I’m Ben! This is where I put things I write, usually about some convex combination of effective altruism, math, computers, philosophy, and other assorted miscellany.

By day I’m an engineer at Sendwave, building faster and cheaper money transfer in Africa. Otherwise I enjoy reading, hiking, making music, contra dancing, trying to improve the world, and various other strange activities.

If you’re a new visitor, check out the best-of list, and if it strikes your fancy, subscribe. Or read some recent posts:

I apparently got 50% better at my job last month


…by spending 50% more time on the important parts instead of Slack/email/busywork/things I do when I’m unfocused. I actually didn’t even notice until I checked a monthly time tracking report—at which point I realized I had gotten an extra 40 hours of engineering work in September compared to August.

Strangers Drowning


A short note: Larissa MacFarquhar’s book Strangers Drowning is coming out in a few days and is up for preorder now on Amazon. It’s series of profiles of “extreme do-gooders,” people whose lives are completely driven by their sense of morals, to the point of seeming crazy to most people—like adopting twenty disabled children, or donating their entire income to charity, or refusing to do the dishes because time spent doing dishes was time not spent averting the suffering of billions of chickens.

Autocomplete as an interface


Many programming environments offer autocomplete: the ability to guess what you’re about to type based on the first few letters you’ve typed. I’m used to thinking of autocomplete as a convenience tool that saves you a few keystrokes, but it’s much more than that.

Blogger’s block


TL;DR: blogging frequency may decrease here; higher-variance, lower-mean blogging at scraps.benkuhn.net.

The costs of campus construction


Universities’ construction expenses seem unbelievably high, and I have no idea why.

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