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Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

Benoit Mandelbrot, business cycle, butterfly effect, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, discrete time, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, experimental subject, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Murray Gell-Mann, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, trade route

Tiny differences in input could quickly become overwhelming differences in output—a phenomenon given the name “sensitive dependence on initial conditions.” In weather, for example, this translates into what is only half-jokingly known as the Butterfly Effect—the notion that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York. When the explorers of chaos began to think back on the genealogy of their new science, they found many intellectual trails from the past. But one stood out clearly. For the young physicists and mathematicians leading the revolution, a starting point was the Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next? —RICHARD P. FEYNMAN THE SUN BEAT DOWN through a sky that had never seen clouds.

But Lorenz tried different sorts of minor complications, and he finally succeeded when he put in an equation that varied the amount of heating from east to west, corresponding to the real-world variation between the way the sun warms the east coast of North America, for example, and the way it warms the Atlantic Ocean. The repetition disappeared. The Butterfly Effect was no accident; it was necessary. Suppose small perturbations remained small, he reasoned, instead of cascading upward through the system. Then when the weather came arbitrarily close to a state it had passed through before, it would stay arbitrarily close to the patterns that followed. For practical purposes, the cycles would be predictable—and eventually uninteresting. To produce the rich repertoire of real earthly weather, the beautiful multiplicity of it, you could hardly wish for anything better than a Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect acquired a technical name: sensitive dependence on initial conditions. And sensitive dependence on initial conditions was not an altogether new notion.

“I’m still not clear on chaos,” says Laura Dern’s character in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, so that Jeff Goldblum’s character—who announces himself as a “chaotician”—can explain flirtatiously, “It simply deals with unpredictability in complex systems…. A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking, and in Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine.” By then the Butterfly Effect was well on its way to becoming a pop-culture cliché: inspiring at least two movies, an entry in Bartlett’s Quotations, a music video, and a thousand Web sites and blogs. (Only the place names keep changing: the butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, Peru, China, California, Tahiti, and South America, and the rain/hurricane/tornado/storm arrives in Texas, Florida, New York, Nebraska, Kansas, and Central Park.) After the big hurricanes of 2006, Physics Today published an article titled “Battling the Butterfly Effect,” whimsically blaming butterflies in battalions: “Visions of Lepidoptera terrorist training camps spring suddenly to mind.” Aspects of chaos—different aspects, usually—have been taken up by modern management theorists on the one hand, and postmodern literary theorists on the other.


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

Mathematician Edward Lorenz is famous for studying such chaotic systems, pioneering a branch of mathematics called chaos theory. He introduced a metaphor known as the butterfly effect to explain the concept that chaotic systems are extremely sensitive to small perturbations or changes in initial conditions. He illustrated this concept by saying that the path of a tornado could be affected by a butterfly flapping its wings weeks before, sending air particles on a slightly different path than they would have otherwise traveled, which then gets amplified over time and ultimately results in a different path for the tornado. This metaphor has been popularized in many forms of entertainment, including by Jeff Goldblum’s character in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park and in the 2004 movie The Butterfly Effect, starring Ashton Kutcher. THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT The fact that you are surrounded by chaotic systems is a key reason why adaptability is so important to your success.

For example, some studies show that businesses started during a recession actually do better over time, and research by the Kauffman Foundation, summarized in “The Economic Future Just Happened” in 2009, found that the majority of Fortune 500 companies were started during tough economic times. We’re sure you can point to times in your history when a small change led to a big effect in your life. It’s the “what if” game. What if you hadn’t gone to that event that led to meeting your spouse? What if you had moved into that other apartment? What if you had struck up a relationship with a different teacher or mentor? That’s the butterfly effect at the most personal level. One way to more systematically take advantage of the butterfly effect is using the super model of luck surface area, coined by entrepreneur Jason Roberts. You may recall from geometry that the surface area of an object is how much area the surface of an object covers. In the same way that it is a lot easier to catch a fish if you cast a wide net, your personal luck surface area will increase as you interact with more people in more diverse situations.

A&P, 70 absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, 167 A/B testing, 136 Accidental Empires (Cringley), 253 accountability, 275 acne, 169–71 activation energy, 112–13 actor-observer bias (self-serving bias), 21, 272 Adams, John, 222 adaptability, 121, 129 ad hominem, 226 adverse selection, 46–47 advertising, 103–4, 120, 262 advisers, 44, 45, 296 Affordable Care Act (ACA), 46, 47 Afghanistan, 54, 243 agent, 44–45 aggregation, 205 aggression, obnoxious, 264 agreeableness, 250 AIDS, 233 Airbnb, 276, 288, 292 air pollution, 41 air travel, 53–54 Aldi, 70 Alexander, Christopher, 92 algorithms, 94, 97 Allen, David, 76 all-nighter, 83 alpha, 161, 182 al-Qaeda, 52, 54 alternative hypothesis, 163, 164, 166, 167 altruism, effective, 80 alumni, 119 Amazon, 61, 70, 95–96, 283, 290, 300 American Revolution, 221–22, 239, 240 American Statistical Association, 168 Amway, 217 analysis paralysis, 60–62, 93 anchoring, 14–15, 30, 199 anecdotal evidence, 133, 139, 146 antibiotics, 37, 47–49 Antifragile (Taleb), 2, 105 antifragility, 2–3, 31–33 anti-patterns, 93 AOL, 106 Apollo 13, 4 appeasement, 237 Apple, 103, 104, 231, 241, 258, 289–91, 305, 309 iPad, 290 iPod, 296–97 Newton, 290 approval ratings, 152–54, 158 arbitrage, 282–83 Archilochus, 254 Archimedes, 78 arguing from first principles, 4–7, 31, 207 Ariely, Dan, 14, 222–23 arithmetic, ix–x, 23–24, 30, 178 arms races, 209–12, 214 Ashley Madison, 229 Associated Press (AP), 306 asymmetric information, 45–47 atomic bomb, see nuclear weapons Atwood, Jeff, 253 authority, 219–20, 226 automation, 95, 310 availability bias, 15–18, 30, 33, 300 average, 146, 187 Avon, 217 Aztecs, 243–44 babies, 198, 279 sleep and, 131–32 babysitters, 222 backfire effect, 26 back-of-the-envelope calculation, 299 bacteria, 47–49, 295 bait and switch, 228, 229 bandwagon effect, 202 barriers to entry and barriers to exit, 305 baseball, 83, 145–46, 289 base rate, 157, 159, 160 base rate fallacy, 157, 158, 170 BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), 77 Battle of Heraclea, 239 Battle of Tsushima, 241 Bayes’ theorem and Bayesian statistics, 157–60 beachhead, 300–301 Beatles, 105 Beautiful Mind, A, 213 beliefs, 103, 107 bell curve (normal distribution), 150–52, 153, 163–66, 191 Bell Labs, 89 benefit of the doubt, 20 benefits: cost-benefit analysis, 177–86, 189, 194 eliminating, 224 net, 181–82, 184 Berlin, Isaiah, 254 Bernoulli distribution, 152 best practices, 92 beta, 162, 182 Better Angels of Our Nature, The (Pinker), 144 Bezos, Jeff, 61–62, 286–87 bias, 3, 139 availability, 15–18, 30, 33, 300 confirmation, 26–28, 33, 103, 159 disconfirmation, 27 groupthink, 201–3 hidden, 139–43 hindsight, 271–72 nonresponse, 140, 142, 143 observer-expectancy, 136, 139 optimistic probability, 33 present, 85, 87, 93, 113 publication, 170, 173 response, 142, 143 selection, 139–40, 143, 170 self-serving, 21, 272 survivorship, 140–43, 170, 272 Big Short, The (Lewis), 289 bike-shedding, 75, 93 Bird, Larry, 246 birth lottery, 21–22, 69 black-and-white thinking, 126–28, 168, 272 black boxes, 94–95 Black Flags rebellion, 276 blackouts, electric, 120 black swan events, 190–91, 193 Blank, Steve, 294 bleeding them dry, 239 blinded experiments, 136 Blockbuster, 106 blowback, 54 Boaty McBoatface, RSS, 35 body mass index (BMI), 137 body temperature, 146–50 boiling frog, 55, 56, 58, 60 bonds, 180, 184 Bonne, Rose, 58 Boot, Max, 239 boots on the ground, 279 Boston Common, 36–38, 42 Boyd, John, 294 Bradley, Bill, 248 brainstorming, 201–3 Brandeis, Louis, 307 breast cancer, 156–57, 160–61 Breathalyzer tests, 157–58, 160 Brexit, 206, 305 bright spots, 300 bring in reinforcements, 279 British Medical Journal (BMJ), 136–37 broken windows theory, 235–36 Broderick, Matthew, 230 Brody, William, 290–91 Brookings Institution, 306 brute force solution, 93, 97 Bryson, Bill, 50 budget, 38, 74–75, 81, 95, 113 national, 75–76 Buffett, Warren, viii, 69, 286, 302, 317, 318 burning bridges, 243 burnout, 82, 83 Burns, Robert, 49 burn the boats, 244 Bush, George H. W., 104 business case, 207 butterfly effect, 121, 122, 125, 201 Butterfly Effect, The, 121 Butterworth, Brian, x buyout, leveraged, 79 bystander effect, 259 cable television, 69, 100, 106 Caesar, Julius, 244 calculus, 291 call your bluff, 238 cameras, 302–3, 308–10 campaign finance reform, 110 Campbell, Donald T., 49–50 Campbell’s law, 49–50 cancer: breast, 156–57, 160–61 clusters of, 145 lung, 133–34, 137 cap-and-trade systems, 42–43 capital, cost of, 76, 77, 179, 182 careers, 300–301 decisions about, 5–6, 57, 175–77, 201, 207, 296 design patterns and, 93 entry barriers and, 305 licensing and, 306–7 Carfax, 46 Cargill, Tom, 89 cargo cults, 315–16 caring personally, 263–64 car market, 46–47 Carrey, Jim, 229 carrot-and-stick model, 232 cascading failures, 120, 192 casinos, 220, 226 cast a wide net, 122 catalyst, 112–13, 115, 119 Catherine II, Empress, 228 causal loop diagrams, 192–93 causation, correlation and, 134, 135 cellphones, 116–17 center of gravity, 112 central limit theorem, 152–53, 163 central tendency, 147 chain reaction, viii, 114, 120 Challenger, 31–33 challenging directly, 263–64 change, 100–101, 112–13, 129 resistance to, 110–11 chaos, 124 balance between order and, 128 chaos theory, 121 chaotic systems, 120–21, 124, 125 Chatelier’s principle, 193–94 cheating, 50 Chekhov, Anton, 124 chess, 242 chilling effect, 52–54 China, 231, 276 choice, 62 paradox of, 62–63 Christensen, Clayton, 296, 297, 310 Cialdini, Robert, 215–17, 219–21 circle of competence, 317–18 climate change, 42, 55, 56, 104, 105, 183, 192 Clinton, Hillary, 70, 97 clustering illusion, 144–45 CNN, 220 Coase, Ronald, 42 Coase theorem, 42–43 cobra effect, 50–52 Coca-Cola, 305 cognitive dissonance, 27–29, 216 coin flips, 143–44, 154–55, 158–59 Cold War, 209, 235 collateral damage, 53–54, 231 collective intelligence, 205 collectivist versus individualist, in organizational culture, 274 college, 209–10 choice of, 58–60 rankings of, 50, 137 Collins, Jim, 109, 254 commandos, in organizations and projects, 253–54 commitment, 87–88 escalation of, 91 influence model of, 216, 220 commodities, 283 commons, 36–38, 43 Common Sense (Paine), 221–22 communication, high-context and low-context, 273–74 competence, circle of, 317–18 competition: and crossing the chasm, 312 moats and, 302–5 perfect, 283 regulatory capture and, 305 sustainable competitive advantage, 283, 285 complexity, complex systems, 185–86, 192, 194 diagrams and, 192–93 simulations and, 192–94 compound interest, 69, 85 Concorde fallacy, 91 conditional probability, 156 Confederate leaders, 113 confidence intervals, 154–56, 159 confidence level, 154, 155, 161 confirmation bias, 26–28, 33, 103, 159 conflict, 209, 226 arms races, 209–12, 214 game theory and, see game theory confounding factor, 134–35, 139 conjunction fallacy, 9–10 conscientiousness, 250 consensus, 202 consensus-contrarian matrix, 285–86, 290 consequence-conviction matrix, 265–66 consequences, 35 unintended, 35–36, 53–55, 57, 64–65, 192, 232 containment, 233, 237 contests, 35–36 context-switching, 71, 74 continental drift, 24–25, 289 contrarian-consensus matrix, 285–86, 290 Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, The (Sample), 28 control group, 136 conventional wisdom, 5 convergent thinking, 203 conviction-consequence matrix, 265–66 cooperation, 215, 226 tit-for-tat, 214–15 correlations, 134, 135, 139 corruption, 307 Cortés, Hernán, 243–44 cost-benefit analysis, 177–86, 189, 194 Costco, 70 cost of capital, 76, 77, 179, 182 cost of doing business, 232 counterfactual thinking, 201, 272, 309–10 cramming, 83, 262 credible intervals, 159 crime, 16, 161, 231, 232 broken windows theory and, 235–36 Cringley, Robert X., 253 critical mass, viii–x, 114–15, 117, 119, 120, 129, 194, 308 critical thinking, 201 crossing the chasm, 311–12 crossing the Rubicon, 244 crowdsourcing, 203–6, 286 culture, 113, 273 organizational, 107–8, 113, 273–80, 293 customers, 300 development of, 294 personas for, 300 types of, 298–300 winner-take-most markets and, 308 Cutco, 217 Danziger, Shai, 63 dark patterns, 226–29 Potemkin villages, 228–29 Darley, John, 259 Darwin, Charles, 100, 101, 291 data, 130–31, 143, 146, 301 binary, 152 dredging of, 169–70 in graphs, see graphs mean in, 146, 149, 151 meta-analysis of, 172–73 outliers in, 148 streaks and clusters in, 144 variance in, 149 see also experiments; statistics dating, 8–10, 95 daycare center, 222–23 deadlines, 89 death, causes of, 17 death by a thousand cuts, 38 debate, 225 decisions, 1–2, 11, 31, 127, 129, 131–33, 175, 209 business case and, 207 choices and, 62–63 cost-benefit analysis in, 177–86, 189, 194 decision fatigue and, 63–64 decision tree in, 186–90, 194, 215 Eisenhower Decision Matrix, 72–74, 89, 124, 125 irreversible, 61–62, 223–24 opportunity cost and, 76–77, 80, 83, 179, 182, 188, 305 past, analyzing, 201, 271–72 pro-con list in, 175–78, 185, 189 reversible, 61–62 sequences of, 144 small, tyranny of, 38, 55 utilitarianism and, 189–90 Declaration of Independence, 222 deep work, 72, 76, 88, 278 default effect, 87–88 Defense, U.S.


pages: 409 words: 105,551

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, Chris Fussell

Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Black Swan, butterfly effect, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chelsea Manning, clockwork universe, crew resource management, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, job automation, job satisfaction, John Nash: game theory, knowledge economy, Mark Zuckerberg, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nate Silver, Pierre-Simon Laplace, RAND corporation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Tiny eddies of air can be influenced by an almost immeasurably small event—something like the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings—and these eddies can affect larger currents, which in turn alter the way cold and warm fronts build—a chain of events that can magnify the initial disturbance exponentially, thereby completely undermining attempts to make reliable predictions. Lorenz’s program had been correct. When, several years later, Lorenz presented a paper about his findings, he titled it “Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” The phrase “the butterfly effect” entered the world.* • • • Lorenz’s butterfly effect is a physical manifestation of the phenomenon of complexity—not “complexity” in the sense that we use the term in daily life, a catchall for things that are not simple or intuitive, but complexity in a more restrictive, technical, and baffling sense. This kind of complexity is difficult to define; those who study it often fall back on Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart’s comment on obscenity: “I know it when I see it.”

• • • In fact, the developments of recent years have led to a completely different—and less predictable—world. Because of speed and interdependence, street vendor Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi could set off a chain of events that toppled multiple governments faster than the rest of the world could even process the news. Of course, there were successful revolutionaries and butterfly-effect phenomena before the information age, but new technologies have created an unprecedented proliferation of opportunities for small, historically disenfranchised actors to have a butterfly effect. Some of this has positive consequences, like entrepreneurial success. Other manifestations are devastating: terrorists, insurgents, and cybercriminals have taken advantage of speed and interdependence to cause death and wreak havoc. But it all exhibits the unpredictability that is a hallmark of complexity; today, we all find ourselves surrounded by hurricanes.

Nobody knows exactly how many games of chess potentially exist because, according to Schaeffer, the figure “is so huge that no one will invest the effort to calculate the exact number.” A small change at the start of a chess game—say, moving a pawn to A3 instead of A4—can lead to a completely different result, just as the flapping of one of Lorenz’s butterflies might create huge, nonlinear havoc down the line. A reductionist instruction card would be useless for playing chess—the interactions generate too many possibilities. • • • The significance of Lorenz’s butterfly effect is not, however, just the nonlinear escalation of a minor input into a major output. There’s uncertainty involved; the amplification of the disturbance is not the product of a single, constant, identifiable magnifying factor—any number of seemingly insignificant inputs might—or might not—result in nonlinear escalation. If every butterfly’s fluttering always led to a hurricane halfway across the world two days later, weather would be predictable (if insane).


Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby by Sau Sheong Chang

Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, business process, butterfly effect, cloud computing, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Debian, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, p-value, price stability, Ruby on Rails, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, text mining, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, We are the 99%, web application, wikimedia commons

However, more often than not, a fluctuation can swing so wildly that the bottom drops out and the whole population dies off, as shown in Figure 8-6. This happens even if we start off with the same parameters! Why does this happen? We have discussed emergent behavior, where small local rules result in complex, macro-level, group behavior. The pattern we have observed here, rather than emergent behavior, can be classified as a kind of “butterfly effect”; see the sidebar Butterfly Effect. Figure 8-6. Population fluctuation swings, resulting in extinction of the roids Butterfly Effect In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change somewhere in a nonlinear system can result in large differences at a later stage. This name was coined by Edward Lorenz, one of the pioneers of chaos theory (and no relation to Max Lorenz of the Lorenz curve fame). In 1961, Lorenz was using a computer model to rerun a weather prediction when he entered the shortened decimal value .506 instead of entering the full .506127.

Our focus in this simulation was on population patterns over a period of time. We observed that it is difficult to reach a state where a population is stable enough to survive for a long time. Very often, population fluctuations involve crazy swings that eventually end with the extinction of the society, even with identical starting parameters. We observed that a small effect can ripple down, causing unexpected changes—a phenomenon known as the butterfly effect. The final scenario dealt with evolution. We simulated natural selection by getting the offspring of the roids to inherit traits of their parents. These traits were specially designed to influence the survivability of the roids over a period of time. We anticipated that, if natural selection occurred, the traits of the roid population would move toward those that allow it to best survive.

: (question mark, colon), in Ruby ternary conditional expression, if and unless > (right angle bracket), The R Console, Variables and Functions -> assignment operator, R, Variables and Functions > R console prompt, The R Console ' ' (single quotes), enclosing Ruby strings, Strings [ ] (square brackets), Vectors, Matrices, Data frames accessing subset of R data frame, Data frames enclosing R matrix indexes, Matrices enclosing R vector indexes, Vectors [[ ]] (square brackets, double), enclosing single R vector index, Vectors A aes() function, R, Aesthetics An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (University of Chicago Press), The Invisible Hand apply() function, R, Interpreting the Data Armchair Economist (Free Press), How to Be an Armchair Economist array() function, R, Arrays arrays, R, Arrays–Arrays arrays, Ruby, Arrays and hashes–Arrays and hashes, Arrays and hashes artificial society, Money (see Utopia example) as.Date() function, R, Number of Messages by Day 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Simulation–Analyzing the Simulation, Analyzing the Second Simulation–Analyzing the Second Simulation, Number of Messages by Day of the Month–Number of Messages by Hour of the Day, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform–Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform, Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate–Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate, Money–Money, Money–Money, Implementation bar charts, Plotting charts, Interpreting the Data–Interpreting the Data, The Second Simulation–The Second Simulation, The Third Simulation–The Third Simulation, The Final Simulation–The Final Simulation histograms, Statistical transformation, Geometric object, Money–Money line charts, Interpreting the Data–Interpreting the Data, Analyzing the Simulation–Analyzing the Simulation, Analyzing the Second Simulation–Analyzing the Second Simulation Lorenz curves, Money–Money scatterplots, Interpreting the Data–Interpreting the Data, The Second Simulation, The Third 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doodler double quotes (" "), enclosing Ruby strings, Strings duck typing, Ruby, Code like a duck–Code like a duck dynamic typing, Ruby, Code like a duck–Code like a duck E economics example, A Simple Market Economy–A Simple Market Economy, The Producer–The Producer, The Consumer–The Consumer, Some Convenience Methods–Some Convenience Methods, The Simulation–The Simulation, Analyzing the Simulation–Analyzing the Simulation, The Producer–The Producer, The Consumer–The Consumer, Market–Market, The Simulation–The Simulation, Analyzing the Second Simulation–Analyzing the Second Simulation, Price Controls–Price Controls charts for, Analyzing the Simulation–Analyzing the Simulation, Analyzing the Second Simulation–Analyzing the Second Simulation Consumer class for, The Consumer–The Consumer, The Consumer–The Consumer Market class for, Some Convenience Methods–Some Convenience Methods, Market–Market modeling, A Simple Market Economy–A Simple Market Economy price controls analysis, Price Controls–Price Controls Producer class for, The Producer–The Producer, The Producer–The Producer simulations for, The Simulation–The Simulation, The Simulation–The Simulation email example, Grab and Parse–Grab and Parse, The Emailing Habits of Enron Executives–The Emailing Habits of Enron Executives, Number of Messages by Day of the Month–Number of Messages by Day of the Month, Number of Messages by Day of the Month–Number of Messages by Hour of the Day, MailMiner–MailMiner, Number of Messages by Day of Week–Number of Messages by Hour of the Day, Interactions–Comparative Interactions, Text Mining–Text Mining charts for, Number of Messages by Day of the Month–Number of Messages by Hour of the Day content of messages, analyzing, Text Mining–Text Mining data for, Grab and Parse–Grab and Parse Enron data for, The Emailing Habits of Enron Executives–The Emailing Habits of Enron Executives interactions in email, analyzing, Interactions–Comparative Interactions number of messages, analyzing, Number of Messages by Day of the Month–Number of Messages by Day of the Month, Number of Messages by Day of Week–Number of Messages by Hour of the Day R package for, creating, MailMiner–MailMiner emergent behavior, The Origin of Boids (see also flocking example) Enron Corporation scandal, The Emailing Habits of Enron Executives Epstein, Joshua (researcher), It’s a Good Life Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (Brookings Institution Press/MIT Press), It’s a Good Life equal sign (=), assignment operator, R, Variables and Functions Euclidean distance, Roids evolution, Evolution example applications, Using Code Examples, Shoes stopwatch–Shoes stopwatch, Shoes doodler–Shoes doodler, The R Console–Sourcing Files and the Command Line, Data frames–Introducing ggplot2, qplot–qplot, Statistical transformation–Geometric object, Adjustments–Adjustments, Offices and Restrooms, A Simple Market Economy, Grab and Parse, My Beating Heart, Schooling Fish and Flocking Birds, Money artificial utopian society, Money (see Utopia example) birds flocking, Schooling Fish and Flocking Birds (see flocking example) doodling, Shoes doodler–Shoes doodler economics, A Simple Market Economy (see economics example) email, Grab and Parse (see email example) fuel economy, qplot–qplot, Adjustments–Adjustments heartbeat, My Beating Heart (see heartbeat example) height and weight, The R Console–Sourcing Files and the Command Line league table, Data frames–Introducing ggplot2 movie database, Statistical transformation–Geometric object permission to use, Using Code Examples restrooms, Offices and Restrooms (see restrooms example) stopwatch, Shoes stopwatch–Shoes stopwatch expressions, R, Programming R external libraries, Ruby, Requiring External Libraries–Requiring External Libraries F factor() function, R, Factors, Text Mining factors, R, Factors–Factors FFmpeg library, Extracting Data from Video, Extracting Data from Video field of vision (FOV), Roids fish, schools of, Schooling Fish and Flocking Birds (see flocking example) flocking example, Schooling Fish and Flocking Birds–The Origin of Boids, The Origin of Boids, Simulation–Simulation, Roids–Roids, The Boid Flocking Rules–Putting in Obstacles, The Boid Flocking Rules–The Boid Flocking Rules, A Variation on the Rules–A Variation on the Rules, Going Round and Round–Going Round and Round, Putting in Obstacles–Putting in Obstacles Boids algorithm for, Schooling Fish and Flocking Birds–The Origin of Boids centering path for, Going Round and Round–Going Round and Round obstacles in path for, Putting in Obstacles–Putting in Obstacles research regarding, A Variation on the Rules–A Variation on the Rules Roid class for, Roids–Roids rules for, The Origin of Boids, The Boid Flocking Rules–The Boid Flocking Rules simulations for, Simulation–Simulation, The Boid Flocking Rules–Putting in Obstacles flows, Shoes, Shoes stopwatch fonts used in this book, Conventions Used in This Book–Conventions Used in This Book for loop, R, Conditionals and Loops format() function, R, Number of Messages by Day of the Month FOV (field of vision), Roids fuel economy example, qplot–qplot, Adjustments–Adjustments function class, R, Programming R functions, R, Variables and Functions–Variables and Functions G GAM (generalized addictive model), The Changes gem command, Ruby, Requiring External Libraries .gem file extension, Requiring External Libraries generalized addictive model (GAM), The Changes Gentleman, Robert (creator of R), Introducing R geom_bar() function, R, Interpreting the Data, The Second Simulation, The Final Simulation geom_histogram() function, R, Geometric object geom_line() function, R, Analyzing the Simulation geom_point() function, R, Plot, Interpreting the Data, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform geom_smooth() function, R, Interpreting the Data ggplot() function, R, Plot ggplot2 package, R, Introducing ggplot2–Adjustments Gini coefficient, Money Git utility, Ruby Version Manager (RVM) Gmail, retrieving message data from, Grab and Parse–Grab and Parse graphics device, opening, Basic Graphs graphics package, R, Basic Graphs graphs, Charting (see charts) Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (Brookings Institution Press/MIT Press), It’s a Good Life H hash mark, curly brackets (#{ }), enclosing Ruby string escape sequences, Strings hashes, Ruby, Arrays and hashes–Arrays and hashes heart, diagram of, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform heartbeat example, My Beating Heart, My Beating Heart, My Beating Heart, Homemade Digital Stethoscope, Homemade Digital Stethoscope, Homemade Digital Stethoscope–Extracting Data from Sound, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform–Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform, Finding the Heart Rate–Finding the Heart Rate, Homemade Pulse Oximeter–Homemade Pulse Oximeter, Homemade Pulse Oximeter–Extracting Data from Video, Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate–Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate, Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate–Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate charts for, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform–Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform, Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate–Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate data for, Homemade Digital Stethoscope–Extracting Data from Sound, Homemade Pulse Oximeter–Extracting Data from Video audio from stethoscope, Homemade Digital Stethoscope–Extracting Data from Sound video from pulse oximeter, Homemade Pulse Oximeter–Extracting Data from Video heart rate, My Beating Heart, Finding the Heart Rate–Finding the Heart Rate, Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate–Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate finding from video file, Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate–Generating the Heartbeat Waveform and Calculating the Heart Rate finding from WAV file, Finding the Heart Rate–Finding the Heart Rate health parameters for, My Beating Heart heart sounds, My Beating Heart, My Beating Heart, Homemade Digital Stethoscope, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform health parameters for, My Beating Heart recording, Homemade Digital Stethoscope types of, My Beating Heart, Generating the Heart Sounds Waveform homemade pulse oximeter for, Homemade Pulse Oximeter–Homemade Pulse Oximeter homemade stethoscope for, Homemade Digital Stethoscope height and weight example, The R Console–Sourcing Files and the Command Line here-documents, Ruby, Strings hex editor, Extracting Data from Sound histograms, Statistical transformation, Geometric object, Money–Money Homebrew tool, Installing Ruby using your platform’s package management tool hyphen (-), Variables and Functions, Variables and Functions -> assignment operator, R, Variables and Functions <- assignment operator, R, Variables and Functions I icons used in this book, Conventions Used in This Book if expression, R, Conditionals and Loops if expression, Ruby, if and unless–if and unless Ihaka, Ross (creator of R), Introducing R ImageMagick library, Extracting Data from Video IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), Grab and Parse importing data, R, Importing Data–Importing data from a database inheritance, Ruby, Inheritance–Inheritance initialize method, Ruby, Classes and objects inner product, Roids–Roids installation, Installing Ruby–Installing Ruby using your platform’s package management tool, Installing Shoes–Installing Shoes, Introducing R, Installing packages–Installing packages R, Introducing R R packages, Installing packages–Installing packages Ruby, Installing Ruby–Installing Ruby using your platform’s package management tool Shoes, Installing Shoes–Installing Shoes Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), Grab and Parse Internet Message Format, The Emailing Habits of Enron Executives invisible hand metaphor, The Invisible Hand irb application, Running Ruby–Running Ruby J jittering, Adjustments jpeg() function, R, Basic Graphs L Landsburg, Stephen E.


pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus

active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

Lorenz was an MIT meteorologist who tried to explain why it is so hard to make good weather forecasts; he wound up starting a scientific revolution called chaos theory. In the early 1960s, he noticed that small differences in a dynamic system such as the atmosphere could give rise to vast and often unexpected results. These observations ultimately led him to develop what became known as the butterfly effect, a term that grew out of an academic paper he presented in 1972 entitled “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”7 The butterfly effect has significant relevance in all matters of health. We are each agents of change in the Lucky Years; we are each butterflies flapping our wings in a space-time continuum on earth. How we live today affects how we are tomorrow. It also impacts the people with whom we interact, our neighbors, the next generation, our children, and their children.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP or visit us online to sign up at eBookNews.SimonandSchuster.com Contents NOTE TO READERS EPIGRAPH LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS INTRODUCTION DESTINY OF THE SPECIES Welcome to the Lucky Years CHAPTER 1 THE CENTURY OF BIOLOGY The Cure Is Already Inside You CHAPTER 2 THIS ISN’T SCIENCE FICTION The Power of Technology to Extend Your Life CHAPTER 3 THE FUTURE YOU How Your Small Data in the Context of Big Data Will Save You CHAPTER 4 THE DAWN OF PRECISION MEDICINE How to Manage Its Power and Perils CHAPTER 5 TAKE THE TWO-WEEK CHALLENGE How to Measure and Interpret Your Own Data CHAPTER 6 THE DANGER OF MISINFORMATION How to Know Whom and What to Trust CHAPTER 7 A BODY IN MOTION TENDS TO STAY LUCKY The One Supplement You’re Not Getting Enough Of CHAPTER 8 WONDER DRUGS THAT WORK Sleep, Sex, Touching, and Tools to Tame Inflammation CHAPTER 9 THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT Get Ready to Flap Your Wings ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR NOTES INDEX NOTE TO READERS This publication contains the opinions and ideas of its author. It is intended to provide helpful and informative materials on the subjects addressed in the publication. It is sold with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering medical, health, or any other kind of professional services in the book.

While these drugs can’t prevent infection itself, if they can prevent potentially fatal complications like organ failure, they will likely be part of the treatment protocol until an effective preventive measure such as a vaccine against the virus can be developed. Once again, this goes to show the power of what’s already in our arsenal. The Lucky Years are already here. And even though we’re entering a high-tech era of medicine, the same old ancient secrets to a good, long life are still relevant. Nothing will ever be able to substitute for things like sleep, sex, and touch—and perhaps gnawing on the bark of a willow tree. CHAPTER 9 The Butterfly Effect Get Ready to Flap Your Wings All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence, and leading the individual toward freedom. —Albert Einstein Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability. —Sir William Osler If a jeweler tried to sell you a diamond that looked fake, you’d probably find another jeweler because something in your gut would tell you to move on.


pages: 414 words: 101,285

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do About It by Ian Goldin, Mike Mariathasan

"Robert Solow", air freight, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, butterfly effect, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, connected car, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, John Snow's cholera map, Kenneth Rogoff, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, moral hazard, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open economy, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reshoring, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, uranium enrichment

This book aims to provide a better understanding of technologically enhanced globalization with a view to making it more resilient. It seeks to overcome the benign neglect of systemic risk, which is not sustainable, and promote a more resilient and inclusive globalization. To this end, it considers different dimensions of the problem, offering a number of conceptual tools and lessons for managing the challenges of globalization and systemic risk. The butterfly effect has become widely known to signify systems in which a small change in one place can lead to major differences in a remote and unconnected system. The name of the effect has origins in the work of Edward Lorenz, who illustrated how a hurricane’s formation may be contingent on whether a distant butterfly had, days or weeks before, flapped its wings.1 The effect was subsequently taken up in chaos theory, which draws on a long tradition of examining the unexpected consequences of changes to initial conditions in physics.

The waters devastated the production plants of car manufacturers like Honda, Nissan, and Toyota and halted the operations of computing firms such as Toshiba and Western Digital. The World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in 2012 that these widespread consequences had occurred because of an “efficient … supply chain which did not leave much room for catastrophic events.”23 The proverb that lends its name to the butterfly effect says that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can cause a storm in the United States. In this case a storm in Thailand caused the fluttering of shareholders’ balance sheets in California as Intel saw profits fall by over $1 billion in the last quarter of 2011 alone.24 It is worth noting that the systemic effects of the 2011 Thailand floods are by no means unique or unprecedented.

Our hope is that we have contributed to an understanding of the extent to which we increasingly live in a global village. With better management there is the potential for all citizens to share in our world’s magnificent achievements, the most impressive of which could be yet to come. Notes PREFACE 1. Edward N. Lorenz, 1963, “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow,” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 20 (2): 130–141. The original metaphor referred to the flapping of a seagull’s wings. The term “butterfly effect” was coined later by a colleague, Phil Merilees, as the title for one of Lorenz’s talks. See Tim Palmer, 2009, “Edward Norton Lorenz, 23 May 1916–16 April 2008,” Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 55: 139–155, esp. 145 ff. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 1. Ian Goldin and Tiffany Vogel, 2010, “Global Governance and Systemic Risk in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Financial Crisis,” Global Policy 1 (1): 4–15.


pages: 208 words: 70,860

Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, clockwork universe, complexity theory, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Olbers’ paradox, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, Wilhelm Olbers

He won the King’s prize even though he didn’t come up with an answer to the original question about the stability of the whole solar system. Poincaré had discovered that the way a system of even just three interacting bodies evolves in time cannot be knowable exactly—let alone one involving all bodies in the solar system (at least, all the planets and their moons, along with the Sun). But the implications of this discovery would have to wait another three-quarters of a century. THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT Let’s give our all-powerful computer the far more modest task of predicting the way the balls on a pool table will scatter when hit by the cue ball at the start of a game. Every ball on the table will be knocked in some way and most will undergo multiple collisions, many bouncing off each other and the sides of the table. Of course, the computer would need to know precisely how hard the cue ball is struck and the exact angle at which it collides with the first ball in the pack.

This is why it is so difficult to make long-term weather predictions, since we can never know to infinite accuracy all the variables that affect the real weather. It’s just like the pool-table example, only far more complicated. We can now know with reasonable reliability if it will rain in a few days’ time, but we can never know if will rain on this date next year. It was this profound realization that led Lorenz to coin the term “the butterfly effect.” The idea of the flap of a butterfly’s wings having a far-reaching ripple-type effect on subsequent events seems to have first appeared in a short story called “A Sound of Thunder,” written in 1952 by Ray Bradbury. The idea was borrowed by Lorenz, who popularized it as the now familiar notion of the flapping of a butterfly’s wings somewhere leading months later to a hurricane on the other side of the world.

For it doesn’t matter that we live in a deterministic universe in which the future is, in principle, fixed. That future would be knowable only if we were able to view the whole of space and time from the outside. But for us, and our consciousnesses, embedded within space-time, that future is never knowable to us. It is that very unpredictability that gives us an open future. The choices we make are, to us, real choices, and because of the butterfly effect, tiny changes brought about by our different decisions can lead to very different outcomes, and hence different futures. So, thanks to chaos theory, our future is never knowable to us. You might prefer to say that the future is preordained and that our free will is just an illusion—but the point remains that our actions still determine which of the infinite number of possible futures is the one that gets played out.


pages: 266 words: 86,324

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Atul Gawande, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, feminist movement, forensic accounting, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, index fund, Isaac Newton, law of one price, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Pepto Bismol, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

But Lorenz found that such small differences led to massive changes in the result.2 The phenomenon was dubbed the butterfly effect, based on the implication that atmospheric changes so small they could have been caused by a butterfly flapping its wings can have a large effect on subsequent global weather patterns. That notion might sound absurd—the equivalent of the extra cup of coffee you sip one morning leading to profound changes in your life. But actually that does happen—for instance, if the extra time you spent caused you to cross paths with your future wife at the train station or to miss being hit by a car that sped through a red light. In fact, Lorenz’s story is itself an example of the butterfly effect, for if he hadn’t taken the minor decision to extend his calculation employing the shortcut, he would not have discovered the butterfly effect, a discovery which sparked a whole new field of mathematics.

In this experiment, as one song or another by chance got an early edge in downloads, its seeming popularity influenced future shoppers. It’s a phenomenon that is well-known in the movie industry: moviegoers will report liking a movie more when they hear beforehand how good it is. In this example, small chance influences created a snowball effect and made a huge difference in the future of the song. Again, it’s the butterfly effect. In our lives, too, we can see through the microscope of close scrutiny that many major events would have turned out differently were it not for the random confluence of minor factors, people we’ve met by chance, job opportunities that randomly came our way. For example, consider the actor who, for seven years starting in the late 1970s, lived in a fifth-floor walk-up on Forty-ninth Street in Manhattan, struggling to make a name for himself.


pages: 360 words: 85,321

The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling by Adam Kucharski

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, call centre, Chance favours the prepared mind, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, locking in a profit, Louis Pasteur, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, p-value, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

The problem, which is known as “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” means that even if we collect detailed measurements about a process—whether a roulette spin or a tropical storm—a small oversight could have dramatic consequences. Seventy years before mathematician Edward Lorenz gave a talk asking “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” Poincaré had outlined the “butterfly effect.” Lorenz’s work, which grew into chaos theory, focused chiefly on prediction. He was motivated by a desire to make better forecasts about the weather and to find a way to see further into the future. Poincaré was interested in the opposite problem: How long does it take for a process to become random? In fact, does the path of a roulette ball ever become truly random? Poincaré was inspired by roulette, but he made his breakthrough by studying a much grander set of trajectories.

According to Neil Johnson, who led the research, these events are a world away from the kind of situations covered by traditional financial theories. “Humans are unable to participate in real time,” he said, “and instead, an ultrafast ecology of robots rises up to take control.” WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT chaos theory, they often focus on the physics side of things. They might mention Edward Lorenz and his work on forecasting and the butterfly effect: the unpredictability of the weather, and the tornado caused by the flap of an insect’s wings. Or they might recall the story of the Eudaemons and roulette prediction, and how the trajectory of a billiard ball can be sensitive to initial conditions. Yet chaos theory has reached beyond the physical sciences. While the Eudaemons were preparing to take their roulette strategy to Las Vegas, on the other side of the United States ecologist Robert May was working on an idea that would fundamentally change how we think about biological systems.

The Kelly Capital Growth Investment Criterion: Theory and Practice (Singapore: World Scientific, 2011). 7Reports of their final profits differ: Maugh, Thomas H. “Roy Walford, 79; Eccentric UCLA Scientist Touted Food Restriction.” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2004. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/may/01/local/me-walford1. 7Many have told the tale: Ethier, “Testing for Favorable Numbers.” 7When Wilson published his data: Ethier, “Testing for Favorable Numbers.” 9Poincaré had outlined the “butterfly effect: Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science (New York: Open Road, 2011). 9The Zodiac may be regarded: Poincaré, Science and Method. 10Blaise Pascal invented roulette: Bass, Thomas. The Newtonian Casino (London: Penguin, 1990). 10The orbiting roulette ball: The majority of details and quotes in this section are taken from Thorp, Edward. “The Invention of the First Wearable Computer.” Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers (1998), 4. 13participants were asked to help: Milgram, Stanley.


pages: 226 words: 59,080

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Donald Davies, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, white flight

., 1n Boulding, Kenneth, 11 bounded rationality, 203 Bowles, Samuel, 71n Brazil: antipoverty programs of, 4 globalization and, 166 Bretton Woods Conference (1944), 1–2 Britain, Great, property rights and, 98 bubbles, 152–58 business cycles, 125–37 balanced budgets and, 171 capital flow in, 127 classical economics and, 126–27, 129, 137 inflation in, 126–27, 133, 135, 137 new classical models and, 130–34, 136–37 butterfly effect, 39 California, University of: at Berkeley, 107, 136, 147 at Los Angeles, 139 Cameron, David, 109 capacity utilization rates, 130 capital, neoclassical distribution theory and, 122, 124 capital flow: in business cycles, 127 economic growth and, 17–18, 114, 164–67 globalization and, 164–67 growth diagnostics and, 90 speculation and, 2 capitalism, 118–24, 127, 144, 205, 207 carbon, emissions quotas vs. taxes in reduction of, 188–90, 191–92 Card, David, 57 Carlyle, Thomas, 118 carpooling, 192, 193–94 cartels, 95 Cartwright, Nancy, 20, 22n, 29 cash grants, 4, 55, 105–6 Cassidy, John, 157n Central Bank of India, 154 Chang, Ha-Joon, 11 chaos theory, butterfly effect and, 39 Chicago, University of, 131, 152 Chicago Board of Trade, 55 Chile, antipoverty programs and, 4 China, People’s Republic of, 156, 163, 164 cigarette industry, taxation and, 27–28 Clark, John Bates, 119 “Classical Gold Standard, The: Some Lessons for Today” (Bordo), 127n classical unemployment, 126 climate change, 188–90, 191–92 climate modeling, 38, 40 Cochrane, John, 131 coffee, 179, 185 Colander, David, 85 collective bargaining, 124–25, 143 Colombia, educational vouchers in, 24 colonialism, developmental economics and, 206–7 “Colonial Origins of Comparative Development, The” (Acemoglu, Robinson, and Johnson), 206–7 Columbia University, 2, 108 commitment, in game theory, 33 comparative advantage, 52–55, 58n, 59–60, 139, 170 compensation for risk models, 110 competition, critical assumptions in, 28–29 complementarities, 42 computable general equilibrium (CGE) models, 41 computational models, 38, 41 computers, model complexity and, 38 Comte, Auguste, 81 conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, 4, 105–6 congestion pricing, 2–3 Constitution, U.S., 187 construction industry, Great Recession and, 156 consumers, consumption, 119, 129, 130, 132, 136, 167 cross-price elasticity in, 180–81 consumer’s utility, 119 contextual truths, 20, 174 contingency, 25, 145, 173–74, 185 contracts, 88, 98, 161, 205 coordination models, 16–17, 42, 200 corn futures, 55 corruption, 87, 89, 91 costs, behavioral economics and, 70 Cotterman, Nancy, xiv Cournot, Antoine-Augustin, 13n Cournot competition, 68 credibility, in game theory, 33 “Credible Worlds, Capacities and Mechanisms” (Sugden), 172n credit rating agencies, 155 credit rationing, 64–65 critical assumptions, 18, 26–29, 94–98, 150–51, 180, 183–84, 202 cross-price elasticity, 180–81 Cuba, 57 currency: appreciation of, 60, 167 depreciation of, 153 economic growth and, 163–64, 167 current account deficits, 153 Curry, Brendan, xv Dahl, Gordon B., 151n Darwin, Charles, 113 Davis, Donald, 108 day care, 71, 190–91 Debreu, Gerard, 49–51 debt, national, 153 decision trees, 89–90, 90 DeLong, Brad, 136 democracy, social sciences and, 205 deposit insurance, 155 depreciation, currency, 153 Depression, Great, 2, 128, 153 deregulation, 143, 155, 158–59, 162, 168 derivatives, 153, 155 deterrence, in game theory, 33 development economics, 75–76, 86–93, 90, 159–67, 169, 201, 202 colonial settlement and, 206–7 institutions and, 98, 161, 202, 205–7 reform fatigue and, 88 diagnostic analysis, 86–93, 90, 97, 110–11 Dijkgraaf, Robbert, xiv “Dirtying White: Why Does Benn Steil’s History of Bretton Woods Distort the Ideas of Harry Dexter White?”

Interestingly, the immediate example that Watts deploys is the economy: “The U.S. economy, for example, is the product of the individual actions of millions of people, as well as hundreds of thousands of firms, thousands of government agencies, and countless other external and internal factors, ranging from the weather in Texas to interest rates in China.”21 As Watts notes, disturbances in one part of the economy—say, in mortgage finance—can be amplified and produce major shocks for the entire economy, as in the “butterfly effect” from chaos theory. It is interesting that Watts would point to the economy, since efforts to construct large-scale economic models have been singularly unproductive to date. To put it even more strongly, I cannot think of an important economic insight that has come out of such models. In fact, they have often led us astray. Overconfidence in the prevailing macroeconomic orthodoxy of the day resulted in the construction of several large-scale simulation models of the US economy in the 1960s and 1970s built on Keynesian foundations.


pages: 198 words: 57,703

The World According to Physics by Jim Al-Khalili

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, gravity well, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, supercomputer in your pocket, the scientific method

Crucially, this does not mean that such knowledge couldn’t in principle be known—since in a deterministic universe the future is already preordained—it is just that, in practice, we would need to know the current conditions of the Earth’s climate to astonishing accuracy and have stupendous computational power to feed in all the data to make a precise simulation that could then be evolved mathematically to give a reliable prediction. It is this chaotic unpredictability that give rise to the famous ‘butterfly effect’: the idea that the tiny, seemingly inconsequential disturbance of the air caused by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings on one side of the world could gradually develop and grow until it dramatically affected the course of a hurricane on the other side of the world. This does not mean that there is a specific butterfly to which we can trace the cause of a hurricane, but rather that any tiny changes to the initial conditions can give rise to widely varying outcomes if we continue to evolve the system in time.

For example, most cosmologists favour the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics in which everything is fully deterministic. There is another way in which unpredictability and the appearance of randomness come into physics, and that is through the phenomenon of chaotic behaviour. Chaos appears in nature when there is an instability within a system, such that tiny changes to the way the system evolves over time can quickly grow. There’s that butterfly effect again. Sometimes even simple systems following simple, deterministic physical laws can behave in highly unpredictable and complex ways that seem to be truly random. But unlike in the quantum domain, where we don’t know whether unpredictability is due to true indeterminism or not,3 the unpredictability of a chaotic system is not—despite initial appearances—due to true randomness. There is also a fascinating flip side to chaos theory: that simple rules, applied repeatedly, can lead to seemingly random behaviour, but then sometimes go on to produce beautiful structures and complex patterns of behaviour that look highly ordered.

INDEX absolute zero, 102 Adams, Douglas, 5 AdS/CFT (anti–de Sitter/conformal theory correspondence; gauge/ gravity duality), 232–33 alpha particles, 101–2 Anderson, Carl, 103–4 Anderson, Philip, 47 Andromeda galaxy, 98 antigravity, 212–13 antimatter, 7, 13, 103–5 antiquarks, 96n1, 176n2 Anu (Sumerian god), 1 Archimedes, 16, 25 Aristotle, 16, 45, 57–58, 74, 77 artificial intelligence (AI), 161, 235, 240, 250, 255, 256–57 atomic clocks, 39 atomism, 16–17, 45 atoms, 15; composition of, 224; types of, 16–17 axions, 200 Banks, Joseph, 108 Bell, John, 126–27 beta radioactivity, 94, 96 Big Bang, 7, 32, 34, 98–101, 103, 150; cosmology model of, 179; in eternal inflation theory, 216; verification of, 269–70 binary data, 251 binary pulsars, 226 biology, 21, 111, 161, 236, 242–44 biomass, 151 biophysics, 242 bits, 251 black holes, 195, 221, 223, 233; entropy of, 279; evaporation of, 215, 220; formation of, 106; gravitational pull from, 72; Hawking radiation emitted from, 24, 220 block universe model, 68–69, 70–71, 79–81 Bohm, David, 136 Bohr, Niels, 122–23, 124, 125, 132 Boltzmann, Ludwig, 46 Born’s rule, 124 Bose-Einstein condensates, 226 bosons, 6–7, 13, 25, 93, 96–97, 181 Broglie, Louis de, 136 bubble universes, 217–18 Bullet Cluster, 197 butterfly effect, 157–58, 160 carbon, 106 celestial mechanics, 55 CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), 174, 228 chaos, 21, 160–61 chemistry, 21, 91, 236, 241–42, 256; quantum theory and, 9, 117, 173, 246 Classical Physics, 111–12 climate, 151, 240, 271, 272–73 cloud technology, 255 COBE satellite, 199 cognitive dissonance, 272 cold dark matter, 179, 200 colour charge, 95–96, 175–76 comets, 18 complexity, 21 complex systems, 161 computer science, 241, 246, 250–58 concordance model, 179 condensed matter, 232, 233, 236 confirmation bias, 272, 277 conformal cyclic cosmology, 215–16 conservation, laws of, 41 consistent histories interpretation, 127 conspiracy theories, 271–72 constrained minimal supersymmetry, 231 Copenhagen interpretation, xiii, 123, 125, 127, 128 Copernican (heliocentric) model, 4, 26–27, 126 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 27 Cosmic Background Explorer (Explorer 66), 199n2 cosmic inflation, 208–19, 276 cosmic microwave background (CMB), 34, 101, 197, 198–99 cosmological constant, 203 cosmology, 12 creation myths, 1 Crick, Francis, 243 CT (computed tomography), 246 curved spacetime, 64n2, 78, 82, 187, 234; dark matter and, 196; gravitational field linked to 72–73, 163, 170; inflation and, 209 dark energy, 7, 9, 193, 202–5, 210, 226, 276 dark matter, 7, 9, 42, 105–6, 179, 193–201, 231, 276 de Broglie–Bohm theory, 137 decoherence, 133, 135 Delbrück, Max, 243 Democritus, 16, 44–45 Descartes, René, 55, 57–58, 59–60, 74, 77 determinism, 155–58 diffraction, 114 Dirac, Paul, 13, 14, 103, 171–72 Dirac notation, 124 disorder, 21 DNA, 243, 249 Doppler effect, 63 double helix, 243 doubt, in scientific inquiry, 266–67, 274 dwarf galaxies, 197 dynamical collapse interpretation, 127 economics, 161 Einstein, Albert, xiv, 124, 222–23, 280; field equations of, 82, 129; light quanta hypothesized by, 112–13; Newtonian theory replaced by, 8, 36, 61; nonlocality and entanglement mistrusted by, 131–32; as philosophical realist, 130; photoelectric effect explained by, 29–30; thought experiments by, 56.


pages: 327 words: 97,720

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo

Alfred Russel Wallace, biofilm, butterfly effect, Celebration, Florida, corporate governance, delayed gratification, experimental subject, impulse control, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, longitudinal study, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, Rodney Brooks, Ted Kaczynski, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Walter Mischel

To echo Henry Melvill once again: “Our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” In the field of complex adaptive systems, scientists refer to the Butterfly Effect, whereby the wind displaced by the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in Africa might initiate an immensely involved string of consequences that alter the weather over Europe days or weeks later. This particular example may be something of an exaggeration, but it isn’t just a metaphor. Using supercomputers, researchers can actually work out the details that allow simple causes to interact, compound, and amplify to yield complex and profound results. In more technical terms, the Butterfly Effect is called “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” and it reflects the way that small-scale events interact with large ones. The more dramatic the small-scale cause, the more immediate and more easily measured the large-scale results.

