This might be the best thing I’ve read this year. If you could really understand and apply a taxonomy of uncertainty to the world, you would be in control of everything – or at least, you would know what to do in every situation. Which would be incredibly powerful. The journal article it’s based on has a silly title but strikes me as totally profound. It’s kind of long, but has some really good bits that you can skip to.

Incidentally, Slate recently ran a depth series on risk – which it called America’s greatest idea. I haven’t read it yet, but given the above it would be the thing to do. And very tangentially, speaking of ideas that are American, we went to see McCoy Tyner play the other night. He was the pianist in John Coltrane’s band when he recorded A Love Supreme back in the sixties. His closing comments at last night’s show were along these lines: “I’ve been around the world. And you know, our American art form has penetrated a lot of places. It’s something we should be proud of.”

So America’s greatest idea was risk. America’s art form is jazz. Over the next couple years while I’m living here, it would be good to find out what else people think America has originated for the world.

Economists need their own uncertainty principle : Nature News.

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