Business Diary: A grumpy Taleb is not a black swan event

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The Independent Online

Sounds like Nassim Nicholas Taleb has fallen out with someone else. The Black Swan author had a very public spat last year with Myron Scholes, the economist who won a Nobel Prize for his work on options pricing. His latest Twitter updates suggest his mood has not improved since then. "My only definition of success: when all those you hate are dead (or, even better, published by Penguin Classics or La Pléiade)," he offered yesterday. What's that all about?

Paulson flies into town for secret briefing

One of the first transatlantic travellers once the volcanic ash cloud lifted was none other than the billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, Financial News reports. He jetted in to London to give a talk yesterday to a group of pension fund trustees. Mr Paulson, whose name looms large in the Goldman Sachs fraud case (not that he is accused of wrongdoing), has been careful not to let his presentation fall into the wrong hands – the organisers of the event were apparently not allowed to see his slides in advance.

Labour's links with Britain's industrial past

The BGC strategist Howard Wheedon reminds us that Labour's famous Millbank Tower HQ – home to the most formidable spin machine in modern politics in the late Nineties – was previously the office of the engineering giant Vickers, sold to Rolls-Royce in 1999 after 170 years of independence. Let's hope the venerable company left behind a blueprint for rebuilding Britain's manufacturing sector.

RBS gets a visit from TaxPayers' Alliance

As if Royal Bank of Scotland doesn't have enough to worry about, its Gogarburn HQ in Edinburgh was yesterday doorstepped by the TaxPayers' Alliance. It parked its lorry-mounted 7m-long "debt clock" outside. The alliance explains: "The Government spent £46bn on RBS shares as part of a bailout; now it borrows roughly that every three months."