Posts

UK donor-advised funds 2020-01-22T12:03:12.285Z · score: 11 (5 votes)
‘I give away half to three-quarters of my income every year’ [The Guardian] 2019-11-09T09:03:33.307Z · score: 58 (23 votes)
The climate change policy with the most potential is the most neglected 2019-07-12T17:19:53.552Z · score: 17 (6 votes)
Sentience Institute: US Factory Farming Estimates 2019-04-25T09:32:59.129Z · score: 28 (10 votes)
Awesome Effective Altruism - a curated list of EA resources 2018-08-24T21:04:28.709Z · score: 12 (13 votes)
Visualising animal agriculture 2018-06-16T01:05:31.582Z · score: 17 (14 votes)
How to improve EA Funds 2018-04-04T09:27:47.838Z · score: 42 (39 votes)
EA Funds hands out money very infrequently - should we be worried? 2018-01-31T08:10:24.954Z · score: 35 (32 votes)
Introducing EA Work Club – high-impact jobs and side projects for EAs 2017-12-08T11:37:56.149Z · score: 19 (13 votes)

Comments

Comment by henry_stanley on The case for building more and better epistemic institutions in the effective altruism community · 2020-03-30T08:59:01.547Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hello! I started eawiki.org just a few weeks ago to try to reinvigorate the concept - will do a proper launch sometime soon.

Comment by henry_stanley on Against anti-natalism; or: why climate change should not be a significant factor in your decision to have children · 2020-02-27T12:50:19.832Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · EA · GW

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Comment by henry_stanley on [Link] EA is featured in a mini documentary by The Economist · 2020-01-30T17:05:29.576Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Working link for the Economist article: https://www.economist.com/international/2018/06/02/can-effective-altruism-maximise-the-bang-for-each-charitable-buck

Comment by henry_stanley on How we promoted EA at a large tech company · 2020-01-29T17:09:09.725Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This is fantastic - great to see someone do this, and the branding you came up with is super nice (especially around "do orders of magnitude more good"). In my experience people tend to keep quiet about EA while at work; good to see that trend being bucked as this seems like an obviously underutilised way to get folks interested the movement.

Comment by henry_stanley on Doing good is as good as it ever was · 2020-01-24T12:49:09.250Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This is wonderful. Thanks for writing it!

Comment by henry_stanley on Doing good is as good as it ever was · 2020-01-24T12:48:49.873Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

While I have heard about people believing ii) and iii), I haven't seen either argument carefully written up anywhere. I'd assume this is true for lots of people.

Agreed - would love to see this written up by someone.

Comment by henry_stanley on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-23T11:17:25.722Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Will have a look at those links.

But my point was that your blanket statement about there being no countries which implemented widespread K-12 education and didn't have huge welfare gains (whether as wealth or e.g. HDI) is wrong on its face. e.g. South Africa and Switzerland since 1990 increased mean years of schooling by 50% (from 8y to 12y); South Africa saw its HDI increase by 0.04 but Switzerland saw it increase by 0.11 over the same period. OTOH, there are countries with very little increase in time spent in school which have seen huge increases in HDI.

Comment by henry_stanley on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-23T10:54:46.214Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This seems fair - though I would hope there would be significant overlap between 'I agree with this' and 'this is a good argument'.

Comment by henry_stanley on UK donor-advised funds · 2020-01-22T14:45:51.211Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Hm, the fees on the CAF account look pretty steep - seems like it eats 4% of everything you put in there up to £22k, and 1% thereafter.

Comment by henry_stanley on UK donor-advised funds · 2020-01-22T14:43:35.492Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Gotcha. Thanks for the answer - I guess UK DAFs will only ever allow you to donate to UK charities, so maybe the lack of flexibility isn't worth it.

Comment by henry_stanley on UK donor-advised funds · 2020-01-22T14:38:51.749Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You don't get Gift Aid until you actually make the donation

If you don't donate in a given tax year you won't get the Gift Aid for that tax year at all, if I understand right - the tax relief is lost.

The appeal of a DAF is you can claim the Gift Aid/tax deduction immediately but defer donating. I think you can also put securities in the DAF, so growth on it would be tax-free presumably.

Comment by henry_stanley on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-22T13:52:47.820Z · score: 8 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Getting downvoted isn't 'abuse' - it's just a signal that people disagree with you. :) I'm not convinced of the case you're making for education, for example.

Comment by henry_stanley on Growth and the case against randomista development · 2020-01-22T13:48:47.342Z · score: 15 (3 votes) · EA · GW

perhaps countries which didn't produce huge welfare gains also implemented widespread K-12 education

That list of countries is zero.

