Peter Cauwels Recommends “Critical Transitions in Nature and Society” by Marten Scheffer
Your favorite band saved their epic hit single for last, and the crowd bursts in ecstatic applause. At first, the handclapping is quirky. Then, randomness dissolves and the audience organizes a regular beat. A spectator manages to construct a fancy statistical model showing that the synchronicity could not possibly have happened, with any statistical significance, in the period since the inception of the universe. Simplified like this, it is obvious that his model is fatally flawed. As the system shifts from random to synchronized, its identity changes. A model designed on a meticulous observation of Dr. Jekyll will never be suitable to predict the demeanor of Mr. Hyde.
- Scheffer, M. (2009). Critical transitions in nature and society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar