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robertogreco : blackswans   38

On the Political Dimensions of Solarpunk — Medium
[via: http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/131978924858/dont-ask-permission-from-a-state-beholden-to]

"Don’t ask permission from a state beholden to oligarchs, and definitely don’t expect those oligarchs to do any of this for you. Guerilla gardening is the model, but look further. Guerilla solar panel installation. Guerilla water treatment facility restoration. Guerilla magnificent temple to the human spirit construction. Guerilla carbon sequestration megastructure creation.

Figure out what a community needs to be prosperous, peaceful and sustainable in as long a term as you can wrap your head around, and start building whatever piece is most in reach before the absent state notices. Doing so just might create pockets of more effective, horizontal politics. As the state wanes, these pockets can grow in size and influence, creating a better world even if some government claims the authority of law and holds a monopoly on violence.

Now, political choices got us into this mess, and political choices could get us out. I for one argue for a comprehensive set of reforms that were inspired by the discussions held around the world during Occupy: a global debt jubilee to free both countries and individuals from debts that impoverish and enslave them; a tax on extreme wealth to control inequality and rein in the power of oligarchs; a guaranteed basic income to provide for the poor, the infirm and those more useful as caregivers, artists and thinkers than employees of businesses; a dramatic reduction in the workweek to slow down unsustainable levels of economic expansion and to eliminate the countless “bullshit jobs” that serve no function but to bore those who hold them; the regulation or even abolition of usury (once considered as great a sin as slavery), so that investments in sustainable infrastructure that will pay off in cathedral time are not hampered by interest payments that will eventually exceed principal."



"As I argued in my discussion of cities, solarpunk should be careful not to idealize either the gothic high tech or the favela chic. No matter how many High Line-style parks or vertical farms they build, Manhattan will be useless if it is only filled with the luxury condos of absentee financiers. And favelas may be full of jugaad-innovation and dense with diverse entrepreneurialism, but they feature a fatal flaw: no fire codes. Slums are fascinating from a design perspective right up until they burn down or wash away. In a world of more extreme weather, disasters will strike down favelas before their recycling-centric, low-carbon lifestyles can save the climate.

Instead, I like the idea of focusing on large-scale infrastructure projects that will provide value for communities into the long term. A seed bank; a hyper-dense vertical permaculture farm engineered for carbon fixing; a massive, low-maintenance desalination system; a space elevator. These projects could themselves be the organizing principle around which unique solarpunk communities are organized."



"I’ve seen many people describe solarpunk as optimistic. My last suggestion is this: don’t be optimistic, be hopeful. As Vaclav Havel explained: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Havel, an artist turned activist turned statesman who led his nation out of a time of crisis, in many ways embodies the transformational power of ideas and aesthetics — and thus the potential of a movement like solarpunk to do real good in the world.

This essay has been long, and it has discussed many troubling situations and possibilities. I wrote these things because I think it is important for any cohesive body of political thought to contrast what it wants with what it opposes: for transparency and privacy, against surveillance and deception; for conservation and abundance, against hoarding and exploitation; for neighborhoods and collaboratives, against gangs and police.

I also wrote this because I believe the enormity of our problems doesn’t have to paralyze us. Quite the opposite: seeing the world as it is is vital if you are going to figure out how it could be. Now is the moment to be galvanized, to know that we are on to something, and to make acting on these ideas a real part of our lives."
solarpunk  2015  andrewdanahudson  politics  favelachic  gothichightech  recycling  diy  optimism  hopefulness  scale  activism  jugaad  infrastructure  organization  horizontality  sustainability  solar  water  climatechange  gardening  hope  refugees  longnow  longnowfoundation  williamgibson  madmax  paolobacigalupi  bladerunner  overconsumption  overpopulation  thecomingrevolution  cities  urban  urbanism  brucesterling  drought  blackswans 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Manso: Jay Porter Interview #3, Part 2
[Also available here: http://jayporter.com/dispatches/san-diego-exit-interview-part-2/ ]

"I talk to people about this a lot. Because of the interviews we’ve done in the past, I know about the business, and I’m a Linkery booster. People tell me, “I really like the idea of the Linkery.” I say, “yeah, it’s an awesome idea.” But they say “I like the idea of the Linkery more than I like the Linkery itself.” And because it was a huge idea that existed in a very robust way, virtually, people could experience it without ever going there.

It was principally an idea. It was an Internet-operated idea. The thing was real, it was real people and real products, but the operations were very much facilitated by the Internet. Our fundamental marketing plan was to do remarkable things and share them in this very transparent way through a blog and by talking honestly about what we were doing. Which in 2005 was a radical idea for a restaurant.

