by Tyler Cowen
on December 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm
1. Good short essay on Prince and Nikki.
2. The latest from Taleb.
3. Interviewing some guy about music none of you like.
4. More on seasteading and French Polynesia.
5. Will the underhand free throw make a comeback? Why the stickiness on that one?
6. Quora query on whether Trump should stay on Twitter.
1. How charming.
2. A little late to notice.
6. Someone should let the President Elect know the results. He should get a good laugh.
1. Actually, it isn’t his latest. Look at the bottom of the page.
2. he has never gotten drunk with Russians;
One more for the bucket list. I may not survive that one.
Also, the IYI “fails to understand ergodicity”. Taleb may be the most overrated “thinker” today.
@JFA. Please expand on your critique. It sounds conclusory to me.
Speaking for myself, I was an early Taleb admirer, but as he has descended into hating everything, I find him less convincing.
This piece in particular reads as “I hate people who are wrong, and that includes everybody.”
@anon- Taleb is a clever troll, note his postscript, which is directed to readers like you: “From the reactions to this piece, I discovered that the IYI has difficulty, when reading, in differentiating between the satirical and the literal.” – so he’s creating the defense of “I was only kidding or exaggerating for effect”. Clever, like Strunk & White’s horse!
I did not get down to those postscripts. They are weird. And probably a sign that the rant was too long.
Taleb is adamantly against GMO’s. He’s not informed then. They’re the only way Humanity is going to survive. Is not something I’d wish but it’s the way it is. He’s really turned into a vociferous crank. The Black Swan was a good read with some good criticism of macro-economic modeling, but besides that what? Germany’s Bayer got a good deal in purchasing Monsanto, after the academics and religious nature worshipers got through with them in the USA. They must intuitively realize that’s the only way they’re going to be able save their storied forests. And there’s no one to blame, was going to happen anyway once we’ve merged all the formerly isolated ecosystems of the World. Inevitable. Fortunately we’ve got brains and science to keep it going. Fight change all you want, live in a dream about the Garden of Eden of some yesteryear.
Taleb! Writes like a troll! My kind of guy! Taleb: “With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons. More socially, the IYI subscribes to The New Yorker. He never curses on twitter. He speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver (again, no real skin in the game as the concept is foreign to the IYI).”
And this: “he fails to understand ergodicity and when explained to him, he forgets about it soon later” yet Wikipedia informs us: “In an ergodic process, the state of the process after a long time is nearly independent of its initial state.” – easy enough to understand, and yet intial conditions are very important in economics (Weber thesis, Peruvian poverty, American exceptionism, stock market momentum)
Bring some Finns and you’ll be fine.
I’m often out drinking with Russians. No big deal, actually. Am German though. Don’t forget to season the drinks with pickles and bread, and you’ll be fine. On its own, Vodka is pretty distasteful anyway.
You’re not supposed to taste it. A Russian would suck down a vodka shot in a moment.
Until recently, I thought all vodkas were the same — differing only in purity and harshness. After switching from wine to vodka diluted in carbonated water down to beer strength, I was drinking the cheapest vodka from Trader Joe’s, which is Burnett’s (a quadruple distilled U.S.-made vodka from grain). It’s about as smooth as any spirit can be. This must be a popular item, because Trader Joe’s frequently runs out. During one of these periods, I switched to another brand Monopolowa (triple distilled, Austrian-made from potatoes). Suddenly one day, I noticed my drink seemed stronger. I wondered whether I had put three tablespoons in the glass instead of the usual two. So I was really careful making the next one. It too tasted stronger. Both vodkas have a label claim of the same ABV of 40% (80 proof). But Burnett’s is like a complete flavor blank. Monopolowa has a flavor I can only describe as “vodka flavor”. I don’t know whether it’s the distilling or the potatoes or something else, but it is different and better. I haven’t done a survey of vodkas to see if there’s anything better, but I’m happy with this.
You have to freeze a quality vodka then drink it, MT, and then it’s smooth and has a nice mouthfeel. As told to me by a Russian. As for mixing vodka, that’s verboten, though you can drink it eating a smelly oily fish if you wish.
Yes, Ray, you are absolutely correct. In fact, if you want to be really classy Russian style, you’ll freeze the bottle in a block of ice with just the neck poking out. You’ll heft the whole block to pour out the shots.
#5 IMHO the whole Detroit Pistons teams should try switching to shooting free throws underhanded to support Andre Drummond. The pistons would be a much better team if Drummond shot 65% for the foul line and his teammates could reduce the stigma.
