The Jolly Swagman Podcast
#81: In The Foothills Of A Pandemic - Yaneer Bar-Yam
Mar 9, 2020 · 2 hr 10 min
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Yaneer Bar-Yam is a physicist and the founding president of the New England Complex Systems Institute.

Show notes
Selected links
  • Follow Yaneer: Website | Twitter
  • Dynamics of Complex Systems, by Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • Making Things Work, by Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • 'Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)', research by Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie
  • Powers of Ten YouTube video
  • 'An Introduction to Complex Systems Science and Its Applications', 2019 paper by Alexander Siegenfeld and Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • 'The Architecture of Complexity', 1962 paper by Herbert Simon
  • 'Science and Complexity', 1948 paper by Warren Weaver
  • 'More is Different', 1972 paper by Phil Anderson
  • Scale, by Geoffrey West
  • Johns Hopkins University coronavirus interactive map
  • 'Systemic Risk of Pandemic via Novel Pathogens -- Coronavirus: Note', January 2020 note by Nassim Taleb, Yaneer Bar-Yam, and Joe Norman
  • The Square And The Tower, by Niall Ferguson
  • 'Long-range interaction and evolutionary stability in a predator-prey system', 2006 paper by Erik Rauch and Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • 'Transition to Extinction', 2016 article by Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • 'Nonpharmaceutical Interventions Implemented by US Cities During the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic', 2007 paper by Howard Markel et al
  • 'Strategies for mitigating an influenza pandemic', 2006 paper by Neil Ferguson et al
  • Join the fellowship of the doers:

Topics discussed
  • Yaneer's background and parents. 11:39
  • Powers of Ten. 12:06
  • Highlights from Yaneer's time as an MIT student. 15:29
  • The role of chance in our lives. 21:28
  • What is "complexity"? 25:42
  • Complex systems. 30:23
  • Emergence. 37:06
  • Phase transitions. 44:26
  • Self-organization. 49:48
  • Universality. 55:12
  • Applying complex systems science to the Arab Spring. 1:03:13
  • Taking stock of the coronavirus epidemic. 1:12:47
  • What is the current best estimate for the coronavirus' R0? 1:13:39
  • Fat-tailedness and super-spreaders. 1:17:13
  • What is the coronavirus' fatality rate? 1:21:45
  • Will the coronavirus obey seasonality? 1:26:33
  • Why are historical base rates -- for example of Spanish influenza -- of limited use in forecasting the spread and impact of coronavirus? 1:28:08
  • The risks of increased global transportation. 1:28:56
  • Which details should we focus on and which details should we ignore in the spread of the coronavirus? 1:36:58
  • What approaches do governments need to take to stop the virus from spreading? 1:39:24
  • Will western governments take the dramatic steps needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus? 1:48:15
  • If our governments fail to prevent a pandemic, what steps do we need to take as individuals? 1:53:13
  • How can people volunteer their efforts to stop the virus from spreading? 2:04:30
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