Thursday, December 20, 2007

SerandEz, Hedge Funds, & Charities

After this weekend during which I obviously won't be posting all that much, we will quickly be hitting the new year. For those of us who are auditors, that means we get to work like lawyers and get paid at the rate of people who work as waiters... but we don't get tips. It also means I'll be posting far less frequently (actually, I already have been slowing down the past few weeks) as busy season will be taking up all my time.

On a more interesting note, I audit hedge funds for the firm I work at, and it's always interesting to see how much work goes into figuring out what to invest in. I think that people who know very little bash hedge funds for making so much money (which is really a ridiculous thing to complain about), but I don't think people often appreciate how hard the people there work. One of the things they do is analyze companies - not just big companies, but small companies with products that are worth investing in... because they're products that people can use. I wonder if the average person appreciates how much this country is built on venture capitalism. Anyway, two analysts who were at hedge funds have decided to use their skills for a different and oh-so-important field: Charities.
Mr. Karnofsky and Mr. Hassenfeld, both 26, are the founders and sole employees of GiveWell, which studies charities in particular fields and ranks them on their effectiveness. GiveWell is supported by a charity they created, the Clear Fund, which makes grants to charities they recommend in their research.
Why it's important:
While 34 percent of wealthy donors who responded to a survey sponsored by the Bank of America said they wanted more information on nonprofits, almost three-quarters said they would give more if charities spent less on administration.
I'd love to see this done for Jewish charities, though it's so hard to get the information necessary.

Other stuff: Wow, the MTA is ripping us all off. I can't believe they're going to get away with this (a new bonus system that is lower and will result in people having just nickels and dimes on cards, which will likely be thrown out). And this is probably the most bogus line of the article:
“There is no expectation of additional wastage or float,” Mr. Dellaverson said.
Honestly, if that were true, then they're simply idiots for not factoring it in.

And this is a nice new wave in technology: Professors who actually want to teach people! An MIT professor of physics is teaching people around the world who want to learn by posting videos of his teachings. MIT is actually to credit, as they have something called OpenCourseWare where it's posted.

Finally, today's BOTW was excellent. Check it out.

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