Taleb, The Mob, and Covid

Saw this Tooleb tweet in which Tooleb reveals he is a fan of ex-mobster Sammy “The Bull” Gravano’s podcast:

It’s not surprising that Taleb has taken a liking to Sammy’s podcast and lifestyle. What they have in common is that they are famous despite being bad/mediocre that the very things that made them famous/popular, and also having short tempers. Taleb is widely held up by the media as a ‘great intellect’, a ‘statistician or mathematician’, or an ‘original thinker’, but almost all of his insights are either wrong, obvious, or just borrowed from people smarter than him. Taleb has never has never produced an original insight, ever.

During the Covid epidemic, he just parroted the mainstream media, but with some fancy math to boost his credibility. If he were truly an original thinker or a ‘great intellectual’, he would have known that the vaccines would not have been nearly as affective as purported by the media. Tooleb’s idea of ‘math research’ is generating fat-tailed distributions with Mathematica and pasting them into PDFs, or publishing 2-page opinion articles that somehow require 5 co-authors and 30+ citations. To put in another way, he is just a poseur of the ‘great mathematician’ or ‘great intellect’ he wishes he were or idealizes himself to be.

Tooleb also tries to model himself as a ‘tough guy’, but unlike Sammy, who can legitimately lay claim to being tough, blocking people on Twitter for the flimsiest of reasons, or calling people ‘psychopaths’ for not supporting Covid vaccines or shutdowns, does not make him tough or masculine, it just makes him a thin-skinned hypochondriac. Taleb believes that society should devote inordinate resources for the elderly, and that healthy, able-bodied individuals should greatly inconvenience themselves to protect the old, because everyone gets old. That is literally his argument. Nevermind that such a society in which the rights of the productive are voided to protect just a few, would not be worth living in at any age.

Regarding Mr. Gravano, although not a poseur like Taleb, just as Taleb is a lousy mathematician, he is a pretty lousy criminal and mobster, having made little money and spending at least a third of his life in jail. He confessed to 19 murders but was only sentenced to 5 years, of which four was time served, after assisting federal prosecutors in bringing down the Gambino family, and was released in 1994. In need of cash, by the late 90s he turns to crime again, running a short-lived ecstasy ring, but without his mafia ties and protection he is quickly arrested again (and also not being very bright, is taped discussing drug profits, greatly aiding prosecutors) in 2001 and sentenced to 20 years, again losing all his money; he was finally released in 2017.

But it’s not stopping or ‘de-compounding’ anything. Despite a year of mass-vaccination all over the world, Covid cases are still stubbornly high, even in the US. If the Covid vaccines were as effective as, say, the Polio vaccine at making Covid go away, then perhaps Taleb would have a point, but it’s been public knowledge a while that these vaccines, at best, only lessen symptoms and do not stop the spread of Covid, especially with new mutations on the rise every 6 months or so. This was known before the vaccines were approved, but voicing such legitimate concerns, which are based on actual science, would (and still will) have gotten you banned from social media or cancelled/fired. For a virus as contagious as Covid, for vaccines to be effective requires not only a high compliance rate, but also a high rate of effectiveness for the vaccine, yet the left only focusses on the compliance part. The math and empirical evidence shows vaccines may only delay the eventual exponential spread of Covid, but does not prevent it.