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Friday, July 31, 2009

See Paris in Your Underwear?

See Paris in Your Underwear



Traveling the world sans pants just got a lot cooler.  Google's Street View has always been a great way to see panoramas of streets from all over the world. Today they've added some great improvements.

Instead of having to inch along streets using those evil forward and backward arrows, you can now use their spiffy new "pancake" to get around. Check out this short video to get the lowdown.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

maria June 5, 2009 at 11:41 am

kinda gives new meaning to "i see london, i see france…"


BREAKING NEWS: House Panel Passes Health Bill


From: Newsroom <>
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: House Panel Passes Health Bill
Date: Friday, July 31, 2009, 9:17 PM

House Panel Approves Health Bill
Democrats push sweeping health care legislation through a key congressional
committee, clearing the way for a September showdown on President Barack
Obama's top domestic priority.



Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bright Spot on Venus Stumps Scientists - Yahoo! News

First Jupiter, now Venus.  Jupiter's is a Black Spot, Venus is a Bright White Spot.

Signs?  Dee

Bright Spot on Venus Stumps Scientists - Yahoo! News

Yahoo! News

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obama told us this was coming (AUDIO)

Thanks to Larry Taylor,
From the Edge Alerts for this.

--- On Tue, 7/28/09, Glenn Beck <> wrote:

Radio Television alt= Fusion
Follow Glenn on Twitter Follow me on Facebook

July 28, 2009

On Today's Program

Obama TOLD us this was coming...
Glenn goes through audio clip after painful audio clip of 'The One' basically telling us what he had in store for us. Unfortunately, too many people got caught up in creating funny 'Obama' euphemisms while he was describing his plans to destroy America. Glenn wonders how the woman who giddily professed 'he'll pay my mortgage and put gas in my car' feels now. Because she's most likely still filling up her own car with her own gas money, and paying her own mortgage with her own money. ( Transcript, FREE AUDIO)
America: Past, Present and Future...Part II

Yes, Mr. Doomsday himself actually believes America has a future! In a special series to the email newsletter all week, Glenn lays out the history of how we got here, where we currently sit in the grand plan and most importantly answers the question fans ask most: what can we do about it? Yesterday showed where we currently stand. Today, the second installment of the series focuses on how we can learn from history and avoid their devastating mistakes. READ


The longer this story goes on, the worse and worse it gets for President Obama. He defended his Harvard friend (Henry Gates) and now he's paying the price. After saying the police acted 'stupidly,' the facts are starting to come out and (gasp!) the only stupid person in this situation is Henry Gates. Listen to the 9-1-1 call of the woman who saw the possible B & E in progress. She doesn't even say anything about race until she's asked, and after that she only commits to 'maybe Hispanic.' Good job bashing police with no facts, Barack. Glenn goes over the details and audio of the 9-1-1 call AND the audio of the officer calling in. ( Transcript, Insider Audio)

ALSO watch this interview of Officer Crowley's fellow co-workers. It's another devastating blow to Obama in regards to this story.

Flushing Taxpayer money...literally

Governments waste money, this we all know. But usually they at least attempt to cloak the fact they are wasting money. The Obama administration is finding it's pretty difficult to cloak $787 billion in wasteful spending. Spending money on things (not making this up) such as toilet restoration -- tens of millions of dollars in fixing crappers. Amazingly, it gets worse. Where is $2.8 million of the crapper fund going? Glenn explains. ( Transcript, Insider Audio)

How's the Messiah polling?

He's the chosen one, who sends thrills up the legs of many MSNBC news anchors. He captivates members of the mainstream media with his sultry, dazzling, methodical speeches that offer solid annunciation and zero substance. People faint when in proximity of this man because, as Michelle Obama says, he is one of the most brilliant men you will ever meet. So, how is the Messiah faring in the polls after six months? Glenn takes a look at how he stacks up against his predecessors. ( WATCH)


Glenn's Interview with Michelle Malkin about her new book, Culture of Corruption, in hour 3 of the program today. ( Transcript, Insider Audio)

Just for you, Jill: Glenn took another misguided liberal caller who was off on so many things. Especially annoying was her point about Glenn 'lying' on The View. Just for you Jill, here's the truth about what happened on The View...not that you are interested in that or anything. ( Transcript, Insider Audio)

Tonight on TV:  Didn't know Obama was far left? You should have.  Tonight Glenn shows you, in Obama's own words, what he had in store for America. Don't miss Glenn tonight at 5pm on the Fox News Channel.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"The Black Swan" (a book I'm reading) (he also wrote "Fooled by Randomness")

This is not a romance novel by any means!  But he has a certain sense of humor. deexxoo

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Home Page

"My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves & the quality of their knowledge too seriously & those who don't have the courage to sometimes say: I don't know...." (You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment & make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race).