I must say I played basketball on my high school and team and I experimented with shooting underhand it did not seem easier to me but maybe it woudl work and seems worth a try for the Pistons.
The technique used in shooting a free throw isn’t as much of an issue as the free throw itself. When basketball was invented, before it became a spectator sport, maybe free throws made a kind of sense. Now that it’s a game viewed by thousands it’s a boring, stupid exercise, except for the fact that the team that shoots the most free throws usually wins the game. Nothing more dramatic for the fans than free throws. The pro game got rid of the jump ball, first after every basket, later after disputed possessions, they should figure out some way to eliminate free throws as well.
when did they get rid of the jump ball?
1936. It was one of the most important rule changes for speeding up the game, more important than even the shot clock (1954 in the NBA, although it took men’s college basketball 30 years before they finally instituted a shot clock). Prior to that, having centers and set plays to win and score off of jump balls was as important, or more important, than winning face-offs is in ice hockey. Nowadays winning jump balls is almost irrelevant in basketball.
Although the basics of basketball have been the same from the beginning (throw the ball into the basket, don’t hit or tackle the opponent) most of the fine points of the game have changed over time, such as the center jump and shot clock. There was no 10 second (or 8 second) backcourt rule, nor a 3 seconds in the key rule. Interestingly the one fine-pointed rule that has been around from the very beginning is the 5 second rule (to inbounds the ball).
Hey, c’mon, I read Iverson religiously and while I disagree with him on many things, at least, _some_ of us like him. I think TBP blows hot and cold, but, their album with Joshua Redman is _spectacular_ and in fact I am surprised it didn’t get a mention on MR.
#2. Ok so Nassim Taleb is mentally ill. That’s not surprising.
Sure, there are millions of people just like he describes, but how is he not one of them? ( Because he got drunk with the Russians? )
Especially his stupidity on the subject of GMOs is a perfect example of “intellectual yet idiot”. There’s a billion anti-GMO idiots out there who are perfectly capable of rattling off “scientific” reasons to be anti-GMO. I think Taleb is having some sort of psychotic breakdown because he accidentally picked the wrong position on the subject out of a desire to appear edgy and now he’s angry that he’s getting snubbed by the intellectual establishment. Poor you, Nassim.
Is this evidence of a psychotic breakdown?
” What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences.”
Yes, kind of. He’s having trouble reconciling his desire for intellectual credibility with his need for mass popularity. Solution: a full-throttled endorsement of retarded populism.
All the intellectuals I’ve heard over the past while pontificating on democracy miss the basic point of it all; it protects the powerful and influential from being hung. Two ways. First as a check or level of accountability. Second that we can get rid of idiots without having to hang them. I heard some Georgetown professor of something or other blathering on about how there is a better way, just have smart people run things. These are the idiot intellectuals that need to be protected from their own stupidity.
I posited that the financial crash of 2008 would lead to worldwide convulsions but the US with its vigorous democratic traditions, including populism, would fare the best. So far so good. The North African collapse that is leading to a rewriting of the political structures stem from food price increases that resulted from the injection of cash into the world economy at the time. Europe will fall apart if the brilliant intellectuals running the place keep doing what they are doing. I think Trump is going to have to deal with the effects of internal convulsions in China.
No, thank the electorate for slapping a big dead fish across the faces of the brilliant intellects populating government, media and the academy. If they are smart, and the jury is still out, they will temper their brilliance with a dose of reality.
Wow. One of the best replies on MR in a long time.
You’re neglecting the reality that the populist policies are actually BAD policies, which will harm a lot of people, including a lot of people who didn’t vote for them.
Is slapping a big dead fish across the elites faces at the cost of objectively harming many people really a good deal?
I’m thinking, in particular, of DACA and DAPA protected immigrants who are now at risk of having their lives destroyed by Donald Trump’s goons at the DHS.
You seem to bliethly disregard the lives and humanity of people who may be torn from their families and the only home may have ever known simply because they lack the correct government issued pieces of paper.
That’s…more or less exactly how a great deal of media figures treat it. I think he called it out the usage of the word populism well enough.
“desire to appear edgy” I’ve always thought this about his GMO stance too but I don’t understand many of his arguments so maybe I’m an idiot yet idiot. All the cursing and name calling he does on twitter is pretty old and lame at this point too.
Taleb is a smart guy, but the “I’m smarter than all the rest of you, and anyone who disagrees with me is a fool or a villain or both” gets *really* old. And it’s not like that style of discourse is so rare on the internet that we need it from him.
