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Math Encounters – Contemplating Coincidence: ‘Random’ Solutions to Challenging Problems

Published on May 18, 2017

We all encounter randomness every day — it is part of how we talk about the weather, sports, and even love. But despite being so familiar, randomness can be an elusive idea to pin down. Join mathematician Matthew Richey as he guides us toward greater understanding, demonstrating how randomness can be used as the secret ingredient in tackling famously difficult problems.

Special introduction by professor and bestselling author (The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness) Nassim Nicholas Taleb. (:35 to 3:37)

Math Encounters is a public presentation series celebrating the spectacular world of mathematics and presented by the Simons Foundation and the National Museum of Mathematics.

Black Swans And Interventionistas | RonPaulLibertyReport

Published on May 19, 2017

Dr. Taleb, author of “The Black Swan,” takes apart our foreign and monetary policies. Why do neocons and mainstream media keep pushing war and conflict? They face zero risk. This is something new in history. Those who decide on interventionism overseas are never harmed by the interventions. Plus…are we headed for a market crash that makes 2008 look like a picnic? And if so, what will the aftermath look like?

The empirical distribution is … not empirical

Published on Jun 12, 2017
For fat tailed distributions, the empirical distributions does not reflect the true statistical properties, particularly for extremes. This is a simplified side note to a paper with Mark Spitznagel on why people make a mistake by looking at raw historical data as “empiricism”.

Piketty, Schmugman, Qatar, Dawkins, British Airways, Saudi Arabia | Twitter

@LorenzoWVilla Very nice ‘probability’ problem from @CutTheKnotMath (  ): see below @nntaleb ” target=”_blank”>”> Permalink 9:50 AM – 12 Jun 2017

@nntaleb In other words, methods used to state that people & investors underestimate tail events by psychologists and economists are severely flawed.   Permalink 6:02 AM – 12 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The empirical distribution is … not empirical   via @YouTube Permalink 4:29 AM – 12 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Same problem as Fooled by Randomness & Big Data fitting. The degrees of freedom from man -> crime >> those from crime -> man. (corrected)   Permalink 6:32 PM – 11 Jun 2017

@jtynen Taleb is right and shows where we went wrong.. USA was supposed to be 50 … … states! Not 50 provinces or admin. districts … states!   Permalink 6:28 PM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Science isn’t what’s right/wrong. It is what you can backup using a certain method. Applying science outside is “scientism”, a fraud. #GMOs Permalink 2:33 PM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb A scaling property: the larger the state, the more disproportionately powerful the state-within-the-state (a.k.a. deep state). Permalink 12:47 PM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The sucker overestimates the value of secret information when the important stuff is that huge elephant in front if us all. Permalink 12:25 PM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Virtue signaling: you give with noise, you take quietly.   Permalink 10:01 AM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb In 19th C converting was not punishable by death: many politicians took the religion of their constituents (Shehabs, Hashem, etc.) Permalink 4:58 AM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb 150 y ago protestant missionaries started ~AUB in Beirut. They converted exactly 0 Sunnis, only Greek-Orth pple. Preaching does not work. Permalink 4:28 AM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb This technical is an appendix for a more general dynamic approach to inequality   Permalink 3:45 AM – 11 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Polishing a Gini paper… Why Piketty & Schmugman estimations of inequality are fundamentally flawed. Kapish?   Permalink 3:55 PM – 10 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Fractal planting patterns yield optimal harvests, without central control   via @physorg_com Permalink 10:11 AM – 10 Jun 2017

@nntaleb A large element of the Syrian war is geopolitics (SaudiBarbaria Qatar, US State Dept). That part may be gone.   Permalink 9:37 AM – 10 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Indeed, Twitter reveals the person. I have always had mild contempt for “intellectuals”.I now despise them as default, unless proven othrwse   Permalink 6:13 AM – 10 Jun 2017

@Cernovich No “skin in the game,” as @nntaleb would say. There’s no penalty for being wrong, no job loss, no risk. Must be nice.   Permalink 3:16 PM – 9 Jun 2017

@dhavalpanchal “Tinkering is better than Pinckering” -d5 #realworldrisk- w/ @nntaleb & Raphael -title & errors fully owned. Permalink 10:19 AM – 9 Jun 2017

@LorenzoWVilla @nntaleb Here we go with a functional equation: proof is needed! :) Permalink 9:35 AM – 9 Jun 2017

@IntheNow_tweet Saudi Arabia ditching Qatar over terrorism is like McDonalds accusing Burger King of selling junk food @AnissaNow Permalink 8:00 AM – 9 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Philology du jour: Livanos in Greek (frankincense) comes from olibanum, from Hebrew: לבונה [levona] => the white. Permalink 3:33 AM – 9 Jun 2017

@MaxAbrahms No, that’s been clear for a really long time, as I’ve been saying for a really long time.   Permalink 2:13 AM – 9 Jun 2017

@nntaleb j2 Caucasus-> Anatolia-> Levant-> Etruscan-> Graeco-Mediterranean Except for Levant Indo-European linguistically   Permalink 5:37 PM – 8 Jun 2017

@nntaleb J2 statisticallt, the Roman army gene   Permalink 4:34 PM – 8 Jun 2017

@nntaleb What weakened the mafia was internecine fighting. Mobs always fight.   Permalink 9:21 AM – 7 Jun 2017

@nntaleb @VergilDen Permalink 9:13 AM – 7 Jun 2017

@nntaleb If someone’s insults’ bother you; it is evidence that you respect him. Permalink 9:13 AM – 7 Jun 2017

