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: Patrick 15 January 2018 03:05:59AM *  0 points [-]

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 author: Patrick 31 December 2016 01:36:38AM *  8 points [-]

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 author: arunbharatula 10 November 2016 06:04:36AM 0 points [-]

What happened?

Comment author: Patrick 10 November 2016 06:32:57AM *  2 points [-]

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 author: DonyChristie 02 November 2016 01:29:04PM 0 points [-]

Can you change it back to 10%? If you can't, that sounds like a problem with the pledge system, not you. I think of Beeminder, with its adjustability that takes a week to set in. Perhaps a person could change the hard pledge that they have set themselves to, from a year out, like Beeminder taking a week for changes to set in.

Comment author: Patrick 07 November 2016 06:35:21AM 0 points [-]

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 author: Patrick 07 November 2016 06:15:39AM 0 points [-]

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 author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 30 October 2016 04:11:17PM 5 points [-]

A "maximum consumption" pledge has the advantage that it lets you use your income for things like saving money or exercising stock options (like I discuss in OP), it just doesn't let you spend money on yourself instead of donating.

One possible concern there is what happens if you move to an area with a more expensive cost of living, or if you want to buy a more expensive house close to work to save commute time—which costs a lot, but could help you be more effective by giving you more free time.

Comment author: Patrick 07 November 2016 05:43:06AM 1 point [-]

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 author: MichaelDickens  (EA Profile) 13 August 2016 04:14:59AM 2 points [-]

Badges appear very small to someone standing a normal distance away so they can only fit a very small amount of writing. But there's probably enough room for name + occupation.

Comment author: Patrick 15 August 2016 08:29:27PM 1 point [-]

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

Comment author: Paul_Crowley 13 August 2016 03:54:42AM 2 points [-]

I strongly suspect that the group photo is of very high value in getting people to go, making them feel good about having gone, and making others feel good about the conference. However, it sounds like trying to optimize to shave a few minutes off would be pretty high value.

Comment author: Patrick 13 August 2016 04:02:34AM 1 point [-]

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 author: Patrick 05 May 2016 08:36:48PM 0 points [-]

Was the winner decided?

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