Brilliant Lecture: Self Organized Criticality and Tropical Storms

The best presentation I saw in person at AGU was the Lorenz Lecture by Alvaro Corral, which you can catch here. (Although Corral is Spanish, I found that practice understanding Greek speakers helped follow his presentation, which is rather thickly accented and rapid-fire, though syntactically near-perfect English. The slides also help. It’s worth the effort to get as much as you can out of this lecture.)

The upshot is that Corral makes a number of interesting analogies between earthquakes and hurricanes.

AGU has posted quite a few of the lectures from this year on Vimeo, and pointers to other gems would be appreciated.

I liked the formalization of the “black swan” rule at 5:07: The mean of the power law distribution turns out to be infinite. This means that rare events, even though they have a very small probability of occurrence, have a non-negligible contribution to the energy budget. Take that, Nassim Taleb!

PS – somebody at Adobe should be forced to watch 4:56 – 5:06 a thousand times as punishment for wasting a thousand people’s time.




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