Antifragility in WordPress, React Bootstrap, and Grunt

Reducing Downside / Maximizing Upside (Under Construction)

Websites, software, and tools in general are used to amplify the agency of individuals – these transactions often take the form of money and businesses rendering services across time. Stated in terms of antifragility: the market fluctuates and it is apparent that tools like WordPress, React, Bootstrap, and Grunt can reduce the time and costs of creating and maintaining websites that fit into many different services, and niches, that individuals exchange resources for. Fragility is evoked by stressors that constitute the volatility of any given system, and to paraphrase from Hayim Makabee: the main source of volatility in software are functional changes (new requirements on functionality), although non-functional changes (ie. refactoring) provide volatility as well.

Clearly, one would rather their chosen systems of use to be robust, as opposed to fragile, so they continue transforming chaos into additional agency. Taleb established a third class that has come under heavy consideration for modelling uses, it extends, in explicit scientific terms, the notion that systems can be designed to not only withstand but benefit from chaos.

Taleb’s fragility spectra is something like:
0 Fragile – Destroyed easily by volatility
1 Robust – Immune to volatility
2 Antifragile – Benefits from volatility

Antifragility vs Other (Meta) Measures – Agency, Antifragility, Material Gain:
Are these all different definition sets restating the same functions with different focuses? Are they refined restatements of coding principles, like parsimony and modularity?
0 Antifragility – > Chaos relations for systems
1 Agency – > Full Accounting for systems
2 Material Gain – > Concrete measures

Measuring of and decidability for antifragility – metric 1 : Barbell

“What do we mean by barbell? The barbell (a bar with weights on both ends that weight lifters use) is meant to illustrate the idea of a combination of extremes kept separate, with avoidance of the middle … Let us use an example from vulgar finance, where it is easiest to explain, but misunderstood the most. If you put 90 percent of your funds in boring cash (assuming you are protected from inflation) or something called a “numeraire repository of value,” and 10 percent in very risky, maximally risky, securities, you cannot possibly lose more than 10 percent, while you are exposed to massive upside. Someone with 100 percent in so-called “medium” risk securities has a risk of total ruin from the miscomputation of risks. This barbell technique remedies the problem that risks of rare events are incomputable and fragile to estimation error; here the financial barbell has a maximum known loss.” – Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

The idea being that any system is ideally first reinforced against easy destruction, and next optimized to take advantage of good risks. Makabee notes that systems are more robust through abstraction, he lists information hiding/encapsulation, the open-closed principle, and inheritance heirarchies/framework as examples:

“Now that we have identified the sources of volatility (changes) the question is: What is the software equivalent of a Barbell Strategy?

The answer is: Abstraction. Software systems should have a structure and organization based on different levels of abstraction. In this case the duality of the Barbell Strategy is expressed as the separation between high-level abstract elements and concrete implementation details.

Abstract elements: Are robust, and should not be easily affected by changes.
Concrete implementation details: Are fragile, directly affected by changes.

In other words, software systems should be built in such a way that the volatility (changes) does not affect its structure and organization, preserving the main, high-level abstractions and requiring modifications only on the low-level, concrete implementation details.”


0 Users Concept of Content (dictates core software to use)
1 WP Core concept
2 WP Core implementation
3 Theme concept
4 Theme implementation
5 Plugin concepts
6 Final Content (updated most often)

Again, the open closed tactic is employed (one can expand easily on the core to avail one’s self of change, although the core itself is relatively closed to change). The further to the base (0) of the spectra the more closed and stable that level of abstraction is. The concepts of the functions WP Core must perform change less than the Core itself changes.

One main use of stability is to reduce overall vulnurbility to risk. One use of reduced vulnurbility is to take the opportunity to make intelligent risks (perhaps many small risks, with potentially high rewards). Now, because WordPress is deployed over so much of the internet, it is potentially a larger target for hackers, yet subjecting the same core to such varied attacks while also subjecting it to the demands multiplied across the less stable, more varied add ons.

The parts of WordPress that change, allow it to adapt to many situations at small cost, even if said situations are temporary. This is because the full force of the WP Core is brought to bear on many tasks through alterations in more disposable less expensive elements such as themes, contents, and plugins.
For further consideration: theme templates, what other frameworks are very popular or functional? Why? How?

Same as WP: Core remains same, applies to many different tasks.
Differences: Greater and more refined focus on modularity (components), develop faster over time?

CSS AND Bootstrap
Same as WP: Core remains same, applies to many different tasks.
Different from WP:

Same as WP: Core remains same, applies to many different tasks.
Different from WP:

-coming soon-

Many of the concepts for antifragility actually extend and fit in with the concepts of agile and dry development. [expand this]

Measuring of and decidability for antifragility – metric 2 : Parsimony
Corollary in software:
Corollary in agency:
Corollary in material gain:

Measuring of and decidability for antifragility – metric 3 : Stoicism
Corollary in software:
Corollary in agency:
Corollary in material gain:

Iterate across more principles

Antifragility is about reducing vulnurbility downsides (creating robustness) and opening up as many opportunities to “catch” good luck as possible. The idea being that hard work means moderate success but for improbable levels of success all we can do is craft our lives to to maximize those positive potentialities. Supposedly Taleb’s example of this was buying many “penny stocks.”

