Paper: SCALA POLITICA – Politics and Governance Under Scaling and Uncertainty

Most of the tension resides between 1) Embedded, complexity-minded, multiscale/fractal localism (politics as an ecology/complex adaptive system), and 2) Abstract one-dimensional universalists and monoculturalism (politics as a top-down engineering project). We go beyond the verbalism; we rely on information theory, complexity theory, uncertainty approaches (say fragility), and probabilistic rigor to look at politics with the same eyes as we examine highly dimensional interactive elements such as nature, biological systems, internet networks, and medical issues.

Link to Paper –

Paper: On single point forecasts for fat-tailed variables


We discuss common errors and fallacies when using naive “evidence based” empiricism and point forecasts for fat-tailed variables, as well as the insufficiency of using naive first-order scientific methods for tail risk management.

We use the COVID-19 pandemic as the background for the discussion and as an example of a phenomenon characterized by a multiplicative nature, and what mitigating policies must result from the statistical properties and associated risks. In doing so, we also respond to the points raised by Ioannidis et al. (2020).

Link to Paper –…

Bloomberg: Black Swan Author Spars With Quant Legend Over Tail Risk Hedges

“Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb and quant investing pioneer Cliff Asness have engaged in a vitriolic Twitter dispute over the esoteric world of tail-risk hedging that descended into personal insults.

The spat began when Taleb sent a pair of tweets accusing the $143 billion AQR Capital Management LLC of issuing flawed reports that say tail-risk hedging doesn’t work.

Link to Bloomberg article: Black Swan Author Spars With Quant Legend Over Tail Risk Hedges

The only man who has a clue about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Link to original article – Taleb: The Only Man Who Has A Clue

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Uncertainty, Certainty and what to do when there is Systemic Risk

Third conversation between Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Yaneer Bar-Yam about uncertainty, certainty and what to do when there is a systemic risk; what not to do when a truck is headed your way. How acting early would have cost less? They also discuss:

  • John Ioannidis recent post “we are making decisions without reliable data”
  • Why we should make decisions without reliable data & use precautionary principles
  • How the costs would be so much smaller if we would have acted earlier.

Jan 26 Coronavirus Paper (PDF) – Joseph Norman, Yaneer Bar-Yam, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Systemic risk of pandemic via novel pathogens – Coronavirus: A note, New England Complex Systems Institute (January 26, 2020).

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