I'd like to see a source for that, given the Gapminder chart of years of schooling vs. GDP has plenty of examples of countries which have increased the number of years of schooling and seen no increase in GDP - e.g. Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Micronesia et al

Comment by henry_stanley on Niel Bowerman: Could climate change make Earth uninhabitable for humans? · 2020-01-21T16:12:08.346Z · score: 15 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Interested to know more about the estimated death toll from climate change - I'm finding the figures you give hard to believe.

You mention 'hundreds of millions' of deaths in coming decades - what's the source for that? You cite the WHO, which talks about "250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050", or 2.5million per decade.

Your source for climate change having caused hundreds of thousands of deaths so far gets there by calculating excess deaths from a European heatwave, but presumably warming also caused a warmer winter and so fewer deaths from cold - the paper doesn't discuss that, surprisingly.

Are there more rigorous estimates out there?

(citations taken from Louis Dixon's notes on your talk)

Comment by henry_stanley on Let’s Fund: annual review / fundraising / hiring / AMA · 2020-01-06T18:24:24.844Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I imagine that most of the $300k raised would have been raised for other longtermist causes

Certainly this is true of some of the money raised, but much of it came through us getting exposure to the broader public (read: non-EAs) on Vox; it's not likely that those funds were otherwise destined for longtermist causes.

I'll come back to you with a more detailed breakdown of donors by source.

Comment by henry_stanley on Let’s Fund: annual review / fundraising / hiring / AMA · 2019-12-31T16:59:46.944Z · score: 14 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I work with Hauke part-time on Let's Fund. We'd be happy to take any questions you might have!

Comment by henry_stanley on How frequently do ACE and Open Phil agree about animal charities? · 2019-12-18T16:36:05.205Z · score: 13 (3 votes) · EA · GW

This is a really neat analysis. Thanks for doing it!

Do you think there's some feedback in the system in which ACE/OpenPhil use the other's research to help make their decisions?

Comment by henry_stanley on I'm Buck Shlegeris, I do research and outreach at MIRI, AMA · 2019-11-20T14:24:43.980Z · score: 14 (3 votes) · EA · GW

(Notably, the other things you might work on if you weren't at MIRI seem largely to be non-software-related)

Comment by henry_stanley on I'm Buck Shlegeris, I do research and outreach at MIRI, AMA · 2019-11-20T01:16:43.728Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This is an awesome answer; thanks Buck!

The motivation behind strategy 2 seems pretty clear; are you emphasising strategy 1 (become a great engineer) for its instrumental benefit to strategy 2 (become useful to EA orgs), or for some other reason, like EtG?

Strongly agree that some of the best engineers I come across have had very broad, multi-domain knowledge (and have been able to apply it cross-domain to whatever problem they're working on).

Comment by henry_stanley on I'm Buck Shlegeris, I do research and outreach at MIRI, AMA · 2019-11-17T21:20:21.957Z · score: 29 (10 votes) · EA · GW

How should talented EA software engineers best put their skills to use?

Comment by henry_stanley on Ask Me Anything! · 2019-08-22T15:21:56.232Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks for the thoughtful answer, Will! :)

Comment by henry_stanley on Ask Me Anything! · 2019-08-15T16:09:38.825Z · score: 30 (13 votes) · EA · GW

I remember going to a 'fireside chat' at EAGxOxford a few years ago - the first such conference I'd been to. The topic was general wellbeing amongst EAs. Hearing Will and the other participants talk candidly about difficulties they'd faced was very humbling and humanising.

I don't think we should necessarily shy away from such questions.

Comment by henry_stanley on Ask Me Anything! · 2019-08-15T16:01:39.439Z · score: 59 (34 votes) · EA · GW

Are you happy with where EA as a movement has ended up? If you could go back and nudge its course, what would you change?

Comment by henry_stanley on EA-aligned podcast with Lewis Bollard · 2019-08-15T15:59:57.982Z · score: 16 (9 votes) · EA · GW

Awesome - looks like a great podcast. Looks like it's still early days, but would love to see a write-up of your experience getting a new podcast off the ground. Seems like it's something more EAs could be doing.

Comment by henry_stanley on Ask Me Anything! · 2019-08-14T18:06:30.047Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

[Meta note: this post doesn't appear on the front page and it probably should! I only found it through the RSS feed.]

Comment by henry_stanley on Ask Me Anything! · 2019-08-14T18:06:01.483Z · score: 21 (9 votes) · EA · GW

Even though ‘utilitarianism’ gets several times the search traffic of terms like ‘effective altruism,’ ‘givewell,’ or ‘peter singer’, there’s currently no good online introduction to utilitarianism. This seems like a missed opportunity.