The idea that you could start a blog and newsletter and get people into your local restaurant by saying, hey we got this one pig from this farm, and here’s what we’re doing in the kitchen today, and here’s who we want to win the soccer match…it all feels like Portlandia now, but in 2005 even Portland wasn’t doing it!

My background was, I had really followed where “Web 2.0” companies were going, and how they were communicating with their audiences, and how they were transforming the relationship between companies and their customers. And the Open Source movement really came together at that time. The essay The Cathedral and The Bazaar was such an influential thing for me, I think I read that right before we started the restaurant.

I read that. We probably read it at the exact same time.

Open Source was really catching fire. I was using all the Gnu tools because I was a geek. But it wasn’t long until, for example, my Mom knew what Linux was. Open Source was exploding. It informed so much of how I conceived of the business.

Even when, say, Michael came on as GM, or our chefs would start with us, that was just part of working for our business: We’re super transparent. We blog about things. We take pictures of things. Communication is an essential part of our jobs. We’re building enthusiasm for this kind of food. And then there was the part where we were finding farmers on the Internet, and saying, hey, we think you’re selling what we want to buy, or we think that you might be able to grow what we want to buy. And that was all very tech-driven.

But I think that, as with a lot of these kinds of projects, we also discovered the limits of this approach. Which was, it became too easy to consume the Linkery without actually experiencing the Linkery.

That’s also where I lost interest with a lot of the infrastructure of reviews and critics – I personally like the critics in town, but the infrastructure, including Yelp or whatever, is set up to treat what the restaurant does only as content to be reviewed, in order to generate more content.

Our online presence became its own, free, content that we were delivering to people who then added their own content around it, and then they sold it one way or another, without anybody ever just fucking eating a hot dog. And in the end, the guy who makes the hot dogs has to get fucking paid, no matter how many Yelp reviews get written, or how many articles get written about my blog post or whatever.

Now, the opportunity to build a new business from scratch is a great opportunity, and what’s become clear as we put the new place together is this: as a restaurant operator, I am not in the business of content. I’m not in the business of making things for people to write about. I’m in the business of creating fantastic experiences around local food. And, those experiences are really hard to have on the Internet. You gotta show up for that shit.

So we’re intentionally building our new restaurant to not have a strong online component, or a content-generation component.

But hey, if you want to pay me to write something for you, I’m happy to do that.

If you’re getting paid to write something, then that’s what you’re selling.

There’s a great quote from when Alec Baldwin had Seinfield on his podcast. Alec Baldwin says, “you could have your entire channel. Your own production company, you produce all your own shows, and you could be raking it in, because, it’s all produced by Jerry Seinfeld.” And Seinfeld says, “you could not even sell me that. You know why I wouldn’t do that.”

Baldwin says – I think in legitimate confusion – “I don’t understand.” And Seinfeld says, “because that’s not the thing. I want to connect with my audience. I want to write. That’s the thing.” And then he used this great metaphor, he says, “if you want to experience the ocean, do you want to be on a surfboard or do you want to be on a yacht? I want to be on a surfboard. People have a yacht so they can say, hey, look at my yacht.”

You realize the thing that you’re trying to do and the thing that you’re building have nothing to do with each other.

Yeah, I really misjudged. It started out as a really great way to distinguish ourselves as being different from other restaurants and to communicate what we were really about. It was highly effective for that. But in the end it became its own thing with its own overhead. I stopped feeding that beast a year or two before we sold the restaurant, I really just put up pictures at that point.

Which I think is an amazing thing about technology now. Instagram really is all you need. You can be like, “here, we made something awesome.” It takes you three seconds.

And now, the contextual cues make it clear what you’re about. In 2006, we had to really explain, here is what we believe, this is why we do this, this is who we’re buying from. But now, people understand a restaurant that blogs its ingredients and dishes. You could start a restaurant called “A Blog of Ingredients and Dishes” and people would know exactly what kind of food you serve.

Naming what farms you’re sourcing from and all that. People get it.

Yeah, it’s cool, I don’t want to eat differently than that. But there’s not much needed in terms of explaining what it’s all about. A Tumblr will do the trick fine.

You don’t need to host your own Wordpress blog anymore.

Do you know who Austin Kleon is? He’s really popular on Tumblr. He wrote a book called “Steal Like An Artist”.

I’ve seen that book.

He has a new book coming out called “Show Your Work.” Which I haven’t read obviously because it’s not out yet. But I’m already taking issue with it. Show your work, yes, because there’s real value in that, but that’s also work. To show your work, is also more work that isn’t your work. If you’re not getting paid for it, and if it’s distracting from what you’re actually trying to do, then don’t.

