Something is Broken in the UK Intellectual Sphere

What was meant to be a “typical” of Roman Britain by the BBC: flowing quotas of political correctness backward in time.

The BBC did some kind of educational cartoon on Roman Britain and represented “diversity” in terms of someone looking African in the show as representative of “diversity” at the time. The BBC was effectively applying quotas retroactively (I mean, really retroactively). Any dissent from the statistical errors made by the politically correct police is treated as apostasy. Effectively, scholarship is dead in the U.K.

Read the rest here: https://medium.com/incerto/something-is-broken-in-the-uk-intellectual-sphere-7efc9a1f154a

 

When did Lebanese Christians Start Speaking French?

The current narrative (and, I am not joking, given by “experts” in international relations, etc.) is that the Lebanese Christians, like inhabitants of the Maghreb, picked up French from something called “French colonialism”. But the French only spent two decades in Lebanon, replacing the Ottomans after the great war, a period during which it was a “mandate”, something like a concession. Unlike the Maghreb, there was no settlers, no nothing. And not one noticed that the French language was heavily ingrained in the Christian bourgeoisie during the Ottoman Empire.

Take the Titanic. Among the passengers sunk in 1912 (hence before “colonialism”) are the following Lebanese names: Eugénie Baqlini, Catherine Dawud, Helene Barbara, Charles Tannous, Marie-Sophie Abrahim. A decade before the French army arrived. And my own family has among those, born before 1920, names such as Marcel, Edouard, Angele, Laure, Evelyne, Mathilde, Victoire (later adapted to Victoria), Philomene, etc. My mother was named after her aunt, Minerve (born 1905). Many archaic French names.

Read the rest here: https://medium.com/@nntaleb/when-did-lebanese-christians-start-speaking-french-771603969932

Two new Medium pieces from Nassim

Posted on

August 4th, 2017

Category

Links, Writing

Join in and give your 2c!

Nassim asking Twitter followers for feedback on the subtitle of his new upcoming book Skin In The Game (SITG)

Posted on

July 21st, 2017

Category

Twitter

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”.

So I am fed up with academics who say “we know it is fat tails” yet not understand the consequences.

Nassim Taleb’s Probability Moocs: The empirical distribution is … not empirical

Posted on

June 12th, 2017

Category

Academic, MOOCs, Videos

I will always remember my encounter with the writer and cultural icon Susan Sontag, largely because it was on the same day that I met the great Benoit Mandelbrot. It took place in 2001, two months after the terrorist event, in a radio station in New York. Sontag who was being interviewed, was pricked by the idea of a fellow who “studies randomness” and came to engage me. When she discovered that I was a trader, she blurted out that she was “against the market system” and turned her back to me as I was in mid-sentence, just to humiliate me (note here that courtesy is an application of the Silver rule), while her female assistant gave me the look, as if I had been convicted of child killing. I sort of justified her behavior in order to forget the incident, imagining that she lived in some rural commune, grew her own vegetables, wrote on pencil and paper, engaged in barter transactions, that type of stuff.

Click through to read the rest of this post on Medium.

Medium Post: The Merchandising of Virtue

Posted on

May 29th, 2017

Category

Writing


This tutorial presents the intuitions of the randomness of sample correlation (spurious correlation) and the methodologies in derivations. Some later sections are somewhat technical as Nassim rederived an old equation with more precise functions (in order to apply to fat tails) and showed the distribution of the maximum of d variables with n points per variable.
This paves the way to the real scientific work on random matric theory under fat tails and the failure of Marchenko-Pastur.

Randomness of Correlation & Its Hacking by Big Dataists

Posted on

May 24th, 2017

Category

Academic, MOOCs, Videos

An interview of Nassim by Bloomberg TV at the SALT Conference. Nassim explains what people aren’t getting about President Trump, then discusses tail hedging and the current risks in the environment.

Nassim on Bloomberg News

Posted on

May 24th, 2017

Category

Politics, Videos

One of the problems of the interventionista –wanting to get involved in other people’s affairs “in order to help”, while genuinely wanting to do good, results in disrupting some of the peace-making mechanisms that are inherent in human’s affairs, a combination of collaboration and strategic hostility. As we saw in the prologue, the error continues because someone else is paying the price.

I speculate that had IYIs (intellectuals yet idiots) and their friends not gotten involved, problems such as the Israeli-Palestinian one would have been solved, sort of –and both parties, especially the Palestinians would have felt to be better off. As I am writing these lines the problem has lasted seventy years, with too way many cooks in the same tiny kitchen, most of whom never have to taste the food. I conjecture that when you leave people alone, they tend to settle for practical reasons.

People on the ground, those with skin in the game are not too interested in geopolitics or grand abstract principles, but rather in having bread on the table, beer (or, for some, nonalcoholic beverages such as yoghurt drinks) in the refrigerator, and good weather at outdoors family picnics. Also they don’t want to be humiliated in their human contact with others.

Click through to read the rest of this post on Medium.

Medium: Peace: Neither Ink nor Blood

Posted on

May 4th, 2017

Category

Academic, Writing

Skin in the Game is necessary to reduce the effects of the following divergences that arose mainly as a side effect of civilization: action and cheap talk (tawk), consequence and intention, practice and theory, honor and reputation, expertise and pseudoexpertise, concrete and abstract, ethical and legal, genuine and cosmetic, entrepreneur and bureaucrat, entrepreneur and chief executive, strength and display, love and gold-digging, Coventry and Brussels, Omaha and Washington, D.C., economists and human beings, authors and editors, scholarship and academia, democracy and governance, science and scientism, politics and politicians, love and money, the spirit and the letter, Cato the Elder and Barack Obama, quality and advertising, commitment and signaling, and, centrally, collective and individual.

But, to this author, is mostly about justice, honor, and sacrifice as something existential for humans.

Let us first connect a few dots of items the list above.

Click through to read the rest of this post on Medium.

Medium Post: On Interventionistas and their Mental Defects

Posted on

May 4th, 2017

Category

Academic, Writing