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Cascading effects of critical transitions

Monday, September 9th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — for Ali Minai and Mike Sellers, my complexity maven friends ]

Complexity at intersections and overlaps.

My intuition catches this from memories of Carmel and Big Sur, and my general snese of waves crashing on waves –and with a little searching, I find my instinct beautifully expressed in this detail from Henrique Pinto‘s gorgeous Rocks & waves @ Big Sur #4, CA:

The approach from science-side delivers this:

The authors said their paper, published in the journal Science, highlights how overstressed and overlapping natural systems are combining to throw up a growing number of unwelcome surprises.

Unwelcome surprises, unanticipated consequences, unknown unknowns, what’s the odds?

From the article page:

Cascading effects of regime shifts

The potential for regime shifts and critical transitions in ecological and Earth systems, particularly in a changing climate, has received considerable attention. However, the possibility of interactions between such shifts is poorly understood. Rocha et al. used network analysis to explore whether critical transitions in ecosystems can be coupled with each other, even when far apart (see the Perspective by Scheffer and van Nes). They report different types of potential cascading effects, including domino effects and hidden feedbacks, that can be prevalent in different systems. Such cascading effects can couple the dynamics of regime shifts in distant places, which suggests that the interactions between transitions should be borne in mind in future forecasts.

I’ve been saying this, notably here, and thinking it for quite a while longer: in particular, I’d imagine a lot of waves of climate migration will founder on the rocks of nationalism and religion..

Hipbone’s Uncertainty Principle

Monday, February 5th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — divergent and convergent, expansive and focused thinking ]

Consider this:


Breath expands, then contracts the lungs. That’s basic.

Let’s apply it to the paradox above. I’d go with Dirac in my expansive, divergent phase, and Feynman for eventual convergence and verification.

Poetry is closely analogous to science in this regard.


xkcd’s uncertainty:

And you know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

Monday, August 28th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — gulf water temperatures 2° above average fuel winds, flooding in TX ]



These frank admissions that we have gone beyond the known signal a qualitative shift in the situation.

You don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

It’s altogether a hard rain falling..

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