Saturday, December 19, 2009
The black swan hunter
The earliest drawings of humans that survive are of animals. Some suspect that they drew them as part of a ritual that they believed aided their success in hunting. Like our early day ancestors I have done the same. The picture above is a drawing I did in London in 2007. However I am not hunting actual black swans, rather figurative ones, like those described in the works of Nassim Taleb. I attempt to make choices that positively expose myself to events of large consequence.
Call me Luke. I come from Minnesota, where the daily and seasonal changes in weather variation are anything but normal. I studied actuarial science at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and graduated in 2005. I have an avid interest in ideas about risk management. I hunt for black swans in analyzing data and in trying to see why our current methods of analyzing risk miss the mark so badly.
Since my college days I have been a professional poker player. It was more by accident than conscious choice. I have learned more in experiencing variations and going back to the theories about them than I ever did learning the theories and trying to apply them to problems.
I lived in the UK for two years, one year studying and one year playing poker to support myself while my now wife Emma finished university. My time in England was the most unexpected and the biggest black swan of my life.
I am an avid EF'er(evolutionary fitness)/Paleo Dieter. It's a way of eating and training based on what we know about the foods and activites of our ancestors. I attended the March 2008 conference held in Las Vegas by Art DeVany(www.arthurdevany.com). I had read about Art in The Black Swan. I've been healthier ever since. I now use what I know about evolution and where we came from to make choices about strategies for better workouts in less time as well as maps for figuring out foods to eat and avoid. Many of our current medical problems are the result of our decisions(be they conscious or partially unconscious) and in order to maintain health requires a humility and recognition that many of our ancestors and even some in more primitive in environments are physically better off than we are. With the knowledge of the environments we came from I can eat and live in the world of today and try and minimize the risks of large negative consequences like diabetes. I'll write about foods I eat, exercises I do, foods I avoid.
Also in march I had the pleasure of meeting Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd(www.thankgodforevolution.com), who call themselves evolutionary Christians. For the longest time I never knew what to call myself. The debate about whether evolution was "true" or not had been in most of my life having an atheist father and christian mother. I see now that whatever words we use to represent something, that They are just the menu not the meal. They have reconnected me with my religious senses given me a map for translating ideas. We need the language of the day and night to understand our experiences. I think some of our senses like our moral sense gain better access to knowledge if its represented in the language of the night. I hope to post more thoughts that I have about this and would like start an evolutionary christian group in my area.
I was married to Emma in October of 08. I think some part of what I feel when love hits me is the sense that Emma complements my greatest weaknesses. I am forever grateful that she left the UK to come and live with me here in Minnesota.
It was a long hard process that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Watching her have to deal with USCIS and pure incompetence for months on end and not being able to do anything about was one of the most stressful experiences of my life.
We live in Bloomington, Minnesota with our Jack Russel Terrier Kirby. His health and development have become a big part of my life. I consider him my trainer in a way as he helps me to stay on the path of life similar to that of our more active ancestors. More than two hours at the computer and his look of "are we going outside now" prevents me from being American. His sense of playfulness and energy keeps activity fun. He is a paleo dieter as well, although of the canis loopus variety.
Emma and I are expecting our first child in March of 2010. We know its a girl and have named her Charlotte Jane. I am excited and grateful. I feel I have learned enough to ensure that she indeed will have a good chance at health and happiness. In many ways in America we are losing our ability to take care of other living things. In some ways it is happening almost unconsciously. There will be a lot of choices along her path that can carry some serious consequences, and if I don't know what to look for and how to respond to feedback it can be a tough road. Evolution, history, mathematics, love, strategy, a sense of where we came from as humans(from the stars!)and a philosophy of epistemology will be my guide. I hope to guide her and teach her about the world. Thanks for reading.