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Comment Re:Two multiple hundreds of thousands of years eve (Score 1) 877

Not so much with the coin flip ... it's more closely related to the idea of taking a bomb with you whenever you fly, on the grounds that the odds against there being TWO bombs on a single flight are completely astronomical.

(Side note: Richard Feynman once remarked that the use of "astronomical" to describe absurdly large numbers was really rather outdated, astronomical constants being pretty well defined by now, and that with the increasing absurdity of the numbers being casually tossed around in the financial sector we should instead speak of absurdly large, ill-defined numbers as economical. I think recent events have driven his point soundly home.)

Comment Re:And models of volcanic activity (Score 1) 877

The sky really is falling. Right now it's just firing warning shots but historically it has declared all-out war. This volcano will immolate much of the central US and cover much of the US in ash. It's just a matter of time. Is the time getting close? Hmm...

Oh, sure. Stipulated. The odds are it will blow again, and when it does, it will be a doozy. Last time, it created the Central Washington scablands, a lava plain that's a mile thick in places.

But in geological time, "any time now" could be ten years, or it could be ten thousand.

Thought experiment: Suppose the vulcanologists looked at the data and said, "We believe the Yellowstone basin is going to erupt again within the next twelve months." What could we do? Can we evacuate two thirds of the US? Where to? Where will the evacuees live? I don't think even FEMA has that many tents.

(Your point on vulcanism models is taken, sure. But at least they're actually studying data and trying to understand it, instead of just saying "Wouldn't it be cool if the economy worked like this? Hey, let's all just pretend it does!")

Comment Re:Two multiple hundreds of thousands of years eve (Score 5, Insightful) 877

Well, this is true, but what you have to remember is that those "mathematical models" were created by imbeciles who believed that all events in the financial market were independent (i.e no event in the market affects any other event), that the market can grow forever without limit, and -- worse -- still believe that when an event that the models say is a once-in-a-hundred-years event happens three times in six months, it's not an indication of a basic flaw in the model, but rather a rare fluke that means it's now statistically certain it'll NEVER happen again. The global financial sector's "mathematical models" are worthless, and always have been. They built a house of cards using imaginary money as cards, and the question was only one of when the house of cards would collapse.

The financial market and the Yellowstone basin are hardly related. Our models of vulcanism are incompletely understood, and based on what is -- on a geological scale -- a very short period of observation, a mere century and a half or so in the case of Yellowstone. But they are at least based on observation and study, not wishful thinking. Yes, many of the models indicate that there could be another supervolcanic event at Yellowstone "any time now". But on a geological timescale, that "any time now" could be a thousand years away.

This is interesting news, and absolutely bears close monitoring, but I think it's a little premature to run around shouting that the sky is falling. But regardless of the actual risk from Yellowstone, I don't think that the failure of the consensual delusion passed off as mathematical models of the global economy constitutes anything that can be used as evidence for anything except for how stupid a whole lot of ostensibly really smart people can actually be, when they're blinded by greed.

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