[Thanks, Ben! I've fixed it now.--Econlib Ed.]

Taleb's work on long tails is very good. pity he is such an abrasive so and so, and he feels the need to express opinions about stuff he knows very little about, such as medicine - and Greece.

Signed,angry NSF sponsored physicist ;-)

Also can you post a link or info to the book on the industrial revolution he references?

Wonderful provocative pod cast. Thank you.

We know we need some small amount of exercise (like walking), we know that we need a minimum of some vitamins, minerals and amino acids. We know nothing beyond that!

On the fragility of the financial system:

He is in favor of experimentation and tinkering, yet against publicly-financed research? Most people use that same argument to support public funding for science...Companies only do certain types of research. Relying on business to generate new technology and science would narrow the range. Public funding of science is a form of diversification. If tinkering is good, then how can the billions of man-hours of tinkering going on at universities every year not be a good thing?

Excellent interview, and one that I'll have to listen to again...soon.

Bird Flu China: Dead pigs, swans and ducks linked to …

He is definitely correct: he has one idea. The problem with Taleb is that couches this idea in "science-y" language and is pretty shaky on things like statistics (and keeps saying "you see?" and "right" like his mis-interpretations of the literature are self-evident).

The Queen Owns The Swans (And Other Swan Stories)

Anyway, ridding the world of debt and lending is a bad idea. I think Spain experienced it after the Jews were expelled in 1492. The wealth from the New World kept stuff going for a while, but the economy was stagnant without lenders.

Greek and Roman Gods - The Online Knowledge …

The great thing about this interview is that as it went on Mr. Taleb sounded crazier and crazier, culminating in his quasi-social-darwinian nonsense about how bad modern medicine is. Most folks who advocate a "natural lifestyle" in accordance with "evolutionary forces" either have no idea what they're talking about, or seek to exempt themselves from their new brutal utopia. If Mr. Taleb contracted prostate cancer -- and I hope he does not -- I'm sure he would seek aggressive and targeted chemotherapy rather than allowing nature to destroy him as he claims to believe it should. But that's just one example. The whole neo-luddite philosophy falls apart for everyone who's not willing to live like Gandhi. (Who was also anti-medicine, btw. Read Hind Swaraj.)

Now on Nasim's ideas about nutrition and exercise I think that he should just say we do not know.

Well, he does have wonderful "convex" ideas about economics.

He mentions the LHC, would that research into early stages of the Universe ever be possible without government support? Many things in place that inspired the industrial revolution were done by University Research! The period of Enlightement was brought by academics and they always vied for public funds to sponsor their research. That period is a necessary condition to later incite the Industrial Revolution that followed.

I agree completely, though I don't know too much about the Greek situation.

I just had to comment on this quote...

I do agree that the process is not always linear. In science you hardly get the exact result you were looking for, but Universities encourage at least the searching for answers (the trial and error) rather than the complacency he's advocating.

I enjoyed the Podcast. Taleb's ideas are very thought provoking.

I agree, you should understand that there is error in everything you do and try to figure out how that error can propagate through to possible outcomes. But he extrapolates this into a grand theory with a certainty that is totally unwarranted. Walk 20 hrs/ week because mother nature tells us that that's the "right" thing to do? Well, maybe right for 10,000 BC, but extrapolating that to 'absolutely better' is totally unwarrented and there is no data (as he is fond of saying) to support that. And of course he lost weight. That was probably 20 hrs more than he was doing before.