Friday, October 24, 2008

Your MSM at work ...

... Time magazine discovers Nassim Nicholas Taleb. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I particularly liked this question: "There's the famous quote Donald Rumsfeld was ridiculed for: There are things we know, things we know we don't know, and things we don't know we don't know. You're saying, basically, he's got a point."
I guess I liked it because it reminded me of something I had written in my review (published in August 2007) of The Black Swan:
Taleb tells an interesting story about a brainstorming session on risk held at Lake Como in Italy and sponsored by the Defense Department. It seems that "the military people there thought, behaved, and acted like philosophers. . . . I came out of the meeting realizing that only military people deal with randomness with genuine, introspective intellectual honesty. . . . Defense people wanted to understand the epistemology of risk. " Which is why they are comfortable using "the expression unknown unknown (as opposed to known unknown). " Yes, folks, Donald Rumsfeld wasn't speaking gibberish; he was on the cutting edge of epistemology.

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