KevinO's Shortform 2019-12-06T17:51:25.512Z


Comment by KevinO on EA for dumb people? · 2022-07-11T23:28:56.592Z · EA · GW

To the extent that I'm outside of the general population I think it's because of my giving, but I generally feel squarely inside the box of ordinary people. I can relate to not feeling as smart as many EAs.

I think there are numerous things a typical person could do to take EA ideas and try to concretely make the world a better place:

One action that I think is broadly available is to join some advocacy group for EA-related policies on some local / regional / national level like animal welfare, electoral reform, sane land use policy, or something else. You could try to introduce EA ideas or a focus on effective methods in to the discussion, if they are missing.

I think there's lots of information to be picked up from EA Global talks and some 80,000 Hours podcast episodes (not necessarily every episode!), and other EA podcasts that have been posted previously to the forum.

You could also talk about EA with your friends or your workplace (though I have an ugh-field around talking about EA and an ugh-field around reflecting on this, so I can sympathize if you do too). Maybe you could influence / organize a work fundraiser while spreading the ideas of effective giving.

Similarly, talking about EA related books.

If available, going to your local EA meetup and contributing to a warm & welcoming environment.

You could also keep an eye out for ideas or programs that seem highly cost effective and then try and signal boost them them on that basis.

Also things like answering questions where you can, with whatever time you have for it, to help ramp up others on these concepts you're excited about.

Comment by KevinO on Being a donor for Fecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT): Do good & earn easy money (up to 180k/y) · 2022-07-09T11:40:13.803Z · EA · GW

High Impact Athletes might have more potential super donors than the general population: 

Comment by KevinO on If EA is no longer funding constrained, why should *I* give? · 2022-05-14T11:56:57.308Z · EA · GW

I know that professional grant makers think that last-dollar funding is not cost effective because they aren't funding more projects, but aren't out of dollars.

None of our big donors were intending to spend all of their funding before now. It's taken Open Phil years to grow their capacity and increase their giving in line with their standards of diligence. They intend to spend down their funds, I believe, within the lifetime of their funders.

Comment by KevinO on If EA is no longer funding constrained, why should *I* give? · 2022-05-14T11:51:24.234Z · EA · GW

With respect to the last dollar of funding: I think Open Philanthropy expects to spend their last dollar on something more cost-effective than GiveDirectly. So I think the last dollar of spending will still look good, and at the worst case your spending now will move some other funding to something somewhat less effective but still pretty good down the line.

Another potential advantage for an individual donor would be identifying something not currently receiving large amounts of funding that you think is worth taking a bet on. That would give the initiative more time to demonstrate it's value and to gather information on how well it's achieving its goals (or it could be funding an individual to grow their skills or something).

We've also seen Will write that the FTX Future Fund rejected 95% of their applicants, so it's not the case that there's a money firehose that everyone has access to. Plenty of people are, presumably, open to working on new projects given funding.

Comment by KevinO on Yitz's Shortform · 2022-04-30T11:28:41.252Z · EA · GW

Sounds like an ugh field. Spencer Greenberg also had a podcast episode on motivation recently, including backchaining to your ultimate motivations through a series of "why" questions in order to access more motivating feelings. 

My random advice would be to book a friend or maybe some EA whose done it before to walk you through the process and provide their flight-booking wisdom (a pretense or useful or both) like "you have to pay for a checked bag both ways so maybe it's better to upgrade to the seat with a free checked bag".

Comment by KevinO on Jonathan Nankivell's Shortform · 2022-04-27T11:02:15.846Z · EA · GW

Scott Alexander reviewed this book that reviewed health care systems in different countries: 

Comment by KevinO on Rough attempt to profile charities which support Ukrainian war relief in terms of their cost-effectiveness. · 2022-02-27T11:55:33.748Z · EA · GW

I appreciate that I can donate to Polish Centre for International Aid via their Facebook fundraiser for Ukraine, instead of having to figure out crypto.

Comment by KevinO on EA outreach to high school competitors · 2021-12-18T11:32:51.745Z · EA · GW

Just to note these:

- Outreach to high schoolers has been tried in the form of Students for High Impact Charity. Their postmortem is here 

- I think I recall that one of the EA funds (longterm or meta) funded a project to give top math competitors copies of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. I'm not sure whether any retrospective for that effort is available.

Comment by KevinO on Where should I donate? · 2021-11-23T12:55:33.927Z · EA · GW

How does one donate to the Effective Institutions Project?

Comment by KevinO on [deleted post] 2021-11-19T00:07:56.011Z

Great post William, thanks!

Comment by KevinO on KevinO's Shortform · 2021-11-18T18:15:52.398Z · EA · GW

Get $50 to donate to charity at 2pm EST/11am PST (Nov 18) at the following url:

Comment by KevinO on Sleep: effective ways to improve it · 2021-11-17T18:15:27.222Z · EA · GW

I appreciate this writeup! Some of the interventions and insights were new to me even after attempting my own research in to improving sleep quality.

Comment by KevinO on List of EA funding opportunities · 2021-11-12T12:44:50.368Z · EA · GW

Adjacent opportunity: grants from Scott Alexander / Astral Codex Ten 

Also the adjacent Emergent Ventures grants 

Comment by KevinO on Buck's Shortform · 2021-11-03T10:57:04.790Z · EA · GW

For what it's worth, I think it makes sense to stop pledging if that would allow you to do more good.

Comment by KevinO on Buck's Shortform · 2021-11-03T10:54:56.249Z · EA · GW

From "Clarifying the Giving What We Can pledge" in 2017 (

How permanent is the Pledge? 

The Pledge is a promise, or oath, to be made seriously and with every expectation of keeping it. But if someone finds that they can no longer keep the Pledge (for instance due to serious unforeseen circumstances), then they can simply contact us, discuss the matter if need be, and cease to be a member. They can of course rejoin later if they renew their commitment.

Some of us find the analogy of marriage a helpful one: you make a promise with firm intent, you make life plans based on it, you structure things so that it’s difficult to back out of, and you commit your future self to doing something even if you don’t feel like it at the time. But at the same time, there’s a chance that things will change so drastically that you will break this tie.

Breaking the Pledge is not something to be done for reasons of convenience, or simply because you think your life would be better if you had more money. But we believe there are two kinds of situations where it’s acceptable to withdraw from the Pledge.

One situation is when it would impose extreme costs for you. If you find yourself in hardship and don’t have any way to donate what you committed to while maintaining a reasonable quality of life for yourself and your dependants, this is a good reason to withdraw your Pledge. (Note that during unemployment you donate only 1% of spending money, as described under “Circumstances that change the Pledge” below.)

The other is when you find that you have an option to do more good. For example, imagine you pledged and are now deciding whether to found a nonprofit (which will take all your financial resources) or keep your “day job” in order to be able to donate 10%. If you have good reason to believe that the nonprofit will do significantly more good than the donations, that founding the nonprofit is not compatible with donating 10% of your income, and that you would not be able to make up the gap in donations within a couple of years, withdrawing your Pledge would be a reasonable thing to do. 

The spirit of the Pledge is not to stop you from doing more good, and is not to lead you to ruin. If you find that it’s doing either of these things, you should probably break the Pledge.

We understand that some people have a very strong definition of “pledge” as meaning something that must not be broken under any circumstances. If this is your sense of the word, and you wouldn’t want to take a pledge if there were any chance of you being unable to keep it, you might find that Try Giving on an ongoing basis is a better fit for you.

Comment by KevinO on Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more) · 2021-11-01T11:21:26.037Z · EA · GW

Good list of orgs:

Comment by KevinO on Make a $100 donation into $200 (or more) · 2021-11-01T11:14:24.887Z · EA · GW

Edit: just refer to this list of orgs

+ see the  Founder's Pledge funds that Michael shared 

Here's the subset of longtermist and infrastructure orgs I was able to find on the site:

- Founder's Pledge (also their funds that Michael links in another comment)

- Future of Life Institute
- The Center for Human-Compatible AI

- Legal Priorities Project

- Nuclear Threat Initiative

- Machine Intelligence Research Institute

- Rethink Charity

- Rethink Priorities

- Centre For Effective Altruism

- Center for Election Science

- Generation Pledge

- Center for Applied Rationality


Comment by KevinO on How do you track your donations? · 2021-07-01T10:05:35.054Z · EA · GW

If it's possible to share I don't know how. I suspect not. It does have a summary chart that you could screenshot every once and a while: "You have donated $X  and fulfilled Y% of your pledge", for one each year and one for all time.

Comment by KevinO on How do you track your donations? · 2021-06-29T13:48:47.012Z · EA · GW

I use the Giving What We Can pledge tracker. If you take the 'Try Giving' option you might be able to access it:

Comment by KevinO on JonathanSalter's Shortform · 2021-06-09T10:17:14.484Z · EA · GW

And you could try looking around in

Comment by KevinO on JonathanSalter's Shortform · 2021-06-09T10:14:14.548Z · EA · GW

There is this talk that was delivered to TEDxGöteborg: 

Comment by KevinO on KevinO's Shortform · 2021-03-02T23:22:10.022Z · EA · GW

Today I learned about Simpol, an org working on solving global coordination problems:

Their approach is to encourage governments to work together to enact "simultaneous policy" across multiple issues to take action while avoiding first-mover challenges or a race to the bottom. By negotiating across multiple issues, concessions can be made to entities that might lose out in some areas in order to keep the entire negotiation net-positive for all.

So far my learning has been from this podcast episode, although it took a while to really explain the not-very-complex solution. 

Comment by KevinO on KevinO's Shortform · 2021-02-26T19:38:54.471Z · EA · GW

A new-to-me take on the Amazon. Claims deforestation would lead to changing rain patterns "from Argentina up to the American midwest", "which means that Amazon dieback would disrupt/destroy water and food supplies across much of the western hemisphere". The article talks about the state of journalism, climate strategy,  and climate science. 

Comment by KevinO on KevinO's Shortform · 2021-02-15T14:24:47.059Z · EA · GW

Long term-ist book that I missed: "The Good Ancestor: How To Think Long Term in a Short-Term World" by Roman Krznaric,  released in October 2020. (The US version has a different subtitle.)

And the TED Talk

I just started listening to the audiobook. I'm about 8 minutes in and he's already mentioning existential risk from AI and pandemics. In the next lines he mentions Bostrom and alludes to Ord. He draws a parallel between colonialism's disregard for indigenous populations and the practice of ignoring future people.

Edit: after the intro we start to veer away from EA and talk about e.g. extinction rebellion as role models. Talking about a 100+ year horizon as being long term thinking.

Searching on this forum, I can see that I missed references to it in and 

Comment by KevinO on Project for Awesome 2021: Video signup and resources · 2021-01-31T12:40:44.898Z · EA · GW

Past winners

Comment by KevinO on Can I do an introductory post? · 2020-02-13T19:21:20.122Z · EA · GW

Go for it!

Comment by KevinO on Elevator pitch for EA and fundraising · 2020-02-11T01:30:28.271Z · EA · GW

This might be a few years old now but here's a collection of EA elevator pitches

Comment by KevinO on Should and do EA orgs consider the comparative advantages of applicants in hiring decisions? · 2020-01-12T10:16:58.979Z · EA · GW

In his Notes on hiring a copyeditor for CEA, Aaron writes:

... I’ve also kept a record of the other applicants who most impressed me, so that I can let them know if I hear about promising opportunities. I’ve already referred a few candidates for different part-time roles at other EA orgs, and I anticipate more chances to come.
Comment by KevinO on What should EAs interested in climate change do? · 2020-01-11T11:11:24.969Z · EA · GW

I'll add:

Comment by KevinO on Career Advice? · 2020-01-07T00:38:40.008Z · EA · GW

Their career review for ML PhDs says

Want to use an ML PhD to make the world a better place? We want to help.
We’ve coached dozens of people considering PhDs, and can often put you in touch with relevant experts for more guidance. Apply for our free coaching service, particularly if you want to work on AI safety

I'd say go ahead and apply. They can decide whether they want to speak to you (I'd guess that they would). If they don't, no big loss, and if they do it only takes about about 45 minutes of 1-1 time.

Comment by KevinO on KevinO's Shortform · 2019-12-06T17:51:25.688Z · EA · GW

You can now vote in Project 4 Awesome to help EA charities win grants of, judging by past years, $25,000 USD.

You can vote for each video for each charity, and each vote counts. Click on the thumbnail to access the voting page for each video.



Give Directly:

Clean Air Taskforce:

It's probably best to open one tab, do the CAPTCHA, and then open the rest of the tabs so you don't have to repeat the CAPTCHA. (Credit to Michael; I have no idea how to link to users.)

Comment by KevinO on Institutions for Future Generations · 2019-11-14T15:51:46.732Z · EA · GW

Not my idea, but any fund that invests money to be dispersed by future generations, e.g.

Comment by KevinO on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-28T20:48:02.562Z · EA · GW

I also made a similarly sized donation.

Comment by KevinO on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T22:12:06.551Z · EA · GW

I was just thinking that I didn't really answer Gregory_Lewis's question.

Comment by KevinO on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T13:27:01.064Z · EA · GW

I guess the question could remain where the extra £700/month came from.

Comment by KevinO on EA Hotel Fundraiser 5: Out of runway! · 2019-10-26T09:22:23.988Z · EA · GW

From the body of the top post and this page:, it sounds like they had estimated they would spend £5000 per month but instead spent £5700 per month. That may have contributed to running out early.

Comment by KevinO on EA global tips. What helped you get the most out of it? · 2019-10-16T19:23:57.127Z · EA · GW

Link to the talks on YouTube:

Comment by KevinO on New popular science book on x-risks: "End Times" · 2019-10-01T10:22:40.940Z · EA · GW

Here's an interview with the author, Bryan Walsh:

Comment by KevinO on Is there a good place to find the "what we know so far" of the EA movement? · 2019-09-29T10:47:13.085Z · EA · GW

After Pablo's amazing post I'll quickly throw out just a few more links:

This introductory essay on is part of a "Key ideas" series that you can see more of if you scroll to the bottom.

The 'key ideas' page on 80,000 Hours is a good intro the concept of high-impact careers:

Bonus lists of causes:

Comment by KevinO on What to know before talking with journalists about EA · 2019-09-05T08:24:39.476Z · EA · GW

Edit: the last time they link "Advice for responding to journalists", the link works.

Here's the link:

Comment by KevinO on RC Forward 2018 Year in Review · 2019-06-01T09:37:36.591Z · EA · GW

The cost-effectiveness analysis contains more info on some of your questions. I'm not sure of the total number of donors, but they mention "two large cryptocurrency donations from a single donor make up 66% of total donations".

The model they link to also breaks down total donations by donor-size.

Comment by KevinO on Can my filmmaking/songwriting skills be used more effectively in EA? · 2019-04-09T13:04:52.738Z · EA · GW

I'll just note that Animal Charity Evaluators have also produced video content.

Better Eating International is an animal charity who's primary outreach medium is video, as well.

Comment by KevinO on Which piece got you more involved in EA? · 2018-11-01T20:42:06.024Z · EA · GW

My path to EA started by reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, which was recommended to me by friends. After that I was looking around on LessWrong and saw a post mentioning The Life You Can Save (book) by Peter Singer. Reading that motivated me to dive in. One of the first things I did after that was watch EA Global videos.