My Faults My Own

Any human’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in humankind.

IN  WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo—a sometime economist, artist, trader, expat, poet, EA, and programmer—writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: July 5)

A collection of things that I was glad I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they’re interesting, not because I think they’re correct, unless indicated otherwise.


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Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Spoiler-Free Review: Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (plus a Spoilerific section)

Blog: Popehat | The Fourth of July [rerun]

Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | The NBA’s Reopening Is a Warning Sign for the U.S. Economy — "If so many NBA players are pondering non-participation, how keen do you think those workers — none of whom are millionaire professional athletes — are about returning to the office?"

Comic: SMBC | Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Holism


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Blog: Market Design | Job market technology is diffusing slowly through the armed forces

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tales from Trinidad barter

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Donations 2020

Weird year, right? Still, some things don't change -- I remain committed to using at least 10% of what income I earn to make the universe better.

Here's how I'm thinking about doing that at the end of 2020.


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Back in February 2019, I was randomly (yes, randomly) selected to direct $500k of funds from a donor lottery, and have spent a fair amount of time since then thinking about how to direct those funds most efficiently.

So far, I have recommended grants of $165k to the Good Food Institute in the spring, and just over $200k to a number of Covid-19 interventions in May and June. You can read about those grants here and here.

The work that I did to research and decide on those grants was most of the thinking about effective giving that I did this year; it's been written up elsewhere, and so this post will mostly not cover the same ground. (If you're just looking for new ideas from these posts, see

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2018-19 Donor Lottery Report, pt. 2

This post is cross-posted to the EA Forum, where I expect comments will be much more visible than they are here.

This is the second in a series of reports on my decision-making process and decisions in allocating the $500k funding pool from the January 2019 CEA donor lottery. This writeup on my phase-2 grant recommendations is released simultaneously with my writeup of phase 1, which also provides a broader introduction to my personal background, philosophical foundation, and initial process.

While the decision-making process for phase 1 was largely completed prior to the widespread understanding of the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic, phase-2 grantmaking began in March 2020 and specifically focused on neglected responses to the pandemic. This writeup outlines what I can reconstruct of my process and opinions at the time, and discusses my thoughts on room for further funding.

As with the previous report, this writeup represents independent work and is not coauthored or endorsed by CEA, the organizations or individuals mentioned, or my employer. Grantee organizations

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2018-19 Donor Lottery Report, pt. 1

This post is cross-posted to the EA Forum, where I expect comments will be much more visible than they are here.

The results of the January 2019 CEA donor lottery meant that I was responsible for allocating the donor lottery's $500k funding pool. I entered the donor lottery anonymously, though I now intend to explain my grants and decision-making process publicly; I believe that transparency and open sharing of ideas is a good thing for effective altruism, and I'm glad to be able to contribute to that here.

I expect that my grant recommendations from this funding pool will ultimately be made in three or four phases; this writeup is a preliminary report on phase 1, and is released simultaneously with my writeup on phase 2.

The decision-making process for phase 1 was largely completed prior to February 2020, and phase-1 grants were not substantially affected by consideration of the Covid-19 pandemic (see "Adjusting for unexpected developments", below). Phase-2 decision-making began after February 2020, and phase-2 grants

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Donations 2019

For the sixth year, I remain committed to using at least 10% of what income I earn to support the organizations that I think best make the universe a better place, and to talking about it on this blog. Here are my thoughts at the end of 2019.

These specific organizations I'm supporting are, in relative terms, mostly unchanged from 2018. The biggest changes are:

  • Marginally more saving / investing for later donation opportunities (including the potential for political contributions in 2020).
  • Because of the above, marginally less donor lottery.
  • The Good Food Institute replacing The Humane League.

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Compared to years past, I spent relatively more time thinking about donations this year. This reflects a few things:

  • I'll be giving more as my income grows and my personal savings reach more comfortable levels, so I expect to get more value from making an X% better decision.
  • I felt that some of the available opportunities were more difficult to think about but still worth considering (such as political donations), and
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Donations 2018

Well, it's been a crazy calendar year in any number of ways...and here at the end of it, I have a few commitments to uphold. I remain committed to donating at least 10% of my income to the organizations that I think best make the universe a better place, and to talking about it on this blog. Here are my thoughts at the end of 2018.


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While I've recently been conducting some independent research into investment strategies for effective altruists (results forthcoming), I haven't been particularly active in producing my own independent opinions on the effectiveness or value of organizations. So, as in 2017, my perspective here is primarily a synthesis of a raft of conversations I've had with a (uncredited) gaggle of friends and friends-of-friends.

disclaimers: I've made no particular attempt to be discriminating or fair in these conversations. Some of the friends who have helped me form my opinions here are involved in some capacity in the areas or organizations I'll mention. Some have their

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Donations 2017

I don't write about it much on this blog, because it it's slightly awkward to talk about, and I'm a small little mind that isn't used to fighting against hyperbolic discounting. But I remain committed to donating at least 10% of my income to the organizations that I think best make the universe a better place, and to talking about it on this blog. Here are my thoughts for 2017.


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These reflect a relatively small amount of thought, reading and discussion with people in the Effective Altruism community, and effectively no independent research. I don't expect that I'm particularly advantaged in evaluating charities, and so my opinion-forming strategy this year has mostly been to seek out the opinions of better-advantaged friends who I believe share my values, ask for their thoughts and reasons, and attempt to understand them.

However, I want to support a culture of sharing and building on each others' opinions, and to that end, I'm sharing my thoughts on my donations for this year, to create

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Good-Adjacency (Examples)

content warning: Short descriptions of non-violent sexual situations where consent is unclear. (first block quote only)


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Leah Libresco asks: Is "Kindness-Adjacent" a Useful Category?, riffing off their previous post Avoiding Rape-Adjacent Sex. The latter (which came first):

I do believe them that there's plenty of sex happening now, that isn't experienced as rape by either partner, that doesn't meet the affirmative consent standards proposed. That could include sex where both partners kind of just leapt into the act, not checking in with each other, but not hitting any snags. Sex where one or both partners was somewhere past tipsy and within sight of "too impaired to consent" but no one pulled out a breathalyzer and both parties felt ok in the morning (aside from the headache). Sex with coercion/pressure, where one partner didn't back down after an initial "No" or "I'd rather not" but the reluctant party felt more like someone who's been guilted into going to a boring party

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