Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tipping the Long Black Tailed Swan

Here is an amusing graphic posted over at Paul Kredrosky's blog, which he credits to some people over at Wired as representing credibility versus time for some book-driven memes of recent note.


The Black Swan is currently enjoying a spike of notoriety, as we live through the sub-prime crisis, unpredictable in both its occurrence and impact. But once we recover, perhaps slowly, the dreaded low-probability high-impact event will recede from popular memory, as predicted by its author Taleb. But for the moment he is living out his dream as a public intellectual.

I would suggest that the curves for the Long Tail and the Tipping Point be exchanged, since I think the former has persisted longer in the common perception as the thesis is somewhat more compelling. The Tipping Point is more a clever retelling or repackaging of fad phenomena, while the Long Tail captures more of the current Zeitgeist. In short, Malcolm Gladwell had to write another book before Chris Anderson did. Both memes are now in decline, the Tipping Point from natural attention attrition while the Long Tail has been dealt several heavy body blows based on observed data. But more about that in another post.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Black Swan on Scribd

You can get a copy of Taleb's great Black Swan book on Scribd, as well as many reviews and other comments.

The Black Swan - The Impact of the Highly Improbable

I have also put my post on Some Black Swans for IT Security onto Scribd as well.

Some Black Swans in IT Security

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Financial Cyber Risk Guide from ANSI

In October last year ANSI released a new guide addressing the financial impact of cyber risks. From the title you may expect lengthy calculation is costing cyber risks but in fact the document is largely a set of question to create a dialogue around cyber risks. This is not a consolation prize. I have written a short summary of the document which you can read from Scribd below. You can also read a quick review from the Security4all blog.

ANSI approach to the financial impact of cyber risk

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

SOX in Pictures

A few years ago now I worked on a project where we were considering to what extent it was possible to automate the parsing of laws and regulations to produce compliant instructions for IT Operations.

An initial step was to read SOX and hand-parse the text by stripping it of general verbiage, leaving only subjects acting on objects through actions. You can see some of the resulting diagrams below at Scribd.

Parsing SOX into Pictures

The Cobbler and the Shoe Assassin

Recently an Iraqi journalist threw one shoe, followed by the other, at former US President George Bush during a press conference. Bush executed a deft sidestep, a well-practiced response to unexpected issues at this late stage in his presidency.

The Turkish company that makes the projectile shoes has subsequently experienced a 4-fold increase in orders and plans to hire 100 new staff. Isn't it nice to see that the President can still create jobs?

It makes you wonder if the whole incident was orchestrated by the company's sales department to meet end-of-year targets.

via Bloomberg