What I do: I am interested in how to live in a world we don't understand very well –in other words, while most human thought (particularly since the enlightenment) has focused us on how to turn knowledge into decisions, I am interested in how to turn lack of information, lack of understanding, and lack of "knowledge" into decisions –how not to be a "turkey". My last book The Black Swan (and the 4th Quadrant papers) drew a map of what we don't understand; my current work focuses on how to domesticate the unknown "what to do in a world we don't understand".

My activism: a) To "robustify" society against Black Swans --activism against those who fragilize it (bankers, economists etc.) But I am bored with finance and interested in worthier mission,like b) Climate change: -- I am working on the opposite of conventional scientism: a precise protocol of what to do when you don't understand climate change --the Bonham declaration.

image017On literature (conversation with Rolf Dobelli)

Ten Principles for a Black Swan Proof World , With Arianna Huffington (Video) , Mr Taleb Goes to Washington, No tie, bored by empty suits , Kahneman-Taleb: Reflection on a Crisis (Video) , Positive Black Swans

Charlie Rose , Discussion with Mandelbrot , Universa's Activities ; Interviews: Newsweek, TIME ; This keeps track of Press Articles (I stopped following).

QUOTES FROM THE BLACK SWAN THAT THE IMBECILES DID NOT WANT TO HEAR ; Technical Appendix for The Black Swan (academics should comment on data there not make technical comments on a LITERARY book); My Op-Ed on Bystanders and Charlatans ; Most intellectual: Econtalk Podcast

History Written By the Losers, Forward to Pablo Triana's Book Lecturing Birds on Flying

Most representative overall profiles (nonfinance as I despise finance): Will Self in GQ & Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times .

 Notes and Remarks (old-style footnotes for my work in progress, not a blog) , Public Lectures & Talks

image017 "The Fourth Quadrant", an EDGE (Third Culture) Essay on the Crisis, Frankfurter Algemeine , Portfolio Interview , Philosophical discussion on France Culture (en Francais), Philosophy Now ...

"You do something quite evil!" How I pull tricks on reviewers: BBC (Nikki Bedi). My central argument here and here (FT Op-Ed).

 PRESS related to The Black Swan. Discussions of my ideas (selection of "get the point" items from coverage >230 million readers/listeners/viewers so far):

The Bloomberg profile (sequel here) .  Lunch with the FT, South China Morning Post, Portfolio Interview  Book Review of The Black Swan in the Wall Street Journal (David Shaywitz who later became a collaborator), Niall Ferguson (Sunday Telegraph & LA Times ), Roger Lowenstein in  Portfolio, The Economist, Intellectual Reviewer in the Philadephia Inquirer, Business Standard (India) ,Short and Sweet in  TIME,  the Financial Times (John Kay),  The Guardian (Oliver Burkeman). More from  The Guardian. Also  Business Week,  Bloomberg, The Sunday Times (London), International Herald Tribune . Will Self in The Independent Great & honest bad review ,by a smart but angry reviewer: more from The Independent ; even more from The Independent. More Sunday Times (the economics editor). More London Times (Gabriel Rosenberg). Even more London Times (Science Editor). Surprisinly more London Times (5th review!) Even More London Times (6th)! Even more (I give up).  ECONOMIC TIMES (India Times), Sydney Morning Herald, bad review in The Telegraph, Good review in  The Telegraph . Minneapolis Star  , Barron's, The Irish Times , Canadian Fp, Business Day (SA),  New Scientist. Business World (India) , DNA (India), Jamaica Gleaner, , even the. Harvard Business Review, The Providence Journal, Management Today, Almada (Arabic), Motley Fool, More Financial Times, More Surowiecki in  Wired and BookForum (many other treatments like the one by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, while flattering, put me in the wrong box --too much emphasis on the far less interesting, more limited –and rather boring --applications of my ideas to finance/economics, & less on the dynamics of historical events/philosophy of history, artistic success, technological luck, and general uncertainty in society. Finance is for philistines!). (Warm thanks to Dave Lull for tracking reviews).

