In response to my EMH interpretation that there is no replicable way to beat the market, Noah says

There are lots of hedge fund guys who do make a lot of money writing computer programs to time the market…

And of course computer programs are replicable — as opposed to well honed intuition, which is not replicable.

As I mentioned I have been backing off that stance.

Still, I think the question is whether or not the quants are just "picking up pennies in front of a steam roller" That is, are they making risk adjusted above average returns or have they just found a way to hide the fact that they are taking on lots of risk?

Perhaps this is something Mike Konczal would like to weigh in on.

Note obviously, taking on lots of leverage and hence risk is a key ingredient in many quant trades, but the question is whether or not you are fundamentally just making money on risk, or do you have a kernel of above average risk adjusted return.