@nntaleb RWRI day 3. 55 participants. Raphael will start confusing them with poly probability models. Permalink 6:05 AM – 7 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The true story about Qatar is money when badly needed: They have a tiny fraction of the population of KSA with ~same financial reserves. Permalink 5:32 AM – 7 Jun 2017

@nntaleb It is impressive how Trump hatred can make some people like @KenRoth rational, realistic, & lucid.   Permalink 4:55 AM – 7 Jun 2017

@dhavalpanchal Lindy effect and implications to technology – day 2 sketch notes /real world risk w/ @nntaleb/ – all errors r mine. Permalink 9:06 PM – 6 Jun 2017

@nntaleb IYI Dawkins doesn’t get that your bathroom is not trying to kill you. We need a filter for “intellectuals”.   Permalink 8:02 AM – 6 Jun 2017

@dhavalpanchal Kickass start to day 2 of – real world risk institute – w/ @nntaleb – all mistakes r mine. Permalink 7:02 AM – 6 Jun 2017

@edsanin “The best virtue requires courage; accordingly it needs to be unpopular”   Go read anything from @nntaleb Permalink 5:50 AM – 6 Jun 2017

@holland_tom Although Roman history does suggest that crucifying them along major trunk roads might work as a deterrent…   Permalink 4:56 AM – 6 Jun 2017

@GhassanDahhan I wonder why all the Qatari funded MENA experts have been so quiet since yesterday. They’re independent non-partisan analysts, no? Permalink 4:56 AM – 6 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The most shocking thing about Donald Trump’s Sadiq Khan tweet? He’s right   Permalink 4:08 AM – 6 Jun 2017

@nntaleb You are either deluded or a liar. Show me which probability class taught subexponential/fat tails 15 y ago. Likely to be both! Permalink 2:37 PM – 5 Jun 2017

@nntaleb This Mooc explains why most “rational number crunching” abt terrorism is BS. Terrorism is REAL risk.   Permalink 8:00 AM – 5 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Probability du jour: a crisp demarcation betw thin and fat tails via max entropy. Permalink 4:31 AM – 5 Jun 2017

@nntaleb You don’t cure terror w/police; you reduce terror by NOT creating monsters, supporting Alqaeda in Syria/Libya & Wahabis in SaudiBarbaria   Permalink 4:24 AM – 5 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Many “moderates” are closet Sunni Salafi defenders. They find a way to mitigate events. Despicable scum, this @OmairTAhmad   Permalink 7:41 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@anonchickenshit The internet allowed impolite but extremely logical intellectuals to find each other and remake the world. 1/x Permalink 7:17 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@nntaleb To my friends in the UK, some understanding of the minority rule in the midst of all this media BS could help.   Permalink 6:33 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Engaging with math on twitter causes unfollows; minimizes the intersection betw my followers & those of BS vendors s.a. @neiltyson .   Permalink 6:06 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The best explanation of the British Airways debacle by Gene Callahan. #Antifragile Permalink 4:59 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The fellow is a Shiite cleric. He is not an exception: they all say the same thing. They are the ones who suffered the most from Salafism.   Permalink 4:05 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@nntaleb False analogy: Irish wanted specific point. Salafis want to destroy you and your civilization.   Permalink 3:57 AM – 4 Jun 2017

@nntaleb “If you want people to read a book, tell them it is overrated”. (Bed of Procrustes)   Permalink 10:49 AM – 3 Jun 2017

@trishankkarthik Taking an @nntaleb aphorism from BoP: the more the fake left tries to ignore race / gender / etc., the more they are obsessed by it. Permalink 8:34 AM – 3 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The reason genetic distance A⇿B shd not be symmetric (as is diff entropy): How much info to make a Frenchman out of a Greek ≠ Reverse Permalink 6:49 AM – 3 Jun 2017

@nntaleb ISIS out of Raqqa will go twrds Saudi Arabia. I do not wish to destabilise SA. Just make them stop spreading of Salafism.   Permalink 5:39 AM – 3 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The problem isn’t being on a salary. The problem is enjoying it. Permalink 2:45 PM – 2 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The shill is trying to make pple believe that either the Pope (or the Catholic author) is a “Hizbollah guy”. Might work in SaudiBarbaria…   Permalink 12:40 PM – 2 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Even @ForeignAffairs now realizes Saudi Arabia is evil hidden under a facade of diplomacy.   Permalink 12:33 PM – 2 Jun 2017

@nntaleb The most pleasant phase is when the book suddenly starts to look like a book. You hold the MS as one & smooth it out Permalink 9:04 AM – 2 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Monsanto is doing the same scheme over here with other products, fooling the media & demonizing skeptics. Delenda Monsanto.   Permalink 6:58 AM – 2 Jun 2017

@nntaleb In other words EVERY recipient of information has been historically a CONVEYER. Twitter reestablished #LindyEffect   Permalink 3:51 AM – 2 Jun 2017

@nntaleb Some good news. Papers are not Lindy. Info shd be 2-way as per social media, not controlled by monocultured group.   Permalink 3:42 AM – 2 Jun 2017

The Merchandising of Virtue | Medium

Hence the principle:

If your private life conflicts with your intellectual opinion, it cancels your intellectual ideas, not your private life


If your private actions do not generalize then you cannot have general ideas

This is not strictly about ethics, but information transfer. If a car salesman tries to sell you a Detroit car while driving a Honda, he is signaling that it may have a problem.

The Merchandising of Virtue