The simple realizations that we are not passive victims, that we do have some control, and that we can change our situation by changing our thoughts, expectations, and behaviors toward others can have a surprisingly empowering effect, especially on our conscious effort to self-regulate. A second inkling of control comes from recognizing that we have latitude in choosing where to invest our social energy. And as we saw in our discussion of the Butterfly Effect, it does not take an enormous change to alter one’s course and destination dramatically. Charitable activities enable us to put ourselves in the social picture with less fear of rejection or abuse, but even here some discretion is in order. Coaching kids’ soccer requires at least a little knowledge of the game, but being manager or assistant coach often requires nothing more than a willingness to show up and pass around the Gatorade and the orange slices.

An increase in average per capita memberships by one unit was correlated with a decrease in mortality of 66.8 per 100,000. Lower levels of trust within the local culture were associated with higher rates of mortality for every cause of death, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infant mortality. One interpretation of such data: Social isolation, including social fragmentation, can kill. Henry Melvill wrote of our causes returning to us as effects; complexity theorists have their Butterfly Effect. Whether we think in terms of “sympathetic threads” or of autonomous agents acting in a complex system, the fact remains that individual behaviors created both the peace and beauty of Middlebury, Vermont, and the tribal warfare of the Sunni triangle. Of course vast economic, political, and cultural forces are also at play, but ultimately, human beings shape their environment through individual, iterative behaviors.


pages: 295 words: 66,824

A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market by John Allen Paulos

Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, business climate, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, dogs of the Dow, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elliott wave, endowment effect, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, four colour theorem, George Gilder, global village, greed is good, index fund, intangible asset, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, mental accounting, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, Ralph Nelson Elliott, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, six sigma, Stephen Hawking, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

This is so despite the fact that linear systems and models are much more robust, with small differences in initial conditions leading only to small differences in final outcomes. They’re also easier to predict mathematically, and this is why they’re so often employed whether their application is appropriate or not. The chestnut about the economist looking for his lost car keys under the street lamp comes to mind. “You probably lost them near the car,” his companion remonstrates, to which the economist responds, “I know, but the light is better over here.” The “butterfly effect” is the term often used for the sensitive dependence of nonlinear systems, a characteristic that has been noted in phenomena ranging from fluid flow and heart fibrillations to epilepsy and price fluctuations. The name comes from the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings someplace in South America might be sufficient to change future weather systems, helping to bring about, say, a tornado in Oklahoma that would otherwise not have occurred.

Brian auditors Aumann, Robert availability error average values compared with distribution of incomes risk as variance from averages average return compared with median return average value compared with distribution of incomes buy-sell rules and outguessing average guess risk as variance from average value averaging down Bachelier, Louis Bak, Per Barabasi, Albert-Lazló Bartiromo, Maria bear markets investor self-descriptions and shorting and distorting strategy in Benford, Frank Benford’s Law applying to corporate fraud background of frequent occurrence of numbers governed by Bernoulli, Daniel Beta (B) values causes of variations in comparing market against individual stocks or funds strengths and weaknesses of technique for finding volatility and Big Bang billiards, as example of nonlinear system binary system biorhythm theory Black, Fischer Black-Scholes option formula blackjack strategies Blackledge, Todd “blow up,” investor blue chip companies, P/E ratio of Bogle, John bonds Greenspan’s impact on bond market history of stocks outperforming will not necessarily continue to be outperformed by stocks Bonds, Barry bookkeeping. see accounting practices bottom-line investing Brock, William brokers. see stock brokers Buffett, Warren bull markets investor self-descriptions and pump and dump strategy in Butterfly Economics (Ormerod) “butterfly effect,” of nonlinear systems buy-sell rules buying on the margin. see also margin investments calendar effects call options. see also stock options covering how they work selling strategies valuation tools campaign contributions Capital Asset Pricing Model capital gains vs. dividends Central Limit Theorem CEOs arrogance of benefits in manipulating stock prices remuneration compared with that of average employee volatility due to malfeasance of chain letters Chaitin, Gregory chance. see also whim trading strategies and as undeniable factor in market chaos theory. see also nonlinear systems charity Clayman, Michelle cognitive illusions availability error confirmation bias heuristics rules of thumb for saving time mental accounts status quo bias Cohen, Abby Joseph coin flipping common knowledge accounting scandals and definition and importance to investors dynamic with private knowledge insider trading and parable illustrating private information becoming companies/corporations adjusting results to meet expectations applying Benford’s Law to corporate fraud comparing corporate and personal accounting financial health and P/E ratio of blue chips competition vs. cooperation, prisoner’s dilemma complexity changing over time horizon of sequences (mathematics) of trading strategies compound interest as basis of wealth doubling time and formulas for future value and present value and confirmation bias definition of investments reflecting stock-picking and connectedness. see also networks European market causing reaction on Wall Street interactions based on whim interactions between technical traders and value traders irrational interactions between traders Wolfram model of interactions between traders Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) contrarian investing dogs of the Dow measures of excellence and rate of return and cooperation vs. competition, prisoner’s dilemma correlation coefficient. see also statistical correlations counter-intuitive investment counterproductive behavior, psychology of covariance calculation of portfolio diversification based on portfolio volatility and stock selection and Cramer, James crowd following or not herd-like nature of price movements dart throwing, stock-picking contest in the Wall Street Journal data mining illustrated by online chatrooms moving averages and survivorship bias and trading strategies and DeBondt, Werner Deciding What’s News (Gans) decimalization reforms decision making minimizing regret selling WCOM depression of derivatives trading, Enron despair and guilt over market losses deviation from the mean. see also mean value covariance standard deviation (d) variance dice, probability and Digex discounting process, present value of future money distribution of incomes distribution of wealth dynamic of concentration UN report on diversified portfolios. see stock portfolios, diversifying dividends earnings and proposals benefitting returns from Dodd, David dogs of the Dow strategy “dominance” principle, game theory dot com IPOs, as a pyramid scheme double-bottom trend reversal “double-dip” recession double entry bookkeeping doubling time, compound interest and Dow dogs of the Dow strategy percentages of gains and losses e (exponential growth) compound interest and higher mathematics and earnings anchoring effect and complications with determination of inflating (WCOM) P/E ratio and stock valuation and East, Steven H.

Kozlowski, Dennis Kraus, Karl Krauthammer, Charles Kudlow, Larry Lakonishok, Josef Landsburg, Steven Lay, Ken LeBaron, Blake Lefevre, Edwin Leibweber, David linguistics, power law and Lo, Andrew logistic curve lognormal distribution Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) losing through winning loss aversion lotteries present value and as tax on stupidity Lynch, Peter MacKinlay, Craig mad money Malkiel, Burton management, manipulating stock prices Mandelbrot, Benoit margin calls margin investments buying on the margin as investment type margin calls selling on the margin market makers decimalization and World Class Options Market Maker (WCOMM) Markowitz, Harry mathematics, generally Greek movies and plays about outguessing the average guess risk and stock markets and Mathews, Eddie “maximization of expected value” principle mean value. see also expected value arithmetic mean deviation from the mean geometric mean regression to the mean using interchangeably with expected value media celebrities and crisis mentality and impact on market volatility median rate of return Merrill Lynch Merton, Robert mnemonic rules momentum investing money, categorizing into mental accounts Morgenson, Gretchen Motley Fool contrarian investment strategy PEG ratio and moving averages complications with evidence supporting example of generating buy-sell rules from getting the big picture with irrelevant in efficient market phlegmatic nature of mu (m) multifractal forgeries mutual funds expert picks and hedge funds index funds politically incorrect rationale for socially regressive funds mutual knowledge, contrasted with common knowledge Nash equilibrium Nash, John Neff, John negatively correlated stocks as basis of mutual fund selection as basis of stock selection stock portfolios and networks Internet as example of price movements and six degrees of separation and A New Kind of Science (Wolfram) Newcomb, Simon Newcombe, William Newcombe’s paradox Niederhoffer, Victor Nigrini, Mark nominal value A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street (Lo and MacKinlay) nonlinear systems billiards example “butterfly effect” or sensitive dependence of chaos theory and fractals and investor behavior and normal distribution Nozick, Robert numbers anchoring effect Benford’s Law and Fibonacci numbers and off-shore entities, Enron Once Upon a Number (Paulos) online chatrooms online trading optimal portfolio balancing with risk-free portfolio Markowitz efficient frontier of options. see stock options Ormerod, Paul O’Shaughnessy, James P/B (price-to-book) ratio P/E ratio interpreting measuring future earnings expectations PEG variation on stock valuation and P/S (price to sales) ratio paradoxes Efficient Market Hypothesis and examples of Newcombe’s paradox Parrondo’s paradox St.


pages: 243 words: 65,374

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

A. Roger Ekirch, Ada Lovelace, big-box store, British Empire, butterfly effect, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jacquard loom, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Live Aid, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, planetary scale, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, walkable city, women in the workforce

You wouldn’t think that printing technology would have anything to do with the expansion of our vision down to the cellular scale, just as you wouldn’t have thought that the evolution of pollen would alter the design of a hummingbird’s wing. But that is the way change happens. This may sound, at first blush, like a variation on the famous “butterfly effect” from chaos theory, where the flap of a butterfly’s wing in California ends up triggering a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic. But in fact, the two are fundamentally different. The extraordinary (and unsettling) property of the butterfly effect is that it involves a virtually unknowable chain of causality; you can’t map the link between the air molecules bouncing around the butterfly and the storm system brewing in the Atlantic. They may be connected, because everything is connected on some level, but it is beyond our capacity to parse those connections or, even harder, to predict them in advance.

., Signal Corps, 104 Ashenburg, Katherine, 138 Astronomy, 38, 41, 170, 184, 187 See also Observatories; Telescopes Atomic clocks, 186–88 Audion, 106, 107 Automobiles, 74, 92, 133, 185, 229 impact on settlement patterns of, 80 Babbage, Charles, 185, 245–46, 247, 248, 250–53 Babylonians, 198 Baliani, Giovanni Battista, 166 Baltimore, 180 Bangkok, 83 Bar codes, 233–34, 236 Barovier, Angelo, 19 Basker, Emek, 233–34 Batchelor, Charles, 211 Bathing, 45, 137–38, 139, 140 Bathing suits, women’s, 149–50 Beatles, 114 Beecher, Catharine, 138 Bell, Alexander Graham, 9, 94, 97–98, 98, 103 Bell Labs, 30, 100–105, 107, 108, 113, 114, 116, 184, 211, 232 Bering Land Bridge, 191 Berlin Jazz Festival, 112–13 Best Buy, 234 Betamax, 7 Bible, 25 Old Testament, 216 Biden, Joe, 83 Big Bang, 40 Binary code, 30, 158 Birdseye, Clarence, 72, 73, 74–75, 84 in Labrador, 68, 70, 71, 253 Birmingham (England), 174 Black Friday stock market crash, 74 Bohr, Niels, 186, 194 Bombay, 53, 55 B&O Railroad, 182 Boston, 58, 250 ice shipped from, 48–52, 54, 57 Water Works in, 130 Boston Gazette, 49 Boulders, The (Las Vegas), 228 Boyle, Robert, 64 Boys, Charles Vernon, 27, 28, 29 Brand, Steward, 192 Brasília, 226, 229 Brazil, 8, 210 Briggs House (Chicago), 133 Bright, Arthur A., 206, 208 Broad Exchange (New York), 100 Brooklyn, 110, 219, 220 Brown, Denis Scott, 226, 229–31 Brunelleschi, Filippo, 32 Brush Electric Light, 214 Buckley, O. E., 104–5 Butterfly effect, 5 Byron, Annabella, 242, 244, 245 Byron, George Gordon, Lord, 241, 242, 244, 245 Calcutta, 55 California, 83 Caltech, 156, 158 Candles, 19, 20, 198, 200–201, 204, 205, 217 Cape Town, 128 Carbon dating, 190–92 Carré, Ferdinand, 66–67 Carrier, Willis, 76–80, 82, 83 Carrier Corporation, 76, 77, 79 Cattle ranching, 58 Cave paintings, 87–90, 89, 120, 122 Celsius scale, 64 Cell phones, 31, 100, 102, 189–90, 194 Central Council for Health Education, 139 Central time zone, 183 Cesium, 186–87, 189, 190, 192, 194 Chaos theory, 1, 5 Charleston (South Carolina), 55 Chauvet cave paintings, 87 Chennai, 83 Chesbrough, Ellis, 127, 130, 131, 132, 134, 154, 160 Chicago, 57–61, 106, 127–30, 132, 133, 134–36, 154 African-Americans in, 110 Board of Sewerage Commissioners of, 129–30 Chicxulub asteroid, 197 China, 8, 122–23, 211 Great Wall of, 231 Chlorination of water supply, 143–44, 148–50 Chlorine bleach, 151 Chlorine Revolution, The (McGuire), 144 Cholera, 3, 129, 140–41, 141, 143, 145, 147, 158 Chronometers, 173, 194 Cincinnati, 182 City of the Century (Miller), 58–60 City Noise, 117 Civil rights movement, 9, 82, 112–14, 231 Civil War, 66–67, 143, 179, 251 Clark, A.


pages: 257 words: 80,100

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, Doomsday Book, index card, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Marshall McLuhan, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, wikimedia commons

In the event, a feckless time-tourist steps on a butterfly: “an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across Time.” The butterfly effect, though, is a matter of potential only. Not every flutter in the air leaves its mark on the ages. Most fade to nothing, damped by viscosity. That was Asimov’s assumption in The End of Eternity: that the effects of tampering with history tend to die out as the centuries pass, perturbations extinguished by friction or dissipation. His Technician confidently explains: “Reality has a tendency to flow back to its original position.” But Bradbury was right and Asimov was wrong. If history is a dynamical system, it’s surely nonlinear, and the butterfly effect must obtain. At some places, some times, a slight divergence can transform history. There are critical moments—nodal points.

.”*6 There are few happy endings, he found. It is often the writers of science fiction or “speculative fiction” who give us, not only the weirdest, but the most rigorously analyzed approaches to the working of history. It all might have been different. For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. I coulda been a contender. Regret is the time traveler’s energy bar. If only…something. Every writer nowadays knows about the butterfly effect. The slightest flutter might alter the course of great events. A decade before the meteorologist and chaos theorist Edward Lorenz chose the butterfly for illustrative purposes, Ray Bradbury deployed a history-changing butterfly in his 1952 story “A Sound of Thunder.” Here the time machine—the Machine, a vague mess of “silver metal” and “roaring light”—carries paying sightseers on Time Safaris back to the era of the dinosaurs.


pages: 250 words: 75,586

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales From Neurosurgery by Frank Vertosick

butterfly effect, double helix, index card, medical residency, random walk, zero-sum game

Example: a billiard ball rolling off the hood of a car. When placed in one spot, it rolls one way; placed one millimeter to the right or left of that spot, it rolls in a different direction altogether. Where the ball ends up depends entirely upon where we place it initially. The impact of the initial conditions has been named the “butterfly effect,” since, in the chaotic theory of weather, the beating of a butterfly’s wings in Asia can cause a hurricane in the southern Atlantic months later. Our lives evolve from our own butterfly effects. The tiniest perturbations in our youths, our “initial conditions,” generate profound alterations in our later lives. In my case, I had wanted to be a computer scientist, but no openings in my freshman computer-science courses existed. If I had jumped one or two places ahead in the registration line, I would have made it into freshman comp sci and never become a physician.

If I had jumped one or two places ahead in the registration line, I would have made it into freshman comp sci and never become a physician. What delayed my arrival at the registration office? I don’t remember—stopping for a hamburger, maybe, or speaking to a friend—but whatever this long-forgotten event was, it changed my life. If I could have taken cardiac surgery, as I had wanted, I would probably be one of the “best in the chest” now, and not a brain surgeon. The butterfly effect: a conversation here, a missed flight there…happenings which redirect the rivers of our lives. After buffeting about in the chaotic currents, I feared that I had been cast onto a distant shore, a place where I didn’t belong. Three months into my new practice, a seventy-year-old widow named Grace Catalano came to my office, pushed along in a wheelchair by her burly son. She had suffered from back and leg pains for years.


pages: 401 words: 93,256

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland

3D printing, Alfred Russel Wallace, barriers to entry, basic income, Black Swan, butterfly effect, California gold rush, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, double helix, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Firefox, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Chrome, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Hyperloop, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, IKEA effect, information asymmetry, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, loss aversion, low cost airline, Mason jar, Murray Gell-Mann, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Veblen good

Often these models are useful, but sometimes they are inaccurate or misleading. And occasionally they are highly dangerous. We should never forget that our need for logic and certainty brings costs as well as benefits. The need to appear scientific in our methodology may prevent us from considering other, less logical and more magical solutions, which can be cheap, fast-acting and effective. The mythical ‘butterfly effect’ does exist, but we don’t spend enough time butterfly hunting. Here are some recent butterfly effect discoveries, from my own experience: A website adds a single extra option to its checkout procedure – and increases sales by $300m per year. An airline changes the way in which flights are presented – and sells £8m more of premium seating per year. A software company makes a seemingly inconsequential change to call-centre procedure – and retains business worth several million pounds.

Solving Problems Using Rationality Is Like Playing Golf With Only One Club You will improve your thinking a great deal if you try to abandon artificial certainty and learn to think ambiguously about the peculiarities of human psychology. However, as I warned at the beginning of this book, this will not necessarily make life easier – it is much easier to be fired for being illogical than for being unimaginative.* The chart below describes the consequences of different modes of decision-making, whether things go right or wrong. Why we need to spend more time and energy hunting for butterfly effects. Large organisations are not set up to reward creative thinking. As the chart shows, the greatest risks result from an imaginative approach, so it seems safer to act logically. However, it is the job of the alchemist to explore the upper half of this chart occasionally – and managers should give their staff permission and unwavering support when they do so. Finding the Real Why: We Need to Talk about Unconscious Motivations Our brains present us with a view that is the best-calibrated to improve our evolutionary fitness rather than the most accurate.


pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

If the clock symbolizes perfect Laplacean predictability, its opposite is the Lorenzian cloud. High school science tells us that clouds form when water vapor coalesces around dust particles. This sounds simple but exactly how a particular cloud develops—the shape it takes—depends on complex feedback interactions among droplets. To capture these interactions, computer modelers need equations that are highly sensitive to tiny butterfly-effect errors in data collection. So even if we learn all that is knowable about how clouds form, we will not be able to predict the shape a particular cloud will take. We can only wait and see. In one of history’s great ironies, scientists today know vastly more than their colleagues a century ago, and possess vastly more data-crunching power, but they are much less confident in the prospects for perfect predictability.

In my EPJ research in the late 1980s, I had the experts forecast whether the Communist Party would remain in power in the Soviet Union, whether there would be a violent overthrow of apartheid in South Africa, and whether Quebec would separate from Canada. After the deadlines for three forecasts passed, and the correct answers were clear—no, no, and no—I asked the experts to consider the plausibility of counterfactual scenarios, in which small butterfly-effect tweaks caused history to unfold differently. When the what-iffery implied that their failed forecast would have turned out right—for example, if the coup against Gorbachev in 1991 had been better planned and the plotters had been less drunk and better organized, the Communist Party would still be in power—the experts tended to welcome the what-if tale like an old friend. But when the scenarios implied that their correct forecast could easily have turned out wrong, they dismissed it as speculative.

Misinterpretations of “30% rain tomorrow” include (a) it will rain 30% of the time tomorrow); (b) it will rain on 30% of the landmass of Berlin; (c) 30% of weather forecasters predict rain. The correct interpretation is much harder to wrap our heads around: when meteorologists quantify the weather conditions around Berlin right now and plug in their best models, the equations assign a 30% probability to rain tomorrow. Or another way to look at it, using Lorenzian computer simulations: if we could rerun the weather in Berlin thousands of times, with minor butterfly-effect tweaks for measurement error in antecedent conditions like winds and barometric pressures, it would rain in 30% of the computer-simulated worlds. Small wonder that Berliners resort to more concrete simplifications. 12. David Leonhardt, “How Not to Be Fooled by Odds,” New York Times, October 15, 2014. 13. Robert Rubin, in discussion with the author, June 28, 2012. 14. William Byers, The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), p. vii. 15.


pages: 354 words: 105,322

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by James Rickards

"Robert Solow", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, jitney, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, Pierre-Simon Laplace, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, reserve currency, RFID, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, stocks for the long run, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transfer pricing, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system

. … [P]rediction of the sufficiently distant future is impossible by any [known] method, unless the present conditions are known exactly. In view of the inevitable inaccuracy and incompleteness of … observations, precise very-long-range forecasting would seem to be nonexistent. Lorenz was writing about the atmosphere, yet his conclusions apply broadly to complex systems. Lorenz’s research is the source of the famous butterfly effect in which a hurricane is caused by a butterfly’s wings flapping thousands of miles away. The butterfly effect is good science. The difficulty is that not every butterfly causes a hurricane, and not every hurricane is caused by butterflies. Still, it’s useful to know that hurricanes emerge unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons. The same is true of market meltdowns. Merely because the precise origin of a particular hurricane is not forecast far in advance does not mean the likelihood of hurricanes hitting Miami can safely be ignored.

Complexity and Bayes fit together hand in glove for solving capital markets problems. Capital markets are complex systems nonpareil. Market participants must forecast continually to optimize trading strategies and asset allocations. Forecasting capital markets is treacherous because they do not behave according to the Markovian stochastics widely used on Wall Street. A Markov chain has no memory; capital markets do. Capital markets produce surprises, no different from the butterfly effect identified by Lorenz in 1960. Since 2009 I have achieved superior results using complexity and Bayes to navigate the uncharted waters of systemic risk. A simple application of Bayes’ theorem can provide insights into otherwise secret understandings. A good example is the Shanghai Accord. This was the understanding reached among the United States, China, Japan, and the Eurozone on the sidelines of the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central banks in Shanghai on February 26, 2016.


pages: 289 words: 113,211

A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, computer age, computerized trading, disintermediation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index arbitrage, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, margin call, market bubble, market design, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, The Market for Lemons, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Based on observations made by Edward Lorenz in the early 1960s and popularized by the so-called butterfly effect—the fanciful notion that the beating wings of a butterfly could change the predictions of an otherwise perfect weather forecasting system—this limitation arises because in some important cases immeasurably small errors can compound over time to limit prediction in the larger scale. Half a century after the limits of measurement and thus of physical knowledge were demonstrated by Heisenberg in the world of quantum mechanics, Lorenz piled on a result that showed how microscopic errors could propagate to have a stultifying impact in nonlinear dynamic systems. This limitation could come into the forefront only with the dawning of the computer age, because it is manifested in the subtle errors of computational accuracy. The essence of the butterfly effect is that small perturbations can have large repercussions in massive, random forces such as weather.