I just think a big thing right now is that, the Internet, and everyone who sits at work googling shit, and reads Facebook and their RSS reader – and I’m part of that Borg – it just creates such a demand for content that nobody’s ever satisfied. You’re not giving them enough free content.

This was a discussion that we’d have sometimes with people who wanted to review us, or write about us, or with Yelp or whoever. I’d say, you know, I don’t really care. I’m not in the business of giving you something to write about.

Look, a restaurant lives in an ecosystem of reviewers and there’s a give-and-take. It’s an environment, and you work with the restaurant media to make sure that they have enough content to keep interest in restaurants alive, and to keep their jobs going. And they in turn are respectful of the realities of restaurants, they don’t run hatchet pieces all the time. Those are the professionals, the professional restauranteurs and the professional writers, and they understand that this is how this thing works. There is a demand for written content and restaurant experiences, and together the restaurant media and the restaurants can create a really positive environment around it. The core professionals understand this.

But in a slightly more outer circle, there may be some slightly less sophisticated people, maybe they are working in the media – whether it’s print or small blogs or whatever – and some of those people really just look at the restaurants as ways of generating content. And when this happens, I’m kind of like, dude, not only do I not really want to help you with this, I don’t want you in my place. You’re not helping this guy, who’s sitting next to you at the bar, who just had a shitty day at work and he came to his favorite local place to be around friends and enjoy some food that he really likes – you’re not helping him have a better time. You’re not helping my employees do their jobs better or make a better living. You’re just kind of in here, trying to improve your own career on top of something that has nothing to do with you and that’s – that makes you kind of a dick.

Because he’ll be trying to create something, “there’s a narrative here”, and maybe there is, but it’s probably not what he’s going to write about…

There actually is a really interesting parallel with what I’ve been reading a lot lately, this kind of “new generation” of highly intelligent sportswriting. Writers like Spencer Hall of SBNation, David J Roth who started a magazine called the Classical…

I don’t know shit about sports, so –

Well, sports is just a way that society expresses itself. A lot of these writers see within sports how society is expressing itself and they write about that.

It’s a vessel to describe society.

So a topic that’s come up with some of these more interesting sportswriters is how sports now serves this purpose, for shitty media outlets to read narrative into everything. Today, nobody just scores a touchdown, instead the touchdown marks a point in … [more]
jedsundwall  jayporter  meta  metadata  making  doing  internet  content  sports  journalism  criticism  2014  interviews  narrative  storytelling  instagram  twitter  data  documentation  thelinkery  restaurants  process  austinkleon  alecbaldwin  howweowork  food  opensource  workinginpublic  nassimtaleb  privilege  luck  business  success  blackswans  emergence  jamesfowler  sethgodin  kurtvonnegut  vonnegut 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Technium: The Improbable is the New Normal
"To the uninformed, the increased prevalence of improbable events will make it easier to believe in impossible things. A steady diet of coincidences makes it easy to believe they are more than just coincidences, right? But to the informed, a slew of improbably events make it clear that the unlikely sequence, the outlier, the black swan event, must be part of the story. After all, in 100 flips of the penny you are just as likely to get 100 heads in a row as any other sequence. But in both cases, when improbable events dominate our view -- when we see an internet river streaming nothing but 100 heads in a row -- it makes the improbable more intimate, nearer.

I am unsure of what this intimacy with the improbable does to us. What happens if we spend all day exposed to the extremes of life, to a steady stream of the most improbable events, and try to run ordinary lives in a background hum of superlatives? What happens when the extraordinary becomes ordinary?"
internet  web  exposure  information  coincidence  blackswans  expectations  photography  video  cameras  everyday  believability  improbable  2013  kevinkelly  technium 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Nassim Taleb: my rules for life | Books | The Observer
"Modern life is akin to a chronic stress injury, he says. And the way to combat it is to embrace randomness in all its forms: live true to your principles, don't sell your soul and watch out for the carbohydrates."

"You have to pull back and let the system destroy itself, and then come back. That's Seneca's recommendation. He's the one who says that the sage should let the republic destroy itself."

"The "arguments" are that size, in Taleb's view, matters. Bigger means more complex, means more prone to failure. Or, as he puts it, "fragile". "

""Antifragile" is when something is actually strengthened by the knocks."

"In Taleb's view, small is beautiful."

"[He] claims that a janitor also has that kind of independence. "He can say what he thinks. He doesn't have to fit his ethics to his job. It's not about money.""

"He's also largely an autodidact."

