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Gordon Irlam
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Gordon Irlam

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It is not for the faint of heart, but I have just released the source code to my AACalc asset allocator and consumption planner under an open source GNU Affero license. Briefly, this is a retirement planning stochastic dynamic programming tool that I have been working on for the past few years. Unlike Monte Carlo simulation, which takes a strategy and works forward in time to see how well it performs, stochastic dynamic programming works backwards in time to compute the optimal strategy to be employed.
AACalc is a scientifically advanced online asset allocation calculator.
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Congrats! I'll try and take a look at it in the near future. Thanks.
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Gordon Irlam

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I've developed an actuarially fair SPIA pricing calculator. I am finding the SPIA quotes I have received are quite competitive, with Money's Worth Ratios in the 90-100% range when measured against Treasury bonds.
What is my actuarially fair SPIA or DIA price? financial planning. This application computes actuarially fair prices for Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIAs) and Deferred Income Annuities (DIAs). An annuity is actuarially fair if the price paid for it equals the expected present value of ...
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Gordon Irlam

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Last election cycle I gave heavily. This time I think I will largely sit on the sidelines. A quick back of the envelope estimate suggests election cycle giving might have a societal payback of around 60-600 times the amount given, but this is far less than they payback for global public health, and probably for advocacy for global public health or for artificial intelligence related causes.
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Gordon Irlam

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It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: seven keys, held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web. The reality, discovers James Ball, is rather closer to The Office than The Matrix
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Gordon Irlam

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I just made a new release of my AACalc.com asset allocation calculator. Try it out and let me know if you encounter any problems.

New in this release are load balancing/scaling so that it hopefully won't fall over when someone blogs about it and it gets lots of visitors, hiding a lot of the advanced inputs behind "advanced" toggles, more conservative default after inflation returns of 4.0% and 0.4% for the stock and Treasury bond markets, and a code base that handles annuities but this isn't available to the casual user due to the compute time needed.
AACalc is a scientifically advanced online asset allocation calculator.
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Gordon Irlam

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After a 2-3 year absence I've finally updated my Back of the Envelope Guide to Philanthropy website. AI risk remains the top issue. New evaluations: farm animal welfare, GiveWell, urban land reform, sleep research, and political donations. Notable changes: OneWorld Health appears to have largely failed taking $180m with it. New cross cutting pages on: global catastrophic risks, lobbying, and international development lobbying.
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Gordon Irlam

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I was confused by the "+1" button in Google Plus. I just spent an hour trying to figure it out. For anyone else similarly confused here is what I discovered.

+1 is NOT used for a recommender system to indicate "show me more postings like this".

+1 is primarily used as a simple means of providing feedback to the author that you appreciated their posting. It is primarily just a counter.

However, it also has some aspects of the share button: "If the post was shared with people in your extended circles who also have you in their circles, they may also see your +1 in their streams". Extended circles are your "circle's circles", that is your friend's friends. I think this means if You and YourEnemy have a CommonFriend, and YourEnemy includes You in their circles, but You don't include them, YourEnemy will be able to see your +1 activity (at least on public posts). Google doesn't make it clear if YourEnemy will simply see the +1'd post, or if they will be able to see that You +1'd it.

Lastly. if you +1 a product or brand (what exactly defines these isn't clear) then Google may use your name and image in ads. This can be opted out. For me the default was opted out, but that may be because I use Google Apps for Business.

I find it all very confusing (and I find Facebook even more confusing). Why can't they separate out "thank", "share", and "endorse"?
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+1 this post, non ironically, for the fine write up.
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Gordon Irlam

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I ironically encourage anyone who is concerned about the influence of money on US politics to donate to the Mayday PAC. Unless more people donate they won't reach their July 4th target. It costs nothing unless the target is reached, and if you want you can limit donations to helping only either Republicans or Democrats that are committed to reform.
Help us reduce the influence of money in politics and pledge today!
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Gordon Irlam

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We waste roughly 1/3 of our lives sleeping. This puts sleep right up there along with global warming, hostile AI risk, and global poverty as one of the world's big problems. From what I can tell very little is being done about it. Despite sleep's big expense sleep appears less promising than many other philanthropic opportunities. Drugs such as modafinil can cut the need for sleep from 8 hours a day to 2.5 hours with apparently few side effects. When purchased in bulk modafinil costs around $0.30 per 200mg, or $100/year. Valuing a year of normal life at $90k and assigning no value to time spent sleeping gives (8 - 2.5) / (24 - 8) * $90k = $30k as the value of the increased economic productivity and leisure time of an individual consuming modafinil. The result is a leverage factor of 300 for each dollar spent on modifinil assuming no overheads. This is less than many other opportunities I have documented at Back of the Envelope Guide to Philanthropy. The price of modafinil would need to drop below $0.01/pill before it becomes interesting.
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Gordon Irlam

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The Big Issues

The eradication of smallpox stands out as possibly the greatest achievement of the 20th century, saving of the order of perhaps 1 billion lives over 100 years. What about this century? Where might lie the big wins? The scourge of tobacco related deaths stands out as potentially one of the likely greatest failures of the 21st century, with projections of the order of 1 billion lives lost over 100 years. This is 3 times the current combined death rate of AIDS, TB, and malaria. In my book this puts it up there, along with climate change, hostile artificial intelligence, global poverty, and nanoplague, as one of the big issues we should all be discussing. But we don't. What is it about climate change and terrorism that captures the public attention when other equally or more pressing issues seem to register barely a blip? Especially frustrating is the fact that what to do about tobacco is very concrete (raise global tobacco taxes) and can be done quite cheaply (even factoring in opposition from the tobacco industry).

It seems we only respond when there has been a change in state, so we react to AIDS, a relatively new disease, more than we discuss or react to TB, despite it having a similar death rate and being cheaper to cure. Terrorism and awareness of climate change are also relatively new issues, so we respond strongly to them. Tobacco is perceived as having been around for a long time, so we fail to react, and similarly for global poverty. Hostile artificial intelligence and nanoplague hold the short straw. They have never occured, so unless we can find a way to change how we are behaving, we won't react to them until it is too late.
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Have him in circles
48 people
Wade Pfau's profile photo
Swiss India's profile photo
Sara Velasco's profile photo
Gyora Peer's profile photo
Alan Penzotti's profile photo
Натан Петухов's profile photo
Michelle Galaria's profile photo
Артем Ширяев's profile photo
Anastasia Bettu's profile photo
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