That last sentence is a good one.
If you don’t understand him, it’s his fault — not yours.
He’s just a snob.
In what way?
That’s not the most recent, this one is:
The suggestion he made about the incentive modification for public servants (capping their post public service income, with excesses going to the taxpayer) is alone worth the time price of the read. It is quite a nice and simple suggestion. In clannish countries like India, one might need capping the entire related family’s income, but the basic principle is solid.
His GMO position is fine. He does distinguish between types of GMO. It’s consistent with the rest of his philosophy of science, which itself is at least worthy of meaningful consideration. All he’s really saying is that in this otherwise new and fast-growing world of genetic modifications, we cannot and should not be complacent or certain in the safety of the products. As a similar case, he takes the same view that nuclear weapons haven’t (necessarily) made the world safer. Sure, there haven’t been any WWII’s since, well, WWII, but all it takes is one catastrophic nuclear showdown in 2130 to dismiss the claim that the world is safer.
Similarly, he’s making the argument that we can’t prove from first principles and past data that there won’t be a genetic modification in 2023, which will slowly cause cancer in the population by 2054, or whatever. His argument is that generally there is an anti-fragile property present in coevolution of humans and their food, which is reliable. When we deviate from that, we don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen.
Personally, I’m still pro-GMO. Taleb does fall into polemic patterns of speech sometimes (many times), which doesn’t do him any favors in persuasion. Still, it’s a reasonable enough argument. Or at least a well reasoned caveat. It’s not mental illness.
The reason he doesn’t consider himself to be like the people he describes is because he doesn’t attempt to predict and construct the world in their broken ways. That’s sort of his shtick, he’s against intellectuals who believe they can predict and centrally build a more perfect future. In a lot of ways it’s not a novel argument, and follows from guys like Hayek.
His GMO position is fine.
I guess that explains all the references to the evil company Monsanto and it’s evil lobbyists.
I don’t agree with him, and his writing is frequently polemic, but his rational for being a GMO skeptic is reasonable. That is to say, his gripes with Monstanto are distinct from the traditional anti-Monstanto crew. He fears that small errors in complex systems are inherently impossible to predict, but that these errors can be disastrous if the system is fragile. That’s not an insane or crackpot idea. The question is then related to measurement: Do the benefits outweigh the potentially small risks? I say yes. For the same reason I don’t want us to stop tech innovation for fear of an evil superintelligence. But let’s acknowledge there are unknown risks when humans tinker with complex systems they don’t fully understand.
Is he right? I don’t know. But if you read him carefully it’s clear that he’s not mentally ill, and writing off peoples arguments because part of their argument is correlated with the argument of another type or group of persons (who are stupid) is rhetorically useful, but not scientifically fair.
Interesting summary. “He fears that small errors in complex systems are inherently impossible to predict”: do you know whether he takes that attitude consistently?
It is reasonable to think there may be unknown unknowns.
Dearieme, hasn’t that been his core thesis from “fooled by randomness”, and which he followed up on with “the black swan”?
The question, of course, is how complex a system must become before it is ‘impossible’ to predict, and how we move forward.
He advocates the “precautionary principle” which essentially means GMOs should be banned until they are proven safe. Which is forever because nobody is going to do 40 year trials on human subjects to “prove” that they are safe.
Here’s the thing. Of course small mutations can do unpredictable things in a complex system. The problem is that the complex system in question is an adult organism, which will be exposed by a single plant. You grow 4-5 generations of a crop and those unpredictable effects are thoroughly exposed. The possibility of there being something out there that doesn’t reveal itself until 40 years of human consumption is infinitesimally small, and essentially indistinguishable from the risk of exactly the same thing happening with conventional breeding. There is no theoretical reason to believe that a gene that got there via recombinant DNA technology is going to do something different than a gene that got there via conventional breeding after dozens of crop cycles. Anything caused by the insertion technology is going to reveal itself on the first generation.
If his arguments are as you say thank you for explaining them but he could get them across more clearly without all the noise created by his name calling.
Why did he leave out the IYIs who are confident tax cuts generate more revenue and pay for themselves, bigger deficits will starve the beast and make government smaller, that regulations forcing paying more workers to do the same thing kills jobs, that as conservatives take over more and more of government and policy, the American Dream going out of reach is all the fault of the leftists, that replacing Obamacare with something that gives patients and doctors far more freedom will be far cheaper is easy, that covering Israeli occupied land completely with Jewish settlements will lead to a great two state solution of a thriving Jewish state beside a thriving non-Jewish state,…?
