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Ubiquity - Mark Buchanan


Ice77
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The author is a physicist and a strong writer. The book has a meta framework that cuts across as varied situations/disciplines as species extinction events, forest fires, billionaire rich lists, earthquakes, market crashes, wars, scientific revolutions, sand piles, social networks etc. What's common among them?  Their distributions are all governed by a new branch of physics: Non equilibrium statistical physics that builds upon chaos/complexity theory to show how power law (and some common organising principle) is pervasive across such diverse physical, biological, economic and social systems. Of interest is the concept of self organised criticality in these complex, interconnected systems. Once a system goes critical, small or large upheavals can happen anytime and in an unpredictable way. But their relative magnitude vs frequency still remains governed by the power laws.

 

 

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The author is a physicist and a strong writer. The book has a meta framework that cuts across as varied situations/disciplines as species extinction events, forest fires, billionaire rich lists, earthquakes, market crashes, wars, scientific revolutions, sand piles, social networks etc. What's common among them?  Their distributions are all governed by a new branch of physics: Non equilibrium statistical physics that builds upon chaos/complexity theory to show how power law (and some common organising principle) is pervasive across such diverse physical, biological, economic and social systems. Of interest is the concept of self organised criticality in these complex, interconnected systems. Once a system goes critical, small or large upheavals can happen anytime and in an unpredictable way. But their magnitude vs frequency still remains governed by the power laws.

 

Strikes me as design in the midst of perceived chaos.

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The part dealing with the causality aspect of WWI is interesting (assassination of Austrian prince) but the Balkan region was called the power keg of Europe. Sometimes all you need is a match. When outcomes become known in multi-variable and complex systems, humans may find patterns when, in fact, there are none or the perception and the interpretation of the pattern may be highly tied to prior-held beliefs. The book is interesting if you have an interest in trying to understand chaos. Didier Sornette is another who's tried to correlate complex manifestations to mathematical formulations, with an uneven success (especially 'predictive').

 

The author is a physicist and a strong writer. The book has a meta framework that cuts across as varied situations/disciplines as species extinction events, forest fires, billionaire rich lists, earthquakes, market crashes, wars, scientific revolutions, sand piles, social networks etc. What's common among them?  Their distributions are all governed by a new branch of physics: Non equilibrium statistical physics that builds upon chaos/complexity theory to show how power law (and some common organising principle) is pervasive across such diverse physical, biological, economic and social systems. Of interest is the concept of self organised criticality in these complex, interconnected systems. Once a system goes critical, small or large upheavals can happen anytime and in an unpredictable way. But their magnitude vs frequency still remains governed by the power laws.

 

Strikes me as design in the midst of perceived chaos.

 

Hi MrB,

To be clear, the following is submitted as a learning tool. (and for fun)

If you have 10 seconds, click on the following link, look at the fifth image without reading the text below before looking (although your unconscious eye may not collaborate) and try to see a pattern. Then read the text below.

https://earthsky.org/human-world/seeing-things-that-arent-there

The whole thing strikes me as design in the midst of perceived chaos.

Post-scriptum: I'm planning to read a book over the holidays that I thought I had read before and may suggest it here at some point.

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