This is a point made by John Danaher in the introduction to Brazilian JiuJitsu: Theory and Technique, by Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie with Kid Peligro and John Danaher (Montpelier, VT: Invisible Cities Press, 2001). 270 bindex.qxd 7/13/07 2:44 PM Page 271 INDEX Accidents/organizations, 159–161 Accountants, failure (reasons), 135 Accounting conventions, problems, 138 Accounting orientation, 137–138 Adaptation, best measure, 232–233 Adverse selection, 191–192 American depositary receipts (ADRs), 68 America Online (AOL), 139 Amex Major Market Index (XMI) futures, 12 Analytically driven funds, 248 Analytical Proprietary Trading (APT), 44–45 initiation, 189 remnant, form, 190 A Programming Language (APL), 43–47 asset, problem, 45 Armstrong, Michael, 130 Arthur Andersen, failure, 135 Artificial markets, 229 Asia Crisis (1997), 3, 115 Asian currency crisis, 114 Asian economies, 118 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), 63 Assets class, hedge fund classification, 245 direction, hedge fund classification, 246 Asynchronous pricing, 225 AT&T Wireless Services IPO, SSB underwriting, 130 Back-office functions, 39 Bacon, Louis, 165 Bamberger, Gerry, 185–187, 251 Bankers Trust lawsuit, 38 purchase announcement, 75 Bank exposure, 146–147 Bank failures, 146 Bank of Japan, objectives/strategies, 166 Baptist Foundation, restatements/liability, 135 Barings (bank) bankruptcy, 39 clerical trading error, 38–39 derivatives cross-trading, 143 Beard, Anson, 13 Beder, Tanya, 204 Behavior, economic theory, 231 Berens, Rod, 73 Bernard, Lewis, 42, 52 Biggs, Barton, 11 Black, Fischer, 9 Black Monday (1929), 17 Black-Scholes formula, 9, 252 Block desk, 184–185 trading positions, 186 Bond positions, hedging, 30 Booth, David, 29 Breakdowns, explanation, 5–6 Broker-dealer block-trading desk, usage, 184 price setting role, 213–214 Bucket shop era, 177 Buffett, Warren, 62, 99, 181, 198 arb unit closure, 87–88 Bushnell, Dave, 129–131 Butterfly effect, essence, 227 Capital cushions, 106 Capitalism, 250 Cash futures, 251 arbitrageurs, 19, 23 spread, 19 trade, 19 Cerullo, Ed, 41 Cheapest-to-deliver bond, 251 Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), 252 Black-Scholes formula, impact, 9–10 Citigroup Associates First Capital Corporation, 128 consolidation, impact, 132–134 Japanese private banking arm, 133 management change, Fed reaction, 133 organizational complexity/structural uncertainty, 126 Citron, Robert, 38 Coarse behavior benefits, 232–233 consistency, 236–237 271 bindex.qxd 7/13/07 2:44 PM Page 272 INDEX Coarse behavior (Continued) decision rules, 233 in humans, 235–237 measurement of, 238–239 response based on, 236 rules, optimality, 238 Cockroach example, 232–233, 235 Collateral, usage, 218 Collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), 71–75, 250 Commercial Credit, Primerica purchase, 126 Competitive prices, 36 Complexity by-product, 143 implications, 156 importance, 144–146 Consumer lending violations, Federal Reserve fine, 132 Control-oriented risk management, 200 Convergence Capital, 80 Convergence trades, 122 Convertible bond (CB) strategy, 57–58 Cooke, Bill, 185–187 Corporate defaults, possibility, 29–30 Corporate political risk, 140 Corrigan, Gerald, 196–198 Countervailing trades, 213 Credit Suisse First Boston, 72–73 Crises, causes, 240 da Vinci, Leonardo, 136 Denham, Bob, 62–63, 99, 195 Derivatives customization, 143 trading strategy, 30 Deterministic nonperiodic flow, 228 Detroit Edison, Fermi-1 experimental breeder reactor, 161–164 Deutsche Bank, investment banking (problems), 72–73 Dimon, Jamie, 77–78, 91, 97–98, 126 Distressed debt, event risk, 248–249 Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), 2, 12 Dynamic hedge, 12, 161 Dynamic system, 228–229 Ebbers, Bernard, 70 Economic catastrophe, 257 Efficient markets hypothesis, 211 Einstein, Albert, 224–226 Emerging market bonds, 71 Enron restatements/liability, 135 U.S.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, superconnector, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

“You’re looking, and you realize, ‘This doesn’t have to be that way,’” as Stevens puts it. For her part, Barnard says her hours of playing with the map led her to a surprising epiphany: It’s actually easier to make a gerrymandered map than a fair one. Unbalanced districts aren’t purely a result of greed and deceit. Even honest-minded attempts to alter a district can produce unexpectedly bad results, in a butterfly effect. You might try to make district A more fair by siphoning off households from district B, only to find it inadvertantly makes districts C and D and F more gerrymandered. It was a nuanced political analysis that stemmed from hands-on experience instead of abstraction. I ask Barnard how long it would have taken her to redistrict the state if she hadn’t had the software. What if she’d had to do it like in the old days—with pencil and paper, and stacks of population tables?

Or you could pick a seemingly simple instruction—go forward ten steps, turn right ninety degrees, increase the number of steps by five, then repeat over and over—and discover it produced something unexpected: a square spiral, growing eternally larger. The children began to grasp the concept of recursion, the idea that complexity emerges from repeating a simple procedure over and over. They also began to intuit the butterfly effect: how changing one tiny part of a program can radically alter the outcome. If you tweak one element in that square-spiral program, making the angle ninety-five degrees instead of ninety, surprise: The squares will shift slightly, producing a new creation, looking like a spiral galaxy. And ninety-seven degrees looks different, too. This idea—that very small alterations can produce wildly different results—is something that many adults often fail to grasp, leading to massive failures in corporations, governments, teams, and families: The people at the top think that making a little change won’t make much difference, but that little change spirals out of control.

See also attention/focus; cognition; memory and problem-solving, 72 understanding, limits of, 14–15 brainstorming, 164 Brandt, Deborah, 50–52 Breaking Bad (TV show), 94–95, 102 Bridle, James, 70–71 Briggs, Charles F., 6 Briggs, Henry, 59 Brown, John Seely, 195 Building Maker, 171 Bürgi, Joost, 59 Burt, Dorothy, 184–86 Bush, Vannevar, 123, 143 butterfly effect, 191 Buxton, Arthur, 92 Cadwell, Courtney, 181–83 Capablanca, José Raúl, 3 Carmichael, Alexandra, 90 Carpenter, Matthew, 175–76 Carr, Nicholas, 12, 14, 136 “Cartoons Against Corruption,” 275 Carvin, Andy, 214–15 Cassiopedia, 260 Ceglowski, Maciej, 154–55 centaur, 3–6, 284 Cha, Meeyoung, 234–35 Chain, Ernest, 64 Change.org, 265 “Character of a Coffee-House,” 223 Cheever, Charlie, 74–75 chess Deep Blue supercomputer, 1–2, 5, 9–10, 280, 284 human/machine collaboration, 3–5, 284 humans versus machines, 1–6, 16 improving game and digital tools, 17–18 Kasparov versus online collective, 161–62 children.


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

The first indication that this was too good to be true came in 1890 when Henri Poincaré studied the interaction of three bodies held together by gravity while orbiting in space; he found that the behaviour of the system was wholly unpredictable. This was a serious flaw in the concept of determinism, but it was not until 1961 that Lorenz used an early computer to demonstrate the chaotic behaviour of weather and found it to be wholly unpredictable beyond about a week. He was the originator of the ‘butterfly effect’ – the idea that the small eddy made by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings could initiate much later a hurricane; he showed that this was because weather systems are highly sensitive to the initial conditions of their origin. May found that computer models of population growth showed similar chaotic behaviour, especially in biological systems containing more than two species; these discoveries stirred great interest among mathematicians and scientists in the nature of deterministic chaos.

Norton, New York, 1988) James Lovelock, Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine (1991), reprinted as Gaia: Medicine for an Ailing Planet (Gaia Books, London, 2005) James Lovelock, Homage to Gaia: The Life of an Independent Scientist (Oxford University Press, 2000) Index bold numbers refer to tables, italic numbers to figures adaptation 48, 49, 104 aerosol, atmospheric 35–8, 40 agribusiness 9, 86, 144, 146 agriculture, greenhouse gas 47 albedo, reduction of 46, 47, 163 algae 29, 33, 163 CLAW hypothesis 111, 116 ocean fertilization 98 Amsterdam Declaration 117, 165 Andreae, Meinrat 36, 94, 111, 116 anti-nuclear propaganda 70–76 Arctic, loss of ice 7, 10–11, 28 Bali, UN Climate Change Conference 4, 16, 47 belief, anecdotal 52–3, 73 Betts, Richard 38, 42 Bhopal industrial accident 72–3 biodiversity 115 biofuel crops 12–13 biogeochemistry 31, 121 biologists, and Gaia 119 Bolin, Bert 3, 120 Brand, Stewart 79, 111 Branson, Sir Richard 2 breathing, greenhouse gas emissions 47 British Antarctic Survey 42 Broecker, Wally, Fixing Climate 11, 97 Brown, Gordon 90 ‘butterfly effect’ 132 C4 plants 155 Caldeira, Ken 94, 95, 110, 112 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) 74, 146 carbon dioxide burial 77, 96 effect on model Earth 34–5 and energy production 69 Eocene increase 101–2 production by population 47 reduction of 32, 33 regulation 108–10, 112 removal by algae 29, 33, 98 sequestration 96–9 carbon footprint 18, 48 carbon trading 48, 50 Carson, Rachel 143–5 CFCs 137, 145 chaos, deterministic 132–3, 164 Chapman Conferences 120 char, burial 58, 99–100 Charlson, Robert 15, 36, 38, 94, 111, 116 Chernobyl nuclear accident 71, 72–3 China, pollution 37 CLAW hypothesis 111, 116 climatologists, and Gaia 120 clouds artificial 95–6 CLAW hypothesis 111, 116 condensation nuclei 95, 111 effect on climate 35–8 coal 79, 83 combined heat and power generation 79 Common Agricultural Policy 90 Common Energy Policy 90 computers 130 Connes, Janine 107 Connes, Pierre 107 Cool Earth 97 Coombe Mill 136–43 ecosystem 139 grass-burning boiler 138 horticulture 140 tree planting 139 countryside, destruction of 9, 144 Cox, Peter 36, 42 Crane, Robert, The Earth System 110 Crichton, Michael, A State of Fear 147 Crutzen, Paul 94, 95 Daisyworld model 111, 112–14, 115 Dale, Sir Henry 15 Daniel, Billy 143 Darwinism 6, 31, 115, 119, 127–8, 131 Dasgupta, Sir Partha 5 Dawkins, Richard 111, 128, 153 DDT 147 Descartes, René 127, 130, 131, 158–9 deserts, solar thermal energy 66–7 determinism 132–3 Dickinson, Robert 42 dimethyl sulphide 98, 111, 116 disequilibrium 107, 112 dissonance, cognitive 25, 44 Doolittle, Ford 111 drought 10, 54–5 Dyke, James 115 Earth ageing 154 atmosphere 105, 107, 111–12 catastrophes 52, 152–3, 154 effect of carbon dioxide 34–5 hot state 2, 4, 34, 35, 118 human carrying capacity 56 as living system 7, 8–9, 47, 62, 165, 166 surface temperature 39 eco-warriors 21 Ehrlich, Ann 49 Ehrlich, Paul 49 electricity dependence on 16, 17, 88–9 production 65, 68 Electron Capture Detector (ECD) 145 energy 64–86 and political power 75–6 renewable 12, 80–85, 142 Eocene, climate 101–2, 104 Erikson, Brent 13 European Union, renewable energy policy 90 evapotranspiration 37, 38 evolution, Darwinian 6, 31, 115, 119, 127–8, 131 extremophiles 155 Farman, Joseph 42 feedback 167–8 climate models 34, 35, 100–101 ecosystems 38 Fells, Professor Ian 65 Festiger, Leon 25 fire 149–51 Flannery, Timothy 128 The Weather Makers 19 flooding 50 food production, greenhouse gas 47 supply 86–91 synthesized 16, 87, 100 forecasting climate change 23–45 forests clearance 97 evapotranspiration 38 fossil fuels 64, 77–80 Gaia naming by William Golding 1, 106, 128–9 perception of 126–7 see also Earth, as living system Gaia Theory, history 105–22, 166 Gardiner, Brian 42 Garrels, Robert 110 gas, natural 78–9, 83 genes, ‘selfish’ 153 geochemistry 108–10 geoengineering 92–104 Geological Society of London, 2003 Wollaston Medal 120 geologists, and Gaia 110, 119 geophysics 32 geophysiology 31, 100–102 global dimming 36, 102 Golding, William 1, 106, 128–9 Goodell, Jeff 80 Gore, Al 4, 15, 128 Gray, John 6 green ideology 12, 142–7 greenhouse condition 33, 101, 166 greenhouse gas 4, 47 Greenpeace 20, 74, 146 Greenspan, Alan 5 Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research 36, 38, 42 Hamilton, William 115, 128, 153 Hansen, James 3, 5, 15 carbon dioxide reduction 32 scientific reticence 74 Hardin, Garrett 62 Harvey, Inman 115 Hayes, P.


pages: 611 words: 130,419

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by Robert J. Shiller

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, implied volatility, income inequality, inflation targeting, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, Jean Tirole, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, litecoin, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, superstar cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, yellow journalism, yield curve, Yom Kippur War

In fact, random number generators on computers are not really invoking chance but are the product of such chaotic deterministic models. Variations of the SEIR epidemic model can be chaotic, as has been shown and studied mathematically and related to actual disease data.21 Chaos theory is associated with the butterfly effect, which refers to the idea that a huge, apparently unpredictable storm might have been generated by a seemingly distant and irrelevant event such as a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the planet long ago. Another variation of the SIR model can help explain such butterfly effects by adding information cascades to the basic model.22 If people think they are collecting reliable information by observing the numbers of people who make certain choices, then the equilibrium can move off in random directions, much as in the artificial music-market experiment of Salganik and his colleagues discussed in chapter 4.

., 33 Brown, Roger, 307n13 Bruner, Jerome, 65 Bryan, William Jennings, 108, 164, 167–68, 170, 171, 172, 313n29 Buffett, Warren, 4 Burns, Arthur F., 125, 309n10 Bush, George W., 83, 154–55 business confidence narrative, 114–15, 116f, 118–19; conventional economists’ view and, xvi–xvii; gold standard and, 167, 168–69; stimulated by Bitcoin narrative, 4 business cycle, 124–25, 271. See also economic fluctuations butterfly effect, 299–300 buy-and-hold strategy, xiii “Buy Now Campaign” during Great Depression, 255 Callahan, Charlene, 281 Canada, National Dream, 151; Bank of Canada, 156 Čapek, Karel, 181–82, 203 Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty), 150, 210–11 capitalism: Bitcoin narrative and, 87; triumphant narrative of, 29 Capper, Arthur, 249 The Captive Mind (Milosz), 57 Carroll, Lewis, 188 Case, Karl, 216, 226, 285 Case-Shiller home price index, 216, 222 Cass, David, 74 Cassel, Gustav, 188 causality between narratives and events, 71–74; controlled experiments and, 72–73, 77–79; vs. correlation, 286; direction of, 71, 72–74; economists’ presumption about, 73, 76–77; flashbulb memory and, 80; for recessions and depressions in US, 112.


Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity Into Prosperity by Bernard Lietaer, Jacqui Dunne

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, conceptual framework, credit crunch, different worldview, discounted cash flows, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, liberation theology, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, Occupy movement, price stability, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, the payments system, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban decay, War on Poverty, working poor

It would be some two centuries later, with the development of computers with massive computational prowess, until equations that would have taken a stadium full of people working for hundreds of years to solve could be solved in a matter of seconds. Relatively precise solutions to the three-body problem were demonstrated. A new field known by various names, including nonlinear dynamics, fractals, chaos, or complexity theory, began to emerge. The concept of the butterfly effect, whereby a flutter of a butterfly wing might cause a massive change in the weather countries away, became common knowledge. In short, it was now understood that everything affects everything else in multifaceted, often unpredictable ways. The critical middle, the stuff in between, as it were, is the infinite complexity of systems that are totally interactive, interconnected, and interdependent.

See Business cycle Boulder Gaian, 113 Brazilian Network of Community Development Banks (CDB), 107 Bridge financing, 121 Bristol Credit Union, 114 Bristol Pound (BP), 114–115 Brixton pound, 75 Brünningsche Notverordnungen, 179 Bubble, 33 Bullion, 27, 113. See also Gold standard Burden of expectations, 19 Bureaucracy, 108, 126–127 Burnout, 194 Business cycle, 51; bank debt amplifying, 52; Terra and, 134 Business-to-business system, 5 Bust. See Business cycle Bus token, 141–143 Butterfly effect, 31 Capitalism, 4, 22. See also Competition Capivari, 109 Carbon-backed currency, 116, 137, 201 Carbon premium exchange (CPX), 116–117 Carebank, 84– 85 Cash crunch, 148–149 Cell phone. See Mobile phone Central bank: bank debt and, 2, 40– 41; Brazil, 107; business cycle and, 52; Swedish, 25–26, 35– 36 CEO turnover, 217 Chance, 31– 32 Chaord, 192 Chaos, 31 Charity, 150 Chicago Plan, 3, 69–71, 231n15, 231n16 Chicago School of Economics, 35 Chiemgauer, 74–75, 87– 89, 88 Child welfare, 80 Civic, 146–148; in Mae Hong Son, 205; nonprofits and, 162 Civil society, 224 Civil unrest, 145–146, 181–182, 192–193 Class, 18; bridging, 83; investing, 193–194; in krama, 190; merchant, 2; middle, 2, 50, 75, 216; underclass, 216; upper, 29, 50.


pages: 309 words: 81,975

Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? by Aaron Dignan

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, DevOps, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, hiring and firing, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, race to the bottom, remote working, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart contracts, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, source of truth, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the High Line, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, uber lyft, universal basic income, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Traffic, on the other hand, is complex. A complex system is not causal, it’s dispositional. We can make informed guesses about what it is likely to do (its disposition), but we can’t be sure. We can make predictions about the weather, but we cannot control it. Unlike complicated problems, complex problems cannot be solved, only managed. They cannot be controlled, only nudged. This is the domain of the butterfly effect, where a small change can lead to something big, and a big change might barely make a dent. Here expertise can be a disadvantage if it becomes dogma or blinds us to the inherent uncertainty present in our situation. Complex systems are typically made up of a large number of interacting components—people, ants, brain cells, startups—that together exhibit adaptive or emergent behavior without requiring a leader or central control.

adjacent possible, 189, 201 Administration Industrielle et Générale (Fayol), 24 advice process, 70, 72–73 Afshar, Vala, 119 Agile Manifesto, 19, 89, 182 agility, 19, 20, 28–29 Airbnb, 140, 188, 254 al-Qaeda, 128 Amazon, 61, 86, 88, 89, 104–5, 254, 259, 268 Andreessen, Marc, 256 ants, 106 Apple, 86 Ask Me Anything sessions (AMAs), 135–36 authority, 14, 54, 63, 65–74 Automattic, 120 autonomy, 22, 42, 66–67, 74, 194, 258 Bain Capital, 253 Ballpoint, 199–200 banks, 94, 252 Handelsbanken, 13, 94, 227–28 barbell strategy, 86–87, 105–6 Barksdale, Jim, 59 Basecamp, 68, 69, 120 Bell, Alexander Graham, 103 Benchley, Robert, 39 Beyond Budgeting Institute, 97–98 Bezos, Jeff, 61 B Lab, 249, 259 Black Swan, The (Taleb), 86–87 Blank, Steve, 27 Boman, Pär, 227–28 bonuses, 171–72 boundaries, 193, 196–97 Box, George, 49 Boyd, John, 88 Braintrust, 119–20 Brandeis, Louis D., 22–23 Bridgewater Associates, 152, 153 Brin, Sergey, 136 Brookings Institution, 33 Bryant, Adam, 147 budgets, 25, 26, 27, 94–97, 99–100 Buffer, 130–31, 166, 170 bureaucracy, 26–27, 29, 68, 77, 112, 190, 193, 198, 212, 236 Burning Man, 139, 140 butterfly effect, 45 Buurtzorg, 13, 34–36, 38, 79, 105, 144, 218 Catmull, Ed, 120, 191, 192 centralization and decentralization, 77–79 CEOs, 80, 86, 223 change, 14, 28 authority in, 73–74 changing approach to, 187–91 compensation in, 172 continuous participatory, see continuous participatory change information in, 136 innovation in, 108 mastery in, 161 meetings in, 125 membership in, 149 plan for, 185–87 purpose in, 63 resistance to, 233–34 resources in, 100 strategy in, 91, 92 structure in, 81 workflow in, 116 charity: water, 224–25 Chesky, Brian, 254 Christensen, Clayton, 91, 237 Cointelegraph, 251 Colleague Letter of Understanding (CLOU), 55 commitment, 69, 193–96, 212 communities of practice, 160 compensation, 14, 54, 163–73 competence, 42 competition, 144 complexity, 43–45, 68, 79 Complexity Conscious mindset, 13, 36–37, 43–47, 53, 55–57, 190, 195, 199, 244, 258–59, 267 authority and, 74 compensation and, 173 information and, 137 innovation and, 109 mastery and, 162 meetings and, 126 membership and, 150 purpose and, 64 resources and, 101 strategy and, 90, 92 structure and, 82 workflow and, 117 complex systems, 45 adaptive, 129, 187–88 relationships and interactions in, 45, 140 compliance, 27, 46, 66, 122, 258 Cone, Sarah, 253 confidence, 236 consensus, 70 consent, 70–73, 195 continuity, 193, 218–19 continuous participatory change, 191–219 boundaries in, 193, 196–97 commitment in, 193–96 continuity in, 193, 218–19 criticality in, 193, 216–18 learning by doing in, 230–31 looping in, see looping participation in, 228–29 priming in, 193, 197–201, 236 principles for, 228–34 resistance and, 233–34 scaling of, 234–39 sensing and responding in, 231–32 starting by stopping in, 232–33 starting small in, 229–30 constraints, 46 contribution-based pay, 167 control, locus of, 154, 155 Control Inc., 181–83, 185, 196–97, 219, 220, 222 cooperatives, 250 Cornell University, 42 Corner Office, 147 Corning Inc., 103 corporations: new forms of incorporation, 248–51, 252 see also organizations Creativity, Inc.


Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman

AI winter, Air France Flight 447, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, high net worth, hive mind, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, intermodal, Internet of things, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, lone genius, Lyft, megacity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, performance metric, precision agriculture, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed

A few decades from now the state of traffic prediction software could reach new levels we can only dream about today. When driverless cars analyze years of traffic data, we may discover that their prediction software uncovers complex dependencies between distant, seemingly unrelated traffic situations. City planners will find that one traffic situation will indirectly trigger another in what’s known as a butterfly effect; for example, a seemingly trivial road closing will cause severe traffic delays on several distant roads ten hours later. Route-planning and traffic-prediction software will do more than just plan a route, predict traffic congestion, and guide the car to avoid it. Route-planning software will take a big picture view of the traffic patterns of an entire city. Occasionally, however, a situation will call for a micro-level view, in which a very short route is planned in a similarly short time frame.

See Controls engineering Automotive industry Competition with software companies, 46–55, 63 Driverless car impact on, 47, 52–55 Future of car design, 266–268 Incremental approach, 45 Industry insularity, 49–51 Possible strategies, 52–55 Automotive operating system Challenges of creating, 55–63, 68–75, 87–93, 98–102 Overview of, 47, 66, 67 See also Controls engineering; High-level controls; Low-level controls; Mid-level controls AUVSI conference, 47 Aviation operating systems Backprop algorithm. See Error backpropogation Bar detectors. See Edge detectors Bel Geddes, Norman, 110, 111 Bengio, Yoshua, 224 Business models, 263–272 Butterfly effect, 244 Caltech-101, 219 Cambrian Explosion, 9, 283 CAN bus, 192–195 Car industry. See Automotive industry Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), 68–72, 151, 157, 166, 274. See also NREC CHIMP, 69–71 Cities. See Downtowns Closed world, 5 Cloud robotics, 285 CMU. See Carnegie Mellon University CNNs. See Convolutional Neural Networks Commuting, 38–40 Computer operating systems Operating system failure, 98–100, 104 Cone of uncertainty, 95–97.


pages: 315 words: 89,861

The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, butterfly effect, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, game design, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Minecraft, natural language processing, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Zeno's paradox

This means that we would need to run a computer program through many different steps to figure out where a particular planet might be, or where a particular particle may end up in a turbulent flow of particles, or where a biological population might end up after a number of years. In fact, many natural processes follow a fractal geometry, such as how a coastline will zig and zag or how arteries and leaves develop in tree-like structures. This science of chaos states that you can’t know exactly what outcome will come from changing small parameters unless you do the work of computing or simulating it. This sensitivity to initial conditions is known as the butterfly effect: When a butterfly flaps its wings, the seemingly small movement has a bigger effect on the world, such as causing a tornado or a hurricane in some other part of the world! A full understanding of fractal and natural chaotic processes wasn’t possible until computers were available to run simulated versions of different fractal equations. You might say that computer simulations are the bread and butter of this new science.

