Monthly Archives: August 2013

Craig Venter & Nassim Taleb Twitter 8/28/13

This is a conversation I only hoped would ever happen. Not because I have a vested interest in either outcome, but because I realize the stakes are so high that it would take minds like these to come to a meaningful understanding. For background please read recent NYT article Golden Rice: Lifesaver?


 Link to Twitter Conversation August 28, 2013

J. Craig Venter@JCVenter 3h
Golden rice vitamin A could prevent blindness in 250000 children/year. Anti GMO people check your morals.

Nassim N. Taleb@nntaleb 1h
@JCVenter Pro GMO people, check your understanding of 1) Risk & probability , 2) invoking “morals” as a tactic while endangering people.

J. Craig Venter@JCVenter 59m
@nntaleb you are smarter than that. Small hypothetical risk vs 250000 blind children. <1 vs 100%.

Nassim N. Taleb@nntaleb @JCVenter Point 2: There are other alternatives with controlled & known side effects.


The Antifragile Diet | Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan

Not exactly but… Great to see NNT’s concepts making their way into the mainstream.
HatTip to Pradeep

But this lack of flexibility and the fact that every transgression is a strike against you, make dieting an unsustainable proposition for most people.

So what’s the alternative? Is there an antifragile way of losing weight?

The alternative approach is to focus on changing behaviour. The behavioural approach relies on analysing eating (with the help of a food diary) and then identifying those particular behaviours and triggers that contribute to your increasing weight.

If you can change the triggers and the behaviours (so that the new behaviours become a habit) you will start losing weight naturally. Because your habits have changed, the weight loss should be for the long-term.

The key with changing behaviour is that when things go wrong, it’s not a disaster. It actually provides vital information about triggers and behaviours that need to be changed.

via The Antifragile Diet | Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan.

Live Like a Hydra — Better Humans | Medium

Article was retweeted by NNT

#5 An antifragile way of life

An antifragile way of life is all about finding a way to gain from the inevitable disorder of life. To not only bounce back when things don’t go as planned, but to get stronger, smarter, and better at continuing as a result of running into this disorder.

First, here are some principles that come from Antifragile:

  1. Stick to simple rules
  2. Build in redundancy and layers (no single point of failure)
  3. Resist the urge to suppress randomness
  4. Make sure that you have your soul in the game
  5. Experiment and tinker — take lots of small risks
  6. Avoid risks that, if lost, would wipe you out completely
  7. Don’t get consumed by data
  8. Keep your options open
  9. Focus more on avoiding things that don’t work than trying to find out what does work
  10. Respect the old — look for habits and rules that have been around for a long time

The general underlying principle here is to play the long game, keep your options open and avoid total failure while trying lots of different things and maintaining an open mind.

Things that don’t fit into these principles (that you’re probably more familiar with):

  • Giving something up cold turkey

  • Going all in with a single big change for a short period of time

  • Tracking everything

  • Using the latest and greatest gadgets and apps

via Live Like a Hydra — Better Humans — Medium.

Friends, let us look for heuristics to not be turkeys…

Friends, let us look for heuristics to not be turkeys.In the eyes of the nonspecialist, the marketer good at BS could more easily pass for a specialist than the real specialist Plato. This extends beyond the confidence game: In a highly random environment, the link cause-effect is blurred and in large corporations the fake who knows how to claim credit for successes tends to become the chairperson.So what is the heuristic in a situation facing such a choice? Assuming you are facing two persons and need to make a decision on whose services to use, what is your convex heuristic?
“Never hire a well-dressed option trader” was a heuristic I suggested in Dynamic Hedging 1996. Avoid the economist at all costs is a potent heuristic. Another: “If someone can explain very clearly a procedure, with a credible intellectual discourse, he is not likely to be a true expert”. Or: “verify if he eats his own dog food skin-in-the-game.Eager to hear suggestions.

via Friends, let us look for heuristics to… – Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Facebook.