Well, I sure hope Trump supports Israel by forcing them to pay the US $37 billion for US protection of Israel. After all, Trump is a deal maker who will profit America in every protection US military power provides our allies.
Close to 500,000 dead Syrians. 12 million Syrian refugees.
And your fixated on where Jewish people want to live.
Ironically, the whole reason it’s an issue is that many liberals are becoming less fixated on where Jewish people want to live.
Taleb is a very smart “hedgehog” in the sense of the fox-hedgehog dichotomy. Antifragile was one of the most useful additions I’ve made to my way of thinking, and probably one of the most important 5-10 books written in the last ~10 years, but I have little confidence in Taleb’s own decision making process.
It’s funny you say that, because having almost finished Antifragile I feel the exact same way. I think his philosophy of science is very interesting, but I often get the impression he subtly slips into being the type of person he hates when he casually uses historical anecdote as evidence.
The funny thing about Taleb is that his definition of low risk is US Treasury Bonds. To me, buying tbills is the ultimate example of picking up pennies in front of a steam roller.
If t-bills break then there is no model for what will be ‘safe’. Given that you should buy t-bills, since they are the safest security we have.
The problem is that he runs his intellectual distillation column too hot for too long and ends up having flared off the valuable and reaped only coke. A good example is his conclusion that deadlifting 300 lbs once each week is all that’s needed for strength training. His GMO belief is another. If you want to worry about mutations and cancer you’re better off reading the National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens. Only one of the seven new “known” carcinogens, TCE, is man-made and it is at best weakly carcinogenic (if you believe the even weaker epi studies on which the claim rests). Five of the new inductees however are viruses and if you really want a scare go to pubmed and look at some abstracts on one of them, Epstein-Barr virus, and say lymphoma – you’ll spend more time worrying about having gotten mono way back when than worrying about eating a spud with a fungus-fighting gene.
#2. Ok so Nassim Taleb is mentally ill.
No, he’s a grifter. His marks are intellectualoids.
Speaking of which: Soros displays his utter incomprehension of Karl Popper here: https://www.project-syndicate.org/onpoint/open-society-needs-defending-by-george-soros-2016-12
This is the best evidence that some rich dudes, like Soros, just luck into it.
It was a fine piece, and it looks like he hit his mark. Well done Taleb!
Taleb does go for the invective (as Hazel has done here), but he actually does tend to offer support for his positions. Sometimes it is as tenuous as Hazel’s, but normally you can see his point of view. In the case of GMO’s his position is clear and consistent, he would place the burden of proof on GMO fans to show that GMO’s will not cause damage long term. Very hard to prove! Rather than accepting, as Hazel has done, that there is no proof that GMO’s are dangerous – which might also be true, but is less robust (or indeed, anti-fragile..).
I didn’t see any argument offered for his dismissal of Sunstein and Thaler. There is a lot of empirical evidence of there being such a thing as status quo bias, for instance, and of how nudging can break people out of harmful status quo situations. And his dismissal of behavioral economics in the article he linked to based on its failure to provide instruction on “how to play the market” is risible coming from the author of “The Black Swan.” Of course, it does provide predictions in some cases. For instance, an employer that offers opt-in 401(k)s is very likely to have lower enrollment rates than an employer that offers opt-out plans.
He also doesn’t appear to demonstrate any understanding of what Dawkins was talking about in “The Selfish Gene.” Dawkins was popularizing a bunch of research demonstrating apparently selfless behavior in certain highly social animals. The key to understanding how this is compatible with evolution by natural selection is that many “selfless” individuals sacrifice themselves to increase the chances that closely related kin survive and reproduce. In certain extreme cases, such as that of honeybees, the entire hive resembles one big organism with each individual bee resembling a differentiated cell in an organism.
There is no theoretical basis to believe that GMOs are dangerous.
Taleb’s problem is that he thinks because he doesn’t understand genetics that geneticists don’t understand it either. He sees all sorts of “unknown unknowns” because he’s not a biologist and doesn’t know anything about genetics. Actual geneticists don’t see as many “unknown unknowns”, because they know a lot more than Taleb does. They can therefore make much more confident predictions of low risk, but Taleb refuses to accept this.
Trump can use Twitter but that doesn’t mean other leaders can. He’s practiced mass media communications for decades and he’s really good at it. Also consumers of his tweets understand his use of the medium and the negatives are therefore somewhat subdued.