What similar gaps in easily-accessible EA topics do you think exist?

(I think Rob Wiblin's now-archived effective altruism FAQ was the best intro to EA around - much better than anything similar offered 'officially'. I've also toyed with writing up some of David Pearce's work in a more accessible format.)

Comment by henry_stanley on Effective Altruism T-shirt · 2019-08-12T12:32:02.141Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

These look kinda shonky. Maybe CEA offers them somewhere?

Comment by henry_stanley on Four practices where EAs ought to course-correct · 2019-07-30T15:25:29.724Z · score: 9 (10 votes) · EA · GW

On your final point: I've often been torn on the question of "how big should EA get?" (cf. Buck Shlegeris' point about EA saying 'small and weird'). For what it's worth, I asked Peter Singer this and he emphatically said we should be trying to grow the movement as much as possible.

Relatedly, I often notice that most EAs are media-shy. I can recall a handful of occasions where an EA (individual or org) had the chance to speak with the press and declined for fear of a negative outcome. Maybe it's time to embrace the limelight?

Comment by henry_stanley on Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free Necklace · 2019-07-16T18:01:58.363Z · score: 12 (6 votes) · EA · GW

While unpleasant, I don't think being punched in the face is comparable to having kidney stones (a pain so excruciating that often morphine can't touch it). It seems totally believable to me that such an experience might rank as among the worst in one's life.

There are probably also two systems at play here: the experience itself and the lingering memory of it. It's conceivable you might not remember some extremely painful experience as 'bad' (through post-hoc rationalisation, or the peak-end effect or similar); I'm not sure how to weight that against the actual raw badness of the experience itself.

Comment by henry_stanley on "Why Nations Fail" and the long-termist view of global poverty · 2019-07-16T17:28:54.286Z · score: 23 (6 votes) · EA · GW

You might be aware of this, but Lant Pritchett largely agrees with your criticisms at the end of the piece - that the focus on RCTs isn't likely to be helpful in finding interventions that accelerate economic development.

Comment by henry_stanley on Applications for EA Global: London 2019 are now open · 2019-07-11T17:12:47.853Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Yeah, I'm also wondering about the price. Is this just because costs have gone up, or is the higher price going towards bigger discounts for those less able to pay the full cost?

Comment by henry_stanley on You Should Write a Forum Bio · 2019-05-07T12:20:54.059Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Done. Can we get Markdown support for bios please?

Comment by henry_stanley on [Link] "A Psychedelic Renaissance" (Chronicle of Philanthropy) · 2019-05-07T06:51:52.607Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · EA · GW

I've seen a few folks talk about psychedelics research as a potential "cause X"; given the decades of work already done and the many millions of dollars spent on research, is it likely to be a neglected cause area?

(Really enjoyed the article though. Also, Tim Ferriss has an interesting discussion on psychedelics with Peter Atilla in this podcast episode)

Comment by henry_stanley on Salary Negotiation for Earning to Give · 2019-04-05T11:14:47.606Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Great idea. When getting a new tech job, Haseem's article was really the only useful resource out there for salary negotiations.

Comment by henry_stanley on Which piece got you more involved in EA? · 2018-09-07T12:23:39.152Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

For me, the very first 'EA' thing I came across was from before EA was a thing: Eliezer Yudkowsky's post on money as the unit of caring. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/ZpDnRCeef2CLEFeKM/money-the-unit-of-caring

It genuinely was a lightbulb moment - the idea that doing the most good might mean making a bunch of money and giving it to someone who can do the good thing better than you can.

And, maybe most importantly, it turned me on to 'doing good' in general. If I'm honest, I hadn't really considered it as a priority before then. A couple years later I took an 80K career consultation, went into software engineering, pledged to give away 10%+ and am now in the early stages of starting an EA org!

Comment by henry_stanley on Awesome Effective Altruism - a curated list of EA resources · 2018-08-25T13:12:46.771Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I'm also interested in any slightly unorthodox resources - like, someone coming to the movement for the first time might also want to see criticisms, unusual points of view within the movement (e.g. negative utilitarianism), etc.

Comment by henry_stanley on Awesome Effective Altruism - a curated list of EA resources · 2018-08-25T13:11:06.473Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, have added 'em.

Comment by henry_stanley on Awesome Effective Altruism - a curated list of EA resources · 2018-08-25T12:25:44.737Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks, that's been added.

Comment by henry_stanley on Accountability buddies: a proposed system · 2018-07-15T23:17:53.837Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · EA · GW

I like this a lot.

