Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lillian Reports

Had a nice email from Lillian who was able to attend NNT’s talk the other night . She gave me permission to quote her…

This is the material used in the NNT presentation last evening at Columbia …The event was plagued with audiovisual gremlins but with good humor and a level of patience he is not supposed to have, all went remarkably well… NNT suggested that the reliability of the technical equipment is inverse to the tuition cost of the university that owns it…


Thanks Lillian!

The Black Swan: A riveting commentary of disturbing truths | The Trinidad Guardian

Shared by JohnH

HatTip to Dave Lull

He denounces “empirically blind savants,” rejects the Gaussian Belle Curve fixation, and champions a kind of mathematical or empirical skepticism.  He advances the theory of Professor Raimund Popper, who states that predicting historical events is possible if one can predict technological innovations. In a sense, the author is a Contrarian, even an Iconoclast. The Black Swan scores as it rails against the herd mentality—our need to be part of the social pattern. This, the author argues, prevents us from predicting the next Black Swan. But can we be the rugged individuals that the author asks of us? Hardly so.

Volatility: Laying the groundwork for the "big one" | The Economist

And next from Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Mark Blyth:

Complex systems that have artificially suppressed volatility tend to become extremely fragile, while at the same time exhibiting no visible risks. In fact, they tend to be too calm and exhibit minimal variability as silent risks accumulate beneath the surface. Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policymakers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite.

Algazel (a.k.a. Al Ghazali, الغزالی), the Arab (Arabic language) philosopher wh…

Algazel (a.k.a. Al Ghazali, الغزالی), the Arab (Arabic language) philosopher who figured out “Hume’s problem” ~700 years before Hume) also spelled out Adam Smith’s “pin factory” ~650 years before Smith. I am convinced that Adam Smith merely repeated Algazel’s idea as Arab philosophers were well-known in Latin translation. This passage is from Ihya2 3loum ad-din, in which he manages to mix theology, economics, and natural order.
Note that he is one who wrote The Incoherence of Philosophers in an attack on rationalism (Aristotelian-Averroan) –still unsurpassed.

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