The stock chart and the cluster

In the previous installment of this little series, the notion was introduced that market movements are in essence network patterns. In the one before, that degrees of analytic detail can be correlated to measures of perceived volatility, and may even be a signal.

Neal Stephenson’s fictions, more often than not about volatile situations in technically networked systems, seem like a suitable followthrough.

The author’s hallmark reliance on mechanical analysis and explanatory notes about the tech behind the plot turns and adventure, which are slowed by these digressions, is an aid for all involved.

He shares his research in the midst of turbulence, as though a solid ground for characters who might otherwise get lost, or for the reader who might need the comfort. Possibly for the author himself as he is writing.

The stock chart serves a similar purpose.

In a fantasy book you have to have maps. That’s the law.

– In response to yet another question from the audience.

Which is to say, when the ground quivers, you grab the nearest cluster and hold on. Even if it’s only a reflection.