People and Things I Would Fund If I Were a Billionairecreated date: ; modified date: ; status: always in progress
Science / Education
- The development of new scientific tools and hardware for doing science
- For a recent example of how this can be useful, see Open Philanthropy’s funding of Edward Boyden lab’s expansion microscopy, which was rejected by government funding bodies multiple times
- Expansion of human senses, e.g.
- edX is a joint nonprofit by Harvard and MIT. They produce absolutely amazing courses but due to the need to be financially sustainable closed off graded exercises from people who don’t pay for certificates in December 2018.
- This is horrific, as graded exercises are essential for learning and upgrading to a verified certificate is a giant friction point
- Here’s my personal angle on this:
- I applied for financial aid (I live with my parents and have very little pocket money) for a course I wanted to take but it was denied and I can’t do exercises for it
- I used to refer a lot of friends who don’t have much money to edX, because I believe it can be life-changing. I don’t know what to do now
- By closing off graded exercises edX denies many talented people the ability to learn
Pay individuals to critically assess, summarize, systematize, and put into larger perspective new (and old) scientific knowledge. Examples are
- Sarah Constantin’s The Longevity Research Institute
- Bret Victor’s Dynamicland
- Throwing money at scientists and designers in search of vastly better teaching materials, as described in the Addendum on motivation of Michael Nielsen’s Reinventing explanation
- Fund Dan Carlin, so that he can
- make all Hardcore History episodes freely available
- produce transcripts
- Fund Gwern (his Patreon).
- Fund a friend who’s a first class economic historian but who works 9-5 because he needs money to do research full-time
- Fund a polymath friend who lives on the edge of poverty due to an executive function disorder
Note: if you want to fund any of my friends mentioned here, do message me
An Interlude on Important Problems and Where to Get Funding for Them
Speculative businesses / services
- Fund Twitter alternatives (since Mastodon sucks)
- Fund a Facebook alternative?????
- Fund development of Visual History-like browser extension, which would provide browsing history as a directed-graph.
Non-profits / charities
- Create the new ACLU
- Fight modern slavery
- See an interview with a man who freed more than 300 people from slavery in Russia here
Translations from Russian
- Many of Andrei Movchan’s facebook posts (I translated one myself)
- Занимательная Греция, Михаил Гаспаров — this is the best book on Ancient Greece I’ve ever read
- И возвращается ветер, Владимир Буковский — an autobiography of a famous Soviet dissident. There is an English translation but for some reason it skips parts of the book.
- Create archive of my twitter timeline with archived pictures, videos, and links from it.
- Same for RSS.
- Pay someone to make Hugo generate TOC and render KaTeX simultaneously (right now it’s TOC with .md or KaTeX with .mmark)
- Randomly anonymously donate to people maintaining open source projects (not stating what the donation is for, so that not to mess up their incentives)
- Fund somebody to create a wearable compass à la North Paw / feelSpace