in bond, in that there's operational overhead involved, but with such a large amount of money held it seems worthwhile.

You said that the funds currently hold $1.1 million and that US Treasury bonds yield 1.7% a year. That's $18,700 a year in foregone revenue. In 80,000 Hours' survey of EA organizations, a new hire was seen as worth something in the neighborhood of a million dollars in forgone donations a year. So it's not surprising to me that the donations are held in cash—I could easily see the overhead of investing exceeding the potential returns.

Similarly, it's not surprising that the funds are slow to be disbursed. If each fund manager's time is valued at millions or tens of millions of dollars a year, the discount rate on the donations held in a fund isn't an overwhelming consideration.

But that raises the question, why create the funds in the first place? Someone at CEA would be best qualified to answer that. But I don't expect a timely answer, as their communication style tends (in my experience and in that of others on this forum) toward reticence and delay. (I suspect this is due to their placing higher priority on other projects rather than due to a desire to keep information private.)

If I were to speculate, I'd say that the CEA sees the funds as an experiment, and that they'll be abandoned if they don't eventually significantly more in donations. But it seems likely that they'll invest some more effort before giving up.

Comment by Patrick on Kidney donation is a reasonable choice for effective altruists and more should consider it · 2018-01-15T03:05:59.187Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Just a heads-up, many people aren't eligible to become kidney donors. Here are some common disqualifiers (at least in the US):

  • smoking
  • use of illegal drugs (including marijuana) within the past year or so
  • regular use of medicines that may cause kidney damage (this includes common drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen)
  • certain chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure

Criteria vary by transplant center, so if you're interested it's probably worth checking even if you match one of the things I listed. But don't get your hopes up too high.

Here are some of the criteria for one US transplant center.

Comment by Patrick on Semi-regular Open Thread #35 · 2016-12-31T01:36:38.406Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · EA · GW

The EARadio podcast is back on iTunes. (The podcast is an aggregation of publicly available talks relevant to EA, such as those from EA Global.)

It had been delisted for the better part of a year, but I failed to noticed because I don't use iTunes. (The most likely reason for its delisting is that it didn't specify whether it contained explicit language, which is now an Apple requirement.)

Subscription links:

Comment by Patrick on [deleted post] 2016-11-10T06:32:57.775Z

I wrote some code that had a bug. My understanding is that if you published an article, it would appear on the homepage, but if you clicked on the link, you'd get an error page (404 not found) instead of seeing the article. In addition, it wasn't clear that the article was being published, which resulted in some articles appearing multiple times.

I haven't yet had a chance to investigate the bug, but my changes were undone and the broken links deleted. Thanks to Peter Hurford, Ryan Carey, and Michael Webb for noticing and fixing the issue. And I'm sorry for introducing the bug.

Comment by Patrick on Dedicated Donors May Not Want to Sign the Giving What We Can Pledge · 2016-11-07T06:35:21.024Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

I agree, and I imagine you can adjust your pledge. If you pledged 50% as a doctor and later decided to change to a lower-paying non-profit career, I doubt whether Giving What We Can would blackball you for adjusting your pledge to 10%.

If the US government were to get rid of the charitable tax deduction or to sharply raise taxes, I couldn't meet my pledge. But I don't think that I'd be a worse person than I would've been had I correctly forecast changes in tax policy. I would simply update my pledge with Giving What We Can and get on with life.

Comment by Patrick on Dedicated Donors May Not Want to Sign the Giving What We Can Pledge · 2016-11-07T06:15:39.807Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

The Giving What We Can pledge doesn't make any mention of a time period (other than your working years) over which you must give the pledged percentage of your income:

For people earning a regular income, the Pledge commits you to giving at least 10% of your pre-tax income, until retirement, to the charities you believe will do the most good in the world.

If I were interpreting this as a legal contract, I would consider it fulfilled if someone donated nothing for their first forty working years and made it up by donating most of their salary in their last ten years. That would clearly go against the spirit of the pledge, but my point is that the pledge seems to allow for flexibility in when you give.

I don't think that you would have violated your pledge by giving less than your pledged percentage in a given year owing to a large one-time expense, so long as you make it up in subsequent years.

Comment by Patrick on Dedicated Donors May Not Want to Sign the Giving What We Can Pledge · 2016-11-07T05:43:06.510Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Another potential problem with a maximum-consumption pledge is that it acts as an effective 100% marginal tax rate, and so may reduce self-interested motivation for doing things that will increase one's salary.

Comment by Patrick on Ideas for Future Effective Altruism Conferences: Open Thread · 2016-08-15T20:29:27.477Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

It was simpler in the old days, when Bakers were bakers and Farmers were farmers.

Comment by Patrick on Ideas for Future Effective Altruism Conferences: Open Thread · 2016-08-13T04:02:34.015Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I felt that the group photo was a waste of my time because I wasn't visible to the camera. But if I hadn't participated I suppose someone else might've gotten my bad spot.

Comment by Patrick on What is up with carbon dioxide and cognition? An offer · 2016-05-05T20:36:48.303Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Was the winner decided?

Comment by Patrick on 11 changes to the Effective Altruism Forum: EA Profiles integration and more · 2016-04-26T02:42:07.488Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

This looks like an old post. I think it was originally published several months ago.

EDIT: I thought it had been published because I saw a draft of it in August, and most of the changes mentioned aren't recent. For example, the article says

The sidebar's display for meetups near you and recent posts was improved. For example, now the meetup names are displayed, whereas previously users just saw the address of the meetup.

But meetups have since been removed. (There is now only a link to an external page.) I thought maybe the article had somehow been republished owing to a bug in the forum software. But now I think its publication was just delayed.

Comment by Patrick on The Effective Altruism Newsletter & Open Thread - 9 November 2015 Edition · 2015-11-12T02:45:27.480Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

The talks from EA Global are available in podcast format at EARadio (iTunes link). The YouTube videos seem to have disappeared, so this may be the easiest way to access the talks. Cheers!

Comment by Patrick on EARadio: A New Podcast for Effective Altruists · 2015-07-04T06:16:44.450Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

Sure, that would be very helpful. Boris did that for a couple of other files. I'll upload any cleaned-up audio sent my way. New audio is also welcome!

E-mail is probably the best way to get in touch:

And sorry for the delayed reply! I didn't see your comment.

New Free Stuff on

2015-04-01T05:18:40.212Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
Comment by Patrick on EARadio: A New Podcast for Effective Altruists · 2015-04-01T04:43:54.416Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

80,000 Hours have only a few videos on their YouTube channel that're more than ten minutes long.

Is there anything you had in mind? I don't know of any other talks that are relevant and whose permissions would be easy to secure.

P.S. I just realized that the audio quality of Toby Ord's talk is very bad.

P.P.S. If anyone would like to take over this project, let me know.

Comment by Patrick on You have a set amount of "weirdness points". Spend them wisely. · 2014-11-28T19:41:38.327Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

But reforming the earned income tax credit and relaxing zoning laws would also both do a lot to help the poor in the US.

The link above didn't seem to have any proposals of how to reform the earned income tax credit. It argues for an alternative measure of poverty in the US.

EARadio: A New Podcast for Effective Altruists

2014-11-22T18:16:27.337Z · score: 9 (9 votes)