Italiano: Corriere della Sera, l'Expresso

BLOGS. RecentNice Summary of my ideas.  Literary: Storytelling. Grumpy Old Bookman. Econophysics. Knackered Hack. Antilibrary in Bjorn Staerk. Joe Wikert (a publisher). A philosopher. A trader's perspective Venture Capital Freakonomics Q&A. Application of TBS to theology  here and here. (Blogs are often —though not always –more authentic than formal book reviews and less prone to imitation/contagion; you get true diversity).

MEDIA. (favorites):  NPR (lenghty).  today's programme. Interview on PBS Lehrer Newshour here [60 sec. clip]. PRI Radio InterviewRobert Pollie, public radio. Colbert report. Tavis Smiley, CSPAN with David Brooks, Charlie Rose

PodCasts. My favorite: very long, deep & scholarly: Econtalk. Shorter: Guardian. image017  Philosophy Talk

PHONIES & FAKE REVIEWERS: Factual and Logical Mistakes in the  review by Gregg Easterbrook  Tyler Cowen's review in  Slate. Phonies and dishonest academics misrepresenting my ideas .

Black Swan Debates/Critiques (So far, except for a comment by Jon Elster, everything had already been directly answered in the book).  Peter Taylor's lecture exposition of the ludic fallacy.  

 Literary Books

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: Amazon (US), Barnes and Noble (US)., The Economist, Business Week, & The Financial Times Best Books 2007. Winner GetAbstract Award 2007. Shortlisted FT-Goldman Sachs Award. The Black Swan was the  #1 Highest Selling Nonfiction book published in 2007 on Amazon (for all of 2007)  ( & 17 weeks on the NYT Bestseller list, 78 weeks on the NYT extended list, & 15 months on the Business Week list, plus London Sunday Times, Germany, Switzerland, China, Italy, Brazil, etc. —whatever that means; not too glorious, given the other books). Languages so far (31, both books) .

"[...]a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne " (WSJ), A Masterpiece" Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail.   "Fearless ... in puncturing phony expertise… Read this book." –Philip E. Tetlock, University of California, Berkeley, author of Expert Political Judgment"Had Nassim Taleb been born in any other period, he would have certainly been put to death", Carine Chichereau, co-translator of TBS. "Brilliantly idiosyncratic" –Niall Ferguson." a provocative, wide-ranging and amusing mode. A book that is both entertaining and difficult.", Michael Crichton.  Black Swan Glossary . Odyssey Marine codenamed their shipwreck discovery "Black Swan" –Company Site.


Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and Life, 2nd EditionAmazon(US), Barnes and Noble (US), Amazon (UK). Paperback: Random House, 2005, Penguin (UK) 2007. Hardcover: New York, and London: Thomson Texere, April 2004 (1st Ed. November 2001). Published in 20+ languages. "One of the Smartest Books of all Time" (Fortune).

"This book is about luck perceived and disguised as nonluck (that is, skills), and randomness perceived and disguised as nonrandomness (that is, determinism). It manifests itself in the shape of the lucky fool, defined as a person who benefited from a disproportionate share of luck but attributes his success to some other, generally very precise, reason." FBR was initially written as short stories around series of fictional characters.  An irreverent introspective rumination on the deformations caused by randomness through literature, markets, philosophy, science, and mathematics. It made many readers feel better about their comparative fate.

Languages so far (both books): Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian (Presentazione del Cigno nero in italiano), Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese-Portugal, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish ...

Recent Essays: EDGE Essay on the Fourth Quadrant, FT Op-Ed on the "Nobel" in economics (October 2007). Essay in The Banker on The Black Swan (written before the subprime crisis). 2007 Year-End Question on EdgeThe Black Swan and Optimism. General: * Edge Foundation Yearly Question 2005, in John Brockman (ed.) . Homo Ludens or Homo Oeconomicus.  Manifesto with Benoit Mandelbrot in the FT page 1, page 2The Opiate of the Middle Class (no longer religion) Op-Ed on Terrorism in the New York Times (how the press distorts our mental probabilistic map) Also Op-Ed in the New York Times on the 9/11 Commission.  Op-Ed on Risk Gurus as Charlatans --  (with Benoît Mandelbrot). Article on Fractals and Roughness (in Italian, Il-Sole 24 Ore, with Mandelbrot). Op Ed in An-Nahar  (Arabic). Letters to the Editor (on a variety of subjects). See the Edge/Third Culture Presentation/Video summarizing my ideas.

