[Medium] Foreword for Cut the Knot: Probability Riddles by Alexander Bogomolny

How do you learn a language? There are two routes; the first is to memorize imperfect verbs, grammatical rules, future vs. past tenses, recite boring context-free sentences, and pass an exam. The second approach consists in going to a bar, struggling a little bit and, out of the need to blend-in and integrate with a fun group of people, then suddenly find yourself able to communicate. In other words, by playing, by being alive as a human being. I personally have never seen anyone learn to speak a language properly by the first route. Also, I have never seen anyone fail to do so by the second one.

Read the complete foreword on Medium.

Get the book on Amazon.

Nassim on CNBC Squawk Box: Global coronavirus response a case study of government incompetence and denial

In a “Squawk Box” interview, Taleb specifically pointed to the importance of coronavirus testing. While countries have improved their capacity since the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, Taleb said there has been a failure to develop quick, efficient testing at a scale that can cut off chains of transmission early. It also has the least economic cost, he said.

Link to the interview: cnbc.com/2020/11/02/…

[YouTube] COVID Risk Conversation: Yaneer Bar-Yam and Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A continuation of Nassim and Yaneer’s regular conversation. In this video, they discuss:

1) The errors in ignoring scaling for pandemics. Why a doctor’s micro-expertise doesn’t transfer to collective risks?

2) How evidence-based medicine is closer to anecdote based medicine owing to silent risks?

3) The risks of morbidity must be accounted for.

4) How the dangers of vaccines do not scale.

[Medium] The Masks Masquerade

I want to travel this summer

Incompetence and Errors in Reasoning Around Face Covering

SIX ERRORS: 1) missing the compounding effects of masks, 2) missing the nonlinearity of the probability of infection to viral exposures, 3) missing absence of evidence (of benefits of mask wearing) for evidence of absence (of benefits of mask wearing), 4) missing the point that people do not need governments to produce facial covering: they can make their own, 5) missing the compounding effects of statistical signals, 6) ignoring the Non-Aggression Principle by pseudolibertarians (masks are also to protect others from you; it’s a multiplicative process: every person you infect will infect others).

In fact masks (and faceshields) supplemented with constraints of superspreader events can save us trillions of dollars in future lockdowns (and lawsuits) and be potentially sufficient (under adequate compliance) to stem the pandemic. Bureaucrats do not like simple solutions.

Continue reading on Medium: medium.com/incerto/the-masks-masquerade