Bendini

is creating the art of rationality and a low cost rationalist community

0

patrons

$0

per month
Intro

In April 2017 I started the Kernel Project, to further the art of rationality outlined in Yudkowsky's sequences. I, along with others, moved to Manchester (England) in August, and I've been working on this nearly full-time since October 2017.

When I started the project, I was aware that it would be hard to monetize, and that I'd need some other source of funding. I planned to pay the project's expenses by relocating to a cheap (but good) city and doing part-time construction jobs, as this would allow me to sidestep the incentive problems inherent to funding this type of work.

While I can earn enough locally to pay my living expenses, I discovered that receiving client calls multiple times per day was incompatible with the need for large uninterrupted blocks of time that's needed for deep, creative work. Which ultimately made it a choice between working to earn money and working to further the art. 

Since this discovery, I've mostly been funding project work out of pocket from savings. This is fine for the next few months, but cannot be sustained in the long-term.

Past and future work

[rewrite this to incorporate current progress]

Most of the things I have done so far are not yet complete enough to be published, but a few things were time-sensitive enough that I published them while they were still of a quality I find moderately embarrassing: 

The Craft & The Community - A Post-Mortem & Resurrection
Fundamental analysis of the top 20 cryptocurrencies with investment recommendations

There are significantly more projects in the pipeline, most of which are still in early stages, although some are nearing completion. Here are some highlights:

A set of recipes that satisfice in the areas of nutrition, taste, appearance, cost effectiveness, time efficiency and can be made with little to no conscious thought, like using Google maps to get from point A to B.

A complete guide on managing ADHD and general executive dysfunction, covering accurate self-diagnosis, a curated library of anecdotes to highlight common and recurring failure modes, guides on how to manage individual symptoms and general advice on how to gracefully play the hand you’ve been dealt.

A financial guide that spans all the way from object level implementation to metaphilosophy, that's broad enough that both a materialistic lawyer in New Jersey and a British communist working in a supermarket could get significant value from it.

A large list of product recommendations and the most efficient way to buy them, as well as products that were of poor quality 

Tools, rules and systems for grouphouses that minimize tragedy of the commons and manage competing access needs to an extent that it would make grouphouses preferable in cities where they aren't isn’t financially necessary.

Methods to reduce the cost of preserving valuable information, so it isn’t a choice between dedicated volunteers archiving and repromotiong past work or the community having collective amnesia for anything written over a year ago (or conversations even a week ago)

A modular sofa that can be built by conscientious but untrained people, using widely available materials, a limited selection of tools and techniques, cheaper than Ikea (current estimates put it under $150 per seat section), can be moved to a new house in a subcompact car and can be quickly reconfigured into many different shapes in all three spatial dimensions (e.g. cinema seating)

A flat pack bed/desk/wardrobe system that can make a 60ft2 room comfortable for a single person to sleep and work, and just about manageable for a couple or two close friends without the ability to afford more space.

A codified set of debating norms, that make it easier for participants to stay on the most productive conversational threads. Something that goes beyond the current best kludge of good faith and civility.

A system for organizing volunteer craft work at the scale that can have a global impact. Wikipedia did what it did in large by using citations and academic sources as the criteria for inclusion, which for all its faults, worked well enough to become the world's encyclopedia. Craft, much like Wikihow, is not suited to such quality kludges like “no original research” and will need a different approach.

Why you might consider funding this

Prospects for funding are scarce, not many grants are looking to fund something like this. Nor is this project The impact of the project, although potentially large, cannot be quantified to the extent it would be suitable as an Effective Altruist charity.

This cause isn't a sick puppy with a rare disease.
It's not a certified EA charity that can tell you how many QALYs your donation could save.
It's not a funding drive where a one-time $20 donation is the difference between staying open and shutting down forever.




Although our current expenses are low, I don't anticipate Patrons will be able to meet all our funding needs. I will be pleasantly surprised and very grateful if they do, but in all likelihood, the donations raised here will mean we need to spend less time searching for fundraising, leaving us more time for productive work. 

