Monthly Archives: September 2012

Bryan Appleyard » What ‘Plebs’ Really Means

That something is buried in the word ‘culture’. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb was arguing passionately at dinner last night, a man without culture is not really capable of understanding anything. Bankers did not just make themselves vile by abandoning their culture, they also made themselves incompetent. Lost in their culture-free abstractions, they all went bust. Or, an entirely different example, you can see how people become ignorant when they ignore culture in the debate about IQ which James Flynn so brilliantly took apart.

via Bryan Appleyard » Blog Archive » What ‘Plebs’ Really Means.
HatTip to Dave Lull

Nassim N Taleb’s review of Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself

5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Person in Washington: guts & thruth, September 26, 2012
By N N Taleb “Nassim N Taleb”
This review is from: Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself Hardcover
I don’t have time for a full review for now; all I have to say is that we have the account of a person who says it the way it was, revealing the types of truths that don’t fit the New York Times and others pawns. When history is written, this will be used, not the spin by the bankers’ slaves and soldiers Geithner, Rubin et al. Bravo Sheila!

via N N Taleb “Nassim N Taleb”‘s review of Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main S….
HatTip to Dave Lull

Which Economists Can See the Future? | PBS NewsHour

I’ve interviewed Nassim Taleb of “Black Swan” fame three times on the NewsHour — here, there, and back here. Sadly, we never had time for his wonderful monkey example. Here’s an early version, from his book “Dynamic Hedging”:

“If one puts an infinite number of monkeys in front of (strongly built) typewriters and lets them clap away (without destroying the machinery), there is a certainty that one of them will come out with an exact version of the ‘Iliad.’ Once that hero among monkeys is found, would any reader invest his life’s savings on a bet that the monkey would write the ‘Odyssey’ next?”

via Which Economists Can See the Future? | PBS NewsHour.

Nassim Taleb Identifies ‘The Teflon Don Of Wall Street’ – Business Insider

Here is what Taleb had to say: “Nobody on this planet represents more vividly the scam of the banking industry,” says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan. “He made $120 million from Citibank, which was technically insolvent. And now we, the taxpayers, are paying for it.”
Cohan continues: Nassim Nicholas Taleb doesn’t know Rubin personally. He admits that his antipathy, like that of so many Rubin critics, is fueled by symbolism. “He represents everything that’s bad in America,” he says. “The evil in one person represented. When we write the history, he will be seen as the John Gotti of our era. He’s the Teflon Don of Wall Street.” Taleb wants systemic change to prevent what he terms the “Bob Rubin Problem”—the commingling of Wall Street interests and the public trust—“so people like him don’t exist.”

via Nassim Taleb Identifies ‘The Teflon Don Of Wall Street’ – Business Insider.
Original Rethinking Robert Rubin.

To find a genuine researcher…

To find a genuine researcher, a first remove those industrious persons doing it for career ambitions, promotion, these things that are commendable elsewhere and treat them as if they didn’t exist, and throw their work in the garbage as unusable. b Then remove those doing research because they like it or even love it – research is not about your own personal rewards and enjoyment and the mere fact that the researcher enjoys doing it is highly suspicious. Let them get into the arts or something similar, and, again, ditch their work as epistemologically suspicious. c At the end those left are the ones doing research against their own grain, their own interests and tastes, and hate it, dislike every aspect of of the activity, can’t stand their results and what they are finding: they just do it because of a bizarre sense of responsibility that forces them to deal with metaproblems, I repeat, an activity they never enjoy. These are the only people whose thinking you can trust.

via To find a genuine… | Facebook.