Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ibsen Martinez calls Maria Corina Friday moment a "black swan"

Ibsen Martinez, noted political commentator, has just published an article in La Patilla where he writes about 90% of what I wrote yesterday about Maria Corina Machado moment at the National Assembly last Friday.  The 10% missing is that he calls it a "black swan", an unexpected event that will have durable consequences.  So I do not need to translate it since you can read my post again and just add "black swan" wherever you may like :)


  1. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Black swan as in Hans Christian Andersen's Uggly Duckling, or as in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, or as the character in the film by by Darren Aronofsky? One is a victim of society, another is virtueless and the other is a psycopath.

    1. Cute.

      I am merely using the description of Ibsen Martinez which apparently did not match any of the three you mention. Still, regardless of the version, Chavez is always the sociopath. :)

  2. Boludo Tejano4:20 PM

    Sin nombre @ 10:27 a.m.
    Black swan as in Hans Christian Andersen's Uggly Duckling, or as in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, or as the character in the film by by Darren Aronofsky?

    I suspect that Ibsen Martinez was referring to this book: The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: "On Robustness and Fragility”.

    From the review: “A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them. In this second edition, Taleb has added a new essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.”

    Several years ago, when the problems of the electricity systems in Venezuela were in the news, several references were made to Black Swan events.

    1. BT

      There is a nice illusion to this unexpected kind of paradoxical event in James Merrill's poem " The Black Swan"...these kinds of events can be very powerful..

      "assuming, like a fourth dimension, splendor"
      "The child upon, The bank , hands full of difficult marvels, stays, Forever to cry aloud
      In anguish: I love the black swan, the black swan"

  3. Boludo Tejano4:42 PM

    "Black Swan" has been used other times to describe events in Venezuela. From 2004: Searching for a black swan: Analysis of the statistical evidence about electoral fraud in Venezuela

    From Caracas Gringo in 2009: A Black Swan Called Guri?

    Looks like I had better buckle down and read the Black Swan book myself.

  4. Anonymous3:16 AM

    According to Taleb, what we call here a Black Swan is an event with the following three attributes: it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations; it carries an extreme impact and in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

    It is all about being able (or not) to predict the event, without the benefit of hindsight. Perhaps there was not enough data to predict a Chavez, he certainly has had an impact, and we are full of explanations for why our 13 years of misery were inevitable. Chavez seems to meet the criteria for a Black Swan. But does it matter? I think it is a load of nonsense. Just try to calculate the probability that another Black Swan event will come and get rid of Chavez.

    1. On the contrary, Chávez was VERY predictable, and that's exactly what scares him the most, because the conditions get closer and closer to the appearance of another person that will swipe out the political ground as he once did. The opposition parties also know this, and that's why most of the candidates start almost every sentence with "I will / I am" or something like that, so as to convince people that s/he is the one. Remember, also, that Venezuela has a messianic society, where everyone waits for that single person that would make things change and move.

  5. Anonymous3:49 PM

    black swans abound in history , we tend to see things as predictable given a known familiar set of conditions and then something quite unexpected happens which puts the world on its head . our blindness to black swans makes them more formidable and impressive that they need be .


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