Tuesday, July 17, 2018
In this chapter, I will propose that what people resent - or should resent - is the person at the top who has no skin in the game, that is, because he doesn't bear his allotted risk, he is immune to the possibility of falling from his pedestal, exiting his income or wealth bracket, and waiting outside the soup kitchen. Again, on that account, the detractors of Donald Trump, when he was still a candidate, not only misunderstood the value of scars as risk signalling, but they also failed to realize that, by advertising his episode of bankruptcy and his personal losses of close to a billion dollars, he removed the resentment (the second type of inequality) people may have had toward him. There is something respectable in losing a billion dollars, provided it is your own money.
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin In The Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
Monday, July 16, 2018
"I have been referred to as inarguably 'the most original and the most versatile intellect that the Americas have so far produced... because any second would be so far behind as not to be worth nominating.' I was accomplished as a mathematician, astronomer, chemist, geodesist, surveyor, cartographer, metrologist, spectroscopist, engineer, inventor, psychologist, philologist, lexicographer, historian of science, mathematical economist, book reviewer, dramtist, actor, short story writer, phenomenologist, semiotician, logician, rhetorician, and metaphysician. I developed a cardinal arithmetic for infinite numbers years before Cantor, axiomatized natural number arithmetic before Dedekind and Peano, and set out axiomatized set theory before Zermelo. Fifty years before Shannon, I described how Boolean logic could be implemented in electrical switches.
The answer may be found here. I first stumbled across him while reading this book; he is impressive. Although, as far as "most versatile" intellects go, if you don't include Ben Franklin then leave me out of the discussion.
quote courtesy of
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Apparently there was a "flash crash" on Wall Street in May of 1962. It passed unnoticed in my world. I was only ten years old and my parents were not huge participants in the stock market. It did have a large enough impact to make the cover of the June 8, 1962 cover of Life magazine:
As Ben Carlson says, "It’s actually kind of refreshing to know that investors in the 1960s were dealing with many of the same fears and uncertainty we’re all forced to deal with today."
Do visit his blog post on the subject. After ample coverage of the "flash crash", he posts some of the advertisements that graced the pages. One example:
Friday, July 13, 2018
It was supposed to be a brief assignment - eighteen months or so, tops. In 1954, with the centennial of the Civil War approaching, Bennett Cerf, the president of Random House, wrote the novelist Shelby Foote to propose a "short history" of the conflict. In mid-summer the author traveled from his home in Memphis to meet with the publisher in New York, and the two quickly came to terms. The target was 200,000 words, the advance, four hundred dollars. The plan was to get the book done fast and return to writing novels. "Fiction is hard," Foote recalled thinking; "history I figured, well, there's not much to that."
He was then thirty-seven. By the time he finished the third volume of his The Civil War: A Narrative, he would be fifty-six. In a notable case of literary understatement, Foote later observed, "It expanded as I wrote" - ultimately to just over 1,500,000 words, or, as Foote said, "a third of a million longer that Gibbon's Decline & Fall, which took about the same length of time to write." The war had come alive in his imagination - he heard the hoofbeats and smelled the gunpowder and felt the anguish and the anxiety of Lincoln and Davis and the hundreds of thousands of unknown soldiers. Don't underrate it as a thing that can claim a man's whole waking mind for years on end," Foote said of the war.
-Jon Meacham, from American Homer: Reflections on Shelby Foote and His Classic The Civil War: A Narrative