Recent quotes:

Researchers develop a method for predicting unprecedented events -- ScienceDaily

Bray settled on three eclectic datasets: an eight-year study of plankton from the Baltic Sea with species levels measured twice weekly; net carbon measurements from a deciduous broadleaf forest at Harvard University, gathered every 30 minutes since 1991; and measurements of barnacles, algae and mussels on the coast of New Zealand, taken monthly for over 20 years. The researchers then analyzed these three datasets using theory about avalanches -- physical fluctuations that, like black swan events, exhibit short-term, sudden, extreme behavior. At its core, this theory attempts to explain the physics of systems like avalanches, earthquakes, fire embers, or even crumpling candy wrappers, which all respond to external forces with discrete events of various magnitudes or sizes -- a phenomenon scientists call "crackling noise." Built on the analysis, the researchers developed a method for predicting black swan events, one that is designed to be flexible across species and timespans, and able to work with data that are far less detailed and more complex than those used to develop it. "Existing methods rely on what we have seen to predict what might happen in the future, and that's why they tend to miss black swan events," said Wang. "But Sam's method is different in that it assumes we are only seeing part of the world. It extrapolates a little about what we're missing, and it turns out that helps tremendously in terms of prediction."

Pandemic dodged, but black swan looms

Billionaire investor Hamish Douglass says he is confident the coronavirus outbreak will not develop into a global pandemic that will roil the global economy, but has warned that the probability of a black swan event such as a cyber attack, terrorist attack or pandemic is increasing. The founder of Magellan Financial Group, who spoke to AFR Weekend before he took the stage in front of 2500 Magellan investors at an event in Melbourne, said he had been impressed with the Chinese government’s response to the crisis. “Could you imagine if something like this actually broke out in the United States?” Douglass said.

Greece Saunters Across the Autobahn

In the new Greek finance minister's (pretty great) macho bluster, in the new Greek prime minister's condescending lectures to the German people, in the unquenchable Greek thirst for magazine cartoons of German leaders in Nazi uniforms -- in all of it you see the soul of the Berkeley pedestrian. It's only the source of Greek self-righteousness that is obviously different: The Greek people think the German people should feel shame for the sins of their past, and an obligation to expiate those sins.

Once in 3 billion years? Fix your model.

The Oct. 15 gyration, when Treasury yields fluctuated by almost 0.4 percentage point, was an “unprecedented move” that would have serious consequences in a stressed environment[…] Treasuries are supposed to be among the most stable securities. […]It’s just a matter of time until some political, economic or market event triggers another financial crisis, he said, without predicting one is imminent. The Treasuries move was “an event that is supposed to happen only once in every 3 billion years or so,” Dimon wrote. A future crisis could be worsened because there “is a greatly reduced supply of Treasuries to go around.”