"Between 2004 and 2008 were the worst years of my life. Everybody thought I was an idiot. And I knew that. But at the same time…"
math  teaching  fasting  diet  paleodiet  living  life  seneca  classics  war  thomasfriedman  honor  vindication  deschooling  autonomy  unschooling  anarchism  chaos  randomness  principles  honesty  freedom  academia  banking  money  ethics  socialmisfits  cv  independence  blackswans  failure  probability  antifragility  antifragile  small  fragility  autodidacts  2012  books  nassimtaleb 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Noreena Hertz: How to use experts -- and when not to | Video on TED.com
"We make important decisions every day -- and we often rely on experts to help us decide. But, says economist Noreena Hertz, relying too much on experts can be limiting and even dangerous. She calls for us to start democratizing expertise -- to listen not only to "surgeons and CEOs, but also to shop staff.""
experts  specialization  specialists  tunnelvision  generalists  listening  patternrecognition  decisionmaking  ted  noreenahertz  economics  infooverload  confusion  certainty  uncertainty  democratization  blackswans  influence  blindlyfollowing  confidence  unschooling  deschooling  trust  openminded  echochambers  complexity  nuance  truth  persuasion  carelessness  paradigmshifts  change  gamechanging  criticalthinking  learning  problemsolving  independence  risktaking  persistence  self-advocacy  education  progress  manageddissent  divergentthinking  dissent  democracy  disagreement  discord  difference  espertise 
february 2011 by robertogreco
The Trouble With Experts : CJR
"By abandoning the assumption that gold-plated credentials equal expertise, the press might even change history. Could journalists have helped to take down, say, Bernie Madoff, before the feds did if they had questioned the sec’s experts more? Shirky wonders.

And then there’s the chance that authentic experts (not necessarily credentialed experts) could become journalists of some kind. It’s happening already. Take the flock of professor-bloggers masticating the news on the Foreign Policy Web site or economist bloggers like Tyler Cowen. There are journalists who have become experts via either peer or crowd review…To cheaply paraphrase Isaiah Berlin, journalists can’t all be clever hedgehogs, but perhaps some generalist foxes can start growing some quills."
society  journalism  generalists  specialization  specialists  credentials  experts  expertise  autism  jennymccarthy  science  blackswans  tunnelvision  via:coldbrain  vaccines  amateur  amateurism  unschooling  deschooling  clayshirky 
january 2011 by robertogreco
On Resilience § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
"Don’t be too alarmed by unexpected events, be prepared for them, and make use of them to improve negative circumstances. These actions will require trust and collective effort, a theme brought into focus with the awarding of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics to Elinor Ostrom, a key player in resilience thinking. Ostrom’s work gives evidence that grassroots, cooperative action can be enormously successful when it comes to caring for public commons—resources that benefit all, and that are traditionally vulnerable to exploitation. This message is at the core of the resilience framework. That the global community is now recognizing it provides hope that resilience will be the new lens through which we face the turbulence, and opportunity, of the coming decade. Like that great French painter, with the right vision, we too can adapt to adversity, rethink our approach—and perhaps create a masterpiece in the process."
resilience  innovation  psychology  ecology  environment  via:theplayethic  elinorostrom  economics  blackswans  eutrophication  climatechange  overfishing  planet  sustainability  future  humanity  society  anticipation  adaptation  adaptability  learning  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  buzzholling  complexity  science 
january 2011 by robertogreco
On Black Swans and Realism | varnelis.net
"A couple of weeks back the Planet Money podcast hosted Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan. Click here for the interview. I have not read Taleb's book, although I am likely to now, but I am baffled by how the real estate crisis and the crash of the market could be considered a hard-to-predict or rare event. In that, Taleb seems like an apologist for the neoliberal school of thought which is in love with totalizing arguments: "There is no alternative" or "Nobody could have predicted it." So sorry, but there are alternatives and plenty of us predicted it long in advance. Look, I only have a basic training in economics, but it was a good one, and it was obvious to me that the market was out of whack. Unless somehow more training in economics leads to diminishing returns, the idea that the crash was a black swan seems bizarre, even delusional."
kazysvarnelis  housingbubble  nassimtaleb  markets  economics  blackswans 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Don't Run for Trains
"Snub your destiny. I have taught myself to resist running to keep on schedule. This may seem a very small piece of advice, but it registered. In refusing to run to catch trains, I have felt the true value of elegance and aesthetics in behaviour, a sense of being in control of my time, my schedule, and my life. Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.

You stand above the rat race and the pecking order, not outside of it, if you do so by choice.

[two more quotes]

In Black Swan terms, this means that you are exposed to the improbable only if you let it control you. You always control what you do; so make this your end."

[from the closing pages of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan]
nassimtaleb  ratrace  autonomy  yearoff  selfdetermination  schedules  success  measurement  choice  control  cv  authority  peckingorder  hierarchy  trains  stress  blackswans 
july 2010 by robertogreco
No One Knows What the F*** They're Doing (or "The 3 Types of Knowledge")
"real reason you feel like a fraud is because you have been successful in taking a lot of information out of [shit you know don't know you don't know] & put it into [shit you know you don't know]; you know of a lot of stuff you don’t know...good news is that this makes you very not dangerous...bad news is that it also makes you feel dumb & helpless a lot of the time.

