Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Where in the Wikipedia is Anglo Disease?

by martingale Fri Oct 31st, 2008 at 02:37:25 AM EST

I think this is a legitimate question. Does the Anglo Disease concept deserve a Wikipedia entry, and if so, why isn't it there yet?

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on the limits of statistics

by martingale Wed Sep 24th, 2008 at 01:45:06 AM EST

It's common these days to condemn the finance industry for all sorts of outrageous practices. The Gods know that they deserve it, and it's been most of a century since people were broadly receptive to new ideas on this topic anyway. Yet in their zeal to pour scorn, commentators can sometimes try too hard. One such commentator is Nassim Taleb, whose essay "The Fourth Quadrant: A Map Of The Limits Of Statistics" is a good example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I find it difficult to characterize the essay in a single sentence. Taleb is a former computer trader, and his expertise applies to commenting on the probabilistic and statistical methods that are used in the finance industry. Yet I find it's a hodge podge of rhetorical tricks, various analogies, and sundry mathematical claims as well as free advice. While the overall aim is certainly well meaning, I can't say I'm actually convinced by the details. That's also not to say that all's well in the way statistics is used in practice. But it's ridiculous to scapegoat a tool to spite an industry.

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