See AGI (Artificial Generalized Intelligence); AI (artificial intelligence); AI (artificial intelligence), history of Aserinsky, Eugene, 189 Ashely-Farrand, 206 Asimov, Isaac, 99 assembly language, 33 Asteroids, 36–37 Atari, 2, 4, 32, 38 atom, 167–68 atomic clocks, 170 augmented images, photorealistic, 63–64 augmented reality (AR), 62–64 Avatar, 58, 64 avatars, 44–45, 46f, 49, 273–74 B bag of karma, 117, 208 basic game loop, 31 BASIC programming language, 33 Beane, Silas, 255 Bhagavad Gita, 204–5 big game world, 30 “big TOE” (Theory of Everything), 156–57 biological materials, 3D printers, 71–72 bitmap, 163–64 black holes, 178–79 Blackthorn, 55 Blade Runner, 9, 77–78, 94 Blade Runner 2049, 65 Bohr, Niels, 13, 122, 124–25, 131, 167 Book of the Dead/Bardo Thol, 192 Boolean logic gates, 258 Born, Max, 131, 167 Bostrom, Nick, 5, 24–26, 105, 114–15, 220–21, 247, 281 Bostrom’s Simulation Argument, 110–11 Bostrom’s Simulation Argument, statistical basis for, 111–14 Brahman, 191 branching, 159 Breakout, 87 A Brief History of Time (Hawking), 10 Brinkley, Dannion, 229–231, 241 Buddha, 1, 183, 249 Buddhism, 14–15 Buddhist Dream Yoga, 191–94 Bushnell, Nolan, 34 butterfly effect, 18–19 Byte, 33 C c (speed of light), 174 C# programming language, 33, 171–73 CAD (computer-aided design), 287 Cameron, James, 64, 96–97 Campbell, Thomas, 156–57, 173–76, 250, 254–55 Capra, Fritjof, 203–4 Carmack, John, 59–60 central processing units (CPUs), 137 CGI (computer-generated imagery) techniques, 63–66 Chalmers, David, 246–47 chaos theory, 18–19 chat-bot, 31, 88, 98, 118 checksums, 256 Chess, 104 chess-playing computer, 86f Choose Your Own Adventure, 83 Christianity, 15–16 Christianity and Judaism, 223–25 Clarke, Arthur C., 96 classical physics, 29, 125, 161, 166, 283–84, 288 classical vs. relativistic physics, 122–24 Cline, Ernest, 56 clock-speed and quantized time, computer simulations, 171–73 Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 232, 276 cloud of probabilities, 127 collective dream, 187–88 Colossal Cave Adventure, 27–29, 32, 34 Colossal Cave Adventure, map of, 29f computation, 18–19 computation, and other sciences, 287 computation, evidence of, 256–57, 267–68 overview, 246–47 computation in nature, evidence of, 263–66 computational irreducibility, 18, 79, 266 computer simulations clock-speed and quantized time, 171–73 . see also ancestor simulation; Great Simulation; Simulation Argument; simulation hypothesis; Simulation Point computer-generated imagery (CGI) techniques, 64–66 “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (Turing, 1950), 85 conditional rendering, evidence of, 253–55 conflict resolution, 173 conscious players, people as, 114–15 consciousness, 148 as digital informaion, 17–18 as information and computation, 82 consciousness, defined, 115–16 consciousness, digital vs. spiritual, 116–18 consciousness and metaphysical experiments, 249–250 consciousness as information, 104–5 consciousness transference, 198–99 Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation (Beane, Davoudi and Savage), 255 Copenhagen interpretation, 131 Cosmos, 251 CPUs (central processing units), 137 . see also GPUs/CPUs Creative Labs, 62 Crichton, Michael, 71–72 Crick, Francis, 116 Crowther, Will, 27 Curry, Adam, 76 D Dalai Lama, 207 Data, Star Trek: The Next Generation, 95–96, 115 Davoudi, Zohreh, 255 deathmatch mode, 43–44 Deep Blue, 86 DeepMind, 86–88, 94, 98 déjà vu, 240–41 delayed-choice double slit experiment, 145f delayed-choice experiment, 143–46 delayed-measurement experiment, 146 DELTA t (T), 174 Department of Defense (DOD), 232 Descartes, René, 11 DeWitt, Bryce, 149 dharma, 191 Dick, Leslie “Tessa” B., 8–9 Dick, Philip K., 274, 289 and alternate realities, 8–9 computer simulations and variables, 19 and implanted memories, 77–78 life as computer-generated simulation, 78–79 Metz Sci-Fi Convention, 1977, 2 question of reality vs. fiction, 71–72 simulated worlds, 80 speculative technologies, 53 digital consciousness, 116–18 digital film resolution, 65 digital immortality, 82, 105 digital psychiatrist, 88–89, 161 directed graph, 153–55 Discrete World, 165–66 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 9 Donkey Kong, 1 Doom, 43–44, 43f, 59–60, 137–38 DOTA 2, 87, 94 dot-matrix printers (2D), 69–71 double slit experiment, 128–29, 129f downloadable consciousness, 54, 101–4, 198, 207, 281 downloadable consciousness and seventh yoga, 197–99 Dr.


pages: 293 words: 88,490

The End of Theory: Financial Crises, the Failure of Economics, and the Sweep of Human Interaction by Richard Bookstaber

"Robert Solow", asset allocation, bank run, bitcoin, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, dark matter, disintermediation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, epigenetics, feminist movement, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Henri Poincaré, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market clearing, market microstructure, money market fund, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, sovereign wealth fund, the map is not the territory, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, yield curve

A network is defined by connections, and network theory seeks to supply useful definitions of network complexity and analyze the stability of various network structures. Nonlinearity and Complexity Nonlinear systems are complex because a change in one component can propagate through the system to lead to surprising and apparently disproportionate effects elsewhere, for example, the famous “butterfly effect.” Indeed, as we first learned from Henri Poincaré’s analysis of the three-body problem in 1889, which later developed into the field of chaos theory, even simple nonlinear systems can lead to intractably complex results. The dominant and nearly inescapable form of nonlinearity for human systems is not strictly found in the social, organizational, or legal norms we follow, or in how people behave in a given environment; it is in the complexity of the dynamics, of the feedback cycle between these two.

The reason for this, viewed from the standpoint of classical physics, is that accurately measuring the position of an electron requires illuminating the electron with light of a very short wavelength. The shorter the wavelength the greater the amount of energy that hits the electron and the more accurate the measurement, but the greater the energy hitting the electron the greater the impact on its velocity. 11. There is yet another limitation to knowing the present sufficiently to forecast, first propounded by Edward Lorenz (1963), and popularly illustrated by the “butterfly effect.” Lorenz showed that for many nonlinear systems even the slightest error in measurement will be compounded over time to cause a forecast to veer increasingly off course. 12. Soros (1987). Also see Soros (2013) and related articles in that issue, and the first two lectures in Soros (2010). 13. And we can add to this Robert K. Merton’s (1948) concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy, which I will discuss in chapter 10. 14.


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

Addressing such seemingly innocuous questions concerning how systems respond to a change in their size has had remarkably profound consequences across the entire spectrum of science, engineering, and technology and has affected almost every aspect of our lives. Scaling arguments have led to a deep understanding of the dynamics of tipping points and phase transitions (how, for example, liquids freeze into solids or vaporize into gases), chaotic phenomena (the “butterfly effect” in which the mythical flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil leads to a hurricane in Florida), the discovery of quarks (the building blocks of matter), the unification of the fundamental forces of nature, and the evolution of the universe after the Big Bang. These are but a few of the more spectacular examples where scaling arguments have been instrumental in illuminating important universal principles or structure.9 In a more practical context, scaling plays a critical role in the design of increasingly large human-engineered artifacts and machines, such as buildings, bridges, ships, airplanes, and computers, where extrapolating from the small to the large in an efficient, cost-effective fashion is a continuing challenge.

Indeed, studying turbulence gave us the first important mathematical insights into the concept of complexity and its relationship to nonlinearity. Complex systems often manifest chaotic behavior in which a small change or perturbation in one part of the system produces an exponentially enhanced response in some other part. As we discussed earlier, in traditional linear thinking a small perturbation produces a commensurately small response. The highly nonintuitive enhancement in nonlinear systems is popularly expressed as “the butterfly effect,” in which the mythical flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil produces a hurricane in Florida. Despite 150 years of intense theoretical and experimental study, a general understanding of turbulence remains an unsolved problem in physics even though we have learned an enormous amount about it. Indeed the famous physicist Richard Feynman described turbulence as “the most important unsolved problem of classical physics.”15 Froude may not have fully recognized just how big a challenge he was facing but he did perceive that for applications to shipbuilding a new strategy was needed.

., 179 bacteria, 1, 79 metabolic rate of, 93, 94, 96 bacterial colonies, 220–22, 290–91, 291 Bank of Korea, 406 bankruptcies, 33, 396 survivorship curves, 396–97, 398 Barber, Benjamin, 262 Bartholomew, John, 330 basal metabolic rate, 18–19, 90–93, 160 Batty, Michael, 291, 294–95 Bavinger House, 259 beam experiment, 42 Beckham, David, 63 bell curve, 56, 314 Bergman, Ingmar, 178, 179–80 Bettencourt, Luis, 274–75, 341, 356, 364 Big Bang, 16, 198, 339, 429 big data, 57, 270, 325, 338, 439–48 Big Data Institute (BDI), 442–43 Big Picture, 1–33 cities and global sustainability, 28–32 companies and businesses, 32–33 energy, metabolism, and entropy, 12–15 exponentially expanding socioeconomic urbanized world, 8–10 growth from cells to whales, 25–28 introduction, overview, and summary, 1–8 matter of life and death, 10–12 scaling and complexity, 19–25 scaling and nonlinear behavior, 15–19 big-picture theory of cities, 6, 269–71, 325–26, 338 biological metabolic rate, 13, 373 biological networks, 103–5, 104, 111–18, 153–54, 284–85 biological time, 327 biology, 7, 10, 11, 13 mathematics and, 85–86, 87 physics and, 83–84, 105–11 biomechanical constraints, 122, 158–63 biophysics, 83–84 birth control, 227, 229 Black Swan, The (Taleb), 383 blood flow, 74, 118–20, 124–26, 128–29, 155 blood pressure, 51, 89, 125–26, 162 blue whales, 1, 18, 91, 119, 158, 159–60, 234 body functions, decline by age, 195, 197, 201, 202 body mass, 18–19 life spans scale, 195–96 metabolic rate of animals, 2, 2n, 3, 13, 18–19, 25–26, 91–92, 285–86 body-mass index (BMI), 55–56, 57–59 body temperature, 51, 173–78 extending life span and, 203–4 body weight and drug dosages, 53–55 Boltzmann, Ludwig, 109 Bombay, growth curve, 375 border paradox, 135, 136–40, 138, 152 Boston, 261, 278 movement in, 348–49, 349–50, 353–54 Boulding, Kenneth, 229 bounded growth, 31, 173, 391 Bragg, Lawrence, 437 Bragg, William, 437 brain matter, 93, 94, 96, 104 brain size and social groups, 308–9 branching, 151–52, 154, 155, 157 area-preserving, 120–22, 154, 157 branching ratio, 306–7 Brand, Stewart, 211–12 Brasilia, 257–58, 267, 268 Brenner, Sydney, 111, 443 bridges, 60–62, 298–300 British Classical Association, 86 British Meteorological Office, 132 broccoli, 126–27, 127 Brown, James, 105–7, 110 Brown, Jim, 174, 386 Brownsville, Texas, 358 Brunel, Isambard Kingdom, 63–68, 65, 70–71, 86, 177 Brunel, Marc, 64 Bryson, Bill, 266 budget, U.S., 233–34 Burundi, 9 business diversity, 363–71 business ecosystem, 249–50 businesses. See companies business mortality. See company mortality “butterfly effect,” 16, 72 Calico, 184 Calment, Jeanne, 188–90 caloric restriction, 205–7, 206 Cambridge University, 263, 265 Canberra, 266 capillaries, 113–14, 116, 119, 125, 151, 160 capitalism, 211, 228, 233, 369, 380 car accidents, 244 cardiac power output, 118–22 cardiovascular disease, 126, 193, 193–94 cargo ships, 66–68 Carnegie Mellon University, 369–70, 381–82 Caro, Anthony, 299 cauliflower, 126–27, 127 cell phone data, as detector of human behavior, 337–45, 351–52, 439 cells, 6, 17, 21, 25–27, 88, 100–103 metabolic rate of, 93, 94, 96 centenarians, 188–89 central place theory, 288–90, 347 Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA), 294–95 champion weight lifters, strength of, 48–51, 49, 352–53 charge conservation, 197–98 Chekhov, Anton, 199 Chernobyl disaster, 244 chessboard problem, 218–20, 219 Chicago, 310 childhood mortality, 185–86 China, 280 new cities, 10, 267, 268 one-child policy, 227 Chinese stock market, 389–90, 390 cholesterol, 441 Christaller, Walter, 288–91, 289 Churchill, Winston, 63 circulatory system, 6, 104, 117, 118–22, 124–26, 327 impedance matching, 122–23, 128–29 metabolic rate and, 118–22, 124–26, 157 Navier-Stokes equation, 71 quarter-power scaling, 27, 113, 147, 148, 150–51 cities big-picture theory of, 6, 269–71, 325–26, 338 as biological organisms, 10–12, 247–53, 372–73 characteristics of, 271–74, 273 commuting time and size of, 332–35 consequences and predictions, 325–78 definitions of, 461–62n exponential growth of.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Rather, when people tend to like something that other people like, differences in popularity are subject to what is called cumulative advantage, meaning that once, say, a song or a book becomes more popular than another, it will tend to become more popular still. Over the years, researchers have studied a number of different types of cumulative advantage models, but they all have the flavor that even tiny random fluctuations tend to get bigger over time, generating potentially enormous differences in the long run, a phenomenon that is similar to the famous “butterfly effect” from chaos theory, which says that a butterfly fluttering its wings in China can lead to a hurricane months later and oceans away.14 As with Granovetter’s model, cumulative advantage models have disruptive implications for the kinds of explanations that we give of success and failure in cultural markets. Commonsense explanations, remember, focus on the thing itself—the song, the book, or the company—and account for its success solely in terms of its intrinsic attributes.

The U.S. economy, for example, is the product of the individual actions of millions of people, as well as hundreds of thousands of firms, thousands of government agencies, and countless other external and internal factors, ranging from the weather in Texas to interest rates in China. Modeling the trajectory of the economy is therefore not like modeling the trajectory of a rocket. In complex systems, tiny disturbances in one part of the system can get amplified to produce large effects somewhere else—the “butterfly effect” from chaos theory that came up in the earlier discussion of cumulative advantage and unpredictability. When every tiny factor in a complex system can get potentially amplified in unpredictable ways, there is only so much that a model can predict. As a result, models of complex systems tend to be rather simple—not because simple models perform well, but because incremental improvements make little difference in the face of the massive errors that remain.


pages: 831 words: 98,409

SUPERHUBS: How the Financial Elite and Their Networks Rule Our World by Sandra Navidi

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, assortative mating, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, diversification, East Village, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, family office, financial repression, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google bus, Gordon Gekko, haute cuisine, high net worth, hindsight bias, income inequality, index fund, intangible asset, Jaron Lanier, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, McMansion, mittelstand, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Network effects, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Parag Khanna, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Future of Employment, The Predators' Ball, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, women in the workforce, young professional

In any case, urgent action is required because the forces of nature will inevitably eventually kick in to recalibrate the system. Whether such circuit breakers will trigger gradual, managed, and orderly change or sudden, uncontrollable chaos is uncertain. But the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to effect constructive change. Experts agree that even remote minor events can trigger failure of complex systems. This has been termed the “butterfly effect” and characterized as “the notion that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York,” meaning that even slight disturbances may have dramatic consequences.42 As Wallerstein explains, disorderly transitions are usually painful because they entail battles over pieces of the pie.43 As paradigms shift, “structures and processes oscillate wildly,” as manifested by volatile markets, fragile economies, and geopolitical conflicts.

., 115 Bloomberg, Michael, 75 Bloomberg Tower, 125 Bodmer mansion, 122 Bolten, Joshua, 85 Bolton, Tamiko, 27 Bonino, Emma, 27 Bono, 27 Borio, Claudio, 214 Botin, Ana, 121, 148 Boulud, Daniel, 205 Brain, 6 Branson, Richard, 115 Bretton Woods Committee, 106 Bretton Woods Conference, 38, 106 Breuer, Rolf, 143 Brevan Howard, 43 Brexit, 213–214, 218 Bridgewater Associates, xxvii, 63, 70–71, 88 Brin, Sergey, 114 Brookings Institution, 105, 168–169 Brosens, Frank, 170 Brown, Gordon, 107, 205 Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 212 Budapest Festival Orchestra, 27 Buffett, Warren, 225 Barack Obama and, 174 Berkshire reputation and, 40, 59–60 family and, 135, 137 “Giving Pledge” participation by, 70, 128 Buiter, Willem, 45 Bull by the Horns, 56, 176 Bundesbank, 32, 37, 42, 120, 223 Burda DLA Nightcap, 115 Burnout, 137 Bush, George H. W., 16 Bush, George W., 24, 61, 84–85, 173, 183 Business schools, 81 “Butterfly effect,” 219 Buying of influence, 176 C Calello, Paul, 138 Calgene, 201 Callan, Erin, 157–158 Camdessus, Michel, 39 Cantor Fitzgerald, 76 Capital human, 26, 80 network, 189 political, 169 relational, 97 social. See Social capital transactional, 168 Capitalism, 209–213, 219, 221 Caramoor Estate, 27 “Carlton affair,” 194–195 Carlyle Bank, 105 Carney, Mark, 39, 43, 57, 222 Cass, Stephen, 201 Catalonia, 212 “Catch me if you can” culture, 223 Cayman Islands, 211 Cayne, James, 56 Central bank(s), xxv, 6, 10, 32–33, 37 Central Bank of Canada, 57 Central Bank of Italy, 177 Central bankers conflicts of interest, 42 description of, 33 financiers and, 43 proximity to, 42 Central Park, 90, 199 Centre for Economic Policy Research, 43 Centre for Financial Analysis, 43 CEOs.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

The Biospherians could in the end just open the door and go home—Moon and Mars colonists will have very few options. The problems of food production and oxygen loss are not inherent to bioregenerative systems; they were specific to the Biosphere design and can be corrected. Most of the problems encountered were unforeseen and some were unforeseeable. Complex, miniature ecosystems are subject to nonlinear effects that compound over time. Call it the butterfly effect. Since colonists won’t be able to live exclusively in a bubble, another crucial piece of equipment is a spacesuit. Spacesuits have changed very little since the 1960s; the Americans, Russians, and Chinese all use bulky and clunky suits that offer safety but limited mobility.9 A spacesuit has to deal with vacuum and temperature extremes; it has to protect against micrometeorites and infiltration by dust; it has to provide breathable air; and it has to monitor the occupant’s vital signs.

