Tag Archives: nassim taleb

My Anti-library

My Anti-libraryPictured above is part of my anti-library. The first bottom row are unread or partly-read books. The back row and shelf are either read or reference books.

What’s an anti-library? In The Black Swan, Taleb talks about Umberto Eco’s collection of 30,000 unread books. These books represent Eco’s anti-library, the reservoir of information that Eco doesn’t yet possess. This unknown knowledge is of greater importance than what Eco does know because it represents the blind spots, the uncertainty, and the relative frailty of his knowledge. It also serves to humble and remind him of how much he really doesn’t know.

Awareness of one’s anti-library and the unknown information it holds is critical to any right-minded individual.

So, I am posting here my anti-library as of today, the 6th of August, 2011. A tip of the hat goes out to the inimitable James Steele II for posting his anti-library and giving me this idea. In about six months I’ll check back in with new books to read.

Facebook & Video Games: An Introduction to the Narrative Fallacy


“I am a god. Level ten all alone!”

My brother’s face glowed blue from the television as he completed another level in the Call of Duty minigame. The fact that most people sleep at 3 a.m. didn’t phase his concentration as he simultaneously killed zombies and trashed talked his friends. His confidence rose as he continued to level up.

Social video games have exploded in recent years, and scientists have been trying to understand how they affect our brains. A review of the literature seems to reveal that the pattern recognition and resource management required to play most games will exercise a gamer’s cognitive functioning. In teenagers, active participation in social networks helps in the formation of a unique identity.

Does this justify playing video games? The short answer is no, for two primary reasons: the narrative fallacy and the nerd effect.

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Wall Street and Sports Betting: An Introduction to the Ludic Fallacy

Casino Dice
(Photo: @ Alex)

A headline in Wired’s November 2010 issue reads, “Wall Street Firm Uses Algorithms to Make Sports Betting Like Stock Trading.” After reading the article, I’m not sure if this development is good or bad for skeptical empiricists.

The headline left me with a fleeting impression; at first I brushed the story off as another silly antic from the inescapable depths of the ludic fallacy. I figured that this article, like any other sensationalized media, overstated the significance of the story. Unfortunately, after reading the article, the opposite rang true. Continue reading