Nonliterary Books & Works

image091Dynamic Hedging: Managing Vanilla and Exotic Options , New York : Wiley (c. 506 pp., released Jan 2 1997). The book is about my own bottom-up approach to quantitative finance & risk management. I am aggressively no-nonsense, suspicious of theories (particularly those concocted by economists). It is the first step in my plan to help merge option "theory" and practice (which includes some non trivial modifications), leading to a clinical approach to stochastic processes. Here is a cartoon showing Dynamic Hedging as instrumental in the starting of a colorful and intense interoffice romance.  There is no scheduled second edition yet.

Once again, history has been kind to the book and the ideas presented in it –its 10th year has been the best.  It is mostly used by professional option traders in training programs, risk managers, and, on the occasion, mathematical finance students. Most academics (like this one, & many more) who voiced criticism about my no-nonsense approach to risks of derivatives & disliked my intrusion into the reality of the process (how could a practitioner tell us how things should be done?) have had their works & ideas steadily gliding into the purest of  oblivions.

image017Scientific Web-Book: Mathematical and Quantitative Lectures and Discussions.

Scholarly Works ( since 2004) 

My rank on the Social Science Research Network

Is Medicine Fooled by Randomness ?

Errors, Robustness, and The Fourth Quadrant , forthcoming, a special issue of the International Journal of Forecasting

Financial Engineering: I lost interest in finance (for philistines/phonies) but I am publishing stuff I wrote years ago Why We Never Used the Black-Scholes-Merton Option Formula (forthcoming, Wilmott Technical Paper).

Cognitive Science:* Statistical Intuitions and Domains (with Dan Goldstein).

Mathematical Sciences/Finance:*Statistics and rare events, f. The American Statistician, August 2007, Vol. 61, No. 3 * Scale-Invariance in Practice:  Some Questions and Workable Patches (under revision, Complexity –special issue on econophysics, Santa Fe Institute). * Mild vs. Wild Randomness: Focusing on those Risks that Matter (with Benoit Mandelbrot), in The Known, the Unknown and the Unknowable in Financial Institutions Frank Diebold, Neil Doherty, and Richard Herring, editors, Princeton: Princeton University Press, *The Illusion of Dynamic Replication (with Emanuel Derman), Quantitative Finance, volume 5, 4,2005,* Random Jump, Not Random Walk (With Benoit Mandelbrot), forthcoming * Mandelbrot Makes Sense Wilmott, February 2005*These Extreme Exceptions of Commodity Derivatives, in Helyette Geman's Commodity Derivatives (Wiley, 2004) *On Skewness in Investment Choices, Greenwich Roundtable Quarterly, Volume 2, 2004.

Literary Journals: *Roots of Unfairness Literary Research/Recherche Litteraire (Journal of the International Comparative Literature Association) 21.41-42 (2005): 241-254 *The Black Swan and the Arts ARTE-SCIENZA Multidisciplinary Symposium, Roma, September 2004.

Philosophy/Epistemology: "Decision and Probability" Blackwell Companion to the Philosophy of Action (2009, w. Avital Pilpel). My central idea:*The A Priori Problem of Observed Probabilities,* Risk and Epistemology (with Avital Pilpel) Risk and Regulation (LSE)*I problemi epistemologici del risk management  in: Daniele Pace (a cura di) Economia del rischio. Antologia di scritti su rischio e decisione economica, Giuffré, Milano 2005 *On the Very Unfortunate Problem of Not Observing Probability Distributions )(with Avital Pilpel) an* Essay in the Epistemology of Power Laws (Wilmott, 2005), *See the reply by the philosopher of science Elie Ayache. More comments from Ayache.

Political Science/ Military/Security *"On the Risk of the Unforecastable and its Perception", in Preventing Genocide: A Handbook for Foreign Policy Professionals, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Publications, Spring 2005 *"The Black Swan: Why Don't We Learn that We Don't Learn?" , the United States Department of Defense Highlands Forum papers, February 2004 (Insightful comment on the extensions in the Washington Post (click here).