Frank, 188 behavioral b’s, 15 Bell X-1, 71 Bell, Alexander Graham, 78 Bell Labs, 153 Benford, Gregory, 223–24 Benford, James, 223–24 Bennett, Charles, 230 Bering Strait, land bridge across, 8, 120, 218 Berlin Rocket Society, 32 Berlin Wall, 41 Berners-Lee, Tim, 78–79 Bernoulli, Daniel, 68 Berserker series (Saberhagen), 177, 259 Bezos, Jeff, 103 Bible, 148–49 big bang theory, 131, 255 “Big Ear” telescope, 237 Bigelow, Robert, 102–3 binary stars, 126 biohackers (grinders), 207 biomarkers, 216–18 Biosphere 2 experiment, 192–97, 193, 285–86 black projects, 69–70, 72, 144 Blade Runner, 204, 208, 259 Blue Origin, 103 Boeing X-37, 72, 85 Bohr, Niels, 213, 288 Bostrom, Nick, 207, 245–47, 260–61 Bounty, HMS, 202 Bradbury, Ray, 164 brains: computer interfaces with, 205–7 human, 12–17, 203, 283 of orcas, 190 radiation damage to, 115 simulation of, 259–61 “brain in a vat” concept, 260 Branson, Holly and Sam, 89 Branson, Richard Charles Nicholas, 80, 86–89, 95, 97–98, 101–2, 106 Breakthrough Propulsion Physics, 290 Brezhnev, Leonid, 42 Brightman, Sarah, 102 Brin, Sergey, 275 British Airways, 87 British Interplanetary Society, 221 Brokaw, Tom, 74 Brother Assassin (Saberhagen), 177 Bryan, Richard, 238 buckyballs, 151, 231 Buddhism, 20, 267 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 197 Buran, 72 Burnett, Mark, 75 Burroughs, Edgar Rice, 164 Burrows, William, 35–36 Bush, George W., administration of, 93 Bussard, Robert, 222 butterfly effect, 195 By Rocket into Interplanetary Space (Oberth), 31 California, population dispersion into, 8 California, University of: at Irvine, 112, 223 at Los Angeles, 78 Calvin, William, 15 camera technology, 53, 176–77, 205 Cameron, James, 92, 120, 176 Canada, 142 canals, on Mars, 163 canards, 82–83 cancer, 180 cannonball, Newton’s experiment with, 25, 267 cannons: acceleration force of, 26 smooth-bore, 24 carbon, 172 in nanotechnology, 151–52, 182 as requirement for life, 123–24, 256 carbon dioxide, 132, 171, 172–73, 182, 193–94, 196, 218, 278 carbon nanotubes, 151–52 carbyne, 152 Cassini spacecraft, 52–53, 125, 182 Castro, Fidel, 41 casualties, early Chinese, 22 cataracts, 115 cats, 48–49, 251 causality principle, 230–31 cave paintings, 15 celestial property rights, 145–47 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 158 centrifuges, 114 Cerf, Vinton, 67 Chaffee, Roger, 43 Challenger, explosion of, 55–56, 56, 74, 107, 271 Chang’e 3 lunar probe, 143, 162 chemical fuels, 219–21, 220 chickens, research using, 26 chimpanzees, 14 genetic diversity of humans vs., 202 China: as averse to innovation, 109 in early attempts at space travel, 21–22, 22, 68, 139, 141 population dispersion into, 7 revolution in, 141 rocket development in, 23–24, 113 space program of, 139–44, 140, 161, 162, 195, 276 US relations with, 144 Christian, Fletcher, 202 Christianity, 20 Chuansheng Chen, 11 civilization: Type I, 253, 254, 257 Type II, 253–54, 254, 257 Type III, 253, 254, 257 Type IV, 253, 254, 255 Clarke, Arthur C., 149–50, 164, 185, 201, 252 climate change, 197–98, 286 Clinton, Bill, 154 cloning, 251 Clynes, Manfred, 205 Cocconi, Giuseppe, 187 Colbert, Stephen, 74, 117 Cold War, 35–39, 41–43, 50, 55, 73, 76, 139, 145, 197 Columbia, disintegration of, 55, 56, 107 Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report, 107 Columbus, Christopher, 243 comets, 183 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), 275 Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, 145 communication: with alien species, 52, 189, 234–35, 238, 239, 246, 253, 255, 259 by digital data transmission, 66–67, 77–80 latency and, 178 space technology in, 153–54 Compaq, 95 computation, future technology of, 258–62 confinement, psychological impact of, 169–70 Congress, US: legislation in, 78, 144 on space programs, 38, 41, 75, 156, 158 consciousness, simulation of, 259–61 conservation biology, 201 conspiracy theories, 238, 240 Constellation program, 104 Contact (film), 236–37, 242 Contact (Sagan), 236 contraception, 200 Copernicus, 19, 20, 127 Coriolis force, Coriolis effect, 152 cosmic rays, 115, 160, 160, 164, 167, 168, 204 cosmism, 27 cosmonauts, 141 disasters of, 108 records set by, 115 selection criteria for, 74 Cosmos 1, 184 cosmos, cosmology, ancient concepts of, 17–20 Cosmos Studios, 184 Cosmotheoros (Huygens), 163 counterfactual thinking, 14 Cronkite, Walter, 74 cryogenic suspension, 250–51 cryptobiosis, 123 cryptography, 231, 291 Cuban missile crisis, 41–42 CubeSat, 184–85 Cultural Revolution, Chinese, 141–42 Curiosity rover, 165, 167, 176, 181 cybernetics, 206–7 Cyborg Foundation, 288 cyborgs (cybernetic organisms), 204–8, 288 Cygnus capsule, 100 cytosine, 6 dark energy, 256 d’Arlandes, Marquis, 68 DARPANET, 78 Darwin, Charles, 265 “Darwin” (machine), 227 Death Valley, 118–19 deceleration, 222, 223 DeepSea Challenger sub, 120 deep space, 126–29 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), 78, 224 Defense Department, US, 38, 78, 90, 153 De Garis, Hugo, 258 Delta rockets, 72, 113 Delta-V, 111 Democritus, 19 Destination Mir (reality show), 75 Diamandis, Peter, 90–94, 97–98, 147, 156 diamonds, 131, 231 Dick, Philip K., 204–5 Digital Equipment Corporation, 213 DNA, 6–7, 9, 19, 189, 202, 228, 251, 263, 265, 266 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Dick), 205 dogs: brains of, 13 in scientific research, 251 in space travel, 40, 47 Dolly (sheep), 251 Doomsday Clock, 197–98, 246, 286 dopamine, 10, 98 Doppler method, exoplanet detection and characterization by, 127, 128, 129, 130, 133, 215 Doppler shift, 127 Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp, 33 Downey, Robert, Jr., 95 drag, in flight, 68, 83, 223 Drake, Frank, 187–88, 235, 237 Drake equation, 188, 189, 233–35, 237, 241, 243, 244, 253, 291–92 DRD4 alleles, 7R mutation in, 10–12, 11, 15, 98 Drexler, Eric, 226 drones, 180–81 Druyan, Ann, 184 Duke, Charles, 45 Dunn, Tony, 225 Dyson, Freeman, 226–27, 253 Dyson sphere, 253–54, 254 Earth: atmosphere of, 8, 70–71, 70 early impacts on, 50, 172 geological evolution of, 172 as one of many worlds, 17–20 planets similar to, 122, 124–26, 129–33, 224, 235 projected demise of, 197–98 as round, 19 as suited for human habitation, 118–22, 121, 234 as viewed from space, 45, 53, 121, 185, 270 Earth Return Vehicle, 169 “Earthrise” (Anders), 270 Earth similarity index, 215–16 eBay, 79, 95 Economist, The, 105 ecosystem, sealed and self-contained, 192–97, 193, 285 Eiffel Tower, 27, 149 Einstein, Albert, 220, 228, 256 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 36–39, 73, 79 electric cars, 96 electric solar sails, 186 electromagnetic waves, 186 e-mail, 78 embryo transport, 251 Enceladus, 177, 182, 227 potential habitability of, 125, 278 Encyclopædia Britannica, 95, 283 Endangered Species Act (1973), 201 energy: aliens’ use of, 190 civilizations characterized by use of, 252–57, 254, 258 dark, 256 declining growth in world consumption of, 257 Einstein’s equation for, 220 production and efficiency of, 219–24, 220 as requirement for life, 123–24 in rocket equation, 110 Engines of Creation (Drexler), 226 environmental disasters, 245 environmental protection: as applied to space, 147 movement for, 45, 235, 263, 270 Epicureans, 18 Epsilon Eridani, 187 Eratosthenes, 19 ethane, 52, 125 Ethernet, 213 eukaryotes, 172 Euripides, 18 Europa, 52, 97–98 potential habitability of, 125, 125, 161, 278 Europa Clipper mission, 98 Europe: economic depression in, 28 population dispersion into, 7–8, 11, 15 roots of technological development in, 23–24 European Southern Observatory, 133 European Space Agency, 159, 178–79 European Union, bureaucracy of, 106 Eustace, Alan, 120, 272 Evenki people, 119–20 Everest, Mount, 120 evolution: genetic variation in, 6, 203, 265 geological, 172 of human beings, 16–17 off-Earth, 203–4 evolutionary divergence, 201–4 exoplanets: Earth-like, 129–33, 215–18 extreme, 131–32 formation of, 215, 216 incidence and detection of, 126–33, 128, 233 exploration: as basic urge of human nature, 7–12, 109, 218, 261–63 imagination and, 262–63 explorer gene, 86 Explorer I, 38 explosives, early Chinese, 21–23 extinction, 201–2 extraterrestrials, see aliens, extraterrestrial extra-vehicular activities, 179 extremophiles, 122–23 eyeborg, 205–6 Falcon Heavy rocket, 114 Falcon rockets, 96, 97, 101, 184 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 82, 93, 105–7, 154 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, 272 Felix and Félicette (cats), 48–49 Fermi, Enrico, 239–41 Fermilab, 254 “Fermi question,” 240–41, 243 Feynman, Richard, 179–80, 230, 270, 280 F4 Phantom jet fighter, 82 51 Peg (star), 126, 133 55 Cancri (star), 131 F-117 Nighthawk, 69 fine-tuning, 256, 294 fire arrows, 23, 68 fireworks, 21–24, 31 flagella, 180 flight: first human, 68 first powered, 69 principles of, 67–73 stability in, 82–83 “Fly Me to the Moon,” 45 food: energy produced by, 219, 220 in sealed ecosystem, 194–95 for space travel, 115–16, 159, 170 Forward, Robert, 223 Foundation series (Asimov), 94 founder effect, 202–3 Fountains of Paradise, The (Clarke), 149 France, 48, 68, 90 Frankenstein monster, 206, 259 Fresnel lens, 223 From Earth to the Moon (Verne), 183 fuel-to-payload ratio, see rocket equation Fukuyama, Francis, 207 Fuller, Buckminster, 151, 192 fullerenes, 151 Futron corporation, 155 Future of Humanity Institute, 245 “futurology,” 248–52, 249 Fyodorov, Nikolai, 26, 27 Gagarin, Yuri, 40–41, 41, 66, 269 Gaia hypothesis, 286 galaxies: incidence and detection of, 235 number of, 255 see also Milky Way galaxy Galileo, 49–50, 183, 270 Gandhi, Mahatma, 147 Garn, Jake, 114 Garn scale, 114 Garriott, Richard, 92 gas-giant planets, 125, 126–29 Gauss, Karl Friedrich, 238 Gazenko, Oleg, 47 Gemini program, 42 Genesis, Book of, 148–49 genetic anthropology, 6 genetic code, 5–7, 123 genetic diversity, 201–3 genetic drift, 203 genetic engineering, 245, 249 genetic markers, 6–7 genetics, human, 6–7, 9–12, 120, 201–4 Genographic Project, 7, 265 genome sequencing, 93, 202, 292 genotype, 6 “adventure,” 11–12, 98 geocentrism, 17, 19–20, 49 geodesic domes, 192 geological evolution, 172 George III, king of England, 147 German Aerospace Center, 178 Germany, Germans, 202, 238 rocket development by, 28, 30–34, 141 in World War II, 30–35 g-forces, 46–49, 48, 89, 111, 114 GJ 504b (exoplanet), 131 GJ 1214b (exoplanet), 132 glaciation, 172 Glenn Research Center, 219 global communications industry, 153–54 Global Positioning System (GPS), 144, 153–54 God, human beings in special relationship with, 20 Goddard, Robert, 28–32, 29, 36, 76, 78, 81–82, 94, 268 Goddard Space Flight Center, 178 gods, 20 divine intervention of, 18 Golden Fleece awards, 238 Goldilocks zone, 122, 126, 131 Gonzalez, Antonin, 215 Goodall, Jane, 14 Google, 80, 92, 185, 272, 275 Lunar X Prize, 161 Gopnik, Alison, 10, 13 Grasshopper, 101 gravity: centrifugal force in, 26, 114, 150 in flight, 68 of Mars, 181, 203 Newton’s theory of, 25, 267 and orbits, 25, 114–15, 127, 128, 149–50, 267 in rocket equation, 110 of Sun, 183 waves, 255 see also g-forces; zero gravity Gravity, 176 gravity, Earth’s: first object to leave, 40, 51 human beings who left, 45 as obstacle for space travel, 21, 105, 148 as perfect for human beings, 118 simulation of, 168–69 Great Art of Artillery, The (Siemienowicz), 267 Great Britain, 86, 106, 206, 227 “Great Filter,” 244–47 Great Leap Forward, 15–16 “Great Silence, The,” of SETI, 236–39, 240–41, 243–44 Greece, ancient, 17–19, 163 greenhouse effect, 171, 173 greenhouse gasses, 132, 278 Griffin, Michael, 57, 147, 285–86 grinders (biohackers), 207 Grissom, Gus, 43 guanine, 6 Guggenheim, Daniel, 81, 268 Guggenheim, Harry, 81 Guggenheim Foundation, 30, 81–82, 268 gunpowder, 21–24, 267 Guth, Alan, 257 habitable zone, 122, 124–26, 130–31, 132, 188, 241, 246, 277–78, 286, 291 defined, 124 Hadfield, Chris, 142 hair, Aboriginal, 8 “Halfway to Pluto” (Pettit), 273 Hanson, Robin, 247 haptic technology, 178 Harbisson, Neil, 205, 288 Harvard Medical School, 90 Hawking, Stephen, 88, 93, 198, 259 HD 10180 (star), 127 Heinlein, Robert, 177 Heisenberg compensator, 229 Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, 229–30 heliocentrism, 19 helium, 68 helium 3, 161–62 Herschel, William, 163 Higgs particle, 256 High Frontier, 146–47 Hilton, Paris, 88, 101–2 Hilton hotels, 145 Hinduism, 20 Hiroshima, 222 Hitler, Adolf, 32, 34 Hope, Dennis M., 145, 147 Horowitz, Paul, 237–38 hot Jupiters, 127–28, 130 Hubble Space Telescope, 56–57, 65, 218, 225 Huffington, Arianna, 92 human beings: as adaptable to challenging environments, 118–22 as alien simulations, 260–61, 260 creative spirit of, 73, 248 early global migration of, 5–12, 9, 11, 15, 19, 118, 120, 186, 202, 218, 262, 265 Earth as perfectly suited for, 118–22, 121 exploration intrinsic to nature of, 7–12, 109, 218, 261–63 first appearance of, 5, 15, 172, 234 impact of evolutionary divergence on, 201–4 as isolated species, 241–42 as lone intelligent life, 241, 243 merger of machines and, see cyborgs minimal viable population in, 201–2, 251 off-Earth, 203–4, 215, 250–52 requirements of habitability for, 122, 124–26, 129, 130–31 sense of self of, 232, 261 space as inhospitable to, 53–54, 114–17, 121, 123 space exploration by robots vs., 53–57, 66, 98, 133, 161, 177–79, 179, 208, 224–28 space travel as profound and sublime experience for, 45, 53, 117, 122 speculation on future of, 93, 94, 204, 207–8, 215, 244–47, 248–63, 249 surpassed by technology, 258–59 threats to survival of, 94, 207–8, 244–47, 250, 259–62, 286, 293 timeline for past and future of, 248–50, 249 transforming moment for, 258–59 Huntsville, Ala., US Space and Rocket Center in, 48 Huygens, Christiaan, 163 Huygens probe, 53 hybrid cars, 96 hydrogen, 110, 156, 159, 161, 187, 219, 222 hydrogen bomb, 36 hydrosphere, 173 hyperloop aviation concept, 95 hypothermia, 251 hypothetical scenarios, 15–16 IBM, 213 Icarus Interstellar, 224 ice: on Europa, 125 on Mars, 163–65, 227 on Moon, 159–60 ice ages, 7–8 ice-penetrating robot, 98 IKAROS spacecraft, 184 imagination, 10, 14, 20 exploration and, 261–63 immortality, 259 implants, 206–7 inbreeding, 201–3 India, 159, 161 inflatable modules, 101–2 inflation theory, 255–57, 255 information, processing and storage of, 257–60 infrared telescopes, 190 Inspiration Mars, 170–71 Institute for Advanced Concepts, 280 insurance, for space travel, 106–7 International Academy of Astronautics, 152 International Geophysical Year (1957–1958), 37 International Institute of Air and Space Law, 199 International MicroSpace, 90 International Scientific Lunar Observatory, 157 International Space Station, 55, 64–65, 64, 71, 75, 91, 96, 100, 102, 142, 143, 144, 151, 153, 154, 159, 178–79, 179, 185, 272, 275 living conditions on, 116–17 as staging point, 148 supply runs to, 100–101, 104 International Space University, 90 International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 105–6, 144 Internet: Congressional legislation on, 78, 144 development of, 76–77, 77, 94, 95, 271 erroneous predictions about, 213–14 limitations of, 66–67 robotics and, 206 space travel compared to, 76–80, 77, 80 Internet Service Providers (ISPs), 78 interstellar travel, 215–18 energy technology for, 219–24 four approaches to, 251–52 scale model for, 219 Intrepid rovers, 165 Inuit people, 120 Io, 53, 177 property rights on, 145 “iron curtain,” 35 Iron Man, 95 isolation, psychological impact of, 169–70 Jacob’s Ladder, 149 Jade Rabbit (“Yutu”), 139, 143, 161 Japan, 161, 273 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), 184 Jefferson, Thomas, 224 Jemison, Mae, 224 jet engines, 69–70 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 141 Johnson, Lyndon, 38, 42, 45, 158, 269 Johnson Space Center, 76, 104, 179, 206, 229, 269 see also Mission Control Jones, Stephanie Tubbs, 74 Joules per kilogram (MJ/kg), 219–20, 222 Journalist in Space program, 74 “junk” DNA, 10, 266 Juno probe, 228 Jupiter, 126, 127, 177, 217, 270 distance from Earth to, 50 moons of, 97, 125, 125 probes to, 51–52, 228 as uninhabitable, 125 Justin (robot), 178 Kaku, Michio, 253 Karash, Yuri, 65 Kardashev, Nikolai, 253 Kardashev scale, 253, 254, 258 Kármán line, 70, 70, 101 Kennedy, John F., 41–43, 45 Kepler, Johannes, 183 Kepler’s law, 127 Kepler spacecraft and telescope, 128, 128, 129–31, 218, 278 Khrushchev, Nikita, 42, 47 Kickstarter, 184 Killian, James, 38 Kline, Nathan, 205 Knight, Pete, 71 Komarov, Vladimir, 43, 108 Korean War, 141 Korolev, Sergei, 35, 37 Kraft, Norbert, 200 Krikalev, Sergei, 115 Kunza language, 119 Kurzweil, Ray, 94, 207, 259 Laika (dog), 47, 65, 269 Laliberté, Guy, 75 landings, challenges of, 51, 84–85, 170 Lang, Fritz, 28, 268 language: of cryptography, 291 emergence of, 15, 16 of Orcas, 190 in reasoning, 13 Lansdorp, Bas, 170–71, 198–99, 282 lasers, 223, 224, 225–26, 239 pulsed, 190, 243 last common ancestor, 6, 123, 265 Late Heavy Bombardment, 172 latency, 178 lava tubes, 160 legislation, on space, 39, 78, 90, 144, 145–47, 198–200 Le Guin, Ursula K., 236–37 Leonov, Alexey, 55 L’Garde Inc., 284 Licancabur volcano, 119 Licklider, Joseph Carl Robnett “Lick,” 76–78 life: appearance and evolution on Earth of, 172 artificial, 258 detection of, 216–18 extension of, 26, 207–8, 250–51, 259 extraterrestrial, see aliens, extraterrestrial intelligent, 190, 235, 241, 243, 258 requirements of habitability for, 122–26, 125, 129, 131–33, 241, 256–57 lifetime factor (L), 234–335 lift, in flight, 68–70, 83 lift-to-drag ratio, 83 light: from binary stars, 126 as biomarker, 217 Doppler shift of, 127 momentum and energy from, 183 speed of, 178, 228–29, 250, 251 waves, 66 Lindbergh, Charles, 30, 81–82, 90–91, 268 “living off the land,” 166, 200 logic, 14, 18 Long March, 141 Long March rockets, 113, 142, 143 Long Now Foundation, 293 Los Alamos, N.


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Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market by Scott Patterson

algorithmic trading, automated trading system, banking crisis, bash_history, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, creative destruction, Donald Trump, fixed income, Flash crash, Francisco Pizarro, Gordon Gekko, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, High speed trading, Joseph Schumpeter, latency arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, market microstructure, pattern recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, popular electronics, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, South China Sea, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stochastic process, transaction costs, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Progress Software, a firm that tracks algorithmic trading, predicted that a financial institution would lose one billion dollars or more in 2012 when a rogue algorithm went “into an infinite loop … which cannot be shut down.” And since the computer programs were now linked across markets—stock trades were synced to currencies and commodities and futures and bonds—and since many of the programs were very similar and were massively leveraged, the fear haunting the minds of the Plumbers was that the entire system could snap like a brittle twig in a matter of minutes. A chaotic butterfly effect could erase everyone’s hard-earned savings in an eyeblink and, for kicks, throw the global economy into yet another Wall Street–spawned tailspin. The pieces were already in place. Exchanges from Singapore to China to Europe to the United States were linking up through a vast web of algo traders dabbling in every tradable security in the world. The threat had grown so tangible that it even had a name: the Splash Crash.

The full interview can be found here: http://www.hftreview.com/pg/blog/mike/read/27568. DAVE CLIFF: It’s a big change that’s happened in the last 10 or 15 years as everything has become computerized and as every computer can talk to any other computer. Suddenly, in principle, an error or a failure in one system, that would have been an isolated event, can have negative effects that ripple out in a chain reaction over a whole network. HFTR: And then you have the whole “butterfly effect”? CLIFF: Yes exactly. And one of the things that we have focused on in that project for the last five years is the extent on which the global financial markets are now essentially a single, planetary-wide, ultra-large scale complex IT system. And the extent to which there are failure modes like those I saw in FX back in 2005 might, in principle, ripple out over the entire system and cause big problems.


pages: 338 words: 106,936

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Asian financial crisis, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, dark matter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, Myron Scholes, new economy, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, prediction markets, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, tulip mania, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

This observation, a result of one of the very first computer simulations in service of a scientific problem, contradicted every classical expectation regarding how things like weather worked. (Lorenz quickly showed that much simpler systems, such as pendulums and water wheels, things that you could build in your basement, also exhibited a sensitivity to initial conditions.) The basic idea of chaos is summed up by another accidental contribution of Lorenz’s: the so-called butterfly effect, which takes its name from a paper that Lorenz gave at the 1972 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science called “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” (Lorenz never took credit for the title. He claimed one of the conference organizers came up with it when Lorenz forgot to submit one.) Lorenz never answered the question asked in the title of his talk, but the implication was clear: a small change in initial conditions can have a huge impact on events down the road.

Silver City was a paradigm Western mining town”: This background on Silver City is from Wallis (2007). “. . . first developed by a man named Edward Lorenz”: The biographical and historical details concerning Lorenz and the history of chaos theory are from Gleick (1987) and Lorenz (1993). “. . . the work of two physicists named James Yorke and Tien-Yien Li . . .”: The article is Li and Yorke (1975). “. . . the so-called butterfly effect . . .”: The paper is Lorenz (2000). Lorenz never used the metaphor of a butterfly flapping its wings, though he sometimes used a similar metaphor involving a seagull. “. . . Farmer through reading A. H. Morehead . . .”: Farmer read Morehead (1967); Packard read Thorp (1966). “. . . where the ball lands is sensitive to the initial conditions . . .”: Although there is some controversy concerning just what should count as a truly chaotic system, virtually everyone would agree that roulette is not chaotic.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Calculated using 2014 minimum wage of 5300 tk, against retail price rise of 34 tk per kg. 12. In this section I am following the outline of the theory as presented in A. Kliman, Reclaiming Marx’s ‘Capital’: A Refutation of the Myth of Inconsistency (Plymouth, 2007) 13. http://www.Icddrb.org/who-we-are/gender-issues/daycare 14. K. Allen, ‘The Butterfly Effect: Chinese Dorms and Bangladeshi Factory Fires’, Financial Times, 25 April 2013, http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2013/04/25/the-butterfly-effect-chinese-dorms-and-bangladeshi-factory-fires/? 15. J. Robinson, Economic Philosophy (Cambridge, 1962) 16. A. Einstein, ‘Physics and Reality’, Journal of The Franklin Institute, vol. 221 (1936), pp. 349–82 17. OECD, ‘Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators’, OECD, 2014, p. 14 18. L. Walras, Elements of Pure Economics: Or the Theory of Social Wealth (London, 1900), p. 399 19. http://library.mises.org/books/William%20Smart/An%20Introduction%20to%20the%20Theory%20of%20Value.pdf 20.


pages: 298 words: 43,745

Understanding Sponsored Search: Core Elements of Keyword Advertising by Jim Jansen

AltaVista, barriers to entry, Black Swan, bounce rate, business intelligence, butterfly effect, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, first-price auction, information asymmetry, information retrieval, intangible asset, inventory management, life extension, linear programming, longitudinal study, megacity, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, PageRank, place-making, price mechanism, psychological pricing, random walk, Schrödinger's Cat, sealed-bid auction, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sentiment analysis, social web, software as a service, stochastic process, telemarketer, the market place, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, yield management

., systems that follow a fixed rule over time), where the system is highly dependent on Bringing It All Together initial conditions. This means that very slight fluctuations in the initial conditions can radically affect the end state of the system. So, a ball balancing on a hilltop (using the classic example) may fall in many directions depending on very slightly changing atmospheric conditions. Known commonly as the butterfly effect, these small changes in initial conditions make long-term prediction impossible. However, a chaotic system is not random. These systems are dynamical so their future state is determined by the initial state. These systems only appear to be random because slight changes are amplified so much over time. So, how do we address chaotic systems? We continually sample data and measure the system to do short-term predictions.

., 131 bounded rationality, 98, 100 Boyce, Rick, 10 brand, 6, 14–15, 25, 69–70, 74, 95, 103, 111–122, 126–127, 129–130, 140–142, 144, 201, 207, 221, 223, 225 brand advertising, 126 Brand attitude, 116 brand awareness, 113 brand equity, 114 brand familiarity, 116 brand image, 1, 14–15, 70, 103, 112–114, 117, 120, 141 Brand recall, 114, 117 Brand recognition, 113, 117 Brand relationship, 114–115, 117 273 274 Index Brand trust, 116–117 branded keyphrases, 119–120, 141, 183, 187 branded terms, 41, 69–70, 186 branding, xiii, 16, 65, 69, 103, 106, 111–114, 116–118, 120–121, 126, 128–129, 131, 135, 140–142, 149, 171, 177, 190, 199, 203, 207–209, 213, 227 Brewer, Jeffrey, 11 Brin, Sergey, 206, 217–218 Broder, Andrei, 44 Brooks, Nico, 76–77 Bullington, Brett, 12 butterfly effect, 205 buying decision, 98–99, 130 buying funnel, 86, 93–98, 101, 103–106, 129–130, 210, 213 Capitani, 74 Caples, John, 127 CA$HVERTISING, 125 causation, 153 caveat emptor, 179 chaos theory, 204 check-in applications, 224 choice set, 71, 79, 94, 120, 130 Choice uncertainty, 99 classic advertising appeals, 124 click fraud, 167–168, 170, 221 Click potential, 76 clickthrough lift, 124 click-through rate, 24, 74–75, 178, See€clickthrough rate, 14–15 The Cluetrain Manifesto, 129 Commercial Alert, 21 communication process, 32–33, 36, 54, 86, 101–103, 105–106, 111, 207, 210, 213 communication theory, 86 complexity theory, 204 comScore, 152 concept of chunking, 42 concept of technological innovation, 5 consumer behavior, xiii, 86, 89, 94, 96, 98, 101, 103, 105–106, 129 consumer buying behavior, 98, 103 consumer buying process, 94, 98, 100–101, 104, 106 consumer decision making, 86, 93–95, 101, 105, 208, 213 consumer purchasing behavior, 86 consumer search process, 48, 90, 93, 98 consumer searching, 41, 47, 63, 86–87, 90, 93, 95, 98–99, 210 consumer searching behavior, 41, 86, 95, 210 content targeting, 19 context, ix, x, xiii, xix, xx, xxi, 1, 11, 32–33, 36, 43, 69, 86, 88, 91–92, 97, 100–103, 106, 112, 114–115, 119, 126–128, 131, 157, 159–164, 166, 177, 187, 212, 217, 220, 224, 226 contextual advertising, xii, 19, 225 Conversion potential, 76 Corporate branding, 112 Correlation, 153 Credence goods, 39–40 creditability, 150 Culliton, James, 131 curiosity, i, ix, x, xiv, 46, 125 Customer brand image, 120 customer market segmentation, 120 Database of Intentions, 31 dayparting, 184, 186 Delhagen, Kate, 12 determinants, 92–93, 98, 118 Direct Hit Technologies, 21 direct response, 126 direct response advertising, 126 Doc Seals, 129 dominate, 125 east, 22, 24, 72 ebay, 179 Ebbinghaus, H., 74 economic theory, 49, 91 effectiveness, 24, 35, 113, 118, 145, 149, 151, 159, 170, 180, 210 efficiency, 62, 151, 170, 180, 210 empirical methods, xii erosion, 159–160 escape, 125 Esch, F.


pages: 386 words: 116,233

The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by Mj Demarco

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, bounce rate, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, commoditize, dark matter, delayed gratification, demand response, Donald Trump, fear of failure, financial independence, fixed income, housing crisis, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, Lao Tzu, Mark Zuckerberg, passive income, passive investing, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, wealth creators, white picket fence, World Values Survey, zero day

Many times I fantasize about going back in time to that day and bitch-slapping that arrogant kid-I wish I could tell him how things are; I wish I could have him read this chapter; I wish he would understand the trajectory, the horsepower, of his choices. Our choices have consequences that transcend decades. This transcendence is horsepower. Every day my discomfort reminds me of that fateful day when I chose poorly. And today, I'm still paying the mortgage of that choice, a mortgage that never amortizes. The Butterfly Effect Can you make a choice this instant that can forever alter the trajectory of your future? You can, and it can be the difference between poverty and wealth. When you make minor permutations (choices) that deviate from your initial conditions, profound effects transpire over time. Think of it like a golf club striking a golf ball. When the clubface hits the ball square, the ball goes straight and heads toward the hole.

The divergence can be either positive or negative. For example, when I moved to Phoenix from Chicago, the “impact differential” exploded as time passed. Had I not made this choice my life would be significantly different. I also chose to get a dead-end job as a limo driver, which opened my eyes to a business need. That too was a choice that had extraordinary horsepower and created positive “impact differential.” The 2003 movie The Butterfly Effect starring Ashton Kutcher is great film that excellently illustrates choice horsepower. In the movie, the main characters engage in treasonous choices as youngsters, and you witness how each life unfolds as those treasonous choices permeate through time. You see the impact differential! Recognize that every day you make decisions that will ripple through the years. Question is, will your choice ripple to happiness and wealth?


pages: 823 words: 220,581

Debunking Economics - Revised, Expanded and Integrated Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? by Steve Keen

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave, zero-sum game

Not only does it ignore uncertainty, even prediction of what a model itself will do in the future is only possible if the model is ‘ergodic’ – meaning that the past history of the model is a reliable guide to its future behavior. The complex dynamic models we considered in Chapter 9, such as Lorenz’s model of atmospheric turbulence, are non-ergodic.34 The past history of a complex model is not a reliable guide to its future behavior, because where the model will evolve to is dependent on where it starts from – the so-called ‘Butterfly Effect’ applies. Two situations with differences in initial conditions that are too small to be distinguished from each other will have drastically different outcomes in the future: they will be similar for a short while (which is why weather forecasting is accurate only about a week in advance) but then diverge completely. Only if models of the economy are not of this class are ‘rational expectations’ possible even within the model.

