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Falkenstein on Taleb

Who looks well-fed, sports a beard, and has an exaggerated idea of his own contribution to intellectual life? No, I am not thinking about Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, but Nassim Taleb (The Black Swan).

Tyler Cowen wrote a generally positive review of The Black Swan. He did say,

Taleb is a talented writer, and often offers up a brilliant sentence or a clever, darting aphorism; he has a harder time developing a systematic message that is not only true but also original.

Taleb (over)reacted with a Brief Discussion of Empirical and Logical Mistakes in Tyler Cowen’s Review of The Black Swan in Slate (pdf).

Now on Mahalanobis, Eric Falkenstein sets out to demolish Taleb. As hatchet jobs go, it is pretty good.

New marine reserves

The (London) Telegraph reports (via Tim Worstall),

Eight large marine reserves where fishermen would be liable for damage to protected species are being proposed by the Government today in a new Marine Bill…

Ben Bradshaw, the environment minister, will announce a network of eight marine reserves, including different types of marine habitat from the sandbanks of the Dogger Bank and off North Norfolk to the Darwin Mounds, an area of deep-water coral 1,000 metres deep off north-west Scotland…

…fishing would be banned altogether in some of the reserves – so-called no-take zones – with public consultation being used to determine which…

Jean-Luc Solandt of the Marine Conservation Society said: “I don’t think the number of reserves the Government is proposing is big enough to comply with their international obligations. That would need 20-30 per cent of each habitat covered. It is all about the exchange of larvae between areas so species are resilient.”

What would a similar scheme cost worldwide? In the 2004 paper by Andrew Balmford et al. The worldwide costs of marine protected areas, the authors estimated that conserving 20-30% of the world’s seas would cost $5 to $19 billion per year, and would probably create around one million jobs.

Harmful subsidies leading to overfishing were estimated at $15 to $30 billion per year, with the annual global marine fish catch being worth $70-80 billion per year.