Without a formal evaluation, it would be hard to argue this project meets the criteria for an effective charity. It is not a sick puppy with a rare disease, nor facing imminent closure if a funding milestone is not met. Given this, why would you consider funding this over other the multitude of other causes you could fund?

1. It's really cheap
*Oxfam advert voice* for less than a tenth of programmer's salary, you can a fund full-time craft development. This is because I'm willing to work for minor subcultural status love, and my expenses are mostly for food and shelter.
2. We're the only circus in town
Unless I've missed the announcement, there are no other projects in this space. The idea has been out there for 10 years, and I started this project due to an impatience with waiting for someone else to do it. If history is anything to go by, it would be a while before someone takes up the mantle if I focused on more profitable things.
3. We have momentum and at least rudimentary competence
The project has name recognition, regular volunteers, and a full-time leader with [list of qualities you think I have because self-declaration of positive qualities is a social faux pas]. If your personal cause areas are more shovel-ready project constrained than capital constrained, I hope we wouldn't bring down the average. 

Other funding arrangements
If you wish to fund this through some other means or wish to attach conditions to a donation, you are welcome to do so. However, conditions that would not be in the long-term interests of the project cannot be accepted.

I have always offered large amounts of help and advice to community members wherever I had a comparative advantage, and don't plan on changing that. But if you are working on something that requires an amount of assistance you would feel uncomfortable asking for, you are welcome to make a donation in exchange. 
Tiers
Minimum viable tier
$2 or more per month
Access to the development side of our discord, where you can see day-to-day updates on our work.
Significant contribution
$20 or more per month
You will be listed on our donor page when our website is up and running.
License to (beneficially) influence
$100 or more per month
You have significant skin in the game. As such, you are free to request explanations for anything and everything I do that relates to the project. You also have license to make suggestions, and I will either implement them or provide a full explanation as to why I'm doing things differently.
Goals
$0 of $50 per month
I will take this as a sign Patreon is a viable funding source for this project, and refine the reward tiers to better reflect what patrons want, whatever that ends up being.
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Intro

In April 2017 I started the Kernel Project, to further the art of rationality outlined in Yudkowsky's sequences. I, along with others, moved to Manchester (England) in August, and I've been working on this nearly full-time since October 2017.

When I started the project, I was aware that it would be hard to monetize, and that I'd need some other source of funding. I planned to pay the project's expenses by relocating to a cheap (but good) city and doing part-time construction jobs, as this would allow me to sidestep the incentive problems inherent to funding this type of work.

While I can earn enough locally to pay my living expenses, I discovered that receiving client calls multiple times per day was incompatible with the need for large uninterrupted blocks of time that's needed for deep, creative work. Which ultimately made it a choice between working to earn money and working to further the art. 

Since this discovery, I've mostly been funding project work out of pocket from savings. This is fine for the next few months, but cannot be sustained in the long-term.

Past and future work

[rewrite this to incorporate current progress]

Most of the things I have done so far are not yet complete enough to be published, but a few things were time-sensitive enough that I published them while they were still of a quality I find moderately embarrassing: 

The Craft & The Community - A Post-Mortem & Resurrection
Fundamental analysis of the top 20 cryptocurrencies with investment recommendations

There are significantly more projects in the pipeline, most of which are still in early stages, although some are nearing completion. Here are some highlights:

A set of recipes that satisfice in the areas of nutrition, taste, appearance, cost effectiveness, time efficiency and can be made with little to no conscious thought, like using Google maps to get from point A to B.

A complete guide on managing ADHD and general executive dysfunction, covering accurate self-diagnosis, a curated library of anecdotes to highlight common and recurring failure modes, guides on how to manage individual symptoms and general advice on how to gracefully play the hand you’ve been dealt.

A financial guide that spans all the way from object level implementation to metaphilosophy, that's broad enough that both a materialistic lawyer in New Jersey and a British communist working in a supermarket could get significant value from it.