I hope that this helps if you find yourself sometimes feeling conflicted, recognizing the contradiction between your abilities & what other people say about your abilities. When you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t ever feel ashamed for not understanding something, even it seems like it should be obvious; if you don’t understand it, then it’s not obvious, plain & simple.

In fact, if you never feel clueless, & you always know better than everyone else, please let me know, so that I can be aware of how dangerous you are."
knowledge  learning  education  psychology  information  wisdom  schools  teaching  understanding  cv  fraud  confidence  danger  dangerous  blackswans  random  krugereffect  tcsnmy  leadership  indecurity  lcproject  fakingit  nobodyknowshatthey'redoing  impostorphenomenon  impostorsyndrome 
february 2010 by robertogreco
W.O.W. 8/16/09 and my “Dirty Dozen for Black Swan Avoidance”. »
"1. Drive the biggest vehicle you can afford to drive. Your greatest risk of death comes from a motor vehicle accident. Despite all the data from the government on crash test safety, I can say unequivocally that in a 2-car accident, the person in the larger car always fairs better. ... 3. Do not road cycle or jog on public roads/roadsides. This is self-evident. ... 9. If you are retirement age and plan on moving to a new home…think twice. The stress pushes many seniors over the edge. If you do, buy an existing house. I have lost count of the number of retirees that have died of heart attacks while going through the stress of custom-building their retirement dream home. ... 11. If you are in any personal or professional relationship that exhausts you or otherwise causes your recurrent distress, then end the relationship immediately."
health  death  advice  survival  longevity  life  careers  stress  blackswans  safety 
november 2009 by robertogreco
‘We still have the same disease' - The Globe and Mail
"Central bankers have no clue...financial crisis was not a black swan...They ignored the phenomenal buildup in leverage since 1980...After finishing The Black Swan, I realized there was a cancer...huge buildup of risk-taking based on lack of understanding of reality...second problem is hidden risk w/ new financial products...third is interdependence among financial institutions...we still have same amount of debt, but it belongs to governments. Normally debt would get destroyed & turn to air...Are you saying the U.S. shouldn't have done all those bailouts? What was alternative? Blood, sweat & tears. A lot of growth of past few years was fake growth from debt. So swallow losses, be dignified & move on. Suck it up. I gather you're not too impressed with the folks in Washington who are handling this crisis. Ben Bernanke saved nothing! He shouldn't be allowed in Washington...The first thing I would tell Chinese officials is, how can you buy U.S. bonds as long as Larry Summers is there?"
nassimtaleb  culture  finance  banking  collapse  blackswans  crisis  government  bailouts  debt  capitalism  economics 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Too complex to exist - The Boston Globe
"It may be true, in fact, that complex networks such as financial systems face an inescapable trade-off - between size and efficiency on one hand, and global stability on the other. Once they have been assembled, in other words, globally interconnected and integrated financial networks just may be too complex to prevent crises like the current one from reoccurring.
markets  regulation  complexity  failure  crisis  finance  money  business  economics  risk  duncanwatts  society  systems  banking  blackswans 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Relevant History: Anthony Grafton on graduate school, and the uncertain nature of big decisions
"bigger problem that people & organizations face when thinking about future: we tend to confine our research to cases that are relatively easy to find & look only at successes, not at failures. Getting a handle on that space-- or at least a more realistic appreciation of likelihood of unexpected happening-- is one of the toughest things you can do...After all, success is what we want & it's easy to understand; failure is what we want to avoid & people fail for all sorts of unpredictable reasons. Success if what a strategy, good decision or first-rate school can bring you; failure is what'll happen if you don't get those things. We don't explore the possibility that we could get those things, execute properly & still not reach our goal; but it happens all the time. Success, we think, is comprehensible & predictable; failure is random, or something that'll happen to others. But in reality, we're probably going to end up one of those others. We're better off if we know that in advance."
success  failure  planning  future  parenting  education  gradschool  learning  academia  schools  tcsnmy  blackswans  unpredictability  predictablity  alexsoojung-kimpang  predictions  organizations  behavior  psychology 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world by By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
1. What is fragile should break early while it is still small. Nothing should ever become too big to fail. 2. No socialisation of losses & privatisation of gains. 3. People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (& crashed it) should never be given a new bus. 4. No incentives without disincentives: capitalism is about rewards and punishments, not just rewards. 5. Complexity from globalisation and highly networked economic life needs to be countered by simplicity in financial products. The complex economy is already a form of leverage: the leverage of efficiency. 6. Complex derivatives need to be banned because nobody understands them and few are rational enough to know it. 7. Governments should never need to “restore confidence”. 8. Using leverage to cure the problems of too much leverage is not homeopathy, it is denial. 9. Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible “expert” advice for their retirement. 10. we will have to remake the system before it does so itself"