From the cover of R. Crumb’s Zap #1 :
Lady in the flowerpot hat: “I wish somebody would tell me what diddy wah diddy means.”
Mr. Natural: “If you don’t know by now, lady, don’t mess with it!!”
There are two types of people regarding twitter I believe. People that take it very very seriously and those that don’t and/or think of it as very modern sophisticated way for human apes to sling poo at each other. This is what drives the media crazy. They see, use and rely on the platform like zealots because of its ability to generate content while large numbers of Trump’s supporters nationwide either don’t have it, use it very differently or not at all, or most of all don’t take the platform seriously period. While the media and coastal elites are freaking out about every single tweet (and thus giving out lots of free attention and press), most of the people that don’t view the platform seriously look at it as mostly bombast and are actually hearing about what he said through the msm! They didn’t see it on twitter but they sure see the msm harridans losing their cotton-picking minds over 140 characters.
I’m going to coin a new term for what Trump has created through his use of twitter. Tweeterbaiting. That’s what he does and he might possibly be the first successful politician to use the tactic. He certainly won’t be the last.
Tweeterbaiting is good. From the POTweeterUS.
Lose the “i” and you get Tweeterbating.
Used in a sentence: “Instead of focusing on my hit piece about the NRA for the NY Daily News I spent my day tweeterbating about what I had for lunch, my new cute-boots, and my hypersensetive sense of self-importance.”
Its definition is self-explanatory.
Uh, actually there is already a word: “trolling”.
Always thought that was for the lulz…
It’s possible he gets a good laugh, but I don’t think that’s his primary purpose.
Just unintentionally funny?
So, can you see any possible negatives for someone as powerful and influential as the POTUS going on Twitter to bait or troll, or whatever you want to call it?
As fun as I imagine it would be to just spout whatever you want to get a rise out of liberals/conservatives/the msm/whatever tribe you don’t like, I imagine that a President doing so could cause all kinds of problems. Maybe his supporters are in on the joke, but that’s no guarantee that, say, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is.
The medium isn’t that important as Trump also says outrageous things in public. So many examples from the campaign are so well-known, I might as well link to this TV interview from 2011 on the subject of Obama’s birth certificate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blckpwk1voQ
If you want to say he is a charlatan and troll who will say anything in any medium to get attention, yes, that is certainly true. The problem with possessing these traits when one is President is that the President’s job is to communicate with people like senior law enforcement, intelligence and military officials, influential members of Congress, and foreign heads of state. If Trump can’t clearly communicate, stay on message, and give others a reason to take him seriously, that’s a problem for everyone.
You are hopeful that Trump on Twitter is just .. something .. and not incompetent.
Digest this as an official statement:
Why the stickiness on that one (underhand Free Throw)?
I suspect two reasons. Schoolyard players hate it so they avoid practicing at a young age. So by the time they might need to practice they are too old to learn. Secondly, it would mean young people would have to learn two different ways both underhand and overhand. So whatever decrease in Free Throws might increase in overhand shots.
I think it’s only useful for big men with bad FT shooting
Taleb is like Ayn Rand- he’ll make a really good point, but then take it way too far and be a preening self-absorbed jerk about it
On 4, I was thinking about the great private cities in America, called trailer parks. NPR did a story on one:
Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream
“Tachell and Bonsall say living in Syringa has been a blessing — but over the years, it has also become a curse. Since the 1980s, this community of roughly 100 houses has been plagued repeatedly by drinking water problems — including periods with contaminated water or no water at all. Rivers of raw sewage have occasionally gushed out of the ground and formed stinky ponds around homes. One resident has filled a cardboard box with videocassettes that he shot to document some of the incidents. Conditions in the neighborhood have become so bad that some people have abandoned their houses and moved out.”
So, when the “customers” buy their city and run it themselves for their own “profit” as was done in the second story,
When Residents Take Ownership, A Mobile Home Community Thrives
…is that free market capitalism, or big government liberal socialism?
“Kevin Walker, a community development specialist from the Northcountry Cooperative Foundation, stood up front and gave them surprising news: If they wanted, his organization would help them buy Park Plaza and run it democratically, for the good of the residents.
“The foundation, based in Minneapolis, collaborates with ROC USA, a national network of development specialists. Since the late 1980s, ROC has led a legal and financial campaign to help residents take over almost 200 mobile home parks across the nation. As the meeting unfolded, Walker displayed a series of posters showing how the residents of Park Plaza could pull it off.