More on microservices and scalability

Plus or Minus Bad Teeth (Excerpt from Antifragile by Nassim Taleb)

Plus or Minus Bad Teeth

You can control fragility a lot more than you think. So let us refine in three points:

(i) Since detecting (anti)fragility—or, actually, smelling it, as Fat Tony will show us in the next few chapters—is easier, much easier, than prediction and understanding the dynamics of events, the entire mission reduces to the central principle of what to do to minimize harm (and maximize gain) from forecasting errors, that is, to have things that don’t fall apart, or even benefit, when we make a mistake.

(ii) We do not want to change the world for now (leave that to the Soviet-Harvard utopists and other fragilistas); we should first make things more robust to defects and forecast errors, or even exploit these errors, making lemonade out of the lemons.

(iii) As for the lemonade, it looks as if history is in the business of making it out of lemons; antifragility is necessarily how things move forward under the mother of all stressors, called time.

Further, after the occurrence of an event, we need to switch the blame from the inability to see an event coming (say a tsunami, an Arabo-Semitic spring or similar riots, an earthquake, a war, or a financial crisis) to the failure to understand (anti)fragility, namely, “why did we build something so fragile to these types of events?” Not seeing a tsunami or an economic event coming is excusable; building something fragile to them is not.

WordPress Custom Themes – PHP / CMS

W3techs places wordpress as powering 25% of all websites, making it the most popular CMS. (1)  Not only that, its success seems unsurprisingly due to functionality, rather than mere luck (although that always has a role too).

I can use the admin user-interface to load all my text, audio, and video content into pages and posts that wordpress stores in an organized way for later editing and updating (using SQL).  This content is displayed through the theme’s HTML and PHP templates with the aesthetics defined in the CSS of the theme.  On this website, there are 3 main types of page templates:





Upward Limits

“First thing to get is that predation, parasitism and cooperation are all natural consequences of the same natural phenomena – life must seek asymmetrical benefit to survive. From there – cooperation because it multiplies agency through aligning agents, opposed to predation and parasitism which reduces net agency, provides the only strategy (application of natural phenomena) which has an unlimited time horizon. Predation ends when the prey have been consumed – the more successful the predator the more likely the prey supply is reduced to zero; the more successful the parasite the more degradation of the hosts health. Predation and parasitism cap their success – their success increases their limits to success. Cooperation, however, when success increases, limits decrease. When we extend the interpersonal strategy (cooperation) to our pool of resources (environment- including social=material, intellectual) our extraction of asymmetrical benefits increases the health of the pool of resources (stewardship) woof.” – Bill Joslin

Grunt Javascript – Workflow Asset

Grunt is a javascript based task runner, it’s processing, minification, and compilation abilities as seen running tasks like browser sync and compass let it watch my folders, then generate the new css and reload my viewing browser whenever I update a .scss file.

Bootstrap CSS

Bootstrap is one of the primary resources used to display content on the internet. It is a collection of predefined CSS classes that serve as a framework for organized, standardized, mobile friendly, and flexible display. It includes a grid system which can be used to organize all the content into mobile friendly columns and rows.

Optimization and “Bucky”

Still under production… just some interesting ideas that need developing.

Pre-frontal coretex for scheduling and optimization
Most personal agency when intent and actions towards “highest advantage of others?”
Fuller on Nature’s Imperative to growth

Buckminster Fuller was the architect and systems theorist, most well known for his geodesic domes.  Optimization was one of main topics of inquiry and he applied it to his livelihood when he lost his job.   He realized from studying his logs that his periods of success were always aligned with his services to others.  He interpreted this to mean the system of reality (which contains a series of cause and effect rules) favours those sets of behaviours.  He took it to the extreme, figuring he must set out to serve as many people as possible with his innovations, and ultimately it landed him among the most powerful political circles and most famous architects.

“You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.” – Unverified Buckminster quote while I locate my personal favourites

Trivium and Quadrivium (Autodidactism)

Trivium: the three fundamental steps of linear thought.  {expand on this}

1 Grammar (Knowledge) – Label and define data
2 Logic (Understanding) – Remove contradictions and expand by implication (deductive reasoning) and scientific testing (inductive reasoning)
3 Rhetoric (Wisdom/Application) – Precise speech, warrantied for due diligence and actions informed by conclusions and values

Quadrivium: A classic model regarding the “sacred geometries” in nature, the second 4 of the 7 Liberal Arts, in order: arithmetic(number), geometry(number in space), music(number in time), and astronomy(number in space and time).  The golden ratio is said to be the mathematical underpinning of musical harmonies, physics that form stars, chemical bonds, ratio of limb size in animals, and many more applications.