[also at: http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/tenprinciples.pdf ]
nassimtaleb  blackswans  2009  capitalism  bailout  corruption  economics  us  business  finance  crisis  simplicity  complexity  politics  banking  recession  regulation  bailouts  resilience 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Dubai and learning about the unknowable - Joi Ito's Web
""Education" and the notion that we actually understand the world causes us to be unprepared for the unpredictable. ... Science, which makes a great attempt at trying to make the world appear predictable, is really a rough approximation of things so that our simple minds can try to grasp the complex world around us. ... part of the reason for my moving to the Middle East was that while I continue to learn in any environment, days that I spend in the US or Japan tend to be mostly similar to previous days & relatively predictable, pushing me towards the somewhat typical mode of feeling in control or knowledgeable about what's going on. ... every day I spend in the Middle East is completely full of surprises & pushes me closer & closer to the understanding that I really don't understand anything. Sort of the pure idiot mode. In a way, I've become more aware & much more mindful of everything. One effect of this is that I less & less fear of the unpredictable & the unknown & unknowable."
joiito  brunolatour  learning  knowledge  understanding  ignorance  humility  unschooling  deschooling  blackswans  tcsnmy  education  nassimtaleb  wisdom  cv  immersion 
february 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007)
"Partly thanks to the breadth of Taleb’s erudition, the more interesting passages here concern our psychological makeup, with advantages and disadvantages endowed by the process of evolution as much as anything. You’ll find much here to aid understanding of how people think - and how people act on instinct, for that matter. Beyond that, our almost subconscious attraction to finding confirmation of one’s notions through active construction of data to support that notion is particularly interesting, and worrying."
blackswans  nassimtaleb  economics  history  danhill  cityofsound  psychology  books  reviews 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Don’t Trust Anyone In A Tie | Print Article | Newsweek.com
"High-frequency data is the problem, because we can't interpret it correctly. Our environment is increasingly complicated, and the data that we choose to single out and interpret isn't always relevant [to the problem we are trying to understand]. You can always find correlations if you look. I could find a correlation between your father's blood pressure & some aspect of the market. Any number that you hear can act as an anchor for your beliefs. If I ask you your Social Security number, then ask you how you think the market will perform, the numbers will be correlated. So you have the idea that you are charting the world of randomness, but you aren't. This goes for funds as well—a lot of the metrics they use are ridiculous." "Take risks away from bankers. Let hedge funds—and the high-net-worth people—take it. At least they aren't threatening society. Also, don't use an economist as Treasury secretary. The world needs fewer economists in general. I believe in psychology, not economics."
nassimtaleb  data  flow  context  bigpicture  relevance  miopia  correlationcausation  randomness  blackswans  finance  analysis  crisis  2008  banking  investment 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Thought Experiments : The Blog: Nassim on Newsnight
"The economists were so implausible, so full of themselves and so smarmy that I feared for my lunch on Monday. Nassim was quivering with anger and, at one point, clutching his chest. He's my lunch. John Gray will be there to - it's the crunch lunch. Anyway, the implausible economists poured empty words over everything while angry Nas tried to explain that it was all meaningless because the most important first step was to ditch all the nonsensical models of risk dreamed up by the quack econs and statisticians employed by banks. This is the point. Salvation - and, come to that, happiness - lies not in bailouts but in a humble acceptance of how little we know and how vain are our self-important attempts to pretend otherwise. This was Nassim's message. It went unheard. On the floor of the bourse the brokers roared on like beasts."
nassimtaleb  blackswans  crisis  2008  finance  economics  bailout 
october 2008 by robertogreco
RGE - The world is at severe risk of a global systemic financial meltdown and a severe global depression
"The crisis was caused by the largest leveraged asset bubble and credit bubble in the history of humanity were excessive leveraging and bubbles were not limited to housing in the US but also to housing in many other countries and excessive borrowing by financial institutions and some segments of the corporate sector and of the public sector in many and different economies: an housing bubble, a mortgage bubble, an equity bubble, a bond bubble, a credit bubble, a commodity bubble, a private equity bubble, a hedge funds bubble are all now bursting at once in the biggest real sector and financial sector deleveraging since the Great Depression."