It is properly defined by the Wiktionary (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ergodic), and the Wikipedia entry on ergodic Theory (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ergodic_theory) makes the important point that ‘For the special class of ergodic systems, the time average is the same for almost all initial points: statistically speaking, the system that evolves for a long time “forgets” its initial state.’ This is not the case for complex or chaotic models, which show ‘sensitive dependence on initial conditions’ (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory). 35 I can think of no more apt term to describe the group that led the campaign to make macroeconomics a branch of neoclassical microeconomics. Certainly the neoclassical attitude to researchers who refused to use ‘rational expectations’ in their models approached the old mafia cliché of ‘an offer you can’t refuse’: ‘assume rational expectations, or your paper won’t get published in a leading journal.’ 36 This is based on the belief that output would be higher (and prices lower) under competition than under monopoly, which I showed to be false in Chapter 4. 37 a rule of thumb that asserts that the central bank can control inflation by increasing real interest rates roughly twice as much as any increase in inflation.

assumptions; ancillary; and logic; domain assumptions; heuristic assumptions; importance of, to economists; negligibility assumptions; taxonomy of see also ceteris paribus assumption auctioneer, Walras model of Australia, cash handout in Austrian school of economics; weaknesses of Automatic Earth, The Axioms of Revealed Preference Bagehot, Walter bailout: of banks; of firms; of individuals bankers, as separate class bankruptcy banks; bailout of; controlling lending of; creation of new money; distinct from firms; electronic transfer banking; profit from debt; reserves of; role of barter economy Basel Rules Behavioral Finance Bentham, Jeremy; ‘In defence of usury’ Bernanke, Ben; as chairman of Federal Reserve; Essays on the Great Depression Bertrand model Bezemer, Dirk; ‘No one saw this coming’ Bhaduri, A. bicycle riding, learning of Big Bang theory Big Government Biggs, M. Black Swan events Blanchard, Olivier Blatt, John Blaug, Mark Bliley, Thomas J. Blinder, Alan Blodget, Henry Bohm, David Bose, Arun Brahe, Tycho de budget constraints budget deficits Buffet, Warren business cycle; in USA; real Butterfly Effect calculus; use of Cambridge controversies capacity; capacity utilization capital: as amorphous mass; circulating; definition of; different meanings of; fixed; measurement of; theory of capital assets pricing model (CAPM); failure of capitalism: as joint enterprise; demise of, imagined; monetary model of; response to disequilibrium; value as social system Carpenter, Seth, ‘Money, reserves, and the transmission of monetary policy’ ceteris paribus assumption chain reaction of depression chain rule chaos; concept of; exponential sensitivity of situations chaos theory Chiarella, Carl circuit of capital Clark, J.


pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Those events are mostly human actions, so history is a product of the way individual human actions come together to produce the future, however constrained by certain previous conditions, such as laws of nature, economic forces, demographic trends, and cultural mores. We are free, but not to do just anything. And the significance of a human action is also restricted by when in the historical sequence the action is taken. The earlier the action is in a sequence, the more sensitive the sequence is to minor changes—the so-called butterfly effect. The key to historical transcendence is that since you cannot know when in the sequence you are (since history is contiguous) and what effects present actions may have on future outcomes, positive change requires that you choose your actions wisely—all of them. What you do tomorrow could change the course of history, even if only long after you are gone. Think of all the famous people of the past who died relatively unknown.

Until these are taken into account, I cannot say exactly how much information can in fact be extracted from the past." The problem of the irrecoverable past is serious, since history is a conjuncture of events compelling a certain course of action by constraining prior events. History often turns on tiny contingencies, very few of which we know about. Given the sensitive dependence on initial conditions—the butterfly effect—how does Omega/God resurrect all the butterflies? This perception of history derails Drs. Tipler and Pangloss, as Voltaire noted at the end of Candide: Pangloss sometimes said to Candide: "All events are linked up in this best of all possible worlds; for, if you had not been expelled from the noble castle by hard kicks in your backside for love of Mademoiselle Cunegonde, if you had not been clapped into the Inquisition, if you had not wandered about America on foot, if you had not stuck your sword in the Baron, if you had not lost all your sheep from the land of Eldorado, you would not be eating candied citrons and pistachios here......Tis well said," replied Candide, "but we must cultivate our gardens." (1985, p. 328) Namely, whatever the sequence of contingencies and necessities in our lives and in history, the outcome would have seemed equally inevitable.


pages: 455 words: 138,716

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi

banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buy and hold, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Edward Snowden, ending welfare as we know it, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, information retrieval, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, naked short selling, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, regulatory arbitrage, short selling, telemarketer, too big to fail, War on Poverty

Breuer was here repeating Holder’s mantra that before moving against an industry target, the Justice Department essentially had to ask industry experts for advice. He was also now expanding the possible collateral consequences to include a “ripple effect” that would impact the whole economy, including innocent victims not just within the target firm, but perhaps also in other firms as well. If we press charges, in other words, we just don’t know what might happen—to everybody! We were now officially in the realm of an Edward Lorenz “butterfly effect” theory of crime fighting: a single indictment might be felt all the way around the world, and forever. This interview startled even the most hardened observers of politics in Washington. Two U.S. senators, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, were so appalled that they sent Holder a letter demanding an explanation for Breuer’s Frontline interview. It didn’t take long for them to get their answer.

Holder during this Senate hearing did not mention that he had come up with this idea fourteen years earlier, long before too-big-to-fail was even imaginable. He went on. The problem comes, he said, “when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This was a variation on Breuer’s “butterfly effect” interview. We just don’t know what will happen if we press charges, so … let’s not. It was a stunning series of admissions. Even Barron’s was appalled. “The nation’s chief law-enforcement official admitted the decision to prosecute depends not on the law, but the impact on the financial markets,” wrote columnist Randall Forsyth. Breuer, meanwhile, was in the process of moving back to private practice.


Science...For Her! by Megan Amram

Albert Einstein, blood diamonds, butterfly effect, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, double helix, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, pez dispenser, Schrödinger's Cat, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Wall-E, wikimedia commons

Before someone makes a joke about the tree probably being from the “Beyond” section, I have to warn you—the tree is also a bath! So it’s from the “Bath” section! There’s a hollow in the center that you can fill with hot water and carefully bathe one leg in at a time. It’s a fake tree, obviously, but I would still throw it away and buy a new one every year to get the full Christmas effect® (not to be confused with The Butterfly Effect® starring Ashton Kutcher®, a Jew®). Christmas ornaments are the part of Christmas that I find most confusing. Who needs Christmas ornaments when nature has provided her own ornaments: bird’s nests, Frisbees, and plums that I sometimes Scotch-tape onto non-plum trees for fun? Still, decorating the tree was pretty cool. Xander provided the colored orbs. I provided the ol’ tape-plums. Garfield provided the laughs.


pages: 482 words: 147,281

A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, butterfly effect, California gold rush, Golden Gate Park, index card, indoor plumbing, lateral thinking, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, place-making, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, supervolcano, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, wage slave, Works Progress Administration

Much the same now appears to have happened in 2004, by far the most dangerous year of the young century that has followed. It began with an immense earthquake in Iran; a series of shocks and volcanoes then shuddered all around the world for much of the twelve months following; and then the catastrophic Sumatran Tsunami struck precisely one year after it all began. Geologists looking at the statistics have lately started to wonder if some cruel butterfly effect might be at work – a pattern that might permit a ferocious event on one side of the planet to trigger a similar disaster far away on the other. Those who believe in the ideas of Gaia think this might be so: as the plates shifting against one another are all interconnected, jostlings on one part of the planet’s surface might well create sympathetic movements elsewhere. Thus far there is no firm evidence – only the numbers, and the anecdotes, that show incontrovertibly that some years are seismically very much more dangerous than others.

Even though the two places – the Yellowstone caldera and the Denali Fault – are separated by 1,800 miles of rock and mountain and river and lake, the occurrence of trauma in one place seems to have an effect on the other, as though the whole of Western America were ringing like an immense brass bell. Which brought me back to the premise with which this account began – the notion that this fragile planet, suspended in the blackness of space, is now something to be considered as an immense whole, with all of its elements interlinked and interconnected, the one happenstance triggering another and another and another, for as long as the world exists. The butterfly effect, written into the rocks of the American West, and into the rest of the world as well. One day the researcher who discovered the effects of Alaskan quakes on Yellowstone geysers took me to see Daisy: might it signal by its timing some event in the distant West? So I waited with him in the late-spring sunshine, looking at my wristwatch, gazing across from behind a pinewood palisade towards the yellow patch of sulphur on the ground, surrounded by pools of blue groundwater.


Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery by Andrew Greenway,Ben Terrett,Mike Bracken,Tom Loosemore

Airbnb, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, call centre, chief data officer, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, Diane Coyle, en.wikipedia.org, G4S, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, loose coupling, M-Pesa, minimum viable product, nudge unit, performance metric, ransomware, Silicon Valley, social web, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds

Equally, asking someone with no experience or awareness of the technology market to make a judgement on how sensible it is to put out a tender for a five-year contract on cloud hosting or data centres is not a good idea. Creating new rules and standards allows you to scale practices across an organisation quickly. Putting the assessment of teams in the hands of qualified, multidisciplinary groups of specialists allows you to ensure those practices remain sound. The butterfly effect The biggest risk that comes with setting new rules is that they come to resemble what they were designed to replace. Setting new rules doesn’t stop inertia from being the defining characteristic of your big organisation; it merely nudges the direction of travel. Unless you keep them fit for purpose, your new rules can quickly turn into next year’s cumbersome processes. The problem that all bureaucracies face is that it becomes very hard for any process to become smaller or shorter.


pages: 236 words: 62,158

Marx at the Arcade: Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle by Jamie Woodcock

4chan, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, anti-work, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Build a better mousetrap, butterfly effect, call centre, collective bargaining, Columbine, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, David Graeber, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, game design, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, Hacker Ethic, Howard Zinn, John Conway, Kickstarter, Landlord’s Game, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Oculus Rift, pink-collar, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, union organizing, unpaid internship, V2 rocket

Meier has explained that he and his team “embrace the progress theory of civilizations” but that he “know[s] that can be controversial.”13 They considered implementing a “rise and fall” dynamic in the game, but found that “people are not inclined to enjoy the ‘fall’ part” and stopped playing. Despite the limitations of the model of history used in Civilization, Meier believed in the game and what it can reveal: It reflects some fundamental truths about civilization, but it is not intended to be the final word on how civilizations work. I think it does a good job of showing how small turning points—you know, the butterfly effect—that small changes can take history off in completely different directions. We tend to take for granted that history kind of had to work out the way it did. But one of the lessons of Civilization, which I think is true, is that with a few little changes, things could have gone differently.14 The game therefore still provides a compelling, if partial, sandbox in which some of these dynamics can be explored.


pages: 239 words: 62,005

Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason by Dave Rubin

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, butterfly effect, centre right, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Donald Trump, failed state, gender pay gap, illegal immigration, immigration reform, job automation, low skilled workers, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, school choice, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, Tim Cook: Apple, unpaid internship, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

As if by magic, every single joke landed perfectly, the energy in the auditorium was electric, and I felt a better connection with the crowd (who, incidentally, were also pretty well-dressed themselves). I even managed to reunite Jordan with Ben Shapiro, who made a surprise guest appearance carrying a “gay” wedding cake for me. The crowd ate it up. Dressing as the person I wanted to be—the best, sharpest, funniest version of myself—did something on a cognitive level, which then had a butterfly effect on everything else that followed. Since then, I’ve made a concerted effort to improve my appearance and maximize the power it offers. Don’t get me wrong—on the weekends I’ve still got my favorite baseball hats, jeans, and sneakers for when I’m lounging around the house, but I’ve also added some sharp suits, quality shirts, and fitted jackets to the mix for when the situation, the audience, and the universe deserve it.


Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of Over 300 Logical Fallacies (Academic Edition) by Bo Bennett

Black Swan, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, Richard Feynman, side project, statistical model, the scientific method

Argument from Hearsay (also known as: the telephone game, Chinese whispers, anecdotal evidence, anecdotal fallacy/volvo fallacy [form of]) Definition: Presenting the testimony of a source that is not an eye-witness to the event in question. It has been conclusively demonstrated that with each passing of information, via analog transmission, the message content changes. Each small change can and often does lead to much more significant changes, as in the butterfly effect in chaos theory. Hearsay is generally considered very weak evidence, if considered evidence at all. Especially when such evidence is unfalsifiable (not able to be proven false). Logical Form: Person 1 told me that he saw Y. Therefore, you must accept that Y is true. Example #1: Lolita: Bill stole the money from the company petty cash fund. Byron: How do you know? Lolita: Because Diane told me.


pages: 512 words: 162,977

New Market Wizards: Conversations With America's Top Traders by Jack D. Schwager

backtesting, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black-Scholes formula, butterfly effect, buy and hold, commodity trading advisor, computerized trading, Edward Thorp, Elliott wave, fixed income, full employment, implied volatility, interest rate swap, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market clearing, market fundamentalism, money market fund, paper trading, pattern recognition, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ralph Nelson Elliott, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, Sharpe ratio, the map is not the territory, transaction costs, War on Poverty

., systems that never exactly repeat themselves and hence never find a steady state, such as weather or the markets—slight differences in variable values or measurements can be magnified to have huge effects over increasing periods of time. The technical name for this phenomenon—sensitive dependence on initial conditions—has become better known as the Butterfly Effect. As James Gleick described it in his excellent book, Chaos: Making a New Science, “In weather, for example, this translates into what is only half-jokingly known as the Butterfly Effect—the notion that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York.”) There are too many unpredictable things that can happen within 300 / The New Market Wizard two months. To me, the ideal trade lasts ten days, but I approach every trade as if I’m only going to hold it two or three days.


pages: 855 words: 178,507

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lifelogging, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

Alan Turing may have noticed this first: observing that the computer, like the universe, is best seen as a collection of states, and the state of the machine at any instant leads to the state at the next instant, and thus all the future of the machine should be predictable from its initial state and its input signals. The universe is computing its own destiny. Turing noticed that Laplace’s dream of perfection might be possible in a machine but not in the universe, because of a phenomenon which, a generation later, would be discovered by chaos theorists and named the butterfly effect. Turing described it this way in 1950: The system of the “universe as a whole” is such that quite small errors in initial conditions can have an overwhelming effect at a later time. The displacement of a single electron by a billionth of a centimetre at one moment might make the difference between a man being killed by an avalanche a year later, or escaping.♦ If the universe is a computer, we may still struggle to access its memory.

., 6.1, 6.2 Berry’s paradox, 6.1, 6.2, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 Bible Bierce, Ambrose Bigelow, Julian binary operations coding systems for, 5.1, 5.2 representation of relay circuits as in telegraphy, 7.1, 8.1 in use of alphabetical ordering systems see also bit(s) biology entropy and, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4 evolutionary, 10.1, 11.1 fundamental particles of of human ecosystem, 10.1, 10.2 information processing in, prl.1, prl.2, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 molecular, 9.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 purposeful action in processes of, 9.1, 9.2 see also genetics; neurophysiology biosphere, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3 bit(s) as basis of physics, prl.1, prl.2, 13.1, 13.2 biological measurements cost of information processing data compression strategies, 12.1, 12.2 decision-making requirements definition of, prl.1, 7.1 first usage growth of measuring units, 14.1, 14.2 meaning and measurement of cosmos in, prl.1, 14.1 purpose transmission by fire beacon, 1.1, 1.2 black holes, prl.1, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4 Blair, Ann Blair, Earl Bletchley Park, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1 Blount, Thomas, 3.1, 3.2 Bodleian Library, 3.1, 3.2, 6.1 Bohr, Niels, prl.1, 6.1, 13.1 Boltzmann, Ludwig, 9.1, 9.2 Bombe machine book burning Boole, George, prl.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 6.1, 6.2, 8.1, 8.2, 12.1 Borges, Jorge Luis, 14.1, 14.2, epl.1, epl.2 botanical dictionaries, 14.1, 14.2, 15.1 Bradley, Henry, 3.1, 3.2 Brahe, Tycho, 4.1, 15.1 brain; see neurophysiology Brassard, Gilles, 13.1, 13.2 “Breakdown of Physics in Gravitational Collapse, The” (Hawking) Brecht, Bertolt Breguet, Abraham-Louis, 5.1, 5.2 Brenner, Sydney, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 Brewster, David, 4.1, 8.1 Bridenbaugh, Carl, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 Briggs, Henry, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 Brillouin, Léon, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 Brin, Sergey, 14.1, epl.1 Broadbent, Donald, 8.1, 8.2 Brosin, Henry Brown, Robert Browne, Thomas, 1.1, 1.2, 5.1 Brownian motion, 6.1, 6.2, 8.1 Brunel, Isambard Kingdom Buchanan, James Bullokar, John Burgess, Anthony Burney, Venetia Burton, Robert, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 Bush, Vannevar, prl.1, prl.2, 5.1n, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1 Butler, Samuel, 2.1, 10.1, 10.2 butterfly effect Byron, Augusta Ada; see Lovelace, Ada Byron, George Gordon, Lord, 4.1, 4.2 bytes Cage, John, 12.1, 12.2 Cairns-Smith, Alexander, 10.1, 10.2 calculators, calculating machines analog and digital Babbage’s Analytical Engine, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 6.1, 7.1, 8.1 Babbage’s Difference Engine, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 4.13, 4.14, 4.15, 4.16, 4.17, 4.18, 6.1 definition of “calculation,” 7.1 Differential Analyzer, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 in evolution of information technology, prl.1, 4.1 use of relay circuits in see also computation; computer(s); machines calculus, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, epl.1 Campbell, George, prl.1, prl.2 “Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?”


pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, anti-globalists, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business cycle, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Pendulums or pistons have relatively simple attractors. More complex systems (like weather, the stock market, or human culture) rely on a huge number of attractors and can be better thought of as “phase spaces.” In phase spaces, repetitions and differences lead to constantly shifting equilibriums. A minor change in the original condition can effect a hugely different outcome—better known as the “butterfly effect”—and can also create a different attractor, collapsing it into a fixed solution or tumbling it back into apparent chaos before a new strange attractor establishes itself. This effect is readily visible when you watch an animation of the strange attractor, many of which are now available on the World Wide Web. Disequilibrium can fall into a dynamic equilibrium with a slight shift, and can again be thrown into a new disequilibrium by yet another shift.


pages: 208 words: 65,733

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor - the Sunday Times Bestseller by Adam Kay

airport security, butterfly effect, post-work, Skype

or ‘Roughly what size of genocide are we talking?’ He asks if I’m free to come over; his flatmate Terry has injured himself and Lee suspects he may benefit from going to hospital, but would value my advice. It’s not far away and I’m not doing anything that can’t wait, so I pop over. Terry has indeed injured himself. From the most insignificant of actions can come the most serious of consequences – and we’ve gone full ‘butterfly effect’ here. He cut his thumb opening a humble can of beans, has severed a little artery that’s currently irrigating the floor and the top of his thumb is flapping open like a Muppet’s mouth. There’s even bone visible. I’m happy to provide my professional assessment that a visit to hospital is not just advised, but is both crucial and urgent. I suspect very few people in the world would disagree with me on this point.


Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive History's Most Iconic Extinct Creature by Ben Mezrich

butterfly effect, Danny Hillis, double helix, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, microbiome, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Stewart Brand

Ryan Phelan, Brand’s wife, still seated, her blond hair pulled up in a ponytail, exuded the intelligence and confidence of a serial entrepreneur; she’d sold at least two successful biotech start-ups in the past decade, and had her fingers in a couple more. Church did his best not to trip on the high steps leading up to the porch. Over the course of his career, he’d been blessed to meet many brilliant people, but true innovators like Brand and Phelan were few and far between. Their meeting had come about by way of a butterfly effect starting with that phone call from the journalist at the New York Times, asking questions about Woolly Mammoths. “It’s different, isn’t it?” Brand said, as he shook Church’s hand and then gestured at the house behind him. “Took quite an effort to get it set up. There’s about two thousand books in the library downstairs, and we added a whole second story for a guest bedroom. But you’re not going to find better bird-watching, I can promise you that.”


pages: 733 words: 179,391

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sam Peltzman, Shai Danziger, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, Thales and the olive presses, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

If something is too complex, it means we don’t understand it. Complex-systems researchers often cite simple nonlinear mathematical relationships that can generate tremendously complicated graphs, so complicated that a slight change in the starting point makes it impossible to predict where the graph will end up only a few steps later. The classic illustration of this kind of complexity is the “butterfly effect”—because weather is a complex system, the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Beijing could be the cause of a hurricane in New Orleans several weeks later. By definition, 362 • Chapter 10 complex systems are hard to understand and, therefore, hard to regulate. In the Adaptive Markets framework, complexity means we don’t have a good narrative for the system. The solution is obvious: we need to get smarter.

., 6, 263–264, 265, 397, 398 bonds, 259, 409; for biotechnology, 407; government, 242, 249–250, 292; index funds for, 265 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 322 Bonner, John, 371 bonobo, 162 bonuses, 303–305 Bossaerts, Peter, 101 bounded rationality, 36, 208, 215; Adaptive Markets Hypothesis likened to, 188; applications of, 185, 217; criticisms of, 181–182, 209, 213–214; informational limits acknowledged by, 34; optimization contrasted with, 180, 183 Boyle, Danny, 118 bracketology, 64–65 brain size, 152–53 brainstem, 81 Breiter, Hans, 88–89 Brennan, Tom, 182, 190, 196–197, 198, 203, 220, 362, 369 Brexit referendum, 377 Brodmann, Korbinian, 76 Index broker-dealers, 304–308, 311, 376 Bronze Age, 163 Brosnan, Sarah F., 337 Brownian motion, 19, 211 Buck v. Bell (1927), 171 Bucy, Paul, 78–79 Buffett, Warren, 6, 11, 225, 231, 234–235, 286, 301, 407 Burch, Robert L., 234 Burnham, Terry, 337–338 “butterfly effect,” 361 Caisse d’Epargne, 61 California Public Employees’ Retirement System, 409 Camping, Harold, 342 Canada, 242 cancer, 400–410 Candide (Voltaire), 139 candlestick charting, 17, 23 cap-and-trade system, 416 Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), 27, 212, 249, 251–252, 263, 267, 282 capital requirements, 62, 306–308, 311, 368 capitalism, 7, 89, 412 carbon tax, 416 Cardano, Girolamo, 17, 21, 27 Carlsson, Arvid, 88 Carnegie Mellon University, 33–34, 172, 178, 181 Carroll, Lewis, 322 Car ter, Jimmy, 401 Carville, James, 9–10 Case, Karl, 314 Case-Shiller Index, 314 Caspi, Avshalom, 160 cause and effect, 128 Caves, Dick, 127 Cayne, Jimmy, 304, 305 cell phones, 246–248 Center for Adaptive Behav ior and Cognition (ABC), 216 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), 254 central banks, 230, 291, 301, 368, 391 Ceradase, 419 Cerezyme, 419 Challenger (space shut tle), 12–16, 24, 38 Chan, Nicholas, 41, 317 chaos theory, 278 Chen, Jiulin, 61 • 471 chess, 112, 131, 179 Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), 270, 356–358 Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), 360, 368–369, 370 Chicago School, 25 Chicxulub meteor, 241–242 chief risk officers (CROs), 392 chimpanzee, 150, 153, 337 China, 258, 409–410, 411, 412 China Aviation Oil, 61 Citigroup, 318–319 Clark, Luke, 91 climate change, 364, 416 Clinton, Bill, 10, 85 cobweb theorem, 31, 33, 34, 109 Coca Cola, 284–285, 384 cocaine, 89, 90, 91 Coffee, John C., 309–310 Cohn, Alain, 352–353 Cold War, 52 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 298, 299, 343 Collier, Paul, 412 Colossal Failure of Common Sense, A (McDonald and Robinson), 317–318 commercial banks, 293, 301, 308, 335, 371 commodities trading, 20, 34 Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), 359, 360, 377 common law, 372 competition, 3, 153, 168, 214, 217 complexity, 217, 278, 361–364, 372, 374 computational biochemistry, 240 computerized axial tomography (CAT), 78, 102 confirmation bias, 305–306 confounding variables, 139 congenital analgesia, 378 Congo Free State, 412 consilience, 215 Consolidated Supervised Entities, 306 contrarian strategy, 290, 316, 325 controlled experiments, 47, 139 Cook, William, 236 cooperation, 164–165, 168, 214, 336, 340 Coppersmith, Don, 239 core, in networks, 374–376 corn, 28–29, 30 corpus callosum, 113–114 Cortana, 396 472 • Index cortex, 81, 130; anterior cingulate, 86, 105; prefrontal, see prefrontal cortex cortisol, 81 Cosmides, Leda, 173, 174 cost-benefit analysis, 104, 119, 121–122, 169, 316 Cost Matters Hypothesis, 265, 397 Cotzias, George, 88 Countrywide Financial, 325 coupling, 321–322, 361, 372–374 creative destruction, 219 credit default swaps (CDSs), 298, 300, 379, 407 credit rating agencies, 301 Crick, Francis, 137, 144, 401 Cronqvist, Henrik, 161 crowded trades, 291–292, 293 crowdfunding, 356 cryptography, 238–239, 385 currency trading, 12–16, 24, 38 D.


pages: 202 words: 72,857

The Wealth Dragon Way: The Why, the When and the How to Become Infinitely Wealthy by John Lee

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Donald Trump, financial independence, high net worth, intangible asset, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, negative equity, passive income, payday loans, self-driving car, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, Tony Hsieh, Y2K

And however much you learn, you will still make mistakes, but you may as well save time by not making the same mistakes that others have made! If you're not reading Forbes, you should be reading Forbes. If you are going to be financially successful, you have to read what financially successful people are reading and read about what they are doing. Action creates attraction. Like the ripples that occur in a pond when you throw a stone into it and break the clear surface, every action you take has a butterfly effect. The little waves we make when we take action create ripples in the universe and we attract back to us the results of those actions. Watch the ripples on the pond after you've thrown in a stone. At first it seems as if they are only moving outwards, but if you look carefully you'll see miniature circular waves being cast back to the centre. For every action there is a reaction. So the message here is…keep taking action!