Random plug: I know a lot of EAs (including myself) use goal-and-task-tracking tool Complice; you can assign an accountability partner who sees your progress (and you see theirs). You can also share a link like this that lets anyone get updates on your public goals, which could potentially be quite motivating.

Comment by henry_stanley on Impact Investing - A Viable Option for EAs? · 2018-07-14T17:18:13.982Z · score: 11 (6 votes) · EA · GW

I do want to share a cautionary tale about such investing: in the UK, there are tax-efficient investment vehicles called EISes and VCTs, which are designed to encourage investors to put money into somewhat risky early-stage UK businesses (and give big tax breaks as a result).

At one point, there were renewable energy EIS/VCT funds which seemed to give excellent returns – but only because the companies involved were claiming substantial, risk-free government subsidies for renewables schemes ("feed-in tariffs"). Eventually these schemes were scrapped, as were feed-in tariffs.

So an unwise impact investor might have put money into such a scheme, made a nice profit, and thought they were doing social good. In reality, the profits were just money taken from taxpayers (FITs were funded by making energy more expensive for all households), and impact (building inefficient, small-scale solar in a country where solar energy doesn't make much sense[1]) probably pretty minimal.

[1] - Peak energy demand in the UK is in the winter when it's coldest and darkest, so solar is basically useless here. Compare that to California, where peak demand is when people switch on their A/C during the sunniest part of the day.

Comment by henry_stanley on Ideas for Improving Funding for Individual EAs, EA Projects, and New EA Organizations · 2018-07-13T18:00:15.967Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Just a note on the EA Wiki (and on project abandonment in general): lots of projects seem to be really badly run. The EA Wiki was offline for months because of server issues, and until recently you couldn't even register as a new user.

I'm not sure EAs have a shorter attention span than anyone else – I imagine most would maybe try a couple of times to get onto the wiki and then just give up. That's part of the reason I'm not worried about project duplication: so many efforts are half-baked that we shouldn't allow one party to have a monopoly on a particular idea.

Comment by henry_stanley on Ideas for Improving Funding for Individual EAs, EA Projects, and New EA Organizations · 2018-07-13T17:57:21.812Z · score: 7 (2 votes) · EA · GW

EA Hotel (writing this comment from the hotel dining room)

Exciting stuff!

Comment by henry_stanley on Ideas for Improving Funding for Individual EAs, EA Projects, and New EA Organizations · 2018-07-12T01:50:51.448Z · score: 12 (7 votes) · EA · GW

Would be good to know who these people are to better co-ordinate the community's efforts (and indeed to see if they're serious endeavours -- I get the feeling a lot of EA projects end up being started and then abandoned, so the fact that someone is already working on it shouldn't necessarily stop others from doing so).

Comment by henry_stanley on Visualising animal agriculture · 2018-06-16T22:54:07.420Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

That's strange; what are you using to view the page?

Comment by henry_stanley on Ineffective entrepreneurship: post-mortem of Hippo, the happiness app that never quite was · 2018-06-06T21:46:43.436Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You'd make a repository on e.g. GitHub and upload the code there. Then other people can see it and suggest changes, or can fork (make a copy of) the repository and start their own thing based off it.

Comment by henry_stanley on Please Take the 2018 Effective Altruism Survey! · 2018-04-25T20:33:17.084Z · score: 17 (12 votes) · EA · GW

Probably too late to change it, but for the question "how did you hear about this survey?", the EA Forum isn't mentioned :P

Comment by henry_stanley on Announcing the new EA Wiki! · 2018-04-17T20:13:34.211Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

You want to be going here: https://wiki.eahub.org/wiki/Effective_Altruism_Wiki

Comment by henry_stanley on Announcing the new EA Wiki! · 2018-04-17T20:13:17.342Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

The wiki is now at https://wiki.eahub.org/wiki/Effective_Altruism_Wiki.

Comment by henry_stanley on UK Income Tax & Donations · 2018-04-09T10:35:25.267Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

This is awesome - thanks for writing it up. I'm hoping it gets sidebarred or otherwise kept somewhere for future reference, and for future years!

On the subject of doing a tax return: I've been using TaxCalc for the last few years. It's about £30 for a licence but covers all sorts of complex scenarios and is super straightforward - I'd recommend it.

Comment by henry_stanley on How to improve EA Funds · 2018-04-06T22:15:44.067Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · EA · GW

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?

Quite so. They seem to be stuck in a place where there's enough money there for it to be wasteful to let it just sit around, but not enough for it to be worthwhile for the fund managers to make regular disbursements.