A large list of product recommendations and the most efficient way to buy them, as well as products that were of poor quality 

Tools, rules and systems for grouphouses that minimize tragedy of the commons and manage competing access needs to an extent that it would make grouphouses preferable in cities where they aren't isn’t financially necessary.

Methods to reduce the cost of preserving valuable information, so it isn’t a choice between dedicated volunteers archiving and repromotiong past work or the community having collective amnesia for anything written over a year ago (or conversations even a week ago)

A modular sofa that can be built by conscientious but untrained people, using widely available materials, a limited selection of tools and techniques, cheaper than Ikea (current estimates put it under $150 per seat section), can be moved to a new house in a subcompact car and can be quickly reconfigured into many different shapes in all three spatial dimensions (e.g. cinema seating)

A flat pack bed/desk/wardrobe system that can make a 60ft2 room comfortable for a single person to sleep and work, and just about manageable for a couple or two close friends without the ability to afford more space.

A codified set of debating norms, that make it easier for participants to stay on the most productive conversational threads. Something that goes beyond the current best kludge of good faith and civility.

A system for organizing volunteer craft work at the scale that can have a global impact. Wikipedia did what it did in large by using citations and academic sources as the criteria for inclusion, which for all its faults, worked well enough to become the world's encyclopedia. Craft, much like Wikihow, is not suited to such quality kludges like “no original research” and will need a different approach.

Why you might consider funding this

Prospects for funding are scarce, not many grants are looking to fund something like this. Nor is this project The impact of the project, although potentially large, cannot be quantified to the extent it would be suitable as an Effective Altruist charity.

This cause isn't a sick puppy with a rare disease.
It's not a certified EA charity that can tell you how many QALYs your donation could save.
It's not a funding drive where a one-time $20 donation is the difference between staying open and shutting down forever.




Although our current expenses are low, I don't anticipate Patrons will be able to meet all our funding needs. I will be pleasantly surprised and very grateful if they do, but in all likelihood, the donations raised here will mean we need to spend less time searching for fundraising, leaving us more time for productive work. 

Without a formal evaluation, it would be hard to argue this project meets the criteria for an effective charity. It is not a sick puppy with a rare disease, nor facing imminent closure if a funding milestone is not met. Given this, why would you consider funding this over other the multitude of other causes you could fund?

1. It's really cheap
*Oxfam advert voice* for less than a tenth of programmer's salary, you can a fund full-time craft development. This is because I'm willing to work for minor subcultural status love, and my expenses are mostly for food and shelter.
2. We're the only circus in town
Unless I've missed the announcement, there are no other projects in this space. The idea has been out there for 10 years, and I started this project due to an impatience with waiting for someone else to do it. If history is anything to go by, it would be a while before someone takes up the mantle if I focused on more profitable things.
3. We have momentum and at least rudimentary competence
The project has name recognition, regular volunteers, and a full-time leader with [list of qualities you think I have because self-declaration of positive qualities is a social faux pas]. If your personal cause areas are more shovel-ready project constrained than capital constrained, I hope we wouldn't bring down the average. 

Other funding arrangements
If you wish to fund this through some other means or wish to attach conditions to a donation, you are welcome to do so. However, conditions that would not be in the long-term interests of the project cannot be accepted.

I have always offered large amounts of help and advice to community members wherever I had a comparative advantage, and don't plan on changing that. But if you are working on something that requires an amount of assistance you would feel uncomfortable asking for, you are welcome to make a donation in exchange. 

Recent posts by Bendini

Tiers
Minimum viable tier
$2 or more per month
Access to the development side of our discord, where you can see day-to-day updates on our work.
Significant contribution
$20 or more per month
You will be listed on our donor page when our website is up and running.
License to (beneficially) influence
$100 or more per month
You have significant skin in the game. As such, you are free to request explanations for anything and everything I do that relates to the project. You also have license to make suggestions, and I will either implement them or provide a full explanation as to why I'm doing things differently.