nourielroubini  economics  globalization  capitalism  crisis  2008  predictions  banking  greatdepression  markets  finance  government  policy  politics  global  world  blackswans 
october 2008 by robertogreco
The Observer profile: Nassim Nicholas Taleb - the new sage of Wall Street | Books | The Observer
"We are, he believes, suckers. 'The tools we have to understand what's happening on Wall Street were developed over the last couple of centuries,' he told the audience at Kentucky's Idea Festival last week. 'We need new tools. We will have to finance the losses because of a huge misunderstanding.' That misunderstanding, he explains in his book, is partly based on our belief that bankers and financial analysts are somehow blessed with superior knowledge. While 'peasants know they can't predict the future', Wall Street bankers believe they can. 'Banks hire dull people and train them to be even more dull. If they look conservative, it's only because their loans go bust on rare, very rare occasions.' But, Taleb believes, bankers are not conservative at all. They are just 'phenomenally skilled at self-deception by burying the possibility of a large, devastating loss under the rug'."
nassimtaleb  economics  books  2008  collapse  crisis  finance  banking  blackswans  statistics  interviews 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Edge: THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Statistical and applied probabilistic knowledge is the core of knowledge; statistics is what tells you if something is true, false, or merely anecdotal; it is the "logic of science"; it is the instrument of risk-taking; it is the applied tools of epistemology; you can't be a modern intellectual and not think probabilistically—but... let's not be suckers. The problem is much more complicated than it seems to the casual, mechanistic user who picked it up in graduate school. Statistics can fool you. In fact it is fooling your government right now. It can even bankrupt the system (let's face it: use of probabilistic methods for the estimation of risks did just blow up the banking system)."
nassimtaleb  blackswans  decisionmaking  statistics  math  logic  policy  economics  finance  risk  2008  history  future  probability  edge  research  crisis  banking  knowledge  science 
september 2008 by robertogreco
robertogreco {tumblr} - Unschooling and Messiness
"Jessica Shepherd reviews the recently published How Children Learn at Home in the Guardian. The review seems to focus more on the unschooling subset of home education and the part that I find most interesting is the comparison to the messiness that often results in creative leaps. It reminds me of a variety of articles that have been emphasizing the importance of random events and cross-pollination or hybridization of traditional fields of study."
unschooling  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  transdisciplinary  postdisciplinary  nassimtaleb  glvo  crosspollination  messiness  davidsmith  julianbleecker  nicolasnova  robertepstein  design  learning  deschooling  education  creativity  comments  lcproject  schools  technology  consilience  creative  children  homeschool  research  books  blackswans  tinkering  serendipity  specialization  academia  grantmccracken  lelaboratoire  ted  poptech  etech  lift  picnic  lacma  art  science  medicine  us  terminology  vocabulary  specialists 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Pasta&Vinegar » Blog Archive » Taleb's "fooled by randomness"
Nassim Taleb: "I prefer to read poetry. If an event is important enough, it will find its way to my ear...explains why it is better to read the New yorker on Mondays than the Wall Street Journal every morning..." + Nicolas Nova: "reason why I walk around in cities or take so much trains: to have time to ruminate from different “information-filled” places: the internet, my apartment and newsstands+book-shops."
nassimtaleb  randomness  flow  information  predictions  news  attention  trading  bias  patterns  analysis  nicolasnova  blackswans 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Leapfroglog - Playing With Complexity — slides and notes for my NLGD Festival of Games talk
"Data visualization traditionally draws displays of data about things that have happened...Games...models to generate fictional realities....By combining these two...data visualizations that describe what has happened, and predict what could happen."
visualization  design  games  complexity  interaction  play  information  hacking  data  software  simplicity  ixd  interactive  comics  mapping  personalinformatics  janemcgonigal  happinesshacking  nassimtaleb  gamedesign  blackswans 
july 2008 by robertogreco
David Archer: Rules for living by Stone and Taleb
"At the end of a great profile of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan, is a list of Taleb's rules for living. Coincidentally, a recent profile of Republican operative Roger Stone is interspersed with his own set of "rules," which I've added below
nassimtaleb  advice  culture  living  life  rules  dichotomy  wisdom  blackswans 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Nassim Nicholas Taleb top life tips
"1. Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

