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About Our Registry


Tandena and I have been together for a while now, and we’ve shared an apartment for the last 3 years. Since we’re still living in quite a small apartment and we plan to keep doing so for the foreseeable future, we aren’t yet ready for large numbers of place settings or fancy fine china which we’d rarely be able to put to good use.

Of course, there are a few household items which we do think would be worthwhile and fun to have, which we’ve put on a registry that you can visit here:

[link to the registry website]

Our Address is:
2700 Dorr Ave
Apt #306
Fairfax, VA 22031

However, as an alternative to assorted kitchen doodads, there are other places where your generosity could have a far greater impact. Tandena and I would be overjoyed if you made a contribution on our behalf to one of the four charities we’ve also included on our registry page: The Against Malaria Foundation, Cool Earth, Deworm The World, and No Lean Season. All of these are highly esteemed by researchers in the philosophically-driven social movement called “Effective Altruism.” You might be surprised to learn that there is a large community of nerdy youngsters who are enthusiastic about charitable giving. Of course, it will come as no surprise that, as nerds ourselves, Tandena and I jumped on board with the idea! Indulge us for a bit, and we’ll tell you why:

Usually we imagine that different charities have roughly equal positive impacts, and expect that charities are probably accomplishing good unless there's proof that money is being widely misused. But Effective Altruism is built around the idea that charities can very easily fail to have much impact, even when they're doing exactly what they say they are. Many of the issues charities aim to address are extremely difficult problems that foundations, governments and experts have struggled with for decades -- so it’s not surprising that many well-intentioned efforts to do good would fail.

Evidence about effectiveness isn’t easy to measure either. Historically, people didn’t have the ability to quantify and rank different approaches (like distributing antimalarial medicine to treat disease, versus spraying insecticide to kill mosquitoes, versus distributing mesh bednets to prevent infection) based on effectiveness. But where evidence has been collected, the difference in impact between the best and the rest is often staggering.

For instance, the rainforest preservation charity Cool Earth is estimated to be 25 times more effective at reducing CO2 emissions compared to the typical CO2 offset programs you might see offered as a subscription option on your monthly energy bill. And the $3 bednets distributed by the Against Malaria Foundation are estimated to spare the life of a human child per every $2,000 spent. (Plus, hundreds of other children are spared the intensely miserable experience of contracting malaria and barely surviving!) By contrast, for most other medical charities the price of saving a single life is often well over $100,000 dollars. Lots of charities make big claims and then quietly fail to deliver, which creates an understandable feeling of pessimism about whether charitable giving can ever really make a difference. But with standout charities identified by effective altruist groups, the impact is pretty real. Thanks in large part to anti-malarial bednets, for instance, humanity is basically winning a continent-wide war against malaria:

Long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets were responsible for around 68% of the malaria reduction over the past 15 years, meaning they’ve prevented around 450 million cases of malaria!

Aside from the minor drawback that we don’t have any room for fine china in our little Fairfax apartment, our lives are pretty amazing. As a couple, we love each other and rarely fight or disagree. We both have careers doing just what we like in exactly the fields we wanted, and on the weekend we get to travel all up and down the East Coast exploring gardens and restaurants and museums. In that context, it’s hard to imagine thousands of people across the ocean suffering from malaria and other huge problems. But seeing quantified progress against disease and poverty is exciting; Tandena and I are interested in Effective Altruism because we want to feel like a part of it and someday be able to tell our kids that we helped.