pages: 238 words: 73,121

Does Capitalism Have a Future? by Immanuel Wallerstein, Randall Collins, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian, Craig Calhoun, Stephen Hoye, Audible Studios

affirmative action, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, distributed generation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Isaac Newton, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, land tenure, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, loose coupling, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

That is what makes it “normal.” But in a structural crisis, the fluctuations are wide and constant, and the system is ever further from equilibrium. This is the definition of a structural crisis. It follows that however radical are “revolutions,” during “normal” times their effect is limited. In contrast, during a structural crisis, small social mobilizations have very great effects. This is the so-called butterfly effect, when free will prevails over determinism. The second politically significant characteristic of a structural crisis is that neither alternative “spirit” can be organized such that a small group can fully determine its actions. There are multiple players, representing different interests, believing in different short-run tactics, and coordination among them is difficult to achieve. Furthermore, the militants on each side must spend energy persuading the always larger group of potential supporters of the utility of their actions.


pages: 232 words: 78,701

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

affirmative action, bitcoin, Burning Man, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, clean water, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Skype, Snapchat, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, upwardly mobile

Robbing a place of its resources and pilfering the land dry can get tiring after a couple of centuries, so when colonialists decided to be done with wherever they had conquered, they left behind political, socioeconomic, and class-structure issues that rendered countries in shambles. In their wake they left deadly civil wars stemming from forcing clans and ethnic groups with major differences under the same umbrella. But when shit hits the fan and problems develop from the legacy of colonialism—like a butterfly effect, if the butterfly was really an elephant that flipped tables and ruined everything—then the colonizers want to say it’s not their business. They want to play Captain Save-a-Hoe when it comes to pilfering the land of its wealth, but when it’s time to offer the countries on the continent actual aid, they come up missing like we do when Sallie Mae calls asking about our student loan payments.


pages: 345 words: 86,394

Frequently Asked Questions in Quantitative Finance by Paul Wilmott

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, fudge factor, implied volatility, incomplete markets, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, iterative process, lateral thinking, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, martingale, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, transaction costs, urban planning, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Deterministic: The idea behind this approach is that our model will tell us everything about the future. Given enough data, and a big enough brain, we can write down some equations or an algorithm for predicting the future. Interestingly, the subjects of dynamical systems and chaos fall into this category. And, as you know, chaotic systems show such sensitivity to initial conditions that predictability is in practice impossible. This is the ‘butterfly effect,’ that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil will ‘cause’ rainfall over Manchester. (And what doesn’t!) A topic popular in the early 1990s, this has not lived up to its promises in the financial world. Discrete/Continuous: Whether probabilistic or deterministic the eventual model you write down can be discrete or continuous. Discrete means that asset prices and/or time can only be incremented in finite chunks, whether a dollar or a cent, a year or a day.


pages: 472 words: 80,835

Life as a Passenger: How Driverless Cars Will Change the World by David Kerrigan

3D printing, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, butterfly effect, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chris Urmson, commoditize, computer vision, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, edge city, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, invention of the wheel, Just-in-time delivery, loss aversion, Lyft, Marchetti’s constant, Mars Rover, megacity, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nash equilibrium, New Urbanism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Sam Peltzman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, transit-oriented development, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

In 2010, 94% of all US commuters drove alone. Even when vehicle usage is at its peak, fewer than 12 percent of all personal vehicles are on the road, which means, of course, that 88 percent are not in use.[35] Gaming Traffic Trying to outsmart traffic is almost a pastime for many commuters but numerous studies have shown that congestion is a delicate balance - not too far removed from “the butterfly effect” - a small change can have much greater knock-on consequences that would first seem logical. But that is due to the small margins, with many major routes operating perilously close to capacity at peak times. Canceling the trips of 1 percent of drivers from carefully selected neighborhoods would reduce the extra travel time for all other drivers in a metropolitan area by as much as 18 percent.[36] A 2009 Japanese study found that a 2–5% reduction in peak-hour traffic volumes has been shown to lead to a 27%-35% reduction in total traffic delay.[37] Traffic simulations of the city of Berlin[38] suggest that at around 20 per-cent of vehicles fitted with traffic-aware navigation, everyone’s journey times might be cut by up to 30 per-cent.


pages: 267 words: 81,144

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

butterfly effect, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, rolodex, sharing economy, Skype

We marvel at a nectarine sunset over the M25 or the smell of a baby’s head or the efficiency of flat-pack furniture, even though we know that everyone we love will cease to exist one day. I don’t know how we do it. 6. You are the sum total of everything that has happened to you up until that last slurp of that cup of tea you just put down. How your parents hugged you, that thing your first boyfriend once said about your thighs – these are all bricks that have been laid from the soles of your feet up. Your eccentricities, foibles and fuck-ups are a butterfly effect of things you saw on telly, things teachers said to you and the way people have looked at you since the first moment you opened your eyes. Being a detective for your past – tracing back through all of it to get to the source with the help of a professional – can be incredibly useful and freeing. 7. But therapy can only get you so far. It’s like the theory test when you’re learning to drive.


pages: 266 words: 80,273

Covid-19: The Pandemic That Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One by Debora MacKenzie

anti-globalists, butterfly effect, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Donald Trump, European colonialism, gig economy, global supply chain, income inequality, Just-in-time delivery, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, planetary scale, reshoring, supply-chain management, uranium enrichment

The important thing to know about complex systems is that they behave very differently from the linear, mechanical systems we are more familiar with, where if you put something in one end, you get a predictable response out the other. In a complex system, if you change one bit, you might get a completely disproportionate response you were not predicting, because you don’t know the states of all the components at that precise moment or how they all affect each other. The famous butterfly effect, where the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could set off a tornado in Texas, reflects early efforts to model the weather, a complex system where tiny differences in starting conditions can create huge differences in outcome. These are called nonlinear effects. This happens in all complex systems. A large change can also have small effects—up to a point. This matters, because complex systems have a few more universal properties.


pages: 824 words: 218,333

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, medical residency, moral hazard, mouse model, New Journalism, out of africa, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Malthus, twin studies

Are some genes more easily “edited” than others—and what governs the pliability of a gene? Nor do we know whether making a directed change in one gene might cause the entire genome to become dysregulated. If some genes are indeed “recipes,” as in Dawkins’s formulation, then altering one gene may cause far-reaching consequences for gene regulation—potentially unleashing a volley of downstream consequences, akin to the proverbial butterfly effect. If such butterfly-effect genes are common in the genome, then they will represent fundamental limitations for gene-editing technologies. The discontinuity of genes—the discreteness and autonomy of each individual unit of heredity—will turn out to be an illusion: genes may yet be more interconnected than we think. But first, show me that you can discern between what can be divided and what cannot. Imagine, then, a world in which these technologies can be routinely deployed.


pages: 363 words: 101,082

Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock

Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, butterfly effect, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, global rebalancing, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban decay, WikiLeaks, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

But he was more positive about the United States, calling it “a pragmatic nation that doesn’t give up easily, and has the determination and the optimism to keep trying new things until it solves a problem.” As for China, du Plessis had little doubt that its long-term growth rate remained in place, “keeping China firmly in position as the world’s primary engine of growth.”17 This is the human element of the Earth wars, but there is a natural element at play as well. In classic chaos theory, tiny differences at the start of a sequence of events lead to vastly different outcomes—the so-called butterfly effect popularised by the U.S. mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz in his work on computerised weather prediction in the 1960s. Lorenz, a professor emeritus at Massachusetts University of Technology (MIT) when he died in 2008 at the age of 90, wrote a paper in 1972 titled “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” to explain his theory of sensitive dependence on initial conditions.


pages: 311 words: 94,732

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross

3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing

Huw feels belligerent. “I do the same every time I do anything and everything. Every time I take any action, it ripples out to all the people who are affected by it, and all the people they effect. You’re saying that sensitivity to initial conditions means that you’re morally obliged never to change your mind. It’s rubbish. Just because causality runs backwards in this place doesn’t mean the butterfly effect becomes the first commandment. Now, what did I promise 639,219 before we arbed?” Bonnie and the djinni are both talking now, but Huw has literally tuned them out, so that they’ve faded out of her causal universe, unable to affect her. She’s really getting to like this capabilities wheeze. She tunes them back in. “Right,” she says, pointing at Bonnie. “You, talk.” “Look,” Bonnie says, “you’ve got this all wrong.”


pages: 334 words: 100,201

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cepheid variable, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, demographic transition, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, nuclear winter, planetary scale, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, Yogi Berra

But curiously, when we see human history as part of the larger history of the biosphere and the universe, the distinctive features of our species stand out more clearly. Today, scholars in many different fields seem to be converging on similar answers to the question of what makes us different. When you see sudden, rapid changes like this, start looking for tiny changes that have huge consequences. Complexity theory and the related field of chaos theory are full of changes like this. Often, they are described as butterfly effects. The metaphor comes from the meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who pointed out that in weather systems, tiny events (the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, perhaps?) can get amplified by positive feedback cycles, generating a cascade of changes that may unleash tornadoes thousands of miles away. So what tiny changes unleashed the tornado of human history? Many different features make up the human package, from dexterous hands to large brains and sociability.


Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About Economics and Life by Alan B. Krueger

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, bank run, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, butterfly effect, buy and hold, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, endogenous growth, George Akerlof, gig economy, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, Live Aid, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, moral hazard, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, random walk, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Duncan Watts summarized the findings from his experiments as follows: When people tend to like what other people like, differences in popularity are subject to what is called “cumulative advantage,” or the “rich get richer” effect. This means that if one object happens to be slightly more popular than another at just the right point, it will tend to become more popular still. As a result, even tiny, random fluctuations can blow up, generating potentially enormous long-run differences among even indistinguishable competitors—a phenomenon that is similar in some ways to the famous “butterfly effect” from chaos theory. Thus, if history were to somehow rerun many times, seemingly identical universes with the same set of competitors and the same overall market tastes would quickly generate different winners: Madonna would have been popular in this world, but in some other version of history, she would be a nobody, and someone we have never heard of would be in her place.15 Cumulative advantage undoubtedly plays out in the actual market as well.


pages: 297 words: 98,506

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

business climate, butterfly effect, complexity theory, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, impulse control, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur

Run the equations two, four, eight times, and they may seem to be giving similar results. But the harder you drive the system, the more iterations result and the more unpredictable it becomes. Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist at MIT, was modeling weather systems on a computer in the early 1960s when he accidentally discovered that a tiny change in the initial state (1 part in 1,000) was enough to produce totally different weather patterns. That became known as the Butterfly Effect, “the notion that a butterfly stirring the air today in Peking can transform storm systems next month in New York,” as Gleick wrote in Chaos. Classical science aimed at predicting an outcome, then conducting an experiment to confirm it. But natural systems don’t behave so neatly. The specific details can be described, yet no one can predict the outcome. You can describe how the weather works with high school math and physics, but you can’t tell very far in advance when or even if it will rain.


pages: 335 words: 98,847

A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner by Chris Atkins

Boris Johnson, butterfly effect, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, forensic accounting, G4S, housing crisis, illegal immigration, index card, Mark Zuckerberg, Milgram experiment, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans

Six of the Birmingham rioters are later convicted of ‘mutiny’.3 This archaic charge is in keeping with the Victorian culture that permeates the penal system. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were forced to walk the plank. Twenty refugees from HMP Birmingham arrive in Wandsworth a few days later, and I hear some colourful accounts of the recent carnage. Apparently trouble initially flared because they’d had cold showers for three days. Connor is unsympathetic. ‘Fucking lightweights. Our showers have been freezing for two weeks.’ The butterfly effect Events in one prison often had consequences elsewhere in the system. The Birmingham riot had a surreal impact on Wandsworth, and I was soon awoken at 3 a.m. by a screw shining a torch in my face. ‘Morning, Chris. There’s a right fruit loop on G Wing; he tried to stab an officer earlier. Do you want to talk to him?’ I told myself that on the outside I’d have killed for an invitation like this, and hunted around for my flip-flops and dressing gown.


pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method

Quantum mechanics, that brilliantly successful flagship theory of modern science, is deeply mysterious and hard to understand. Eastern mystics have always been deeply mysterious and hard to understand. Therefore eastern mystics must have been talking about quantum theory all along. Similar mileage is made of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (‘Aren’t we all, in a very real sense, uncertain?’), Fuzzy Logic (‘Yes, it’s OK for you to be fuzzy too’), Chaos and Complexity Theory (the butterfly effect, the platonic, hidden beauty of the Mandelbrot Set – you name it, somebody has mysticized it and turned it into dollars). You can buy any number of books on ‘quantum healing’, not to mention quantum psychology, quantum responsibility, quantum morality, quantum aesthetics, quantum immortality and quantum theology. I haven’t found a book on quantum feminism, quantum financial management or Afro-quantum theory, but give it time.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

And while this can produce really important insights—even big emission reductions only delay the 2˚C fever for nineteen years—it leaves out all of those abrupt climate shifts observed since 1976, as when the world’s drought acreage doubled in 1982 and jumped from double to triple in 1997, then back to double in 2005. That’s like stairs, not a ramp. Even if we thoroughly understood the mechanism for an abrupt climate shift—likely a rearrangement of the winds that produce Deluge ’n’ Drought by delivering ocean moisture elsewhere, though burning down the Amazon rain forest should also trigger a big one—chaos theory’s butterfly effect says we still could not predict when a big shift will occur or what size it will be. That makes a climate surprise like a heart attack. You can’t predict when. You can’t say whether it will be minor or catastrophic. But you can often prevent it—in the case of climate, by cleaning up the excess CO2. Drawing down the CO2 is also typically excluded from the current climate framing. Mere emissions reduction now resembles locking the barn door after the horse is gone—worthwhile, but not exactly recovery.


pages: 477 words: 106,069

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

butterfly effect, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, Douglas Hofstadter, feminist movement, functional fixedness, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, index card, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Nelson Mandela, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, short selling, Steven Pinker, the market place, theory of mind, Turing machine

Neologisms also replenish the lexical richness of a language, compensating for the unavoidable loss of words and erosion of senses. Much of the joy of writing comes from shopping from the hundreds of thousands of words that English makes available, and it’s good to remember that each of them was a neologism in its day. The new entries in AHD 5 are a showcase for the linguistic exuberance and recent cultural history of the Anglosphere: Abrahamic, air rage, amuse-bouche, backward-compatible, brain freeze, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, camel toe, community policing, crowdsourcing, Disneyfication, dispensationalism, dream catcher, earbud, emo, encephalization, farklempt, fashionista, fast-twitch, Goldilocks zone, grayscale, Grinch, hall of mirrors, hat hair, heterochrony, infographics, interoperable, Islamofascism, jelly sandal, jiggy, judicial activism, ka-ching, kegger, kerfuffle, leet, liminal, lipstick lesbian, manboob, McMansion, metabolic syndrome, nanobot, neuroethics, nonperforming, off the grid, Onesie, overdiagnosis, parkour, patriline, phish, quantum entanglement, queer theory, quilling, race-bait, recursive, rope-a-dope, scattergram, semifreddo, sexting, tag-team, time-suck, tranche, ubuntu, unfunny, universal Turing machine, vacuum energy, velociraptor, vocal percussion, waterboard, webmistress, wetware, Xanax, xenoestrogen, x-ray fish, yadda yadda yadda, yellow dog, yutz, Zelig, zettabyte, zipline If I were allowed to take just one book to the proverbial desert island, it might be a dictionary.


pages: 383 words: 108,266

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

air freight, Al Roth, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, endowment effect, financial innovation, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, IKEA effect, invisible hand, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, market bubble, Murray Gell-Mann, payday loans, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

But one of the major lessons we’ve learned from the 2008 economic meltdown is that our financial fortunes are all tied together more tightly than anybody realized. What started as subprime mortgage loans to people with relatively bad credit ended up sucking the wealth out of the entire economy, and bringing almost every economic activity—from car loans to retail spending—to a near-halt. Even people with hefty retirement portfolios took a big hit. In the end, the economy is a complex dynamic system, a bit like the “butterfly effect” in chaos theory where events that happen to a small group of individuals (such as subprime borrowers) can have large and frightening effects down the road for everyone else. WHAT CAN WE, as individuals, do to overcome the challenges posed by the financial planning fallacy? First, of course, everyone needs to save more for a rainy day* and realize that rainy days are more common than we expect.


pages: 480 words: 112,463

The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St Clair

barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, Francisco Pizarro, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, gravity well, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, out of africa, Rana Plaza, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spinning jenny, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Works Progress Administration

The invention of clothing is central to the development of cultures and civilisations. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, they recognised they were naked and immediately tried to fashion clothes out of fig leaves. Our clothes and home furnishing now allow us to survive all kinds of inhospitable climates (even outer space) and act like avatars of our identities and aspirations. The fabrics we choose and where we get them from still have butterfly-effect consequences on the lives of the people who make them and on the world around us. Perhaps it is time to stop being like early Egyptologists, eagerly tearing through mummies’ linen coverings to grab at the treasures they might contain, and instead aspire to the care and craft of the ancient Egyptians themselves. We have, after all, been spinning fibres into threads for well over thirty thousand years, and then weaving, knitting and knotting those threads into all manner of marvellous objects.


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra, your tax dollars at work

Applications include asset allocation, quantitative equity portfolio management, market making, and currency trading. That was 1995. To hear how some of this turned out, keep reading the next chapter. Notes 1. One of those numerical meteorology problems led to the discovery of deterministic chaos, the strong dependence of a result on what was presumed to be meaninglessly small differences in the inputs. This was popularized as the so-called butterfly effect, A Little AI Goes a Long Way on Wall Str eet 179 since the seemingly insignificant pressure changes caused by a fluttering butterfly, well within the limits of error of barometers used to measure them, could result in wildly different simulated future weather and climate outcomes. James Gleick’s book, Chaos (New York: Viking Penguin, 1987), is the place to start for the story of chaos. 2.


pages: 457 words: 125,329

Value of Everything: An Antidote to Chaos The by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cleantech, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, European colonialism, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, G4S, George Akerlof, Google Hangouts, Growth in a Time of Debt, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interest rate derivative, Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, money market fund, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, rent control, rent-seeking, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software patent, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

In the UK, the Bank of England undertook £375 billion of QE between 2009 and 2012, and in Europe, the ECB committed € 60 billion per month from January 2015 to March 2017.27 Back in the mid-1980s, to try to prevent the banking system from moving to speculative finance, Hyman Minsky formulated an economic recipe that can be summarized as ‘big government, big bank'. In his vision, government creates jobs by being the ‘employer of last resort' and underwrites distressed financial operators' balance sheets by being the ‘lender of last resort'.28 When the financial sector is so interconnected, it is very possible for one bank's failure to become contagious, leading to the bankruptcy of banks all over the world. In order to avoid this ‘butterfly effect', Minsky favoured strong regulation of financial intermediaries. In this he followed his mentor Keynes, who, as the post-war international order was being devised at Bretton Woods in 1944, advocated ‘the restoration of international loans and credit for legitimate purposes', while stressing the necessity of ‘controlling short-term speculative movements or flights of currency whether out of debtor countries or from one creditor country to another'.29 According to Keynes and Minsky, the possibility of financial crisis was always present in the way that money circulated - not as a means of exchange, but as an end in itself (an idea based predominantly on Marx's thinking).


Fix Your Gut: The Definitive Guide to Digestive Disorders by John Brisson

23andMe, big-box store, biofilm, butterfly effect, clean water, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, pattern recognition, publication bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Zimmermann PGP

He addressed copper and magnesium deficiencies, which explain why we have an epidemic of heart disease in the United States. Although I do not completely agree with Dr. Wallach’s entire body of work, I appreciate the fact that he encourages us to think about nutrition and the human body in different non-conventional ways. Discovering his work inspired me to dig deeper into natural health studies that served me well when I fell ill. Ever hear of the “butterfly effect?” According to Edward Lorenz, it is theoretically possible for a butterfly to flap its wings and create a puff of air that will eventually cause a tornado somewhere. Looking back, I can point to a single cause to the deterioration of my health for years to come, but instead of a butterfly, it was a blood pressure cuff. The nurse took my blood pressure one day at the doctor’s office and wrote down a number on the chart.


pages: 1,073 words: 314,528

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Boyd, “Destruction and Creation,” September 3, 1976, available at http://goalsys.com/books/documents/DESTRUCTION_AND_CREATION.pdf. 10. John Boyd, Organic Design for Command and Control, May 1987, p.16, available at http://www.ausairpower.net/JRB/organic_design.pdf. 11. The theory was popularized by Edward Lorenz, a diligent meteorologist who discovered the “butterfly effect” while searching for a way to produce more accurate weather predictions. Minuscule changes in his initial input to mathematical calculations for weather predictions could have extraordinary and unpredictable effects on the outcomes. The butterfly effect comes from a 1972 paper by Lorenz to the American Association for the Advancement of Science entitled, “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” For a history of chaos theory, see James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science (London: Cardinal, 1987).


pages: 470 words: 144,455

Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World by Bruce Schneier

Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, business process, butterfly effect, cashless society, Columbine, defense in depth, double entry bookkeeping, fault tolerance, game design, IFF: identification friend or foe, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, MITM: man-in-the-middle, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, pez dispenser, pirate software, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, slashdot, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, the payments system, Y2K, Yogi Berra

We could never have made the Internet as complex and interesting as it is today without modularity. But increased modularity means increased security flaws, because security often fails where two modules interact. The third reason is the interconnectedness of complex systems. Distributed and networked systems are inherently risky. Complexity leads to the coupling of systems, which can lead to butterfly effects (minor problems getting out of hand). We’ve already seen examples of this as everything becomes Internet-aware. For years we knew that Internet applications like sendmail and rlogin had to be secure, but the recent epidemic of macro viruses shows that Microsoft Word and Excel need to be secure. Java applets not only need to be secure for the uses they are intended for, but they also need to be secure for any other use an attacker might think of.


pages: 736 words: 147,021

Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety by Marion Nestle

Asilomar, biofilm, butterfly effect, clean water, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, illegal immigration, out of africa, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, software patent, Upton Sinclair

Flynn L, Gillard MS. Pro-GM food scientist “threatened editor.” Guardian (London), November 1, 1999, at www.guardian.co.uk/science/1999/nov/01/gm.food. See: Correspondence: GM food debate. Lancet 1999;354:1725–1729. En-serink M. The Lancet scolded over Pusztai paper. Science 1999;286:656. 52. Losey JE, Rayor LS, Carter ME. Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae. Nature 1999;399:214. 53. Stix G. The butterfly effect: new research findings and European jitters could cloud the future for genetically modified crops. Scientific American, August 1999:28–29. The finding inspired a book: Jack A. Imagine a World without Monarch Butterflies: Awakening to the Hazards of Genetically Altered Foods. Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1999. Kucinich DJ. Statement before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. 106th Congress, 1st Session, October 7, 1999, at http://agriculture.senate.gov/Hearings/Hearings_1999/kuc99107.htm. 54.


pages: 493 words: 172,533

The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson by Kim Stanley Robinson

Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, late capitalism, Murano, Venice glass, Richard Feynman

In 1987, the nation of Palestine raised its flag over the West Bank and parts of Jordan and Lebanon; a generation of camp children moved into homes. A child was born in Galilee. In 1990 Japan started its African Assistance League. The Hiroshima Peace Party had a billion members. And so on; so that by July 29th, 2045, no human on Earth was the same as those who would have lived if the nomad in Kirgiz had not stepped on the butterfly a century before. This phenomenon is known as the butterfly effect, and it is a serious problem for all other models of historical explanation; meaning trouble for you and for me. The scientific term for it is “sensitive dependence on initial conditions.” It is an aspect of chaos theory first studied by the meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who, while running computer simulations of weather patterns, discovered that the slightest change in the initial conditions of the simulation would quickly lead to completely different weather.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

While there may be serendipitous benefits of such a network, there is also every chance many of its developments will be undesirable, negatively affecting global security, personal privacy, and human rights. Moreover, if you think the number of error messages and application crashes we face today are a problem, just wait until the Web is embedded in everything from your car to your sneakers to your microwave. Having to reboot your refrigerator, your thermostat, and your garage door in order to get them to run won’t be much fun either. If ever there were a technology that embodied the butterfly effect, it is surely the Internet of Things. In this world, it is impossible to know the consequences of connecting your home’s networked blender to the same information grid as an ambulance in Tokyo, a bridge in Sydney, or a Detroit auto manufacturer’s production line, and yet it will all be connected in one way or another. While some of the world’s smartest research and technology firms are rushing forward to build the Internet of Things (and claim their share of its multitrillion-dollar economic bounty), their colleagues back in the IT security department are frantically working to combat yesterday’s zero-day attack or the malware vulnerability crisis du jour.


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The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global pandemic, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

Harvard University occupies a singular place in the public’s imagination, but Harvard Business School—the child reluctantly adopted by the parent early in the last century—eclipsed its parent in terms of its influence on society long ago. Given its position in the business firmament, anything that happens at HBS (changes in curriculum, in student career choices, in the methods of socialization of its students) has butterfly effects not just in the U.S. economy but globally. The direction they’re all pointed in—as well as the priorities they come to possess—has ramifications for every one of us. Before addressing those questions, however, it seems appropriate to dispense with an easy one, the cost-versus-value of a Harvard MBA. While most people focus on the $60,000-plus tuition, the full cost of attending HBS, that is to say, the opportunity cost, can be $500,000 or more.