Notes: China, Farming, Running, Energy, VC, Emergencies, etc.

China investors: beware of inequality (FT)Big farming growth required ahead (Farming First)Barefoot running, shoes and born to run (Science of… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]

Human Response to Large-Scale Emergencies

Intriguing new paper from Barabási, et al.:

Collective response of human populations to large-scale emergencies

James P. Bagrow, Dashun Wang, Albert-László Barabási

Submitted on 3 Jun 2011

Despite recent advances in uncovering the quantitative features of stationary human activity patterns, many applications, from pandemic prediction to emergency response, require an understanding of how these patterns change when the population encounters unfamiliar conditions. To explore societal response to external perturbations we identified real-time changes in communication and mobility patterns in the vicinity of eight emergencies, such as bomb attacks and earthquakes, comparing these with eight non-emergencies, like concerts and sporting events. We find that communication spikes accompanying emergencies are both spatially and temporally localized, but information about emergencies spreads globally, resulting in communication avalanches that engage in a significant manner the social network of eyewitnesses. These results offer a quantitative view of behavioral changes in human activity under extreme conditions, with potential long-term impact on emergency detection and response.

via [1106.0560] Collective response of human populations to large-scale emergencies.

Weekend Reading: June 5, 2011

Some financial events worth tracking next week:Economic calendar (CR)Earnings reports ( few articles and papers worth reading:What to… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]

Who Gets Rich(er(est)) From a Groupon IPO?

I spoke a little about this today on Bloomberg TV, but it’s eye-opening who gets rich(er(est)) on the Groupon IPO. Check the following… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]

Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail’s Apoca-Culture

Harrowing and depressingly post-apocalyptic:

In the first episode of this two-part series, Louis spends time in one of the most notorious sections of Miami County Jail: the fifth and sixth floor of ‘Main Jail’, where many of the most volatile inmates are incarcerated.

Held in large cage-like dwellings for up to 24 men, the inmates have developed a strange and violent jail culture. The men – who remain in the cells almost all the time and may only leave for yard time twice a week – live under the sway of a gladiatorial code. They fight each other for food, for status, and often just to pass the endless hours of confinement. Trips to the infirmary are a frequent occurrence as inmates are viciously attacked and beaten, but the guards say they are powerless to end the abuse.

via BBC – BBC Two Programmes – Louis Theroux, Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail, Part 1.

Venture Capital: The Game

This is amusing: Venture capital, the game. Call it “venture crapital”, but you get to play VC and fund teensy companies to fame, fortune & bubbles.

Click to try.

Venture crapital

[via TechCrunch]

Authors@Google: Economist Michael Spence

Taleb: The Future Has Thicker Tails than the Past

New Taleb on error’s errors:

The Future Has Thicker Tails than the Past: Model Error as Branching Counterfactuals

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
May 23, 2011


Ex ante predicted outcomes should be interpreted as counterfactuals (potential histories), with errors as the spread between outcomes. But error rates have error rates. We reapply measurements of uncertainty about the estimation errors of the estimation errors of an estimation treated as branching counterfactuals. Such recursions of epistemic uncertainty have markedly different distributial properties from conventional sampling error, and lead to fatter tails in the projections than in past realizations. Counterfactuals of error rates always lead to fat tails, regardless of the probability distribution used. A mere .01% branching error rate about the STD (itself an error rate), and .01% branching error rate about that error rate, etc. (recursing all the way) results in explosive (and infinite) moments higher than 1. Missing any degree of regress leads to the underestimation of small probabilities and concave payoffs (a standard example of which is Fukushima). The paper states the conditions under which higher order rates of uncertainty (expressed in spreads of counterfactuals) alters the shapes the of final distribution and shows which a priori beliefs about conterfactuals are needed to accept the reliability of conventional probabilistic methods (thin tails or mildly fat tails).

via The Future Has Thicker Tails than the Past: Model Error as Branching Counterfactuals by Nassim Taleb :: SSRN.

Notes: Oil, Groupon, Fisheries, etc.

Some Gulf petrol stations run out of fuel (Gulf News)Fusion-Io to Be Worth as Much as $1.17 Billion in Initial Public Offering (Bloomberg)Graphic of… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]

The Dirtiest SEC Filings

In the spirit of tawdry financial inquiry for which Wall Street is rightly famous, I intermittently track the incidence of George Carlin’s… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]