Analysis: Science Of Predicting Change Enjoys Fertile Times

Armenian presidential election protests at Liberty Square in Yerevan. Photo: Serouj (CC)

Armenian presidential election protests at Liberty Square in Yerevan. Photo: Serouj (CC)

An interesting analysis from Kate Kelland via Reuters:

Times of change can be drastic — revolutions topple dictators, extreme weather kills tens of thousands and market crashes plunge people into poverty — but for scientists studying complex systems they are fertile ground.

“Complex systems can include societies, financial markets ecosystems like lakes or coral reefs, and even the brain,” said Marten Scheffer of the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands.

Few would want to predict the outcome of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, or of financial crises or natural disasters, but scientists say there are common traits in seemingly diverse systems that point to “tipping points.”

Identifying and analyzing these, they say, can help people see the risks inherent in an interdependent world more clearly and take action to mitigate them.

“Complex systems can include societies, financial markets ecosystems like lakes or coral reefs, and even the brain,” said Marten Scheffer of the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands.

[Continues at Reuters]

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