Comment author: michaelchen 16 June 2018 01:14:53PM *  0 points [-]

I'm getting "Error: Unexpected call to method or property access." for the first two code snippets.

Comment author: Henry_Stanley 16 June 2018 10:54:07PM 0 points [-]

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

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Visualising animal agriculture

I made a visualisation trying to demonstrate the scale of animal agriculture (and the suffering caused by it). Unfortunately I can't embed it in a post; go have a look at it here . Interested to hear what people think of it, and whether this sort of thing is likely to be... Read More
Comment author: MichaelPlant 25 May 2018 12:31:48PM 1 point [-]

Can you explain how I might do that? You can just provide a link if it's easier. The source code for the current app is held by David, my co-founder, who seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth (at least with regards to my emails to him). The list of happiness-suggestions is just in a spreadsheet.

Comment author: Henry_Stanley 06 June 2018 09:46:43PM 0 points [-]

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 author: Henry_Stanley 25 April 2018 08:33:17PM 11 points [-]

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 author: nalthaus 23 August 2017 08:05:23AM 3 points [-]

Hi Eric, whenever I try to go to the Wiki I get a screen message saying: 403: Forbidden, this page cannot be displayed. I checked the troubleshooting page, but it seems to contain only advice for the person who manages the wiki, not for visitors (file permissions etc.): https://www.hostgator.com/help/article/403-forbidden-or-no-permission-to-access?utm_source=externalerror&utm_medium=hgsuspage&utm_campaign=client403 Do you have any advice? I'm based in Switzerland, both chrome and firefox didn't work (on a mac).

Comment author: Henry_Stanley 17 April 2018 08:13:34PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Henry_Stanley 17 April 2018 08:13:17PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: Henry_Stanley 09 April 2018 10:35:25AM 1 point [-]

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 author: Patrick 06 April 2018 03:53:28AM 6 points [-]

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 author: Henry_Stanley 06 April 2018 10:15:44PM 0 points [-]

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.

Comment author: Patrick 06 April 2018 03:53:28AM 6 points [-]

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 author: Henry_Stanley 06 April 2018 10:14:38PM 1 point [-]

US Treasury bonds yield 1.7% a year. That's $18,700 a year in foregone revenue

That's the annualized return on 3-month bonds, a short-term, zero-risk investment. Setting up such an investment would be trivial (and could surely be outsourced).

At the other extreme, you have the Wellcome Trust which holds Henry Wellcome's endowment; their investments have yielded an average of 14% per year since 1986. And those returns compound, too. As a result, they've been able to give away much larger disbursements than if they'd simply held the money in cash.

Comment author: Benito 05 April 2018 12:52:10AM *  5 points [-]

Note: EA is totally a trust network - I don't think the funds are trying to be anything like GiveWell, who you're supposed to trust based on the publicly-verifiable rigour of their research. EA funds is much more toward the side of the spectrum of "have you personally seen CEA make good decisions in this area" or "do you specifically trust one of the re-granters". Which is fine, trust is how tightly-knit teams and communities often get made. But if you gave to it thinking "this will look like if I give to Oxfam, and will have the same accountability structure" then you'll correctly be surprised to find out it works significantly via personal connections.

The same way you'd only fund a startup if you knew them and how they worked, you should probably only fund EA funds for similar reasons - and if the startup tried to make its business plan such that anyone would have reason to fund it, the business plan probably wouldn't be very good. I think that EA should continue to be a trust-based network, and so on the margin I guess people should give less to EA funds rather than EA funds make grants that are more defensible.

Comment author: Henry_Stanley 05 April 2018 12:19:55PM *  3 points [-]

I don't think the funds are trying to be anything like GiveWell

I disagree – the funds are definitely positioned as more risky than e.g. GiveWell, but nothing like as risky as you're making out. Take the Global Health and Development Fund:

Why might you choose not to donate to this fund?

Donors with a very low risk tolerance may choose to avoid this fund because the fund is empowered to take risks at the organizational level by funding unproven, but promising new charities.

Reading that, I would come away thinking that donations from that fund ought to be rigorous in a (mostly) publicly-verifiable way (more than just a conversation someone had with someone).

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