The 2014 Effective Altruism Summit—who stood out

I’ve promised friends in the EA community a write-up of my thoughts on the 2014 Effective Altruism summit, which occurred last month. Even though it was just two days, there was a lot of stuff going on. Speakers from many different non-profits had talked scheduled, sometimes concurrently, and there was also a large chunk of [Read More…]

Hackers and writers: why software is more “content” than (almost) anyone realizes

Awhile back on Hacker News there was a story about how most iPhone apps barely make any money. Apparently, some people were surprised by this. I wasn’t. As someone who’s made money writing software, and made money writing English prose, I thought, “of course most apps aren’t going to make much money—just like most books [Read More…]

Sam Harris is right, and Scott Atran is wrong, about the meaningfulness of religious beliefs

Saw an r/philosophy post attacking Sam Harris, among other things claiming that “Harris’s views on the links between religion and violence are almost entirely wrong, as scholars such as Atran have shown, but they are understandable.” I posted this comment reply: I poked my nose into what Scott Atran’s criticism of Sam Harris, and there’s [Read More…]

Be best

Google is famous for its motto, “Don’t be evil.” Paul Graham has an essay where he takes it a step further and says, “Don’t just not be evil. Be good.” Reading the essay through the lens of effective altruism, I think you might be able to take this even further, and have a company whose [Read More…]

Why you can’t visit a farm anymore

Robin Hanson is going to be in Berkeley tonight giving a talk. I thought I’d mark the occasion by talking about the one issue where I think Robin goes seriously wrong. (And yes, there is really basically only one issue. I don’t advertise this much, but I tend to find myself agreeing with Robin on [Read More…]

The Industrial Revolution is over; the machines won

Here’s an argument I hear a lot around Silicon Valley: “Used to be ‘technology’ was televisions and cars and moon rockets and the factories that produced them, but now ‘technology’ means just software. We seem to have given up on innovation outside of software. Have we exhausted all the easy innovations, the ‘low-hanging fruit’? Or [Read More…]

Best guide to supplement manufacturers? (especially for vegans)

I was vegetarian from approximately my junior year of college (specifically late 2007, I think) to summer 2011. I quit when I realized eating eggs isn’t really all that good for animal welfare. I recently switched back to vegetarianism, with the addition of trying to be mostly vegan. Why only mostly vegan? A big reason [Read More…]

Philosophical incompetence as an existential risk

Note: the following is a revised version of a 15-minute lightning talk I wrote for the 2014 Effective Altruism Summit in Berkeley, California. Hi. My name is Chris Hallquist. Once upon a time, I was a PhD student at the university of Notre Dame. Then I dropped out, wandered the earth for three years, and [Read More…]

The geography of the Bay Area tech job market

(Note: probably irrelevant to most readers of this blog, but once I found myself trying to explain this stuff to multiple people in a short span of time, I figured I should write it up as a blog post.) When I first started looking for a job in the Bay Area in January of this [Read More…]