“First, the Northcountry Foundation would help them form a co-op — every homeowner who wanted to join would chip in a membership fee, usually around $200. Next, they would elect a handful of their neighbors to a co-op board of directors. Then, Northcountry would help the co-op borrow enough money to buy Park Plaza.”
#4: what does an article about mimicking living construction methods for mankind’s structures have to do with seascaping and French Polynesia?
#3 Is providing me with some fine background music for this snowy day. Started with the link within the article ‘Seven-minute Mind’ and it’s been going ever since.
Good link for tomorrow’s links. Excellent! And from the New Yorker!
Re #3: I like contemporary classical music, and I’m still waiting for Tyler to post his “best of classical” for 2016. I own recordings of some of the composers Iverson mentions.
5. The limits of moneyball.
Taleb should be able to afford an editor, no? He’s ponderous enough without having trudge through that ill-kempt prose.
What is Taleb’s skin in the game? What has he actually produced that is of any use to anyone? I remember about 6 or so years ago he made a set of predictions, which included that we’d be returning to hard money, and that most nations will collapse in favour of ‘city states’. When those predictions inevitably fail, will he admit he’s a charlatan like the rest of us?
Those predictions can never fail, he will simply say ‘hasn’t happened….YET’
I think taleb is generally pretty interesting, but this newer thing is a bit tiresome. Yes yes expertise flawed yes yes. But guess what, your uneducated grandma or rollin coal cousin don’t know much of anything at all except what they are used to. Like lots of white faces. Finger wagging at the different. BS home remedies, which no, they don’t work and it doesn’t matter than the science of nutrition reverses all the time. The problem to attack is systems that lead to unscientific outcomes, yes to have some humility about claims and stipulate uncertainties, but ffs lets not adopt some kind of live by the gut religion.
If a persons sharpe ratio is a/b where a is their intellect and b their own esimtstion of their intellect, Taleb’s sharpe is pretty bad, and his “a” is indeed very very high. That’s hard to pull off!
I use Taleb as a litmus test – anyone who thinks Taleb is interesting or smart is not worth spending time listening to. You can teach an entire class on logical fallacies using just a few of his articles.
Agreed with above re 4.: wrong link?
#2 – A flip side of IYI is the concept of bon eleve – basically, the idea that almost all celebrity scientists, including Nobelists, are, whether or not they have a one in a thousand or even a one in a ten thousand gift, only incremental thinkers at best (Taleb was quite clear, writing about the bon eleve subject, that there are exceptions even in our more or less degraded contemporary times – scientists who cannot be called merely good students – he has mentioned Mandelbrot in this connection – and Feynman – and Wolfram). Taleb has also said that his favorite compliments are ***from*** classical scholars or ***about*** courage. Those are good things to say. His Amazon book reviews (there are about 40) are great, maybe the best I have read on such a wide range of subjects. It is kind of Tyler Cowen to link to him; Taleb was rude about Cowen’s review of one of his books, years ago. Also, Taleb is one of the few public intellectuals in recent years to have a strong opinion, one way or the other, on Aquinas – his opinion is wrong, but at least he has one.
#3 – I like contemporary classical music. Choral music, in particular, because it is easier and less expensive to hear live.
James MacMillan is good, so is Langlais. If you get a chance to hear Poulenc choral music live, it sounds like it was written early this morning
1. Who goes in for these tales of creepy suburban white sexuality. I like white people, but something is going wrong.
I think it’s Tyler trolling. #1 is a tale of sexual discovery that emphasizes the value of a willing and shameless partner. #2 is Taleb saying intellectuals yet idiots never drink with Russians, deadlift 300 lbs or any other activity he considers interesting……at what age one prefers lifting weighs over awesome sex?
1. It seems strange that The New Yorker would publish something that was probably rejected by Vice.
#2 I think this is the same pitch that was used to sell the dark ages. Someone needs to remind Taleb which side of the machine gun he’s going to be on when they start rounding up intellectuals and shooting them.
3: This is precisely why no one listens to that music anymore. It’s two middle-aged white suburban guys circle jerking themselves to an urban Black art form. They talk about essential classical music and who you need to study in order to, you know, improvise. They cite Coltrane, Armstrong, all the ‘A-List’ jazz guys – I am willing to bet not a single of them ever heard Schoenberg’s Opus 11 et al, let alone considered it essential to their musical development. It completely misses the bloody point.
Of course Trump should continue to use Twitter. Why should his messages be mediated by people who hate him?
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