My Friends:Rolf Dobelli, See Spyros Makridakis' book: Dance With Chance.

Professional Information

I will not discuss publicly my business activities (my finance activities are not public). –only my literary and technical ideas on the philosophy of chance uncertainty, & probability.

Media Pictures

Book Jacket Bio: NNT is an essayist, belletrist, & researcher only interested in one single topic, chance (particularly extreme & rare events, the "Black Swans" i.e. outliers); but it falls at the intersection of philosophy/epistemology (skepticism; knowledge about the dynamics of history; inferential claims), philosophy/ethics (stoicism facing random events; theories of nonhedonic happiness), mathematical sciences (probability theory, statistical physics), social science/finance (opacity & decision making under incomplete information), and cognitive science (the mental biases making us "fooled" by randomness). A post-trader, he mainly derives his intuitions from a 2-decade long and intense practice of derivatives trading ("nondull" activities with plenty of randomness).

Academic & Teaching: Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering, NYU - Polytechnic Institute, Visiting Professor, London Business School, & co-director of the Decision Science Laboratory. Dan Goldstein ( also Wiki) and I are starting the "ecological uncertainty" project running a family of experiments on the intuition of randomness. Was the Dean's Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Fellow & Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University (since 1999), My most enjoyable teaching experience is the 2 –day seminar I co-teach with Paul Wilmott twice a year. Member, King of Sweden transdisciplinary committee on Climate Change, 2009; Honorary member, Edinburgh Generation Science Club; member, Advisory Board of the Centre for Integrative Thinking at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, affiliated, Wharton School Financial Institutions Center, etc.

Trading/Finance background: Was inducted in the Derivatives Strategy Derivatives Hall of Fame (Feb 2001). I was mostly a prop trader until 1993, then became more arbitrage oriented. I held positions of managing director and head trader at Union Bank of Switzerland, worldwide chief derivatives trader for currencies, commodities and non-dollar fixed income at CS-First Boston, chief currency derivatives trader for Banque Indosuez (age 25), Managing Director and worldwide head of financial option arbitrage at CIBC-Wood Gundy, derivatives arbitrage trader at Bankers Trust, proprietary trader at BNP-Paribas, as well as independent option market maker on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (...). Owned Empirica LLC a trading/hedging/protection operation (currently the business became the Black Swan Protection Protocol managed by the traders at UniversaI am an advisor). Note that EMPIRICA WAS NEVER CLOSED. Current Corporate Boards: a few hedge funds.   A prophetic novel by Viken Berberian about Empiricus Kapital. Other honors: Frost and Sullivan Visionary of the Year (2008).

Education: includes an MBA from Wharton, and a Ph.D. from the University of Paris (Paris 9 Dauphine, Management Science). The Ph.D. committee included: Hélyette Geman, Marco Avellaneda, Nicole Elkaroui, Dilip Madan, & Jacques Hamon.

Personal: I am originally from Amioun (Amyoun) (see photos) but, the family has not lived there since 189 outside of vacations; it is in the Greek Orthodox Levantine heartland (we are what Cavafy calls ellenosuron or, what people call less poetically the Antiochans --and I am a native French speaking Ελληνοσύρος (Greek blood, Syrian-Lebanese heart, Arabic tongue) son of Jesuit educated French citizens to confuse matters (though I am not a French citizen).

You are welcome to send me a very brief email at gamma [at] fooledbyrandomness [dotcom]. You would do me a favor if you waited a while as I am not in an online mode and have 1500 neglected letters in my inbox (so please just send mail for pressing matters). Concise messages are much preferable (say a maximum < 40 words) as I will not be able to read long letters. Please do not 1) send me your papers or other "interesting material" to read, 2) ask finance questions (not my specialty, 3) make me to rewrite sections of my books (I write books, not emails), 4) ask for a list of "other interesting books to read", 5) ask me to provide career or educational advice, 6) send me passages from Tolstoy or the Ecclesiast on luck and randomness, 7) send me the list of typos in my drafts. Note that I almost always reply (but ONLY to short messages), time permitting (but once) –even to nasty emails. Finally, note that, thanks to my new keyboard, I sometimes reply in Arabic, particularly to academics.

 [Also please please refrain from offering to "improve" my web site].

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