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William MacAskill
 Interview: William MacAskill
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This week Derek has a conversation with William MacAskill. William is a former Fulbright scholar at Princeton University, and PhD at Oxford University. William is the founder of Oxford’s Center for Effective Altruism and of 80,000 Hours, a service which helps determine how best to use your time to do the most good. As a person who is deeply concerned with the effects of charitable giving, he set out to provide ways for people to give in the most effective manner possible. What are the best places to give your money so it has the highest potential to further good in the world? William discusses why it was important for the charities he helped create have a scientific way to determine where donations and/or work should be best directed for the most good.
Show Notes

– Date – May 13, 2014
– Send your cool ‘SCIENCE!’ shout-outs to
– Theme song by Steve Seamans of the Daisy Dillman Band. Get the song HERE.
– Thank you to everyone who has been purchasing books, Skepticality stuff, or using our Amazon link to help us!
– The Atlanta Skepticamp 2014 was a success, you should find one near you, or start one yourself!

Wikipedia [2:55]
Susan Gerbic
– Recorded ‘live’ at QED 2014.
– The Skeptic Wikipedia Project.

Skeptical Humanities [13:25]
– Building Egypt.
– Ken Feder’s Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Pseudoscience in Archaeology.
Live Science on Bonn.
– Percy Newberry’s El Bersheh: The Tomb of Tehuti-hetep (
– B. Cotterell and J. Kamminga, Mechanics of Pre-Industrial Technology (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990).
– A. B. Lloyd, A Companion to Ancient Egypt (Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2010).
– James A. Harrell and Thomas M. Bown, “An Old Kingdom Basalt Quarry at Widan el-Faras and the Quarry Road to Lake Moeris,” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt Vol. 32, (1995).
– C. S. C. Davison, “Transporting Sixty-Ton Statues in Early Assyria and Egypt,” Technology and Culture, 2, 11 (1961).
– Michael T. Lally, “Engineering a Pyramid” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 26 (1989), pp. 207-218.
Skeptical Humanities.

The Odds Must Be Crazy [21:00]
The Odds Must Be Crazy.
– This week’s featured story is, “Derek Does Digital Spring Cleaning“.
– Story was submitted by Skepticality host, Derek Colanduno.
Visit the story link for a more detailed analysis and to add your comments.
– Additional thoughts and considerations provided by Barbara Drescher.
– Our theme music comes to us courtesy of Brian Keith Dalton, AKA Mr. Deity.
– Please visit The Independent Investigations Group Los Angeles.
– The Odds Must Be Crazy can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
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– Edward Clint is on Twitter.
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– Brian Keith Dalton is on Twitter.
– Thanks to our friends Emery Emery, Heather Henderson and Blythe Renay for hospitality and support for the production of the segment. Visit them at

Interview: William MacAskill [26:30]
– Research Associate at the Oxford Center for Practical Ethics.
– Spending the academic year 2012-13 in the USA as a Fulbright Scholar at Princeton University.
– He took his wifes last name for ethical reasons.
– Helped setup and found ‘Giving What We Can‘ and ‘80,000 Hours‘.
– The idea of ‘meta-charity‘ is rarely discussed or known about.
– The programs have an evidence based method to make sure that all donations have the best possible outcome for good.
– Worked with the ‘Give Well‘ group which was founded by ex-hedge fund workers.
– An example is; treating children for intestinal worms as a highly effective way to enhance the standard of living in the developing world.
– One surprising careers which his projects think can do the most good in the end is Investment Banking.
– One example may be Warren Buffett and his children, like Peter Buffett.
– These types of charities are called/considered ‘Meta Charities‘.
– William has a book which he is finishing which should be coming out soon which is going to be all about evidence based altruism and giving.
– One of the best places for people to find out more about effective altruism is Peter Singers TED Talk.

Outro Music [49:12]
– Outro music donated by Trent Brusky of Dropfox.
– Also a clip of Nitzer Ebb “Join in the Chant”.

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