Christian Robert on Black Swans

Christian Robert, a Bayesian statistican at  Université Paris Dauphine comments on Taleb’s book the Black Swan in his blog article Of black swans and bleak prospects: … I think that the book can be criticised solely from a statistical point of view as mostly missing the point. For instance, the notions of probable/improbable and randomness […]

Steve Carpenter on Black Swans

Ecologist Steve Carpenter follows up on Don Ludwig’s comments on Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s book The Black Swan: Both of Taleb’s books are highly entertaining. But he over-reaches. There are some odd mistakes. For example, he makes much of a supposed kink in the integral of the Student-t distribution, (where tail probability declines linearly with deviation […]

Gelman’s notes on Black Swans

Noted Bayesian statistician Andrew Gelman writes his notes on Nassim Taleb‘s book the Black Swan: As I noted earlier, reading the book with pen in hand jogged loose various thoughts. . . . The book is about unexpected events (“black swans”) and the problems with statistical models such as the normal distribution that don’t allow […]

Black Swans: expecting the unexpected

Nassim Nicholas Taleb uses the term Black Swan to identify significant unexpected events. Holling made some similar points from a different perspective in his 1973 paper on resilience and his 1986 paper the resilience of terrestrial ecosystems; local surprise and global change. In on the interdisciplinary Edge Taleb writes on Learning to expect the unexpected […]

Murakami on fiction for an unreal world

One of the problems with scenario planning is that it requires plausible scenarios, but that reality is behaves in ways that are implausible.  This is another way of describing what Nassim Taleb named Black Swans, significant unexpected events, that change the course of events in unlikely ways. In an article in the International Herald Tribune […]

The 21st century a FAQ

From Scottish Science Fiction writer Charlie Stross, Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the 21st century: Q: What can we expect? A: Pretty much what you read about in New Scientist every week. Climate change, dust bowls caused by over-cultivation necessitated by over-population, resource depletion in obscure and irritatingly mission-critical sectors (never mind oil; we’ve […]

Turbulence and Finance: Taleb and Mandelbrot

On PBS’s NewsHour, Paul Solman interviewed Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Benoit Mandelbrot about how strongly coupled systems can produce unpredictable turbulence.  They strike very resilience oriented themes – narrow over-optimization leading to a loss of resilience. PAUL SOLMAN: In the [Black Swan], Taleb wrote, “The increased concentration among banks seems to have the effect of […]