I think scepticism is one of driving motivations behind many entrepreneurs: a healthy scepticism for existing products and people’s predictions invokes the ‘challenger’ mindset. I have honed my scepticism on the small & aesthetic for long enough now…

2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

HOW can you possibly fault a man who holds amongst his top 10 tips: ‘GO TO PARTIES’

3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

There is ONE exception to this rule. Never tease a Venture Capitalist. Regardless of the size of his tie. Buy him a drink, complement his colour-co-ordinated cufflinks, but never tease him.

4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) once said: ‘If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” And so it is with Snagsta. When the time comes we’ll be wearing our best but at first ‘site’ it may appear as if we got dressed in a bit of a hurry… tucking in our shirt on the way out the door. Kind of my ‘style’ I suppose, given I was once described as looking like an ‘unmade bed’…

5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

I didn’t understand that but I am sure it’s deep.

6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

There is an interesting debate on the correlation between success and past failure. In my industry the US is very pro-failure, whereas Europe is far more risk-adverse. Statistics suggest there is no correlation but I have hedged my bets by establishing a long track record of failure…

7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

Bit late for this advice given I am now inextricably linked to Alex M… he’s not really a loser but has exceptionally dodgy taste in music.

8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.

I’ve talked about this before. Ironically this list came from the business section of The Times… a Black Swan perhaps?

9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

The central theme in Taleb’s book (Black Swan): success has a lot to do with luck. Do whatever you can to put yourself in its way. Luck is less likely to visit you in your bedroom while you’re watching dvds…

10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Given his instantaneous reply to my mail I know exactly how junior Taleb thinks I am. To those of you that I haven’t written back to recently… it’s because you’re so important."

[from the video seen here: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article4022091.ece?print=yes&randnum=1214904808363 another version here: http://blog.snagsta.com/2008/06/13/time-to-party/ ]
nassimtaleb  blackswans  life  skepticism  news  reading  information  risk  investment  luck  failure  success  money  systems  environment  complexity  communication  email 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom
"When this man said the world’s economy was heading for disaster, he was scorned. Now traders, economists, even Nasa, are clamouring to hear him speak"
economics  risk  nassimtaleb  blackswans  via:blackbeltjones  sociology  interviews  religion  belief  health  diet  exercise  math  statistics  predictions  science  probability 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Conceptual Trends and Current Topics - Unthinkable Futures - "Believing in the improbable is quickly becoming a survival skill."
List of outrageous (for then, not all now) scenarios imagined by Kevin Kelly & Brian Eno in 1993 including several some school related: "American education works" "Schools abandon attempt to teach 3 Rs" "Schools completely abandon divisions based on age"
predictions  blackswans  nassimtaleb  kevinkelly  brianeno  future  futurism  gamechanging  flexibility  adaptability  survival  education  schools  learning  games  play  human  society  politics  history  technology  children  parenting  skills  teaching  classideas  lcproject  change 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Technology Review: TR10: Modeling Surprise
"Combining massive quantities of data, insights into human psychology, and machine learning can help manage surprising events, says Eric Horvitz."
microsoft  predictions  simulations  traffic  transportation  urban  blackswans  context-awareness  nassimtaleb 
march 2008 by robertogreco
You Can't Predict Who Will Change The World - Forbes.com
"U.S. fosters entrepreneurs & creators, not exam-takers, bureaucrats, deluded economists...perceived weakness of American pupil in conventional studies is where his strength may lie...system of trial & error produces doers: Black Swan-hunting, dream-chasi
blackswans  nassimtaleb  books  constructivism  creativity  gamechanging  education  us  creative  pedagogy  predictions  psychology  future  innovation  trends  forecasting  experimentation  risk  culture  economics  globalization  knowledge  lcproject  homeschool  unschooling  tinkering  deschooling  schools  learning  competition  business  europe  randomness  serendipity 
november 2007 by robertogreco
FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - The pseudo-science hurting markets
"Academic economists are no more self-serving than other professions. You should blame those in the real world who give them the means to be taken seriously: those awarding that “Nobel” prize."
finance  investment  markets  trading  influence  economics  nobelprizes  nassimtaleb  blackswans 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Edge: LEARNING TO EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past."
blackswans  nassimtaleb  cognitive  datamining  skepticism  decisionmaking  economics  philosophy  learning  future  statistics  psychology  risk  predictions  randomness 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Bring out your sheep bladders the “key competencies” have arrived.
"Hijacking Taleb’s interpretation it seems entirely plausible that that the few “life long learners” amongst us are mostly a product of happenstance, of luck and nothing to do with the key competencies."
learning  schools  competencies  education  policy  change  reform  human  nature  humannature  nassimtaleb  habits  behavior  skills  attitudes  standards  blackswans  artichokeblog  pamhook 
july 2007 by robertogreco
caveman lunch with taleb [Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan] - part 3 » knackeredhack
"One of the less discussed aspects of the book is an observation on the way children learn. Children possess a natural appreciation for complexity, Taleb argues. But that child-like sense of inquiry, with which all parents are so familiar, is gradually dr
alternative  deschooling  education  learning  pedagogy  philosophy  science  homeschool  schools  lcproject  slow  nassimtaleb  blackswans  math  complexity  benoitmandelbrot  unschooling  schooling 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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